Last Updated on May 31, 2023
I have put together this pretty comprehensive flight simulation links list that I hope will help you during your flight simulator build. Enjoy!
I receive no compensation from any of these companies and there are no affiliate links on this page. These are just links to places I have found helpful to me throughout my build.
Table of Contents
- Flight Sim Community Events
- Flight Sim Community Sites
- Flight Sim News Sites
- Flight Sim Home Cockpit Builder Forums
- Flight Sim Home Cockpit Builder Sites
- Flight Simulator Software
- Flight Simulator Scenery
- Flight Simulation Utilities
- Flight Simulator Avionics Software
- Flight Simulation Stores
- Flight Simulator Replica Parts Vendors
- Real Aircraft Parts Vendors
- Electronic Parts and Components
- Electronics Tutorials
- PC Parts and Hardware
- Aircraft Reference Links
- Real World Aviation Guides and References
Flight Sim Community Events
These are links to major flight simulation events happening around the world.
- FlightSimExpo – North America’s community-driven flight simulation conference. Learn more at www.flightsimexpo.com.
- FSWeekend – An international flight simulation conference held in Lelystad, The Netherlands.
- SimFest – Simfest is a group of friends who fly home built, full sized, flight simulators raising money for charity through donations.
Flight Sim Community Sites
The best way to learn is to learn from others with a similar passiong. These sites are large, well-established communities supporting flight simulation.
- Avsim – One of the oldest flight and largest simulator communities with tons of great information going back over many years.
- Flightsim.com – Another simulator community that has been around a long time and is well known.
- Flight Simulation Association (FSA) – Flight Simulation Association (FSA) is an association of flight simulation pilots, virtual air traffic controllers, and developers and content creators. Members get access to exclusive product discounts, webinars, guides, and the ability to search for and find nearby simmers. They also organize the yearly U.S.-based FSExpo event.
Flight Sim News Sites
These sites are great places I use for the latest news in the flight simulation community.
Flight Sim Home Cockpit Builder Forums
If you’re looking for help or tips on how to build your own simulator, these sites have large helpful communities that will help you meet your flight simulation goals.
- CockpitBuilders – An very helpful simulator building resource for all types of flight simulators.
- MyCockpit – Another great community for simulator building help.
- Prosim Forums – A community forum for users of Prosim and an invaluable resource for simulator building.
Here are some great flight simulation home builder sites I regularly visit for inspiration, tips, or help when I hit a roadblock. What these folks have done puts me to shame!
- Flaps 2 Approach – An amazing repository of knowledge in building and running a 737 NG simulator. Detailed explanations and shared experience of things we all are going to cross sooner or later has helped me immensely. Highly recommended!
- Mickey’s Flight Deck – Michael Schulz’s Fantastic site with tons of great YouTube videos on scratch building all components for your 737 sim. His tutorials are among my favorites showcasing how much great stuff you can do yourself!
- 737DIYSIM – Karl has created an incredible bank of knowledge with tons of DIY ideas, plans, and much more to help with your 737 build.
- 737ng.co.uk – Another really detailed resource for real 737 NG cockpit building.
- Build a Boeing – Great DIY tips for an affordable simulator by fabricating the parts yourself.
- ElephantAir 737 – Fantastic work on this 737 build with lots of great ideas and references.
- Flightdeck737.be – Clement Stals from Belgium has put together a wealth of fantastic and detailed knowledge while building his 737 cockpit simulator that I regularly reference for ideas, building tips, dimensions, and much more.
- MarkusPilot – Fantastic resource of Boeing 737 cockpit component measurements.
Links to the major desktop/home simulator software in the current Flight Simulation space:
- Microsoft Flight Simulator – The latest generation of flight simulator released in August 2020. This is the most advanced desktop simulator platform yet and will likely be for many years to come. It’s not quite ready for a cockpit simulator, but it’s getting there and I can’t wait for that day. For now, I’m having a lot of fun using it as my primary desktop sim when I want to fly anything other than the 737.
- Lockheed Martin Prepar3d – My current simulator platform. Probably 85 percent of all my flying is done with it.
- X-Plane 12 – It has steadily been improving and version 12 really stands out, especially at night. I enjoy it, especially for the open community, but I haven’t spent a lot of serious time flying it. It’s mostly occasionally that I jump back in to see what’s new.
- Digital Combat Simulator (DCS) – This is a combat simulator and a really good one. Its world engine has been highly raved about, the aircraft are study level, and the military campaigns are quite complex.
- AeroFly FS2 – A budding simulator, especially for virtual reality. It will be exciting to see where they take it but for now it’s not complete enough to use as a complex aircraft sim. I use it every once in a while just for fun but it just hasn’t grown into the kind of sim for cockpit builders.
- FSX – I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention good old Microsoft Flight Simulator X (and previous versions). It was abandoned some time ago but some still use it as their primary sim though it is very long in the tooth now. Most developers no longer support it.
Flight Simulator Scenery
Here are links to some of my go-to flight simulation scenery developers:
- FlightBeam – In my book, the top large airport designer and Mir is just an all around nice guy. I own all his products including KSFO, KDEN, KIAD, and KMSP,
- FlyTampa – Renowned for their hyper realistic scenery and attention to detail, FlyTampa is at the top of a short list of top quality large airport developers. I own many of their airports including KFLL, KBOS, KMDW, KTPA, TNCM, and YSSY.
- FSDreamTeam (FSDT) – Another high quality large airport designer who has created some of my favorite airports like KDFW, KIAH, KJFK, KLAX, and many more.
- iniBuilds – iniBuilds has also been creating some fantastic addons over the last few years, and I have personally been involved with their KSAT which is incredibly detailed, as are their other airports.
- ORBX – ORBX is probably one of the most well-known developers in the Flight Sim community.
- iBlueYonder – One of the greats in scenery development!
- Drzewiecki Design – I have a number of airport sceneries from them and they do a really nice job on them.
- ImagineSim – A good scenery developer whose work has improved immensely over the last few years.
- LatinVFR – Also has some great sceneries which I have bought and like.
- PacSim – A smaller scenery design company, but they make some great products.
- UK2000 – Makes British airport scenery and do a great job at it.
- MegaSceneryEarth – Photoreal scenery. Only works for Prepar3D and FSX.
Flight Simulation Utilities
I have found these flight simulation utilities useful in my simming and building experience:
- Navigraph – This is one of those MUSTs if you’re doing airline flying. It keeps your aircraft navigation databases updated with the latest Standard Instrument Departures (SIDs), Standard Arrivals (STARs), airport, and route information. In addition, as part of their subscription you can also get their iPad and desktop charts app. Well worth the money!
- SimBrief – A fantastic online route planning and dispatch tool. Now part of Navigraph. I LOVE this tool and you will too! It’s web-based, very user friendly and works great!
- PFPX – A comprehensive flight plan and dispatch generation tool, but it’s no longer being updated.
- Topcat – – A very detailed and useful aircraft takeoff and landing performance calculator.
Avionics software is the heart and soul of your simulated cockpit. Without it, you won’t be able to tie in all your hardware and software or adequately replicate the functionality of your aircraft’s systems.
My recommendation is to trial the software first, if possible. Make sure it’ll work for you and not against you.
- ProSim – Their Boeing 737 avionics suite is what I currently use. They also offer the 737 MAX and an Airbus A320 suite as well. The software is constantly updated and supports a HUGE amount of hardware that continues to expand. Their developers listen, and are active on their forums. It’s the easiest software I have used to set up and configure and is well-supported by a large community user base making finding answers much easier.
- Sim Avionics – This is the primary avionics software developer that FlightDeck Solutions partners with. This was also the original software I tried many years ago but unfortunately my personal experience wasn’t so good which led to my discovery of Prosim and I haven’t looked back.
- Project Magenta – I have little experience with this avionics suite. It is probably the oldest avionics suite I can remember. I can’t really talk about it since I haven’t used it, but I contacted them a while back about a sizeable project and was rather turned off by their response. I’ll leave it at that.
- iFly 737 Cockpit Builder’s Edition – I haven’t used their avionics software but it’s designed for 737 cockpits and I have used the iFly 737 aircraft addon in the simulator and it’s quite good.
While I generally like to order directly from the developer if I can, so they can keep more of their money (scenery development takes a LOT of work and a LOT of time), here are some of the major simulator software stores I buy from occasionally, with SimMarket being my most go-to vendor:
- SimMarket – Probably the largest flight simulation seller in the world and who I buy most of my software through.
- Flight1.com – A long-time player in the flight simulation sellers market.
- JustFlight – JustFlight has been around quite some time and makes software as well as sells it.
- PCAviator – In addition to putting out a flight simulation magazine for a long time, they also sell products.
- X-Plane.org Store – For the X-Plane community, this is the go-to place to buy X-Plane sceneries.
This is by no means a comprehensive links list, and in no way am I sponsored by any of these. These are just sites I have found through my research that sell replica flight simulator parts for enthusiasts and who I have found either potentially useful or who I have bought from before (as indicated).
Unfortunately for those of us in North America and Australia, most of these parts come from Europe so there’s always higher shipping costs and the conversion of Dollar to Euro. So keep your eyes open on the forums and places like eBay for good deals locally.
I will shamelessly plug my free sim parts exchange at https://www.ineedsimparts.com . It’s a great place to look for, buy and sell simulator parts, both replica and real.
Vendors I have used and/or have experience with:
- Flight Deck Solutions (Canada) – Much of my cockpit, including my Cockpit Shell, Instrument Panel, CDU, MCP, EFIS’ and more, were purchased through them. Excellent quality and support although they don’t sell many components to the enthusiast these days unfortunately.
- Flight Illusion (The Netherlands) – I have bought many gauges from them now. On the pricey side but worth the money in my opinion. Quality is top notch and their gauges use stepper motors making operation very quiet and smooth.
- Flight Simulator Center (Italy) – I have their linked rudder pedals. They are definitely not cheap, but their engineering and quality is probably at or near the top of enthusiast sim parts suppliers. Their products are designed to be almost bulletproof.
- Anders Simparts (Sweden) – Bought my Start Switches from Anders – He is a fantastic guy and his parts are high quality!
- CockpitSimParts (Great Britain) – Bought my overhead panels and overhead gauges from them. Sam produces excellent quality parts and top notch after-sales support! Very satisfied!
- CustomSimParts (Unknown) – Excellent servo-driven 737 gauges and custom-made gauges.
- GLB Flight Products (Great Britain) – I have bought some pedestal hardware from them. Great group of folks. Very happy with them.
- Go Flight (United States) – My first MCP was with them. I bought it second hand, but when I needed to update the firmware they took care of it, no questions asked. Good stuff!
- Sismo Flight Simulators (Spain) – I bought several panels from them. Their products seem to be decent but dealing with support to get things working was a challenge, especially due to the time zone differences and language barrier.
- SimKits (The Netherlands) – I bought a 737 Flaps gauge from them that was a servo-driven kit. It was decent, but better options exist in my opinion. That was many years ago and I’m sure things have improved since then.
- Clear To Sim (Unknown) – I bought a real Weber seat cover from them for a reasonable price.
- Ruscool (New Zealand)
Vendors I haven’t used and have limited information on:
- CPFlight (Italy) – One of the top makers of quality 737 simulation parts. They have a good selection of products, but their panels are built around their MCP being the brains, so if you don’t have their MCP you can’t really use them.
- Fly Engravity (The Netherlands) – Well known and established supplier of sim parts.
- Open Cockpits (Spain) – Also well known and established. A nice selection of medium-quality sim products.
- SimWorld (Poland) – Always wanted their overhead but couldn’t afford it. They were quick to respond to my emails, and hopefully they’ll sell their individual components again some day. They look to be great quality.
- Cockpit For You – Sellers of high quality 737 throttle quadrants. I don’t own one, but I hear good things.
- SimParts (Germany)
- Hispa Panels (Spain)
- Northern Flight Sim (United States)
- Poldragonet (Poland)
- ProSim Parts (Belgium)
These vendors provide real aircraft parts. Some can be very expensive. Many are used equipment. So you just have to call around to see what you can work. I have only used OmnAvia Interiors, who I highly recommend for cloth interior materials.
I will shamelessly plug my free sim parts exchange at https://www.ineedsimparts.com . It’s a great place to look for, buy and sell simulator parts, both replica and real.
- OmnAvia Interiors – Great source of real aircraft interior materials. Found my Boeing seat cloth from them and have ordered a couple of times from them. Fairly priced and super nice/helpful folks.
- Universal Asset Management (UAM)
- Aerobase Group
- Generation Global
- MSP Aviation
- Spectra Interior Products
Here are a bunch of places specializing in electronic parts, components, boards, etc. Keep in mind that some of the product vendors above, like FlightDeck Solutions, Sismo, CPFlight, Opencockpits, etc sell interface boards as well. So do your research to determine in advance which cards will suit your needs best.
- DigiKey – Huge selection of electronic components
- Leo Bodnar Electronics – Various controller boards compatible with ProSim. I bought a BU0836X USB card for some potentiometers I wired. Great card!
- Newark – Another huge selection of electronic components
- Phidgets – I bought a couple of cards from these guys. A relay card and LED card. Great stuff! Compatible with ProSim.
- PoLabs – I bought some PoKeys 57E cards for various switch, LED, 7 Segment, and potentiometers. These cards are really flexible. Compatible with ProSim.
- Powell – I found more of my Honeywell locking toggle switches here (make sure to compare prices)
- Peerless Electronics – Even more Honeywell locking toggles here (compare prices)
- Sager Electronics – I found some of my Honeywell locking toggle switches here (make sure to compare prices)
The following links may be helpful to you as you embark on your electronics projects for your sim. While most of the wiring in a sim is pretty straightforward, it does help to have some knowledge of electronic components, especially power and power supplies, kickback diodes (for electric motors and solenoids), connectors, etc.
PC Parts and Hardware
Places to buy parts and pieces for your computer (from a U.S. perspective). No real magic here. You probably know of these already.
Sites I’ve used to find real-world reference information on various parts and pieces of the sim.
- Airbus – French manufacturer of commercial aircraft
- Boeing – United States manufacturer of commercial aircraft
- Boeing 737-800 360 Degree Panorama 1
- Boeing 737-800 360 Degree Panorama 2
- Gables – Manufacturer of real 737 communication/navigation components
- MarkusPilot – A great resource for Boeing 737 cockpit component measurements
- Mike’s Flight Deck – A great reference site for building simulator components
Real World Aviation Guides and References
This section has some references to real-world flying such as rules and regulations, terms and definitions, etc.
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) – The U.S. aviation authority web site
- FAA Handbooks and Manuals – A list of useful aviation reference material from the FAA
- FAA Glossary (PDF) – Common Terms and Definitions within the FAA
- Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA) – A comprehensive aviation reference
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- ICAO Glossary (PDF) – Common Terms and Definitions within ICAO
- FlightAware – A flight tracking and status site
- SkyVector – Flight Planning and Aeronautical Charts