When Salvador Alvarez Patuel's beloved wife asked him to cut down on real-world flying, he accommodated her ... and built a substantially accurate Boeing 737 flight deck/simulator in his house. To be clear, what Patuel built may be just as impressive as a functioning mock-up of a Boeing 737 cockpit as it is a flight simulator. Patuel is a principal application development manager for Microsoft and has held a private pilot certificate for 15 years. His passion for flying has led to many hours in real Boeing 737 simulators, apart from the one he built at home. That one runs on Microsoft FSX software. But if FSX conjures in your mind images of a keyboard, joystick and computer screen, you're missing the point (and the auto-throttles) altogether.
Patuel created multiple interfaces that allow the actual 737 cockpit components he has collected to work with the FSX program. When he stumbled upon a component he couldn't buy, he created or otherwise engineered one to work with the system. It should give you an idea of the scope of the project to know that it took Patuel two years of work before his system was "flyable." Patuel told the Channel9 web site that his system currently runs on an i7 processor, 8Gb DDR3 RAM, solid state hard drives and an Nvidia GTX 570 graphic card. But he's still not finished. Fortunately, since he began his project Patuel's passion has proven to be not entirely unique. There are others who've created similar projects. And Patuel says because of that, finding parts, interfaces and help is a lot easier today than it once was.