New Tech in Flight Simulators
The flight simulator market is coming to life once again due to impressive tech upgrades and software options. So, if you have been debating purchasing a system for yourself, or upgrading an existing one, now is the time to do so. Read below for a look at what’s new in the at-home flight simulator market.
Flight Sim World - Software Upgrade
Microsoft Flight Sim X by DoveTail has been the most popular flight simulation system among pilots for over a decade due to its smooth running software. Flight Sim X combines realistic graphics, adrenaline filled missions, and affordable pricing all in one platform. However, this program is beginning to show its age with only minor updates being released. The basic simulator has essentially remained the same since 2014. But, it is still a great at-home flight simulation option for those looking to save money and have a large variety of add on airplanes/scenery packs.
In 2017, Dovetail released a new flight simulator called Flight Sim World. This platform retains similar features to Flight Sim X, but the overall program is much more up-to-date in terms of software. Its instruments are incredibly detailed with cockpit switches, weather options, and mission setting tools which are extremely easy to use. It also comes standard with 7 airplanes and several optional add-ons for purchase. Plus, you can create your own free flight by choosing which aircraft, location, and weather conditions you would like. Or choose a pre-loaded mission from your prefered difficulty level. Additionally, Flight Sim X offers a very unique flight training program that allows you to choose a flight school (US, UK, or Germany) as well as a specific flight lesson. Experienced pilots may find this system to be quite simple, but it will still be helpful and entertaining. The platform has proven to be quite stable and is utilized worldwide with upgrades being added every month. Its easy-to use introduction makes Flight Sim X perfect for those new to at-home flight simulators as well.
X-Plane 11 - Software Update
X-Plane is a more complex and powerful simulator than its counterparts and definitely stands out in the flight simulator software market. The latest version of X-Plane is version 11 which has been jam packed with new features and regular software updates. This new design is much more user-friendly than the latter enticing its users to pick up and go flying. The airplanes, instrument skills, and add on sceneries have proven to exceed standards wowing X Plane aviators. Keep in mind that the learning curve on this platform is more complex presenting more challenges than Flight Sim World or Flight Sim X. This is due to the many customizable options and overall realism the new platform has created. Thus, it is important to take your time when getting to know the program. X-Plane 11 is top notch and compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux! For those more technically inclined, X-Plane 11 is a top tier simulator you will thrive on.
Saitek Controls Make a Come Back
Saitek once made the most popular flight simulator control options available on the market but in 2016, their flights control add-ons were no longer sold. Since they were one of the leading producers of flight simulator controls, there was a gap left in the market which allowed them to come back this year with bigger and better options when they were ready. Logitech now owns Saitek and the great flight simulator controls are back in production. These controls offer a nice balance between price and quality fabrication. Each item is individually priced under $200 and have held up well when under extended testing at Sporty’s flight school. For example, the yoke utilizes a stainless steel shaft for professional durability. Plus, these options come with customizations. The throttle quadrant controls can be changed from prop to throttle heads in order to simulate a Beechcraft if desired and so on, so forth. Lastly, Saitek/Logitech offers the largest variety of flight simulator control options available. Check out their yoke, throttle, rudder pedals, switch panel, multi-engine throttle quadrant, and simulated radios.