The Ultimate BRRRT Simulator: Fully Featured A-10 Warthog Cockpit

The Fairchild Republic A-10 “Warthog” with its 30 mm rotary cannon has captured the imagination of friendly soldiers and military aviation enthusiasts on the ground for as long as it’s been flying. One such enthusiast created the Warthog Project, a fully functional A-10 cockpit for Digital Combat Simulator, that’s almost an exact copy of the real thing.

It started as a four monitor gaming cockpit, with a Thrustmaster Warthog H.O.T.A.S. The first physical instrument panels were fuel and electrical panels bought through eBay, and over time more and more panels were added and eventually moved to dedicated left and right side units. All the panels communicate with the main PC over USB, either using Arduinos or purpose-made gaming interface boards. The Arduinos take input from switches and control knobs, but also run 7-segment displays and analog dials driven by servos. The panels were all laser-cut using MDF or perspex and backlit using LEDs.

The main instrument panel is a normal monitor masked with laser-cut MDF and Thrustmaster multi-function display bezels. The cockpit is run by the open source Helios Cockpit Simulator for DCS. The main monitors were replaced by a large custom-built curved projection panel lit up by a pair of projectors. It seems this is one of those projects that is never quite finished, and small details like a compass get added from time to time. Everything is documented in detail, and all the design files are available for free if you want to build your own.

We’ve seen a few impressive simulator cockpit builds from hardcore enthusiasts over the years, including a Boeing 737, P-51 Mustang, and even a Mech cockpit for Steel Battalion.

22 thoughts on “The Ultimate BRRRT Simulator: Fully Featured A-10 Warthog Cockpit

  1. Wow. That is, incredible. Imagine how cool it would be if there was somewhere you could go that had 10 of these and you could dogfight with your friends.

    First couple of rounds would probably be like playing hand simulator, where nobody can even get off the ground, heh.

      1. reminds me of that mash up video of the 4g driving seat and when the player hits another car the video changes to the fellow sat on a airbag as it’ set off. you get the idea

    1. because you can find a control easy with muscle memory and fingertips..

      a touch screen you have to look at to be sure where you touched…. plus the spaceX controls are infront of the pilots… in a cockpit, as you see, they’re all over the place…

    2. SpaceX fliers are basically passengers, its all the computer doing the work – they are not pulling high g manouvers ‘by hand’ while watching their display/ target outside so have to feel the control they want…

    3. ‘Cause touch screens suck.

      1. You have to look at them to see where to touch.
      2. You have no feedback from it when you touch it – did the computer read it or not?
      3. You have no proportional feedback – you cannot tell how hard to turn (for example) by the feel of the controls.

      Touch screens are only “intuitive” for a few use cases. Steering a car or flying a plane takes an entirely different concept in comparison to surfing the internet.

    4. dial a number on a touchscreen blind folded, then do the same on a old touchtone phone or ATM keypad, then repeat under duress/stress , one will stand out as the winner.

    1. If you have the computer to handle it VR tech is getting very good, and that just needs a frame to hold the HID devices in the right location around your seat, at least for simulators like this. I have the HTC Vive and have spent a good amount of time in Elite Dangerous using it, though my PC really could do with an upgrade to make for a better experience, and being quite text filled Elite is better played on a newer headset – I understand they have got much sharper displays (have not seen any in person). But the Vive works pretty nicely really, trades some of the photo realistic crispness of playing on a high resolution monitor for some binocular depth perception and the free head look – a pretty good trade off.

      1. I expect VR is vastly cheaper too, sure the headsets sound bank breaking as a single purchase, but all the raw materials that went into that cool cockpit probably cost just as much, and the time investment must be quite high.

  2. That is really cool … and a lot of work. If it was me, I’d start with a ‘simple’ (relative) WWII or WWI cockpit to start with. Still plenty of switches and levers to deal with :) . Of course you need the simulation software behind the scenes to back it all up.

    1. If what you want is a more modern aircraft there is no point starting in the early years of aviation – a few toggles for magneto, perhaps landing gear and lights, a compass, maybe some engine gauges, the flight controls and probably not much else… Where building an A10 its modern enough to be an incorrect but useable facsimile of probably every aircraft (or even spaceship) out there – all the right sort of interfaces exist on it, heaps of extra display space and buttons, and it still works alright as a simulator for your earlier planes…

      So unless you only want to fly a reasonable sim experience for that stringbag you would end up having to build a huge amount of extras or rebuild again to make it approach useable for a more electronic aircraft…

      I have dreamed of creating a nice simulator setup for a while – but as Alphatek said above space in the UK is damn expensive, so I have to make do with what I can set up and store…

      So I would start with a layout and design that matches your favourite more modern aircraft, or even a completely fictional one in that style – with all its extra switches and dials seems a winner – just build it in stages – you need the flight controls, then all the auxiliary feature buttons – gear, weapon selection, lights etc, and then all the extra displays/dials – as that info will all be on the games HUD by default anyway, so doesn’t break your enjoyment as much as having to reach for a keyboard to raise the landing gear – which I know first hand is bad enough reaching over/around the HOTAS, but a massive pain in VR – you might know exactly where the keyboard is but finding the home keys by touch…

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