The Long Awaited Basement Sim Schematics

Readers have been asking for my plans since I put the site online, but my early Google SketchUp files were rough and I made some changes during construction, so I haven’t posted them. Today I took the time to get them in order, and here they are. I will put together a more detailed set that includes the basic supplies I used as well, but in the meantime I figure this will help those looking to build their own basement simulators. I’ve been really flattered by the number of simulations enthusiasts who have started building their own based on what they’ve seen here, so if this can help them and others on their journey, I happy to offer it.

First, the lumber (and remember to measure twice, cut once!) …

Cut from 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ studs:

  • Six 4′ cuts
  • Two 3′ 10″ cuts
  • Four 4′ 8″ cuts
  • Two 3′ 7″ cuts
  • Two 4′ 10″ cuts
  • Two 2′ 1″ cuts
  • Two 1′ cuts
  • Two 2′ 9 1/4″ cuts


Cut from 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ studs:

  • Four 10″ cuts
  • Two 11 1/4″ cuts
  • Two 1′ 8 1/2″ cuts
  • Four 2′ 1″ cuts


1 piece 3/4″ x 11′ x 48″ MDF for the panel base

1 piece 1/4″ x 18″ x 46″ MDF for the panel itself

In terms of other supplies, I used long wood screws to connect the frame pieces together, and metal L-brackets to brace the corners (screwed in with 1/2 inch wood screws). Note that I DID NOT attached the panel base to the cockpit frame with screws. It simply sits on top, which makes it easy to adjust and take in and out.

And here are the basic plans: a .JPG here and a .PDF here. The panel template (which is a life-sized C172 panel schematic as a PDF) is here. Note that the panel PDF is 42″ across, and that I cut the template in half so I could make it 46″ wide. I hope it helps, and good luck!

On The Glideslope Basement Sim Schematics JPG

57 thoughts on “The Long Awaited Basement Sim Schematics

  1. Sir, you/we would be better served by using common rather than actual lumber measurements…

    Cut from 1 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ studs: Are actually common 2x4s(two by fours)….I am happy to be corrected.


    1. Thanks, Chas. Given the international readership of OTG I figured I’d give the actuals just in case a 2×4 isn’t always called a 2×4 in, say, the Netherlands or Brazil. But to you and me these are 2x2s and 2x4s …

  2. good day
    once again thank for all your passion
    i have to be honest; not a builder or architect and can not really work out the measurements used in the schematic.
    if not asking too much would it be possible to have lenght measurements converted into cm ? Lenght of sections will do.

    it will make it so much easy for those like me .brought up on metrics measurements only.


    1. Hi Ray. I don’t know when I’ll have time to update the actual drawings, but here are approximations for the lumber:

      Cut from 3.81cm x 3.81cm studs:

      Six 121.92cm cuts
      Two 116.84cm cuts
      Four 142.24cm cuts
      Two 109.22cm cuts
      Two 147.23cm cuts
      Two 63.5cm cuts
      Two 30.48cm cuts
      Two 84.46cm cuts

      Cut from 3.81cm x 8.89cm studs:

      Four 25.4cm cuts
      Two 28.58cm cuts
      Two 52.07cm cuts
      Four 63.5cm cuts

      1 piece 1.91cm x 27.94cm x 121.92cm MDF for the panel base

      1 piece .64cm x 45.72cm x 16.84cm MDF for the panel itself

  3. Good day mate and thanks again for the details. I have been trying to see if you’ve answered this before but not able to find it so – can you tell me why you ended up with a projector over say a 60″ Television or larger please? I am going around in circles and cannot decide 3 x 60″ TV or 3 x benq projectors.
    Many thanks and good luck with your flight lessons


    1. I have not calculated. I had to buy a PC, which was a lot. If you have a solid PC that can run three or four screens I would expect you could build it for less than $3,000 US and perhaps far less if you got a good deal on the avionics and projector. The lumber etc. was only a few hundred dollars, and I built it myself.

  4. Hi, I have a doubt about the real wide measurement of the MFD Panel. The sketch says it is 46″ wide. But if the entire front is 48″ wide, and we subtract 1.5-inches from both sides (the Two 1′ cuts, 1-1/2″ x 1-1/2″), then we end up with 45″ available to insert the panel between the two 11-1/4″ pieces. That means that the panel will not fit at all. Am I wrong?

    1. The panel is 46 inches wide. The base to which it is attached is 48 inches wide, same as the interior of the cabin. The cabin interior is 48 inches across. This leaves an inch on each side of the panel for the glare shield (which is made of 1-inch foam).

      1. Hi N15JG,

        Ok, I am clear now with your explanation. I am gathering the supplies to start soon the SIM project.

        I will use (2) 40″ Full HD Westinghouse TV’s for the side windows, but I would like to cut the windows in a way they don’t show the entire view at once, but in a way that you can look at it up/down/forward/backward and see a bit of deep view for a better realism. I hope I can accomplish this placing the 2-tv about 2 inches apart from the walls and hiding just a small portion of the tv’s in a way that they look like a window.

        I don’t have an Ultra Short Throw Projector, Instead, I have a new Optoma GX1080 Short Throw which I hope it can do the trick, probably with some tweaking.

        Can you tell us the real size of your projection screen (WxL)? I have a homemade screen of 4’H x 8’W, which I have not tested yet for this venture.

        I hope you still making amazing videos and tips for beginners like us 🙂


        1. I like your window idea. Let me know how it works. The projection screen is 100 inch on the diagonal. Not sure about the WxL but I’m sure it’s standard for a 16:9 screen and you could probably do the math easy enough.

          1. Hello, Captain!!!

            Sure I will let you know the results once I get my SIM completed. { I have not started yet 🙁 ]

            If don’t mind you, can you tell me:

            1) How much of your 100″ is covered by your Short Throw Projector? I have no idea how big the projected image should be in order to get a proper or good bezel match with the two 40″ LED TVs.

            2) Do you recommend using X-Plane 11 instead of P3D? I have P3D installed, but not X-Plane 11.
            ( I live in USA, Orlando, Florida so I wonder if X-Plane 11 have enough sceneries for USA.

            I will appreciate your comments and will follow up your tips, comments, and great videos.

            “Keeping the Skies Fun and Safe” !!

          2. Hi Martin. My projector covers the entire screen.

            XP 11 vs P3D: I think that depends on the simmer. My suggestion is to try them both and see which you prefer. With XP 11 you can make your own photorealistic scenery for Florida that will be every bit as good as what you can get by paying on P3D, but with autogen on top. And in terms of Florida airports, see here:

          3. Hello N15JG, hope all is well.
            I have the saitek gear now and will be using two 10″ androids on the dash with only 1 saitek instrument panel (destination unknown), unsure where to place it.
            I bought two 32″ tv’s for the windows, 1366×768 @ a nice price of $200 aud or $150 u.s. For the front I am wondering what you think about 55″curved 4k tv as far as size goes? Which is 49″ across. Given that one doesn’t want to be sitting any closer than 4′ from the screen. Obviously, the further back the screen, the surroundings around the tv come into play, which must not happen. So what are your thoughts at 4′ away and if it’s an issue maybe I could extend the quarter panel furher or what would you do?
            Also I like your apps on ipad but I will be using android. I think you have pilotedge loaded on a free floating ipad on most flights and I think it’s great for a beginner like me (I am in Australia too) but is it compatible with android or can you suggest apps for me to use. I will be using fsx with 8 orbx Australian addons included with my purchase ☺and I bought from REX, worldwide airports hd, advantage radar and essentials plus overdrive all on sale.
            Apologies about the novel but flying is a dream and in a sim, the right gear & apps will get me closer to taking real life lessons.
            I presume I will be setting up for a ceesna 172 primarily or 182?
            Any or all information will be greatly appreciated. Your videos are the easiest of videos to enjoy for myself, wife and friends.
            Next purchase: Timber!
            Have a great Day

  5. Hey N15JG!

    N343C here, just wanted to know what Cessna 172 model the instrument panel is from, I want to buy an actual glareshield so I don’t have to make it, but I need to know the exact model/year of the instrument panel and if in fact it truly matches the real life counter-part.


    1. I don’t know, and I don’t think the PDF indicates. But it was very easy to make the glare shield. Took about 30 minutes and a trip to the craft store …

      Also, for my cabin I widened the actual panel by two inches.

  6. Lee,

    As N15JG says, sometimes you can feel a bit of motion, in special when making turns when observing the 2 monitors on the sides. I have (3) 24″ monitors in my simple cockpit (actually I am using just an office desk 🙁 ), and sometimes I do really feel that kind of motion. It is really a pleasant experience, and I think that having a cockpit in an enclosure environment like N15JG has, the realism must be awesome.

    “Keeping the Skies Fun and Safe” !!

  7. I assume that that, for instance, the “to brace” measurement of 1′ 10″ is along the inside of the 4′ 10″ beam If so, the distance from end of the 4’10” lumber to the brace would be 1′ 11″.5. And similarly elsewhere. Am I correct, then, that all such measurements are “inside”?

  8. You mentioned that you used L-bracket s to brace the corners. Did you use these in, literally, every single corner (about 70 brackets) or just in certain “strategic” corners?


  9. I keep thinking up more questions as I move closer to getting started on my sim… can you tell me what you’re using for a floor? I notice you’ve carpeted, but there is no floor in the schematic. Also, it seems there is some sort of paneling at the front of the cockpit, can you tell me, please, what you’ve used for that? And finally (for now), do you happen to have the measurements for the glare shield foam and cover?

    Thanks again so much,

    1. There is no floor. My sim sits directly on our basement concrete. I used corrugated plastic for the wall panels, including in front where our feet go / below the panel. I covered it with leatherette. The glare shield is 1-inch high density foam about 9-10 inches deep, covered in black leatherette.

  10. I am responsible for building a flight sim for a group of air cadets in the UK. I have a PPL and I think your approach to a flight Sim would be the best for them to experience as near as real a flight as possible. So I am planning to base it on you sim. My question is how did you secure the 32″ window monitors to the frame?

      1. I have been looking at 32″ monitors. I can’t source the same ones as you used but have used their dimensions as a reference. If I’ve got this right, your monitors are thicker than the wooden frame that supports them which would mean that the plastic sidewalls won’t lie flush on the frame but bulge out a bit. Is that right?

  11. Yo, I believe the whole thing is held together by L clamps/braces from your local hardware, same for the screens.
    I am so happy right now. I bought a 120hz 800motion rate 65″ screen for cost, maybe less :D.
    It now lives on a low line (70cm high) unit. I am going to screw some wheels on all 4 legs so I can take it from the lounge room to the office and slide it right in front of the sim, once built. The bottom of the screen will be about 80 to 85cm from the ground once in place.
    Any thoughts on the height ?
    Ps. basement fly guy..Again, great work mate.

  12. …Went to Home Depot yesterday…..First screw up for me…I bought all 2x4s instead of 2x2s….Oh well, I guess it is going to be pretty sturdy….lol

    I asked the guy at the Depot, for the correlated plastic sheets,….He looked at me like I was an alien. Any chance you remember WHERE in your home depot, they where. I figure it will prob be the same here in Ohio. I didnt really look too hard after the alien stare. 😉


  13. you setup has been my insperation more or less

    mine will not be in the basement ( lack of in Netherlands) but in my abve the garage office / mancave

    while your is a very nice replica of the cessna i decided to go for a all purpose setup, utilizing touch screens for overhead and middle while having 19″ monitors for instruments on both side ( XHSI)
    23″ monitors will be used for 2x left and 1 x right

    main screen like you a UST ( Optoma GT5000) 100″ diagonal
    a tad wider though (150x150x100) but the sketchup looks more or less like yours.
    Thank you very much for your efforts and information

  14. Me and my son are going to be getting into flight sims after Christmas, and I have been absolutely wowed at the amazing level of realism you’ve been able to obtain with your home-built sim. I really enjoy all your videos and am learning a lot about today’s possibilities for realistic home flight simulation in preparation. We have to start small and build up over time. Thank you for your willingness to share what you’ve learned!

      1. Thanks!
        I can’t wait to get started. Our basic flight controllers will be on a desk till we make some decisions about the equipment we want to buy and build configurations. It could be a really fun project for us, and we want to put our experiences on YouTube as well. I do have a couple of questions about the sim configuration you have:

        1- I think you said you were using an old iPad 4 for the 6 basic flight gauges. What size screen and what OS are you running? Air manager on the apple store says it requires OS 9 minimum, and I’m not sure I can get a used older iPad that is still compatible with that later OS.

        Side note: I wonder if it would be possible to use a micro “computer stick” with a slightly larger, used wide monitor. (Do you know of any cases like that?) Thus I could get the engine & nav gauges on this screen using air manager 3.0, It would be a lot cheaper to getting the 3 Saitek FIP’s, and allow for more configurations, but not sure if it would fit on the panel yet. There are always trade offs isn’t there!

        2- You probably get this question all the time, but the 32″ 1080p TVs seem to be just resting the bottom of the flat screen panel directly on the wood frame instead of using the tv stand, is that correct? From the drawing it looks like it would have to be resting directly on the 2 short 2×4 vertical studs on each side. (FYI- I’m having trouble finding 1080p tvs in that size, they all seem to be 720p)

        I know you are holding them in place with the coroplast panels, but resting them on the panel is concerning to me because TV’s are not really designed to take the load in that location and you could eventually wind up with a crack in the glass or damaged pixels over time.

        3- What is ‘leatherette’ and “mauldrin” (the panel interior fabric)? I went to Joann’s fabrics and all I could find was brown and beige polyvinyl simulated leather. I know nothing about fabrics! Also, what did you use for the trim on the windows?

        Thanks for your help!

  15. Peter…
    I’m using Air Manager 3 for my gauges, but with an On-Lap 13″ IPS LCD (model 1303i). All eight gauges fit very nicely. The monitor is touch enabled if you like that sort of thing. The downside is that it is larger than the iPad. This particular display has a one inch bezel and I had to make some compromises to get it to fit next to the radio stack (Saitek) with clearance for cables while not being too far to the left or forcing the yoke down (very much). In fact, the upper left corner protrudes into the glare shield foam. A full scale layout is needed.

    I don’t care for touchscreen adjustments of heading, obs, etc. You can map keyboard keys for that but knobs are nicer. Fortunately there are plenty. If you are using Saitek radios, there are the two left displays when in the Xpdr position. If you have the Saitek autopilot, both hdg and crs (OBS) can be adjusted there. I have 4 fips, which means 8 more knobs available. The fip to the left of the gauges currently has knobs for dg drift and for baro. The one below the radio stack has obs1 and obs2. All the programming is via

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