What is a DIY Sim Cockpit ?
Each sim cockpit we design follows a theory of “form follows function”. This means that each cockpit design we offer will give the proper feel of an aircraft (or helicopter) cockpit while not necessarily resigning itself to be a specific aircraft type. Thus each cockpit design is flexible for your needs and most importantly will grow with your needs.
of the available flight simulator cockpit plan sets are offered as “Do It Yourself” (DIY) cockpit blueprint plan sets which you must build, or each one can be purchased as a semi-complete “Bare Bones” kit, or lastly, as a fully completed Ready to Assemble “RTA” kit. Regardless, once your cockpit shell is finished, you must then customize the interior with your own monitors and PC hardware which will are typically purchased
separately by you.
For those customers who wish for us to build them a robust PC platform for flight simulation we can do so if desired and we are always happy to make hardware and software recommendations which take advantage of the latest in technology. We also offer full turn-key systems complete with the computer(s), monitors, and flight control hardware which can include additional items like custom dual linked flight yokes and rudder pedal assemblies.
For both the DIY builder and kit customers, the UGTAFS (Ultimate Guide To Advanced Flight Simulation) also guides you through 99% of the computer set-up and configuring process so that you are more self reliant once you have purchased a system or have purchased your own computer and flight control hardware. We have also made it a point to revise the UGTAFS whenever new technology deems it necessary so that our customers can use it to their advantage.
Lastly, each DIY plans set, Bare Bones kit, or RTA kit, is sold as a
licensed and numbered product. By purchasing a set of DIY plans, or a cockpit shell kit, you are
agreeing to only build one cockpit much like when real world aircraft plan sets are
sold. Just like when you buy a plan set for an aircraft or even when you buy a real aircraft, each one comes with its own unique registration number!
OPTION A — DIY SIM COCKPIT PLAN SETS
For the DIY builder our plan sets come with detailed technical drawings and a highly detailed builder manual which also includes a quick start guide on professional carpentry technique. Secondly, all of our designs specifically maximize materials use so as to be the most affordable while also remaining engineered with professional quality!
Each DIY sim cockpit plans set includes highly detailed blueprints which have been drawn in CAD (Computer Aided Drafting). Secondly, each DIY kit is complimented by a detailed step-by-step builder manual that walks you through the entire construction and assembly process. Each builder manual is professionally written and as an added bonus the large “quick start guide” is filled with professional carpentry techniques that will help you during each and every step of the building process.
Even if you have never used basic home carpentry tools before, this quick start construction guide will have you cutting and drilling like a professional carpenter within an afternoon! With the proper instruction…it’s not that hard!
OPTION B — BARE BONES KIT COCKPITS
For those customers who want to
speed up the building process we offer the Bare Bones unsanded / unpainted kit option or the fully completed Ready To Assemble kits. Regardless, the wood of both of these kit styles are first professionally cut on a CnC machine. After this all of the vertical support lumber and additional framework members are then cut by hand. The next stage is pre-drilling all the dimensional lumber by hand as well the exterior skin panels.
If you purchase one of our more affordable Bare Bones kits they all contain the necessary parts for full cockpit completion. All of the parts are properly pre-drilled for screws, save for the exterior skin attachment. However, the skin itself is pre-drilled and we instruct you how to properly attach the skin once the cockpit is assembled.
An option we recommend for those who wish to save money is to buy the Bare Bones kit and then find a local carpenter or handy-man who can paint the cockpit for you, and if necessary assemble it too.
OPTION C — FULLY COMPLETED READY TO ASSEMBLE COCKPITS
If you purchase a fully completed RTA kit you will receive a very professionally finished product. All parts are pre-drilled and then all parts are then sanded and planed smooth. Secondly, visible interior edges of wood are detail finished and or trim banded (for plywood).
Lastly, the entire kit is painted in our special charcoal grey metallic paint. All exterior skin panels are also painted. The exterior receives two coats of aluminum paint and the interior side of the skin is painted grey.
While we would love to automate more of the entire building process, the pure nature of the various cockpits we sell, as well the very low market demand for sim cockpit shells, require that most all of the cockpit fabrication be done by hand. Therefore, if you are shocked or set back by our completed RTA kit pricing this is our humble answer; On average it takes a full three to four weeks (120 – 160 hours) of building time to complete any of the large two seat cockpits we offer. A lot of time and careful detail work must go into each one we make. While some basic parts are originally produced in groups, each cockpit is carefully made by hand…one at a time.
One of the reasons for our name, Sim Samurai, is because at this advanced level of flight simulation there are very few souls who brave such feats of glory. Maybe you are ready to become one!
While building or buying a professional flight simulator cockpit can be a costly endeavor, all Sim Samurai designs are in fact the first professional styled cockpit
enclosures ever designed for the home market. Given this very small niche market we will continually strive to create new designs and kits for those
many thousands of flight simulator pilots without deep pockets. This is why we strive to offer affordable, yet comprehensive plan sets for the DIY builder.
Why Build a Sim Samurai Cockpit ?
While you could easily spend the next year at the drawing board making attempts to come up with your own design, we hope you’ll agree that it would be much easier to buy a plan set that is a proven and tested design by many other SimSamurai pilots!
question to ask yourself is this; Do you want to spend a few hundred dollars
to be able to fly perhaps every aircraft… or, are you wanting to spend many thousands and thousands of dollars just to replicate one aircraft? With any SimSamurai design can actually
choose to do either! Each cockpit shell is
designed to accommodate many LCD’s for displaying any aircraft instrument panel
“virtually” on the LCD screen or likewise every Samurai
cockpit is designed to accommodate professional instrument panel equipment
from other flight simulator instrument panel retailers such as Sim Kits or Flight Illusion, VRInsight, CP Flight, etc. Thus each SimSamurai cockpit shell design is truly flexible for both worlds.
if you are already willing to spend $300 – $500 on some basic home cockpit building
materials, or hardware, or gaming controllers why wouldn’t you want to spend a
little more for something that will last you a lifetime! Why not start out by purchasing a cockpit shell that you can house all your equipment in! Even though this is an investment, it’s one that you can use for the rest of your life.
All of our designs are engineered to last for many generations. While there are a very small handful of sim cockpit retailers that offer
DIY cockpit plans, most of them are built out of things like plastic PVC pipe
and lightweight Styrofoam wall insulation.
While this is certainly affordable, the reality is that it won’t
necessarily last for a long time nor does it look very realistic or
stylish. All SimSamurai designs are built to last and each design we offer fills that medium niche between cheap or unrealistic “game style” sim
cockpits and much more professional cockpit shells which cost over $10,000 to build or purchase.
All of our cockpit designs are primarily designed to be made out of furniture grade plywood and hard woods with minimal use of MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard). Because we design for the average home builder you will not have to become a welder, steel fabricator, or electrical engineer to build one of our cockpit shells. Nor do you have to worry about building with non-biodegradable plastics which can degrade and break over time. Wood is both lightweight and is a green friendly renewable resource that has great structural integrity. Because of this it is the SimSamurai weapon of choice for all sim cockpit building. Once again, all of the Samurai cockpit designs are built to last for many generations into the future.
Why Should I Take on this Challenge ?
you will see in all the photos and videos on this website, or via our YouTube
video links, The original SimSamurai XS-1 sim cockpit was built for right around $500
in materials and parts. If you think about that over time it’s actually a very small investment in your future if you are serious about your hobby or a future as a professional pilot.
Whether you want to build a SimSamurai cockpit for yourself, or want to let us build one for you, each one of
our unique cockpit designs are simply the best choice for an affordable home cockpit. If you are not already
convinced, please keep reading for even more details on why we feel SimSamurai cockpit designs are the absolute best choice for an “affordably advanced flight simulator”.
Let the revolution
Building For a Successful Future
people think a great flight simulator cockpit should look like an actual
aircraft nose cone stuffed in your garage or home. We say separate that concept into what a
simulator really is… a flight simulator!
You fly from the inside…not the outside! Because of this the exterior of a flight sim cockpit shell should
not have to look like an aircraft and most real flight sims don’t! Therefore, all the cockpit designs of SimSamurai will not really look like an aircraft but once you are flying them you will
indeed think you are really flying in one!
In using this philosophy of form follows function the SimSamurai cockpit
design theory was born! In short,…we build flight
simulators not aircraft cockpit replicas!
you are one of those people who think a realistic home cockpit has
to specifically look like a real Cessna 172 or a Regional jet, or a 737 from the
outside we say think again! Why not have
it all? All recreational flight sim
pilots, or even real world training pilots, should realize that limiting
yourself to flying just one aircraft type for the rest of your sim flying days is
simply B-O-R-I-N-G. Therefore we create
our cockpit shell enclosures to give you, the DIY home sim pit pilot,
as much choice of personal customization as you desire.
To supplement our design method we also build
custom virtual instrument panels to make your sim experience go way beyond the
default instrument panel. The amazingly detailed UGTAFS
manual gives you every step and detail of how to make your own favorite
aircraft instrument panels just like we do! Within a few hours or reading the UGTAFS you can learn how to make professional quality virtual panels and this can actually be learned over a
weekend. With the right instruction it’s actually not that hard to do. Using life size virtual instrumentation will save you thousands upon thousands of
dollars as it allows you the need to only purchase a minimal amount of analog gauge hardware. (radios, yoke, pedals, throttle, etc.)
While many other high-end, expensive, commercial style cockpits represent an actual
aircraft, such as the many Boeing 737 sim vendors fopr example, a cockpit shell of that size would take up a lot of extra space in your home or office. For the average home user this is typically not the
best option nor does any realistic aircraft nose cone compliment your living room decor! All SimSamurai designs will still provide
you with the “cozy” cockpit feel you desire, but each one is also designed to
accommodate the standard sized office chair for home desk day-to-day
functionality. This is a big key factor
for any “home use” cockpit.
the small amount of professional style sim cockpit shells available for the home
market contain the same blank hardware-less interior just as the SimSamurai
DIY cockpit shells do. The big difference however is that many other cockpit shell vendors typically
require that you buy additional reinforcement members or “rib kits” etc and secondly, many of them require that you also purchase a “MIP” (Master Instrument
Panel) which is specifically made for their sim cockpit shell. This is because most every high-end professional
sim cockpit retailer wants you to spend very large amounts of money to outfit their aircraft specific shell (again…such as a 737 or Airbus shell for example). While this type of
cockpit shell construction certainly has its place in professional or commercial
environments, the costs of these sim cockpit shell kits typically go far beyond the knowledge or resources of the average home DIY builder.
importantly, and as said earlier, all of these “pro type” cockpits cost well over $30,000 to complete and once completed they immediately limit you to flying just one aircraft for the rest of your
days! …Yikes! While flying something like a 737 cockpit could be really fun (if you could afford it), we personally don’t think it would be fun ALL THE TIME!
All SimSamurai cockpit designs will certainly give you an amazing cockpit feel
while sitting inside them but again, each one does not really look like an aircraft nose cone
from the outside. (and again…why should they?) If you are one of the elite “novelty types” who really wants a real “nose cone cockpit” with
loads and loads of tactile analog gauges then be prepared to pay at least
$30,000 to $60,000 to finish it all out. For that much you could just go ahead and become a professional pilot! — Who has that kind of money these days ? …and
if you did, you should save it for real training not your home hobby! Advanced flight simulation while costly enough,
should still be affordable and your family shouldn’t hate you after making such
an investment. With a SimSamurai cockpit shell you can have a very affordable procedural trainer that can mimic many aircraft. So our opinion is…why not have it all!
FAA Certified Flight Simulators and You
though the FAA has recently restructured how it views flight simulation the
reality is that a highly realistic FAA approved single aircraft “type
trainer” is often very expensive to build especially if it will only see
use from just one pilot. Secondly, the
hoops you have to jump through to get a cockpit legally certified are many. Most importantly though, you need to know that the flight hours you
can log in any FAA approved flight simulator are actually minimal compared to
the necessary real aircraft experience (for obvious reasons). Lastly, whenever logging any of these limited
hours in an FAA approved simulator it must also be completed under the supervision of a real world
flight instructor. Because of the time,
costs, and efforts involved in this process it certainly does not make any sense to
attempt to recreate a single style or “single type” aircraft cockpit in your
home. Again, this is why we like to show people how to create what is commonly called a procedural trainer.
if you are a real world commercial pilot or CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) would you ever want to
reconsider this choice, and again, even then you could not log any “real
log-able hours” in your simulator (of any type or cost) unless it is FAA approved and flown
under the supervision of a commercial flight instructor. Even if you were a CFI, you’d still have to be supervised by another CFI too!
Regardless, the inherent flexibility of all SimSamurai cockpit designs are that you can in fact seek FAA certification if
desired. This would require that you outfit your own cockpit shell with enough bells
and whistles (a.k.a. switches and knobs) for a particular type aircraft for which you seek certification.
For the most part this must begin with totally eliminating the need for
the keyboard and mouse (aside from starting
/ stopping the flight). If FAA
certification for your sim cockpit is a goal there are many free resources on the internet which can help you acquire one of many levels of FAA flight simulator
Please know however that even a “generic fixed base procedural trainer”, such as any
cockpit design in the SimSamurai line up, can and will provide you with a very
valuable and rewarding flight training experiences. You can even just joyride if that is your
style! So while SimSamurai cockpit shells are not
FAA certified “out of the box” you cannot discredit the amazing
training benefits you will gain from building a realistic procedural trainer.
Any real world scale flight
simulator which can allow you to practice procedures and maneuvers over and
over again until you get it right is obviously a simulator to own! Only when you are fully immersed in an environment such as this will it allow you to forget that you are in essence…flying a “home computer desk”. Only once you take this step will your
training really begin to benefit your real world practical skills. That’s why we built ours!
and performing procedures and maneuvers over and over again in the real air
obviously costs thousands of dollars. This is why flight simulators have
actually been around just as long as aircraft.
Believe it or not the Wright Brothers had a flight simulator too! So please know that a realistic flight sim,
while an obvious investment, can and will save you thousands of dollars in the
real world over your entire flying career. If used properly it will speed up your entire training
process, it will grow your confidence, increase your safety, and hopefully will
make you a much better pilot.
A personal message from SimSamurai owner Jeff Chartier;
cannot tell you how many times that as a low hour pilot my thousands of hours
as a sim pilot helped me over many training hurdles as well helped me stay calm
in real world emergencies. While there
are many real world pilots who may shun the whole concept of repetitive flight
simulation training at home, the reality is that if used properly …you can and will
become a Sim Samurai of both the virtual sky AND the real sky!”
Join The Revolution !
We hope you will agree that the entire philosophy of SimSamurai is a bold new step in
flight simulation flexibility. While each cockpit shell will certainly give you every realistic feel you desire, don’t forget that many
of the designs can still double as your home desk or home
entertainment hub too!
Most all of our designs have some available storage space on each side for items like software,
books, maps, and more which is very helpful for creating a home training
environment. So while our cockpits
certainly have the look and feel of a professional flight simulator they
all retain some useful and most importantly functional traits of a home
computer desk. Lastly, all of our cockpit
designs are not some huge, honking 1,000 lb. aircraft fuselage that you will
have to stuff out in your garage where your family will never see you
can easily place any SimSamurai cockpit right in your living room or home
Now that’s designing for
you can now see, all of the SimSamurai cockpit designs are the best option you will find for a professional quality flight simulator. They are affordable, flexible, and
modular. (and let’s not forget stylish
too!) What more could you ask for? Each design we offer pays attention to the space constraints of the
average home or office while still providing many of the exact same functions and visual
abilities of professional FAA certified flight simulators. The biggest difference of course is
With using our designs you can build out any one of our DIY cockpits for around $500 – $600 in construction materials. You can then fully
equip the cockpit for under $2,500 in computer and monitor equipment. The result of this is creating a procedural training simulator that typically costs well over $30,000 – $60,000 in a real flight training center or flight academy.
As said earlier, with enough tactile hardware
you too can get a SimSamurai cockpit FAA certified if that is your goal. If this isn’t some huge savings so
as to achieve “pro level certification”
then we don’t know what savings are.
by using SimSamurai’s Ultimate Guide to Advanced Flight Simulation
(the UGTAFS) you will quickly learn all the tools, tips, tricks and shortcuts
required to create a professional flight simulator computer system. It’s actually not as hard as you
think…especially with the right sim master!
By using the virtual panel design methods detailed in the UGTAFS you can quickly start building ultra realistic virtual
instrument panels just like we do!
Our hopeful goal for the next 5 years of SimSamurai is to have people use our exact same panel building formulas for their own sim cockpits so that we can all
network and share our panel building creations and then reap the rewards of our growing SImSamurai community.
By joining up with the illustrious team at SimSamurai it will bring out the many joys and benefits of flying a multitude of high quality life size aircraft
instrument panels for our growing fleet of flight simulator cockpits! So please join our club by investing in us.
Whether you build one or buy one you too can become…
Sim Samurai !!!