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Microsoft Flight Simulator X, Deluxe Edition

Bob Stewart

February 10, 2007

Editor's Note: Microsoft Flight Simulator X was generously donated by Microsoft to CUGG in return for a written review by one of our members.

FLIGHT SIMULATOR X, deluxe edition run on a Dell Inspiron E1505 with 2GB ram and an Intel T2050 1.6GHz dual processor.

Flight Simulator X is a very complex program that comes on two DVDs (not CDs) and took 30-40 minutes to install. Each time the program runs, it takes about 60 seconds to boot and another minute to start or re-fly a mission. The delays are especially annoying as a beginner who often needs to restart failed missions.

Although I am a licensed pilot in single-engine airplanes and helicopters, I have almost no experience with computer flight programs. I found this one challenging to learn because it has so many features and options. The program allows you to fly 22 different airplanes and two helicopters, from an ultra light and Piper Cub to a Learjet and a 747. It also allows choosing from 23,000 airports, 15,773 cities and 223 countries. You can choose various weather conditions, seasons, times of day, aircraft control sensitivities, and more. All of this complexity adds tremendous value for the experienced user and difficult challenges for the novice.

Although you can operate this program with a keyboard, mouse, joystick, or X-box 360 controller, buying a joystick proved to be absolutely essential to enjoying this program. Some of the flying was still not easy, but it was at least possible. I was never able to successfully taxi the ultra light without a joystick.

Even with a joystick, you still have to use the keyboard in complex key combinations to operate many functions and to adjust cockpit gauges and switches. Most of that is still beyond my experience level.

The ten tutorials the program provides to learn to fly several of the aircraft were necessary but not sufficient for me. Program instructions are not well organized and are difficult for a program novice to learn. After 30 to 40 hours of using this program, I'm barely able to operate the simplest aircraft in the easiest conditions. This program will keep you occupied for hundreds of hours. It is exciting, challenging and very frustrating.


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