Editors' Note: Beta or prerelease software is not intended for inexperienced users, as the software may contain bugs or potentially damage your system. We strongly recommend that users exercise caution and save all mission-critical data before installing and/or using this software.
As an advanced, professional-class flight simulator, X-Plane for Mac, supports add-ons for planes, scenery, and background, and has up-to-date, complete information for real airports.
Professional-class simulator: Used by schools for pilot training and aerospace engineers to simulate aircraft configurations and designs, X-Plane for Mac features real-world airports and flight conditions. This program gives you a genuine flight experience, being one of the most realistic flight simulators for personal computers.
Extensible: You can extend it with third-party add-ons and other resources, which go so far as to allow you to design and configure your own planes and routes.
Powerful: This is not a game but a full-fledged flight simulator, best appreciated by pilots. Using it is more difficult than playing any flight game, and also more rewarding.
No system requirements: While most programs post their minimum and recommended system requirements, this one does not, giving at first the impression that it may run on just about any Mac. Far from it: You need at least 8GB of RAM to run it well.
Large disk space requirement: The demo program alone requires close to 5GB of free space. Judging from our experiences, the download servers are annoyingly slow, so that it took us many hours to grab the demo. The add-ons, including additional planes and design tools, are stored by third-party servers and can usually be downloaded faster.
Joystick needed: You must have your own joystick and rudder installed prior to running the program.
Steep learning curve: Even seasoned users will be challenged by this flight simulator.
Because X-Plane for Mac requires a powerful machine, a joystick and rudder, and many hours of intense concentration, it appeals only to aspiring pilots or flight enthusiasts. Those of you who have the skill and patience to learn it, however, will discover a wonderful flight simulator -- probably the most realistic one available for Mac.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of X-Plane for Mac 10.30b1.
X-Plane is the ultimate general-aviation flight sim. With hardware-accelerated texture-mapped graphics, dynamic speech synthesis, full-planet terrain-mapped scenery, helicopters, and the widest range of airplanes available in flight simulation, X-Plane will keep your eyes popping out for hours.
What's new in this version: