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X-Plane: An amazing flight simulator Pick of the Week
xplane imageThe macosxhints Rating:
9 of 10
[Score: 9 out of 10]
As a long-time pilot (non-current medical at the moment), I've always liked computer-based flight sims. For a long time, though, there was basically nothing available for the Mac. There were a few attempts, some good (F/A 18 Korea, for one), some bad (I could never get Fly II running acceptably), but nothing that approached the variety of features found in Microsoft's Flight Simulator for Windows. I'm still not sure we're 100% there, but Laminar Research's X-Plane certainly greatly narrows the gap.

X-Plane has been around for quite a while, but I think I last looked at it at version 1.0 or so, and it's now reached version 7.0. What started as basically an instrument flight rules (IFR) only simulator has progressed into a very nice all-around simulator. The program's features are too numerous to go into here, but they include excellent physics for everything from gliders to helicopters to commercial aircraft to the space shuttle, amazing weather, 18,000+ real-world airports, and a slew of user-controllable variables.

One other feature is the ability to record any flight (or segment thereof) by clicking control-space at any time. I used this feature to make a short QuickTime movie showing a takeoff roll and climb out from LaGuardia, followed by an approach and landing at John F. Kennedy (in near-zero visibility, led by the auto-pilot). The movie runs 4.6mb, and you'll need QuickTime 6 to view it -- download it here. One technical side-note ... X-Plane doesn't capture audio, so I used Ambrosia's excellent freeware utility WireTap for that task, and then finished the project in iMovie.

One final cool feature of X-Plane is its openness for modification. There are a world of third-party add-ons available in the way of scenery, planes, sounds, and more -- start on the X-Plane links and resources page, and go from there ... and make sure you check out the X-Plane secret page :).
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X-Plane: An amazing flight simulator
Authored by: suthercd on Sep 01, '03 11:08:03PM

Probably get a bunch of letters from the back, but heah...nice landing! You walked awaqy after all.

Great app- and iy gets better all the time.


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Authored by: robg on Sep 01, '03 11:17:51PM

Figured that was coming :-). I warned you my medical wasn't current, yet you got on the plane anyway!


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VATSIM X-Plane client in beta
Authored by: fbitterlich on Sep 02, '03 06:35:21AM
For those of us that have been craving to fly online on a network such as VATSIM, there is light at the of the tunnel! An X-Plane client (XSquawkBox) is already in beta. Details here: XSquawkBox


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Moller M400
Authored by: jscotta on Sep 02, '03 09:21:17AM

Does anyone know if X-Plane has an Moller M400 model?

Windows because I have to. OS X because I want to.

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Moller M400
Authored by: robg on Sep 02, '03 10:34:42AM
You mean like this one?



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Re: Moller M400
Authored by: tflight on Sep 02, '03 12:25:56PM
Is this what you are looking for? -Tim Tim Flight

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X-Plane: An amazing flight simulator
Authored by: easco on Sep 02, '03 10:52:26AM

I've been a big fan of X-Plane for quite some time myself. There are three additional "features" that really excite me about X-Plane.

1. X-Plane has an excellent user community. There are a wealth of add-ons and additions to X-Plane that can enhance the experience. Just search the Web for X-Plane links and look around.

2. X-Plane allows a programmer to get at it's data while the simulator is running. I'm a coder and I've written some fun toys to play with X-Plane. If you like writing code and flying planes, look into extending X-Plane with your own gizmos. It's surprisingly easy and can be lots of fun!

3. Austin Meyers, the guy who writes and maintains X-Plane is a hell of a nice guy. I had the good fortune to meet him at WWDC this past year and enjoyed his company quite a lot. In addition I've sent him a couple of e-mails over the years and his replies have always been insightful and gracious!

That's my 2 cents worth anyway.

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X-Plane: An amazing flight simulator
Authored by: Auricchio on Sep 02, '03 08:38:23PM

Rob, I like how you reached Vr and rotated shortly before the left main wheel made it to the grass!


EMOJO: mojo no longer workin'

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Mice can't fly! :)
Authored by: robg on Sep 03, '03 10:32:35AM

I really need to get a joystick; using the mouse is just a bit tricky, especially on those external views!


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X-Plane: An amazing flight simulator
Authored by: P on Sep 02, '03 10:25:18PM

Out of interest X-PlaneĀ 7.1b43 listed today on


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