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How to Build Your Own Airbus Home Flight Simulator Cockpit

563 views | By Hangar.Flights | Last updated on November 29, 2021

Flight simulator has always been a really popular topic on our Hangar.Flights website. We have previously written some extensive guides about building a home flight simulator cockpit, and more guides on flight simulator gear.

Lately, many great new pieces of flight sim hardware have been hitting the market, following the incredible success of Microsoft’s newest MS Flight Simulator edition. Honeycomb aeronautical is one of the companies who launched a stunning flight simulator and throttle quadrant recently. Thrustmaster has added some pretty cool products as well to their already amazing line of flight simulator hardware, until now mostly focused on military aviation.

How to Build Your Own Airbus Home Flight Simulator Cockpit

One of their most recent product lines is one we find particularly interesting and the first one to focus on civilian aviation. With the Thrustmaster TCA series, the company is offering Airbus replica-style hardware, such as the well-known Airbus sidestick, throttle quadrant and some additional hardware that makes it now possible to build your own Airbus home cockpit. These are all officially licensed by Airbus as 1:1 scale replicas based on the A320/A320neo types.

Imagine building your very own Airbus A3XX-series flight simulator cockpit at home – without spending tens of thousands of $$ on it! That’s exactly what we will be covering in the guide below, breaking down the different components you will need to create your very own (basic) Airbus home cockpit.

How to Build Your Own Airbus Home Flight Simulator Cockpit: The Gear

To build a home flight simulator cockpit, it’s important to have the right hardware, as we have discussed extensively in our other guide.

Having realistic hardware is the best way to enhance your flight simulator experience and make it as real as possible. Using replica hardware based on a real aircraft type is the way to go, since you are provided with all the same buttons and controls that are also present in the real aircraft.

The good news is that it’s becoming easier and easier to build your own simulator cockpit at home – hardware has become more affordable, allowing us to create a pretty realistic home flight simulator setup without spending too much money.

In this guide, we will be focussing on Thrustmaster’s new TCA product line, offering Airbus-replica cockpit controls that are perfect for building your own budget-friendly home Airbus cockpit.

Thrustmaster TCA Sidestick Airbus Edition

The most important control in any aircraft cockpit is the stick or yoke. Stick vs yoke has been a topic of hot debate for years among pilots, and it’s difficult to say which is better. Yoke offers more precise control, but with a stick, you have more freedom of movement in the cockpit.

With that said, most modern aircraft use side sticks – especially Airbus family aircraft for many decades now. If you want the most realistic experience possible when building your home Airbus A320 simulator cockpit, a stick is of course the only way to go.

Luckily, Thrustmaster has developed its own version of Airbus’ sidestick, as a 1:1 scale replica of the A320/A320neo aircraft.

It features 12 remappable action buttons offering a multitude of possibilities, plus a built-in throttle axis with a thrust reverser mechanism. Especially the latter is something you don’t often come across with existing joysticks.

Thanks to the swappable joystick head button modules, the sidestick is completely modular and adaptable to your needs. Want to be the captain and command the aircraft with a left-hand sidestick? No problem. Prefer getting a realistic feel of how it feels to be an Airbus FO? Just swap the buttons and the sidestick is fully adjusted for right-hand use! It’s that easy.

If you’re flying without rudder pedals, you can rotate the sidestick’s handle to control your aircraft’s rudder, which is something we have seen before in other Thrustmaster joysticks, like the well-known T-Flight Stick X. This rudder function built into the sidestick’s handle also includes a locking system for a more realistic commercial flight experience.

For optimal accuracy and longer lifespan, the TCA sidestick uses contactless magnetic sensor technology instead of standard potentiometers to provide a more realistic feel when controlling the joystick.

$77.99 $89.99

This ergonomic 1:1 scale replica of the Airbus A320/A320neo sidestick features 12 remappable action buttons offering a multitude of possibilities, plus a built-in throttle axis with thrust reverser mechanism.

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Thrustmaster TCA Quadrant Airbus Edition

Next, we’ll look at the new TCA throttle quadrant offered by Thrustmaster.

Just like the sidestick, the TCA throttle quadrant is 1:1 scale replica of the Airbus hardware, with switches and buttons matching the ones found in real A320 family aircraft.

The TCA Quadrant Airbus Edition features 8 ergonomic physical action buttons (plus 8 virtual buttons on the thrust levers, for a total of 16), with thrust reversers and realistic detents in the dual thrust levers, making the sensation of controlling the aircraft’s thrust as realistic as possible.

For even more realistic use with four-engine aircraft, like the Airbus A380, two throttle quadrants can be linked together to give you access to four thrust levers instead of two!

$128.47 $129.99

An ergonomic replica of the Airbus throttle quadrant, featuring magnetic technology, airliner functions, thrust reverser mechanism and replica controls. Compatible with PC.

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Do you already own the Honeycomb Bravo throttle? No need to buy another throttle quadrant, as you can now just purchase a Honeycomb Throttle Pack for Airbus A319-A380, adding the Airbus touch to your Honeycomb levers!

Thrustmaster TCA Quadrant Add On Airbus Edition

Want to enhance your Airbus flight simulator experience even more? The Thrustmaster TCA Quadrant Add On is just the thing you need!

This system allows you to add additional controls found on the Airbus pedestal, like speed brakes, flaps, parking brake and landing gear lever, rudder trim control, and auto brake switch.

It beautifully integrates around the throttle quadrant, offering the ultimate Airbus feeling for a truly immersive flight simulation experience.

$214.89

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Ready to go all-in? You can buy the Thrustmaster TCA Series as a package including the sidestick, throttle quadrant and quadrant add-ons:

$512.99

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Thrustmaster Flying Clamp

Now, mounting all these hardware components to your desk and matching a realistic feel can be a challenge. Luckily, Thrustmaster has developed a clamp system to perfectly fit the TCA series hardware components to your own personal cockpit, making it feel even more realistic.

The Thrustmaster Flying Clamp is an adjustable metal mount, that clamps securely to any desk or table (0.6–1.8 inches / 15–45 mm thick) using two clamping screws. It’s also adjustable in height to match your personal preferences and ergonomic needs.

The Flying Clamp is compatible with the TCA series sidestick, throttle quadrant and quadrant add-on.

$159.99

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Additional Hardware for Your Airbus Home Cockpit

Besides the great Thrustmaster products mentioned above, there are a few more options you can add to further complete your Airbus home cockpit experience.

Thrustmaster TFRP Rudder Pedals

If you’re still using the joystick’s base for rudder control in your flight simulator, it’s time to get yourself a set of quality rudder pedals, such as the Thrustmaster TPR Rudder Pedals.

As opposed to other flight simulator rudder pedals, the TPR system uses a suspended mechanism to ensure smooth and fluid movements of the pedals. By adjusting the springs, users can adjust the resistance according to their preferences and put the pedals into five positions, at angles between 35° and 75°.

$979.99

Thrustmaster presents the TPR: the rudder system with realistic dimensions and perfect precision, for total immersion in all...

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Now, if the $600+ price point is a little too expensive for you, there are plenty of more budget-friendly options when it comes to flight simulator pedals. You can see them all in our separate buying guide:

But as we’ve included plenty of Thrustmaster hardware already, another great and less-expensive flight simulator rudder pedals options are the Thrustmaster TFRP Rudder Pedals. At just over $200, these are a great option as well, although mainly made out of plastic and thus lower quality compared to the TPR series, which comes with a metal construction.

Thrustmaster T.Flight U.S. Air Force Edition Gaming Headset

Sound is an inherent part of any simulation experience. In real-life aircraft cockpits, aviation headsets are used to communicate as well as for hearing protection.

In flight simulator cockpits, hearing protection is less of an issue, but a quality headset will still be of great value and can greatly enhance your virtual flying experience.

Again, Thrustmaster has you covered here. The T.Flight U.S. Air Force Edition Gaming Headset is the perfect addition to any flight simulator cockpit. Officially licensed by the U.S. Air Force, the T.Flight U.S. Air Force Edition features an exclusive design inspired by real headsets worn by pilots!

$99.99

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If you want to learn more about flight simulator headphones and check out more headset models we recommend, you can read all about it in our separate guide:

Logitech G Pro Flight Instrument Panel

Although modern airliners like the Airbus A3xx series are equipped with a full glass cockpit, they usually also have some regular standby instruments for altitude, attitude and speed.

If you’re on a budget, these may be a little overkill, but if you’re trying to add some finishing touches to your flight simulator cockpit, or if you just love some physical instruments in addition to monitors, the Logitech G Pro Flight Instrument Panels are always a good addition to any home flight simulator cockpit!

$158.33 $169.99

The perfect add-on to any civilian Flight Simulator X cockpit, the Saitek Pro Flight Instrument Panel can display...

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Logitech G Pro Flight Multi/Radio/Switch Panels

Ok, so now we already have the main Airbus controls, a pedestal with some additional levers and switches, a headset and some standby instruments.

Like most modern commercial aircraft, most of the time the Airbus flies on autopilot. But having to use your PC mouse to virtually adjust the autopilot settings can become quite a hassle, especially if you have to pause the game to make sure all knobs are set to the correct value one by one.

Luckily, there exist some great physical hardware panels for flight simulator, offered by Logitech. And not just for the autopilot: the brand also has a radio panel and general switch panel.

All 3 models are a great way to bring some of the virtual functions into the real world by adding physical switches and knobs.

$128.88 $149.99

Make your home flight simulator experience more realistic with the Pro Flight Multi Panel. This set of switches and LED display controls various aspects of flight simulation, including a full autopilot, autothrottle switch, flap handle and elevator trim wheel. Work with Microsoft Flight Sim 2020.

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$136.75 $149.99

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$98.47

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Other Mounting Options for Your Airbus Home Cockpit

Earlier in this guide, we’ve already discussed Thrustmaster’s Flying Clamp, a metal system that clamps to your table or desk to mount the TCA sidestick and Throttle pedestal.

If you’re looking for some other options, which perhaps offer some more flexibility, we found the following products that you may find interesting.

MEZA MOUNT-Set of 2 Desk Mounts Compatible with Logitech and Thrustmaster

The first options we wanted to include here are quite similar to Thrustmaster’s Flying Clamp: the MEZA MOUNT-Set of 2 Desk Mounts. Offering the same concept with metal construction, MEZA MOUNT’s option offers two separate mounts, which makes it easy to mount your joystick to one side and the pedestal on the other side.

For about $200 you get two mounts, which makes it less expensive than buying 2 Thrustmaster Flying Clamps.

$189.99 $228.00

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Another company-called J-PEIN offers a similarly simple solution with their J-PEIN Desk Mount for Flight Sim Systems. It’s even less expensive than the MEZA MOUNT.

$59.99 $90.00

This is thé desk mount for the flight sim game joystick, throttle and hotas systems. Fully support almost...

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OpenWheeler GEN3 Cockpit + Flight Simulator Addons

When looking at mounting options for your Airbus home flight simulator cockpit, we’ve already mentioned some great table-mountable options.

Now, you may remember going to those old-school racing simulators in an amusement park or other location. Sliding into those seats instantly gave you the feeling of sitting in a real racing car, ready to hit the track.

Nowadays, you can get one of those yourself, and they don’t even need to break the bank. One of the most well-known companies offering these racing seats/cockpits is OpenWheeler. Their latest model, the OpenWheeler GEN3, is a modular racing seat that now comes with a full line of flight simulation add-ons, making it one of the most versatile cockpits on the market.

$439.00

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$89.99

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The great thing about OpenWheeler’s cockpits is that they offer many modular options you can add, like a tray table with cup holder, seat lift kits and even a four point harness.

Next Level Racing GT Lite Foldable Simulator Racing Cockpit

Another racing cockpit option that’s a little more affordable is the Next Level Racing GT Lite Foldable Simulator Racing Cockpit.

Similar to the OpenWheeler, Next Level Racing offers a similar modular system, with a foldable GT position cockpit for users that have limited space. Here’s a cool shot illustrating the possibilities when mounting the Thrustmaster TCA series and TPR rudder pedals:

$333.38

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Airbus Add-Ons for Microsoft Flight Simulator X and X-Plane

Microsoft’s newest Flight Simulator edition has incorporated a built-in marketplace where you can buy third-party aircraft and add-ons. However, when using a previous version of Flight Simulator, or when using X-Plane, you still need to buy your add-ons, such as aircraft or scenery, separately.

As we all know, the standard aircraft models included in many of the older flight simulator software were not the best, to put it lightly. If you’re serious about building a realistic Airbus flight simulator cockpit at home, it’s a good idea to invest in some more detailed virtual Airbus models.

Below are some great options to consider, offering more complex aircraft models, including all the necessary systems and working switches.

$80.00

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$12.99

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Last update: 4 hours ago

$58.99

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Don’t Forget the Details

As with lots of things in life, details make perfection. So it might be a good idea at this point to think about little details that can improve your Airbus flight simulator experience!

Here are some extra bits and pieces you can add to your Airbus home cockpit, to fully immerse yourself in the Airbus cockpit environment:

$14.95

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$3.95

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$9.99

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Airbus Training Materials

To take full advantage of your Airbus home cockpit, you can also enhance your flight simulator experience by picking up some training material.

To fully understand the complex mechanisms that make up an Airbus cockpit, it’s helpful to delve into the official training materials. This will also give you a better understanding of technical details and terminology, allowing you to learn and talk about the aircraft like a real Airbus pilot!

Below are some great reads for you to consider if you want to dig deeper into your (virtual) Airbus systems:

$19.00

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Last update: 2 hours ago

$9.99

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Last update: 5 hours ago

$19.90

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$29.95

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$9.99

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Conclusion

And that’s it! If you want to design your own Airbus A320 simulator cockpit, the new Thrustmaster TCA system lets you configure exactly what you need and can afford. With its modularity and versatility, this is no doubt the best available solution to create an authentic Airbus home flight simulator cockpit.

If you want to learn more about building your own home flight simulator cockpit, we highly recommend checking our separate more extensive guide. We not only talk about general flight simulator gear, we also offer some example set-ups, as well as more information about gaming PCs, monitors, speakers, and everything else to build your own home flight simulator cockpit.

Good luck, and have fun!