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Best Combat Flight Simulators for Your Personal Computer

Michael has been an avid gamer and part time writer in more decades than he cares to remember.

Best Combat Flight Simulators

Best Combat Flight Simulators

What is a flight simulator or "flight sim"? While it's a video game, it is also so much more. A flight simulator resembles the cockpit of an aircraft and shows computer-generated images of what would be a pilot's view.

With so many flight sim options these days, it can be hard to decide what flight simulator, combat sim, or flying games to buy. You certainly can't always rely on advertisements. You can, however, rely on my opinion. I have nothing to gain by reviewing and recommending what I consider to be the best value flight simulators available for a PC (personal computer). Here I go over:

  • Strike Fighters 2
  • IL-2 Sturmovik
  • Flaming Cliffs 2
  • Flaming Cliffs 3
  • DCS Black Shark
  • DCS Black Shark 2
  • DCS A-10C Warthog
  • DCS World 2.0
  • Rise of Flight
  • IL-2 Cliffs of Dover
  • Wings of Prey
  • Falcon BMS

. . . And some expansion packs.

Strike Fighters 2

Strike Fighters 2 (SF2) and its expansions cover a vast period of time and give access to the best planes on both sides of some major conflicts in recent history.

Who Programs and Designs Strike Fighters 2

This small team (Thirdwire) actually deserves more publicity, so please check them out. They are supported by a wonderful community of "modders" that create everything from scenery, planes, and entire campaigns.

Can We Expect Future Updates of Strike Fighters 2

Strike Fighters is no longer being updated, and if you have Windows 10 you are out of luck as it is not compatible.

Expansions for Strike Fighters 2

SF2 Expansion Pack 1

New Features

  • Mission Editor
  • 1956 Campaign set in Cold War Europe
  • All 3 original campaigns updated with new aircraft

New Aircraft

  • Lightning F.1/2/3/6
  • Hunter F.1/2/4/5
  • F-100A/C Super Sabre
  • Yak-23 (AI only)
  • Canberra B.2/6 (AI only)

Bonus Features

If you have Strike Fighters 2 merged:

  • Lightning F.53 (player flyable)
  • Canberra Mk.20 (AI only)

If you have Strike Fighters 2 Expansion Pack 1 merged:

  • MiG-15 (AI only)
  • Additional skins for C-47 and Spitfires
  • Meteor F.8 and Mystere IV units in 1956 Campaign

Also, stop the press! Because TK and the team at Third Wire have just released the awaited F-14 based Strike Fighters 2 North Atlantic Combat Flight Simulator. I have not had time to buy or play this one yet, but judging from the feedback in the official forums, it's going to be pretty popular.

Player Flyable Aircraft in Expansion Packs

SF2 North Atlantic

  • F-14A Tomcat
  • A-7E Corsair II
  • F-100D Super Sabre
  • A-4B/C/E/F Skyhawk
  • F-4B/C/D/E/J Phantom II

SF2 Vietnam

  • F-100D Super Sabre
  • F-105D Thunderchief
  • F-4B/C/D/E/J Phantom II
  • F-8C/D/E/H/J Crusader
  • A-4C/E/F Skyhawk
  • A-7A/B/C/D/E Corsair II

SF2 Europe

  • A-7D Corsair II
  • A-10A Thunderbolt II
  • F-100D Super Sabre
  • F-105D Thunderchief
  • F-4C/D/E/F/M Phantom II
  • F-15A Eagle
  • Harrier GR.1/3
  • Hunter F.6/FGA.9

SF2 Israel

  • A-4E/F/H Ahit
  • F-4E Kurnass
  • F-15A Baz
  • F-16A Netz
  • Kfir C1/C2
  • Mirage IIICJ Shahak
  • Nesher

SF2 Expansion Pack 1

  • Mystère IVA
  • Meteor F.8
  • P-51D Mustang

IL-2 Sturmovik

This one is huge! With IL-2 Sturmovik, we'll go back a few years into World War II and some planes that never left the prototype stage. The game is almost entirely propellor-driven planes, with a few early jet and rocket examples. Its sequels—Forgotten Battles Ace Expansion Pack, Pacific Fighters, and 1946—all contain 347 aircraft, with over 250 of them flyable ones.

Why I Love IL-2 Sturmovik

The best thing about this sim is that even though it's an oldie, the community has kept it alive through mods and new campaigns. The number of planes keeps increasing with new maps all the time.

Some of the biggest mods are truly works of art. It would be a crime not to look at Ultrapack, Dark Blue World, and HSFX. These not only add new planes, campaigns, and maps, but they can also dramatically improve the slightly aging graphics—beyond all imagination!

You can mod in a smaller way by visiting "Mission4today" and registering. There, you'll find patches, many user-generated missions, and even full story scripted campaigns.

Where Can You Buy IL-2 Sturmovik?

Where can you get it? While it may sound like it's going to cost a fortune, you can purchase it from STEAM for under 10 euros! Or, if you need the security of a physical disk rather than a digital download, try Amazon.

This truly is one of the greatest flight simulators you can buy for your money.

IL-2 Sturmovik: Great Battles Add-Ons

More and more add ons are being created and integrated with this amazing combat flight sim including Battle of Bodenplatte, Kuban, Flying Circus for you WWI lovers and the Battle of Britain soon to come. They have even created a tank warfare DLC. There is something for everyone!

More recently, the creators of WWI simulator Rise of Flight released IL-2 Battle of Stalingrad, closely followed by the Battle of Moscow. Cheap they are not, but the value represented is amazing!

Graphically, this is s stunning title. What I love about IL-2 Sturmovik: Great Battles is that it caters to newer players as much as the hardcore simmer crowd. There is a robust and lively multiplayer element as well.

Planes Available in IL-2 Sturmovik

As you might expect from the titles, there are predominantly German and Russian planes offered. Air to ground and air to air are both represented and a full mission editor is included in the deal.

The campaigns are simply brilliant in my opinion. There are so many small details that show a real love of the genre and the history of these battles. Truly a next-generation combat flight simulation, you owe it to yourself to jump headfirst into this great sim.

Modern Sims

Below are some brand new, up-to-date, modern sims!

Lock On Flaming Cliffs 2, DCS Black Shark, DCS Black Shark 2, and DCS A-10C Warthog

DCS and Eagle Dynamics are the new ones to watch out for in the world of combat flight simulators.

DCS and Eagle Dynamics

These are somewhat more "hardcore" sims — as in they are going to take a lot of time to master. However, they both have an easier arcade mode to get you going. Also, graphically, they are absolutely astonishing! Both are so much more worth your money than certain other sims.

Over the past couple of years, we have also tried DCS Black Shark, DCS Black Shark 2, and Lock-on Flaming Cliffs 2.

DCS Black Shark and DCS Black Shark 2

Black Shark covers helicopter warfare from the Russian perspective and lets you fly the Kamov KA-50 attack helicopter. It's rough, tough, low, and slow, but this thing handles like no other! Black Shark 2 is also now available, improving on the original in every way.

Flaming Cliffs 2

Flaming Cliffs 2 gives you access to the A-10 Warthog (one of my favorites), the F-15 Eagle, Su-27, Su-33, Su-25, Su-25T, MiG-29 and MiG-29S. A10-C is the third sim available right now—it is an extremely accurate simulation of the latest generation A-10.

Flaming Cliffs 3

Flaming Cliffs 3 is Flaming Cliffs 2 improved in every way possible. However, this also comes at a premium cost to those who have tried every version.

Flaming Cliffs 3 is now no longer a stand-alone simulator. Rather, it has been fully integrated into the DCS world. It's a full combat simulation that allows control of land and air assets, and is also in a multi-player facet! Is it worth the expense? I think so.

DCS World 2.0

DCS World is the latest update to the DCS series and there is a lot to cover! Think of it as a DCS hub of sorts, where all the DCS modules integrate. Also available is the Nevada test range, adding hundreds more square miles to the game.

Add to this additional mission and campaign modules and you really do have a lifetime of flying to absorb yourself in.

How Much Does DCS World Cost?

The DCS World 1.5 edition is free and includes the Su-25T and TF-51D aircraft and a huge swathe of Georgia to fly around and blow stuff up in. That said, this is really quite hardcore, especially the additional modules.

At around $50, the modules are not cheap. Perhaps best to pick one or two and really learn to fly the plane and understand the systems.

What Aircraft Eras Can You Fly?

There are different generations of warplane and helicopter here, representing the 1940's right up until modern-day aircraft.

Rise of Flight

Rise of Flight is all about old school WWI bi- and tri-planes and also contains amazing damage models and graphics. There's also a feeling of really flying that many other sims are lacking.

Best Things About Rise of Flight

Best of all, there is a "free to play" model in place now, so you can try it before you buy it. They have recently added a career mode, field mods (think new sights, and so forth), and you can buy and add on as many or extra planes as you wish, or none at all.

What You Need to Know About Rise of Flight

You do need to invest some serious time to get the most out of this sim, and, of course, a fairly powerful PC. I would also recommend a decent joystick with a throttle. I personally use a Saitek X52, which is available from Amazon.

The multiplayer version is vibrant but somewhat hardcore. A lot of practice is needed before venturing into the online battlefields.

IL-2 Cliffs of Dover

IL-2 Cliffs of Dover, or CLOD for short from here on in. Where to start with CLOD? Well, it's a Battle of Britain era sim, raging across the southeast part of Britain—across the channel and into Northern France. You get to fly from both sides of this epic battle.

Controversy Around CLOD

This is was a controversial title at launch. The game was released in a completely unfinished state and few if any PCs were strong enough at the time to get more than 10 frames per second, rendering the game unplayable to most folk. However, with much thanks and gratitude to the community this game has gotten a whole new lease of life. A recent patch made CLOD Windows 10 compatible and the guys over at ATAG (the air tactical assault group) have released no less than four community patches that completely and utterly re-invigorated the game and made it a firm favorite of mine.

How Much Does CLOD Cost?

It's cheap enough, available on Steam. With the free community patches and even re-written campaigns, this combat simulator finally deserves a place in every armchair pilots library!

Wings of Prey

Wings of Prey is a flight simulator set in various theaters in World War II. This is the PC version of IL-2 Sturmovik "Birds of Prey."

Planes You Can Fly in Wings of Prey

In terms of the plans you can fly, there are the usual suspects, and some slightly more unusual ones as well. The campaign takes you from the White Cliffs of Dover to the Mediterranean, into Russia, and then through the invasion of Germany. This means that you get the pick of the best planes the Allies had throughout the war.

Best Parts of Wings of Prey

It has an "Arcade" mode, which gives you unlimited ammo, which makes it easier to shoot stuff. It also doesn't punish you with blackouts or redouts. There are a couple of other settings, so you can tinker with it and get the set up just right for your experience.

You also get a number of planes to crash and burn with and get shot down in. So, it's not a case of "Oh, bugger. I got shot down 25 minutes into a mission and now I have to start again." Unless of course, you want it to be, in which case, go for the simulator setting!

Falcon BMS

Wow! Talk about value for money. Falcon BMS is a free add on to the existing Falcon 4 combat flight simulator. Graphically, this one is amazing, it has a great illusion of speed, and is it chock full of complicated flight systems to learn!

Remember, the people making free add-ons are the heroes of the community, doing so much and asking nothing in return!

The only thing to bear in mind is you will need the original Falcon 4 to play.

In Closing

Thanks for reading! There is a lot of (hopefully) useful information here, and I try my best to keep it regularly updated.

Please remember to support the people who make the magic. Flight simulators are not as popular as they used to be. I accept that. However, if those of us who like to fly support the right people, then flight simulator production can continue.

What I have done in this article is to give my opinion on who to support, who not to support, and why they do or don't deserve it.

Please make sure your money goes to the people intent on keeping our hobby alive. Regardless, I hope you enjoyed my opinion on the best combat flight simulators!


TWC_Fatal_Error on June 23, 2018:

Paul you should buy Clod on Steam it works well on 10 and now with DX11. Team Fusion has put together a good sim with much more on the horizon.

Many squads from old 46 and other sime shave found a home in the 1940 era simulation . It is not easy to learn but very rewarding once you get the hang of everything and Every squad out there will be glad to help you along. Great community and Strong support. Our squad TWC has a site you can visit with a forum and videos of actual game play www.twcclan.com. This this Simulation is in its second infancy with much more to come. Best 24 bucks you could spend for what you get! Salute: Fatal

gripau on December 10, 2017:

and Warbirds?

All this isnt true

Paul on December 05, 2017:

I have Windows 10. Found an OLD MS Combat Flight Sim, Europe Series in a box in the garage. Windows 95, 98 and NT 4.0 compatible. Can't get it to function and would LOVE to fly again. Seems the program will load but won't support a Thrustmaster T-Flight Stick X. Should I find someone to beat it into submission or should I spend the $$ on a new Combat Flight Sim that will work on W-10 and support the joystick? And, if a new game is suggested (and I prefer the WW-II theater) is the IL-2 OK for a novice and old fart who is NOT computer savvy?

Thanks, Michael. I really enjoyed the read through your review. Need to get back to having some fun.

Chuck on November 14, 2017:

Aces High III

Drifter on September 10, 2017:

Nice list !

It's also important to know which sim has VR support :

DCS World

Il-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad/Moscow/Kuban

IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover (soon with DX11 support)

Michael Murchie (author) from Parts Unknown on September 06, 2017:

For which piece of software? There are many listed here!

rkerr817@gmail.com on September 05, 2017:

can you tell me the price - and whether it is windows 10 compatible?

Marcin on February 01, 2017:

Falcon 4.0 BMS

A 10 on January 30, 2017:

dcs has the a10c

also some servers will have the a10a which is used in flamming cliffs

mat on January 28, 2017:

Dan - get DCS on Steam - you can then get add ons. it is from the same makers of lock-on.

Dan on January 08, 2017:

I was hooked on JANES USAF back in the day when I had a Win-XP machine. I now have Win10 and can't find any decent flight sim that has a relatively modern jet fighter in it. I particularly loved flying the A-10 against ground targets. Win10 compatibility is key. I know that Lock-On will not even boot up for me on Win10. (Bummer.) Any advice to offer?

David on January 04, 2017:

Thanks, Michael!

Michael Murchie (author) from Parts Unknown on January 04, 2017:

David, I have found Youtube to be a great help when learning flight simulators. That being said, most of the games listed here have an "arcade" style mode to practise. IL-2 BATTLE OF STALINGRAD has a nice and forgiving flight mode, but if you have a console like PS3 or Xbox 360 then something like Ace Combat can be a fun place to start. Sure, it's unrealistic but we all have to dip our feet in somewhere and they can give you an understanding of flight, although you might pick up some bad habits along the way :) For non combat general flight learning then Dovetail Games Flight School, available on Steam is great. It teaches the absolute basics like take off and landing. Get the fundamentals right first and then progress to dog-fighting is a sure fire way to get the groundwork right!!

Michael Murchie (author) from Parts Unknown on December 29, 2016:

Craig O, I am limited by Hubpages insofar as links go. What I can say is that CLOD will run on Windows 10 with a little tweaking and is available on the Steam platform. There is some great news for CLOD as well, as there looks to be some collaboration between mod makers and the new owners of the IP. This means an update to direct x 11, and more content to be added in the future. Exciting times !

Craig O on December 29, 2016:

Would it be possible to put links to these games? I didn't see any and I'm especially interested in CLOD that will run on Windows 10. I'm finally getting a powerful enough computer where I think these will run and I want to make sure I get the one that has the patches (or patches available). This would really be appreciated!

Beer on December 02, 2016:

How is Warbirds doing these days? My favorite sim by far 15-20 years ago, with an amazing community.

chris on November 21, 2016:

DCS products are very buggy and inaccurate with the only exception of Ka-50. Every update causes more bugs than those that tries to solve.

SpiritW0lf on October 10, 2016:

Rise of Flight got biased and the crew nerfed a whole bunch of rotary engined planes to please the inline engines crowd. Some planes were ludicrous nerfed to the point of not being flying worthy. Don't waste your time with this game it unless you are not serious about competition, history and honesty. And they nailed the last nail to their coffin with it. The servers just emptied after. They did not take it seriously and not only disrespected the players who favored rotary engined planes, but they disrespected the legend those planes carried with them over the war.

DCS, best feel of flying with detailed physics, but the game is unfinished in terms of damage model and visibility for WWII planes. Gun effects, smoke and so on so forth is really poor, and this affects how you fly and pull the trigger. These effects are even less detailed than what you got with Combat Flight Simulator. It is a very good simulator for sightseeing and getting to know the plane. I have a few modules and never really got hooked by it because I am into dogfight. They don't seem to care about these issues and the game is already almost a decade old, so it will die with these problems.

Il-2 BOS has so many problems that would not fit in this post. No wonder its servers are always empty besides the Russian ones. It seems it did not impressed the US and Western Europe markets.

In fact, besides Cliffs of Dover that I never played (due to the bad rep), there is really no good combat flight simulator for piston driven planes out there. Who knows, maybe in the future.

Frankie Kam on September 18, 2016:

Digital Integration's Tornado. But only if you (1) enjoy 1993 flat-shaded polygon graphics; (2) relish spending 1 to 2 hours planning a multi-plane coordinated mission, using the best Mission Planner ever, and 20 minutes flying the mission; (3) don't have a super rig PC to fly all those scrumptious flight sim games listed above by MM. Frankie "TornadoMan" Kam.

Eric Goodwin on September 16, 2016:

Been out of the sim world for some time.Just wondering if any of these new games give hard kills when you shoot.The one thing I hated about Il2 was that you could sit behind a Lagg3 pumping 20mm into it and they would just keep on and on.Also unless you flew in auto mode you could NEVER catch up with any other aircraft including the other 109's in your squad.

Trevor David on August 27, 2016:

It would REALLY be nice which of these actually run on Windows 10, 8 etc etc.......

clovis on August 23, 2016:

DCS World, Flaming Cliffs 3 and Falcon Top! The rest is arcade

? on August 19, 2016:

I'm looking to find out what the best flying games are. I noticed there are a lot of games and a lot of opinions. I'm looking more towards arcade style games though, with multi-player LAN or split-screen (no online only). The following is a list of what I came up with thus far with a few sims added to make a more rounded collection. What would you consider to be the best arcade style flying games?

Ace Combat 4 (aka Distant Thunder)

IL-2 Sturmovik: 1946 (V4.13.2) (SIM) (or BIRDS/WINGS OF PREY CE for ARCADE)

Crimson skies: High Road to Revenge

Secret weapons over Normandy

Falcon 4.0: Allied Force + BMSv4.33U1 (SIM)

Snoopy Flying Ace

DCS: A-10C Warthog + Black Shark 2 (HARDCORE SIM)

CFS3 FirePower + Wings Over Flanders Fields (SIM) (turn all the realistic settings off for ARCADE)

These are some other games that could also be on the list:

AeroWings 2: Air Strike (SIM)

Birds of Steel (SIM/ARCADE)


Flight Simulator X GE (SIM)

Airfix Dogfighter


World of Warplanes

Tom Clancy's HAWX

Charles Bolt on June 16, 2016:

Aces High. Extremely hard to master and a great community.

Margus on May 29, 2016:

DCS World - 100% realism. It`s a best

John Rowden on March 12, 2016:

Hello, Well I must saythat if you have not played Cliffs of Dover with the Team Fusion Mod you are missing outon one of the best sims out there.

Given the fact that it is a small theatre, the joy it gives flying multiplayer in large bomber formations being protected by fighter wings is a treat.

Up to 100 people playing at the same time, team speak for your squadrons, cannot get more real than that.

DoveFreexrolo on March 02, 2016:

I have read so many content on the topic of the blogger lovers but this post is actually a nice post, keep it up.

ebabes13 on December 04, 2015:

Aces High. Realism and extremely good aircraft modeling. Hard to master but very satisfying.

Falfin on December 03, 2015:

I miss Air Warrior =[

Rick J on September 09, 2015:

Long Live Falcon 4.0 BMS

Coogan on July 21, 2015:

Aces High II. It's a great game. Right now it's having a graphics overhaul. I can't wait to see it when it's complete.

S Coogan

thomas on April 27, 2015:

i am very good at flight sim. but i got a combat joystick yesterday and i want to know what is the most accurate flight sim is.

QQ on March 29, 2015:

so which one is the best?

Quelper on March 20, 2015:

CLOD or Cliffs of Dover has been modded so heavily that it is currently KING of the WW2 flight sims.

I would LOVE you to try out version 4.0+ and review that! http://theairtacticalassaultgroup.com/ is a good place to start

JimmyC on March 17, 2015:

Personally I would recommend Aces High2.

By HiTech creations.

Open sandbox multi player hundreds on line fighting each other,taking bases,fighting in ground vehicles over vast terrains.

Amazing flight models for a vast choice of WW2 aircraft. Its difficult to begin with but any thing good always is.

It has a great community of worldwide souls from all walks of life.

if you want to pit your wits against other human foes in WW2birds this game is for you.

Try it . I bet you'll like it and it's free for practising and then free for 2 weeks in the main arenas.then a monthly fee which is great value for money.

I don't know why it's been overlooked in this review because it out classes all the other games listed above.

See you in the skies

Salute JimmyC

Zack on November 12, 2014:

It is not a plane, but the best one ever made is " Janes Longbow 1 and 2"

Keisha Hunter from Kingston, Jamaica on November 02, 2014:

Cool stuff

Michael Murchie (author) from Parts Unknown on October 19, 2014:

I would not personally class HAWX as a flight simulator, it's more arcade game. That said, it looked good at the time and the game was indeed fun to fly around and shoot things in, even if it was really silly at times!

Anonym on October 19, 2014:

The best flight simulator is Tom Clancys H.A.W.X.

rogeriocoelho from Coimbra, Portugal on September 01, 2014:


Free multiplayer driving and flight simulator. Explore realistic locations, drive around and meet people. Built with Google Earth API.

a on August 05, 2014:

hi what about

J.A.S.F - Janes Advanced Strike Fighters?


TWC_Fatal_Error on July 30, 2014:

Andreas and those of you interested in a real simulation PC driven only true physics true hit boxes and damage modeling air combat simulator, then look no further than Cliffs of Dover. I am not a salesman but it is $10 and there is no jump into instant action you must spend time just learning to get a plane in the air. Combat pilots learn to fly first.I bet a full 95 out of 100 of you reading this won't get in the air your first honest try, for it is a simulation first and a combat simulator second.Wonderful support from the community and many squads to join in and fly like it was done in 1940 no icons no moving maps wind turbulence all the effects and beautiful to fly and when you think your ready put on your big girl pants and come get some in the axis vs allies server ::S::

Chris on July 04, 2014:

I am surpriced that you didn't mention War Thunder? easily the best Flying Sim ever!

Michael Murchie (author) from Parts Unknown on June 27, 2014:

@Bobk1937, sorry to have missed a favourite out! It was simply down to not having played it myself, therefore I didn't think it was right to have an opinion on it. Assuredly though, it is on my to do list :)

Bobk1937 on June 27, 2014:

How come OFF (Over Flanders Fields) was left out. Unlike Rise of Flight, OFF got the WW1 air war story line right historically plus great planes and scenery.

Kolin on June 11, 2014:

I have both flaming cliffs 2 and il2 1946, but if I had to pick, it would be 1946 for sure. The modding community is great, and it's free multiplayer. I would guess that I have about 400 fly able aircraft. Deffinantly the best sim I have ever owned.

cc on May 14, 2014:

cliffs of dover WWII with the new team fusion mod...brillant

WarDog1912 on February 07, 2014:

Try out this one guys, im sure that you you will not be disappointed http://storify.com/AirWaspTornado/new-wwii-tactica...

Andreas on January 27, 2014:

I am looking for any (real) flying sim with a great online experience, be that airplanes from today or the WW2 era.. I am happy with WT but I do feel that there's something missing and that they may be a bit off when it comes to realism, like you just said. Any help here will be much appreciated and to me, online combat is very important, going back to fighting AI just won't cut it for me.


Andreas (AceRevo @ Warthunder)

Michael Murchie (author) from Parts Unknown on January 27, 2014:

Warthunder is fun but light hearted, not a serious sim as such but a good fun plane based shooter!

andreas on January 26, 2014:

What you think of warthunder?

Frank on August 26, 2013:

You guys should check out Star Citizen. A AAA PC space sim with dogfighting that is being entirely funded by crowdsourcing!

Dragan on April 04, 2013:

Hi people !

really good site ! Nice an civilized discussion and excellent reviews. Thanks !

Reticuli on December 25, 2012:

OH, and Total Air War 2. Free. I don't run it quite as often as I used to, but that's worth checking out, as well. Flaming Cliffs is cool, but never really holds my attention as much as the study sims.

Reticuli on December 25, 2012:

Fixed Wing:

Falcon BMS... Fantastic. You could get everything you want here. Perfect stereoscopic. Great avionics. Flight model that is among the best.

DCS A-10... Don't have it, but haven't heard anything bad about it.

And Janes FA-18 still has what it takes and might eventually get 32bit color support.


DCS Blackshark 2... strange channel damping characteristics and quirky yaw, but best flight model for a combat helo sim.

Comanche Gold. Dumbed down and miniaturized version of everything, but doesn't do anything terribly wrong.

LB2 is too glitchy on modern systems and the rockets don't work right. Not really worth it, unfortunately. Fun if you have a lot of time to blow and you don't mind CTDs and losing your game. Shallow but inoffensive modern AC/AH flight model.

And then EECH is waaay down on the list, in spite of all their avionics and eye candy mods. The flight model is terrible on it, possibly worse than on the original release, and the terrain is a spoofed 2D format that can't do stereo. Arneh's wheel suspension is notable, though. EE2 fixes the graphics but keeps the terrible flight model. It's amazing that even with the source code being available, no one has ever improved the root coding of the flight dynamics.

John on March 30, 2012:

All good stuff but I like World War II online to be honest. It has something none of these games have, and that is you can fly axis and allied fighters, bombers, and transport aircraft, in an immersive compbined arms fight, against ground units, against other fighters, providing CAS/CAP in a very large map (europe). Most flight sims are sandbox, and may offer some limited multiplay, but nothing like what an MMO can deliver. So for me it's still World War II online in terms of simulators.

Michael Murchie (author) from Parts Unknown on March 07, 2012:

Pembquist, I have tried the Aces High 2 demo, and have to say that it feels a little too dated to me compared with what's on offer now. World of Planes is on it's way for a totally online experience, but I don't think online only is for me, with a family I need something I can pause when I need to ;)

Michael Murchie (author) from Parts Unknown on March 07, 2012:

Mahadevank, I am sure that you will have noticed that I wrote a fair bit in this article about Flightgear, I am a fan, but it's not combat related, so it's not something I am going to give more space to right now. I liked you tutorials page, keep up the good work and thanks for reading

pembquist on March 05, 2012:

You missed the best combat flight simulator there is: Aces High 2. Its multiplayer and its costs 15 a month but its aircraft are modeled on the real flight characteristics of ww2 planes. It is addictive and hard but satisfying. There is a free 2 week trial.

mahadevank from Bangalore on May 17, 2011:

If you're reading this…you should try Flightgear for FREE :) Helpful tutorials available at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Helpful-Tutorials-fo... as well to help you get started!

Michael Murchie (author) from Parts Unknown on January 13, 2011:

Hiya DNem, thanks for reading! I am not running the worlds fastest PC, in fact its a home build cobbled together out of spares! But maybe its time to upgrade so you can dip your toes in :)

DNemesis on January 07, 2011:

Strike Fighters looks delicious. I always had some interest in IL2 and MS Flight Simulator X. However, my mid range PC doesn't allow me to enjoy it the way i want to.

Thanks for a great article, ill certainly keep these titles in mind.

Michael Murchie (author) from Parts Unknown on December 22, 2010:

Jeez, it really does break my heart to see people being taken for a ride, however "legal" the process might be. Good luck with the refund, I hope that you out it towards a deserving sim :)

ck on December 07, 2010:

I'll second your opinion. I made the mistake of falling for the ProFlightSim ad, and then found out they were just re-packaging FlightGear. Not only that, but their "4 bonuses add up to more than $530 in retail", are all free downloads on the internet. I'm in the process of getting a refund right now...

Mads on November 21, 2010:

Thanks for the advice and the warning! Plenty of cheaper options by the looks of it

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