Flight enthusiast Matthew Sheil has built a 747-400 flight simulator in his Sydney warehouse that can stand up to any $40 million training version—and he did it for under $200,000.
Thanks to 45 different software programs running on 14 different computers, the simulator allows Sheil to fly to and from 27,000 different airports around the world with breathtaking realism.
Sheil is part of a growing network of enthusiasts from around the globe that serve as pilots and air traffic controllers in a virtual word. This network is amazingly complex:
In Sheil's simulator, computer screens replace the windows and if he is flying in the virtual world behind a person in Melbourne, and they are using a Qantas 767, "we actually see a Qantas 767 out the window - the software puts it in there for us - and he sees us".
Moreover, if Sheil flies through Russia, he is greeted by a volunteer Russian air traffic controller. Cars can be seen on the road when he comes in to land and people wave at him from the terminals.
What's even more amazing is that he managed to build the simulator for around $300,000 AUD (around $197,000 US) whereas professional training simulators can cost upwards of $40 million. This was made possible largely through donated parts given to Sheil because of his charity work. In return, all of the money he earns renting out the simulator is donated to the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). Still, this remarkable feat earned him the Guinness record for the "world's most expensive home flight simulator" (because Guinness will give out records for anything nowadays). As far as the cheapest is concerned, it would be hard to beat the $30,000 bedroom 747 simulator in terms of value. [SMH via Fark]