Admit it or not, we all have dreamt of flying a plane at least once in our lifetime. Especially during our childhood, but, flying an actual plane is not an easy task and we should rather leave it to the trained pilots. However, we can at least make use of technology to simulate the experience of flying a plane using flight simulator tools and one such software is Google Earth.
Many would not know about it but Google Earth has a hidden feature known as the Flight Simulator. Using this software anyone can fulfill their dream of flying a plane. And the good thing is with Google Earth’s realistic 3D graphics you always feel like you are flying an actual plane. So, if this gets you excited then let’s look into how to fly a plane on Google Earth.
Related Read: Best Flight Simulator For iOS And Android
How To Use Google Earth’s Flight Simulator
The first and foremost thing to use the flight simulator is to download Google Earth Pro on your computer (Windows, Mac, Linux). If you are using some old versions of Google Earth (later than 4.2) then you can update it to the latest one. The app is also available for mobile phones but the flight simulator feature is missing from there. So, once you are done with the prerequisites let’s learn to fly a plane on the simulator.
Enter Flying Mode On Google Earth
1. Launch Google Earth on your computer. Now, go to Tools from the toolbar at the top and select Enter Flight Simulator… You can also press Ctrl+Alt+A from your keyboard to enter the flight simulator.
2. On the Flight Simulator tab, make the following changes:
- First, select the aircraft that you want to fly. There are basically two aircrafts available on the simulator the F-16 and the SR22. If you are a total beginner then you should choose the SR22 since its slower than the F-16 and easy to control.
- Next, select the start position of your flight. You can select the current view i.e. your current position on Google Earth. If you select the current view as your start point then your flight will start midair from the same position. However, if you want to take off from land then you can select the second option. Here you can select the Airport from around the globe from where you would like to take off your flight.
The third option “Last position in flight simulator” is only accessible when you have already flown a plane on this simulator and want to begin from where you last ended.
- If you have a joystick connected to your computer then you can select the joystick to control your flight in the simulator. If not, then by default your keyboard and mouse are your controllers. Finally, select the Start Flight option to enter the simulator.
3. As you enter the flying mode you would first see the HUD (Heads- Up Display). From this display, you can see your Speed in Knots, your Elevation in feet, the direction of the plane, and other important information.
Since now you are in the flying mode let’s look into the controls that are used to fly the plane.
Google Earth’s Flight Simulator Controls
You can control your aircraft with the keyboard or the combination of the keyboard and the mouse. To use the mouse you need to click the left mouse button once before flying your plane to activate the mouse controls.
- Press the Page Up button to throttle the plane down the runway.
- Now once your plane reaches high speed, press the downward arrow on your keyboard or slightly move the mouse downwards to take off.
- Once your aircraft takes off, the wings will be leveled off when you reach the flight altitude. When the wings level off, rest the mouse on the center of the screen.
- Now in the midair use the arrow keys to change the directions of your aircraft. Or you can move the mouse slightly in either direction for the course correction.
- While flying if you want to look around, press the arrow key (desired direction) + ctrl for a quick turn or you can press arrow key+alt for a slow turn.
For more flight controls read this article on Keyboard Shortcuts for Google Earth.
Exit The Flying Mode
Since you cannot land your flight on this simulator, once you are done with flying the aircraft you can log out of the flying mode by following any of these methods.
- Click on the Exit Flight Simulator button on the top right corner.
- Press the ESC button on your keyboard.
- You can also use the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl + Alt + A for Windows and command + option + A on Mac to escape the flight simulator.
Fly A Plane In Google Earth: Final Thoughts
So, how was your experience flying a plane in the Google Earth simulator? We hope it was awesome. We know the controls are too sensitive which makes it hard to flay the aircraft at first but with the time you’ll get hang of it. Moreover, the reason why we recommend Google Earth for flight simulation is simply due to the fact it is free to use and have some amazing graphics.