A dad’s flight of fancy carried him away when he decided to build a full-size Boeing 737 flight simulator in his son’s bedroom.
Laurent Aigon wanted to give his son the perfect gift, but could not find a simulator to buy, so went ahead and ordered the parts of what turned out to be a giant model plane kit.
What’s more, Aigon was flying blind on the project as he has no background as a pilot or engineer – he’s a waiter who admits a less than sensational record in science – or any other subject – at school.
The cockpit simulator is fully operational.
Aigon could hardly keep his plan under wraps for his son as a surprise, as the simulator takes up much of the spare space in his bedroom.
Flight of fancy
Every cloud has a silver lining, though, as the project has prompted Aigon to go on a five-year course to qualify as a professional cockpit simulator designer.
Aigon is not the only dad who has got carried away with a flight project for his son.
Daniel Sherrouse built a spaceship simulator for his 12-month old son, aptly named Noah, so he could travel the universe before he could walk.
Space was really the final frontier for Sherrouse, because he had no room for the massive simulator in the house, so had to build the contraption in his back yard.
The simulator is linked in to the videogame Pioneer: A Game of Lonely Space Adventure to give a realistic view of stars and planets beyond the solar system.
“I can only hope that the simulator will provoke a lifetime love of science and adventure for my son,” said Sherrouse.
“I thought about the simulator while my wife was pregnant. I hope he grows along with the opportunities the simulator can provide whatever career he chooses.”
How to build a flight sim
Strangely, building full size cockpit simulators at home does not seem to be that unusual.
A search on the web returns hundreds of videos, books and stores selling the parts.
Software giant Microsoft, famous for flight simulation software to run on home computers, even has a 15-page ‘how-to’ manual with the basic instructions for constructing a simulator with parts from electrical and DIY stores.
The steps involve building the simulator, installing the simulator switches and controls and then linking them to a computer running the flight simulation software.
For more information, Microsoft’s Build Your Own Sim Cockpit is a take-off point.