X-Plane 10 Global Flight Simulator (PC & MAC)

3.5 out of 5 stars 191 customer reviews
| 69 answered questions
Rated: Everyone
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Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux
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About the Product

  • Super accurate flight characteristics using a virtual wind tunnel
  • Includes 30 aircraft, from gliders to the Space Shuttle
  • Online flying with other virtual pilots
  • Air Traffic Control actually controls the other aircraft around you
  • Detailed terrain for the whole world including very accurate altitude data

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  • X-Plane 10 Global Flight Simulator (PC & MAC)
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Product Description

X-Plane 10 is the latest version of a nearly 20 year series of high realistic simulators. At its core is a virtual wind tunnel that creates the most realistic flight modeling available on a desktop. As all versions before it is an incredible flexible and extendable simulator. With thousands of compatible add-on`s there is no kind of flying craft that is not simulated and a whole world to explore. X-Plane 10 features a totally new scenery engine for all three platforms (Windows, Mac and Linux) that include a uniform lighting system that lights a 'plausible world'. This plausible world is a new style of virtual landscape that revolutionizes simulation. Created from many real world databases you will see almost all roads and build up areas exactly as they are around you.

Product Information

Customer Reviews
3.5 out of 5 stars 191 customer reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #1,634 in videogames
#2 in Video Games > More Systems > Linux Games
Pricing The strikethrough price is the List Price. Savings represents a discount off the List Price.
Product Dimensions 8.8 x 6 x 0.6 inches
Media: Video Game

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I've been using this product for the past two weeks, and have used both a mouse-yoke and a Saitek Pro Flight Yoke (PZ44). In short, X-Plane is a great simulator, built in a much more modern way code-wise than FSX (Microsoft Flight Simulator X); the flight model also performs better overall. It's not as "fun" as FSX and it's a bit less polished (development seems to be on-going), but it's a pleasure to fly in.

+ Excellent flight model (given good plane modelling)
+ Excellent terrain and road data
+ Professional software; same company makes a version approved for FAA simulator training (on approved hardware simulators)
+ Runs better than FSX
+ On-going development

- Included aircraft modelled poorly; some are, frankly, atrocious
- "bells-and-whistles" secenery poor to non-existant
- Not game-like a la FSX; no real tutorials or "missions"
- Clunky, technical interface
- Some features are currently incomplete

If you install all the scenery at once, the install process will take ages. The total size of the whole shebang on-disk is around 55 gigabytes. I think, for me, that translated into an installation time over two hours. I assume most of that data are the extremely detailed wire-meshes of terrain and accurate road network data since 99% of the 3D scenery (buildings, trees, etc.) is autogen. Unlike FSX, the world, itself, can be pretty barren and you certainly won't see any landmarks (even such things as the Golden Gate Bridge are absent).

A few people's reviews seem to be commenting that the software runs slowly.
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As many have stated before, calling X-Plane 10 a game would be a mistake. What it really is varies from person to person, but to make anything out of it requires you to put some time into it. Expect to spend an hour or so setting everything up, getting the graphics settings just right, configuring your joystick and other equipment to work just right... But once you do...

I am in the process of getting my private pilot/single engine rating. I hit a spot in my training just after I solo'ed where my landings were completely horrible. I got tired of hearing everyone say 'ohh, well, any landing you walk away from is a good one.' I hit a plateau that many students apparently hit. For over a month I was drilling patterns over my local airport with my instructor in the right seat, and I just couldn't seem to get it.

I decided to use X-Plane to get better. I got it as a gift last Christmas and I had been flying it on and off since then. I modified my yoke to make it smoother in pitch. And then I started doing patterns at my "local" airport. Eventually I just saved the game when I was on short final because the level off and flare was what I was having trouble with. And after a couple of hours, I finally got the hang of it. Over 100 virtual landings and I finally was able to always put the plane down safely in a crosswind. It wasn't exactly the same as the real thing, but it was really close. And my next lesson, I did it with in a real Skyhawk too.

So for me, X-Plane isn't a game; it is a training aid. It's close enough to the real thing that I got something useful out of it. And one that has paid for itself many times over.

So, for the plus'es, very realistic to the point of getting real skill out of it (as long as you put the time into it).
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Serious flight simulations have two major hurdles: how to convey realistic flight dynamics, and how to portray a convincing world to 'fly' in. The brand leader (Microsoft Flight Simulator) works using 'lookup tables' to produce flight dynamics coupled with a solid, no-frills flight dynamics engine. This means that each aircraft has an array of data that is looked-up (degree of aileron turn-rate, stability etc.) and reproduced for each flight. This is how big, expensive flight simulators are made. The data has to be as accurate as possible in the lookup table, but if it is, and the software engine is decent, you'll get a convincing flight experience. If the data is a bit crude, or the software engine oversimplified, then you will not. Also, if the data does not exist (such as for stalling etc.) then you're left with guesswork.

X-Plane works differently. It uses a method that calculates, in real-time, the effects on each part of the aircraft. If you move an aileron, for example, it calculates the wind and other forces at work on the aileron and then moves the rest of the aircraft according to the physics calculations after combining the aileron calculations with all the other calculations for the aircraft. Each part of the aircraft has its own strength, flexibility, weight, etc. that all goes into the final calculation. If you get the physics calculations correct (including the modelling of air density etc.) you get a 'real' aircraft, not a lookup table.

While that sounds great in theory, its not perfect. Physics calculations are not 100% accurate, and anything left out won't be modelled.
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