Flight Simulators

Flight simulators are one of the best and most spectacular tools to get people interested in aviation.These programs vary between educational tools and like Microsoft FSX, XPlane or ATC (Airt Traffic Controlers) to entertain games(combat).

The FlightSimulators programs evolved along the path of technological advances (processors,computer speed,graphic cards,etc) as you can see in this video:

In general,a simulators intent is to train user for some future actions they will take and to help them practice some skill they will need to be as efficient as possible in those actions.

Are close is a simulated flight to a real one? Can you really learn how to fly an aircraft just by playing such a game? Watch this real pilot flying an Airbus on Microsoft FSX and decide:

I would say that ,at least,you will have a basic understanding of the flight dynamic and the controls of an aircraft,as well as the communication sistem used during a flight.

In this section of www.aviation-for-kids.com you will find:

  • WHAT makes a great flight simulator
  • TIPS about how you can integrate a flight simulator in      education
  • INFORMATION about new software and hardware

Generally,we we can talk about four technical platform:

  • - standalone desktop games  (PC and MAC)
  • - on-line based  games (FLASH and JAVA based applications)
  • - mobile computing (ANDROID and OS)
  • - gaming consoles (Microsoft XBox and Sony Playstation)

Also,there is a special category of games related to aviation,the airport simulators.

Each one of these options have advantages and disadvantages. There is a trend in favor of the entertaining aspect versus their educational value.

A game like Microsoft FSX is capable to teach basic elements of flight controls, navigation, aerodynamics, meteorology and so on.

The game consoles have great graphics but they lack the realism of actually operating an aircraft

Paradoxically, I have found some mobile aps with a high educational value, despite the limitations due to the screen size

I prefer the standalone desktop  programs. The knowledge you can get are closer to a real life experience and you have the advantage of using life-like controls (Joysticks, pedals, etc.)

Unfortunately, there are just a few flight simulators available on the market today. The advent of video game consoles has changed the dynamics of the  market. Instead of dedicated platforms to learn how to fly a plane, we have now integrated flying missions in various combat games developed for Microsoft Game Box and Sony Playstation

There was an absolute gain in the quality of graphics but quality of knowledge regarding a real flight experience was lost. Games like Microsoft FSX were designed from the beginning as tools to introduce people into the basics of a real flight compared with actual games that are geared toward pure entertainment.

It  hard but not impossible to find  some good flight simulators on the market today and I have tried to give you here a list of the best ones  with links to where you can buy them.

Don’t forget to bookmark this page. I will continue to update it with more information regarding flight simulators, deals and vendors that still offers them.

A joystick is a MUST in order to have a realistic flight experience .Most simulators can be used also only with a keyboard but you will miss a lot of fun if you will not make this minimum investment. If you are really into a realistic flight experience and if your budget allows, there are many other possibilities, including a whole cockpit with projection screens,sound systems and event fans to simulate the wind blowing in the face of the pilot (Check this example from FRANCE)

For most people, a joystick will be enough. The idea behind a flight simulator is to understand the plane controllers, the flight dynamics of an aircraft and the communication system used in this activity. Programs like Microsoft FSX were special designed to do this.

To make things more interesting, you can try some combat simulators which are pretty good to reproduce a real war bird.

Here is a list of the simulators you will find in this site. I have dedicated a whole page to each simulator in order to give you a better understanding of its capabilities. I will also be more than happy if you would like to share with the world your experience in using these programs and to add new resources you might find.

Best Flight Simulators List


Site Testimonials

I have a 10 years old daughter who i have introduced the idea of becoming an aviator as a possible career. after some weeks of some serious and play full discussion she has become very interested in the notion. Tonight I logged on looking for a site that can help me with a gentle introduction to aviation. I would like to thank you for the time and dedication you have put into this site and also maintaining it.
so for us it starts here! thanks again (D.G.,
Trinidad and Tobago)

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