How To Use Google Earth Flight Simulator
If you fondly remember the old Microsoft Flight Simulators of the 1990's, you may want to learn how to use Google Earth's flight simulator. The Google Earth application is revolutionary in its satellite coverage and mapping of our home planet, and now you can traverse simulated maps of the globe in a computer-generated F16 or SR22. Using Google's expansive global atlas, you can navigate around the entire world with just a few clicks.
What you will need:
- Google Earth
- An internet connection
- Download and install the Google Earth application. The program is available for free at the Google Earth website. An upgraded professional version is also available, but the flight simulator is included with the free, default version.
- Once you've entered the program, press Cmd + Option + A (or Ctrl + Alt + A on Windows) to access the flight sim. The flight simulator is also accessible in the "Tools" menu by clicking "Enter Flight Simulator." A dialog box will appear with a few settings to choose, including the type of aircraft you wish to fly and your preferred starting position. The SR22 is slower and easier to fly, so it might be a better choice for beginners.
- Keep a browser window open for reference to the flight sim's keyboard controls. This is also available on the Google Earth website. For quick, easy access, visit Google.com and search for "google earth flight simulator keyboard controls." The first result will show a list of all the keyboard commands for the program. For additional help, you can press Cmd + H (or Ctrl + H on Windows).
Take off! Once you enter the flight sim, a heads-up display appears. The display will show several meters and readings, including your speed and altitude. If you are not using a joystick, click the center of the screen to transform your pointer into a cross. Press the Page Up key to increase your thrust. This will coast the aircraft along the runway. Move down slightly on your mouse or mousepad to angle the nose of the aircraft upwards. Once you gather enough speed, the airplane will take off into the sky.
- Use the keyboard commands to control and steer your craft and look around the globe. It will be helpful to keep a browser window open for reference to the flight sim's keyboard controls. This is also available on the Google Earth website. For quick, easy access, visit Google.com and search for "google earth flight simulator keyboard controls." The first result will show a list of all the keyboard commands for the program. For additional help, you can press Cmd + H (or Ctrl + H on Windows). The simulator can be paused at anytime by pressing the spacebar.
- To land your plane, approach an appropriate airstrip or landing area. Press Page Down to decrease the aircraft's thrust. This will eventually slow down the airplane. When you are in position, press G to deploy the landing gear. Press F to increase the flap setting (and decrease the aircraft's speed even further). Use the wheel brakes—the left brake is the comma key on your keyboard, the right is the period key—to slow the plane to a halt. The simulator can be exited at any time by pressing the Escape key.