How to Play Flight Simulator

By Robert Preston

Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • "Flight Simulator X"

  • Joystick (optional)

The "Flight Simulator" series is one of the oldest computer gaming series still in existence today. Developed by Microsoft, the latest iteration, "Flight Simulator X," is available online both in demonstration and full retail form. Like its predecessors, the game allows you to take virtual control of many different types of air vehicles, in a wide array of missions, and while it can be a bit intimidating at first, you can get the hang of the game by following a logical progression to the mission levels.

Download and install the "Flight Simulator X" trial or purchase and install the full version from a local gaming retailer. Start the game.

Click on "Learning Center" to visit tutorials, as well as see the controls for the vehicle you will be flying. Controls are quite complex, and it is strongly recommended you visit here before attempting to fly.

Click "Free Flight" to take a plane into the air without any specific goals pertaining to landing or midair tasks until you are comfortable with the controls. "Free Flight" can also be revisited after you are comfortable as a fun way to pass time without the rigors of a mission.

Practice taking off in "Free Flight" mode until it is second-nature.

Practice midair controls at a high altitude, giving yourself maximum time to adjust for mistakes.

Master landing a plane before progressing to missions, to avoid frustrations of performing midair tasks perfectly then crashing on your landing.

Click "Missions" to attempt the game's mission levels. Missions will range from successfully landing a large commercial jet under unpleasant conditions, to flying a small glider-like plane and attempting to drop bags onto targets in the water below you.


A computer joystick will make you much more successful at piloting your planes once you get used to flying with it.