Basic Basement Sim Dimensions

Hi everyone. The basement sim is starting to get a fair numbers of followers over on YouTube, and one of the common questions I’m getting is about the dimensions of the sim. I used Google Sketchup as a basic CAD program in the design, but made some modifications so the original Sketchup file isn’t ready for sharing. So today I just got out a ruler and made some measurements, and drew the attached. I hope it’s helpful to those thinking about building their own GA cockpit, and I’ll try to get the Sketchup file posted eventually.

Here’s the basic dimensions, all in INCHES. You may click this to make it larger or right-click to download it.

Basement Sim Dimensions


If you would like a PDF of this, you may download one here. And if you would like the real-world-sized PDF of the Cessna 172 panel that I used for the panel, you may download it here. I hope this helps.

Cessna 172 R Cabin Dimensions

When I was building the basement sim one of the challenges was finding real world cockpit dimensions on the Web. I happen to have a Cessna 172 R Pilot’s Operating Handbook with me, and here are the measurements from its weight and balance section in case they are of use to anyone. (Note that I built my sim to reflect a 182 cabin, which is a bit wider and taller than the 172.)

Reader Mail

Thanks to Tom Tsui’s post I’ve had an influx of new visitors and subscribers, and a few have sent in some questions about the sim. Here are three recent ones with my answers, and I’ve kept the senders anonymous.

After months of searching for the optimum sim, I found this video from a guy called… Liberty! and I really thought this was the best solution in terms of value for money. I found your website today and surprise surprise, you also followed Liberty’s design.

I was about to start designing it when I saw your site, so I could not resist sending u this email asking you a few questions:

1) Is this solution (proj + 2x Lcd) as immersive as shown in the videos??

2) How much space did you need?…eg front of instr panel to wall. I have serious room constraints :(.

3) How did you mount the heavy side LCDs on the frame?

If you have time to answer that would be greatly appreciated, otherwise well done- your sim looks great.

Thanks for your questions and the compliments! Yes, in the sim it is quite immersive, in fact when I’m using PilotEdge and talking with ATC it feels so much like being in an airplane it’s a bit amazing. The resolution on the projection screen is of course not as fine as the side monitors (even though they are all 1080p) given that the pixels are much larger, but it’s not something I really notice, and I’ve calibrated the screens so the colors match up well enough.

The sim fits in a pretty small space because I use an ultra-short-throw projector. The entire cockpit is only 58 inches deep, and it’s 62 inches from the back of the cockpit to the projection screen. The front of the glare shield / panel with the instruments is 18 inches from the projection screen. But it’s the ultra-short-throw projector that allows this, and it came with a price. But that was the only way for me to get the cockpit close enough to the screen to fill my field of vision.

The LCDs are actually really light. But just to be safe they sit on a 2×2 cross-beam in the side wall that is reinforced with a 2×4 beam beneath it, like this:


You can see pictures of that on the Construction Journey page, too.

Another reader asks:

hi I … live in the Uk and I liked you video and flight sim and wondered if you could let me have some info on it how you made it what materials used have already mode two Cessna and like the look of yours  if you could send me some pictures of the out side many thanks

Thanks for the email. The sim is really entirely made of simple 2×2 lumber (which actually measures 1.5 inches x 1.5 inches in the US) for the frame and a corrugated plastic for the walls. This link is, or is close to, the plastic I used:


You can see more of the frame and construction on the Construction Journey page, and here’s a picture of the outside:


On the inside I covered the walls with muslin on the top and top-sides and a brown leatherette on the bottom. The floor is remaindered carpet.

And finally, a reader asks:

I’ve recently purchased a vr insight cockpit and plan to build a 182 like yours one thing I’m concerned about is the frame rate droppage when you open up a second view is there A way around this with multiple views or is it a byproduct we have to deal with? Thank you

At least for me, it’s a byproduct I have to deal with. When I run only one screen my rig produces frame rates well over 80 fps, and that’s with extreme settings. With three windows open I get between 15 fps (which would be very low) to 50-60 fps, depending on scenery, autogen, weather, and air traffic. If I don’t run the GPS, which is a fourth window, they are about 10 fps higher. So there’s a good argument for getting the most powerful CPU and GPU you can get if you’re running three windows. I know some simmers use NVIDIA’s screen-spanning technology to stretch one window across multiple screens, but it doesn’t align the views well for me on my setup, and I don’t like how it stretches the image at the right and left edges of the view. So I run with three undocked full screen views.

Door Handles!

Door Handles!

Today I installed some new appointments for the basement sim: two authentic Cessna C172/182 door handles. One of the things I love about Flight Sim Liberty’s simulator is the touches that make it look so real, and I’ve been watching Ebay for some door handles since I started construction. They tend to be expensive (especially the metal ones), but I’ve been watching these two used rubberized handles for a while and finally the price was reasonable, so I pounced.

Photo May 01, 12 08 24 PM

I think they look great, especially with the door assist handles, and they actually rotate up and down (which is meaningless practically but fun nonetheless!).

Photo May 01, 12 08 52 PM

New Additions: Cessna Appointments

One of the things I’m trying to do with the basement sim is make it as immersive as possible as a general aviation aircraft without typing it too closely to one particular plane. It’s primarily modeled on a Cessna 182 (panel size and shape, cabin dimensions, etc.), and that’s the GA aircraft I fly most often in the simulator, but I also fly Pipers, Mooneys, and other aircraft, and want the interior to be general enough that I can do this without breaking the illusion.

All that said, it’s more C182 than anything else, and as I’ve been adding appointments to the cabin it’s been C182 stuff that I’ve been looking for. Last weekend I was able to add two new ones, and I think they turned out pretty cool.

The first is air vents. Cessna GA aircraft have air vents that stick out above the pilot / co-pilot foreheads at the top of the windshield (and that come out from the leading edge of the wing where it joins the cabin). Sometimes these look like little stovepipes (on older Cessnas), and more recently they are ball-and-socket vents. I was able to find two ball-and-socket vents from an actual aircraft on Ebay, and last weekend built small side panels so I could attach them to the cabin. I think they turned out really well. Here are some shots:




With the vents and C812 sun visors, I think the front of the sim is really starting to look like a real aircraft. It also smells a bit like old airplane, which I don’t mind at all.

Also last week I found on Ebay some C182 door assist handles. They match the tan color scheme, and while used, had new brackets so they look great. Here’s a shot of the one on the right side of the cabin:


From an appointment standpoint there’s really only one thing left to get, and that’s door handles. I’d like to get real ones from a C182 if I can. They pop up on Ebay sometimes, but the prices are often too high, or it’s one one handle instead of two, or they either black or silver but not a matching pair. So I’m just watching and waiting. In the meantime, sometimes I forget I’m not sitting in my basement, which is sort of the point!