Flight Simulation Gear

If you are a gear head and like to buy stuff, get into flight simulation. I’ve seen home-built cockpits for Boeing 737’s that are practically indistinguishable from the real thing, and cost well into the six-figure range. Yikes!

My rig is substantially more modest than that, costing just under $7,000, including construction materials (which were insubstantial compared to the high-tech stuff).

Here are the highlights of my system:

Computer:

  • Intel i7 7700k @ 4.2 GHz, overclocked to 4.6 GHz
  • 32 GB RAM
  • GTX 1080Ti video card with 11 GB VRAM
  • 512 GB SSD main drive
  • 4 TB hybrid data drive
  • 8 TB USB 3.0 backup hard drive
  • (3) 32″ flat-panel monitors (non-4K)
  • (4) USB powered hubs
  • APC 1500 battery backup UPS

Software:

  • X-Plane v11.x from Laminar Research
  • Windows 10 Home

Avionics:

  • Saitek Pro Yoke and Throttle Quadrant
  • Saitek Pro Rudder Pedals
  • Saitek Multi-switch Panel
  • Saitek Radio Panel
  • (6) Saitek Flight Instrument Panels
  • Buttkicker Gamer 2 vibration transducer
  • VolairSim cockpit panel
  • iPad 2

I also wear a HyperX Cloud X headset, connected with a ROCCA Juke USB sound card adapter, when flying with air traffic control (VATSIM).

Most of the gear listed can be seen in the following photos:

In flight
In flight
Avionics controls

This simulator rig is built into a standard closet in a spare room. I used corrugated plastic panels above and on the sides to make it feel enclosed; it’s open in the back.

The bulk of the expense was split evenly between the computer system and the various Saitek avionics and control devices. I purchased the system custom built from X-Force PC based in North Carolina. They build the test rigs for Laminar Research, so I knew it would be built with optimum reliability and performance. It was a great decision, as the price wasn’t much different than if I had built the system by hand with the same hardware.