Virtual reality is basically another form of simulation. As in all its areas of use, the VR provides a simulated environment with scenes or objects of real appearance, which creates in the user the sensation of being immersed inside them. To get that experience, virtual reality glasses or helmets are used. These vision instruments can be accompanied by other haptic technology devices, such as gloves or special suits, which allow tactile interaction with the environment as well as the perception of different stimuli that intensify the feeling of reality.At the moment this technology is beginning to be widely used in the aviation industry as a training tool not only for pilots and cabin crew but for related personnel in other areas, such as mechanics.
The reasons are easy to explain. VR provides notable advantages to flight simulation. In the savings section, given its simplicity, it is not necessary to use large spaces nor to install huge and complex simulators. On the other hand, the hardware is reduced, practically, to a virtual reality helmet and, for the most demanding, the addition of gloves and special suits. A fairly advanced virtual reality headset does not usually exceed €1000.
Another of its advantages is interconnectivity, since, for example, environments can be generated where several people carry out an aerial simulation exercise simultaneously, even if they are in different parts of the world.
It is not surprising, therefore, that VR is already being developed by simulator manufacturers and airlines as an alternative to conventional simulation. But, going back to the beginning, will VR be a complementary simulation or will it eventually prevail over current devices?
RV Cabin Crew
According to Carlos Pérez, CEO of Simloc, “at the moment, it is a perfect complement to modernize training programs. This technology allows improving the learning curves of users, which results not only in training better pilots, but from a business point of view increases the efficiency of investments in training.”
For the director of this Spanish company that manufactures flight training devices, “as technology advances we will see the space be reduced with conventional simulation, but we are still far from being able to take that step. FTD simulators are still very necessary and VR cannot replace the training that is carried out on them, but, as I said before, it can contribute to a better and more efficient preparation of students and pilots”.
One of the most enjoyable ways to play a video game is by playing it with a VR headset. VR, or virtual reality, immerses you in a virtual world. Virtual reality has completely changed the way we play games. This gaming mode lets you feel that you are in the game, which is a wonderful experience.
Due to the realistic immersive experience that it provides, this technology can be used for practical applications, as well. VR is being used in military, medical, education, aerospace, and other important industries. Experiencing a flight simulation is one of the key steps in a pilot training session. Whether you do it for fun or pure professional purposes, enjoying a flight simulator in VR is quite an impressive and educational experience.
This article provides a list of some of the best flight simulators available to enjoy with your VR headset.
There are many flight simulators available on the market. Some are purely for entertainment purposes, and others give you more authenticity. Simulators for entertainment purposes have simple controls and easy-to-grasp gameplay, but for more realistic experiences, things change a bit. In a more realistic flight simulator experience, an entire cockpit is created that displays the data you read and buttons you press during flight. It is up to you to decide whether to play for amusement or if you want to go with a more realistic experience.
1. Microsoft Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flight Simulator is one of the best quality and oldest flight simulators. This flight simulator was first released in 1982. In 2020, Microsoft released the latest version of this device. With this flight simulator, you can fly almost anywhere in the world, and you can even fly in realistic weather conditions. The accuracy of this flight simulator is unmatchable, providing a unique and photorealistic game experience.
This simulator is easy to learn, and anybody can learn how to play it. If you are a beginner, then you can choose to use semi-automated or fully automated controls; but if you are a pilot license holder, then nothing can stop you from going with the full manual control.
The base version of the Microsoft Flight Simulator comes with 20 planes and 30 beautifully modeled airports. This game can be bought for Xbox One and Windows PC.
2. DCS World
DCS World, or Digital Combat Simulator World, is an exceptional flight simulation game created to offer relaxed activity suitable for the specific experience level of every player. The best part of DCS is that it can be downloaded and played without investing money. There is plenty of paid content that can be downloaded for this game; however, this content is completely optional. This flight simulator is worth trying because it is free to play. There are two types of airplanes in the game, with a free version of a WWII-era trainer and a modern attack jet. This flight simulator was released for virtual reality in 2015. Both the Vive and Rift headsets are supported by DCS World.
Entering the cockpit for the very first time is a great feeling. This game provides a very interesting quality of VR to make the player user feel as if they are in another world, which is impossible when gaming on flat screens. DCS World even allows you to leave the cockpit to move around in the airplane. This flight simulator has an easy tutorial to train beginners, who can learn the complicated controls in the cockpit much more easily. DCS World is also more user-friendly than X-Plane 11.
3. X-Plane 11
X-Plane 11 is a Windows-based flight simulator that was developed by Laminar Research. This flight simulator is one of the best simulators out there. What is more, X-Plane has recently ported to VR with X-Plane 11.
The cockpit design is very realistic. Pressing buttons, turning knobs, and reading data are quite easy tasks with a headset.
Controlling the plane by using a digital yoke instead of a physical controller takes some time to become acclimated to; nevertheless, the controls can still be learned eventually. X-Plane 11 can be accessed from the Steam store. The greatest shortcoming of X-Plane 11 is that it does not have the mass appeal that more straightforward and simple flight applications have. X-Plane 11 usually costs $60 on Steam, but the price can go as low as $20 if you wait for a deal.
4. Ace Combat 7
Ace Combat 7 is a wonderful game that can be played on the PlayStation VR platform. This flight simulator will be launched this year, with a finer graphics mode, as well as haptic feedback handheld controllers. This game is appealing for all kinds of game lovers, providing great mechanics and straightforward controls.
This simulator is more of an action game. If you are looking for an energizing, relentless aerial battle, then Ace Combat 7 is the title for you. Luckily, PlayStation games can come extremely inexpensive when some time has passed since the game was first launched. The chances of getting an action flight simulator for under $20 are highly unlikely, otherwise.
This flight simulator is the simplest option on our list and is the best choice for casual gamers. It is a “cartoon-ified” flight simulator, with a low poly cockpit and environment. Ultrawings has fun gameplay, but more hardcore fans might not be interested in this flight experience. This flight simulator will be great fun for everyone, whether you are an experienced pilot or a beginner gamer. This game is available for the SteamVR and PSVR platforms.
Ultrawings is between a flight simulator and an arcade-like flier, though it is inclined toward the more arcade-like style. Rather than paying for extra airplanes, you need to win them in-game by completing challenges. Most challenges require you to fly planes through rings, firing targets with a gun, or effectively setting down your plane at an assigned spot. In this flight simulator, mechanics are not complex, and flying around the vivid world can be very satisfying. You can fly around different islands and find new air terminals, and each island and air terminal comes with its own unique challenges.