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Here at the Global Aviation Network our founders and members have tried and tested lots of different flight simulators over the years. Many were good with their own exclusive features and benefits, however they all came with their downsides, be it pricing, features or realism. Out of the many we tried, only one came out on top and with good reason. Flight Simulator X, also known as FSX, produced by Microsoft was found to be our favourite flight simulator. We highly recommend using this flight simulator if you are considering joining our network as all of our members use FSX to connect and fly with other pilots. You can purchase it from multiple outlets, including in most brick-and-mortar stores, as well as on online market places such as Steam or Amazon. You can get Microsoft Flight Simulator X Gold Edition from Amazon here.

So why do we recommend FSX so highly over other flight simulators? Good question! A simple search for flight simulators will bring up lots of different software, all touting they are the best and most realistic. The vast majority of them are good and perfectly usable for testing your skills as a pilot but you need to look at what features they offer, how realistic the controls and flying dynamics are, as well as what kinds of aircraft you can fly and how big the map is. On top of this some flight simulation software supports add-ons and hardware support whereas others don’t, or they do to a limited extent.

FSX has been around in its current form since 2006, and earlier versions were released many years before that. You may be thinking “well 2006 was over 11 years ago… surely it’s outdated?” – you would be mistaken in thinking that. Over the last 11 years it has been updated, upgraded and developed to keep up and surpass the features of more modern flight simulators. I mean, it is developed by Microsoft, one of if not the biggest technology company in the world. They have hundreds of dedicated developers who all specialise in their specific skill. On the balance, FSX provides an extremely realistic flying environment with a good amount of different and varied aircraft in a global setting with lots of airports. The controls are very realistic, just how you would expect to find them in the real aircraft that you are flying.

One of the biggest positives with Flight Simulator X is that it has a massive following. This alone tells you it is a very popular and much loved simulator within the community and this has brought many benefits. The biggest being the development and support outside of Microsoft is massive. You will find lots of add-ons for FSX, produced professionally by companies dedicated to add-ons, as well as community driven add-ons created by real users of the software. Some of this additional content is free, a lot of it is paid but it is certainly worth every penny. Want to fly different aircraft? No problem, there will be an add-on for the plane you want to fly. Don’t feel the graphics or textures are good enough? No problem, install a high definition texture pack. The amount of add-ons is mind blowing and will keep you entertained for years! Don’t forget that new content is constantly being released for FSX so you’ll never run out of things to do.

A great website for add-ons is FSX Addons which has a great directory of additional content you can download. A simple Google search for fsx addons will bring up lots and lots of websites providing downloadable content. The possibilities are massive!

If you’re unsure of whether to go with FSX for whatever reason then you can always try out the free trial of FSX which can be found here. The free download will let you try out the simulator for 30 minutes before it boots you off. You can open it back up and play again, but it gets annoying after a while being shut down every half an hour. It’s good to get a feel of the software though and may help you make up your mind of if it’s the right flight simulator for you. Take our word for it, there aren’t many flight simulators that even come close to FSX and we don’t believe any of them surpass FSX in regards to features, functionality and additional content.

If you have tried FSX before and want to try something different then take a look at X-Plane 11. It has recently been updated as a new release from the older version, X-Plane 10. This flight simulator is very good as well, although as a network we don’t use this simulator. A lot of the add-ons that work with Flight Simulator X also work with X-Plane which is a bonus if you purchase any add-ons, although you will need to check if that specific add-on works across the different platforms.

Hopefully this has helped you to take action and get into the virtual world of flying! We hope to see you up in the air really soon!

Global Aviation Network Team.