I'm looking to build a switch panel as a present for a friend who's found of flight simulation games.

The coding and interface to the computer is no issue, but I'm completely unaware of how an airplane is piloted, hence I have now idea which are the most used/important/common across all planes switchs that I should put on the panel.

To be complete, the panel should be composed of only buttons and switches, no potentio-meters and certainly not sim>hardware interfaces as those would involve too much money/time in the making.

My friend already possess a joystick and a gas thing (like to control the engine rpm I guess ?).

Thanks to anyone that can enlighten me =)

EDIT (on-hold status) : I know how this will end but let's try at least. Can someone explicitly tell me how I'm off-topic ? To use the words from the very help page, I think my question is quite on point for aviation enthusiasts willing to know what instruments in a cockpit are important besides the stick/yoke and throttles. Moreover this doesn't fall into the explicit list of off-topics. I already got the answer I was looking for, so you can delete this post as you wish, potentially denying other people knowledge. Here is, for example, a guy asking about a painting process on panels. This is useful information.

  • $\begingroup$ Start with the basics and make "unrealistic" but practical panels at first. As your skills improve, along with your familiarity, you can advance to more realistic and/or complicated panels. I'd start off by basically copying these: saitek.com/uk/prod/switch.html , saitek.com/uk/prod/radio.html , saitek.com/uk/prod/multi.html $\endgroup$
    – SnakeDoc
    Jun 12, 2017 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ @SnakeDoc Alright mate, thanks for the quick reply. Looks like the first panel (switch) would be the easiest to make. I understand all of these are switches except the off/r/l/both/start and the gear up/down : are those behaving like discrete positions or more like a potentiometer (ie : does it mean something to be halfway between say "OFF" and "R", same for the gear thing ) $\endgroup$
    – Furrane
    Jun 12, 2017 at 18:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ About your edit, as you can see I have not voted, but I understand those who did. Also, only 3 of the voters selected it, the other two probably voted as "too broad". The problem here is that you are not giving us any kind of technical detail, and an answer should cover all possible aspects of all possible combinations of switches you might need. As for the "aviation enthusiast" side of your point, we refer generally to people interested to the elements of aviation, and hobby-ism (including RC and simulators) has not generally being considered within our scope. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Jun 13, 2017 at 8:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Adding to Federico, the problem is the scope is not limited (too broad) and actually seems to change when additional knowledge is provided, ending in the discussion format which the stack is not for. This is enough to trigger the closure (as you see I didn't either vote to close, but I could have). While you triggered interest, it could be more convenient to use the chat format. Why not try to start a room for this topic? $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Jun 13, 2017 at 8:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ As mins said, I encourage you to pass by chat, we could work on a way to save the question :) $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Jun 13, 2017 at 10:18


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