This page is a reference to vendors, sites for hardware, software, electronics, etc that I have found helpful during my build or to the hobby of flight simulation in general.
- Community Forums
- Builder Sites
- Flight Simulators and Software
- Avionics Software
- Online Flightsim Stores
- Replica Simulator Parts
- Real Aircraft Parts
- Electronic Parts and Components
- Computer Hardware
- Builder Reference
- Avsim – http://www.avsim.net – One of the oldest flight and largest simulator communities with tons of great information going back over many years.
- Flightsim.com – http://www.flightsim.com – Another simulator community that has been around a long time and is well known.
- CockpitBuilders – http://www.cockpitbuilders.com – An extremely helpful simulator building resource for all types of flight simulators.
- MyCockpit – http://www.mycockpit.org – Another great community for simulator building help.
- Prosim Forums – http://prosim-ar.com/forum – A community forum for users of Prosim and an invaluable resource for simulator building.
- AirDailyX – http://www.airdailyx.net/fsnewsbreaker/ – Great site for keeping up with the latest news in the flight simulator community.
- Frooglesim – https://www.youtube.com/user/frooglesim – A weekly YouTube channel with updates on the latest and greatest coming out of the flight simming community.
- Flaps 2 Approach – WilloW has put together an amazing repository of knowledge in building and running a 737 NG simulator. His detailed explanations and shared experience of things we all are going to cross sooner or later has helped me immensely. Highly recommended!
- 737ng.co.uk – Another really detailed resource for real 737 NG cockpit building.
Some of my favorite Flight Simulator Software and Scenery designers:
- Lockheed Martin Prepar3d – https://www.prepar3d.com
- My current and most used sim. Probably 95 percent of my flights are done in it. I probably have thousands of dollars tied up in addons for it now.
- X-Plane 11 – http://www.x-plane.com
- It has steadily been improving and version 11 really stands out, especially at night. Probably my next most used sim, maybe 3 percent of the time.
- AeroFly FS2 – https://www.aerofly.com
- 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 probably use it about 1 percent of the time, if that. For now.
- Dovetail Games Flight Sim World – https://live.dovetailgames.com/live/flight-sim-world
- A fairly new release to the flight sim community, FSW has its roots in Microsoft FSX. They’ve done a lot of work to improve it but the community hasn’t jumped on board with it yet so I’m waiting see what happens. This is another 1 percent of the time sim for me.
- 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 and picked up by Dovetail Games. It’s a dated platform now and while Dovetail is trying to resurrect it, I don’t see much of a future when Prepar3d is out there now.
- Digital Combat Simulator (DCS) – https://www.digitalcombatsimulator.com – This is primarily a combat simulator and a really good one at that. It’s world engine has been highly raved about, the aircraft are study level, and the military campaigns are quite complex.
- FlightBeam – http://www.flightbeam.net
- 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 – http://www.flytampa.com
- 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) – http://www.fsdreamteam.com
- Another high quality large airport designer who has created some of my favorite airports like KDFW, KIAH, KJFK, KLAX, and many more. They also have a great ground services package called GSX which I highly recommend.
- ORBX – http://www.orbxdirect.com
- ORBX is probably one of the most well-known developers in the Flight Sim community. They have a huge selection of smaller high quality airports, and have worldwide scenery enhancements like FTX Global and Vector landclass. This basically supercharges all your scenery by replacing it with high quality, region specific land textures in the right spots, roads where they belong, and so much more. I have a ton of their products and when I’m not flying my photo scenery, I’m always using their textures.
- MegaSceneryEarth – http://www.megasceneryearth.com
- I am a photoreal scenery flier. As much as I love ORBX products, I just don’t feel as immersed as I do with photoreal scenery. I want to look down and see what I would see in real life. The latest Version 3 MSE products are very high quality and low impact on your frames. Unfortunately, you don’t get much 3D scenery because photoreal scenery tends to mask everything underneath. But man, does it look good!
- Black Marble – http://blackmarble.chrisbelldesigns.com
- Black Marble adds accurate road lighting across the entire world and it looks amazing! Really turns Prepar3d into another sim. Because photoreal tends to hide most 3D objects I turn it off when flying at night. Then Black Marble is able to truly come to life. Just be warned, you need a strong CPU and video card to take full advantage.
Here are some more great scenery developers in no particular order…
- iBlueYonder – https://iblueyonder.com (Bill Womack is one of the greats in scenery development and a great guy to boot…he’s now partnering with ORBX so look for more great stuff from him!)
- UK2000 – http://www.uk2000scenery.com
- Cielosim – http://cielosim.com
- LatinVFR – http://www.latinvfr.org
- PacSim – http://www.islandsim.com
- Drzewiecki Design – http://drzewiecki-design.net
- ImagineSim – http://www.imaginesim.com
I have found these utilities useful in my simming and building experience…
- Navigraph – http://www.navigraph.com – 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. As part of their subscription you can also get their iPad and desktop charts app. Well worth the money!
- PFPX – http://www.flightsimsoft.com/pfpx/ – A comprehensive and valuable flight plan and dispatch generation tool.
- SimBrief – https://www.simbrief.com – An amazing online route planning and dispatch tool, similar to PFPX, but donation-ware. I LOVE this tool. It’s web-based, very user friendly and works fantastically.
- Topcat – http://www.flightsimsoft.com/topcat/ – A very detailed and useful aircraft takeoff and landing performance calculator.
This is the heart and soul of your sim. Without a good avionics software that you enjoy using and is simple you’ll just get frustrated all too quickly. Since I am building a Boeing 737 simulator, here are the current choices available.
My best recommendation is to trial all your options and find out which one you are most comfortable with before you commit. These are not inexpensive packages. You can expect to spend up to $1000 USD, likely more.
- ProSim737 – https://prosim-ar.com
- This is the Boeing 737 avionics suite I currently use. It 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 I can’t say enough good things about it. It is also well supported by a large community user base making finding answers much easier.
- Sim Avionics – http://www.sim-avionics.com
- 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 – http://www.projectmagenta.com
- 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 responses so I ruled them out. I’ll leave it at that.
While I generally like to order directly from the developer so they can keep more of their money (scenery development takes a LOT of work and a LOT of time), here are some of my favorite stores I buy from occasionally…
- PCAviator – http://www.pcaviator.com
- FlightSim Store – http://www.flightsimstore.com
- FS Pilot Shop – http://www.fspilotshop.com
- SimMarket – http://www.simmarket.net
- Flight1.com – http://www.flight1.com
By no means a comprehensive 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.
In alphabetical order:
- Anders Simparts (Sweden) – http://anderssimparts.com
- Bought my Start Switches from Anders – He is fantastic and his parts are high quality!
- Avia Simulation (Russia) – http://www.aviasimulation.com
- Clear To Sim (Unknown) – http://www.cleartosim.com
- Cockpit For You – https://cockpitforyou.com
- CockpitSimParts (Great Britain) – http://www.cockpitsimparts.co.uk
- Bought my overhead panels and overhead gauges from them. Sam produces excellent quality parts and top notch after-sales support! Very satisfied!
- CockpitSonic (Germany) – https://cockpitsonic.de
- CPFlight (Italy) – http://www.cpflight.com
- CustomSimParts (Unknown) – http://customsimparts.com
- Flight Deck Solutions (Canada) – http://www.flightdecksolutions.com
- Bought many parts from them including my Cockpit Shell, Instrument Panel, CDU, MCP, EFIS’ and more. Excellent quality and support.
- Flight Illusion (The Netherlands) – http://www.flightillusion.com
- I bought a flap gauge from them and intend to buy replacement overhead gauges from them at some point. Pricey but well worth the money in my opinion. Quality is top notch and their gauges use stepper motors making operation very smooth.
- FlightSimParts (Belgium) – http://www.flightsimparts.eu
- I bought my 7 Segment displays and driver boards from Wendy at FlightSimParts. Wendy’s support is great and the parts work like a charm!
- Flight Simulator Center (Italy) – https://www.fsc.it
- Fly Engravity (The Netherlands) – http://www.flyengravity.com
- GLB Flight Products (Great Britain) – http://geremy.co.uk
- I have bought some pedestal hardware from them. Great group of folks. Very happy with them.
- Go Flight (United States) – http://www.goflightinc.com
- 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!
- Hispa Panels (Spain) – http://hispapanels.com
- Northern Flight Sim (United States) – http://northernflightsim.com
- Open Cockpits (Spain) – http://www.opencockpits.com
- Poldragonet (Poland) – http://symulatory.com
- ProSim Parts (Belgium) – http://www.prosimparts.com
- Revolution Sim Products (France) – http://revolution-simproducts.com
- Ruscool (New Zealand) – http://www.ruscool.co.nz
- SimKits (The Netherlands) – http://www.simkits.com
- 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.
- SimQuip (Australia) – http://simquip.com
- SimParts (Germany) – http://www.simparts.de
- SimWorld (Poland) – http://www.simworld.pl
- 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.
- Sismo Flight Simulators (Spain) – https://sismo-soluciones.com
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.
- Aerobase Group – https://aerobasegroup.com
- AircraftSpruce – http://www.aircraftspruce.com
- Desert Air – http://www.desert-air.com
- Generation Global – http://shop.generation-global.com/737-800
- MSP Aviation – https://www.msp-aviation.com/products
- OmnAvia Interiors – http://www.omnavia-interiors.com
- Great source of real aircraft interior materials. Found my Boeing seat cloth from them. Reasonably priced and very helpful folks.
- Skynet Aviation Aircraft Parts – http://www.aircraftparts.skynet-aviation.com
- Spectra Interior Products – https://www.spectra-ip.com
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 – https://www.digikey.com -Huge selection of electronic components
- Leo Bodnar Electronics – http://www.leobodnar.com -Various controller boards compatible with ProSim. I bought a BU0836X USB card for some potentiometers I wired. Great card!
- Newark – http://www.newark.com -Another huge selection of electronic components
- Phidgets – https://www.phidgets.com -I bought a couple of cards from these guys. A relay card and LED card. Great stuff! Compatible with ProSim.
- PoLabs – https://www.poscope.com -I bought some PoKeys 57E cards for various switch, LED, 7 Segment, and potentiometers. These cards are really flexible. Compatible with ProSim.
- Powell – https://powell.com – I found more of my Honeywell locking toggle switches here (make sure to compare prices)
- Peerless Electronics – www.peerlesselectronics.com – Even more Honeywell locking toggles here (compare prices)
- Sager Electronics – https://www.sager.com -I found some of my Honeywell locking toggle switches here (make sure to compare prices)
Places to buy parts and pieces for your computer. No real magic here. You probably know of these already.
Sites I’ve used to find reference information on various parts and pieces of the sim.
- Gables – http://www.gableseng.com
- Manufacturer of real 737 communication/navigation components