How to Build a Realistic Flight Simulator Setup Cheap

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You can enhance your Flight Simulator hobby by creating an environment that closely mimics an aircraft cockpit. You don't need to go all out with expensive hardware to build a rig that will make you feel 'right there'

Things You'll Need

  • various electronic peripherals as described in the article
  • Most video cards support two monitors. You can pick up a cheap PCI video card to supplement your current one, thus having access to up to four monitors. Then buy a couple of smaller monitors (7",or 9" or 12" ) where you will display your instruments. Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX) allows panels to be displayed on different monitors. Keep your main monitor for displaying only the outside graphics.

  • Arrange your setup in a manner similar to an aircraft cockpit. The small isntrument panel monitors should be under the main, outside view, monitor. In the picture you can see that I built an enclosure for a small 9" LCD display from the shell of an old computer.

  • Buy an USB keyboard and/or a gaming keyboard and assign flight simulator commands to it, then label the keys. You can go all out and print nice graphics to make it look like aircraft switches.

  • One item you shouldn't skimp on is quality rudder pedals and joystick/throttle combo (or yoke/throttle).

  • You can cover your panel monitors with a bezel in the shape of an aircraft instrument panel made from quality cardboard with holes cut in for instruments.

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