If you’ve been scouring the web looking for a one-stop-shop with the answers to how you can build a home flight simulator setup on a budget without having to invest not only in expensive electronics and lumber, but also an entire garage full of power tools to build the monstrosity, welcome: this is the place for you. This site is designed to give you quick answers to the simple questions you have about getting started with a quality flight simulation experience in your living room–no power tools or engineering degrees required. We’ve taken our over 10 years of experience in the hobby and compiled tips, tricks, and resources to enable you best invest your money to get off the ground quickly with a quality setup that will last. The truth is, with modern products available to the consumer, you can create an experience in your living room that provides a higher degree of realism and immersion than many of the multi-million dollar simulators still used to train professional civilian and military pilots today. We’ve spent over a decade now learning the best way to do just that, and we’ve put our lessons and recommendations together in one concise package for you. We’ll keep it short and helpful. Keep reading to get started.
Given the nature of those who are interested in such a thing, we believe a home cockpit should be able to serve as both a useful training tool and entertainment experience. Whether you’re working on earning your private pilot’s license in a Cessna 172 or hoping to experience dogfighting and tactical formation with your friends in an F 16 simulator, a well thought out setup will be able to meet your needs.
Every flight simulator cockpit needs these 5 things:
- Computer (Machine for you IT types). Something capable of running a high-quality flight simulation product that also supports your desired display method (multiple monitors, tv screens, projectors, or even virtual reality [VR] setups).
- Immersive display. We’ll talk about all the options, but the idea is simple: Take the environment generated by the computer and present it to the user in a manner that fills the field of view with a believable image of what is taking place in the simulation.
- Software. A computer program that not only creates a believable flight experience from a graphical standpoint, but also uses a physics engine to properly replicate aerodynamic theory in the virtual world.
- Flight Control Hardware. Joystick or Yoke, throttle, rudder pedals, headphones, and head tracking capability (for real!) that not only provides realistic feel and input, but is also durable, mountable, and easy to program and use.
- Replication of Cockpit Geometry. This doesn’t mean spending weeks and weeks in the shop building an entire F 16 cockpit or A320 flight deck around your computer screens. The concept is simple: Use easily accessible items or pre-fabricated gaming rigs, such as those made by Obutto to place the flight control hardware in the relative positions that replicate that of the real thing, and let the modern display systems and virtual cockpit modeling create the immersive sense of being in a real cockpit. We’ll show you the best options.
That’s it. Click on the tabs above to view a step-by-step guide to the best options in each category. You’ll be off the ground in no time!