People who have played Microsoft’s Flight Simulator know just how much fun it can be, getting into a simulator and having a relatively good experience of what it’s like to fly. This experience is a little more intense for people who have been in real flight simulators. However, designer Matt Thomas proves that it is in fact possible for this experience to be had in the comfort of your own home.
The design looks pretty cool. It functions in a way similar to real simulators, as you’re flying a virtual airplane and causing the physical model to tilt at the same time. The design, which is a Moving Axis AirCraft Simulator, basically acts and mimics the virtual plane to give a close to real simulator experience.
The overall piece was designed with a few goals in mind. The first goal was simply to build a simple motion flight simulator, using easy to access materials. It’s a design that is simple since it doesn’t use any pneumatics, electrics or hydraulics to move, but rather, uses more primitive technologies along with placing the center of rotation near the center of gravity, allowing for the controls to give a lot of freedom to the pulleys and levers to tilt the simulator. The simulator was built using lumber, plumbing pipe, insulation foam, and various other hardware. It is supported on a platform which is mobile, so if you wanted, you could, like Matt, take the simulator to aeronautical and flight conventions where he sells tickets for rides.
The overall project took two months to build. He took this to airshows and aviation events, where he sold rides, and gave people an opportunity to get hands on and take a ride in a decent flight simulator.
I New Idea talked about the project in a little more details, and has pictures of people who actually test out the simulator, but below is a video outlining the construction process for anyone who happens to be interested in constructing one for themselves.
You can check out more flight simulators like the Saitek PRO flight system, or a Home Flight simulator package for one of your gaming consoles.