In my reading and research at the start of the week, this alternative of “travel” using a simulator had piqued my curiosity. Not only do we learn the basics of piloting a host of aircraft, but we also venture to a host of destinations on our little planet … sun, beach and sunscreen not included.
Not insignificant detail of flight simulators is that they are less demanding on material resources like most action games. In other words, they can run on your system even if it is not the latest generation.
The flight simulator X-Plane by Laminar Research (South Carolina) has a long history of running on computers. Imagine, the first release of X-Plane dates back to 1995! In other words, an eternity. Speaking of Laminar Research, they have a professional version of X-Plane 11 that is FAA certified.
While there are many simulators for Windows, for Mac or Linux computer users, X-Plane is one of the few compatible simulators. More recently, versions for iOS and Android have been released.
Over time, X-Plane has grown with military aircraft and covers most regions of the globe. The catalog of machines is very complete, from Cessna to commercial Boeing, including helicopters. The last official X-Plane 11 version was released in March 2017, while the most recent 11.51 update was released last December.
X-Plane 11 includes 3D maps and more than 13,000 airports around the world.
Before upgrading to the full version which totals over 60 GB of storage, try the free trial version. Price of the full version: US $ 60 for download or DVD version. (All prices rounded) X-Plane 11 is also available on the Steam platform.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020
Another venerable simulator software, the very first version of Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) was released 38 years ago at Microsoft, making it the oldest software line, three years before … Windows!
Microsoft’s simulator offers realistic satellite images coupled with splendid graphics according to gaming experts, but they deplore some bugs according to the Maketecheasier site.
Also available on Steam, MSFS is also offered in a virtual reality version starting at CA $ 80. On this platform, the software is in contention for the Sit Back & Relax 2020 award.
Price: $ 80, $ 120 for the Deluxe edition or $ 160 Deluxe Premium.
Allow 150 GB of free storage on your disk.
To give you a taste of how good MSFS 2020 graphics are, check out this flight over the metro area!
And this video from Microsoft that shows the progress from the first version of Flight Simulator until today: 38 years in 80 seconds!
If you prefer more action and fighter jets, the editor’s simulator Digital Combat Simulator is for you, as long as your machine is a Windows PC.
Offered in a free Free-to-Play version, add-ons for different aircraft are chargeable.
“This free download simulator includes a large mission area of the Caucasus and Black Sea region which encompasses a large part of Georgia. It also includes a Russian Sukhoi Su-25T ground attack aircraft as well as the TF-51D, a demilitarized variant of the famous North American WWII fighter.
The graphics engine developed in-house provides graphics regardless of the altitude, from 0 to 80,000 feet ”can be read on the site.
Flight Simulator on Google Earth Pro
Did you know that the program Google earth contained a simulator? You probably already have it in your Applications folder. Available for Windows, Mac or Linux computers, just download Google Earth. At this same address you will find the system requirements which are not very onerous.
At the controls of a jet or military plane, you can go around the world, with the exception of military bases and North Korea, that goes without saying.
Activate the 3D buildings function to give more relief. Of course, Google Earth Pro is free.
If it is possible to play from your keyboard, as here with Google Earth, a joystick-type device is preferable. It will take some expense and some Internet research to find the most suitable model for your computer.
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my [email protected] 1-800-268-7116