While the content of the Stormbirds blog will always be focused on some of the combat flight sim experiences out there such as DCS World and IL-2: Great Battles Series, many of you know that I like to check out other experiences from time to time as well. With my upcoming trip to Flight Sim-Expo and the heavy focus of that expo on civil aviation simulation, I thought it would only be fitting for me to dip my toes into this world and see what sticks.
What have I done? An X-Plane overview.
The last four months have been particularly busy for me and adding an additional simulation to the mix isn’t really what I needed to put on my already full plate. Still, here I am and here’s what I intend to be a very short first impressions of what X-Plane is all about.
Produced by Laminar Research, X-Plane is a long running flight simulator series that stretches back a couple of decades and has a history almost as long as Microsoft’s Flight Simulator series (itself stretching back before its purchase by Microsoft).
X-Plane has a complex flight model system similar to DCS World’s PFM (and probably not that different from IL-2’s flight model a well) and an extensible plugin interface that allows for countless third party additions that enhance or outright replace elements within X-Plane. The sheer volume is overwhelming but I’m hoping to cut through the volume and learn more about the essentials.
X-Plane is available as a demo first letting you experience about 15-minutes of flight in the Seattle area with several aircraft from the base product. It is this demo that I currently have installed on my system although I am considering checking out the full installation at some point.
The demo works fairly well as it gives you a limited (and free) experience without giving away too much. It did, however, let me work on things like configuring my controls and understanding the basics of how X-Plane’s control scheme works. Things like my newly acquired Delanclip using OpenTrack were immediately recognized as was my VIRPIL MT-50TCS and WarBRD and WarBRD grip.
My first flight involved a takeoff, circle and a bit of sight seeing before returning to the same airfield that I took off from. It was not my best landing but it was passable. This was a very basic experience but it was actually quite a lot of fun and something I’d like to check out more of.
Although I only scratched the surface of what X-Plane offers, I was actually quite pleased with myself to be able to perform the basics without even breaking a sweat. Years of flying complex fourth-gen multi-role jet fighters, 1950s eras Soviet interceptors, and World War I and II warbirds has prepared me well for the likes of the Beechcraft Baron 58 that I flew in X-Plane.
I can sum up the experience in one word: fun!
Do you also fly civil aviation sims?
My love of titles like IL-2 and DCS certainly bring plenty of excitement when it comes to the combat elements of flying (which demand a whole other set of skills) but civil aviation has its charms too and the pure challenge and joy of flight in all of its forms have me hooked.
As I said in my introduction, my focus remains on titles like IL-2 and DCS World but I’m sure this will not be my last on the subject of X-Plane. I was pretty impressed with my first outing.
I am, however, very curious if anyone out there reading Stormbirds is also into civil aviation flight sims? Or, is your interest is purely in combat sims? Let me know in the comments!