How to Enter Flying Mode in Google Maps

by Kevin Lee

Google Earth is a free map application that allows users to explore the planet in 3D; it also includes a free flight simulator. Using the program's built-in airplane, you can explore locations from the air. Sail over rivers, skim the tops of mountains and even fly over your own house by manipulating the plane's controls. The Google Maps flight simulator does not have all the features of a dedicated flight simulator. However, it still allows you to enjoy the wonders of free, uninhibited flight over any destination you choose.

Install Google Earth

Visit the Google Earth website and click the "Download Google Earth 6" button.

Click the "Agree and Download" button and then click "Save" or "Save File" to save the installation file. The "Save" button text you see depends on the browser you use.

Double-click the file after it downloads and follow the setup wizard's instructions.


Launch Google Earth. A map of the Earth appears.

Enter a city, state and address in the "Search" box at the top of the Google Earth window. Press "Enter." An aerial view of that address appears on-screen.

Click the "Tools" button to open the "Flight Simulator" window. This window displays several airplanes. Click the plane you would like to use to select it.

Locate the "Select Your Start Position." Click "Current View" to use your current view of the map as your starting point.

Click "Joystick Enabled" if your computer has a joystick and you wish to use that to fly.

Click "Start Flight." Your view changes to that of a cockpit windshield looking down at the scenery below. The windshield contains a head-up display, or HUD. This display contains sections that show altitude, heading, velocity and other flight-related data.

Click the center of the screen if you are using a mouse. The cursor changes into a plus sign. Move the plus sign to the left and right to bank the plane and change directions. Press your joystick buttons instead if you use a joystick.

Click the center of the screen when the plane's wings are level. This allows you to enjoy level flight.

Move the cursor down to make the plane climb. Move it up to make the plane go down. The altimeter on the right shows your altitude. If the altimeter reaches zero, the plane crashes. If that happens, click "Resume Flight" to continue or "Exit Flight Simulator" to exit the simulation.


  • check To begin your flight from an airport, click "Tools," click "Enter Flight Simulator" and then choose one of the airports in the "Airport" drop-down box. A ground-level view from inside the cockpit will appear. Press your "Page Up" key to start the engines. The plane begins to move forward. When the plane gains sufficient speed, click the center of the screen to change the cursor into a plus sign. Move the cursor down slightly to take off. To toggle the HUD's display on and off, press "H." Press your space bar to pause and resume flight at any time.


  • close The Google Earth plane may stall and crash if you do not maintain sufficient air speed or climb too steeply. The aircraft has a rudder, an elevator, flaps and other controls you can use to fly the plane correctly. If you wish to become a proficient pilot, pause the plane and click the "Help" button. There you will find resources that can help you use the plane's advanced features to fly efficiently.

About the Author

After majoring in physics, Kevin Lee began writing professionally in 1989 when, as a software developer, he also created technical articles for the Johnson Space Center. Today this urban Texas cowboy continues to crank out high-quality software as well as non-technical articles covering a multitude of diverse topics ranging from gaming to current affairs.

Photo Credits

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