Becoming a pilot is a dream many people have. There’s nothing more thrilling than navigating the skies from 30,000 feet without a care in the world.
Is there any way to do this without owning a plane yourself?
Welcome to the world of flight simulators – or flight simulator seats. These products are designed to make dreams come true and give you an experience very similar to flying an actual plane.
Table of Contents
|Playseat Trophy - Logitech G Edition Sim Racing...||$599.00||Buy on Amazon|
Our TOP 8
|Next Level Racing NLR-S030 Flight Simulator Seat||$399.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Next Level Racing F-GT Racing Simulator Cockpit....||$549.99 $484.49||Buy on Amazon|
|Next Level Racing F-GT Lite Formula and GT...||$329.99 $299.99||Buy on Amazon|
|SimFab Modular Flight Simulator Pit For Combat...||$549.00||Buy on Amazon|
|Volair Sim Universal Flight or Racing Simulation...||$795.00||Buy on Amazon|
|Minneer Flight Simulator Cockpit with Seat...||$400.50||Buy on Amazon|
|Dardoo Flight Simulator Cockpit RealSeat...||$391.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Playseat Challenge Black||$269.99 $214.99||Buy on Amazon|
Best Flight Simulator Seats and Cockpits at a Glance:
- Next Level Racing NLR-S030 Flight Simulator Seat
- Next Level Racing F-GT Racing Simulator Cockpit
- Next Level Racing F-GT Lite
- SimFab Modular Flight Simulator Pit For Combat Simulation
- Volair Sim Universal Flight or Racing Simulation Cockpit
- Minneer Racing G29/X52 Flight Simulator Cockpit
- Dardoo Flight Simulator Cockpit
- Playseat Challenge Black
What Is A Flight Simulator?
In case you’re unaware, a flight simulator is a virtual reality system capable of mimicking at least to some degree an actual cockpit. The realness factor tends to increase the more money you spend. Flight simulators are commonly used for pilot training or for recreation and gaming.
Aside from this, the best flight simulators are used to research aircraft characteristics, simulate actual flights, and help design and develop new aircraft. Whether you are looking to practice navigating an aircraft or just want to see what flying is like, a simple flight simulator seat or cockpit can meet your needs.
What Does A Flight Simulator Seat Look Like?
Flight simulators are more than just your typical gaming chair. When it comes to seats, these special designs carve away material for central joysticks and are shaped like something you’d find in an actual airplane. It may or may not have features you’d expect a gaming chair to have, like a recline or rocking mechanism.
Cockpits you can purchase go one step further. These models have mounts for monitors, rudder pedals, and multiple joysticks/throttles you’ll need for a realistic flight simulation. Some even add areas for keyboards and mice so you never have to leave your seat to boot up or manipulate a game.
How To Choose A Flight Simulator Seat?
You may not know what to look for when picking out a new flight simulator, but we’ve got you covered. Keep the following in mind as you research and read through our tip recommendations below:
It goes without saying that price is a major factor when picking out a flight simulator. We’re covering many of the entry-level to midrange models in our guide for gamers looking to take to the skies for the first time.
You can get away with spending a bit less if a chair is all you need. True flight chairs will have room for a joystick, and you can use a desk for your other equipment and display.
Cockpits will start at around $300 and run up to $3,000 or more for a fully immersive experience. You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of mounts vs. cost as you pick out the product that works best for you.
Your flight simulator should have all the features you’re looking for in an aerial experience. Consider the following before making a purchase:
Quality is essential if you want your simulator to last. Unfortunately, not all chairs or cockpits are made the same. I’d recommend only buying from reputable companies like the ones we have on this list.
Check to see that the simulator you’re checking out is compatible with all your gear. After all, there’s no reason to go out and buy all new equipment if you already have a joystick or throttle you love to use.
Consider how much space your flight simulator could take up in your home. Some setups get quite large once you consider the length from monitor to chair.
You’ll also want to look at the chair’s height and weight requirements. Some cockpits end up a little cramped once all your gear’s in place. Make sure your legs have room to reach the pedals and the chair supports your weight.
Don’t forget comfort when making a flight simulator selection. It’s not going to be enjoyable if the setup has everything you need but is too uncomfortable to use for more than an hour or two at a time.
Now that you know what you should be searching for when buying a flight simulator seat, it’s time to list some of the best products on the market.
Types of Flight Simulators
Flight simulators typically fall into one of two categories:
Flight simulator seats: These are seat-only models designed to at least somewhat resemble sitting in an airplane. You can pair these seats with monitors, stands, and other accessories to add to the overall experience.
Flight simulator cockpits: Cockpits are complete systems with seats and other built-in features to simulate flight. You usually still have to add your joystick and monitor to the existing frame to complete the setup.
The 8 Best Flight Simulator Seats And Cockpits
Without further ado, here are the eight best flight simulator seats and cockpits you can pick up right now:
Next Level Racing NLR-S030 Flight Simulator Seat
Next Level Racing is no stranger to engineering flight solutions. It’s provided cockpits for big names like Boeing, NASA, Bristol University’s Department of Aerospace Engineering, and many more. The company has 15 patents on these original designs.
We have access to one of the top flight simulator seats as a result, and what a chair it is. You’ll have no issue covering those long-haul trips thanks to ergonomic seating and excellent cushion support. Double recliner levers and seat sliders help lock you in position quickly so you can take off.
If you’re in fighter mode, the NLR-S030 supports military configurations on top of commercial ones. There’s a cutout in the seat for a joystick mount to boost the realistic feel that much more.
The crew at Next Level Racing designed their flight simulator seat to be as versatile as possible. There’s seamless integration with all of Next Level Racing’s cockpits for different preferences and budgets. The seat itself is surprisingly affordable.
Versatility extends to all sorts of third-party solutions, including throttles and joysticks. There’s a very good chance you’ll be able to drop in and use your current setup with little to no headache.
Chances are your body type will work with the chair also. It supports heights from 4’ to 6’9” and the max weight caps out at 330 lbs. The chair itself only comes in at 37 pounds for easy portability.
Next Level Racing F-GT Racing Simulator Cockpit
|Next Level Racing F-GT Racing Simulator Cockpit....||$549.99 $484.49||Buy on Amazon|
The F-GT is the first Next Level Racing cockpit to make our list. Toted as a racing simulator, it’s easy to drop in flight gear and take off.
This unique design has a dual-position chair to give you some seating options in the cockpit. You can set the chair in line with the pedals, or you can set the chair on a decline for more of a fighter pilot experience.
Unlike other cockpits, your chair comes with a lumbar support pillow to keep your lower back happy. The seat itself packs a thick foam cushion, so I tip my hat to the lengths Next Level put in regarding comfort. Hours can fly by when you’re not dealing with back pain.
Extras that are optional on most models actually come standard here. That includes throttle support, height adjustments, and a Buttkicker Gamer 2 adapter. At its price point, this is a really nice bonus.
Because it’s so rigid, the F-GT easily handles high-end pedals and your joystick for piloting aircraft. You can opt for a more authentic experience if your pocketbook can handle the cost of top-of-the-line gear.
Next Level gives you a ton of upgrade options as well. I’m talking everything from a floor mat for stability to a massive monitor stand to take in your surroundings.
Next Level Racing F-GT Lite
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly flight cockpit, look no further than the Next Level Racing F-GT Lite. It’s a more condensed version of the above model but still keeps many of the innovations that make the F-GT so nice.
You still have the flexibility to set up your rig in a more traditional format with your chair above the pedal board. When hopping into a jet fighter, lower the seat down for a more immersive flight. It takes seconds to switch between the two.
The seat’s intentionally made thin to allow for air to pass through. Having breathable material behind you helps keep your back cool and dry. The fabric stretches to accommodate different body types without compromising comfort.
Pre-drilled mounts serve as your focal points for all your gear. In addition to the pedals, there’s a central mount for a HOTAS joystick or yoke system and a side mount for a throttle. Not bad for what you’re paying.
Next Level gives you the option to upgrade your setup as needed. You can add mounts for a keyboard/mouse or even purchase a movable monitor stand.
Speaking of movable, it’s possible to pick up the whole F-GT Lite setup and store it away with a few swift motions. It won’t take up space in your gaming room when not in use, and you can set it back up in seconds when you’re ready to fly.
SimFab Modular Flight Simulator Pit For Combat Simulation
SimFab is a company known for flight simulation cockpits. Its products are designed to replicate real aircraft layouts so you feel like you’re really flying. Founded in 2010, SimFab has been able to really hone its craft over time.
This particular kit is clearly made with aviation in mind. You’ll find all the mounting hardware and tools needed to attach your favorite gear to build out your cockpit. The crew wires the chassis specifically with center or side mount sticks to mimic your flight style.
Speaking of gear, SimFab’s cockpit is compatible with all established brands and the majority of the flight components you’ll find out there. Certain add-ons do require the purchase of a size mount kit not included in the base model. At the time of writing, there are 13 add-on modules to choose from.
You’ll find comfort here just as much a priority as getting flight right. The included chair is super comfortable thanks to full foam. No need to get up and work out the kinks during those long hauls. There’s a removable foam insert for a center-mounted stick.
With SimFab, you’re not stuck with some rudimentary color. This cockpit has five vibrant colors to choose from in addition to a traditional black if you don’t want your setup to stand out.
Volair Sim Universal Flight or Racing Simulation Cockpit
|Volair Sim Universal Flight or Racing Simulation...||$795.00||Buy on Amazon|
Volair was founded in 2012 and specializes in flight and racing cockpits for simulator use. The team wasn’t happy with current offerings and set up to make the most realistic setups available. Today, its products appear all over to train pilots and racers while giving flight enthusiasts a chance to experience aviation without ever leaving the ground.
One of the most notable features for me right out of the gate are the three mounts for TVs or computer monitors. Each one can hold displays from 19” to 32” to give the illusion you’re actually looking out of a cockpit.
All the mounts have pre-drilled holes and are ready for your flight gear. This makes your initial setup a breeze so you can be in the air faster than some competitor models. Chances are your current equipment will work seamlessly with Volair’s chassis thanks to its universal design.
You’ve got the foot panel for setting up pedals and two brackets on either side for side-mount joysticks. There’s a center mount for a control stick there too depending on the game and your play style. This center mount is in front of the chair and doesn’t cut away chair fabric to fit.
The chair is black with an internal steel frame supporting gamers up to 260 lbs. Anyone 4’ to 6.5’ should fit comfortably in the setup. There’s even a built-in recline feature. Armrests are available but sold separately.
Minneer Racing G29/X52 Flight Simulator Cockpit
Minneer is another racing cockpit manufacturer delving into flight simulators. It’s been around since 2018, with the G29/X52 serving as its flagship product.
Out of the gate, I can tell you the cockpit’s built for quality. It uses 40mm steel tubes for the frame instead of the thinner material others use. Because of this, the cockpit can support up to 400 lbs. While the actual footprint is about the same, it ships in three different boxes!
Adjustability is another key feature of this setup. You can move around the pedals, joysticks, and even keyboards to match your position in the chair. The chair itself is stationary, and these other components move around it. It is possible to change the chair’s recline.
Your best bet for electronic components are Logitech or Thrustmaster. Mineer had these brands in mind when setting holes for installation. I’m sure other products are supported, but I haven’t tested that myself.
The cool thing about this cockpit is that it’s pretty easy to convert into a racing simulator as well. You can repurpose the joystick mounts for a shifter and the keyboard stand houses the wheel. This saves from having to buy another large setup for your home.
There’s no getting away from a red seat, which is interesting considering all the other flexibility. Just plan accordingly when setting up your gaming suite.
Dardoo Flight Simulator Cockpit
Dardoo enters the fray with a flight-inspired cockpit of their own. It stands out for some notable reasons.
It’s made with durability in mind, which shines through thanks to steel alloy materials and a square frame. Gamers up to 450 lbs can use the chair without threatening its functionality. The product’s weight comes in at almost 100 lbs, but it’s not tipping over or going anywhere.
You’re stuck with a red seat, but even here you’ve got some nice improvements. The most notable are cushions for both the head and lower back to kick comfort up a notch. I’ve not seen another flight simulator with a neck pillow.
The pedals and center console are adjustable depending on how you want to fly. Either one can be moved from 0° to 30° for switching from commercial airlines to your fighter.
There are two side mounts for joysticks or a throttle alongside the center console. That central mount works for a yoke stick or a keyboard, and there are additional slots for other gear you may have. The only thing this setup doesn’t have is a mount for your monitor.
This is great news because pretty much any gear you already have in your current flight simulator setup will drop right in place here. You can use the equipment you already have and purchase more to fill out your cockpit that much more.
Playseat Challenge ActiFit
The Playseat Challenge is another budget-friendly chair on our list, but it still packs a punch for what it can do. Admittedly built for racing, it’s quite easy to set the Challenge up for flight sims as well.
There are a few big wins for this cockpit. It uses vertical microfibers to keep air moving through the chair. The backrest is porous, and this design helps keep you cool during long flights where others leave pockets of sweat.
You’ve also got the bonus of portability. The Challenge folds up like a folding chair and can be tucked away into a closet or in a narrow space when not in use. At 20 lbs, it’s easy to relocate. When it’s time to game again, it takes mere moments to set back up.
For a rather simple design, there are a lot of adjustment points. The pedal mount and center mount move in and out for longer arms and legs.
Flight enthusiasts can use that center console for controls. You won’t find areas for side joysticks some gamers might like for a fighter simulator. These mounts are compatible with all the big-name equipment manufacturers, so plan on using the gear you already have.
Despite being somewhat simplistic, the Challenge offers a sturdy design. It’s strong enough to handle gamers up to 269 lbs and accommodate anyone four feet tall or higher.
Whether you want to learn how to fly or just want to take an aircraft for a spin in a virtual experience, flight simulators are a great way to start.
Most of your options are self-contained cockpits with mounts to place your gear on. There are a few simulator seats with no equipment out there too, if you want to keep using a table for your controls. You’ll have to decide which makes the most sense for your gaming room and existing setup.
The cool thing about these products is the fact that, for the most part, you can use all of them as racing simulators too. This means that besides planes, you can immerse yourself in racing experiences as well.
Remember price, specifications, and comfort as you check all available options. We believe any of the flight simulators on this list could work wonders for you. Happy flying!
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