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OpenHornet F/A-18C 1:1 SimPit (WIP)

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Section 1: Introduction

I’m excited to reveal what our team and I have been devoting countless hours to over the past few months. We are still in very early development, and could not have done this without RandomTroubledMind’s amazing reference model.










Core Development Team:


  • RandomTroubledMind: Founder, Mechanical and Systems Design
  • JRSteensen: Mechanical, Electrical and Systems Design
  • Amanuense: Electrical and Software Design

Minimum Tooling Required/Assumed:


  • Hobby 3D printer (Prusa i3 MK3 or equivalent.)
  • Hobby CNC Router (XCarve 1000x1000 or equivalent.)
  • Common hand/power tools (Drill, screwdrivers, sanders, wrenches, ratchets and sockets, calipers, tape measure, ruler, square, marking devices, files, etc.)
  • Basic electronics assembly equipment (multimeter, soldering station, magnifier (optional), desolder vacuum, desolder braid, solder, flux.)

Goals/Requirements (Subject to Change):


  • Scalable – Upper MIP may be used in a desk mounted configuration for those without the space for a full pit. Builders may omit consoles, aux consoles, etc as required for their purposes.
  • Transportable - All major subcomponents shall be able to be assembled and disassembled from each other with minimal hand tools for transit purposes. All major subcomponents (Main Instrument Panel (MIP), Left Console, Right Console, etc.) shall be capable of movement through a standard 30-inch-wide interior residential door.
  • Footprint - System will be designed to occupy a minimal overall footprint, with the exception of major accessories, including, but not limited to, PC or LCD/TFT/TV/projector visual outputs.
  • Maintenance - All components shall be designed with a major consideration for ease of future maintenance.
  • Human Factors - Any component designed to bear the weight of a human shall be able support a 250 lb static load.

Expected Deliverables: (All currently WIP)


  • Reference Model: A 1:1 detailed replica model for you to base your own pit design off of.
  • Mechanical CAD (MCAD) Model: A full mechanical model of the pit, in both SW native formats, and STEP/Parasolid intermediary formats.
  • Electrical CAD (ECAD) Files: All custom PCBs and Interconnect schematics.
  • Drawing/Manufacture Package (PDF/DXF): Fabrication and Assembly drawings of required components. Also, will contain DXFs of nested components for optimized cutting of relevant components.

CAD Tools Used:


  • Fusion360: Reference Model
  • SolidWorks: Pit Mechanical Model
  • KiCAD: Electrical CAD

Software Stack:


  • DCS: F/A-18C
  • Component Level Software

What This is Not:

While we strive for complete accuracy where possible, due to the manufacturing methods available to the average pitbuilder, and at a cost/benefit comparison, this will NOT be a 100% accurate representation of the F/A-18C. We expect to capture 98% of the functionality of the real bird, and very, very similar visuals, but do not expect real components to mount into this pit. You can build a 100% accurate pit for tens of thousands of dollars…but this method is far more pragmatic with the ultimate goal of being able to simply fly.

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And please stop typing all in caps, it is incredibly rude.

And here he goes, posting even more CAD porn... think of the children, would ya!? :-)

So we are integrating backlighting right now, and is the core of the focus right now. That mandated quite a bit of electronics redesign, and some MCAD redesign to facilitate it.   We are hol

Looks interesting. Subscribed :)

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A-10C, AV-8B, F-5E, F-86F, FC3, FW190D-9, Hawk, Ka50 2, P-51D, Spitfire, UH-1H, F/A-18C, F-14, F-16, Supercarrier, Christen Eagle 2


Nevada, Normandy, Persian Gulf, The Channel

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brb going to the bank to open up a savings account

i7-6700K || 64 GB DDR4 || GTX TITAN X 12 GB || TM Warthog HOTAS ||

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F-14 | F/A-18C | A10-C | AV-8B NA | M-2000C | MiG-21bis | Ka50 | UH-1H | Mi-8MTV2 | FC3 | CA

Caucasus | Nevada NTTR | Persian Gulf


If you can build it why not!!!

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The OpenHornet team is looking for a web developer/graphic artist for our project! A number of us are capable, we just want to focus on what we do best and to keep the design of the OpenHornet moving forward.




  • A passion for simulators and aviation.
  • Capable of all server-side configuration via SSH and SFTP.
  • Capable of standards-compliant HTML5 and CSS.
  • Capable of configuring domains and subdomains.
  • Capable of designing and maintaining a site in WordPress, to include main site, and forums (Discourse? Something else?) (SSO required between WordPress and forum implementation.)
  • Capable of setting up email for our domain.
  • Capable of all required graphic design (prefer Photoshop and Illustrator, and all source files will be deliverables.)


This is a volunteer position - there will be no pay. We all do this because we want to bring a realistic pit design to the community at large.

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Here is the Lower Left Pit WIP. Lower Left MIP is complete as is the lower center pedestal, L AUX is nearing completion. I'm really happy with the landing gear panel and Select JETT panel beneath it.


The LG Panel features all the functionality of the real thing, to include a solenoid locking it in the DN position (to be used when WOW), and the turn and pull functionality for the EMERG GEAR release.


The Select JETT panel features a pretty simple DIY mag held switches for the Launch Bar and Hook bypass switches. SELECT JETT selector has the separate knob and push button. (That was simpler than I thought it would be at first glance.)



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Another update: Mostly complete R Console Panels. I will be placing one more panel behind the KY58 with SIM Controls - pause/freeze, TIR Center, TIR Pause, F1-F12 for comms menu, etc.


This includes the mag switches, and the solenoid retracted AUG switch on the BLEED AIR switch on the ECS panel.



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OMG, this is incredible!! Great work so far, can’t wait to see more! And it shows great attitude and spirit to offer your work to the community! Thank you in advance!!


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Lovely work on the rendered drawings Any news on the electrical side?
Thanks Rockeyes. We are slowly working our way through the PCB design. UFC is done, caution lights are done. Given the prevalence of mag switches throughout the consoles, I'm going to add two optional solenoid positions on the ABSIS cards. Mechanical definition of all PCBs is complete, just gotta catch up on the ECAD.


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Thanks Morek! We are making huge strides daily.


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Sounds terrific! And all the Interfacing will be done by Arduino Cards and DCS Bios?



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