Welcome to SimObsession.com, a site about my home-built Boeing 737-800 Flight Simulator or, as my wife would say, my “Simulator Obsession.”
Building a full-sized airliner flight simulator at home can be a very challenging, satisfying and exciting hobby, while simultaneously an immensely frustrating black hole of time and money.
You really do need to be a bit obsessed to do something like this!
Here are some answers to questions you may be thinking…
What made you decide to build a full-sized airliner flight simulator at home?
When I was a four-year-old kid my dad used to take me to New York’s LaGuardia Airport (KLGA) late at night to watch the planes take off and land. It was the only way to settle me down when I had bad allergy fits. Something about the car’s air conditioning and watching those giant, beautifully shaped metal tubes flying overhead helped me to feel much better. That’s when my passion for aviation sparked.
In 1990, at a young age, I got my Private Pilots license with the intent to fly commercially some day. Life, however, took me in a different direction. That only accelerated my passion for simulated flight.
Fast forward to 2008. After more than 20 years of desktop simming I decided I wanted to fly more than a desktop. I wanted to experience flying again. To be able to flip switches, turn knobs, and look out a window and see the world below any time I felt like it. All from the safety and comfort of my own home.
I was now at a point in life where I could afford to start building a home cockpit and the technology and parts were becoming available to help make that more easily a reality. That’s when my home simulator really started to take on a life of its own.
After buying my first few replica components I was hooked. My “want” became almost a “need.” Thus began a long (and expensive!) journey that is still going strong today. It has turned into something I could never have imagined all those many years ago.
What are you trying to accomplish with your Boeing 737 flight simulator?
My goal is to one day be able to sit in the Captain’s seat and see, hear, and feel like I’m there. I want a Boeing 737 pilot to say “wow, this feels like my office.” I want to become familiar with real world airline operations, and perhaps I might someday even enjoy a multi-crew experience with someone who shares a similar passion. With a simulator at home I have plenty of time to do all of that whenever and however I feel like it.
Why did you pick the Boeing 737-800 for your home cockpit flight simulator project?
Well, I happen to be a huge fan of the Boeing 737, and more specifically the Boeing 737NG (Next Generation). It’s my favorite aircraft. It has modern technology but it’s still a little old-school. It flies extremely well. It’s a pretty airplane. It’s not too big, not too small. You can fly short to long haul flights in it, in and out of small to large airports around the world.
Further, the Boeing 737’s huge popularity significantly increases the opportunities to replicate real flights in the simulator, getting you more value and enjoyment out of your sim. That popularity also means longevity which means all the time and money I put into my sim won’t be for naught tomorrow if the plane is retired.
The same popularity in the real world also means they are popular in the sim world. Which means there are lots of ready-made replica parts available everywhere. That also means there are lots of people who have gone down the same road and can share their experiences.
Oh, and it’s not an Airbus. Just kidding. The Airbus A320 is a wonderful aircraft as well, and from what I understand it’s a lot more comfortable in the cockpit and certainly a lot more automated. Honestly, if I could afford it I’d have a simulator of each, thank you.
Why did you create this web site for your home built simulator?
I wasn’t originally planning on creating a web site for my simulator. I’m by no means an expert compared to some out there. I have certainly made my share of mistakes as I have fumbled my way through this. Plus, it takes a lot of time to create content for a site like this.
After I started posting a few pictures of my progress people seemed interested in how I built this or that. I realized maybe it would be helpful to document some of what I’m doing, both for myself and for others. Perhaps some of my solutions will spark ideas to help solve other simmers obstacles. Or, it might just help keep others motivated, which is necessary in this hobby.
The big problem we face in this hobby is there is no instruction manual to put these things together. There are a million different ways you can do it. Often you have to tackle unique problems specific to your build and it can quickly become overwhelming. You can lose motivation easily if you’re doing it by yourself just because of the sheer scope.
Having reference sites like this can be an invaluable motivator. Thus, this site was born.
How much does a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) home flight simulator cost? How much did your flight simulator cost?
These are actually complex questions. For an answer, I’m going to refer you to a page I wrote specifically to address this question: How Much Does A Home-Built Airliner Flight Simulator Cost?
The price of a home-based flight simulator is very variable depending on many factors I discuss in the article above. What it cost me may not be anywhere near the next person. Suffice it to say my simulator has cost tens of thousands of US dollars spread out over many years.
How do I get started building my own home flight simulator cockpit?
Check out the Getting Started page I’m putting together with resources and tips to help you start your journey building a flight simulator at home.
I have some questions about your project. How do I contact you?
Feel free to contact me and I’ll try to answer any questions you may have.