Google Earth Extras: Free Flight Simulator


For those wondering about the glacial pace of this blog’s updates–lately the Siamerican’s been occupied and indulged in sorting and organizing maps, counties, cities, postal code zones, streets, addresses, images, and raw data for a national level mapping database project he’s been coordinating over the past few months. Here’s a quick post of something cool for all the geo-geeks out there.

In an entry a few months ago, you might recall SW dreams about flying around from building to building in a twisted computer warped reality hybrid. Perhaps unrelated, though quite peculiar is in the strands of present conscious reality, the SW has discovered a bonus (initially hidden) feature in the primary tool he uses for the mentioned project, Google Earth.


For this entry, the SW is pleased to share with others knowledge and relay his positive endorsement and oppinion for the Google Earth Flight Simulator. Apparently it has been an extra feature since last year, though since the SW only found out recently while browsing Google Earth youtube videos, certainly there are others who are uninformed of the fabulous and free simulation.

Considering that Google Earth has just about the entire globe digitally indexed already, mass streaming across screens in the tightly nit globe, a flight simulator, taking google earth tours one step further, only makes sense. The conditions are probably as real as any simulation can get without actually being up in the air.


In a brief explanation: Currently, there are two planes you can fly, an F16 and an SR22. Keyboard Controls aren’t too complicated (arrow keys, etc.) though landing and navigating are a little bit more complex and limited. You can fly across the globe in real time at realistic speeds, or just take quick flights, exit, and then navigate instantly to somewhere else on the globe, and start the flight simulator again. For maximum benefit, make sure to turn on the 3d buildings and geogrhaphical terrain layers first.

Most US cities’ downtown areas have long been indexed with 3d buildings though other cities around the world feature little more than 2d satellite images. Aside from major US cities worth flying to/over–Denver, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angles, NYC, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta—such fully indexed cities highly suggested to fly, you may also enjoy the scenery flying over various mountain ranges or coasts across the vast globe.

For quick start up, after opening Google Earth, just type Control-Alt-A until the simulator start menu appears, or you may even see the ‘Enter Flight Simulation’ in the Tools menu. Also, read here for more specific instructions, though note that you may have to type the command a few times before it unlocks and works. It’s hidden in there somewhere, for sure.

Happy Flying!

The Universal Envoy says:

The flight simulator is a facinating feature of Google Earth; the Universal Envoy will explore its contents in the near future.