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.

Airplane Flying Handbook 2016 pdf

Airplane Flying Handbook 2016 pdf

Do you want to take flight lessons someday? Are you trying to use your home flight simulator to learn more about real aviation? Do you simply want to be a better sim pilot? I recommend you download a copy of the Airplane Flying Handbook 2016 pdf.

Don’t Sabotage Your Training

Many people buy flight sim software and just assume they will learn by trial and error. I do not recommend doing this because of the real danger of developing bad habits. The bad habits you learn in the sim will follow you to the real cockpit. In addition, you need to learn why pilots do the things they do, not just what they do. The Airplane Flying Handbook 2016 pdf is an important tool to help you build a fundamental understanding of flying and the national airspace system. The book includes an overview of flight training, maneuvers, night operations, emergency procedures, takeoffs and landings, and more.

On the other hand, maybe you just want to fly airliners in your DIY Airliner Keyboard Mod. Well, check out Chapter 12, 14, and 15 of the Airplane Flying Handbook 2016 pdf. That’s where you will find important information about multiengine airplanes, turboprop airplanes, and jet airplanes.

 

 

Airplane Flying Handbook 2016 pdf Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to Flight Training
  2. Ground Operations
  3. Basic Flight Maneuvers
  4. Maintaining Aircraft Control: Upset Prevention and Recovery Training
  5. Takeoffs and Departure Climbs
  6. Ground Reference Maneuvers
  7. Airport Traffic Patterns
  8. Approaches and Landings
  9. Performance Maneuvers
  10. Night Operations
  11. Complex Airplanes
  12. Multiengine Airplanes
  13. Tailwheel Airplanes
  14. Turbopropeller-Powered Airplanes
  15. Jet-Powered Airplanes
  16. Light Sport Airplanes (LSA)
  17. Emergency Procedures
    Glossary and Index

Where to Find the Airplane Flying Handbook

In conclusion, this handbook is published by the US Federal Aviation Administration. You can buy a hard copy book, or download a free pdf copy. The Adobe pdf version is available at the FAA’s website or at the Builder Academy at this link: https://courses.rogerdodger.net/courses/take/builder-academy/downloads/2248361-airplane-flying-handbook Finally, sign up for updates so you will know about new content in Builder Academy and upcoming sales.

 

single engine procedure, airplane flying handbook 2016 pdf
Single Engine Procedure
How to Build Your Own Helicopter Simulator

How to Build Your Own Helicopter Simulator Controls

When you try to fly helicopters with regular HOTAS flight sim controls one thing is perfectly clear: a throttle is definitely not a collective. A legitimate helicopter collective control is essential if you fly (or are learning to fly) helicopters. Unfortunately, retail collective controls are surprisingly expensive. Consequently, I created an online course that shows you how to build your own helicopter simulator controls.

 

The DIY Easy Helicopter Collective

This project does two major things. Firstly, it allows you to use a standard HOTAS throttle as a collective. The PVC pipe framework suspends the throttle vertically and connects it to a collective lever via a linkage. Most noteworthy: you don’t have to modify the throttle because the linkage straps onto the throttle handle without harming it. You can adjust the sensitivity of the collective by moving the linkage. Also, you can adjust the collective resistance with a friction knob.

The second thing this project does is make it easy to switch back to airplane configuration. Maybe you still want to fly an airplane once in a while. You can add the optional throttle stand and easily move the throttle for a HOTAS (hands on throttle and stick) control configuration. Best of all, you don’t have to change the control assignments in the flight sim software. It’s so easy! It’s also easy to build your own helicopter simulator collective. That’s why I named this project the DIY Easy Helicopter Collective.

 

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Online course

I produced an affordable, online course that shows you how to build your own helicopter simulator collective. I show you how to build this project with inexpensive materials from your local home improvement store. We’ll be working with PVC pipe, lumber, paint, and other materials.

This comprehensive course includes:

  • Video clips
  • Full text instructions
  • Diagrams and pictures
  • Pipe frame maps in US and Metric measurements
  • Printouts

You can view the course on nearly any device even smart phones and tablets. See the full curriculum and a free trial at this link. Most noteworthy, the DIY Easy Helicopter Collective course is available now at a new lower price!

Bravo Throttle Quadrant from Honeycomb Aeronautical

The New Bravo Throttle Quadrant from Honeycomb Aeronautical

Here’s something we rarely get to say: NEW FLIGHT CONTROLS! The new Bravo Throttle Quadrant from Honeycomb Aeronautical packs a ton of features and options into one affordable unit. It’s a sorely needed solution for the flight sim community.

Throttle Quadrant

First of all, the Bravo Throttle Quadrant recognizes something that the community has known for a long time: dudes dig jets. Therefore, the six main levers include interchangeable handles that include options for turbine airliners. That’s right – you can set up a Boeing 737 throttle quadrant right out of the box, including spoiler and flap lever. Furthermore, you can set it up as a four engine airliner, and I assume a three engine airliner for you B-727 or L-1011 enthusiasts out there.

General aviation pilots can set up the Bravo Throttle Quadrant as a light twin with prop and mixture controls or a single engine airplane. Most noteworthy, you can remove the unused levers so they’re not in the way, which is very nice.

 

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Trim Wheel

The Bravo Throttle Quadrant includes a trim wheel, hallelujah!!! Pilots from the real world know how important elevator trim is. On the other hand, if you were raised on home flight sims, you possibly underestimate its importance. If you know me, you know how much I liked the Saitek trim wheel. Tragically, it appears that Saitek stopped producing the trim wheel when the company was acquired by Logitech. Now Honeycomb Aeronautical has come to our rescue.

 

Other Features

If the Bravo Throttle Quadrant only had the interchangeable levers and the trim wheel it would be a solid product, but it also includes several other features. It has a landing gear handle with position lights, flap lever and annunciator panel. In addition, it has autopilot controls, and seven programmable rocker switches. Is that too much for a small unit? Is the annunciator panel hard to see? Does it seem like the rocker switches hard to reach? I will suspend judgement until I actually try one in real life.

 

Bravo Throttle Quadrant – Ok, How Much?

Honeycomb Aeronautical’s website lists a suggested retail price of $199.99 for the Bravo Throttle Quadrant. That’s a damn good price for so many features. It should be available “shortly after” the release of the Alpha Flight Controls in the 4th quarter of 2017. In addition, the Bravo Throttle Quadrant looks like it would be a delightful addition to the DIY Deluxe Desktop Flight Sim or the DIY Flight Sim Pod.

 

take my money credit card

DIY Flight Simulator Affiliate Program

DIY Flight Simulator Affiliate Program

Join Us

Do you have a website or blog? If so, you could be a Roger Dodger sales affiliate and earn money through the sale of DIY Flight Sims tutorials. Introducing the DIY Flight Simulator Affiliate Program. I’m looking for new allies and it could be you, especially if your website is about flight simulation, aviation, DIY, or gaming.

If you are a member of a nonprofit group, this could be a great way to raise funds. For example, EAA chapters could benefit from this, or CAP squadrons, JROTC detachments, flying clubs, etc. In addition, online squadrons can use the DIY Flight Simulator Affiliate Program to help pay their hosting expenses.

What are the DIY Flight Sims online courses? Check out all of the online courses here. These are comprehensive tutorials that teach the student how to build a quality flight simulator framework or enclosure with inexpensive building materials. Each course includes video clips, illustrated instructions, diagrams, and printouts. Want to see what my customers are building? Check out the Customer Gallery.

 

DIY Flight Simulator Affiliate Program

It’s easy to join the DIY Flight Simulator Affiliate Program. First of all, simply email me at DIYflightsims@rogerdodger.net and tell me the url of your website or blog. If we are a good match with synergy, then I’ll send you the instructions and html code to get set up. The link on your website will look similar to the picture. If a user clicks the link and then, at some point, enrolls in the course your website will earn a commission.

 

DIY Flight Simulator Affiliate Program
DIY Flight Simulator Affiliate Program

You can earn money with the DIY Flight Simulator Affiliate Program. We can split the revenues 60/40. That is 60% for me and 40% for your website. That is actually very generous because I fronted all the time, money, and effort to create these online courses. I pay affiliates in the month following the sale. It’s easy to start earning revenue with your website.

Send me an email and we can get started today… DIYflightsims@rogerdodger.net

3 Suggestions for your mobile flight simulator

Three Suggestions for Your Mobile Flight Simulator

I was contacted by a representative from a giant, international, airline manufacturer who wanted to build a mobile flight simulator to take to events and schools. You may recall I transported the DIY Triple Screen Flight Sim and the DIY Roll-Away Flight Sim to several events. His team had an empty shell from an actual airplane cockpit, with the real controls, but no instruments or much of anything else. Their task was to make the cockpit shell into a mobile flight simulator. Maybe you have had this idea too.

The first major hurdle was to make the real controls work with the flight simulator software on a PC. And that’s when they contacted me for advice. This is what I told them…

Three Suggestions for Your Mobile Flight Simulator

I have a few suggestions for your team regarding this mobile flight simulator. To start off, I believe many of us in the industry tend to regard a mobile flight simulator on an informal spectrum with “more realistic” on one end and “less realistic” on the other. As I understand your need, you will be transporting this simulator to events, setting it up for use by attendees, and then moving the simulator again. For a mobile flight simulator such as this, I have discovered realism is less important than reliability. It either works on the day of the event or it doesn’t. Therefore, expo simulators fall into a binary, more than a spectrum from an operational standpoint.

So with that in mind, I have three suggestions.

Suggestion #1: Hack Retail Products

The first suggestion is to purchase a retail flight sim control yoke, and hack it. By “hack” I mean you remove the interior components and incorporate them into the airplane cockpit that you showed me in the picture. Everything you need for your mobile flight simulator is inside a retail flight sim yoke. The yoke contains potentiometers that measure pitch and roll deflection, so you can integrate those components into the actual controls on your airplane. The potentiometers are already wired into a circuit board and so is a USB cable. When you plug in the USB cable to a PC, it will simply recognize the controller and install the drivers. You can then use any flight simulator software you want.

You could do the same thing with retail rudder pedals and a throttle quadrant.

Suggestion #2: Use Retail Products

In my experience, it’s a logistical challenge to safely transport and set up a mobile flight simulator. It is possible some part of your simulator may not work correctly even though you were very careful and were prepared for the event. If you can’t get it to work, the whole day is wasted.

My other suggestion is to simply install retail off-the-shelf flight sim controls in your airplane cockpit. This looks decidedly less realistic, but you gain an extra layer of reliability because you can have spare parts in reserve. For example, if the yoke isn’t working on a particular day, you can simply switch it out with a new yoke. The same is true with the rudder pedals and throttle quadrant.

Suggestion #3: Get Running Now, Progress Later

Finally, third option would be to use both strategies. Perhaps you start with Suggestion #2, which is quick and simple, and then maybe a year later move up to Suggestion #1, which is more complex but looks more professional. This approach gets you up and running for early success and also provides a path to improvements. Later, you and your team will have more experience with the flight simulator hardware and software. Therefore, it will be easier for you to re-install the real controls and get them running with the PC. Your team and stakeholders will feel good about the progression of the project.

I hope these suggestions are helpful. I’m interested in knowing how your flight simulator turns out so please let me know what you ultimately decide to do.

DIY Triple Screen Flight Simulator update

Free Update: DIY Triple Screen Flight Simulator

Roger Dodger Aviation’s defining project is probably the Triple Screen Flight Simulator, item #T440. This project has sold well since it was published in 2011. In addition, hundreds of people have flown the sim at the KC Maker Faire and at the National Airline History Museum. I’m proud to announce this DIY project is now available as a online e-learning course. If you already purchased the DIY Triple Screen Flight Simulator project as a download, you will be upgraded to the online course for free.

 

What is the DIY Triple Screen Flight Simulator Update?

The new version is the same content, but in an online e-learning format. This means the student sees the video clip, instructions, pictures, and diagrams for each particular step. You no longer have to look through an hour long video or 100 page manual to find something. Furthermore, you can access the course on mobile devices like smart phones and tablets as well as standard desktop and laptop computers.

 

Build with materials from a hardware store
Build with materials from a hardware store
DIY Triple Screen Flight Simulator online course
DIY Triple Screen Flight Simulator online course

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do You Get the Update?

If you’ve already purchased item T440 DIY Triple Screen Flight Simulator, the new update is FREE. Just email me at DIYflightsims@rogerdodger.net to get the new updated version. In addition, tell me what email address you used so I can look up your order. Then, I’ll send you a coupon code that allows you access to the update for free. Also, you get free access to the Builder Academy where you can learn all the basic skills for building DIY Flight Sim projects.

 

DIY Triple Screen Flight Simulator free update
DIY Triple Screen Flight Simulator free update

 

What About the Keyboard Mod?

You get it too! The original DIY Triple Screen Flight Simulator project always came with the DIY Airliner Keyboard Mod project, item #K140B. The reason was that it was so easy to install an overhead panel in to this type of cockpit. The keyboard mod is also in an online e-learning format.

 

 

Top 5 Flight Simulator Videos

Top 5 Flight Simulator Videos You May Have Missed

Roger Dodger Aviation produced and uploaded over 100 flight simulator videos to YouTube. These 5 videos are the ones that are currently trending.

#1 Flight Sim Pod Final Assembly: 6 minutes

This is an actual excerpt from the DIY Flight Sim Pod instructional video. It’s one of my favorite DIY projects.

 

#2 A Source for PVC Fittings: DIY Flight Simulator Videos

I found a great place to order PVC Fittings in bulk, so I decided to share the info with everyone. I’m a little surprised because it’s not directly related to flight simulator videos, but it is still watched by many people.

 

#3 Saitek Yoke Modification: Springs and Zip Ties

This is just one way to modify the Saitek Yoke. It’s one of my favorite flight simulator videos and also one of the most useful…

 

#4 Saitek X52 Throttle Fix

This is an easy way to fix the annoying detent in the Saitek X52 Throttle. I’m happy to say this video has help a great many people.

 

#5 Saitek Yoke Disassembly

Before you can modify a Saitek yoke, you must first open the case without damaging the interior mechanisms or losing anything.