RealFlight 9 Flight Simulator With Spektrum Controller


RealFlight 9 was installed on Jay’s Dell gaming laptop for portability and ease of connecting it to his TV.

Written by Jay Smith
As seen in the Winter 2020 issue of Park Pilot

Is an RC Flight Simulator Right for Me?

A common question among newer pilots is whether or not they should invest in an RC flight simulator. To determine that answer, each person should consider what his or her individual expectations and goals are, and if a simulator can help him or her reach those goals.
A simulator can fit the role of a training tool and it can also be used as a game. When used as a tool with specific goals in mind, it will provide the greatest benefit. A simulator will allow you to safely and inexpensively—after you have purchased the simulator—learn new maneuvers, practice orientation, and find out if you are comfortable flying a more advanced model, such as a warbird, 3D aircraft, or helicopter.

Perfecting a low, rolling harrier or a Tic-Toc is less expensive on the simulator where a crash is erased by pressing the reset button versus costly repairs. The biggest argument I hear is that for the price of a simulator, you could buy another aircraft. It’s certainly true, however, if that aircraft is beyond your flying skills or if it is lost while trying to perfect a new maneuver, then perhaps the simulator is a better investment.
Another benefit of having a simulator is the ability to practice and keep your skills up, even if you live somewhere that doesn’t comfortably allow for year-round flying. I am personally not a fan of flying in below-freezing temperatures, so the simulator is my main type of flying for 3 or 4 months out of the year.

If you do decide to invest in an RC simulator, keep in mind that you can learn good or bad habits when using it because it is all about muscle memory, which is learned by repetition.

Hobbies are normally taken up for fun and enjoyment. Being successful when starting in this hobby is important. The AMA operates a Flight Experience trailer filled with flight simulators that travels across the country, and people who venture inside often receive their first flight experience. Selecting a trainer and giving them some tips about using the transmitter and flying helps give them a good start.

When I launched RealFlight 9 for the first time, I found myself at Eli Field, which is the home of Horizon Hobby’s RC Fest and also where the company flies all of the airplanes seen in its videos. Waiting for me on the runway was an airplane I reviewed in the September 2019 issue of Model Aviation, the Timber X.

Being familiar with the aircraft, I took off and immediately tried to initiate a roll; however, the aircraft limited my pitch and bank angles—I was flying in SAFE (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope) Mode! After flipping a few different switches on the transmitter, I was not only able to turn off SAFE, I was able to activate the mix that includes the flaps as ailerons, one of my favorite features on the actual model.


The RealFlight 9 flight simulator offers 46 flying sites and 121 airplanes, 10 sailplanes, 36 helicopters, and 19 drones to fly.


Flying from water is always enjoyable, and RealFlight 9 does a nice job of providing pilots with a believable experience.

AS3X (Artificial Stabilization-3 aXis) and SAFE technology are available on the models in the simulator that incorporate that technology. This is beneficial to those who are new to using a flight simulator, flying, or both. SAFE performs in the simulator as it does when flying actual aircraft by providing limited bank and pitch angles. It can be activated or deactivated with a flick of a switch.

While I joyfully flew around Eli Field until I ran out of battery, forcing a landing. I realized that this flight simulator had taken things to the next level. Just as SAFE has allowed pilots to enjoy easier, confidence-boosting first flights, people could have the same experience on the flight simulator. Granted, any crash on the sim can be easily erased by the reset button, but beginners now can have an extra level of confidence, much like they do when flying aircraft equipped with stabilization.

RealFlight 9 is available as software only and with a USB transmitter. The transmitter is vastly different than what was bundled with previous versions. This transmitter is a Spektrum Interlink DX Simulator Controller. It has a new look and layout and even has gimbals with adjustable spring and throttle tension to get the feel you are comfortable with.

After checking out the new transmitter, it was time to install the software, which is provided on two discs. There is also an option for a digital download for the software. I used my external Blu-ray drive to install RealFlight 9 on my Dell laptop, which took approximately 30 minutes. I chose to use the laptop to allow me to easily connect to my TV and to make my simulator experience portable.


Aircraft in RealFlight 9 can sustain damage during flight and continue to be flown while exhibiting the effects of the changes. Here, part of the landing gear is missing.

Launching the program for the first time, you will be asked if you want to apply any updates. Having access to the updates requires software registration. After that was complete, I calibrated the transmitter and it was time to fly around in a virtual world.

RealFlight 9 offers simulator pilots 46 flying sites and 121 airplanes, 10 sailplanes, 36 helicopters, and 19 drones to fly. The drop-down menu for selecting the flying fields is under Environment. Aircraft fall under Aircraft, which is simple enough, but actually finding a specific aircraft among so many choices can take a little digging. Although there are grouping options, I would have liked to separate them into airplanes, helicopters, and drones.

A feature that I quite enjoy is that you can incur damage or have flight failures with your aircraft and continue to fly, while the aircraft handles differently. This feature even allowed Jim Bourke, of Knife Edge Software, to successfully land a Giant Scale aircraft after losing half of the wing. He had practiced this several times on the simulator and when it unexpectantly happened, he was ready.


The Hover Trainer allows pilots the opportunity to hone their skills while requiring that the aircraft stay within the circle. You will be happy to learn that the size of the circle is adjustable.

You can receive instruction on how to hover an airplane or practice your orientation with a heli. You can progress through different modes, which covers airplanes and helicopters, and the difficulty increases as you work through them.

Multiplayer allows you to fly with your friends, much like at a flying field, or to compete with others in combat and streamer cut. In Challenges, you can perform things such as Balloon Burst, Air Race, and FPV Drone Racing.

RealFlight supports VR (virtual reality). Through the use of a headset, VR provides a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real way. So, what does that mean?

Basically, by donning either the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive headset, you are transported to the flying field and all of your surroundings seen in the headset are at the airport you selected. Turn around and you will see what is behind you, such as a pit area or clubhouse. You can look down and see the ground and look up into the sky. When flying your RC aircraft, you will track it with your head just as you would when actually flying.

If you decide to try flying in VR, you will need to purchase a VR headset and confirm that your PC meets the requirements of the VR headset. When you begin flying RealFlight in VR, it will be hard to get that smile off your face.

RealFlight 9 incorporates flying, instruction, and fun that any simulator pilot should enjoy. Other than an issue with the screenshot function, I haven’t run into any problems and I find myself continually going back to it to put in one more flight.

I have been using RealFlight since Version 2 and I believe it has helped me become a better pilot. It has also allowed me to tackle new maneuvers first on the simulator that can be transitioned to actual flight. During the winter, RealFlight is flown more than any aircraft that I own.

If you are interested in investing in an RC flight simulator, you should definitely consider RealFlight 9.

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

Minimum Recommended System:
>> Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10
Intel Pentium 1.0 GHz or equivalent
>> 512 MB RAM
>> 10 GB hard drive space
>> DVD drive
>> 3D accelerated video with 32 MB dedicated video memory
>> Fully DirectX 9.0-compliant (Shader Model 2.0 or better)
>> InterLink DX, RealFlight-compatible controller or gamepad/joystick
>> Internet connectivity required to download additional content and updates
Optimal System for best performance:
>> Dual-core 2.4 GHz CPU
>> 2 GB RAM
>> 3D accelerated video with 512 MB dedicated video memory
Multiplayer requirements:
>> Broadband internet connection
>> Computer microphone for voice chat
InterLink DX controller requirements:
>> USB port
>> Compatible FM or FM-selectable transmitter (if using the interface mode)
VR requirements:
>> Compatible with some VR sets (available separately); check manufacturer’s
requirements for VR system use
>> Works with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR headsets
>> Online activation required
PRICE: $99.99–$179.99
INFO: realflight.com

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4 comments

Only way I could get it to work was through the mic Jack and even that is flakey. No solid control with my flysky 6 or wireless control. Very disappointing after. Buying the "best".

Hi there. Just wanted to say that there are more options than Realflight and that there are some ideas about structured learning, at least for helicopter flying. I am a firm believer of sim training, especially when dealing with helicopters which get expensive to fix really fast. The other options are also less expensive and more applicable to people getting into the hobby.

we need to talk about the WS2000. Works fine with a
airplane but heli ? Can't get flite modes & hold ?We need help !

PLEASE MAKE A SIMULATOR FOR US APPLE PEOPLE!

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