Flight simulators and aircraft combat games serve a solid niche for those of us that like to take to the skies when we're not doing other things with our computers. Here's a roundup of the top ones you can download today, with prices from free to reasonable and the focus from arcade-style action to ultra-realistic flight sim. They're not only great games, they're some of the best Mac games you can find.
Steam Edition Breathes New Life Into Microsoft Flight Simulator X! The Microsoft Flight Simulation series has its roots in the SubLOGIC flight simulators of the late 1970s. After releases of simulators on such systems as Apple, Atari, Amiga, and Macintosh, the Microsoft company developed the first flight simulator compatible for home PCs and IBM in 1982. Flight simulation games have been around since electrical engineer Bruce Artwick introduced the prehistoric Microsoft Flight Simulator (before it was even called that) on the 8-bit Apple II back. The CH Products Flight Stick Pro USB is made of quality construction, tough material and is compatible with Windows versions 98, and ME, 2000, XP, Vista and Windows 7 on the PC as well as Mac OS 8.6 with Input Sprockets 1.7 X for Mac. 16 Games like Avion Flight Simulator 2015 for Mac OS, daily generated comparing over 40 000 video games across all platforms. This list includes War Thunder, Kerbal Space Program, X-Plane 10 Global - 64 Bit, RC Plane 3 and 12 more.
X-Plane is without peer on the Mac. Calling X-Plane a game isn't just wrong, but it's insulting: X-Plane is the definitive flight simulator for the platform. Intricately detailed, it's also incredibly scalable - X-Plane runs on mobile, oz77n home Macs and PCs, and also operates as a detailed professional-grade aviation simulator.
More than 30 aircraft are available in the default installation: You can fly everything from a single-engine Cessna 172 — the most popular airplane in the world — to a B-2 bomber. The app models fixed and rotary wing aircraft both, along with tons of atmospheric conditions that affect flight. It even simulates what'd be like to fly the Space Shuttle. More than 1,400 additional aircraft models can be downloaded online. And you can fly almost anywhere: Land at more than 33,000 airports worldwide, touch down on an aircraft carrier and more.
A free demo is available, so don't let the price tag scare you off. Given the incredible level of detail and the huge ecosystem that supports X-Plane, it's well worth the money if you take your flight simulation seriously.
- $59.99 - Download now
An open source flight simulator, FlightGear is a bit more do-it-yourself than some of the other apps in this list, but it's still remarkable and definitely worth checking out. You download the central app, airplane models and scenery separately. Hundreds of aircraft models are available for download.
FlightGear's rough open source edges show, but if you're a developer or a code tinkerer, there's fun to be had here. And for everyone else, plenty of fun airplanes to fly and scenery to explore.
- Free - Download now
Total Sims' WarBirds flight combat game has going since 1995. Take to the skies behind the yoke of dozens of legendary World War II-era aircraft. Single player mode consists of 20 training modules, 12 instant missions, and five different Free Flight modes. What's more, you can play offline for free, for as long as you want.
But the real meat of this game is in online play, which does incur a monthly fee to continue to play. You go on raids with squadrons of other real-world players as you reenact many famous battles of World War II. Total Sims is a bit funky with their Mac support; their FAQs reference Apple's GameSprocket technology, which went out the door when Classic Mac OS gave way to OS X more than a decade ago. But it goes to show just how long WarBirds has been on the platform, too.
- $13.95 (monthly, free offline play) - Download now
Falcon 4.0: Allied Force
Graphic Simulations has been making flight sims for the Macintosh since the early 1990s. Falcon 4.0: Allied Force is the latest iteration of its classic F-16 Falcon flight simulator, taking you to the Balkans and the Korean peninsula for realistic combat missions.
Arm your aircraft with realistic weapons and ordnance, then fly missions deep into hostile territory with a dynamic campaign engine that changes things every time you play.
- $9.99 - Download now
Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders
Atypical Games' entry is an absolute must if you want to dogfight World War II style. The game features terrific graphics and easy to understand gameplay. There are single-player missions here but where the game really shines is in multiplayer dogfighting combat, which has been the series' strength. A variety of different online game modes test your skill, like Capture The Flag and Last Man Standing.
Sky Gamblers supports iCloud and Game Center - any progress you make in game can be saved to the cloud. It also supports a joystick or gamepad, which is a must for any flight sim, as far as I'm concerned. $5 gets you plenty of game play, but there are in app purchases that let you unlock new customization features and new airplane models.
- $4.99 - Download now
F/18 Carrier Landing II Pro
It's obviously a port of a game that originated on iOS, but it's lots of fun regardless. Take off and land from aircraft carriers and airstrips in some of the most legendary combat aircraft flying: the F-A/18 Super Hornet, F-14 Super Tomcat, F-16 Fighting Falcon and MiG-29K are all represented, along with the Harrier, F35B Lightning II and more.
RORTOS calls itself maker of the most advanced flight sims for mobile, and they're pretty snazzy on the Mac too. More than thirty missions along with a half-dozen training missions and free flight so you can buzz around on your own with no agenda.
- $5.99 - Download now
Heads up, virtual pilots — what'd I leave out?
This is my list of favorites right now, but I'm sure I've left some off that you love too. Feel free to let me know in the comments!
Best Flight Simulator For Mac
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Best Flight Simulator For Student Pilot
Avion Flight Simulator ™ 2015 is a sophisticated flight simulator that includes 12 planes, 4 detailed cities, and over 9 airports. The player can fly anything from single-engine aircraft to jumbo jets, with idealistic to realistic flight simulation experience. The game features an immersive set of 60+ missions, dynamic real-world weather system, trees and interactive clouds. Avion Flight Simulator ™ 2015 features 12 detailed aircrafts that you can pilot, with cockpit view: Cessna 182 - The Cessna 182 Sky lane is an American four-seat, single-engine light airplane, built by Cessna of Wichita, Kansas. DE Havilland DHC6 Twin Otter - The DE Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter is a Canadian 19-passenger STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) utility aircraft developed by de Havilland Canada and produced by Viking Air. ATR 42 - The ATR 42 is a twin-turboprop, short-haul regional airliner built in France and Italy by ATR. Piper PA46 Malibu Meridian - The Piper PA-46 Malibu and Matrix are a family of American light aircraft manufactured by Piper Aircraft of Vero Beach, Florida. The aircraft is powered by a single engine and has the capacity for one pilot and five passengers. A-10 Thunderbolt II - The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is an American twin-engine, straight wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic. It is the only United States Air Force production aircraft designed solely for close air support, including attacking tanks, armored vehicles, and other ground targets with limited air defenses. DE Havilland Beaver - The de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver is a single-engined, high-wing, propeller-driven, STOL aircraft developed by de Havilland Canada. It is used for cargo and passenger hauling, aerial application (crop dusting and aerial topdressing), and has been widely adopted by armed forces as a utility aircraft. Canadair CL415 - The Bombardier 415 Superscooper is a Canadian amphibious aircraft purpose-built as a water bomber. It is an aircraft designed for aerial firefighting and is based on the company's CL-215 flying boat. It is marketed in the United States as the 'Superscooper.' Beechcraft King Air - The Beechcraft King Air is a twin-turboprop aircraft produced by Beechcraft. They were originally marketed as Super King Airs, with 'Super' being dropped by Beechcraft in 1996 F-16 Fighting Falcon - The General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin) F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force (USAF). Designed as an air day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Boeing F/A-18E - The Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet and related twin-seat F/A-18F are twin-engine carrier-capable multirole fighter aircraft variants based on the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. The F/A-18E single-seat and F/A-18F tandem-seat variants are larger and more advanced derivatives of the F/A-18C and D Hornet. Boeing 777 - The Boeing 777 is a family of long-range wide-body twin-engine jet airliners developed and manufactured by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It is the world's largest twinjet. Commonly referred to as the 'Triple Seven”, it is also the first entirely computer-aided designed commercial aircraft. Sukhoi Su-33 - The Sukhoi Su-33 (Russian: Сухой Су-33; NATO reporting name: Flanker-D) is an all-weather carrier-based twin-engine air superiority fighter designed by Sukhoi and manufactured by KnAAPO. Following the break-up of the Soviet Union and the subsequent downsizing of the Russian Navy, only 24 aircraft were produced. Avion Flight Simulator ™ 2015 features pilot cockpit view for all the aircrafts. It contains 5 distinct commercial airports, 2 seaports and 2 small airports. It has no in-app purchases and the aircrafts can be unlocked sequentially as you progress the missions. Airbus A380, Boeing 747-8 and a military / war expansion pack is being planned. The game is localized in several different languages.