My Homemade Flight Simulator

This page is a temporary stopgap until I get more time to do a proper job. Here will be pictures on the progress of the 747 simulator I'm building in the spare bedroom. Along with tips and advice on how Im doing it.

This is a bit out of date but hopefully you can see what im trying to acheive. Already though I have come to realise that I will be better off trying to emulate a 737 - it suits my type of flying and is physically more practical.

 I hope this site is as interesting to the casual web browser as much as (I hope-) it is to the flightsimmers. I am just an average guy who enjoys computer flight simulators but is realising that Microsoft's claim "As real as it gets" = not very! There are real limitations when trying to fly a jumbo jet with a keyboard, mouse, and joystick. This site is all about my attempts to make Flight Simulator by Microsoft a bit more realistic and enjoyable. I might go a little deeper than you are prepared to go but you can do as little or as much as you like.

I wasted many years daydreaming about being a pilot at the controls of a big jet but nowadays thats unlikely to happen :( The next best thing I suppose is a full motion flight simulator but these are hideously expensive - at least for now - so aiming (a lot) lower I started using a home computer. I tried to get as close to realism as possible and for the most part that meant buying better software and upgrading my joystick to a yoke and rudder pedal setup. I even bought a small pre-made mini panel from Aerosoft. The 'ACP Compact' which has buttons and dials for the radios, flaps and gear levers amongst other functions. This is a very good piece of equipment but does have limitations. Aerosoft Australia have recently released an even better panel - the 747MCP. This is part of the main pilot/aircraft interface and will handle all your autopilot instructions. I was on the verge of buying one of these when I came across some websites that have since changed my flightsimming hobby forever!

A network isn't mandatory but to really get any decent result it's essential. As I upgraded my pc's over the years I kept most of the old parts - my wife says i'm a tight@rse and never throw away anything! :) - and found I had enough to put together another complete pc albeit a slow obsolete one. This was good enough to start a simple network and run Project Magenta (PM) software - which says a lot for PM. Later I bought an LCD projector to use on my flightsim pc for the "outside view" while the slower pc was used for the instrument panel. Flying with this setup is very enjoyable still but relies on using a mouse and keyboard - not very realistic at all. What I really wanted was a cockpit complete with working controls and instruments. Like most people I don't have a lot of room at home that I can just devote to my hobby and so my ideas have been confined to my head. That was until one day when looking through a mail order catalogue I spotted a bed. This bed was designed with small bedrooms in mind and tries a novell approach to storage/recreational space. It is called a high-sleeper and is like a bunk-bed without the bottome bunk! By supporting the bed 5 feet in the air, the thing that grabbed my attention straight away is that there is a large area under the bed just waiting to be turned into a cockpit! Well it may not be what the designers had in mind but thats exactly what it will soon be :)

Project Magenta
This is simply the best software available and I would recommend it without hesitation. Enrico Schiratti is the amazing programmer behind the "glass cockpit" software. "We provide detail rich and fully functional flight simulation software, ideally run on a PC network using our Glass Cockpits and flight systems on dedicated PCs. Our ideal is to break out of the constraint of having all major systems cramped on one computer screen when a much higher degree of realism and immersion can be acheived on a networked system with multiple monitors and dedicated software. Enter our world... it will surely change your way of flying!"

Flight Deck Solutions
My project has been made considerably easier due to this man, Peter Cos. Without his excellent products and helpful tips, ideas, and advice I would still be sat at a desk and flying with the keyboard and mouse. "As a fellow builder I can truly relate to your excitment and passion. Being a fellow builder means knowing the challenges that you will face and doing my part to make sure that your parts are designed to go together and not sit on a shelf collecting dust."

These were the modest specced pcs I used to start this project. I still use the first two pcs but for different roles. My current flightsim PC is based on the Athlon 3200 using a Matrox card for multiple views.