UK Distributor: Revell E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
UK RRP: £100.00 Words & Images: 'Virtual' Max Foster
Minimum System Requirements
- Windows Vista® , Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10*
- *Administrator access to Windows required.
- Intel® Pentium® 1.0GHz or equivalent
- 512 MB RAM
- 3 GB Hard Drive Space
- DVD Drive
- 3D Accelerated Video with: 32 MB Dedicated Video Memory Full
- DirectX® 9 compliance (Shader model 2.0 or better)
Optimal System Requirements
- Dual Core 2.4GHz CPU
- 2 GB RAM
- 3D Accelerated Video with: 512 MB dedicated video memory Pixel Shader 3.0 support
· Full version has nearly 150 aircraft, encompassing all types of airplanes, helis, sailplanes and Drone designs
· Multiple PhotoField™ and 3D flying sites to explore
· Game-like Challenges, including new Challenges specific to multi-rotor models
· RealPhysics™ 3D, expanded to include multi-rotor flight
Like many people, in the RC hobby or not, I’ve always wanted to be able to fly a model plane or heli but never got around to actually training in how to fly. I’ve had tons of RC cars, and even a few glider and plane kits that I never flew and eventually sold off, and although I once toyed with the idea of building a ‘real’ RC helicopter (back before £15 micro helicopters were a thing), all I’ve ever had was the micro-sized versions, starting with the Silverlit foam helis ‘back in the day’ and eventually getting the cheap and cheerful tiny helicopters that are fun indoors but have too many drawbacks to fly seriously.
Of course, nowadays it’s all about Drones! And like loads of people, I’ve got a few drones stashed around the house, from tiny Nano Drones less than 3” across to medium-size models with full HD recording/FPV (first person view) cameras so I can fly remotely. I’ve even had a go with a £3,000 DJI Inspire! Which did not end well...but never mind that! So I’ve had some experience with Drones (when did we stop calling them ‘quads’, by the way?), but I’ve needed some way to learn how to fly them without needing bagfuls of spare rotor blades!
What I need, then, is some sort of training that’s designed to get me flying safely, with a minimum of crash damage (very important!) and ideally with some sort of flying programme or regime that will take me in baby steps from ‘raise throttle to hover’ to ‘hey look at me filming!’ - that is, until Pete sorted me out with a copy of RealFlight Drone Flight Simulator! Could this possibly be the thing that will take me from crashing around a room using a cheap Nano Drone to filming RC vehicles and more with a proper filming rig? You’ll just have to read on and find out!
RealFlight have been at the top of the computer RC flight simulator game for many years now. With the release of the latest version, RealFlight 7.5, they’ve raised the bar even higher, with four different versions: 2 with full-size flight controllers, and 2 more with different types of USB links to your own flight controller. The full version of RealFlight 7.5 will cost you between £70-£120 in specialist UK model shops, depending on which version you go for (the sets with full-size controllers, obviously, cost the most), and these allow you to fly dozens of different RC plane, glider, heli and drone models - so Drone Flight Simulator is just one part of the full RealFlight 7.5 software package.
If all you want to fly is drones, however, for about £100 you can have a go with the RealFlight Drone Flight Simulator complete with the Interlink Elite, a Futaba-made 8-channel controller that is the best simulator controller RealFlight offer. Drone Flight Simulator lets you fly nearly a dozen different drones, from basic camera-carrying models to racing and 3D aerobatic drones, up to huge 8-rotor beast that can carry a full-size DSLR camera! You’re not stuck at a simple flying field, either - you can choose from several different flying locations, including a construction yard, a huge drone racing course, an airplane ‘graveyard’, a castle and even a Japanese water garden - so it’ll be some time before you can possibly get bored. And should you ever want to upgrade to RC warplanes (P51D? Yes please!), helis, gliders or even seaplanes, you can upgrade to the full version of RealFlight 7.5 for a small additional change - and from there the possibilities for simulator flight are endless, with users making aircraft models, airfields and even racing courses available for free download HERE
A Real, Not Virtual Unboxing
The bulk of the retail box is taken up with the controller, which is a full-size 8-channel controller called the Interlink Elite. It’s got more switches and knobs than you’ll ever use in your training, but depending on the drone model you use, you can use the various switches to change different settings as you fly…’on the fly’, so to speak. As it’s a full-size, ‘real’ transmitter, it’s as close to a pro-level transmitter as you can get, unless you get one of the radio-USB links to connect a real radio transmitter. So, already you begin to feel like a real racing drone pilot!
But let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Like any computer programme, we need to look at the computer system requirements before we go anywhere. Having just upgraded my old but trusty laptop to Windows 10 I was pretty sure that I’d be fine just popping the DVD-ROM into the drive and going from there, but you will need a Windows PC running at least Windows Vista or Windows 7 to run RealFlight, with at least a 1Ghz equivalent Intel processor and 512mb of RAM. Considering a basic mobile phone has that amount of computing power, most laptops should be able to handle this, but you should be aware before making your order. The tricky part is the graphics power of your computer, as the RealFlight programme could strain older machines that don’t have the power to run DirectX 9 games (I think PC games are on DirectX 11 nowadays, so if you have a barrel load of Steam games you should be fine!). RealFlight requires 32mb of dedicated video memory with 3D accelerated video to draw the trees, buildings and other objects you’ll be flying around in the simulator. Those are the minimum computer specs, with a dual-core 2.4GHz processor and 2gb of RAM and 512mb of graphics memory recommended as the ‘optimal’ system. The system recommendations for the full version of RealFlight are exactly the same, just in case you think you might move to helis and other aircraft in the future. Of course, a USB port is required - the Drone Flight Simulator is only available with the Interlink Elite 8-channel controller, which will need a free port to plug into.
Sticking the DVD into the drive may not prompt you for an autorun choice (the little window that asks if you want to run the setup program) - it didn’t for me, but then I’m still working out some niggles with Windows 10 - so you might have to open up your computer’s file explorer to get to the setup.exe file on the DVD itself. Run this, and the installation starts. And away we go!
Read the full review of RealiFlight Drone Simulator in our FREE to download #UKDS Magazine HERE