Having a realistic panel and yoke in front with a large LCD screen for the outside visuals really enhances the experience. But there is always room for improvement. Especially I got disturbed by actually seing the borders of the lcd screen, by noticing the room around me and it was clear that those obstacles are reducing the experience. I did investigate how to separate the space around the shell from the room it is housed in. There are many builders who did great jobs with wooden shells, but that really needs experience, craftmanship-skills, plenty of loud instruments and a workshop to build it.
I found out that some sell there kits, like a friendly guy in the US for the learjet. Still it was expensive (including shipping and customs) and I wanted a small simulator mainly in the GA field. So I started researching on eBay and similar platforms and I even sent some mails to airfields to find out if some old aircrafts have gone out of service and could be bought.
Just 3 wracked Cessnas at pretty hight costs where to be found in Germany and a complete twin Piper in Austria that had to be acquired entirely in one piece at high costs. Here you should be talking about a sim hangar more than a sim room:) So that idea seemed to be nonsense. But one day I found a guy from Switzerland offering a Piper shell that was already partly prepared for the use in a simulator with nice quality interiors and most importantly – separated into elements so it could be carried through normal doors.
Despite the fact that this offer was more than a year old the shell was still available. It took me nevertheless some weeks to convince the owner that I was really willing to get this thing from the heart of Switzerland to Vienna.
In fact not having a small lorry that would be really expensive to hire for such a long distance, I did my homework and arranged a free truck vom Dornbirn, close to the Swiss border. On the next day my wife (thank you, thank you, thank you Honey for doing that crazy trip in hard winter with me!!) and I drove then in this bad shaped vehicle all the way to the owner, stored the plane into the mini-truck and went back to Dornbirn. On the third day, shortly before we needed to return the vehicle, we handed early morning the larger elements to Railcargo and jointly packed them onto an euro-pallet – as good as possible for the long trip. The remaining parts were stored in our private car for the 7 hour drive back home. And finally on the next day’s afternoon the parcel was delivered, at really low costs by the way.
As you can read out from the accident-report that is available for download here, my little Piper crash landed some time ago and thus was taken out of service in pretty good shape!