The SimSamurai Mantra

The core goal behind SimSamurai is to provide both the novice and professional pilot with an affordable and modular alternative to advanced flight simulation.

What is a SimSamurai Cockpit?

Our flight simulator cockpits are empty shells which are ready to be outfitted with a Computer(s), Displays, and various Flight Control Hardware of your choosing.  We offer the cockpits in three basic options which are DIY Do it Yourself plan sets,  or unpainted Bare Bones kits, or fully finished Ready to Assemble (RTA) kits.    Please note that all of these three basic options do not include include the PC Computer(s), LCD Displays, Flight Control Hardware, Software, etc but we do offer this added hardware In our Pro-Line Systems.  Lastly, all computer hardware and software recommendations, along with a great deal of other configuring information,  is included in our UGTAFS technical manual.  

The primary kit cockpit purchase options are:

DIY Builder Kits – The DIY kits are sold as an individually licensed set of design blueprints which are also accompanied with a step-by-step builder manual.   This kit therefore allows for a customer to build one of our cockpit designs themselves.  All designs include the plans, builder manuals, and online hosted photos which greatly aid the process.  To also aid in building you can watch videos on the Builder Tips page, our YouTube channel, and you can also download our free Guide to Cockpit Carpentry HERE.  Simply choose your design and start building!

Bare-Bones kits – The Bare-Bones option takes this a step further as we cut all the parts for you and then send it to you un-sanded and unpainted which then leaves you with a weekend or two of work to sand, paint, and assemble your cockpit.  In most cases we even perform some pre-assembly for you!

RTA Kits – The final Ready to Assemble (RTA) option is a fully sanded and painted kit cockpit which you must assemble.  The assembly of any RTA kit typically takes 2 to 3 hours. 

Whether you are purchasing a DIY Blueprint set, a Bare Bones Kit, or a fully completed RTA Kit you are purchasing a unique tested design which is made of quality material and content.  Once again, in each of the last three options we do not provide you with the computer, nor any monitors or projectors, nor any control hardware.  Those added items are however included with our professional Pro-Line of turn-key options but obviously incur the added costs of control hardware, computer, displays, etc.

We also offer separate PC Build Services if you are just wanting (or wanting to add) a well-optimized computer to your order.  Please see our appropriate PRO-LINE SYSTEMS page and SAMURAI SIM COMPUTER page for these more advanced options.

Professional Turn-Key Cockpit Options

If you wish to purchase a complete all in one turn key solution please consider our Pro-Line option which can be custom tailored to your needs.  The Pro-Line Systems will include the completed cockpit(s) computer system(s), LCD displays, touchscreens, and  professional flight controls that are not the typical store-bought types of “gaming controls”.  To explore these options in greater detail please see our PRO-LINE SYSTEMS page.

How Do I Build or Buy a Cockpit?

To purchase a DIY plan set or a Bare-Bone or RTA kit option please see the specific details on each webpage for the design your are interested in.  Once you have found the design you wish to purchase, please see the PURCHASE-BUY page and follow the simple instructions on that page to make your payment.   You should also visit the SPECIALS page to see if we are currently running any discounts.

If you choose to go the DIY builder route, as many people do, rest assured that we have you covered.  We go the extra mile to make sure you will be able to complete a cockpit in a very professional manner.  In addition to the plans themselves, each plan set comes with its own specific step by step DIY builder manual and build photos.  Also available is our free 33 page guide to cockpit carpentry which you can grab HERE.   All of this is also complimented by basic construction tutorial videos found on our BUILDER TIPS page.  All of these resources when combined will give you a great amount of detail to be able to complete your project.  

The free quick start guide on professional carpentry techniques will make you feel confident and comfortable with using tools, making straight and angled cuts, drilling holes, etc.   Be forewarned though, you cannot expect to build any one of these kits overnight or even over a single weekend (unless its one of the two smallest kits).  Most of our large dual seat cockpit kits will take several weekends or a few weeks to complete.  However, considering that some people who build their own 737 or Airbus cockpits take several years to complete, you should rest easy in knowing you will be up and flying a long, long time before they are, all with the added versatility and flexibility that SimSamurai offers!

Cockpit Plans / Kit Licensing

Each cockpit is sold as a single licensed item. This is regardless if you purchase a set of DIY builder plans or if you purchase a Bare-Bones or completed RTA Kit, or even if you purchased a comprehensive Pro-Line kit.  In all cases the end user is purchasing a single license with each cockpit and therefore is not allowed to duplicate or copy the design in any manner whatsoever unless added licenses are purchased (or unless actual additional Bare-Bone or RTA kits are purchased).    Therefore if you represent a school or commercial entity who wishes to purchase or build several cockpit units so as to use a group of them in a classroom or commercial environment we sell affordable licensing packages for group cockpit purchases.  Typically this is an additional $100 per unit per year with a max contract limit of 10 years (thus an added $1,000 fee per cockpit used in commercial  / paid training environments) This fee also includes free upgrades for all additional software items purchased such as virtual cockpit panels as well other pertinent upgrades or software updates and includes a free yearly updated edition of the UGTAFS.

The SimSamurai Design Philosophy

Each SimSamurai cockpit is a unique design ready for customization with commonly available off the shelf game style controller hardware (such as from CH Products, Saitek, GoFlight, etc) or can be outfitted with more professional commercial level hardware from a variety of vendors which can be supplied directly through us or you can make those purchases in your own time.  In each case, all cockpit designs from SimSamurai can be custom tailored to your personal needs or to that of your organization. For our Pro-Line customers we are also willing to make custom “one-off” designs that will specifically suit your needs.

Early on we realized that some people think a great flight simulator should actually look like an actual aircraft fuselage (or nose section) stuffed in your office, garage or basement.  However, if you look around, you will quickly see that most professional flight simulators do not really look like the aircraft they may model. Some do..most do not.  We say separate this concept into what a simulator really is… a flight simulator!  You always fly from the inside…not the outside. Therefore, the exterior of a flight sim should not have to look like a real aircraft and again, most professional simulators do not.  All SimSamurai cockpit designs generally do not look like aircraft on the outside but once you sit seated inside one and are flying it, you will immediately have the feeling of flying a life-sized aircraft.  And after all, that is certainly the most important factor.  In using this base philosophy of “form follows function” the SimSamurai cockpit designs were born.

If you are one of the purist types who think a realistic home flight deck has to look exactly like a Cessna or a Regional jet or a 737 please think again.  Why not have it all?  All sim pilots should realize that limiting yourself to flying just one aircraft for the rest of your simulator flying days is actually very B-O-R-I-N-G.  To combat this all SimSamurai cockpit enclosures are purposefully designed to give you as much choice of internal customization as you desire via the use of several LCD screens which allow for virtual instrumentation flexibility or if desired you can still equip your instrument panel with any assortment of realistic analog panels, gauges, switches, levers, etc, to more closely mimic any single type of aircraft. 

While building a single specific “type trainer” can be useful in a professional environment it actually does not make much sense to do if you are a home user or even if perhaps you own several different aircraft. The reality is that building any high fidelity single aircraft type simulator is very hard to do because it takes great knowledge of electronics and wiring, it takes great time, and often costs a very large amount of money for all those analog mechanical gauges, switches, buttons, knobs, etc.  For example, building a Cessna 172 cockpit using our methods can be made and outfitted for well under $5,000 total but it you wanted to build a full on 100% recreation of a Cessna 172 with a fully realistic cockpit enclosure and 100% recreation of the analog instrument panel you are looking at a price of at least $50,000.  That’s a huge difference!

Regardless of whether you want to build a single type of aircraft instrument panel or whether you wish to follow our more modern ideals of “aircraft flexibility” we carefully design our cockpits to offer you either option.

Cockpit Versatility

All SimSamurai designs are a unique blend of aircraft cockpit architecture, home computer desk functionality, and flight simulator enjoyment all rolled into one.   When outfitted with many LCD screens in the way we intend, each cockpit design retains enough flexibility to still allow you to perform daily computing tasks such as checking email, surfing the internet, etc, and then with a single mouse click you can launch your sim software (or return to an active session) and be up and flying. It doesn’t get more versatile than this!

The latest advancements in computer technology combined with the growth of affordable LCD and touch-screen displays can now easily allow a simulator to be reconfigured for any type of vehicle use be it plane, train, or automobile.  Therefore one sim platform can quickly become a cost effective training solution for multiple uses without sacrificing realism or quality.  Because of the allowances of modern hardware and software all SimSamurai cockpit designs are made to be flexible for your needs and will grow with your needs.

In our opinion, each SimSamurai design is the best of both worlds.  Whether it is used at home or in a more professional environment, it will definitely get the job done.  In a commercial or classroom setting this is also a great advantage in that our cockpits can be used for both educational media training as well can immediately be used for hands on application of that training. This style of flexible learning is bar none the most affordable solution to professional quality education.

Modular Designing

One other aspect we wanted to touch on is the modularity of our designs.  With each design, especially the larger 2 seat dual pilot cockpits, we knew that making things easy to assemble and disassemble at some future point would be very important.   Therefore we take this into great consideration with each design we produce.  In most all cases, once you have completely assembled your cockpit, you will easily be able to break it down into three to five major components so that you can relocate the simulator at some point in the future.  This includes designing sections which can fit through standard door heights and widths of the average home as we know a lot of our designs are purchased by home hobbyist users. We our s–t build to fit!

Some designs such as the XS-1, AX-1, AX-27 and LX-1 also have built in storage space on each interior side for items like software, books, maps, and more.  So while these designs are certainly professional quality flight simulator cockpits, there are also many unique attributes which retain some useful, and most importantly functional, traits of a typical computer desk.

Virtual Instrumentation

Whether in the world of aircraft or automobiles the future is now digital.  In today’s aircraft both glass avionics and touch-screen displays are quickly replacing old outdated knobs and analog steam gauges much like how modern touch phones have quickly surpassed push button cell phones.  Just like your new “smart phone”, modern avionics are quickly following suit by using several large LCD screens in the cockpit.  This can be seen via avionics like the Garmin G1000 / G5000, or the newest Pilatus aircraft cockpit, or even the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter which has just one large touch-screen monitor in having replaced all “last century” technology.

By using a multitude of large LCD displays in any cockpit, whether it be in a real aircraft or at home in a simulator, it allows the end user an endless possibility of flexible choices much like apps on your cell phone.  By subscribing to this philosophy any sim cockpit can become a realistic touch screen training platform which can quickly be reconfigured for any aircraft or vehicle.  This new approach to cost effective simulation is one of being both ”cockpit flexible & gauge friendly”.  Long before these things became the status quo it was already the core ideology of SimSamurai as we produced our first all glass sim cockpit back in 2004.

Rather than spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to reproduce one aircraft type or one aircraft instrument panel, which will inevitably succumb to changes in technology, it certainly makes much more sense to create a cost effective training environment built on both a modular and flexible nature which can quickly change with the ever growing speed of modern technology.

Display Capabilities

All SimSamurai cockpit designs are specifically built to house widescreen LCD monitors from 20″ up to 30″  (or larger with use of projection screens).  Depending on whether the model is a single seat or dual seat design, most plan sets call for either one, two, or three 22″ or 24″  16:9 or 16:10 ratio LCD monitors for the Main Instrument Panel (MIP) combined with three to six 22″ to 32″ monitors for the Main Exterior View (MEW).   To guide you through your LCD purchase process the 300+ page UGTAFS technical manual details how to both purchase and configure numerous multi-monitor environments.

Cost Effective Simulation Training

You can build a SimSamurai cockpit design starting at just $150 in materials for the DK-1 Kotori or up to $700 for the LX-1 Orion.   This is bar-none the most affordable option for Do It Yourself (DIY) home cockpit building. If you want to build your entire cockpit out of more advanced materials apart from high quality plywood and aluminum then obviously your costs will increase but the reality is that the cockpit shells of other manufacturers are most often built with the same materials and methods that we share with you in our DIY plans. We do not use fiberglass in any of our DIY plans simply because this far exceeds the ability of the average home builder.

The average builder can typically set up any SimSamurai cockpit system to include the cockpit shell, the PC, and all hardware for $2,500.00 to $7,500.00 depending on your chosen model (and if you build it or we build it) and this cost includes your various hardware / software choices.  Considering that many FAA certified simulators cost anywhere from $10,000 just for a small desktop unit up to $100,000 or more for an advanced fixed base procedural trainer this cost savings, while still providing a very immersive “pro-quality” environment, is immeasurable.

SimSamurai …Leading The Flock!

In the first quarter of 2011 Lockheed Martin announced its own development of an MFTA or “Multi-Functional Training Aid” simulator which is touted as being a “cost effective simulation platform that can quickly be reconfigured for various types of aircraft or vehicles”.  Hmmm…sounds very similar doesn’t it!  We thought so too seeing how we had already been doing this for 5 years before they did.  They first used this platform as C-130 trainers for the US Military.

 Secondly, the Flight Simulator company called RedBird Simulations came out with an “LD” model simulator which is eerily similar in design to the SimSamurai LX-1 Orion which had been on the market for many years prior.  While these offerings by our competitors (or peers) is certainly an indication of the sign of the times, SimSamurai was in fact demonstrating this type of flexible design methodology since 2005, long before either of those two.  Perhaps the big guys took notice of the little guy (that’s us!) and then decided to cash in on the idea too.  Luckily enough we keep our product pricing so low  that we can’t afford lawyers or lawsuits and so in the end we just had to feel vindicated and satisfied in knowing we were too busy leading the flock to care! :)

Prepare For Takeoff

We hope you can agree that SimSamurai offers a bold step forward in modern flight simulation.  Each design is affordable, flexible, moveable, and modular. Let’s not forget stylish too!