In recent years, these free flight simulators have even been significantly improved to rank equally with their commercial counterparts in terms of graphic design and features. One such online simulator that has caught the attention of many flight enthusiasts is the Google flight sim. This application is actually one of the surprises that you can find in the version 4.2 of Google Earth. Lets take a closer look at this simulation tool to see how it measures up to commercial simulators.
In terms of aircraft selection, the Google flight simulator leaves much to be desired, as it only allows you to choose between two planes: an F16 fighter jet and an SR22 propeller airplane. This selection definitely pales in comparison to the hundreds of aircraft options in commercial simulators such as the Pro Flight Simulator. Pro Flight even lets you fly several helicopter and glider models, in addition to over a hundred different types of plane.
In terms of selecting your starting position, the Google simulator gives you three options: First is to start in your current view of Google Earth, which means that you are automatically in the air. The second option is to choose from 27 available airports. Third, you can start from the point where you ended your previous session. In contrast, the Pro Flight simulator lets you choose from over 20,000 airports located in any country all over the world.
All in all, the Google flight simulator is a relatively simple tool as compared to its commercial counterparts. What makes it stand out is the experience you get of flying over real pictures of your chosen locations. While the pictures and graphics may be far from perfect, they are definitely as visually good as those of commercial simulators. In fact, the Google flight simulator even presents real objects better than most commercial flight simulation software in the market.
Outstanding graphics and real pictures notwithstanding, the Google flight simulator still cant really measure up to commercial standards, especially when compared to the Pro Flight software. Pro Flight also offers very realistic graphics and terrain based on US military mapping. In fact, everything you see in Pro Flight, from the cockpit controls to aircraft reactions to planetary alignment and movements is based on actual and current world data. There both good but Pro Flight tops it for accuracy and controls.
When you fly with the Pro Flight simulator, you will be able to take advantage of real-time synchronization. This feature lets you fly in exactly the same situation as when you are flying in real life. For example, if its a rainy afternoon in Sydney right now, then you will be flying in a rainy afternoon if you locate yourself in Sydney for your virtual flight. So, while its okay to practice on a free online simulator, its still better to get a commercial simulator such as Pro Flight for the ultimate virtual flying experience.