Top 5 Best Free Flight Simulators

Ever wish you could fly for free with unlimited frequent flier miles? Well, that may not be possible so there's the next best thing—free flight simulators. Here are the best ones.

by on 20th May, 2013

best free flight simulators

Ah, flight! That age old dream of mankind, to soar across the skies like an eagle! So it’s no big surprise that flying games have been around since the very beginning of video games.

I remember playing a black and green pixelated Microsoft Flight Simulator somewhere in the early 80s on my dad’s computer. But time flies, and lo and behold, today’s flight sims are a far cry away from grey and green pixels.

But the 00s haven’t been too kind to the genre, there haven’t been many good flight sims, not even good arcadey ones, in a long time. However, with the recent advance of different modes of financing games, new, promising games from this particular genre have appeared.

Here is a selection that you don’t have to pay zip for if you want to get your flight on—the best free flight simulators in existence, even. You can also check out our other list of best free pc downloadable games in different genres.

5: Rise of Flight

This Russian developed World War I combat flight sim would make Snoopy proud. While the game proper has been in development for a couple of years now, it’s a project that is still ongoing, being kept alive by a new, dedicated and enthusiastic developer. 

Rise of Flight is somewhat of a freemium product as well. The main game can be downloaded and played free of charge, giving the player two planes to chose from, with a bunch of more planes available for paid download from the game’s site. It’s a neat game that caters to one specific era of aerial combat, when pilots were taking over the role of mounted cavalry. A must play for anyone who misses the glory days of the Red Baron games. . 

4: Google Earth Flight Simulator Online

This one is a completely free game you don’t even have to install. GEFS Online runs in Google’s very own Chrome browser, using a few extensions and plug ins to work properly. The game utilized Google Earth’s sattelite images and elevation data, allowing players to fly over the entire globe. 

There are several modes too. No warplanes, but several fixed wing aircrafts, hang gliders and helicopters and even hot air baloons can be flown in this little game. 

3: War Thunder

Another freemium title, and probably the most arcadey on this list. War Thunder is a highly ambitious, MMO project, that pits players against player in extensive PVP aerial battles. War Thunder is free to play, however players can spend hard earned real money on specific planes and single player campaigns, that will eventually help developing the game beyond the current open beta phase. 

War Thunder is a huge project. There are tons of planes, players can customize their flying steeds, there are specific roles to fulfill, and the game offers anything a paid product would, including full on joystick support. 

2: Flight Gear

Probably the new standard for flight simulation software, at least if you want to stay in the amateur world. And interestingly enough, this one is completely free, since it’s a collaborative online project developed under the GNU license. 

Flight Gear is highly versatile. It might not be quite as pretty as MS flight, but it’s completely free, and highly customizable, with add ons and modules to fulfill any flight sim nerd’s needs. And it is quite the effort, an ongoing, crowdsourced (not funded, but developed) project, years in the making, offering simulations from passenger flights, cropdusting, warplanes, firefighting and many, many more. 

1: Microsoft Flight

Yeah, this is the big one. It’s the official successor to Microsoft’s venerated Flight Simulator, a piece of software that for a long time was the standard in flight sims. But, as interest in these games has dminished greatly over the years, so has Micorsoft’s willingness to pump money into a project that caters to what essentially is a niche audience. 

So instead of selling the re-branded Microsoft Flight as one all encompassing package, they give you access to the very basics, with everything else (and in that case it really is a lot) walled off for paying customers. It might be something of a cock tease, but then that’s the freemium world for you. And this is what this game represents. A freemium title. It is pretty though, but no longer the hardcore simulation standard it used to be.

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