Homemade Boeing 737 Flight Simulator

One flight sim enthusiast takes the hobby to the next level by constructing a Boeing 737 sim out of a retired airliner.

Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
James Price took delivery of this Boeing 737 nose in 2000, thus triggering the beginning of the cockpit's transformation into a realistic 737 flight simulator. (Photos courtesy of James Price)
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
After purging the 737 nose shell of old equipment, Price and a team of fellow sim enthusiasts began installing genuine Boeing 737 parts collected over the years.
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
The main simulator software used for the outside visuals, weather generation, aircraft flight modeling, etc., is X-Plane version 10 from Laminar Research.
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
X-Plane is interfaced to other software using a plugin called "XPUIPC" written by Torsten Spiering. This module allows add-on software to send and receive any X-Plane data required to maniplulate virtually any part of the simulator, including aircraft, weather, systems, etc.
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
The pilot instrument displays, flight management system, autopilot, most aircraft systems, and some portions of sound control are provided by a program called "Sim-Avionics," written by Mark Hastings. This software can emulate either the Boeing 777 or 737 systems. It is quite extensive and very detailed. Using this software the simulator has nearly every flight control aspect of the real aircraft.
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
The FMS CDU hardware units are built by Flightdeck Solutions and authentically replicate the real units.
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
All of the wiring interfaces including lights, switches, buttons, relays, numerical displays, and gauge interfaces, are connected and controlled via two "EPIC" I/O cards produced by R&R Electronics. Using this hardware/software combo Price can 'talk' to and control every aspect of the electrical components in my simulator.
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
**All of this software is integrated and controlled using two programs that Matt Ford and Price have written for private use from scratch using MS Visual Basic and readily available public data for the 737 systems. It has taken them over ten years to get to the point of high level accurate simulations of almost every system in the aircraft.
**
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
There are vibration transducers installed under the floor, two subwoofers, and twelve speakers in various locations to put all the sound effects in their proper relative areas.
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
Today, Price says the Boeing 737 sim feels like the real thing, with 90 percent of all the cockpit systems operational.
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
Price has worked on the sim for more than 10 years and says the project has turned into a lifelong hobby.
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
So far he has poured $150,000 into the sim.
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
Boeing 737 Flight Simulator
Price's Boeing 737 years before its retirement.
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To learn more, read our recent story about Price's 737 sim.