It’s no big secret that one of the greatest assets to the hobby has been the RC flight simulator. Whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned pro, it’s one of those things you almost can’t live without. The first generations of simulators were quite basic when it came to performance, and the appearance was certainly nothing to write home about, but their usefulness was quickly realized. No longer would you have to make several sacrifices to the modeling gods just to learn the basics of flying, and those that already had the skills could hone them in the comfort of their own home during bad weather. The first visually stimulating sim had to be the original RealFlight by Great Planes. The models were more than a just a set of colorful polygon shapes, and the sceneries actually resembled something you’d see in real life. RealFlight has been evolving ever since, and the newest version, RealFlight 6, is the best yet.
So, what’s new?
When you first look at the box, you’ll wonder what’s so different about this version, since the packaging appears very similar. Well, it’s what changed inside that matters. After installing RealFlight 6 on my computer, I noticed how much quicker it loads up. It’s approximately 30 percent faster than the previous version at start up and switching between the great-looking photo-realistic and 3D sceneries. Changing between models is now nearly instant. The program also defaults to the best settings for your particular system, so whether you have a simple laptop or the latest, greatest desktop gaming system, you’ll have the best performance available to you.
There are actually two versions of RealFlight available now: one geared towards fixed wing and the other towards rotary wing. One difference is that in addition to the over 80 stock aircraft, you get an additional Mega Pack, that adds 36 planes for the airplane specific version and 47 helis for the helicopter specific version (see real flight.com/megapacks for a full listing). The heli version also has a slightly different InterLink Elite controller where the rotary knob has been swapped with the gear/throttle hold switch.
Let’s see that again
A great new addition is the rewind feature. Simply hold down the reset button and the sim will start to rewind. When you get to a point where you want to start flying again, release the button and you’re off. I’ve used this quite a bit when flying through the obstacle course while in cockpit view and don’t want to do a full reset after crashing or missing a gate.
See Michael York’s full review in the March issue of Model Airplane News.