X-Plane 9 is the best flight simulator available on home computers. It has the best flight-model, the best scenery (60Gb of space required for installation!) and best performance. AsÂ Microsoft has killed Flight Simulator, I can easily foresee that a lot of people will get into X-Plane in the coming years.
For me (and I blogged on that before), the greatest thing about X-Plane is that it is multiplatform: it runs equally well on Linux, on Mac OS X and on that thing from Redmond… provided you have some decent hardware.
As I own a MacBook with an integrated (crap) Intel GMA950 GPU, X-Plane does not run well on it. Consequently, I run X-Plane 9 on my desktop PC which is a 3-4 years old AMD Athlon64 with 2Gb of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce 7 GPU. I run X-Plane underÂ Linux Mint 7 (as I currently believe it is the best Linux distribution for home users.) And I have to say that I am very satisfied with the performance and the looks.
From Faro to Ibiza
Just to give you an idea of how X-Plane looks under Linux, here are some screenshots from my flight from Faro (in the south of Portugal) to Ibiza (which is an island off the coast of Spain.) The flight took some two hours (real flight simulator addicts do not use accelerated time!) and was very nice…
Here I am in myÂ Piper Malibu, which has a single piston engine, over the south of Portugal. The scenery below is magnificent (don’t you think so?) and 100% realistic. The weather effects (real-time of course) are also very believable. We will reach Ibiza (in principle) in around two hours…
After two hours of uneventful flight hopping from an NDB to a VOR back to a NDB (I didn’t want to use GPS), Ibiza in sight (I wonder where are parties are organised???):
Landing at Ibiza on runway 06 is interesting as it does not have an ILS. Instead I used a VOR positioned at the airport for the approach and used the autopilot to align myself with the runaway. I also used the autopilot to give me a 500fpm rate of descent until at about 2-3 NM from the threshold:
I landed manually and I have to take care because of some crosswinds. What is great about X-Plane (and so unlike Flight Simulator) is that runways are not flat: they follow the contour of the terrain below and the aircraft bumps and jumps (like real small aircrafts do when landing):
After taxing to a nice parking slot, I switched off the engine and the avionics of the Piper Malibu:
Get me the beer now!
this flight simulator seems so good and it’s also available on iphone/ipod touch :)
Edward Glowworm says
Great piece about X-Plane 9 and Linux. I see MINT is based on Ubuntu. I’m using the 64-bit version (mainly to be able to use the 6GB of ram, though X-Plane currently won’t use more than 3 or 4GB). My rig is an i7 920, 2x 24″ LCD, nVidia GTX 295.
Here’s some pics I took since I built the Linux rig solely to fly X-Plane. For regular computing needs, I use a Mac tower. ;-) http://x-plane.push-point.net/GlowWorm/My_Albums/My_Albums.html
Here a video clip with Linux Ubuntu 8.10, X-Plane 9.22 and the Beechcraft Starship 2000A:
Hi Edward, I can see you are a Piper Malibu fan too. Not to mention a Linux and Apple fan too :-)
X-Plane is really great. It’s relatively affordable, looks and performs great and is very extensible. I’ve acquired Goodway since and I love it for flight planning.
The next step for me will be to move to IVAO :-)
Edward Glowworm says
I got GoodWay too, and use it for planning for 2h and longer flight. Dunno why, but sometimes it’s not showing the regular planning map. I notice there’s some vague error whenever I click on something (by looking in logs). I’ve been fiddling w/ X-Plane since V.5 though the barren graphics didn’t invite me to really go into it. Fly! was my main sim on Mac. Then the sim stopped cos the code died of cancer, so was looking at XP again. It wasn’t until XP 6 that I put the graphics requirement aside and focussed more on the flight model.
I join the x-plane.org online flying of X-Plane.org They’ve got their server here: http://www.x-flightserver.net/ Not as hardcore like ivao. There’s a fly-in every Sunday, where the main goal is to have fun and just gather together. http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?showforum=22
Thanks Edward for all this info.
I will definitely investigate X-Plane Flightserver. It’s true that IVAO and VATSIM are maybe too hardcore for beginners like me… By the way, I was wondering whether it’s going to be problematic for me to fly online as English is not my mother tongue (but I speak English well enough.) Of course, I am somewhat proficient with the vocabulary used by pilots and ATC.
Edward Glowworm says
I’ve been informed by airline pilots that folks on IVAO and VATSIM fly more accurate and stricter than they do. ;-)
As for your english: it’s more than adequate. Aviation english isn’t so complicated. At least, it never prevented folks from having fun on the X-Plane.org server. It’s fun to see 40 to 50 pilots gathering around one spot. As we speak, I’m exploring Ushuaia Intl Island Airport (SAWH) south of Monte Alvaer using a modified Tornado for low alt flying. Track me http://xfsd.ansorg-web.de/fsdmap/#
I saw you yesterday around Ushuaia. Was it cold there?
I’ve been searching on the net about new technologies in mauritius and found your website. Well i have a question to ask, and i have been looking for someone like you in mauritius to answer it. Why is it that PC hardwares are so overpriced here in Mauritius? If you take a look at newegg.com/amazon.com, they offer quality products at great prices but here in the shops in Mauritius the same products are sold at twice the price. I’m looking forward to build a new powerful gaming pc, where do you reccomend me to buy the parts from. I’m thinking of Jacey but tell me if you know somewhere cheaper.
For exactly the same reason why supermarkets sell at cheaper prices than small Chinese shops from the corner of the street: they make their profits over a large number of customers and can negotiate much lower prices from wholesalers.
Amazon / Newegg sells hundreds (thousands? millions?) times more PCs than any shop in Mauritius and therefore can sell at cheaper prices. Shops here will always be more expensive than in the US.
Incidentally, what I tend to do now before buying something is to look at the Recommended Retail Price on the manufacturer’s website (and not the Amazon price), add 15% for VAT and, say, 15% for shipping and profits. Then I compare with the price in Mauritius. It both are more or less the same, I buy. If not, I try to find a way to buy one from abroad.
[Jacey is fine. I also like buying from BBCWyse in Vacoas.]
Thank you for your reply Avinash
Do you know where can i get an ATI HD 4870 graphics card in mauritius. Either 512mb/1gb version will do just fine for me
Try Jacey, ACD, etc. They should have it.
not sure if i can post this here but may be u can advise: I use ubuntu on my laptop (intel duo 2 ghz) since jaunty release and everything works fine except for this problem –
when processor is at maximum (ondemand) and some intensive programs are running at 100% for some time , laptop heats up and shuts down automatically when critical temperature 85’C is reached.
i have to use cpu frequency scaling monitor to set both cpus at 1ghz limit to prevent this from happening but at the expense of performance.
is there anyway to prevent the critical temperature while not affecting performance?
Technically speaking, running your processor at 85 degrees is not a good idea and this why your laptop is shutting down. Maybe X-Plane is too ambitious for it.
RS Chowdhury says
Hi Avinash! I am new in Linux Mint 8. I want to install X Plane 9 in my laptop.I have a Intel Core 2 Duo Processor ( 1.66 Ghz, 667Mhz FSB, 2 MB L2 Cache), with inbuilt Mobile Intel Graphic Media Accelerator X3100, and 2GB DDR2 Ram. Kindly guide me step by step. Thanks. RS Chowdhury
Just follow the official Linux installation guide at http://wiki.x-plane.com/Linux_Installation_Walkthrough and everything should be fine. The X3100 is not very powerful though…
I mostly plays combat flight sims such as Falcon Allied Force(very realistic and largely improved over its predecessors). For civil I tried FSX and loved it. Do you know where I can obtain a copy of X-plane 9 with complete scenery? Downloading will take too much time and I can’t find it in any gamestores locally.
I bought mine from the official website and I was lucky as I managed to get free shipping to Mauritius :-)