“My grandfather is a commercial pilot and ATP; he is the best pilot I know and he loves to fly. Just over ten years ago when he became ill and the FAA revoked his medical certificate, I set out to build one of the most realistic general aviation flight simulators that I possibly could and give him the most realistic ‘unreal’ flying experience. I was already somewhat knowledgeable in flight simulator software; as he had given me the aviation bug and I’ve used FSX and Prepar3D previously. There were a couple different options of simulator platforms to choose from, when I decided to build N8033F, ‘Felicity’. I knew that I wanted full immersion. I wanted grandpa to be sitting inside the aircraft. And for full immersion, I knew that I would need multiple displays to make that happen. So when it came to pick a simulator platform, the deciding factor was, ultimately, how easy it was to setup multiple view windows. And after doing some research, X-Plane won hands down. And I couldn’t be more happier with the decision as it has been the most accurate for characteristics of flight, in my opinion.
The best advice that I can give anyone when deciding to build their own home cockpit is to know what you want to fly. What aircraft do you want to model it after? The more aircraft specific that you can make your own simulator, the more accurate that your experience will be which would enhance your immersion. The real world benefits to that is the ability to build muscle memory and your flows will come more naturally. The more enclosed that you can make yourself, the less that the outside world will detract from the immersion. Whatever you decide, the internet is an invaluable source of information. My personal goal is FAA certification for Felicity, after I acquire the professional version of X-Plane, but I think I am going to wait until the release of X-Plane 12 and hope that it has a professional version available for certification. The ability for simultaneous dual controls is going to be a great addition, but I’m really looking forward to taking off from a snow covered Morrow County, Ohio.
Grandpa never did get any benefit from Felicity, but I believe that he’s always in the right seat while I use her to maintain proficiency as a student pilot until I can finish training. Blue skies and happy flying!”