Golden Age of Flight Simming

Happy new year flight simmers!

Have you ever taken the time to reflect on how amazing our flight simulation software and hardware has become? We’re living in the golden era of flight simming despite all the odds being against us. Aviation hasn’t got the appeal among young people that it used to have. For some, air travel is done more often than riding boats or trains – and it’s mostly dirt cheap. Hard core flight simmers seem to be few and far between, most of which are suffering from grumpy old men syndrome. Still, the evolution continues, albeit, not as quickly and revolutionary as it used to when Microsoft was running the show.

2017 is lining up to be the best year for flight simming to date. Dovetail Games are working on their first flight simulator, and Prepar3D is going 64 bit. X-Plane 11 is in beta, and has already won a lot of hearts. And let’s not forget Aerofly FS 2 which is showing great promise and offers scenery like no other simulator at the moment. DCS has matures into a true study sim of military aviation with a great lineup of aircraft addons, and Outerra is still showing its potential greatness with some recent third party content that look truly amazing.

Saitek has provided the number one budget solution for flight sim peripherals, and after some financial difficulties they were acquired by Logitec during 2016. Most of the Pro Flight products are now back in stock, and we can now hope that Logitec will both improve quality and expand the lineup in the future.

Even more amazing is the stunning freeware that has surfaced for Prepar3D. It is a sad fact that it is fairly complicated to create quality content for our flight simulators, so the gems are few and far between, but 2016 has brought us some great addons nonetheless. Keep on keeping on folks, and let’s hope the 64 bit transition goes well in 2017.

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Winter scene from Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D  v3 – Default scenery, no addons, no tweaks, no nothing.
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PTA – Best Freeware Of 2016?

Prepar3D Tweak Assistant for Preapr3D v3 is probably the best freeware I’ve tested this year. What it does to increase realism in the sim is simply breathtaking! Again one has to ask why Lockheed Martin can’t include a settings screen to do these lighting adjustments from within P3D without the need for third party software.

All screenshots are P3D default with freeware replacement land class textures by Adam Mills and freeware replacement sky textures from Navid. No scenery addons installed of any kind – apart from PTA tweaks!

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Aerofly FS 2 – WOW!

I’ve been tired of FSX for years. Lockheed Martin have done an admirable job converting the aging platform to DX11, removed bugs and improved VAS management, but still, things look pretty outdated. The scenery/terrain engine is in need of a major overhaul, and I’m tired of flying jets at 20-40 fps.

After a very disappointing X-Plane 11 beta demo (It had severe stutters on my system and fps were in the 5-20 range) I decided to check out the new Aerofly FS version. It is still a work in progress, but what software isn’t these days. It took forever to download from Steam, but when you launch it and see the scenery you’ll understand why.

It took me just a couple of minutes to get it running and what a beautiful and fluid experience it was. After doing a couple of flights this sim has won my heart and I’m going to go all in and help these folks weed out the bugs and help improve the platform any way I can.

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