Flight simulation for your PC just doesn't get any better than this. Microsoft has been at this for a long time, and they make it better with every release.
A few things seasoned flight simmers will know that new users will certainly WANT to know are:
The system requirements to really make this software work well are dauntingly advanced. You'll need something approaching a top-level gaming machine, with a huge video card, to get the full benefit of the entire visual, audible, advanced controls experience. Got a laptop you think is pretty smokin'? Forget it.
Microsoft follows every release of this product with massive service packs you must download and install, and each one takes a huge chunk out of your hard drive. Be prepared with LOTS of disk space. This particular release (meaning, the "Gold Edition") includes service packs one and two, so you won't need to download them.
An internet connection is required to register the product.
A note to real pilots (I am also a pilot): Keep in mind that this is a $30 product for a home computer, not a Flight Safety training machine. The flight model is basic and stable, and is not intended to simulate extreme attitudes and emergency procedures. If you're looking for a realistic spin trainer, or a procedural instrument trainer there are expensive add-ons that will get you CLOSE, but you should generally be looking elsewhere.
Bottom line is that this is, hands down, the best of the lot, but you really DO need vast hardware resources to run it. If you own those resources, be prepared for a real-time, audio-visual feast.
on January 3, 2009
Fun once you've downloaded the three disks. There are over 5,000 Airports, 30 planes plus three if you buy The Gold Version, and Loads of Missions to fly. My Favorite Feature is Free Play. You can take off from your Hometown Airport or any other and vist landmarks like The Egyption Pyramids, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, and Niagra Falls. You can download any plane you want online like UFO's, Futureristic Fliying Cars, and my favorite, a Thunder Bird version F-16. I love this game. Make sure you buy a controler like A Saitek X52 joystick and throttle. This game is unplay able witout one.
on January 8, 2010
As a Pilot, I bought this version because it included the G-1000 glass cockpit. The G-1000 simulator from Garmin is $119, FSX was only $34.95.
So, overall, I got what I wanted. I was very disappointed that MS decided to dumb down the flight physics even more than in FS9. Lot's of silly things too: For example, the left turning tendency is pronounced in a single engine propellor aircraft. This is caused by Torque, P-Factor, Gyroscopic precession and slipstream. Why do the 2 and 4 engine Commercial Jets in FSX also require heavy right rudder on take-off? They are immune to these forces. (They don't have props!) Stalls are so subtle and gentle as to be pointless, FSX wings never drop and full recovery is possible without relieving back pressure on the stick. FSX Planes will not spin, even when forced into cross-controlled flight. It's impossible to get the spin started and spin recovery; one of the most important basic flight skills to master, is impossible to properly simulate in FSX. Forward slips don't work properly and the glide ratios (at least for 172's) are ridiculously exaggerated (maybe I'm flying really "dirty" planes in real life?). I was also disappointed that there are no physics included to simulate the F-18 breaking the sound barrier. :(
It's great for learning instrumentation and navigation, but as a simulation of flight; it is pretty useless. The things this simulator lets you get away with (Yes, on Full Realism) would kill you several times per day in a real aircraft.
Graphics are good, but not the quantum leap you would expect from FS9-FSX (I'm running a quad core i7 940 at 2.93ghz, 6gb ram and a nVidia GTX-260 and have pretty much everything set to medium. Even set that low, NYC can knock me down to 6 FPS.
Buy it for fun, or to experiment with cockpit instumentation (it's really good for that, especially for student pilots training in G-1000 equipped aircraft), but don't fool yourself into believing that it is as Real As It Gets, because it flies like a video game.
on August 14, 2010
I'm using MS Flight Sim with a CH Yoke to practice cockpit procedures as I work through my pilot instrument rating. I'm only using the 172 in the Sim. I set it up to keep practicing in zero visibility, 5000 ft at GQE VOR NW of M01, the airport I normally fly out of.
The simulation of cross winds, VOR operation, compass acceleration - deceleration and turning errors, operation of the cockpit controls is faithful to what I see in the real airplane. I believe its saving me 100s of dollars to practice cognitive and interpretation skills before going out and spending big bucks flying them in a real airplane, when I'm much busier. It's been great for basic maneuvers, flying VOR radial intercepts, and holds.
I can't log the time, but it is better than sitting in an empty room using an imaginary airplane. The ability to review the ground track and altitude control afterwards is really helpful too. Of course it doesn't feel exactly like an airplane, it's my desk, and it drives me nuts the GPS always operates track up, but I just fly it, it's great. I operate dual screen, it's easy to set up a side window if I want, but I don't use for VFR at all. The scenery is off.
on December 13, 2010
I have enjoyed PC flight sims as long as I've had a computer. The first one I had was Chuck Yeager's Flight Trainer and that was back in the 1980's. Needless to say, the technology has evolved by leaps and bounds since then but the thrill of flight is still the same. FSX is first and foremost a beautiful looking recreational flight sim GAME. It is not a super-realistic flight trainer or anything of the sort. The flight characteristics are still very realistic, the real-time weather is a cool feature, but the missions (from the starting tutorials to the more difficult flights) are where you'll find the real meat of the game as you start out in an ultralight and advance to jumbo jets and fighter planes. I was not impressed by the variety of aircraft included (luckily the Gold edition adds the P-51, one of my favorites), but there are enough to keep you entertained for a while and supposedly you can download more online (I haven't had much luck, though).
Free Flight mode is fun, since you can take off from nearly anywhere in the world (including our local landing strip out here in the sticks) and explore on your own. The view is not true-to-life, but the roads and rivers and terrain is accurate. I was hoping for a satellite view, similar to what you would see in Google Earth, but this is nowhere close. You basically get a generic landscape based on the climate you're in and a generic town/city layout when you're flying over a populated area. More famous locations like Las Vegas, New York, etc are much more detailed. There is also a racing mode that is very challenging once you master the controls of the acrobatic planes.
There are many concerns about what sort of PC power it takes to run this game. I've got mine running at max detail on most settings and it runs very smooth, even in the cities. This is using an Intel i3-550 dual core @ 3.2 ghz, nVidia GTS-450 1gig video card, 8gig RAM on Windows 7 Pro. That isn't really a high-end machine by todays standards, but certainly is no slouch. FSX does not come close to using all of that RAM, though, and I think 4gig would be plenty. I was disappointed, though, that the game would not play in wide-screen. Instead it resizes itself to a normal 4:3 window on my wide-screen monitor.
Overall, this is a very enjoyable casual game that anyone of any age would enjoy if they are interested in aircraft and flight.
on December 28, 2009
I got this product a couple weeks ago, and finally had a chance to use it. I had hoped/expected to be able to have Flight Sim 2004 and Flight Sim X on the same machine at the same time. No such luck. However, after using X for a few days, I doubt I'd use 2004 much, anyway.
Observations: More missions, more planes, and if you have the Deluxe Version (Gold includes Deluxe and the Accelerator) you can fly with a glass cockpit, which is the wave of the future for aviation.
In 2004, I had to move the instrument panel down to see much sky out the windshield, and then move it up to check the switches and flap indicator. With X, the panel is fixed, but you can select several additional views of the instrument panel just be selecting that view from the View drop down menu. I like to fly with the switch panel displayed, but that obscures the G-1000 soft keys.
Flight Sim 2004 also had the W key, which cycles through views, but I never really used it. I need to use the W key in X, because the primary G-1000 display takes up 3/4s of the display, which is leaves enough sky for takeoff and cruise, but not enough for landing. The first W press gives me the landing view, which is about 1/2 the screen as windshield. That's almost enough for landing. The second W press gives you a full exterior view, except for the 6 pack of steam gauges (vacuum), and the third gives you a full exteriour view, no gauges. The fourth press brings you back to the original display.
After I had it installed, and was flying, the simulator seemed to be unstable because it would stop responding properly, would crash, or would just exit with mo warning. I researched the problem on the Microsoft Web site, and found that turning some services off would solve the problem. I ended up completely unchecking one box, and in the second tab, left all the Microsoft services on, and turned a few select non Microsoft services off. That seemed to solve the problem.
I have a seriously fast machine. Its not the ultimate, but it has a quad core Xenon (I think) Intel processor running at 2.66 GHz, 9 G bytes of RAM, a recent high end N-Vidia Graphics card. In fact, the game rating for my computer is 5.9. Flight Sim X's minimum is 3.0 and the recommended rating is 5.0. I have the graphics mostly on medium high, and yet the frame rate is low enough I see jerkiness.
I have all the controls set to maximum sensitivity, with no null spots. When I tried to do a run-up with full power, the brakes wouldn't hold the plane. You need to do that to check mags before the flight. Also, I can't see the ailerons move, and can barely see the rudder move.
I'm using the older USB CH Products yoke and rudder pedals. From what I've read, the newer yoke is easier to use, but I'm working on practicing division of attention, so I don't want the plane to be well trimmed so I learn not to pay too much attention to everything.
So, I'm glad I bought this product, even though its not perfet.
on September 14, 2014
The first thing I'd recommend to you, if you're planning on buying "Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Gold Edition with the Acceleration Expansion Pack" is to check your graphics card!
If you've had your computer for more then a couple years, then most likely, it's not going to allow you to play this simulator. Don't get upset after you load the simulator and find your graphics card is too old! Four of my computer friends (experts) told me my graphics card would be just fine to play the simulator? Well they were wrong!! After loading the simulator into my computer, the first message I received was "you must have a GeoForce3 or a Radeon 8500 graphics card or better to play the simulator!!!
OK, I'll just go to town and get one! Very few stores, now will carry graphics cards!! I was able to find one. It's not Radeon 8500, but it was close and it's the only one the store had!! The computer store clerk, told me a Radeon 8500 would probably cost around $250 at most computer stores! So I installed my new graphics card and away I go. The flight simulator played OK, graphics were good. I didn't have the $250 to spend on a Radeon 8500!!
I've had all the Microsoft flight simulators and I'm not sold on this new one yet!!
If you have a great top of the line new computer with a super gaming graphics card, then this flight simulator will play great on your computer!!
If you have an older slower computer, like mine, GET A NEW COMPUTER WITH ALL THE SUPER GRAPHICS STUFF YOU CAN GET IN IT!!!!
on March 12, 2009
If you are a student pilot you are going to love this game! It helped me on my VFR pilot training. Now that I'm thinking about getting my instrument rating, I know this software is going to help me a lot as well! You have to have a very good graphics card on your system to fully enjoy it.
As a kid, our family owned one of the first IBM PCs, and MS Flight Simulator version 1! Over the years, I've bought each new version of Flight Simulator and usually I bought a new PC to fly it. When FS-X came out, I don't think there was a PC on the planet that could fly FS-X with all the settings on max. (Well, maybe Microsoft had some, and maybe a few people built their own machines that came close, but I'm still not sure that in Oct 2006 when X first came out, that flying the simulator with all settings maxed out was a good experience for anyone). Almost everyone's review says the same thing, basically, "you will need a very powerful PC and a huge/fast graphics card, lots of memory, etc..."
But the question remained, just how much of a PC do you need if you want a good experience with all the settings maxed out? A few weeks ago, I took delivery of a new PC with:
* Intel Quad Core i7-920 2.66GHz
* ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics card (1GB of memory on the video card)
* 12GB tri-channel 1066 memory on the mother board
* Windows 7 Pro (64bit)
* A 7200rpm 1TB Hard drive
And yes, now I can max out all the settings in Flight Sim X and still get 20-30 frames per second, very smooth! In populated cities (with all the settings on Max, and I do mean all) you will see frame rates at times like 15-20 but the planes are still very flyable, and it's not too jerky).
I am not over clocking my CPUs, and even though I know we can get faster CPUs, I do believe the Intel Core i7 920 2.66GHz processor is fast enough for most of us to get FS-X running well -- but only if you also get a very large and fast video card. In my case, the manufacturer of my PC (the one in Texas) offered a few graphics cards, and I just got the biggest one they had (some of you know you that you can put 2 video cards - connected, in a PC for a lot of money, but I don't think that's needed for this simulator). I'm guessing that anything smaller or slower than my card would have some impact on some of the settings in FS-X (my card supports DirectX 11, though DirectX 10 might have been enough). I do know that 12Gigs of Ram is overkill for FS-X; you don't need that much to max out the settings in FS-X (I'd recommend at least 4Gigs of ram, more if you want to run other larger programs at the same time.
Win 7 Pro (and Ultimate) let you run older programs in compatibility mode, such as Win XP, or Win 95 mode. I'm running FS-X in native Win 7 mode. My Win 7 is 64 bit, which helps the operating system address (support) more than a few Gigs of memory, among other benefits, but it's possible if you had Win7 32bit with 4Gigs of ram and a very fast video card - you would also be pleased with the Flight Sim X performance.
As always, your mileage may differ, but I finally have a PC that can flight Slight Sim X really nicely!
on December 21, 2013
No one should sell, or buy this product expecting it to be a current, functional and supported simulation!
As a former pilot, I hoped Flight Simulator X Gold Edition would bring back some of they experiences I enjoyed so much as a private pilot. Certainly the hype lead me to expect that it would. But, after installation, and some pretty graphics, I began to experience many unexpected and unwelcome problems. Many of the features, such as the pilot log book function, simply do not work. Others, such as the "escape" command to leave a flight, or using the "map-navigation" button on the cockpit display, result in the immediate and drastic "Fatal Error Encountered" pop-up, and Flight Simulator is restarting, leaving me with un completed flight or mission, as well as failing to save the airplane configuration and set up file, and failing to save the flight as commanded, for future use. There are (many?) other glitches I haven't time to specify.
Searching online I have learned that Microsoft has some time ago completely abandoned this product, that it was not intended to, and will not work on updated operating systems (I bought a very expensive and capable new computer just for this program) and that many if not most recent buyers are experiencing the same problems, and more. There are many posts with suggestions about how users might fix the glitches by using one of the newer or older drivers, or by installing and removing various files within the Flight Simulator program.
The suggestions all have an unlikely prognosis, sometimes successful, most times not. However, you would have to be a software/hardware engineer to understand the descriptions and jargon used to describe what enthusiasts are having to attempt in order to enjoy the flight simulation experience that is promised.
Bottom line, this is an old program and does not function even remotely reliably on modern PC's or with modern operating systems! And, it is no longer supported by Microsoft, or anyone else. If you buy it only other frustrated users of varying backgrounds and qualifications can offer what might or might not turn out to be helpful suggestions.
I was a reasonably competent pilot, and I can reliably operate my PC for many routine functions. I am able to download, install and enjoy several other enjoyable games. However, I do not have the degree of in-depth computer hardware and software programs to trouble shoot and repair this glitchy and disappointing flight program. It doesn't cost much, but at any price this is a waste of money! I am reminded of an old saying which seems to apply; Beauty is skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone!