Don’s Flight Sim

2 trailer balls

Starting with the purchase of a Flight simulation program, (I chose Microsoft Flight Simulator).

I attached my newly purchased yoke to a desktop.Then with one monitor and a rather old computer I started “flying”.

As time went by I realized that if I could build a motion platform, the flying experience would be significantly enhanced.

So I bought some lengths of 1 1/2″ thin-walled box steel at a nearby metal yard and cut and welded them until I had my first platform.


That’s when I found SimCraft on the web and purchased three actuators, along with the control box, motion program (CraftCon) and the license to use the program.  (3 DOF Motion System)

It worked fine. I used a couple of trailer hitches and balls as well as some wheels welded to the bottom of the frame to allow for the motion.

I wanted to enclose the cockpit to create a more real experience so I put together a box made from 1/4″ plywood panels (photo 2).

This setup worked pretty well but I still wanted to make the experience closer to actually sitting in an airplane cockpit and flying it.

Cessna 210K Instrument View

Then one day my flight instructor (I also fly a real Cessna 172 on some weekends) called to say that he had seen a Cessna cockpit for sale and asked if I was interested.

The Cessna 310K had been in an accident and did a forced landing in a field.  The insurance company totaled it and a salvage company had purchased the airplane.

I couldn’t believe that I bought the entire cockpit (stripped of the instruments) for $300, which included the finished interior, two seats, both yokes and rudder pedals as well as the instrument panels (photo 3).

Cessna 310K

I hauled it home to my garage where I cut it to a size that would fit into my hobby room.I suspended the cockpit from the ceiling rafters and built a motion platform under it.

I soon realized that the new setup was somewhat too heavy for the actuators I had been using so I called Sean at SimCraft and ask if he had any suggestions.

He said that they had been testing some new heavy-duty actuators that put out 350 pounds of thrust but they were still in testing.  (High Force Actuators)  I told him I would like to purchase three of them and would work with him on the motion integration program.

We worked together (over the web) for a few days as he tweaked the program until we were both happy with the physics of the motion integration.

305K in my garage (1)

These new actuators have no trouble moving the cockpit and two adults through the motion necessary to provide a realistic flight experience.

And Sean has been great at returning phone calls and emails.He has taken control of my computer a few times in order to fix something I have screwed up.

If your readers want more details of my building plans they may contact me at

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