Although it lacks refinement, RC-AirSim works as a quick and dirty computer simulation of flying a radio-controlled airplane. The download consists of a ZIP file full of installer components, a bit rougher than the simple EXE installers we prefer. The 3D graphics for the simulation are blocky and not very detailed, but you can clearly identify the different plane models. You only get one environment from which to fly, consisting of an airstrip, a shed, green grass, and a static photo of trees marking the horizon. More environments would be nice, as would options for setting wind speed and direction. The flight physics feel realistic for a radio-controlled airplane. The controls are very responsive and you can make the airplane perform any number of acrobatics. Keyboard and mouse controls are configurable. The download comes with six models, including a warbird and a glider, but only three are flyable in the demo. Radio-control beginners should find this program an easy way to get familiar with flying before hitting the real world, although the lack of wind might under-prepare them.
What's new in version 1.0
ReleaseNovember 8, 2008
Date AddedJanuary 22, 2004
Operating SystemsWindows 2000, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows, Windows XP
RC-AirSim 1.0 can be used to learn how to fly a radio-controlled model aircraft. Current R/C-model aircraft pilots can keep their flying skills current or learn new maneuvers without risking a real model aircraft. RC-AirSim features realistic flight dynamics and aerodynamics, Doppler-correct sound effects, and 3D graphics. The aircraft in RC-AirSim are flown using aileron, elevator, rudder, and throttle controls. RC-AirSim can be flown using the keyboard or a joystick. With a third-party interface cable, you can connect your model-aircraft's radio transmitter to your computer and fly RC-AirSim.