While searching for Boeing 737 cockpit parts, I frequently see eBay listings from the Swiss Sim Shop, which posts under the swiss-sim username. Turns out, this is the online branch of a company based in Tempe, Arizona, USA. Since they are located nearby, I thought I would pay them a visit in person. I called their office, spoke with the Managing Director, Vince, and arranged a time to stop by.
Swiss Sim Shop is located in a light industrial area east of Sky Harbor International Airport (KPHX). Their primary business is the sale of retired aircraft parts to the aviation industry around the world, but they also offer many parts to our cockpit building community. If you have ever looked for cockpit parts online, you have likely run across their products.
I met with Vince and he gave me a tour of the place. It is pretty typical of a wholesale/online retailer with room after room of warehouse space. Each space contains shelves filled with various bits of Boeing, Airbus, and McDonnell-Douglas aircraft.
I saw everything from massive landing gear axles to Airbus side-sticks, Korry annunciators to lavatory doors. This place is a aviation enthusiast’s paradise and Vince was very patient and helpful with my curiosity.
737NG (Next Generation) parts are still pretty rare in the reseller market, but there were many shelves of classic series 737 parts. For example, these overhead panel frames and circuit breaker panel sets.
Other shelves were full of landing gear handles/mechanisms, MIP panels, and more. There was a pile of real yokes and columns, and nearby, I noticed a full CDU, J-rails, ACPs, and rudder pedals.
I could have spent quite some time looking around, but my ultimate goal was to see any 737 cockpit seats Swiss Sim Shop had in stock. Alas, I was not disappointed. They have cockpit and passenger seats from Airbus and Boeing both. You may even recognize the rare 737NG cockpit seat in this picture, but is just the stripped down frame without any cushions or covers.
In yet another room was the jackpot! They had more than half a dozen classic 737 cockpit seats in various conditions, colors, and configurations.
There were straight and J-rail seats, Captain and First Officer seats, original sheepskin and newly re-covered seats. I spent at least 30 minutes looking, touching, asking questions, and trying them out. I love the authentic look and feel of the sheepskin seats, but the seats with the new upholstery/armrests were very sharp and clean.
Swiss Sim Shop had these new seat covers custom made of a durable, textured cloth and they look fantastic. They even made new matching life vest bags for the back. It is too bad that photos do not do them justice as they are quite nice in person. And, as hard as it is to find a matching set of J-rail cockpit seats, I am surprised these were still available.
In the end, I did buy an IPECO 737 Captain’s cockpit seat for my home flight simulator and wrote up a separate article on it here. I want to extend a hearty Thank You to Vince and the team at Swiss Sim Shop for taking the time for my visit. Down the road, as my cockpit grows and I want to use real Boeing parts, this will be the first place I return to!