Saitek Pro Flight Instrument Panel in a DIY Triple Screen Flight Sim

Our customer, Tom, sent in these pictures of his completed project. He installed a Saitek Pro Flight Instrument Panel in a DIY Triple Screen Flight Sim. Actually these are eight separate units that combine to work as a complete instrument panel, therefore he has the standard six flight gauges, plus two VOR displays. 

T440 Triple Screen Flight Sim customer completion
T440 Triple Screen Flight Sim customer completion

Saitek Pro Flight Instrument Panel

The Saitek Pro Flight Instrument Panel you see in the picture is eight separate flight instruments. Each unit can be set individually to display whatever instrument you choose, in addition, you have 15 different displays to choose from. The units cost $170 to $190 USD depending on where you purchase from. 

The instrument panel is the perfect addition to Tom’s DIY Flight Sim. He says: “Had great fun building this triple screen, with your instructions and videos even I couldn’t mess it up!”

T440 Triple Screen Flight Sim customer completion
T440 Triple Screen Flight Sim customer completion

Merchandise Shortage

But wait, can you even purchase the Saitek flight instruments right now? On mypilotstore.com they note a merchandise shortage with the following message: 

Out of Stock. There is a massive, world-wide, back-order situation on all Saitek Pro Flight merchandise.  All orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.  Order now to reserve your spot in line. You will not be charged until the order ships and you can cancel at any time prior to shipment.  Orders placed now are expected to be shipped in 6 to 12 weeks.

MadCatz recently sold Saitek to Logitech. Gameindustry.biz reports that MadCatz purchased Saitek in 2007 for $30 million, but is now selling it to Logitech for only $13 million. We can only hope that Logitech can keep the Saitek product line in production and going strong for years to come. I’ve owned several Logitech products (keyboards, mice, etc.) and I’ve always been happy with their reliability and functionality. I know that there have been concerns lately about the workmanship in Saitek products and consequently I hope the sale to Logitech improves the reliability of the entire Saitek product line. 

Flight Simulator Eagle Scout Project

Flight Simulator Eagle Scout Project

A young man named Ryan built this flight simulator for an Eagle Scout Service project. You might be wondering how a Flight Simulator Eagle Scout Project comes into being. If you are unfamiliar with service projects, the Scout must demonstrate that he has a plan for funding and building the project and he must also show that it’s a benefit to the community.
(Let’s be real: ALL flight simulators benefit the community, but I digress). 

Ryan reached out to me and requested a donation of the T440 Triple Screen Flight Sim project video/manual and I granted his request. He raised enough money or donations to build the DIY flight sim as you see in the picture. He also modified the design to match his resources and needs. After completing the project, Ryan donated it to his Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) classroom. This is the official JROTC for the United States Air Force and the cadets use this flight simulator to learn about flying and careers in the USAF.

Quote from Ryan:

“Thank you so much for your flight sim plan donation for my Eagle Scout Project. As you can see I had to make some changes due to the equipment and available space in the JROTC class room… Thank you for making this project possible through your donation and helping me make the Air Force JROTC program at my high school more fun for the cadets learning about flight.”

Charitable Donations

I get requests regularly from people asking for free stuff, but I rarely fulfill those requests, even from people claiming to represent charitable groups.

There are several reasons I rarely give away free stuff

  • My videos and instruction manuals are the least expensive part of your project. If you really want to save money, try getting discounts on your displays, computer, or controls.
  • I do not receive follow-up from the people I donate to 99% of the time. All I ask for is a picture of the completed project and a description of how it’s being used. I have received a follow-up message only two times in nine years and both times they were Eagle Scouts that completed their service projects.
  • It’s more work for me. I have to manually generate download emails when I fulfill a donation. On the other hand, regular purchases are automatic and instant.
  • I regularly offer huge sales on all my products. If you sign up for my monthly newsletter, you will be the first to know about upcoming sales.
  • Roger Dodger Aviation does not make enough money. As long as I have to work at a day job, I probably won’t have the time to seriously consider the donations requests I receive.

Am I wrong?

 

 

Six Screen Home Cockpit

 DIY Six Screen Home Cockpit
Six Screen Home Flight Simulator

One of the best things about the Do-It-Yourself ethos is seeing all the ways people adapt the designs to fit their specific needs. Most noteworthy is this DIY six screen home cockpit built by my customer, Ted. He started with the stock DIY Triple Screen Flight Sim plans and adapted it to include larger monitors, and he added two auxiliary monitors for the instruments and a top monitor for the overhead switches.

It looks like he also built a custom gaming chair from a racing seat.

Want to know more? Ted says:
“I’m only using one computer. I have a Matrox triple head to go for the three, 27inch monitors. The top monitor is operated with the second output on my main video card. I also have another video card that runs the bottom monitors… I made some adjustments because of the 27 inch monitors but it worked out ok. Thanks for your help with this.”

Look at the PVC pipe frame and how it is not restricted to only 90-degree and 45-degree angles as is so often the case with PVC projects. I invented a new building process for joining the PVC pipes together which opens up a world of options for innovative design. 

Check out other customer completed projects in the Gallery.

Six Screen Home Flight Simulator
Six Screen Home Cockpit

Project Origin

The DIY Triple Screen Flight Sim video and instruction manual has grown over the years. Originally, I produced it and donated it to the National Airline History Museum. It is a fun, interactive, hands-on experience for the museum guests to fly a simulated vintage airliner. Most noteworthy, they are still using it after 5 years!

I also spearheaded the first successful flight simulator Kickstarter fund-raising drive in history, as a result, the museum did not have to purchase the simulator. Rafaela threw a pie in my face at a party celebrating the victorious campaign.

 

 

large two screen flight sim

Customer-Built DIY Flight Sim Pod

I love adding pictures to the Customer Gallery! Check out this customer-built DIY Flight Sim Pod that was completed by Russ in North Carolina. He has it set up to simulate general aviation airplanes and regularly uses it for cross-country flights that he posts about on his Facebook fan page. You can see it features a large HDTV as the primary display, an auxiliary monitor for the flight instruments, Saitek switch panels, and the Saitek Pro-Flight yoke/throttle quadrant.

It’s a great build and I would like to point out some details that Russ included that contribute greatly to a quality home flight sim project:

  • He painted it. A lot of people want to skip painting, but it’s such an important part of a truly finished project
  • Note the trackball mouse. I recommend this handy feature for any flight sim.
  • Rudder pedals! No twisty joysticks for us, we’re pilots.
  • Trim wheel: this is a great product from Saitek that I think is overlooked by way too many people in the flight sim community.

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Customer-Built DIY Flight Sim Pod

I’m happy to see pictures of a completed DIY Flight Sim Pod. This is one of my favorite projects but after I published it, I started to realize many people probably didn’t have room for a home flight simulator this large. The Pod is about the size of a Smart Car. Russ found a way to work with limited space by leaving off the Pod’s side walls. You can see in his video here that the walls of this room actually serve as the side walls for the flight sim …. smart! 

You can keep up to date with Russ’s flying adventures by liking his Facebook fan page at this link.

Happy landings!

Mail In Order Form

Mail in Order Form
Mail in Order Form

Do you want to order a Roger Dodger Aviation DIY project, but don’t want to order online? You can do that with this handy form you can print, fill out and mail. Include a bank check or money order. If you send a personal check with your order form, I will have to wait for it to clear before I email you the download link.

Be sure to include your email address, and please write clearly. I only sell digital videos and manuals, so I will email you a link to your purchase so you can download it.

I don’t offer refunds for mail-in orders. Because I have to manually process this order, the regular refund policy doesn’t apply. Fortunately, it is very rare for anyone to request a refund, and I’ve never had a refund request for a mail-in order.

As always, I appreciate your business.

Happy building, happy flying!

 

Moving the Customer Gallery

Customer Gallery from old website

I’ve spent an enormous amount of effort migrating the essential content from the old website over to this new one. One of the most essential webpages and the part I’m most proud of is the Customer Gallery where so many people sent in pictures of their completed DIY Flight Sims projects. I love getting these pictures! The Customer Gallery is huge and I haven’t moved it yet, and it’s going to be a lot of work. Now that I know a few things about optimizing photos for the web, I will have to adjust every picture from the Customer Gallery so the website won’t bog down.

I’m going to have to optimize over 90 photos.
But I will do it. I’m grateful for every one of these pictures and every one of these customers. They all put a lot of effort and care into their projects.

By the way, you may see other blog posts that have blurry pictures. Those are just sample posts that came with the WordPress template. I’ll delete them soon.