A Next-Level Home-Built Flight Simulator

Every hobby needs to have a few people who take it just a little too far. In particular, the aviation hobbies – Radio control flying, FPV multicopter racing, and the like – seem to inspire more than their fair share of hard-core builds. In witness whereof we present this over-the-top home-brew flight simulator.

His wife and friends think he’s crazy, and we agree. But [XPilotSimPro] is that special kind of crazy that it takes to advance the state of the art, and we applaud him for that. A long-time fan of flight simulator games, he was lucky enough to log some time in a real 737 simulator. That seems to be where he caught the DIY bug. The video after the break is a whirlwind tour of the main part of his build, which does not seek to faithfully reproduce any particular cockpit as much as create a plausibly awesome one. Built on a PVC pipe frame with plywood panels, the cockpit is bristling with LCD panels, flight instruments, and bays of avionics that look like they came out of a cockpit. The simulator sits facing a wall with an overhead LCD projector providing views of the outside world. An overhead panel sporting yet more LCD panels and instruments was a recent addition. The whole thing is powered by a hefty looking gaming rig running X-Plane, allowing [XPilotSimPro] to take on any aviation challenge, including landing an Embraer 109 on the deck of the USS Nimitz Aircraft Carrier.

What could be next for [XPilotSimPro]’s simulator? How about adding a little motion control with pneumatics? Or better still, how about using a real 737 cockpit as a simulator?

[via r/DIY]

28 thoughts on “A Next-Level Home-Built Flight Simulator

    1. For you maybe. For the rest of us DIYers SketchUp works great. Sure it lacks compated to Inventor (what I use at work now) but for all the years I used sketchup for modelign things it worked great. It’s free and easy to learn, has tons of tutorials and models available for free.

    2. Seriously smeg off…there is nothing wrong with Sketch Up if you know how to use it.

      The point is that something badass was built. Who fucking cares what software was used to create it?

      Away with you troll…

    3. I meant to reply to your comment, hit the report button instead. Sorry about that.

      Anyway, what is wrong with sketchup? It may not be great to totally design things in, but in many cases you only need to work out a few things without having to make every tiny detail.

    4. im i bad for using 3d studio max for cad design?

      i got good with it when i was screwing around with the idea of being a 3d artist, then when i noticed that my stuff was more function and less form i got me a 3d printer.

  1. That’s actually fancier than a real-life (preliminary version, of course) flight sim that I tried out 40 years ago at an aerospace company I worked at as an engineer. That model had a wooden chair, one monochrome CRT and, I think it was a sawed-off broomstick as a joystick.

    1. Just set the slideshow to 0.5x or 0.25x speed, and you can linger on the details of each image more easily. It was most certainly a fine showing of his build. Just a bit fast. And good music! :)

  2. I’m not doing anything so elaborate, just building some flight instruments and resource meters into my desk, and implementing a bunch of toggles and joysticks, but I’m building a controller for Kerbal Space Program. Taking a lot of my inspiration from the Apollo capsules for that project. It’s about a meter wide, and built into an old desk mounted radio monitor/mixer console enclosure.

    1. I have always loved ADI’s. Tried to get one off ebay but they are expensive. What I really want is an F4 compass (worked on F4’s in the 80’s, so it more nostalgia). Did get a handheld cockpit light and converted it to LED.

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