Build your own Flight Simulator cockpit

Build your own Flight Simulator cockpit:

virtual cockpit

flight sim virtual cockpit

Do you want to get more control when flying an airplane? Do you not feel the experience better? You are not alone. You can build your cockpit regardless of the aircraft at home. However, to make a full cockpit panel, you need many hardware like radio control, navigation displays, and a lot more. It is good idea to learn about the Flight Simulator instrument panel functionality before building a cockpit.

Who hasn’t considered building his airplane cockpit in the garage yet? In this step-by-step guide, we’ll discuss how to build a home Flight Simulator, be it for flight training or just for fun.


I built this cockpit as a base for a VR Flight Simulator I’m working on. The purpose is to allow me to do a simple mission planning system in VR. Basically, it would be a virtual globe that revolves as you fly from one region to another. It’s not rocket science. I’ve done this in 3D all the time. I know what a good cockpit looks like. It’s basic; it doesn’t have many tricks, and most importantly, it doesn’t use too many sensors. It is for a simulator, and it means to simulate what your mind thinks of when you’re flying a plane. (You can see a real cockpit on the test subjects of the Cool Stuff in the Sky show.) All the components can be found in a spaceship parts store, Amazon or other online shops, although there’s more up in the nose cone.

What You Need:

To build your own Flight Simulator cockpit, you need to have some essential tools on hand to make the task a lot easier. You’ll also need some experience in engineering, programming, and teamwork. Of course, you’ll need more specific parts, such as a vehicle camera, but we’ll cover these as they come up. Note: These are the most essential tools to have on hand for building your Flight Simulator cockpit:

Screwdrivers Square and hex keys Boltcutters Ceramic stain for giving your cockpit a distinctive paint job.

Start with a cockpit or buy a cockpit?

boeing cockpit

To begin building your own cockpit, a lot of thought should go into how you will use it. Many commercial simulators are used for flight training, but what if you are interested in the thrill of flying but don’t want to buy a new plane to learn how to fly? If you are interested in owning your own aircraft, why not create your own? One of the good selling points of commercially available simulators is that they are much less expensive than a home-built simulator. The advantage is that you can choose the parts and integrate them yourself with a lot less expense. Still, the disadvantage is that you need to have some specific knowledge about a specific plane, usually military planes, to use them correctly.

So if you want to have an outstanding experience, building your cockpit is a must-have.

Get your hands on some hardware:

I’m a proponent of sheet metal fabrication for aircraft components. So, we’ll be using sheet metal for the inside of this cockpit. It is a good way to make parts lightweight, rustproof, and easy to service. Just remember the weight factor – you can never over-build a piece of sheet metal! We need a sturdy sheet metal for the inside of our cockpit that can withstand the high heat of the interior. To produce this, we’ll need a sheet metal cutters and a drill press. I recommend you get these items in person so you can get a feel for how they work. Take your pick from the big-name sheet metal cutters, or from smaller shops. A screwdriver, nails, gloves, and a good pair of shoes are also essential. We’re going to be pounding rivets into the sheet metal for the controls.

The Virtual Reality Headset:

Let’s begin with a simple cardboard VR headset. Next, we’ll need a cheap, off-the-shelf, replica model for a virtual flight instructor. The major thing to remember here is the time required to build this. The little savings you can get by creating it yourself will be much appreciated when you’re starting out. There’s also the possibility to save a bit of money by buying used gear on Amazon or eBay. But when I suggest you do that, I only do it because it’s illegal in the USA to sell virtual reality gear without a Certificate of Analysis. Next, you will need some video cables and adapters, which is a straightforward, efficient way of interfacing a PC with a helmet: A cheap pair of binoculars.

The Joystick:


The joysticks

In the 1980s, consoles came out that allowed kids to pilot their own planes, and suddenly the idea of flying became accessible to all. Playing the Flight Simulator, the Adams Family is now part of everyone’s childhood memories. There’s no substitute for working with a computer, and the whole point of a Flight Simulator is to be in the pilot seat! Once you have the joystick, it’s time to upgrade the plane for some real fun.

To create a delightful experience, you need to use the joystick or one of the accessories. With a joystick, you can turn the aircraft left or right. Using the rudder pedal will make the turn more responsive and intuitive, and using the yoke system will also make the turn more responsive. Most joystick or Flight yokes come with throttle control, and some include mixture and propeller controls. A real pilot uses their hands and feet when controlling an aircraft.

Computer Hardware:

Graphics Card plays an important role here. Our very first step is deciding which GPU to use to support our Flight Simulator. Having chosen a graphics card that can handle this specific project, we’ll move on to the next step. Then we will need to purchase or create a new monitor to display our Flight Simulator. If you are familiar with the options available to you, it’s vital that you select a monitor that meets your needs. 

Software: If you are ready to continue preparing your Flight Simulator, here are the basic software requirements you’ll need to install. Windows: Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10. Also, it’s a good idea to install VirtualDub and FCEUX from the Software Center to provide a basic in-browser experience.

Full-Size Cockpits:

One other thing to consider is what kind of gizmos you will want to include in your flight simulator cockpit. Here are some of the most common products that make up a basic flight simulator cockpit: Full-size, realistic cockpit is one of the best ways to get used to the feeling of flying and look fantastic as well! A Full-size, real cockpit is one of the best ways to get used to the feeling of flying and look cool as well! A good set of flight suits start at about $400 for the cheapest full-size model and go up to about $1200 for the best quality ones. You can also see how much they cost on eBay.

Building partial cockpit:

Cessna cockpit could be an alternative to Boeing cockpit. It is better than using just the keyboard because they give you more controls. If you cannot afford to build a full panel, you can use few accessories like a joystick, flight rudder pedal, and some hardware accessories.

Here is a video of the Home Simulator setup.

Becoming a virtual pilot:

You will likely need to fly a smaller aircraft before moving to a larger one to start your career. That is because you need to learn the basics of the aircraft cockpit and what it does. You have to get the feeling of how the aircraft is managed and organized. Look for the training program and the route the plane follows. To maintain active pilot status, you need to maintain specific requirements.

Here is a video of someone using the Boeing 737 Flight Simulator taking off and landing.


The fields of aviation and aerospace are exploding at an incredible pace. With a common interest in flight simulation and a couple of years of working experience in a local aviation club, we decided to write this article to offer a glimpse into the aviation Flight Simulator industry and the best options to build and install your own cockpits. We have taken the liberty to create a simple Flight Simulator build guide so that you can make your Flight Simulator the next great addition to your home or office.

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