Aerofly from developers IPACS is a flight simulator which aims to bring realistic visuals to the VR-enabled civilian flight-sim genre, and it looks stunning.

One interesting side effect of virtual reality and its early adoption by the games industry is the chance to give me a reason to return to a genre that previously held no interest to me. With the promise of placing you inside the game-world, titles which left me cold when framed by a flat screen, can suddenly make me sit up and take interest. Flight simulators is one of those genres.

But with VR, the prospect of being sat inside that cockpit, feeling like I was present at the controls of a multi-million dollar aircraft, the attention to the minutiae of recreating that mechanical realism of flight seems a whole lot more appealing.

Aerofly FS2 is a flight sim which aims to give you the chance to take control of all manner of commercial and civilian aircraft from twin engine jet airliners to one man, engine-less gliders and to let you fly them all over realistically recreated terrain and landmarks. It’s available via Steam’s Early Access platform right and, most importantly, it has early support for both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

Early feedback from the game’s supporters on Steam has been very good, with comparisons to seminal examples of the genre like FSX and X-Plane being made. The addition of VR however seems to have elevated the title, despite its pre-release stage of development, to must-have status for enthusiasts. And it certainly has alluring visuals to immerse yourself in, with staggeringly detailed aircraft models and some photo-realistic terrain.

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Currently 16 aircraft come as part of the base package with further paid DLC adding additional high resolution terrain packs for Switzerland. What’s more, the game’s visuals pack a real punch, with height mapped geographic features and modelled structures, and some 150 airports from the bundled ‘map’, letting you gawp at the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz island from the air.

Aerofly FS2 joins the well respected DCS (Digital Combat Simulator) from Eagle Dynamics in a relatively sparsely populated market of VR enabled flight simulators right now, and it seems to be shaping up nicely. Check it out on Steam here.

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  • Get Schwifty!

    A hijacker’s dream if there ever was one….

    • Dean

      What a dumb comment. You can’t hijack planes in this game. You can in GTA 5. Hijackers just love that game don’t they, right?

      • Matthew White

        I believe he was implying that prospective hijackers could train on this.

        • Raphael

          Yes, a reminder that dumb people exist. By his lack of reasoning you would say that GTA V is a rapist’s training sim because it depicts scantily clad women with some fidelity. Oh wait a minute… what about google maps and google street view? No wonder there’s so much terrorism!

          • Get Schwifty!

            Clearly you and the others with the exception of Matthew White didn’t get the full gist of the comment. It is both a joke but still it would also be useful for terrorists to utilize in such schemes. It’s also a probably a lot of fun and educational as well, I’m sure I will load it up before long. However…

            If you think the idea of it as a useful tool to terrorists or otherwise is pure balderdash read up on how terrorist groups and the US military utilize common gaming sims to train with particularly in learning areas and coordination. That being said I would be the last person to advocate banning such a piece of software, I used to love flight sims back in the day, the more realistic the better, but it doesn’t change the fact any of these tools can be abused.

            @Joe Holliday – I would disagree, if immersion didn’t change the way the brain interprets and records information for future use you would be correct, but all the evidence it there that it fundamentally changes learning. This is why “true” flight simulators are so effective, along with trial runs etc. Why do you think education and training is seen as one of the best applications of VR if that weren’t a known outcome?

            Honestly, people are wound so tight these days. By the way, I like your selfie profile pic there Raphael ;)

          • Raphael

            Thanks for the education on terrorism. Attaching terrorism to this article on a flight sim suggests some degree of mental health issues on your part. You try to create drama by making an association that’s really so insignificant. Yes a flight sim can be used by terrorists to practice flying to their target… so what? Do you look for posts on other flight sims (x-plane, FSX) and make the same dumb statements there too? It has nothing to do with terrorists not making use of flight-sims… of course a percentage have but the real issue here is your need to create drama by attaching something wholly negative. You have a need to create drama.

            That farming sim could be used by terrorists to practice driving a tractor through a field of sweetcorn and then into a building. So what? Do you post your same nonsense on farming sim articles? You don’t? Why not? Because terrorists haven’t used farm equipment in their terror strikes thus far.

            Tell us what percentage of terrorists are using flight sims to practice flying into buildings…. 80%?

            You have some problems about self you need to look at.

          • Nigerian Wizard

            Why are you so triggered he made a joke about terrorism? Did your parents die in 9/11? Chill out.

          • Raphael

            It wasnt a joke. It was pointless trolling. Thanks for coming to his defense though. You’re a special friend.

          • Get Schwifty!

            I fail to see how making a comment which is ultimately correct is trolling (rolls eyes). if anything waltzing in as you are prone to do in a number of R2VR comment sections and describing folks as you tend to do as “dumb” or some other adjective is truly troll-like.

            Oh yes, a couple links referencing the subject, the rest you can research on your own:

            http://www.latimes.com/world/la-110201simosama-story.html

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-357006/The-flight-software-trains-terrorists.html

            You are welcome to do your own research, but if you honestly think that quality VR representing real spaces doesn’t mean some folks might use it for ill, and someone pointing that out somehow has “problems” I think you need to do some serious self-examination. Methinks you simply don’t like the term “terrorist”, if so, please insert “zealous freedom fighter” or whatever politically correct term you prefer.

          • Raphael

            So basically your argument is that any photorealistic flightsim is deserving of the “terrorist training tool” by you. And you think that’s reasonable? We all know terrorism exists so we don’t need your BS. How about you contact the developer of Aerofly and tell them their flightsim is a terrorist training tool? No? Not prepared to do that? I don’t give a sh*t whether you call it “terrorist” or any other label you might use to describe a bunch of psychotic numpties. My only issue is you spending your days labeling photo-realistic flight-sims as terrorist training tools. Idiot.

            P. S. You’re dumb.

            :)

          • Nigerian Wizard

            Haha. What a sperg. Go back to reading YouTube comments.

          • Raphael

            How do I become a nigerian wizard?

          • Javed Asghar

            And you truly believe 911 was some terrorists that actually controlled a plane and crashed it in? there is no way absolutely no way it was planned and controlled from the ground? no. Just as I thought. Please google architects 911 and the wtc7 evaluation project. open eyes a little to another point of view, if you believe you are truly smart. Peace.

          • Yoreaveltwyn

            Switch to decaf!

          • Raphael

            Which brand?

          • shoupart

            It would be interesting if there were some back-end data collection going on; perhaps if would-be hijackers were flying sims of jets flying into buildings, or ‘flying’ suspiciously, the program would flag such people.

        • Joe Holliday

          Still doesn’t really make sense considering realistic flight sims have been around for a long time (X-Plane, MSFS). Adding VR to it doesn’t make the “training” aspect any more educational. In other words immersion does not equal increased knowledge, so [Get Schwitty!]’s commend doesn’t make sense at all.

        • Nigerian Wizard

          Why not? If you make this game realistic enough with all the important switches and knobs on certain planes, I guarantee you that Muhammad Jihad will be a bit better at steering ;)

      • MacGoose

        We also need to close down all schools that offer a pilot license

        • X Lord B

          more likely they would increase the cost of going to get one.

    • Neo Racer

      We better ban white trucks too as one of those killed 80 people in France a few weeks back..

    • EliHobbes

      This is why there are so many negative comments on the internet. Look at the attention that this thread has received in relation to the others. Drama drives humans to a certain degree.

      As the OP responded, his comment was satirical, though there was some truth in his comment as there is in most jokes. But he did write something controversial. One responded with negativity, then another to that and so on. All of these comments over a post that was clearly meant more as a joke than anything real. How does this matter in the big scheme of things?

      The next time you read a news headline suggesting something huge, think about it. Is the media outlet telling the real story or are they focusing on the drama to get more readership and earn more dollars?

  • Moyenitude

    Tried it today on the Rift… it’s an incredible experience for the flight sim fan ! Reminded me of Flight Unlimited 2, loved every minute, a 5 minutes “test flight” turned into an hour’s play…

    • Mucker2002

      Make sure you get the Switzerland DLC it’s a small area but very picturesque.

      • Moyenitude

        I’ll have to get more disk space first :(

    • felixcox

      How do trees look? Are pop-ins prominent (I know that’s gpu-dependent…)? Are there cities with 3d buildings? And are there moving cars (ai?)? Thanks!

      • Moyenitude

        To me, trees looked fine (but were sometimes generated in the middle of roads). I didn’t see any pop-in. And yes, there are cities with 3D buildings. I don’t think there are moving objects (cars, …)
        (this is using high-res texture pack)

        • felixcox

          Thanks for the information!

    • EliHobbes

      When you say flight sim fan that might mean different things. Are you referring to actual FS’ like FSX or XP?

      • Moyenitude

        My bad, it’s true there are very different type of fans.
        In my opinion, this is for FLIGHT sim fans : you liked Flight Unlimited, the “joy” / “feeling” of flying VFR, etc…
        Flight SIM fans that like FSX/XP/Prepar3d, the “technical” aspect of flying, IFR, … will likely want to wait a bit until it comes out of early release to see if all the features they want / need are implemented.

        • EliHobbes

          That was a super answer. Thanks very much!

  • BeerGremlin

    Don’t forget that https://flyinside-fsx.com adds Rift and Vive support to FSX and Prepar3D. It works really well, although I haven’t tried Aerofly FS2 so I can’t give a comparison.

  • Michael Freitas

    Incredible on the Rift. Takeoff in an F-18 and fly straight up through the clouds to 50,000+ feet. Nuts. Barrel roll after taking off at 150′! Cockpit is best but multiple camera angles and an airshow mode to watch your plane scream by. Landing is a challenge but doable. Each plane is a very different experience and night flying is just so cool.

    • Moyenitude

      I felt vertigo after a quick climb followed by nose down in the F-18 :p

      • Michael Freitas

        I get a bit with camera angles outside the plane turning my head too fast. Eyes closed for most crashes also. Hopefully they will make the planes actually crash or allow you to eject and come down with a parachute (a maneuverable one). : )

  • Dimitar Tilev

    What sort of a controller do I need for that?

    • Moyenitude

      The sky’s the limit ;) It was quite enjoyable using the Xbox controller supplied with the Rift, but a joystick will probably be better, and above that you can buy throttles, rudder pedals, …

      • Dimitar Tilev

        I was referring to the minimum I need to take off. I know these things are super complicated.

  • PianoMan

    Ok perhaps some of you can resell this to me, because I refunded it a few weeks ago. I run a i7 6700K with 1080 GTX, and I couldn’t believe how badly in ran and the graphics were really poor. I made sure everything was set where it should be, on ultra I believe and I had the hires pack included but flying around SF was almost barren apart from some really nasty looking buildings and flying around other areas were empty apart from what looked like some satellite imagery they used, which was flat and pixellated.

    Does anyone know where I went wrong? As it didn’t look anything like those images above!

    • EliHobbes

      I don’t but I know a couple folks with lesser machines that enjoy theirs. The resolution of the VR’s is quite low compared to a PC monitor. I tried it once and visually it was like flying back in the 90’s. Being able to look around as I flew like real life makes it a fair trade off for my purposes.

    • Moyenitude

      To me it really looked like this :
      https://www.aerofly.com/aerofly_fs_2/images/aerofly_fs_2_features_f.jpg
      (but lower res, because VR).
      The framerate (4790K/1080) was ok, a bit of stutter with buildings.

      • PianoMan

        Yeah mine never looked like that, not even on my PC. I hadn’t even tried it in VR, because the experience was so bad on my PC. Not too sure why it didn’t look anything like that.

        • Moyenitude

          Probably a bug (it is early access after all). One thing I could think of is that the installation of the high res pack removed the “standard” textures but then did not activate correctly ?

  • 4fr29

    Is there support for a D-Box motion seat? Would most VR enthusiasts shell out $3000 for a motion seat for VR flight and racing simulators? Just curious cause I’m a D-Box shareholder :-) thanks.

    • Moyenitude

      No idea if it’s supported… At this point in time it would have to be REALLY impressive to make me want to save $3000 for the seat.

      • 4fr29

        Thanks. I’m not sure about the $3000 price tag for a home based seat. But I’m sure they wouldn’t come cheap :-)

  • EliHobbes

    So my question is, can you clearly read the instruments in the cockpit view? Using the Vibe once with “FlyInside” from the normal seated position the instruments were too blurry to read. In order to read an airspeed or change a radio frequency you can to leen forward quite a bit.

    • Moyenitude

      I had to lean slightly to read the instruments, but I also have an appointment with an optometrist in a month :(

    • Trooper Gooner

      I increased the pixel count to 1.8 and they were easier to read than the default ‘1’. However my 980TI chugged and wasn’t able to run it. To be honest even at default I am struggling to run it above low – med in the larger more detailed planes.