FlightSimBuilder G1000 Review

Today, we’re diving into the FlighSimBuilder G1000. This unit stands out as one of the more affordable options on the market, which immediately piqued my interest. While FlighSimBuilder provided this unit for review, all opinions are my own. We’ll explore the build quality, software, value, and how it enhances your flight simulation experience.

Straight out of the box, the FlighSimBuilder G1000 impresses with its matte finish plastic, which feels quite premium. You’ll notice that some parts, particularly the knobs, are 3D-printed. However, these are among the best 3D prints I’ve seen, adding to the unit’s overall appeal without feeling cheap. The 3D-printed bevel surround on the screen blends seamlessly, showing a high level attention to detail and craftsmanship.

The knobs and dials offer a satisfying tactile feedback with a pleasant clicky sound. They’re not as stiff as Real Sim Gear, but they come close. One of the standout features of this G1000 is the rubber backlit buttons. The soft keys along the bottom and the autopilot keys on the left side feel fantastic, with a muted clunk that enhances the user experience. These backlit buttons look great and are very responsive, making them a highlight of this unit.

The screen itself features a matte finish, crucial for reducing glare in bright rooms. At around 10.5 inches corner to corner with a resolution of 1280×768, it mirrors the real Garmin unit closely. Despite this seemingly low resolution, the clarity and crispness are impressive due to the screen’s size and the typical viewing distance. Viewing angles are excellent, maintaining color integrity even at off-center positions, up to about 45 degrees.

Setting up the G1000 involves connecting it and installing the software from the FlighSimBuilder website. It’s a straightforward process, especially for Microsoft Flight Simulator. X-Plane setup is a bit more involved but manageable with clear instructions available online. You can configure the unit as either a Primary Flight Display (PFD) or Multi-Function Display (MFD) by using the game controller settings. UPDATE: FlightSimBuilder software now works with X-Plane.

Using the G1000 with Microsoft Flight Simulator, you simply pop out the desired panel and drag it onto the G1000’s screen. All functions work seamlessly, with no noticeable latency. The tactile feel significantly enhances the simulation experience, making it more immersive and reducing the need to use a mouse. Entering flight plans and navigating menus is intuitive and satisfying, especially compared to using an on-screen interface.

FlighSimBuilder has garnered excellent reviews for their customer support, which is reassuring. However, there have been some issues with recent software updates affecting panel pop-outs. This issue isn’t unique to FlighSimBuilder and affects various G1000 units. Despite this, tools like Pop Out Panel Manager can mitigate these issues, though it’s something to be aware of.

The real advantage of a unit like this is the tactile feedback and immersion it provides. Priced at $650, it’s the most affordable G1000 unit available. Competitors like RealSimGear are nearly 40% more expensive, and high-end models like the Aviatek xG1000 can be almost three times the price. Considering its functionality, the FlighSimBuilder G1000 offers incredible value.

Let’s talk about the positives first. Despite the 3D-printed knobs, they feel great and tactile. The rubber soft keys and backlighting are sublime. The unit is almost one-to-one with a real G1000, and setup is straightforward for Microsoft Flight Simulator. The screen offers good colors and viewing angles without significant GPU impact, adding a superb layer of immersion. The overall build quality is high, and the screen can be used for more than just avionics.

On the downside, the metal bracket, though sturdy, flexes slightly when pressing the top buttons. Some might not appreciate the 3D-printed knobs, even though they’re well-made.

The FlighSimBuilder G1000 is perfect for anyone undergoing real-life flight training with a G1000. It’s also ideal for flight simulation enthusiasts looking for a deeper, more immersive experience, especially those interested in learning and practicing ILS procedures, charts, and comprehensive flight planning. While using just one unit can feel a bit unbalanced, having both a PFD and MFD would create a more optimal setup.

Overall, the FlighSimBuilder G1000 is a brilliant piece of equipment. It offers significant learning benefits, improves situational awareness, and provides the satisfaction of physically interacting with the aircraft’s controls. While it might not replace the immersion of a VR headset, the tactile feedback and muscle memory development it offers are unmatched. The FlighSimBuilder G1000 is a fantastic rendition of the Garmin unit, providing a level of realism and immersion that is hard to beat.

If you’re serious about flight simulation and want a high-quality, immersive experience, the FlighSimBuilder G1000 is an excellent investment that you won’t regret.

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