Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX) has a great community around it that’s still active years after its release. If you’re an aspiring pilot and want to try your hand at flying a real aircraft, we’ve compiled a list for you. These paid aircraft are at the top of their game and provide a realistic experience as if you were a real pilot and ready to take off.
The tagline of Flight Simulator is “as real as it gets.” There’s no question about that when it comes to the PMDG line of aircraft. PMDG produces some of the most true-to-life aircraft out there and will make you feel like you’re an actual pilot. I won’t lie to you: The 737 is one of the hardest aircraft to fly in the sense that, if you don’t set up everything correctly, alarms and bells will be blasting all over the place. All you need to do is sit down with the manual for a day and you’ll be up in the air in no time. The 737 is Boeing’s workforce aircraft; it flies short to medium hops around the world and is flown by almost all of the carriers out there due to its holding capacity and range. I own the PMDG 737NGX and it truly is one of the most spectacular simulator planes to fly.
They call it the Queen of the Skies, and it is a magnificent aircraft because of its dual decks and vast range. The 747 is Boeing’s biggest aircraft out there and serves the long distance — usually international — hops around the world. The PMDG version of the 747 lives up to its real life beauty, the graphics of the plane are second to none, and all sounds are true to life. One of my favorite things to do with this plane is push it full throttle down the runway and hear it rev up with all that power. Along with the 737, it is true to life and will take some time getting used to the procedure of how the plane works.
As I already mentioned, PMDG makes some amazing aircraft and it’s won numerous awards not only from flight simulator communities but big corporations like Boeing for its lifelike feel and operation. The aircraft that I think shot PMDG into the skies was the MD-11; this massive behemoth of a plane is a beauty to fly and, like all other PMDG aircraft, takes some getting used to. The plane works inside and out with all moving surfaces and buttons to let your obsessiveness take over. The MD-11 is the heaviest of the aircraft and can feel a little clunky in the controls to fly, but she’s a rocket in the air. For someone who likes to fly big aircraft, this is one of the best.
My favorite aircraft ever to fly is the 767; I’ve been flying 767s for years and they are very unique. The best thing about the 767 is its wide body architecture for holding a lot of passengers, but it size is small enough to fit into most places that other big airliners can’t. This 767 from Level-D is no different and is a very realistic, true-to-life model of the actual aircraft. This aircraft features things like crew announcements, landing announcements, and more. I’ve had a lot of experience with the Level-D 767, but I can tell you that the controls need some getting used to. For anyone who wants to feel what it’s like to fly an actual plane, check out the Level-D.
Captain Sim 757
The premium narrow body aircraft for medium hops, the 757 is light and maneuverable for short runways and longer haul flights. This is the top three of my favorite aircraft from Boeing because of its long range. The Captain Sim is a little easier to fly because you don’t have to fully customize the FMC (flight management computer). The plane, over all, is very high quality and the main feature of the Captain Sim is that all of the doors, surfaces, cargo holds, and more can be opened.
Captain Sim 727
If you’re into older aircraft are on the smaller side, check out the 727. It’s like the 737, except that it has three engines and is a whole lot louder. This older aircraft used to be the workhorse before the 737 and is still in service today with most being in private service. Captain Sim is known to have some very high quality aircraft with a lot of moving parts to make the experience more lifelike. The 727 is in my collection, and it’s a great aircraft to own.
Captain Sim 777
My favorite aircraft is the 777; it’s a wide body, super long-range aircraft made for over-water travel and comfort. The 777 is one of the most sought after aircraft because of its capacity and range. I’ve flown many versions of the 777, but the Captain Sim is the best of the simulation aircraft that I’ve found. The 777 is a great aircraft for those longer flights and the most dedicated flight simmers. The quality to the aircraft is second to none when looking at similar 777 paid aircraft.
Carenado Cessna 152 II
Enough of the jet aircraft; let’s get back to the start with prop airplanes. As much as I love jet aircraft, I still love flying those small prop planes into those small, secluded airports that no one knows about. The Cessna 152 is a great small aircraft made for those who like to have a casual flight and enjoy the scenery around them and really get down low to see all the beauty that Flight Simulator has to offer.
Carenado Cessna 172N Skyhawk II
Another great and small aircraft, the Cessna 172N has a lot of moving parts that are fully animated and working all the way around to provide a realistic experience. The Cessna isn’t a bad plane to learn because it doesn’t have a complicated procedure or require a lot of configuration. Jump in the cockpit, turn on the engine, and take off; this plane is made for manual flying so you can just get in and go.
Carenado Cessna C208B Grand Caravan
Of course, having a Cessna lineup of aircraft, we can’t forget the Caravan, the bigger brother to the smaller props; it’s made to haul cargo and passengers on very small hops around islands or across short distances of water. I love the Grand Caravan in FSX because of the HD graphics and controls making it look like you’re right there flying the aircraft. I love the whole Cessna series of aircraft and they’re amazing to fly in-game — if you turn your graphics on high you can fly down around the Grand Canyon or over Niagara Falls and take it all in!
If you’re an FSX fan and know of any great aircraft, or if you even have an aircraft that you love, leave us a comment below.