The flight plane simulator was one of the first and best examples of virtual reality available to computer users. Many of us at some time or other have longed to take to the air in an airplane or helicopter. For some reason we want to see how everything looks from above. Unlike driving a car, most of us will not get the opportunity to fulfill that dream.
Over the years flight simulators have become more and more realistic, and as we all know, in the realm of virtual reality, the more realistic, the better. Modern flight simulators have come a long way from the early arcade type flying games, but even back then, people loved the thrill of trying their hand at flying. Now with features that copy the real experience and make it as realistic as possible, we can enjoy flying via our computers even if we would never be able to afford an airplane or the time to take flying lessons.
What Makes A Good Flight Simulator?
- Realistic Aircraft
- Realistic Scenery
- Realistic Controls
Most flying simulators offer a number of different aircraft to fly in. Let's take my favorite simulator, the Pro Flight Simulator, for example. It has over 120 different airplanes and helicopters. They span the history of flying from the Wright Brothers first plane to the most modern fighter jets and even some specialty crafts such as a zeppelin and a personal ultralight. The aircraft in these modern simulators are all very realistic and in every way possible, they duplicate the real machines. The exterior of the craft are so detailed you can often see the rivets on the skin. Inside, the dials, levers, buttons and pedals exactly copy the real thing. When you become familiar with the planes in the simulator, you would know exactly what to expect if you climbed into the same model in the real world. The view from the cockpit is 3D and looks just like it would from the windows of a real cockpit.
In some of the newest and best simulators, this means the scenery is based on actual high definition military data, which gives the most realistic scenery possible of our whole globe. If you want to fly over your house and see how it looks from above, you could do it, no matter where on earth you live. Not only is the ground rendered in graphic detail on your screen, but the sky, with the stars and planets at the right position to match your virtual time. The weather also can be set to whatever you want, rain or shine or storm, all affecting your scenery just like in real life, or you can just chose the setting that gives you the current weather of wherever you happen to be, offering you almost an unlimited variety of life-like situations. When you decide to land, you also can choose from the nearest of more than 20,000 airports, copying in great detail the real airports you would fly into with a real plane.
This means that when you pull a lever or press a pedal, your virtual plane will behave just like a real plane, from the lag time to the slight bounce and roll caused by the weather and air currents. All those things in real life that make it a challenge to stay in the air and on course are realistically duplicated to make your flying experience life-like.
Which Simulator To Choose?
There are a lot to choose from when it comes to computer based flying games. My favorite one, the Pro Flight Simulator, is the nearest thing to real flying you can get on a computer. Many of the features I mentioned above are available in other simulators as well, but in my opinion, the Pro Flight Simulator does the finest job of making your flying experience life-like. The graphics are some of the finest in the world.
When it comes to variety, the Pro Flight Simulator can not be beat. The number of aircraft choices, the number of airports available and the unlimited, worldwide scenery, make it the most enjoyable flight simulator out there. Try your hand at flying a commercial airliner or maybe a medical helicopter. The possibilities are endless and with the multi-player capability, you can fly in formation with other players via the internet or even try air-to-air refueling with anyone in the world.
Flight controllers such as foot pedals, yokes and throttles are supported. This software is designed to run on any modern computer with Windows 95 through Windows 7 and yes, it even runs on a Mac.