Today's flight and space flight simulators are very good. They can run on any modern gaming PC and have physics engines capable of mirroring the real world almost exactly. But all of that accuracy goes to waste when you're controlling the action with a regular game pad or — heaven forbid — a keyboard and mouse. To get full immersion and live out your dog fighting dreams, you'll want something a little more advanced. If you need some inspiration, check out Primary Buffer Panel v2 by Beko Pharm.
Primary Buffer Panel v2 is a ridiculously detailed DIY cockpit that is perfect for flight and space sims. It isn't a replica of any real aircraft's cockpit, because Beko Pharm uses it for a variety of simulation games—many of which are sci-fi "space pew pew" games with fictional spacecraft. Instead, this cockpit is a sort of conglomeration of many different designs and Beko Pharm's own creative imagination. It has a frankly absurd number of inputs, including lots of buttons, a joystick, and head tracking. It also has output (in addition to the computer's monitors) in the form of an LCD panel and dozens of status indicator lights.
Beko Pharm runs sims on a Linux PC, which introduces more challenges than one would encounter when developing a similar cockpit for a Windows PC. That led Beko Pharm to the creation of their own software pipeline that works with sims like Star Citizen, Elite Dangerous, X4: Foundations, and others. It uses a combination of Node-RED and Rust to pull data from the sims, like air speed, for the cockpit to display, then sends back data like button presses and joystick movement.
The physical cockpit interface uses an Arduino Mega board to control the LEDs and read button presses. Most of the illumination comes from WS2812B "NeoPixel" individually addressable RGB LEDs, whichcollectively only need a single data pin when strung together in a chain. Those all attach to a frame made of wood, with all of the wiring hidden away on the back and an old laptop LCD panel mounted in the center.
The result is a flight sim gamer's dream. Primary Buffer Panel v2 looks fantastic and has all the functionality one could want to zoom around the cosmos battling space pirates or hauling unobtainium.