There’s just something about flying that makes me want to post about it.
Sadly, I can’t because I don’t have the time nor the money – so the next best thing is flight sims. I’ve always said that I should get into flight sims, and as of two days ago, I have.
X-Plane, currently in it’s ninth iteration, can be an FAA-Approved flight simulator for training purposes – that’s how realistic it is.
It contains over 60GB of worldwide scenery, and you can pick and chose which scenery you want installed. I chose to install the base and Australian scenery, which worked out to be some 4.6GB – not too bad.
There are TONS of addons, plugins, and extra planes available on the net for you to download, and you can fly planes like Serenity from some movie, and a whole heap of others.
Now I didn’t have much faith in X-Plane working on my paltry MacBook with it’s integrated graphics, but surprisingly, it does – but only under Mac OSX. Under Bootcamp’ed Windows XP, it just dies a gory Blue-Screen-Of-Death. However, under Mac OSX, it works fine – reasonable frame rates (enough to get 25+fps, which is all humans need for us to depict constant, smooth motion).
In fact, X-Plane 9 is so good that I’m thinking of buying a joystick for it. I’ve been looking at the Logitech Extreme 3D Pro – but I’ve read reviews on the net that scream “Crap build quality” and “A complete lemon” so I might hold off for a while. If you’ve got any joystick recommendations, I’d love it if you could stick them in comments. Seriously, though, it’s nearly impossible to fly an F-22 Raptor with your mouse. It’s just too fast!
And landing – ugh. I tried in a Chinook V-22 Osprey, and even that was hard! I have no idea how people can land Raptors and X-15s, and X-30s, especially when the X-30 can go over 730 (insert arbitary units here, I don’t have any idea what the readout on the dash is!)
…Helicopters are a pain to fly as well, because apparently I don’t know the concept of lift. Same deal for VTOL aircraft, such as the Harrier.
Flight sims for the win. X-Plane 9 wins over Microsoft’s Flight Sim X any day of the week, no matter which way you look.