Home Flight Simulator for Sale, 7 Ways to Choose

7 Ways to Choose the Best DIY Flight Sim | Home Flight Simulator For Sale

You’re looking for a home flight simulator for sale and you come across two similar DIY projects. How do you tell the two apart? The DIY Deluxe Desktop Flight Sim and the DIY Triple Screen Flight Sim are similar, but there are some significant differences too. Here are 7 ways to choose the best multi-screen DIY Flight Sim for you.

Note: for brevity, you’ll see me refer to the projects by their item numbers.
Item #D250: DIY Deluxe Desktop Flight Sim
Item #T440: DIY Triple Screen Flight Sim

1. Adaptability

The D250 Deluxe is much more adaptable than the T440 Triple Screen.
D250: You can build the D250 with a yoke and throttle quadrant, or pair it with one of the DIY floor frames so you can use HOTAS style controls or even a helicopter collective. Match the D250 with the #F311 Side Joystick Frame, the #F321 Center Joystick Frame, or the #F331 Easy Helicopter Collective.
T440: On the other hand, the T440 is great with a yoke and throttle quadrant as originally designed. But if you want a joystick and side throttle, you would need to invent some modifications.

 

2. Recent Work

The D250 instructional video is much newer than the T440.
T440: I produced the T440 video in 2011 as a part of a successful Kickstarter campaign. I had a very short amount of time to design and build the project and a short time to film, edit, and publish the video. It’s still a great project though.
D250: I produced the D250 video in 2016 so it has better lighting, better sound, I used a better camera, and I had more experience editing than I did in 2011.

 

Deluxe Desktop Flight Sim with Side Joystick Frame
Deluxe Desktop Flight Sim with Side Joystick Frame

3. Displays

The D250 has larger screens.
D250: I used 32” HDTVs for the three main displays. The combined screen width is over 6 feet wide.
T440: I used 24” monitors for the three main displays. The combined screen width is less than the D250, but still impressive.

 

4. Keyboard Modification

The T440 was designed to have an overhead panel like an airliner. For this reason, the T440 Triple Screen bundle includes the DIY Airliner Keyboard Modification. The D250 doesn’t have a place for an overhead panel.

 

Home flight simulator for sale, how to choose the best
Home flight simulator for sale

 

5. Styrofoam

The T440 has Styrofoam, the D250 does not.
Builders use ½” styrofoam sheets when constructing the T440 Triple Screen project. Styrofoam may be cheap or expensive depending on where you live in the world.

 

6. Instrument Panel on a 4th Monitor

T440: You will see several builders in the Customer Gallery added a 4th monitor to display the flight instruments. I didn’t include anything about that in the instructions, those clever builders modified their projects on their own.
D250: I included instructions to add an optional 4th monitor for the flight instruments.

 

DIY Easy Helicopter Collective
DIY Easy Helicopter Collective paired with the Deluxe Desktop Flight sim

 

7. Ease of construction

I think the D250 is easier to build than the T440.
D250: The project doesn’t require gluing any Styrofoam panels in place. But the D250 does include 1×8 boards. If your saw won’t cut 1×8 boards, you’ll need to get that done at the store when you buy them.
T440: The project doesn’t require you to cut any lumber wider than a 1×6. You do cut Styrofoam with a utility knife, but it is not difficult just a little time-consuming.

 

Home Flight Simulator for Sale

You have a lot of choices when it comes to your home flight sim project. I hope this comparison helps you.

Best Computer for Flight Simulator

The Best Computer For Flight Simulator

The most common question I get asked is about products I do not make. For example, “What is the absolute best computer for flight simulator? BTW, I don’t want to spend very much.” First of all, yes I do help people make better flight simulators and I’ve done that for over 10 years. My videos and tutorials have helped thousands of people build a home cockpit and modify their flight sim controls. I show people how to use inexpensive materials from a hardware store to build functional, attractive DIY simpits. If you have a question about PVC pipe, lumber, Styrofoam, or self-drilling screws, I’m the guy to ask. If you want to know about graphics cards, or multiple monitors… well, read on.

 

Best Computer for Flight Simulator

Why don’t I focus on teaching people how to build fast computers for their flight simulators? Why don’t I help people set up their flight sim software? There are several reasons why I don’t offer these services:

  • There are already tons of free opinions about this on forums and YouTube. I can’t sell expertise that is already free.
  • I’ve watched other people attempt this type of service and they only last a year or two. That tells me it is an unsustainable business model.
  • The manufacturers and software developers already pay people to provide technical support. I don’t get paid anything by these big companies. More importantly, I’ll happily provide tech supports for my products.
  • I can’t really evaluate computers and graphics cards unless I actually have them. Nobody gives me this stuff, so I would have to buy it. That means buying multiple graphics cards, CPU’s, monitors, flight sim controls, etc. I don’t have a budget for that.
  • Computer hardware evolves rapidly. On the other hand, PVC pipe, lumber, Styrofoam, and self-drilling screws remain the same. That means the DIY projects I produced 5 years ago or even 10 years ago can still be helpful and valuable for people.

 

Cybertron PC
Cybertron PC

 

Computer Specs

Ok, maybe I’m not the authority on the absolute best computer for flight simulator, but what do I use? I used to buy computers from MicroCenter and then I immediately replaced the graphics card, power supply, and RAM… which is not my idea of fun. The last time I bought a computer I decided to delegate that work to someone else: Cybertron. I bought a gaming computer from Cybertron last year and I’m very happy with it.

 

Cybertron PC Model: TGMPALADGTX9ZBU
Palladium Desktop – Intel Core i7 – 16GB Memory – NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 – 1TB Hard Drive

  • Hard Drive Capacity 1000 gigabytes
  • Hard Drive Type SATA
  • Operating System Windows 10
  • Processor Speed (Base) 3.4 gigahertz
  • Processor Model Intel 6th Generation Core i7
  • System Memory (RAM)16 gigabytes
  • Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
  • Cache Memory 8 megabytes
  • Type of Memory (RAM) DDR4 SDRAM
  • Number Of Memory Slots 2
FSX cockpit DIY instructions

These Builders Completed Their FSX Cockpit DIY Projects

This is the greatest difference between Roger Dodger Aviation and the other guys: my customers actually complete their projects! My online courses include instructions for each step of the project including video clips, diagrams, pictures, and printouts. You can build a FSX cockpit DIY project like these guys!

DIY Deluxe Desktop Flight Sim

First of all, look at this beautiful DIY Deluxe Desktop Flight Sim item #D250. It was built by Greg in Savannah Georgia, USA. This is one of my favorite designs because it is so versatile. Builders can create exactly the type of home cockpit they need to match their flying interests. You can install a yoke and throttle quadrant in the #D250. On the other hand, you can also use a HOTAS joystick and throttle or even a helicopter collective.

Pair the #D250 with the DIY Side Joystick Frame, or the DIY Center Joystick Frame, or the DIY Easy Helicopter Collective. These projects provide a sturdy mounting base for your joystick, throttle, and rudder pedals.

 

DIY Deluxe Desktop Flight Sim
DIY Deluxe Desktop Flight Sim built by Greg

DIY Triple Screen Flight Sim

The DIY Triple Screen Flight Sim, item #T440 is still my most popular DIY course. As a result, I get more T440 pictures than any other project. Two customers recently sent me pictures of their completed projects (see below). Wayne and Richard both build the same project but built it to suit their particular simulation requirements.

 

 

Help Spread the Word: FSX Cockpit DIY Projects

Don’t let Facebook bury these success stories! These men worked hard on their FSX cockpit DIY projects and deserve to be congratulated. When I post on Facebook, the message only goes out to 10% of my fans. Please LIKE, COMMENT, and SHARE to spread the word. If you are reading this as a blog post, please link to it or share it with friends. Let’s show these guys our community appreciates a job well done.

Flight Simulator for Private Pilot License

How to Use a Flight Simulator for Private Pilot License

How to Use a Flight Simulator for Private Pilot License

Can you learn to fly a real airplane with a home flight simulator? Two aviation schools say yes, and they provide training to help armchair pilots become real pilots. Interestingly, both schools use X-plane as their chosen flight simulator for private pilot license. I’ll discuss both schools below.

First, an initial caveat: don’t record home flight sim training in your FAA logbook. The FAA will not recognize it. On the other hand, you can certainly learn material at home that will make your training time in the real airplane more efficient.

 

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PilotWorkshops.com

Getting Started with Flight Simulation $99 (regularly $129).

PilotWorkshops is a distance learning company that provides ongoing proficiency training with videos and manuals. Some online courses are one time fees, others like the IFR Mastery Course, is a subscription. They use X-plane 11 as the flight simulator for Private Pilot license training. The material provides impressive details about installing and setting up the X-plane software, controls, views, monitors, weather, replays, debrief tools. PilotWorkshops also introduces online, live human ATC with PilotEdge.

Interestingly, they try to do all this with a simple Phase 1 home flight sim setup (what is a Phase 1 flight sim? Read more). They use a single monitor, a joystick (not a yoke), and a TrackIR for the most part. You could have a much better training experience with a setup like the DIY Deluxe Desktop Flight Sim which features, multiple monitors, yoke, rudder pedals, throttle quadrant and more.

 

DIY Deluxe Desktop Flight Sim flight simulator for private pilot license
Best option for training: DIY Deluxe Desktop Flight Sim

 

Gliem

X-Plane Flight Training Course $149.95 or $99.95 if you already own X-plane 10.

Gliem is a decades old legacy company that sells study guides, text books, videos and other materials for pilot ground schools. Anyone who has trained in North America has seen a Gliem book at one time or another.

The videos and content uses a traditional Private Pilot syllabus with a flight sim focus. However, note that Gliem is still using X-plane 10 (not 11) as their flight simulator for private pilot license training. The promo video shows a real Direct Fly Alto light sport airplane, instead of the Cessna 172 used in X-plane, which is a bit odd.

Gliem also sells a triple-screen cockpit frame for $549.95. That’s the price for the frame only! You will spend a lot less and get much more when you build your own DIY Deluxe Desktop Flight Sim.

 

Flight Simulator for Private Pilot License

In conclusion, home flight simulator software keeps getting better and is an excellent addition to your Private Pilot training if used correctly.

Virtual Reality Flight Simulator Games

Virtual Reality Flight Simulator Games – What You Need to Know

Virtual Reality Flight Simulator Games

There are two types of virtual reality flight simulator games. One type includes titles with native support from the developer. The other type includes titles that need third party technology to work with VR. Virtual Reality brings with it exciting possibilities, but also significant performance challenges for developers.

Why is VR challenging for developers? Frame rates. Any software must provide at least 60 frames per second in order to be used with VR, and preferably over 90. Flight sim software has always struggled to provide high frame rates because of the expansive and detailed environment it models. Consequently, the software choices come down to a trade-off between performance and features, and I’ll elaborate on that more next.

 

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Titles with Native VR Support

First of all, here are the flight sim titles with native VR support (as of Nov 2017): DCS World (modern military), IL-2 Sturmovik and War Thunder (both WW2), Aerofly FS2 (civil and military airplanes) and Elite Dangerous (sci-fi). These titles have good VR performance, which means they operate at high frame rates and look stunning.

The tradeoff is their limited features for flight simmers. They do not have global maps, weather options are limited, aircraft systems are not completely modeled, and they have limited choices in aircraft. Now before I get angry messages, DSC World is deeply detailed in aircraft systems and environmental fidelity, but only with the limited choices of aircraft and geographic area.

Furthermore, I’m not saying these virtual reality flight simulator games are undesirable. Each one is spectacular in its own way and the immersion is breathtaking. Indeed, once you try these titles in VR, you may never go back to a flat screen again.

Titles Without Native VR Support

The flight sim purists will point out that the titles I mentioned above were games, and the ones I discuss next are SIMULATORS. The three full-featured titles are Prepar3D, X-Plane 11, and FSX Steam. Can you fly these in VR? Yes, but only with Fly-Inside software and a Leap Motion device. Again, performance becomes a problem because these titles can’t hit consistently high frame-rates for VR.

Lastly, Dovetail Games’ Flight Sim World currently has no VR capability at all.

 

Using Virtual Reality in the Real Word

Once you strap on a VR headset, that is your new world. Forget using keyboard commands, you can’t see the keyboard. You may even lose track of your mouse or beverage. Everything must stay in the same place so you can put your hands on it without looking. This is why I strongly recommend a framework to hold your controls in place, like the DIY Side Joystick Frame, the DIY Center Joystick Frame, and the DIY Easy Helicopter Collective. These projects are for serious flying, so they include a mounting point for rudder pedals.

Add a trackball mouse, because it is priceless for VR flying. Use a drink holder and note it is hard to drink from a regular travel mug while wearing a VR headset. Use a cup with a straw. Also, set up a fan because VR headsets are warm and they make you warm too.