Well-balanced flight simulator

Here’s a flight simulator which uses concepts simple enough for anyone to build. As you pilot your virtual craft, the cockpit you’re sitting in moves as well. But unlike some of the more extreme simulator builds we’ve seen, this uses basic materials and simple concepts to provide that motion. Its center of gravity is balanced on a base frame. The joystick slides as you move the nose of the craft up and down, shifting the center of gravity causing the cockpit to tilt as well. The pilot sees the simulated flight through a wearable display. There is a stationary reference in front of him which allows the system to measure head movements, panning and tilting the virtual display to match. Check out the overview video after the break, or click through to the page linked above and watch all 22 episodes of the video build log.

[Thanks Bill and Charper via DIYdrones via Make]


  1. xeracy says:

    this is probably the only way I would play a flight simulator

  2. Aero says:

    He should have tried to do a mechanical model of the old Link Trainers:


    He could also mimic roll and yaw with a two-part seat. Tilt the seat pan to simulate roll, and slide the back of the seat left/right to simulate yaw. This is how commercial motion seats (Acme, Rexroth, etc work). A little movement goes a long way and could feasably be done by a direct connection to the seat components and the pedals and stick.

    1 DOF alone would feel wonky. All you’d experience is pitch acceleration, which would feel weird without g-align compensation. Just because you pull back on the stick doesn’t mean the aircraft pitches up.

  3. VIPER! says:

    WOW THATS GEEKY! And awesome at the same time.

  4. Eirinn says:


  5. alan turing's dog says:


    “Just because you pull back on the stick doesn’t mean the aircraft pitches up.”

    Up is relative.
    Maybe you fly different aircraft than I do. They all pitch up, at least momentarily. He’s just trying to add a little pretend acceleration to his flight sim.

    This needs more DOF, and should probably be painted in flesh tones, but it’s an interesting start. I knew 3 guys who built a lunar lander simulator (cockpit style) that had nothing but 3 little vector CRTs and all the switches, buttons and knobs they could find for free. It was pretty damn cool, even if it did a terrible job of accurately modeling the physics.

  6. M4CGYV3R says:

    Single-axis motion, controlled by weight-shifting with an awkward pseudo-joystick? No thanks, I’ll pass.

    This is also old as they come. I’ve seen this one around the webs for a long time. It looks like he just put a shell on it now.

    Why would you not showcase one of their really cool sim chairs like this one?


  7. Luke Anderson says:

    I do not understand why people would like to learn flying unless they have their own private jet or would like become a pilot! Try the latest simulator by Mercedes-Benz and learn how to drive even in difficult situations. Their simulator provides a 360 degree view which gives the test driver a feeling of driving a real car. I was extremely pleased to read about it recently in the CCM-News website. Check out their video in http://clients.ccm-news.com/?client=Mercedes-Benz

  8. niccohel says:

    @Luke Anderson: I do not understand why people would like to learn flying unless they have their own private jet or would like become a pilot!

    Same reason people play military shooter games without joining the military. Same reason they play racing games without owning 30 different cars.

    Either they don’t have the ability, time, and money to do it for real, or they want the simulated experience without the risk of dying.

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