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Flight simulators?

Real flight and PicaSim are the two that jump to mind. PicaSim is free while RealFlight has a rather hefty price tag ($150). That being said, if you look around, you can find older versions of RealFlight for quite reasonable prices on the second hand market

If you want something fpv focused, fpv free rider is popular (and has a free demo version)


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Clearview is an inexpensive one I like. Lots of user created planes, helis and scenery add-ons available. The Pitts and the Storch are particularly good. No challenges though. Well except actually trying to fly a heli which I still haven't got the hang of.

I like PicaSim too. It has more limited choices of planes and scenery and is more glider oriented but that's interesting. And it has challenges which can sustain interest for a bit longer

It's free but I didn't find RC Desk Pilot particular good. Seems too artificial. Maybe my machine is not up to it.

My older stock machine will not run FPV Freerider. I think it needs a good graphics card.

For non RC sims there is X Plane, flight gear and gefs and a few others including the venerable Microsoft Flight Simulator of course which you can now get through Steam. I haven't tried these since I suspect they need better graphics than I have but they look cool.

I also found this place if you want to build your own flight sim cockpit.
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Senior Member
There is Phoenix as well. It's the only one I used so I can't really say how it compares. Like real flight it comes with a trainer cord that plugs into the USB port so you can use your transmitter.
I purchased the full licesnse for clearview. Adapter cable for the transmistter was just a few bucks from amazon. I play around with it occasionally but its pretty much just a toy. For me at least, it has provided very little actual hands on experience by using it.


Posted a thousand or more times
I purchased the full licesnse for clearview. Adapter cable for the transmistter was just a few bucks from amazon. I play around with it occasionally but its pretty much just a toy. For me at least, it has provided very little actual hands on experience by using it.
Not sure what you expected. I found it helpful to get used to the orientation changes of line of sight RC flying and to practice takeoffs and landings. The RC flying fields help with that. Also turning up the weather can make things a bit more interesting. It's inexpensive ($40) and has lots of free user created planes and scenery, addons to hold interest. The photo based scenery is generally better done than the generated scenery The sound make good use of stereo giving a good aural sense of the planes position.

The main thing I think it is lacking is a structured set of challenges. There is potential for that but its not really been taken advantage of. There is a pylon race course for planes and some table and things for helis. You can record flights and replay them while you fly as a second plane in the air. I think it would be useful is to have someone that can fly record some flights so you can directly mirror their flight. It seems there was an online aspect but there is no longer a host. But in the end it is just flying an RC plane around which is really the point.

Picasim has challenges but mostly they are useful for slope gliding or DLG or so I guess not having done either. The plane challenges are more first person view which is fun but is a different skill set than line of sight RC flying. The generated scenery is very effective. Photo scenery is also supported and user createable but there's not much selection

I haven't tried the expensive ones, Phoenix and Real Flight. Maybe they have better training exercises built in.


Faster than a speeding faceplant!
Aerofly 7 is available on Steam.

The full program isn't cheap but has a nice selection of fields and craft. The full version includes 4d fields and FPV capability so you can fly through tunnels and through the infrastructure of an aircraft carrier.


Winter is coming
Revisiting this thread because a number of things have brought me back to simulated RC flight:

1) Desire to try out different types of fixed wing flight: 3D in particular
2) Desire to get back into collective pitch / 6 channel helicopter flight
3) Desire to improve my multirotor flight skills without constantly replacing/repairing equipment
4) Colder, windier weather with short daylight days of Winter in the Northeastern USA.
5) New work provided laptop running OSX that is far more capable than my older 2010 computer equipment at home

I first bought the Phoenix simulator when I started in the hobby about two years ago, initially to learn to fly helis. I thought with their small size (micros) and my living in the city, that made the most sense for aviation RC.

I researched it and saw the recommendation was go with either coaxial or a multirotor (which were bigger and more expensive back when I started, but the protox was about to change all that in a few months). I went with a Blade coaxial, to a fixed pitch heli in short time. Had trouble with the fixed pitch heli in being able to hover it. Found it easier to fly that in fast forward flight, so decided to invest in the simulator.

At the time, I only had a DX6i I bought used from a friend, and knew the Phoenix simulator was compatible and came with a hardware PPM/USB interface that was proprietary to it.

Later, as I learned more about the hobby, I realized there were more cost effective options, but at the time, that seemed like the easiest way to get started.

As I learned more about the hobby, I learned there were inexpensive PPM to USB converter cables that could make your trainer port equipped (PPM) TX look like a gamepad/joystick to the computer. These included this adapter:


Which I bought, because I had found a free simulator RC Desk Pilot: http://rcdeskpilot.com/

That also happened to have a bunch of models of FT aircraft created by a fellow forum member rcspaceflight, who shared all his prolific models here: http://flitetest.com/articles/36-add-on-planes-for-rc-desk-pilot

Unfortunately for me, all my home computers at the time ran Gentoo linux, and RCDeskpilot and Phoenix only ran on Windows. I purposed an older computer to run Windows but the performance of Phoenix was terrible. RCDeskpilot was much better, so that's what led me to basically scrap my expensive Phoenix sim for a freebie. That and the fact I was just finishing up my first FT build, the FT-22.

Well, fast forward to today. I now fly primarily with a FrSky Taranis X9R+, and the most capable computer I have is a Mac running OSX. I can still run Phoenix on my personal Windows equipped PC, but the fan kicks on immediately and I have to run with simplified graphics and environment models.

I knew about FlightGear (linked to above) due to my linux computers running them, usually with keyboard input, but figured I can take advantage on the USB port on the Taranis, and run without that inexpensive adapter I had bought for RCDeskPilot.

Sure enough, it was pretty easy to do. Here's what a MacOSX user needs to do. Windows users can eliminate one step (the Xbox controller drive isn't necessary):


Then, using this OpenTX model:
View attachment simulator.zip

I was able to use my Taranis on the Phoenix sim running under Windows with the trainer port, and use FlightGear running on OSX to get a fullscale sim working with my Taranis. This same model also works with RCDeskpilot and the above inexpensive dongle.

While I'm at it, how could I forget the free simulator that actually uses the field I fly at as the virtual field? The one that is named after the club I joined when I first got into the hobby two years ago?

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