The F311 DIY Side Joystick Frame project demonstrates how to build a simple and useful DIY HOTAS mount for your flight simulator controls. You can attach the joystick, throttle, and rudder pedals to this sturdy framework. Furthermore, you don’t have to modify your office chair or desk! The new upgrade provides more room on the side stands which is especially helpful when you wear a Virtual Reality headset.
How Do You Get the Upgrade?
The project upgrade is FREE if you already purchased the F311 DIY Side Joystick Frame. Just email me at DIYflightsims@rogerdodger.net to get your upgraded version. Be sure to tell me what email address you used so I can verify your order. Then, I’ll send you a coupon code that will allow you free access to the project.
You can get the updated F311 project here and then access the plans on any device. The F311 instructions are completely online, so you don’t have to download anything. The instructions, streaming videos, pictures, and printouts are all included with this online training course.
More about the DIY HOTAS Mount
I realized that I needed to make a few changes to the F311 frame when I tried the Oculus Rift VR headset. Remember, you can only see things inside the headset when you use VR, so it’s difficult to tap a keyboard key or find your mouse. As a result, my solution was to attach a trackball mouse beside the joystick. It’s always in the same place, so I don’t have to look for it. I tested (e.g. played with) this solution for many hours on Elite Dangerous.
Even in its original configuration, the F311 Side Joystick Frame works well with many types of flight sim setups. It’s easy to slide the frame under a desk or table, and then roll up to the frame with your office chair. Hold your chair in place with the Velco straps. Remember, you don’t have to modify your chair or desk to use this DIY HOTAS mount. This is a great addition to your home flight sim and works well with Lockheed Prepar3D, X-plane, Flight Sim World, FSX Steam, and others.
I can teach you how to build a DIY flight sim with these homemade cockpit plans. You can improve your flight sim significantly with inexpensive materials that are available at your local home improvement store. In addition, buy your flight controls from Amazon or other online retailers, and use standard computer equipment. My homemade cockpit plans are videos, illustrated instructions, plan drawings, and printouts that show you the construction of an actual DIY flight sim.
Homemade Cockpit Plans
It’s easy to order my homemade cockpit plans. Every project is a full-featured online tutorial, so you never have to wait for shipping. I don’t sell the building materials, you already have them in your neighborhood at your local hardware store.
Step-by-step Ordering Instructions
Find the homemade cockpit plans your want and click “View Course”.
Click “Buy” to enroll in the course.
Click “Fee Trial” to see the sample sections of the plans.
Enter your name, email, and password (or just log in if you already enrolled in Builder Academy).
Select “Check Out with PayPal” at the order screen or “Have a coupon” if you have a coupon code.
Complete the purchase on PayPal. You don’t need a PayPal account.
View the plans on any device: tablet, smartphone, desktop, or laptop.
View all of the content in an internet browser, so you don’t have to worry about file formats, or downloading folders, or extracting files, or anything like that. You can focus on the project, not the computer programs. A few printouts are included too. You can either view them on screen, or print a hardcopy, if you prefer.
Lose Your Password?
Did you lose your password? No problem. My website has a standard password recovery/reset function. You can get access to the plans again and get back to building in no time.
The D250 DIY Deluxe Desktop Flight Sim project shows you how to build a multiple monitor flight simulator for your home. Until now the project was only used with a joystick and side throttle. However, this update makes it possible to use the D250 frame with an airplane yoke and throttle quadrant. The instructions show you how to raise the center instrument panel to make room for the yoke. Also, the Saitek switch panels are mounted in a different configuration which are detailed in the new plan drawings. The new switch panel placement is better for a pilot that is flying with a yoke. Use the D250 home cockpit with your FSX multiple monitors setup… or P3D, or X-plane, or Flight Sim World. The project is platform independent so you can use it with any flight sim program.
How To Get Your Upgrade
This is a FREE upgrade if you already purchased the D250 Deluxe Desktop Flight Sim. Email me at DIYflightsims@rogerdodger.net to get your update. Tell me what email address you used when you ordered the project so I can verify your order. I’ll send you a coupon that will allow you free access to the project.
You can get the updated D250 project here and then access the plans on any device. The D250 instructions are now 100% online, so there are no downloads to worry about. The instructions, videos, pictures, and printouts are all categorized for easy access. You will receive ALL of the instructions, so scroll down to “Instrument Panels: Yoke and Throttle Quadrant” to see the updated material.
FSX Multiple Monitors
The new upgrade means that the DIY Deluxe Desktop can be combined with the F311 Side Joystick HOTAS Frame, the F321 Center Joystick Frame, or utilize the yoke + throttle quadrant option. It’s a multiple monitors flight simulator project that works with three screens. In addition, you can add a fourth smaller screen for the flight instruments. This project is one of the most versatile DIY Flight Sim projects I’ve ever created. I’m very excited to present it to you in this new mobile format.
I can now teach you how to build a home flight simulator in a online streaming format instead of selling downloads! This is a huge step forward for my little company. Look at the picture above… you can actually view an entire DIY Flight Sims project on a phone or tablet!
9 Reasons Why this is Awesome:
The video and text content is now integrated. For each step, there is a video clip and the corresponding text it there with it. So in one example, I chopped up a 40 minute video into smaller segments. Each video clip appears with the corresponding step in the text.
Accessible on any device: phones and tablets as well as laptops and desktops. There were no smart phones when I started making these DIY projects 10 years ago. But now, you can take the lesson to the workshop with you.
A real affiliate program! My fans can also be my partners. If you have a blog or website, you can sell DIY Flight Sims products and earn a commission!
No more cumbersome downloads. 95% of the emails I get from customers are people that lost their downloaded material and I have to manually send them a new download link. So then they have to wait on me to get their message and get to my computer. Well they don’t have to wait any more.
Standard password recovery. Lose your password? No problem. Just re-set it like on any other website.
Free updates for existing customers. I can give free access to customers that purchased the download version of these products. I can simply issue a 100% off coupon and that gives them access.
Freebies! I used to include many basic training videos in a “Free Video” folder with each purchase. I’ve moved all of this content, and added new content to the Builder Academy.
We still have printouts! People are already asking me, how do they print out the templates or button sheets? The online format still allows you to print Adobe pdf files. It’s just as easy as ever.
It’s a secure website with SSL protection. Browse safely, and then build safely.
Wine Flights is the nick name we gave to a couple of flight simulator parties we had a while back. The events were a way to launch the new DIY Flight Sim Pod. But do you really need a reason to drink wine and fly a big airplane simulator? The concept was simple: everybody bring some wine, and then fly the sim over Italian wine country. Brilliant!
If you have a sharp eye you noticed that I built the Pod with a removable window. This makes it far easier to take pictures over the pilot’s shoulder. In addition it allows more people to watch and provide helpful commentary. I originally designed the Pod with a closed top canopy. In these pictures, the top is open. The top canopy frame is still there, but I just didn’t install a foam body panel. This allows much more light in the cockpit for videos and pictures.
The most noteworthy change was the addition of a second monitor for the flight instruments. This is obvious in the pictures from the second Wine Flights party. The additional monitor freed up the entire 40 inch HDTV to display the outside view and it was glorious.
Flight Sim Add-Ons
We flew over simulated wine country in Italy. I used upgraded scenery packages from Orbx. Namely FTX Global and FTX Vector. I also installed FSPS Xtreme FSX PC which is a utility that helps FSX fly smoothly with higher frame rates. We used the default FSX Beechcraft Baron. That was pretty much all we needed for a great event. Well, all that plus wine, I mean.
The DIY Flight Sim Pod is one of my more popular DIY projects, but I don’t get a lot of finished pictures from customers. I understand, it’s a big project and it takes a while to build. If you’re building a Pod and would like to send me some pics of your project so far, I would be happy to see them… DIYflightsims@rogerdodger.net
The Builder Academy is a comprehensive resource for learning all the basic flight sim building skills. What is it like to build a DIY Flight Sim project? The Builder Academy will show you. In addition, you can also learn about modifying the existing DIY Flight Sims projects. If you’re wondering how to build a flight simulator, this is your first, best resource. By the way, it’s free!
Builder Academy Content
What is in the Builder Academy? Some of the videos in the Builder Academy were formerly a part of the “Free Videos” folder included with some purchases. Other videos were first published on YouTube, but are now only available in the Builder Academy. Some of the content is new and available only at the Builder Academy. Finally, all of the content assists you in different ways when you’re learning how to build a flight simulator. This is an overview of the course curriculum:
Building with PVC Pipe (new)
Add a Monitor for the Flight Instruments
Display Flight Instruments with Air Manager
Install Saitek Switch Panels
Styrofoam Body Panels
Prototyping – How to Modify DIY Flight Sim Projects
Saitek Trim Wheel Adapter
X52 Saitek Throttle Fix
Saitek Yoke Modifications
CH Yoke Modifications
Paint for Home Flight Simulators
USB Cable Management
Training Available Wherever You Are
The Builder Academy is available on nearly any device. As a result, you can view the training on a tablet or phone while you’re in your workshop or view it on a laptop or desktop. Also, there are some printouts and templates for certain projects, so you might need a printer at some point. I periodically add new content, so be sure to check the Change Log if you haven’t been there in a while. The Builder Academy is my platform to show everyone how easy it can be to build a home flight simulator. Even the most complex projects are really just a series of relatively easy steps. Visit the Builder Academy today and let me know what you think of it.
Three well-known flight simulator enthusiasts teamed up to discuss Dovetail Game’s Flight Sim World. Bel Geode, Sérgio, and Novawing24 called themselves the “Three Grumpy Simmers” in this inaugural video.
What is Flight Sim World?
Flight Sim World (FSW) is a new comprehensive flight simulator from Dovetail Games (DTG). It builds upon old software technology from Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X (FSX). However, DTG’s new update brings the software into the modern world by incorporating 64-bit technology, DirectX 11, as well as other new features. FSW is currently in the early access phase. Consequently, avid flight simmers have the opportunity to participate in the software development by providing feedback to the developers. I’m looking forward to trying FSW with a multi-monitor setup in the DIY Deluxe Desktop Flight Sim.
What Do People Say About Flight Sim World?
Keep in mind, the flight sim community has a tendency to “eat their young.” That means many potential customers want a new advanced flight simulator platform to replace FSX, but they also tend to ridicule any development team that attempts to do that. The Three Grumpy Simmers take on that issue as FSW is a long way from final release. They make the point it’s unfair to compare FSW in its current state to established platforms like Lockheed Prepar3D. At one point Bel Geode “wags the finger” at DTG about the lack of information about FSW for several months. I encourage you to watch the entire discussion (see Novawing24’s video below).
Who are the Three Grumpy Simmers?
Bel Geode (Drew Bolton) has been a flight simulation enthusiast since 1986, and has been an active member of the community since 2005. A former virtual airline CEO, Bel has embraced many aspects of flight simulation, and understands how to connect with the community at large through his Twitter Profile, YouTube channel, and public appearances at events like Flight Sim Con. Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/BelGeode2015 Twitter – http://twitter.com/BelGeode YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/BelGeode
Novawing24 (Tristan Ayton) hosts a weekly news program with a focus on the Simulation genre. See it on YouTube. Believeing that giving back to the community is important, he provides open and honest commentary and feedback on developments in the simulation genre. He has also tried his hand at texture design, with content available at his website and at the AVSIM Library, as well as writing for numerous websites. Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/novawing24 Twitter – http://twitter.com/novawing24 YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/ Web – http://www.novawing24.com/
I produced the world’s first YouTube video that showed a pilot flying a simulator combined with corresponding in-sim video. AND combined with real video from the real airplane he is simulating. Let me break that down for you. This was…
Video I took of the EAA Ford Tri-Motor when I flew in it
In-simulator video of the EAA Ford Tri-Motor that I created in Flight Simulator 2004
Video of me flying the EAA Ford Tri-Motor in the Roger Dodger Aviation Training Simulator
Roger Dodger’s First Flight Sim
First of all, I completed my first large-scale flight simulator in 2005 and I used it as a part of my aviation ground school. I produced this video to showcase the capabilities of the simulator. I called it the Roger Dodger Aviation Training Simulator (RDATS). It featured dual airplane controls and two comfortable seats from a Dodge Caravan. Notice in the video, I never show the computer monitor. That’s because it was so difficult to get good video of it.
Vintage Aircraft Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 included the Ford Tri-Motor as a default aircraft. Consequently, I spent a lot of time flying that vintage airliner. FS2004 made it possible to re-create the entire transcontinental route across the USA. As a result, I got the idea for the NY2LA fund raiser that we hosted the same year. The Tri-Motor was missing from FSX and I miss that old vintage aircraft flight simulator.
EAA’s Ford Tri-Motor
Most noteworthy, the EAA flew its Ford Tri-Motor into Kansas City in 2005. Not only that, they also sold rides because this was a part of their national tour. I happily bought a flight and took a lot of video. Looking at it now, the video is old and grainy, but it was great back then.
A member of the Vara-Tones gave me verbal permission to use their music. I actually called them on the phone and talked to one of them. It turns out these guys are all retired from the aviation industry in California. Very cool!
Dove Tail Games (DTG) announced the release of Flight Sim World days before I wrote this article. Therefore, I haven’t tried it yet, and actually nobody has. FSW will be released for early access in May 2017. DTG really wants FSW to be the replacement for FSX that we’ve all been waiting for.
And yet, FSW is built upon the foundations of FSX. DTG purchased the rights from Microsoft to extend FSX and is building upon that. I think DTG is trying to develop what FSX could have become if Microsoft hadn’t killed the Flight Simulator franchise in 2007. They have an uphill battle today because DTG’s Flight School was not well received in 2016. However, DTG offering a huge olive branch to purchasers of Flight School… they get FSW for free! Consequently, FSW the best cheap flight simulator.
FSW features utilization of DirectX 11 and its a 64 bit application. Of course, the release video looks beautiful.
Flight Simulator X Steam Edition by Dovetail Games
Well, there’s always FSX. It was the all-around best flight simulator for years, but it is slowly fading. DTG successfully dusted-off and re-released Flight Simulator X on the Steam platform in 2014. Microsoft fired the entire FSX development staff in 2009, but dozens of 3rd party developers continued to produce hundreds of add-ons, utilities, and enhancements to FSX. I installed FSX on the DIY Flight Sim Pod and the DIY Roll-Away Flight Sim.
Sometimes there is a sale on Steam and you can buy FSX for about $15. You have little to lose by trying FSX. Therefore, FSX is probably your best cheap flight simulator option. Download some free scenery add-ons or airplanes. Fly some of the old missions. If you have problems, there is lots of information available just a Google away.
Prepar3D is the Best Flight Simulator
P3D is my pick right now, but that could change in the future. The flight sim community is in a time of flux right now. On the other hand, you may have noticed something about these choices. Out of the four titles I listed, three are based on the old FSX foundation. So after two decades, it’s still really just Flight Simulator vs. X-Plane.
The flight simulator community is experiencing something it hasn’t seen in a long time: real choices. After a decade of Flight Simulator X (FSX) dominance, there are now serious software alternatives. So how you do you choose the best flight simulator application? I’ll take a look at four options: Lockheed Martin Prepar3D, X-Plane 11, Dovetail Games’ Flight Sim World, and Flight Simulator X Steam Edition. Also keep in mind, I’m the DIY Flight Sim guy. I do my best work with a drill and a miter saw and I spend more time editing video than I do flying a simulator. But still, people ask my opinion, so here it is…
Lockheed Martin Prepar3D (P3D)
Lockheed Martin is a $46 Billion dollar defense contractor. They build ballistic missiles, armored fighting vehicles, combat ships, rockets, satellites, robots, and a lot more… and real airplanes too. LM purchased certain licensing rights from Microsoft to further develop its ESP simulation platform, which is now Lockheed’s Prepar3D. The P3D development team is a tiny segment of this giant mega-corporation. P3D markets its capabilities as training simulation for commercial, academic, professional, or military interests. They do not make products for armchair flightsimmers like you and me. This is why P3D issues the odd warning against using its product for entertainment.
P3D works so well. I remember when I first installed it on the DIY Deluxe Desktop Flight Sim. The software automatically detected and properly assigned my flight controls. First time in my life I’ve ever experienced that. P3D is an improvement over FSX and retains familiarity in the menus and options. The frame rates are better, the scenery is better, and many FSX add-ons also work in P3D. Multiple monitors and Saitek switch panels work well in P3D. So P3D is my choice for the best flight simulator software right now, but that comes with a caveat (read on).
Lockheed builds a great product and if you happen like it, that’s fine, but if you don’t then remember that Lockheed is not very concerned about us or the flight sim consumer market. Out of Lockheed’s 126,000 employees, only a few of them work on the Prepar3D program, and P3D is a tiny part of Lockheed’s revenue stream. I’m saying that Lockheed’s priorities could change in the future and we may not have access to P3D any more. And yet, Lockheed offers a great product for retail customers right now and it is my choice for the best flight simulator.
X-Plane 11 by Laminar Research
The X-plane franchise has been the #2 choice for flight sim pilots for years. Will it become the #1 best flight simulator now with X-plane 11? I installed the X-Plane 11 demo on the DIY Deluxe Desktop Flight Sim. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to really experience X-plane 11 on my rig yet, but you guys want my opinion, so here it is. I think X-plane could become the new standard for home flight simulators in the next 10 years. Austin Meyer is the lead developer for X-plane, and this is his baby. X-plane is an essential part of Austin’s identity, so I think the X-plane team has a passion that is perhaps not present at Prepar3D. Plus, X-plane is here for us… the flight sim community.
As of right now, the X-plane community is smaller than the FSX community so there is less choice in 3rd party add-ons. X-plane is 64 bit and that doesn’t necessarily mean your frame rates will be higher than P3D, but X-plane is able to fully utilize the RAM you already have in your computer. This could help in the future. Multiple monitors and Saitek switch panels work well in X-plane 11, but some of the menu options are difficult to read. Austin is seems really interested in bringing built-in VR capability to X-plane, so if that’s your thing, you might want to sign up for Austin’s blog. VR brings several new challenges to flight sims like frame rates, eyeglasses, ergonomics, etc.
What about Flight Simulator X and the new Flight Sim World from Dovetail? Read Part 2 here.