Becoming a pilot is a wish that many people have. Being able to navigate through the sky while flying a jet is definitely worth considering.
But what is the best way you can actually do this – without having to own a plane yourself?
Welcome to the world of flight simulators – or flight simulator seats. These products are designed to match your fantasies and give you a near real-life experience which is very similar to flying an actual plane.
So, here are the best flight simulator seats & cockpit in 2019 :
- Playseat Flight Seat
- GTR Flight Simulator System – CRJ Model With Adjustable Seat
- Stempilot Pilot Pro 3 Triple Screens + Flight Simulator
- Volair Sim Universal Flight Or Racing Simulation Cockpit Chassis + 3 Monitor Mounts
- DOF Reality Full Motion Simulator Platform H2
- Guangzhou LG Fiberglass Seat 4DOF Motion Platform Flight Simulator For Sale
- CNF Simulators For A320, B737, C172 And Other Jets
- ALSIM AL42 Flight Simulator
What Is A Flight Simulator?
For all of you who don’t know, a flight simulator is a virtual reality system that is capable of simulating the environment of a flying machine for a pilot. Flight simulator seats 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 as well as design and develop new aircrafts. Whether you are looking to practice navigating an aircraft or just want to test your skills and maintain proficiency in handling airplane operation, a simple flight simulator seat is the best option for your needs.
What Does A Flight Simulator Seat Look Like?
To be honest with you, I did not know what would a flight simulator look like before I decided to do some research. What I saw really impressed me and allowed me to dive deeper into the world of the best flight simulator seats, which is the main topic of this article.
Basically, a simple flight simulator system consists of several displays, control devices, an audio system for communications as well as a computer system that processes all of the control inputs and records flight data.
So no, this is not a typical or too simple seat with a couple of features. Instead, the best flight simulators are actual systems which process data and are complex on their own.
In most of the cases, overall effectiveness and training efficiency are the main reasons behind using flight simulators as training devices. Novice pilots can experience the flight environment but also learn from mistakes without any risks – just like beginners can learn everything about flying an aircraft.
When you realize it, flight simulator seats are the best way to learn how to become a pilot – and the most cost-effective training solution which saves crew time, fuel and maintenance of the real aircraft.
Today, we are listing the ten best flight simulator seats on the market – giving you every feature you need to know about each of them.
How To Choose A Flight Simulator Seat?
If you are like me when I started researching these flight simulator seats, you probably don’t know a thing about them.
But don’t worry – in this section, I am listing everything that you have to know when choosing a flight simulator seat.
For more than ten years, the flight simulation technology has been evolving and improving the gaming experience both at home and in official flight simulation centers. It has also created a reliable training device for many pilots and gamers.
There are a lot of players who are interested in getting a flight simulator for their home use (recreational) as well as companies that offer flight simulation trainings and official training center. If you are new to this and want the best product for your needs, the following tips are among the most essential factors when choosing a flight simulation seat.
When choosing the best flight simulator for your needs, you should know that price is a big priority. More importantly, you need to consider all the different price points and the different vendors out there. Generally speaking, there are three different types of flight simulators on the market including:
- Amateur flight simulator seats ($500-$1,000) – These basically include flight simulator seats without all the technology and platforms that you need and without monitors, controllers and other tools. They are mainly seats with pre-drilled attachments for add-ons of your choice.
- Semi-professional flight simulator seats ($1,000-$3,000) – The semi professional flight simulators come with more advanced features and are products of higher quality. In most of the cases, these include a technology and platform that is built-in with the system but are not designed to be exact replicas of an aircraft.
- Professional flight simulator seats ($3,000 and more) – If you want a professional flight simulator platform, this category is what you should consider. These platforms comply with all the rules and are specifically designed to match the interior, control units and everything else just like in an actual aircraft or specific aircraft model (Boeing 737, Airbus A320 etc.)
Even though the price point may not always be within these borders, it is important to know the type of flight simulator that you are considering for your use.
Your flight simulator needs to depend on the features and characteristics of the product that you choose. The important thing to do here is to choose the best features that will enhance the great performance of the flight simulator system that you are planning to buy.
For instance, you can choose a flight simulator from a reputable company which is known for producing high quality products. However, the specifications that you need to focus on here include:
- Simplicity – If you are not that advanced when it comes to flight simulation, make sure to buy a flight simulator that has simple controls and can properly guide you in that world. Alternatively, if you need a flight simulator in order to pass a specific test, make sure it is complicated enough and familiar to you and your requirements.
- Compliance – See whether the product complies with the rules and requirements.
- Controllers – See if your flight simulator has all the controls and control units built-in.
- Graphics – Check out how complex are the graphics and how detailed the flight simulation is.
- Ease of playing – This is also important, especially if you want the best flight simulator or just a gaming device for entertainment.
After you choose a flight simulator for your needs, you need to make sure that you are taking the right approach when using it. Most importantly, you need to have an objective with all the performance standards and a way to evaluate your flying performance.
I know that you want to have fun while flying your simulator…But if you really want to improve your flying and want to pass a test in the future, do it deliberately and consult with professionals about the things you need to focus on or keep a training log with the right questions during each training session.
A properly configured simulator is very valuable for your learning curve, as well as your general understanding of the aircraft’s structure, checklists and instrument board. For more details on this important consideration, make sure to read this article written from an experienced flight instructor.
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.
Best Flight Simulator Seats – Full Reviews & Product Information
In the list below, we are starting with the cheaper and least complicated flight simulator seats and systems – building up the features to arrive to the best rated and most popular models.
We are dividing the best flight simulators into two categories:
- Flight simulator seats (seats only)
- Flight simulator systems (complete systems which come as seats plus built-in systems for flight simulation)
So, tune in and discover all of the best flight simulators that money can buy right now.
The 8 Best Flight Simulator Seats And Systems
Before we start listing the best flight simulator systems which are practically an all-in-one solution comprising of a seat, a platform and a flight simulation game, let’s start with the basics.
In this list, we are reviewing both the best flight simulator seats – as well as the best flight simulation platforms which come with full setup. Again, it is important to stress that each product is different in terms of their setup which is why you need to refer to our guide on “How to choose a flight simulator seat” shared above.
So, let’s begin.
This is a professional quality flight simulator seat that is comfortable and has a dynamic fighter plane design. I personally had the chance to sit on it and can say nothing negative about it.
Compatible with PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360 and WiiU gaming consoles and PCs, the Playseat Flight seat offers uniquely positioned steering wheel column which lets you control everything from one place.
The fact that it is compatible with most of the electronic flight sticks throttle and yoke sets on the market makes it stable and gives it many extra points. The steering wheel plate is centered and fully adjustable in depth.
One great thing I noticed about this flight simulator seat is the fingertip-controlled reclining mechanism that allows the back seat to be adjusted to the desired driving position. This is an exceptional feature which makes the Playseat Flight Seat a top model and gives it a lot of bonus points for comfort and support.
The Playseat flight simulator seat can withstand gamers that weight up to 270 pounds, while the product itself weighs only 50 pounds. It can fit bulky people with a waist size of up to 42-inches. Extra strong yet lightweight, the powder coated tubular steel reclining seat frame is what makes this flight simulator perfect from many angles.
They say that at 30,000 feet, freedom is all that you can see. As a flight simulator manufacturer, GTR knows this and has built a relatively affordable flight simulator which everyone can use.
As the company says, there are a lot of reasons why this model is impressive. It all begins with seat comfort, stability, reliability and value – as well as the peace of mind that you are getting if you consider buying the GTR Flight Simulator at this affordable price.
Even though the company advertises this flight simulator seat as almost perfect in every manner – from its complete flight deck to the familiarity in controls and ease of pilot operations – not everything is that bright. I had a chance to see the GTR Flight Simulator and sit in the chair while playing with the controls.
What I found was nothing but a cheap-looking seat which really has some good features. However, my GTR CRJ flight simulator review is that this brand wants to build serious flight simulators but cannot do that because of the price they want to establish their products at. Simply put, you cannot get a good flight simulator seat for less than $100, right?
However, there are also some positive reasons – which are also reasons why the GTR CRJ flight simulator seat deserves a place on this list. The main one of them is the fact that there is literally no cheap flight simulator system and this brand is looking to change that. Also, the (three) monitors work great, the controls are nice and the system is quite realistic in general.
So, the best way to describe the GTR Flight Simulator Seat is as a product that is cheap, affordable and pretty neat to be used as a simulation system. However, if you are looking for a serious product that will help you test your aircraft navigating skills, it is not the one you need.
The manufacturer describes this model as one that is designed for professionals and serious simulation enthusiasts. And even though it does not look like the most professional flight simulator seat on the market, it definitely offers some great features.
To begin with, the angle between the seat and the monitors and the distance adjustability plus pedal angle offer a lot of comfort. There is a distance that is obviously adjustable and the seat offers everything within one place.
On top of this, the Stempilot Pilot Pro 3 flight simulation seat is built with rigidity and quality. The system features a 90 inch Panoramic Outside/Forward View that is displayed across 3 x 32 inch HD screens. But this is not the end of displays – the manufacturer also built a 22inch Instrument/Cockpit display as well as mounted flight controls (Yoke, Throttle Quad and Rudder Pedals). There is a 6 speaker Surround Sound system which is the cherry on the cake.
All of this makes Stempilot a serious contender for the best flight simulation system out there. With eleven custom simulation missions, the set is ready to fly on an Intel Core i5 Windows 7/10 PC with a 4GB Video Card (as the minimum requirements). It is durable, comfortable and fully adjustable which again, is what makes it complete from many ways.
I have a friend who was looking for a flight simulator seat for a lot of time. He wanted to use it for multiple occasions, both as a racing and as a VR flight simulation system. Once he saw the Volair Sim Universal Flight/Racing cockpit, he knew it was the exact set up that he needed.
Ergonomic, solid and fully adjustable, this setup is easy to assemble. The pedals fit perfectly and the flight simulation system is fully adjustable to tons of other add-ons. From what he said, you can literally play Xbox and PlayStation on it too!
The Volair Sim Universal simulation system can be used for both flight and racing simulation games and programs. It offers a durable steel frame with an adjustable genuine racing seat. The armrests are optional and sold separately – just like the monitors – as the system includes only monitor mounts.
There are dual left and right yoke and shifter mounts that are pre-drilled for Saitek throttle quadrants. The system supports Saitek throttle quadrant(s), trim wheel, Saitek X-52 and X-56, Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog, Logitech G27 shifter, or Fanatec ClubSport shifter SQ.
The yoke and steering wheel, as well as avionics, are pre-drilled for the racing wheels and are adjustable articulated. There is a keyboard and mouse tray too, as well as a center stick mount that is pre-drilled for Saitek X-52, Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog, and an adjustable rudder/racing pedal base pre-drilled for Logitech G27/G29/G920 racing pedals or Fanatec ClubSport Pedals.
The only disadvantage (as my friend said) about this flight simulator system is the lack of channels to route cables or places to mount a powerstrip or USB adaptors. However, even this is not that big of a deal considering all of the benefits this flight simulator has to offer.
If you are looking for the ultimate cockpit experience just like in a pilot cabin, the DOF Reality Full Motion Simulator Platform H2 is an obvious choice. Sophisticated, elegant, modern and with tons of technology and features, it is a system that sets the bar higher compared to others.
I found this when looking at some of the best YouTube videos illustrating the system. But what really fascinates me is the fact that the entire seat is moving while you are simulating a flight.
Unlike the competition, this model really emerges you in the flight (or racing) experience, all while being ultra quiet and very compact with no need for dedicating a room or garage specifically for it.
And the best part?
The DOF reality works with PC and consoles and more than 100 PC and console games. It can be compatible to VR games too. Coming at a relatively high price, this is the system you need for an elevated flight simulation experience.
So all in all, the DOF Reality Full Motion Simulator for flights gives you a real full motion with every angle. Adjustable, comfortable, modern and packing tons of technology, it is one of the very few systems that have motion-like features in every element. You can literally feel every inch of a plane – even though you are in your room simulating a flight!
Obviously, the only model better than the DOF Reality H2 and with more features (than the one-and-only features found in the H2) – is the DOF Reality H3.
Trust me, I investigated a lot and read tons of reviews. However, DOF Reality is really a flight simulation brand that goes the extra mile to provide something new and something more professional in every possible way.
Aside from the price of this model (and the H2, too), there is nothing that matches their features. The DOF Reality H3 flight simulator comes with three-dimensional movements (pitch, roll and rear traction loss/yaw), making you feel the goosebumps just like you are in an aircraft cabin!
Not only the seat moves… The entire platform does! From the steering wheel to the joystick and pedals, you can literally hear no sound but immerse yourself in the full motion experience.
So, the DOF Reality H3 is the obvious winner in this category – and a flight simulator that has it all – and has a lot more than the other competitors on the market.
Developed and manufactured in China, this virtual reality (VR) system is a new type of flight simulation which involves different motions of racing but offers a fully immersive experience of racing in vision, too.
With the 4DOF motion platform, movements such as climb, dive, tilt, turn, drop, vibrate and others can all be simulated – resulting in an experience that is very close to reality. Through interaction, full cockpit control, audio and voice simulation, you can literally simulate flying an actual aircraft.
By combining 3D technology and computer control, this system simulates an environment that takes in account all of the senses including seeing, hearing and even smelling. Other things to note about the product is that it is controlled by the servo driver and simulates all kinds of movement within the game.
With a lot of in-built flying modes and different options, it is fully CE certified and the seat is designed according to the 1:1 ratio of a real flight simulation seat.
Another company that is proficient and specializes in flight simulator platforms is CNTech. This company builds different cockpit and turn-key simulator solutions which mimic the real cabin in an aircraft.
Most importantly, there are different flight simulation platforms for different aircraft models. In that manner, CNF Tech offers flight simulator platforms for the A320 aircraft, a Boeing 737 flight simulation platform, C173 flight simulator and other models.
As the website of the manufacturer notes, it offers pre type-rating training, SOP (standard operation procedure) training, JOC (jet orientation course) training, IR (instrument rating) training, PBN (RNAV/RNP) training, abnormal/emergency procedure training, CRM (crew resource management) training and other individual training options for both flight simulation and entertainment use.
Built as single or with three-channel cylindrical visual, the flight simulator platforms by CNF are high rated and industry-leading. They feature 5 LCD screens with 4K technology and are built exactly as the replicas of actual aircrafts. In this manner, these are the most serious flight simulator platforms out there.
ALSIM is a company that manufactures and sells FSTD which are systems that are specifically designed for pilot training. The company guarantees offering the best services, adapted developments and continuous trainings all in order to maintain the operators independence with the simulator and ensure proper functioning.
There are multiple flight models, advanced turn-key solutions and solutions that fit your flight simulation needs. However, the ALSIM AL42 flight simulator is the most popular one – designed to stick to reality and comply with all the IR requirements. The flight simulation platform is an exact copy of the aircraft, enabling every student to become familiar with the Diamond DA42 behavior patterns, procedures and systems.
Just like the previous model that we described, ALSIM’s AL42 flight simulator is the exact copy of an aircraft with 2 seat cockpits that are an exact replica of the DA42 aircraft cockpit. There is a 3 axis force feedback too, with Garmin 1000 navigation system and five loudspeakers.
Thanks to the easy access to all technical and visual data, the flight simulation can be easily overseen by an instructor during the entire training course. This flight simulator is designed to comply to all the rules in flight simulation and can be used as an official simulator making the transition to the aircraft seamless.
Whether you want to learn how to fly or just want to take an aircraft for a spin in an all-virtual experience, flight simulators are a great way to start.
As you could see from what is reviewed above, there are two main groups: flight simulator seats with no equipment (everything needs to be purchased) and flight simulator platforms which come with everything in place. It is up to you to review the prices and consider the features before making a decision.
The best thing about these products is the fact that you can use all of them as racing simulators too. This means that besides planes, you can immerse into racing experiences as well and get the best car racing games.
So, when you see it, you get a 2-in-1 product that guarantees fun and excitement!
We hope that this review helped you make a decision and get the best flight simulator system for your needs!
Until next time!