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Flying the iPad




The iPad is an invaluable tool for many real pilots, with flight planning, interactive checklists, moving maps, instrument approach plates, etc. There are also some good flight simulators in the app store. While it may seem odd to fly the tablet by tilting (especially if you are used to a yoke, throttle quadrants, rudder pedals, and multiple displays), the actual flying is surprisingly intuitive.


Here are my favorite FREE simulators:

DOGFIGHT: This is a WWI simulation, where you pilot a pusher-prop biplane. First you must go through some hoops, then bomb, then dogfight a Red Baron-looking enemy. The scenery is pretty, the plane looks cool, and the flying is fun. If you really like it, you can buy up, and there is apparently quite a large online community.


HISTORICAL LANDINGS: A WWII simulation, where you pilot a gull wing F4U Corsair around islands and from a carrier. Like Dogfight, there is a choice between cockpit and external views, and the scenery is pretty. The gauges do not actually move in the cockpit, but there is a HUD to tell altimeter and airspeed. As with most apps, you can purchase more missions and compete with others on-line.


XTREME SOARING 3D: This is not a combat game, but pure flying. There is no tow plane, but a winch or catapult propels you from the runway and you have to manage your energy and find lift. The graphics are great, and the gauges work. For pure flying, it is my favorite.


AERO! Speaking of pure flying, there is not even an airplane in this one; you pilot a seagull over the ocean. The four forces (lift, thrust, gravity and drag) are shown by vector arrows, but can be turned off. There is also a rocket pack available to get some incredible thrust and altitude.


ROCKET LANDER: While not really a flight simulator (there is no cockpit view and the rocket just goes up and down and sideways), this is a good demonstration of thrust and gravity with no aerodynamic influences.


WIND TUNNEL LIGHT: This demonstrates the aerodynamic forces of lift and drag. The free version just shows an airfoil, some rocks, and a car interacting with particles or with smoke. The paid version allows you to change the airfoil.


NMUSAF: This is NOT a simulator, but it is really cool. It shows the cockpits from many planes at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, including the Space Shuttle. You can look around and zoom in on the multitude of dials, gauges, switches and handles.


Happy Flying!

Edited by gmurray56


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