If you want to experience the thrill of flying or simply find out how you really pilot a large or small plane, then this in-depth analysis of the best PC flight simulators is for you.
Several flight simulators have alternated for PC, starting from the excellent and legendary Microsoft Flight Simulator X (for a fee, about 25 euros on Steam), with the latest version released in 2014 and a return close this year, to finish with the excellent X-Plane .
X-Plane is a little-known but very well-made simulator , with an excellent simulation of aircraft and fluid physics. This software is often used to improve the skills of those who want to become professional pilots, simulating a cockpit in an extremely realistic way. The software offers a free demo , and the full version can be purchased for $ 59.90.
But the best simulators are not only paid, so here are the best free alternatives:
The best free Air flight simulators for PC
If you want a good online flight simulator, without installing anything, GEOFS is for you, as it runs entirely on the browser and just go to this page to start a flight. Using the mouse, keyboard or joystick, you can take control of 20 aircraft models. The controls can be completely customized. Among these 20 models are placed single-engine and multi-engine aircraft, as well as a helicopter and a hot air balloon.
There is a paid version that offers better soil images in higher resolution. The free version supports multiplayer interaction between multiple players , so you can participate in the flights of other users or come across or board the commercial scheduled flights. Even the weather evolves in real time based on data from Open Weather Map.
From a technical point of view it is certainly not the simulator with the best graphic rendering, but it is an excellent compromise that runs on practically every machine without the need for any installation. GEOFS is available through browsers for Windows, Mac, Linux and mobile platforms.
This is undoubtedly an impressive open source project , since its debut back in 1997 it has not stopped evolving and is now one of the best real flight simulators available on PC.
The title offers beautiful and realistic 3D graphics with high resolution textures , obviously this has a price, you will need suitable hardware to make it run properly.
Once installed, the software offers a reduced set of planes and maps that must be downloaded separately (also completely free of charge via torrent) or purchased on disk (to support the project).
Thanks to these packs you will have a disproportionate number of aircraft of the various airlines perfectly reproduced to fly and 20000 airports in the world finely reproduced.
FlightGear is an incredibly complete simulator, and full of details to get the best out of it, we advise you to consult the abundant manual written by the community. This title is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.
YSFlight (Windows, Linux and Mac)
If you want a local and light aircraft simulator you can opt for this solution, as long as you appreciate very basic and rudimentary graphics. However, YSFlight offers a serious simulation and a good experience even if in a few MB. The simulator offers 70 airplane models to choose from, ranging from the classic F18 to Apache helicopters. The title supports controls via Joystick or mouse and keyboard.
If you want you can download the title for free just go to the project website. The game is available for Windows, Linux and Mac.
Free aerial combat video games
But the fun regarding the world of flight is not limited only to simulators, there are many valid titles regarding air combat, here is a list of the best free playable games on PC:
War Thunder (Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4 and Xbox One)
It is a well-made freenium title, with excellent graphics and fun game mechanics. War Thunder is set during World War II, and an important number of units and scenarios are reconstructed.
Practically you can play with all the aircraft produced by 5 great powers (the USA, Germany, Great Britain, the USSR, and Japan). The style of play adapts to your needs, you can choose for a more simulative approach or for a more relaxing and arcade one.
The title is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4 and Xbox One. You can download it by going directly to its website.
World of Warplanes (Windows and Mac)
If the name reminds you of World of Thanks, it’s because Warplanes is an air spin-off of the well-known title frenum. Like that it is a fun multiplayer arcade title, in fun aerial battles you will collide with players from all over the world.
Compared to War Thunder this is a decidedly more arcade title. Despite the arcade soul, an excellent number of combat aircraft are well reproduced, which must be unlocked by progressing.
World of Warplanes is available for free for Windows and Mac, to find out more just go to its page.