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RC Airplane Flight Simulators

Software for learning to fly RC airplanes

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If you want to hone your RC airplane or glider skills, flight simulation software lets you do it in any kind of weather and you can even fly outdoor planes in the house -- virtually, that is. Don't risk hurting your RC airplane by learning to fly it on your PC first. These RC airplane flight simulators feature either RC airplane models only, or both airplanes and helicopters.

1. Flying-Model Simulator Flight Simulator (FMS)

FMS - Flying-Model-Simulator Flight Simulation Software - Screenshot
FMS - Flying-Model-Simulator Flight Simulation Software - Screenshot
FMS from Roman and Michael Mõller is an excellent piece of software. This RC flight simulator is a great way to get the young one into the hobby. For one reason it's totally free! It's not difficult to setup with your own controller or a two stick analog game controller like the one for PlayStation 2. The flight characteristics are dead-on as long as the minimum PC requirements are met. Not a whole bunch of models to choose from -- mostly planes -- but you can find 3D models online that were created by users for use with FMS. Watch a video. Download the software.

2. E-Sky 4 Channel Flight Simulator Training Kit

This kit actually contains the FMS software on CD along with an E-Sky transmitter that plugs into your PCs USB port. If you don't already have an RC airplane or helicopter, this is an inexpensive way to get the feel of RC flying with a real transmitter but without spending a lot of money on an RC and radio system that you might not be able to use.

3. RC Plane Master

Reality Craft Flight Simulation Software - Screenshot
Reality Craft Flight Simulation Software - Screenshot
An afforable flight sim from Reality Craft, this one focuses on airplanes. It comes with a USB controller, has 12 models including electric, glow engine, and jet-powered aircraft, and a split screen mode for 2 pilot play -- even dogfights. For Windows, download a demo.

4. Manuel's Radio Control Flight Simulator

Manuel's Radio Control Flight Simulator Software - Screenshot
Manuel's Radio Control Flight Simulator Software - Screenshot
Not much on the graphic side of things, this free flight simulator is geared more towards the basic principle of flight control for an RC airplane. It's a great place to start if you're less concerned with cool images but just want to get a grasp of what it takes to fly RC planes. Download the software. There's also a little fancier commercial version called AeroSIM RC.

5. ClearView RC Flight Simulator

ClearView RC Flight Simulator Software by SVK Systems - Screenshot
ClearView RC Flight Simulator Software by SVK Systems - Screenshot
I was so impressed by the demo of the ClearView RC Flight Simulator from SVK Systems that I bought it immediately after the time had expired. The demo offers easy and expert versions of one airplane and two helicopters. Or, purchase the full version for even more electric and nitro-powered RC aircraft. You not only have a lot of RC models to choose from but you can even create and import your own aircraft and flying fields. On their website you can download user-submitted models to add to your collection. Fly with a friend in multi-player mode over the internet. I also highly recommend using 3D LCD shutter glasses with this flight simulator. Watch a video of the ClearView RC Flight Simulator.

6. RealFlight G5 R/C Flight Simulator

RealFlight G3 Flight Simulation Software - Demo Screenshot
RealFlight G3 Flight Simulation Software - Demo Screenshot

By far the most realistic flight simulator on the market, and perhaps the best known, it's also a little expensive -- but well worth it for serious flight training. RealFlight from Great Planes has such an extensive model RC aircraft library to choose from that you won't grow tiresome of this software for quite awhile. It comes complete with a transmitter controller by Futaba, and features like training aids, virtual coach, night flying mode, active and reactive backgrounds, and multi-player modes. If you're skeptical about whether or not to take the plunge, watch a video and download the demo. You can also check to see if your local hobby shop has a demo model up and running to get a more detailed look at the software.

7. RealFlight G3.5 R/C Flight Simulator

RealFlight G3 Flight Simulation Software - Demo Screenshot
RealFlight G3 Flight Simulation Software - Demo Screenshot
Earlier but very good version of RealFlight. Since it's been around longer there are tons of add-ons and RC aircraft models for it. Includes 3D flying sites, scale planes, sailplanes, sports planes, and plenty of helicopters too. G3 demo screenshots

8. RC Flight Master eXtreme64

Reality Craft RC Flight Master eXtreme64 Flight Simulation Software - Screenshot
Reality Craft RC Flight Master eXtreme64 Flight Simulation Software - Screenshot
This is Reality Craft's more expensive professional flight simulation software for some serious training in flying RC airplanes and gliders as well as helicopters. Purchase this one with a controller or save money by buying the software only and use with your own controller. Graphics for the 3D flight model aircraft are just OK but the photo-realistic scenery makes up for what the 3D modelling lacks. Like RC Plane Master, it has a split screen mode. For Windows, download a demo.

9. PRE-Flight Standard Edition RC Flight Simulator

PRE-Flight RC Flight Simulation Software by Transcendental Technologies - Screenshot
PRE-Flight RC Flight Simulation Software by Transcendental Technologies - Screenshot
While Transcendental Technologies offers multiple RC helicopter editions, the standard edition of PRE-Flight features several kinds of aircraft -- and you can download additional models such as a DC-3, an RAF SE5 biplane, or a Korean conflict era MASH Helicopter. It comes with the software and a USB interface for use with your own transmitter. Download a demo.

10. FS One

From Hangar 9, this flight simulation software comes with over 30 popular RC aircraft models including foamies, jets, and helis, has photo-realistic skyscapes, 2D and 3D flying sites, and comes with a controller. Or, for a little less get it without the controller (Buy Direct) and use your own JR, Futaba, or HiTec transmitter. The FS One with controller comes in 2 modes. Mode 2 (Buy Direct) is the most common in the US where the right stick controls elevator and aileron while left stick controls throttle and rudder. Unfortunately, there's no free demo.
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