About the motivation

For many of us flight simulation is a crucial element for passing certifications and building up proficiency. For others it is a leisure gaming activity to get a glimpse of how it is like to control an aircraft. For me it is a dedicated passion to find out what’s possible between those two approaches – undergoing the joyful ride of my lifetime in building a most realistic home cockpit. Join me on this route and get inspired. There is a kid in each of us, but let’s get play’in with the big toys now:)

Subdividing the project

Building a simulator starts with one activity that leads to another. It is slowly becoming an extensive field of sometimes completely different subprojects in various categories. It is always necessary to extend knowledge and build up skills to keep pace with one’s desire to achieve a result as real as it gets. Click on „Essentials“ to have a closer look on those segments that make a project of that dimension possible.

Personal note

One important and unexpected addition of this hobby is the communicative part with the community. In the last years I was very active to reach out to many of you, more or less in every corner of the globe. I met great people so far and even consider some to me closer mates, although we have not met personally before – being continents apart. My sim is based in my private house here in Vienna, making presentations and demo rides on a larger scale unfortunately impossible. Fellow simmers that went the way closely with me in the past are however cordially invited.

3rd

generation of my simulator

1825 days

of dedicated passion and counting

270 degrees

of warped outside visuals reaching almost every aspect of view

100+

ideas for future project updates and immersion enhancements

Why not flying in reality instead

When people tried my first simulator they most of the time asked me why I did not attempt for a Privat Pilot License to live this dream in reality – apparently the expenses where not a reason any more. I have often thought about enrolling for a real flight course. Still I decided to stick with the simulation. On the one hand side home cockpit building is much more than just sitting and pretending to operate an aircraft. It is operating computers, tweaking and enhancing it with software, it is diving into the field of electronics and the joy of getting buttons, encoders and lights to be controlled through events, it is about building with metal, wood and acryl, understanding CAD designs and how engraving, milling and 3D-printing works. It is about understanding visualization systems, building huge screens and playing around with morphing software. It is about understanding the nature of vibration and motion and how it can make you feel the difference about a smooth touchdown compared to droping your aircraft onto the surface.

And on the other hand side it is fascination about controlling a complex machine through a highly challenging element – air – which is progressing as much as you spend time working on this topic. So as long as it is of fun to me to hop into my grounded Piper and take it to the virtual skies, adding bits and bytes to enlarge the realism experience and to fly it in a realistically manner, I will keep on diving through this joyful engagement. And still it can be considered a rather safe occupation, as crashes can in worst case harm your nerves and maybe your harddrive, but nothing more:)

How it all started

On my 34th birthday I got a copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator X. Loading it up on my laptop was rather disappointing on my first attempt as the quality was not photorealistic, nor did I like the idea sharing the lower part of my outside view with a rendered cockpit. But there must have been something about it that kept me looking deeper into the simulation ecosystem. I found very realistic scenery from Orbx, further more free instrument-software from The Gauges Factory, that made it possible to run high resolution gauges on a separate screen and even remote computer. Ordering a cheap together with a radio, switch and and autopilot-module from Saitek made the entry into this hobby complete.

I was very much amazed that every airport, even the smaller airstrips, all waypoints and navigation aids (VORs, NDBs) worldwide were included in the simulation. That meant downloading a chart from a Civil Aviation Authority Website gave me all information I needed to fly approaches – even with almost no sight. Even the frequencies of the aswell simulated Air Traffic Control and the spoken automatic information service for most of the airports (ATIS) works in most cases just entering into the computer what you are supposed to enter into a real communication radio. There is even a possibility to pay for monthly updates of your airnav database to be 100% up to date, further more there is a service with real people controlling virtual airspace and giving you fun on a high level or training capabilites – whatever you are looking for.

So asides from building I got myself a good introductory book for learning about (real) aviation. Large portions of the knowledge I acquired here are necessary to understand operations – if you want to stop playing and start flying. Further more many of my mates sharing this passion are related with real world aviation, bringing in additional insights that keep me always learning.