Basic Guide To Setting Up Your Home Flight Simulator
Interested in getting started with creating your own home flight simulator? Awesome! It’s a great investment for experienced pilots, student pilots, and aviation enthusiasts alike. We’re going to give you a basic outline of all the components normally needed to create the best experience. Time for take-off!
Selecting the Right Aircraft: Which Aircraft Do You Fly The Most
When it comes to creating your home flight simulator, the first step is to be realistic about which aircraft you fly the most. To get the most bang for your buck, you’d be wise to factor in aircraft configurations prior to making your first purchase.
Looking at the big picture first, let’s review the major components.
First, one of the most expensive and important components of your home flight simulator is the gaming PC. Flight sim software requires a high performing PC, and the power needed has continued to rise as the software has continued to develop. The performance of your simulator will vary based on the CPU and graphics card.
When selecting a gaming PC, consider these factors:
CPU: Opt for a powerful CPU that can handle the complex calculations required for realistic flight physics. Multi-core processors, such as Intel's i9 series or AMD Ryzen, are excellent choices.
Graphics Card: The graphics card is crucial for rendering stunning visuals. Invest in a high-end graphics card from NVIDIA or AMD to ensure smooth gameplay and realistic graphics. Look for models with ample VRAM for texture and scenery loading.
RAM: Flight simulators are memory-hungry applications. A minimum of 16GB of RAM is recommended, but if your budget allows, 32GB or more can significantly improve performance.
Storage: Opt for fast SSD storage to reduce loading times and enhance the overall experience. A large SSD or NVMe drive can accommodate the hefty file sizes of flight simulator software and add-ons.
For a more in-depth guide on selecting the right gaming PC components for your flight simulator, check out our this article.
Next you obviously need a simulation engine. For pilots and enthusiasts who want versatile and realistic simulations of general and commercial aviation, Prepar3D®, X-Plane, and Microsoft Flight Simulator are popular options.
It’s one of the most popular flight simulators and it’s been on the market for a very long time. It’s actually a Microsoft FSX at the core which was acquired by Lockheed Martin and has improved significantly since then.
The big advantage of this simulator is that it has a huge user base and 3rd party plugins/aircrafts available.
The biggest disadvantage is that it was never built to be interfaced with hardware and the possibility of being able to interface with it hugely depends on the 3rd party aircraft developer.
Unfortunately, a lot of developers don’t put any effort into making the interfacing possible and therefore for many aircrafts, it’s impossible to use hardware to a full extent.
It’s a quite modern flight simulator built by a huge aviation lover, Austin Meyer.
It’s ready to interface out of the box and the default aircrafts that come with the sim are of very decent quality.
Because of the ease of interfacing with, very realistic flight model, and good performance on modern PCs, it’s our flight simulator of choice.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020
Microsoft Flight Simulator is the most popular simulator in the world and it’s been on the market since 1982.
Recently Microsoft together with Asobo Studios revived the series by releasing the MSFS 2020. The main improvement in the sim is definitely the graphics. It’s just eye candy and it looks fantastic.
Since they use satellite images to generate the scenery it looks exactly like real life. It’s definitely the best simulator of choice when it comes to VFR flying.
Unfortunately, deep at its core it’s still a very old FSX with all its quirks and issues it can be difficult to interface with. That being said, we strongly believe that if Asobo continues to improve it, it can become a solid platform for flight simulation in the future.
Depending on the space you have available, there’s a variety of options for monitors. Better quality like 4K will give you a good field of view which is important. You can also set up multiple screens to show side views. Curved monitors are also a great option recently.
For a desktop setup, we highly recommend 43” curved monitors. They are increasingly more affordable, give you a decent field of view, and they just look fabulous!
Hardware is very important in creating an accurate and realistic flying experience from home. A standard computer mouse can be sufficient at first, but we highly suggest upgrading to get the most out of the experience, especially for training and muscle memory. Once you begin performing maneuvers, a quality yoke, throttle, and a set of rudder pedals will help immensely.
There are quite a lot of options available on the market, but here are our favorites:
It’s the highest quality available on the market. All of their flight controls are control-loaded, meaning that they simulate the actual forces on the control surfaces. It just can’t get more realistic than that!
They have been on the market since 1987 which speaks for itself. They offer great quality flight controls.
Their controls are not control-loaded, but they are made out of very high-quality materials and are one of the best choices for serious flight simulation.
- Honeycomb Aeronautical
One of the most popular options these days amongst home flight simmers. They offer a great value for the price. Unfortunately they’re hard to get because they are usually sold out.
Plug & Play Options:
If your goals with a home simulator are specific to flying, then an all-in-one desktop device might be the best choice.
Plug & play options are great for the following:
- To start flying without configuring or installing anything
- To have preset flight scenarios
- Quickly set up a home flight experience
All of the hardware we provide at Aviatek Flight Simulators is plug & play.
Fixed Base Flight Simulator
For those who fly the Cessna Citation Mustang, and are seeking the utmost in convenience and realism, the Cessna Citation Mustang Trainer offers a complete, fixed-based flight simulator package.
This all-in-one solution replicates the cockpit of the Cessna Citation Mustang with remarkable accuracy, providing a training environment that closely mimics the real aircraft.
Whether you're an aspiring pilot looking to hone your skills or a seasoned aviator wanting to stay sharp, the Citation Mustang Trainer offers a turnkey solution.