X-Plane flight Simulator for Linux

I remember back when I was running Windows as my primary OS, one of my favorite diversions was Microsoft Flight Simulator (2000?) In fact, I clearly remember circumnavigating the globe in a Cessna in that program (landing at a small strip in Icelend, the old Hong Kong International airport and some airstrip in the Himalayas were the most challenging. In fact, for the altitude problems I didn’t think I’d make it past the himalayas…) Anyway, when I moved to linux it wouldn’t run under wine and there wasn’t much out there to compare that ran under linux.

I haven’t tried to run the Flight Sim under wine or winex (cedaga) in quite a while. MS Flight Simulator 2000 may well run under cedega now, I don’t know. But, I tried flightgear at one time (which is promising, but I haven’t had too much luck with it.) I don’t remember what, but I was doing a urpmi search for gear and saw flightgear again today. Installed it and tried it. Some of the interface still doesn’t seem to work well for me. (Even after looking at the online help and key mappings I couldn’t get the throttle up to take off…)

Anyway, I discovered that X-Plane is now available for Linux. X-Plane is one of those flight sims that I looked at just after the switch. I think I read a linux version was a possibility at that time and tried it under cedaga to see if it would work that way. I think the current version is 8.20 or 8.21, but I donwloaded and installed the linux version (demo – after 6 minutes no flightstick control). I’m impressed. From what I had read before, they really strive for as accurate physics modeling as possible and have a good deal of credible support from groups that would seem to rely on accurate modeling.

I’m not ready to lay out $80 for it (and 7 DVD of global scenery) quite yet, but I am starting to sense that flying bug again. I haven’t hooked up my joystick to test compatibility, so I just flew with a “mouse in a box” which worked surprisingly well. (I remember many PAINFUL mouse as a flight yoke experiences..) The scenery is impressive, modeling of planes is very good. Overall I’m finding the urge ot get a usb flight yoke and head off to explore the scenery….

It’s apparently so accurate in it’s physics modeling that it’s used by some to prototype new designs. It’s also the only commercial product to be approved by the FAA for use in training simulators for Airline Transport Pilot and instrument ratings. There’s a good review over at Apple’s site. X-Plane is available for Mac/Linux and Windows (I don’t know of another commercial simulator that covers those three platforms.) There is of course, a downloadable demo that will cut off flight yoke capabilities after 6 minutes and only gives a sample of the scenery, but is worth a look.

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