Friday, August 31, 2007

Google Earth Flight Simulator

Related article: Traffic analysis of this post

Some time last week, Google expanded Google Earth with Google Sky. As fascinating as Google Sky is, that's not the focus of this post. Along with the latest update comes a hidden feature of which I cannot seem to find any other information about. It's not in the release notes and a search on Google produces no results. Seems Google have done one of their unpublicised updates they're becoming well-known for.

What I'm talking about is a flight simulator embedded within GE. Sounds awesome, doesn't it? If the thought amazes you as much as it did me, then might have run off and tried it for yourself. But there's a problem. Remember what I said above - it's a hidden feature!

First of all you'll have to install the latest version of GE. Once you've started it all up, then all you have to do is hit Ctrl+Alt+A (if you're running OS X it's Command+Option+A; some people have reported that Ctrl+A or Ctrl+Windows+A work when the standard Ctrl+Alt+A does not). You must be in Earth mode (i.e. not Sky mode) for this to work . If all goes as planned the following dialog should pop up:

As you can see from the screenshot there are only two aircraft to choose from at this stage. The F16 I find is much more enjoyable for a quick stint as it goes much faster than the SR22. Try both though as they're quite different flights. Then you get to pick a start position. The default option of Kathmandu runway gives you in the following scene:

Before going wild pressing random keys like I did, have a look at the controls. Sidetracking a bit, you'll notice that the top of that page gives proof that Google purposefully hid this feature:

Once you have entered flight simulator mode for the first time, you can re-enter the mode by choosing Tools > Enter Flight Simulator.
Moving on though, you can get a quick start by holding Page Up for a few seconds to increase to maximum thrust (thrust meter is the left bar of the lower-left meters). Once you've accelerated to a sufficient velocity use the arrow keys to take-off. The keys are in reverse as one would expect with any flight simulator, so use the down arrow to take-off. When you've gained enough altitude then stabalise the aircraft to a straight flight path.

It can be rather tricky to get the hang of as the controls are quite sensitive. However, the same can be said of any reasonable flight simulator as that's the nature of flying. After a little fiddling around and once you're stable you should see a nice view of the Himalayas out on the horizon:

I guess this next screenshot should have come before the last, since it's what most people will see first. However, this is not as bad as it may appear. Although I admittedly was very poor when I started out, I learned with a little practice. This shot is actually of a controlled upside-down flight. If I was really out of control I wouldn't have been able to capture such a nice shot!

To round up on the screenshots, here are a couple quick ones from flying over Frankfurt and New York. They're not all that fascinating to look at, especially when compared to the real experience.

Overall, I think they've done a good job considering (assuming?) this is their first release. There are several things missing though. A major thing is that you don't get a view of the aircraft at all. It would be nice if they could add several views, including a view from within the cockpit with full controls, etc. The controls are covered well. It works with joysticks, however I couldn't find one to test with. The mouse control is very effective although switching between mouse and keyboard I found a little poor as it would jerk the aircraft.

Unfortunately with poor bandwidth in South Africa most of the scenes didn't get a chance to fully load before going out of view. I'm sure this won't be an issue with a decent line. Even without it loading in full it was still very usable, which is a big plus!

The airports are covered fairly well, with almost all major airports included in the list. Perhaps a search option could be added to search for airports, since all the data should already be available as it's displayed in the main Google Earth view. However, the locations might not have sufficient precision. I think the aircraft selection needs to be improved drastically before this is fully launched.

All-in-all I think it's a great feature Google has added to one of their top products. I still remember the days when Microsoft Flight Simulator was considered so cool and that you had to pay for! With a bit more work this has lots of potential to greatly surpass other flight simulators.

Discussion on Reddit
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Discussion on Slashdot
Youtube video - startup
Youtube video - flight tips

UPDATE: If you are struggling to get into flight simulator mode then follow the instructions below to manually enable flight simulator. After enabling, go Tools -> Enter Flight Simulator.


Download FlightSim.reg, double click on it and restart Google Earth.


echo 1 > .googleearth/Registry/google/googleearthplus/User/flightsim/isenabled


  1. it didn't work .........

  2. Didn't work for me at first, but after screwing around for a few minutes, it does!

  3. Make sure you're focused on the main window or the shortcut doesn't seem to work.

  4. doesn't work on mac :(

  5. Awesome!

    It even supports force-feedback gamepads (vibrating when you crash into the ground)...

  6. Worked on my mac... I was just flying around in the Himilayas.

  7. You use the down key to lift off? Isn't that exactly how most flight simulators work? The p arrow pitches forward and the down arrow pitches backward. Makes sense to me.

  8. How long before someone denounces this as another tool for terrorists?

  9. Just a note.. on the Windows XP laptop I tested, the key-combo was Ctrl-WindowsKey-A.

  10. This could be used by terrorists. There, its been said. Now on to something more critical. My WingMan joystick did not work. :( Pretty fun otherwise.

    Turn on 3D building and fly around San Francisco.

  11. I cant seem to get it to work. When I click on sky mod it takes me to space. What am I doing wrong?

  12. This aint a hidden feature, I suppose. You can reach it using the menu option - Tools --> Enter Flight Simulator

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. after some more tries, it worked! :)

  15. It's not working for me, I'm pressing the 3 buttons but nothings happening.

  16. This is not a network attack. This is a Slashdotting.

  17. Same here: control+alt+a does nothing (linux).
    A grep -rn "simulator" did show that
    ~/.google-earth/resources/flightsim exists, full of configuration files.

  18. Oops: it worked in linux, but not while on sky view, only on normal earth view.

  19. Great find! You inspired me to create a video!

    Check it out:

  20. Try heading off to San Francisco airport and press CTRL ALT A there. It didn't work for me anywhere else, but once looking at the airport.. bingo! :)c

  21. @Vibhav: The option only activates itself after entering flight mode for the first time.

    @terrorist comments: Come on, are you serious? What has this world come to that every tiny link to terrorists is made and can often overwhelm the real matter of discussion!

    @youtube video: Great, thanks for that! I considered making one myself, but it honestly would have been lousy in comparison to your polished video.

    Thanks for all the comments and I'm glad this is drawing its fair share of attention. Here's to hoping this gets developed into a polished product!

  22. Very happy that this actually works... you have to wait about 2 minutes before it does, very random

  23. I hope that Google makes us see the other people flying around ;) Flight simulator multiplayer mode ;D

  24. Erm it's not that hidden. Granted you might have to play with the keys a bit to get it to work, but there is documentation regarding the feature:

    Still, thanks for pointing it out I was looking for something to do today :)

  25. Not bad, but if you're serious about flight simulation then you should try FSX with FSPassengers or FSFlyingSchool. They're like flying with real pilots!

  26. not really a flight sim, more like whizz up a google map. Try X-Plane with the Google Earth or Microsoft Map mod, it lets you use the real terrain and the popular open source (?) flight sim to do this but more realistically!

  27. Add to MARCO ftw!

  28. Just CTRL A works fine for me in Vista. Pressing CTRL ALT A does nothing no matter where i look first.

  29. WOW! this is much better than encarta virtual flight tour. well done Google.

    Anita (get rich online)

  30. Works fine for me on my Intel Mac. It's a great start for Google to get in the flight sim area, and the best part is the price!

  31. Got it to work using CTRL + Windows + A. Can't get the joystick to work have tried Joystick enabled ticked unticked and unticking then ticking the Joystick. Anything else I can try?

  32. Works great for me.

  33. You can't enter the simulator from Google Sky mode. Has to be the Earth mode. Thanks for the article though.

  34. Wow very nice stuff, thanks for sharing.

  35. Wow, I am flying on Ubuntuuuu!

  36. For Linux use CTRL + A

  37. I got it to work by being in normal view, then tilting the display until the sky is visible, then use the key combos as mentioned to initiate the flight sim.

  38. Doesn't work on my Mac, 10.4.9 PPC running GE (beta). Is this an Intel-only feature?

  39. @herodes: Yes, multiplayer support could be an interesting experience. It would get very chaotic around the default airport though!! Although I'm sure that can be managed by grouping users together and only allowing interaction within the group. Second Life in Google Earth?

    @"Erm it's not that hidden" comment: As mentioned in my post and reiterated in my previous comment, the menu option is only unveiled after activating the simulator mode at least once with the key combination. It also states this here if you read carefully.

    @"Not bad, but if you're serious about flight simulation" comment: Yes, I agree. However, if this is developed into a fully functional flight simulator, the benefits of the technologies offered by Google Earth could mean that this eventually surpasses all other flight simulators. The scenery is of top-notch quality - something other flight simulators don't offer.

    @relaxedguy: Are you using Command+Option+A, which is the key combination for OS X.

  40. wow, that's pretty awesome. BTW, it didn't detect my joystick for the first couple minutes, but now it does.

  41. Works for me! I had to fiddle around, I followed the comment above, zoomed in, and tilted until sky was visible, then it worked.

  42. Been wondering when they were going to do this...I can't wait for Google Theft Auto...

  43. Nice! we could try to strike a tower!

  44. Do you have to zoom in for it to work? That's what I did before the Ctrl+Alt+A actually worked. I'm not used to the flight controls, though.

  45. + Space = Space Flight Simulator?

  46. Make sure you click on the Map window before issuing the commands. On the Mac the cursor automatically starts in the search bar on the left. Clicking on the map window and then hitting command-option-a worked on my Mac.

  47. Not work for me :(
    Upgrade NOW!

  48. I am using a mac book. its has no page up for acceleration. is there another way. or can i change the keys.

  49. Apparently fn+up and fn+down are used as page up and page down on the mac book.

  50. I haven't tried, but I'm going to assume it's just a GIS flythrough with a nifty hud overlay. Cool idea to exploit it, but it's nothing new...

  51. What is it with you idiots and the terrorism thing? Do you say the same thing about car racing sims (the cars could loaded with explosives), or first person shooters (they could be learning our tactics)?

  52. Haha Marco,
    While I was reading your post, I was thinking "In South Africa that would never be possible", and then I saw that you were South African!

    Great to meet a local guy online. Best of luck.


  53. yes i am using windows and the simulator only works in the earth view not the sky view..for anyone else who has trouble

  54. @rabidrabbit: No, the flight simulator idea is nothing new. It's the combination of the detailed satellite imagery and flight simulator that make it novel. As I said before, it's still got a long way to go before being called a full-on flight simulator. But it's promising.

    @"What is it with you idiots and the terrorism thing?" comment: Couldn't agree with you more. If you look at my previous comments you'll see I had the same feelings. People have been hammered so much about terrorism+planes that it's really getting out of hand. How many terrorist attacks have used planes? How many have used cars or other land vehicles?

    @michael: Yes, I also had concerns about it working with our SA bandwidths, especially with the whole last-day-of-the-month rush. Goes to show how robust Google Earth is becoming! I had to fly around a couple times before I could capture the screenshots with reasonable detail though.

  55. It takes some getting used to. at first i couldn't get off the ground. And then a series of crashes. I keep spinning too. It works, im just not good at it. FUN THOUGH


    You guys just gotta look a little harder

  57. I'm wondering if Google borrowed some technology from ?

  58. Flight sim is bugging for me and I can't find answers anywhere else.

    The plane will fly for five seconds, then the program will lock up for about 7 seconds then resume for 5 seconds and then lock up for 7 seconds. It does this over and over again. I can barely get off the ground and if I do, I cant get anywhere because its locking up every few seconds. Anyone else experiencing these problems, or does anyone have any solutions to this problem?

  59. The reason the controls are "tricky" is that, unlike the input from a joystick, the keyboard inputs aren't self-centering -- when you press right-arrow to roll the plane right, you need to press left-arrow to stop the roll; if you look at the lower left part of the screen, you'll see the indicators for your throttle (left vertical scale, ailerons (upper horizontal scale), rudder (lower horizontal scale), and elevator (right vertical scale). Also make use of the 'center rudder and aileron' key (either 'C' or keypad 5) liberally to help.

  60. can someone tell me how to take off? or is this just naturally glitchy?? i'm on a (intel) mac, got the flight simulator to open, but can't get anywhere using any keys.

  61. It's not a "new" thing. It's been there for ages.

  62. Loaded the latest version of GE, now have Sky, but no Flight Sim mentioned under Tools and Crtl Alt A does nothing.

  63. I don't get the box which gives a choice of plane/airport. It just dumps me in the F16(guessing by the speed) at the height and location of the view I had in the Google Earth window before pressing ctrt-alt-a.
    Anyone got any ideas ?

  64. For those who say it doesn't work - go and explore the earth for a while before you try to open it up, this worked for me.

  65. This is great info, thanks for this post ;-)

  66. Tried the ctl-a, ctl-windows-a and ctl-alt-a combos. haven't been able to get this to work.

  67. Being on Fedora 7 I pressed left and right Ctrl and then a to activate it

  68. Downloaded the latest version of google earth (4.2). Startup up google earth, closed the tips box. Pressed Control+Alt+A, and the select a plane screen popped up.

    Windows XP SP2, Desktop Computer, Standard Keyboard and Mouse.

  69. Umm...if you go within will see that the Flight Sim is an option...
    Nothing new I guess. Cool feature though. I wonder what Google has planned in the long run...

  70. @lbizkit69us: That page wasn't linked to from anywhere and therefore wasn't crawled by Google. Since I and many others have linked to it, Google is now crawling and including it in its search results. Trust me, I search all over for any other reference before posting.

    @"The reason the controls are "tricky" is that" comment: Unfortunately I don't have a joystick to test it out, but I would imagine it would make controlling the aircraft easier. Thanks for the tips.

    @"can someone tell me how to take off?" comment: I included a brief guide in the post. If you're on a macbook without page up/down, then use fn+up/down to increase/decrease the throttle instead.

    @cheesepuff: Since it's the first release and on top of it it's hidden (i.e. likely pre-beta quality) it's quite possible it's a bug. What OS you running?

    @mark: Another thing some people have commented on is that it will only start if the main viewing area has focus.

    @"Umm...if you go within Tools" comment: Please read my post. It's all explained there.

    I'm amazed at how much attention this has drawn. I'm beginning to wonder if Google hid this on purpose in the hope that they would draw more attention by doing so.

  71. Great little program from Google. To make it a little more like a Flight Simulator add some sound. If you use Enviro or similar, copy the ai single prop sound from the main sound folder of Flightsim, give it a hot-key and you now have sound and visual. Same for jet plane.

  72. Yepp its true it works i just installed it and its working i found it vas working better with the mouse thou to fly it

  73. it works great on a mac and a 10mb connection!


  74. It also works with the mouse for the flight controls... it's a lot easier for me that way...

    Blue skies!!!

  75. Thank you for the time you generously took to let us know about this.
    From someone not very skilled with a PC.

  76. Just to confirm: on my pc ctrl + windows key + a works, none of the other combinations. (windows vista, dutch settings)

  77. For those of you who can't get it to work in sky view just get your Earth view about 3500'ASL then "tilt" the view and try Ctl+Alt+a. I just downloaded and that was the only way I could get it to come up. After that it is on the Tools menu.

  78. it even works in linux

  79. @pop: I agree, it is missing sound. Thanks for the tip!

    @rick: Please don't test my patience over our sloppy lines here. ;) I'm so missing that Gbit line I had in Croatia last month.

    @jerry: I've started getting used to the mouse controls and they definitely are a lot easier. I still want to get my hands on a joystick though.

    If you're on Linux and can't get it started you can replace the "0" in the following file with a "1", after which the flight simulator will be enabled in the Tools menu.


    I haven't discovered the location of the registry entry on Windows (I'm more a Linux user ;P).

  80. Fun! I just took off from SFO, flew down to Mountain View to buzz the Google Earth team, flew over the Bay Bridge to see if this weekend's construction has fixed the infamous break in the bridge (I couldn't tell while flying, but I checked back later, and it hasn't), then got so distracted by the amazing sketchup model of SBC Park that I flew right into the stands. (Who needs terrorists with people like me in the skies?)

    Well, actually, I flew right through the stands; you can go through buildings with no ill effects. Google has apparently perfected Dr. Banzai's oscillation overthruster.

    Unfortunately, having expected to crash, I didn't pull up; so, coming out the other side of the Park, I hit 0' altitude and apparently splattered all over 3rd St.

  81. The Windows Registry key is HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Google Earth Plus\FlightSim, and the value is IsEnabled. It's a DWORD, and should be 1 to enable the menu item. Create the key and value if they don't exist.

    If you're completely lost in Regedit, here's an easier way:

    So, if the flight sim won't start for you on Windows:
    * Fire up Notepad
    * Paste in the lines after "CUT HERE"
    * Save the file as FlightSim.reg
    * Double-click FlightSim.reg; if Windows asks for permission to import, allow it
    * Restart Google Earth
    * Go to the Tools | Enter Flight Simulator... menu item

    --- CUT HERE ---
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Google\Google Earth Plus\FlightSim]

  82. not so cool....... :-(
    just another sloppy way to rotate the google earth... will be cool if I can watch/crash with other people flying around

  83. I'm a terrorist, I'm totally not going to use this. I prefer MS sim.

  84. @andy b.: Great, thanks! To make it even easier you can grab the reg file here and double-click on it.

  85. So what Mr science master. Lets see if u can do this trick?? Get depressed and do nothing all day????Can u do that boy????Thought NOT!!!

  86. Thanks for find the news peoples real need ;)
    real good

  87. All, You can also use ChartGEEK Charts (Aviation Sectionals and TACs) in Google Earth with the flight simulation mode! Take a look at the home page for a couple pictures.

    Regards, Richard ChartGEEK Charts

  88. Works on MBP 10.4.10, GE

    Press CMD + ALT + A

  89. D Y N A M I T E !!!

  90. can you share us how you find out this feature?

  91. more details? check:

  92. To achieve a better flight control, try keys commands as FS features (alt number pad)

  93. In latest version:

    4.2.0181.2634 (beta)
    Build Date
    Aug 21 2007
    Build Time


  94. can some1 please help i cant get it to work.

  95. It only worked in "Earth View" for me

  96. @jason: Was waiting for someone to pop the question. :) In short, it involved exploring the .googleearth config directory and finding the flightsim directory. After spotting that and getting nothing out of a Google search I dug deeper. After some searching I started trying random key combinations and got lucky I guess. Difficult to remember in detail, but that sums it up roughly.

    @all those that can't get it to work: Check the update in the post, which gives an alternate method.

  97. Right, Ive been flying round google earth since it first came out using the flight control option in the navigation page in the options menu. Has no one else actually noticed this?

  98. This comment has been removed by the author.

  99. Google - immer wieder für eine Überraschung gut! Mal sehen was da noch so an versteckten Funktionen entdeckt wird….

    Gleiches Thema auch auf der AviComm:


  100. @marco, thanks for the explanations

  101. complimenti! you are in the most famous italian newspaper!

  102. Great find - thanks for sharing! Off to circle my house again ...

  103. Hi Marco,
    Do I have your permission to direct my Flight Sim readers to your blog page...I am sure that they would be interested, since my publication 'AV CONCEPTS' specialises in FlightSim and 3D with various enhancements.

    Tony Shapps
    Editor: 'Av Concepts'; subscibe by sending an email to me at:

  104. Hi Marco it's strange but i'm Stefano Gallotta. I live at Naples and we are probably relatives because i have got relatives in SouthAfrica. This is my mail
    bye bye see you later

  105. Neat!

    Here's some programming you might appreciate:

  106. very awesome, thanks for discovering and posting.

  107. I'm hoping someone figures out how to input a flight path and have this baby follow it.

    Perhaps some lat long way points.

    This would be excellent.

  108. You know, this has the same look, feel, controls, responsiveness of Chuck Yeager's Advanced Flight Trainer. Though I cannot recall a HUD on any of those A/C.

    In 1988, I played that until I lost my mind.

  109. @luke: I've heard people mentioning this. While I haven't explored it, some say this is very different, especially the controls.

    @"italian newspaper" comment: That's awesome! They assume I'm from an Italian background - who said that? It's true, but what if it wasn't. ;) Nice to see so many sites acknowledging me as the original source. You most certainly have permission. The same goes for anyone else, xxx sites excluded of course.

    @Stefano Gallotta: You know, you really had me very confused there for a moment. My father's name is also Stefano! There is a Gallotta family in Johannesburg, which I'm unrelated to, and I'm pretty sure those are the South African relatives you refer to as my family is from Northern Italy. Nice to meet you though.

  110. I went too high!

  111. Wow, amazing... how do you make videos?

  112. someone probably already said this but in case someone else doesnt feel like reading all 120+ comments.

    this works only while in google EARTH mode. the command is ctrl+alt+A. the newest version works on windows 2000 which is what i have.

    also, its roughly 209x easier to fly with the mouse than it is with the arrows.

  113. it would be funny as hell to see kids havin cops @ their door b/c they are flying into buildings in the sim ( as in if terrorists were dumb enough to use an online app like this to plan stuff out well then we have nothing to worry about)
    cant wait to try it tho

  114. Very nice feature,we just only need a 360 degree view, to better enjoy the flight, who knows in a near future!!?? congratulations for all...

  115. Very cool Google

    Lots of flying videos here

  116. Thrust control allows only max or idle on my computer using the page up and page down keys.

  117. reminds me of a flight simulator with just black and white line when BBC comps first came out, lucky to get even 10ft off the ground!!

  118. just like the old bbc compt black and white flight simmulator, hard even to get 10ft off the ground!!!

  119. Satellital images are pretty a good start for a flight simulator, but aerodynamics are still far from acceptable.

    By the way, tú no estás nada mal, carajito :-) guaperas e inteligente... hmmm...

  120. Way to go Marco!! That is SO kwel!!! At first I thought that you were meaning a flight simulator for the "space" part of G.E.

    Wish that there was flight simulator for the space part of G.E.! (you know like flying around in the I.S.S. or something like it!! *^^*)

    It is so kwel that you found this!! *lol*

  121. Does anyone else feel that you go really slow? I can't get any good speed with either plane.

    Very Nice find, discovered this @ lifehacker

  122. Worked on my Toshiba laptop running WinXP. Click on the GLOBE (not the stars window) and then Ctrl-Alt-A

  123. This is brilliant, thanks for the didnt work for me until I entered the registry its perfect

  124. It is pretty fun, but how about a map I can look at so I can actually find the next airport I'm headed to?

  125. My favorite flight: Flying over New York and crashing on the Empire State Building!!!You never crash ofcourse but its a nice feeling...!!!

  126. Works great lots of fun. Hope they put more planes on it.

  127. It wasn't really hidden. But it wasn't stuck out in the open either. Here are google's intructions for it. userguide/v4/flightsim/index.html

    They even tell how to open it.

  128. I have the best hacks/cheats whatever you need, Register and you will see what I mean

  129. closing the side-menu also helps, as it set's all the focus on the main Window, and press [F11] for fullscreen, which always looks best ;-)

  130. this is one of the most awesome things google has done....EVER!!

  131. This is really neat. But what nobody seems to have noticed is that Google is in violation of their own software license.

    Part of the license says you're not allowed to use Google Earth to control Aircraft Navigation or Communication Systems. Surely that includes flight simulators!

  132. @blair: Wonderful spot! Although I doubt this directly infringes their license agreement since it's not controlling a real plane. Still interesting nevertheless. Certainly makes it easier to violate their license agreement I would imagine.

  133. Exactly! And because the license is so hard to read, many people won't bother. And since they didn't read the license, they won't know they're not supposed to use Google Earth to control nuclear reactors or airplanes. As a result, sooner or later, somebody will. And that's how Google is going to destroy the world.

    Of course, that's all moot if Apple destroys the world first!

  134. Nice work, Marco. I nominate it for "Easter Egg of the Year." Cheers.

  135. does not work for mine i got windows

  136. This comment has been removed by the author.

  137. A lot of google earth flight simulator videos and tips are here

    Google earth flight simulator

  138. jag vill flyga fråm libanonflygplast över hella libanon jag vill börja över södra dellen mot beirout till norra dellen

  139. Have a look to

    - some "official" info to the GE flightsim ;o)


  140. Google Earth Flight Simulator. I downloaded Google Earth. Tried Ctrl+Alt+A - nothing happened. Tried Ctrl+Windows+A - nothing happened. Any other ways of getting the Flight Simulator up?

  141. Downloaded latest version and got first time (ctrl+wind+A)

  142. I tried it, works after a few go's at Alt+Ctrl+A. Quite good i must say. Flew around Sydney, my (crash) landing not so gud tho :P

  143. Works great, very cool. I wonder why the video's show a compass heading but I can't seem to see the same thing! Anyone have any ideas why?

  144. Hi!
    Is it possible to see the entire aircraft?
    Does it exist other outside views?

  145. Here's a free Mobile Flight Simulator game for Nokia and Sony Ericsson Java J2ME mobile devices.

  146. "Before going wild pressing random keys like I did, have a look at the controls."

    Should be the first sentence in this post :)

  147. Sorry did not read all the posts but : works on a Mac by going to LAX ( Los Angeles Airport ) then clicking on the airport and then option+command+A opens the flight simulator window . love it .

  148. hey, noticed your blog is in a german pc-hardware magazine?


  149. Everything worked well.
    Windows XP Home Edition Dell

    At first time I pressed CTRL+A for FS activation.
    Head-Up Display - HUD is a great improvement for pilots.
    I am real pilot for Falcon 2000 in Brazil.
    My Blog Aviation Troubleshooting

    There are many scraps in english too.

    Have nice flights on Google Earth Flight Simulator.

    George Rock
    Airline Transport Pilot
    Flight Instructor (jets)

  150. its cool, try dogfights at

  151. Ctrl+Alt+A worked for me.
    I am on WinXP Pro.

  152. ..."However, if this is developed into a fully functional flight simulator, the benefits of the technologies offered by Google Earth could mean that this eventually surpasses all other flight simulators"...

    You must be joking? Er, flight simulation is not about great looking landscapes! doh! Go back to your games. Try a real flight sim and take a look at the realist flight model - not something that google through together in an afternoon. FSX is more than a weeks work! Take a look at for some serious simulation software.

  153. has the scenery that you think Google only have!

  154. I think your reading a bit too much into this. I highly doubt that Google set out to make a fully fledged flight sim and I don't think it ever will. It's a neat idea but I think the main purpose was to give the people using the software a new perspective of Google Earth ie. no longer just click and drag.

    Still, nonetheless a very interesting find. Thanks.

  155. How do you display the aircraft

  156. Hi Marco
    Trying to activate flight sim on Google, no success am running Windows Vista, have tried Ctrl Alt A,Control A and Control Windows A. Any ideas?
    Michael J

  157. Windows XP Pro - I had no results when I first (and repeatedly) tried CTRL+ALT+A using the right CTRL+ALT keys. However, when I used the LEFT CTRL+ALT keys with A, it worked!



  158. Hi, I'm writing from Italy!
    I really enjoy Google Earth flight simulator and I'm trying to land in more and more difficult airport with the F16. Do you know guys which are the most challenging airport to land on?
    I found very difficult to land on Inssbruck (austria).


  159. good job! it's great!!!!

  160. I still don't see why I crash at 700 ft...

  161. dude how do you play this thing i have been sitting here for hours

  162. Tried with Ctrl-Windows-A after loading Google Earth and it snapped right in. I'm running Vista Home Premium on a Compaq Pressio. The joystick I use is a Logitech Attack 3 and works fairly normal including trim. I run FS-2004 and use same assignments. Only problem is constant drift. Have to stay after it. Both the SSR-22 and F-16 work. Could get out and re-enter Flight sim at anytime using tools.

  163. Left Ctrl + Windows + A on Vista got it installed. Does anyone know if there is a compass available? I used the coordinates to find an airport but here is got to be a better way.

  164. Flying with GE-FS F-16 looks nice but that HUD looks like something out of a comic book. So I went and changed some here and there. Looks a lot more like an F16 now! I cant get the compass to show heading every 10 degrees. Can anyone help??

    Copy this into generic.ini (C:\Program Files\Google\Google Earth\res\flightsim\hud):

    % Generic Head Up Display Config
    AirSpeedX = -0.4
    AirSpeedFactor = 0.194384 % 1/kt
    AirSpeedY0 = -0.2
    AirSpeedY1 = 0.1
    AirSpeedRange = 16
    AirSpeedDV = 1
    AirSpeedSmallInLarge = 5
    AirSpeedLargeX0 = -0.05
    AirSpeedLargeX1 = 0
    AirSpeedSmallX0 = -0.03
    AirSpeedSmallX1 = 0
    AirSpeedValueX = -0.06
    AirSpeedValueTextFlags = [left middle]
    AirSpeedPointerX = 0.005
    AirSpeedPointerAngle = 3.14159265
    AirSpeedPointerLength = 0.015

    AltitudeX = 0.4
    AltitudeFactor = 0.0328084 % 1/ft
    AltitudeY0 = -0.2
    AltitudeY1 = 0.1
    AltitudeRange = 16
    AltitudeDV = 1
    AltitudeSmallInLarge = 5
    AltitudeLargeX0 = 0
    AltitudeLargeX1 = 0.05
    AltitudeSmallX0 = 0
    AltitudeSmallX1 = 0.03
    AltitudeValueX = 0.06
    AltitudeValueTextFlags = [right middle]
    AltitudePointerX = -0.005
    AltitudePointerAngle = 0
    AltitudePointerLength = 0.015

    VerticalSpeedFactor = 196.85 % min/ft
    VerticalSpeedRound = 10.0
    VerticalSpeedX = 0.4
    VerticalSpeedY = -0.25
    VerticalSpeedTextParams = [center middle]

    VelocityMark =
    -.01 .00 .00 .01
    .01 .00 .00 .01
    -.01 .00 .00 -.01
    .01 .00 .00 -.01
    -.03 .00 -.01 .00
    .01 .00 .03 .00
    .00 .02 .00 .01
    VelocityMinSpeed = 0

    CompassSmallInLarge = 2
    CompassLargeInHuge = 3
    CompassTextParams = [center bottom]
    CompassSmallY0 = -0.310
    CompassSmallY1 = -0.295
    CompassLargeY0 = -0.325
    CompassLargeY1 = -0.295
    CompassHugeY0 = -0.330
    CompassHugeY1 = -0.295
    CompassTextY = -0.331
    CompassRange = 20
    CompassX0 = -0.15
    CompassX1 = 0.15

    RollScaleHalfAngle = 60
    RollScaleR = 0.2
    RollScaleCenterX = 0
    RollScaleCenterY = 0
    RollScaleLarge = [30 60]
    RollScaleSmall = [10 20 45]
    RollScaleLargeR0 = 0
    RollScaleLargeR1 = 0.025
    RollScaleSmallR0 = 0
    RollScaleSmallR1 = 0.0125
    RollScaleTextR = 0.07
    RollScaleTextParams = [center bottom]
    RollScaleSegments = 10
    RollScalePointerR = 0.005
    RollScalePointerL = 0.02

    SkidIndicatorMark =
    -.01 .005 .01 .005
    .01 .005 .01 -.005
    .01 -.005 -.01 -.005
    -.01 -.005 -.01 .005
    SkidIndicatorY = 0.17
    SkidIndicatorX0 = -0.1
    SkidIndicatorX1 = 0.1
    SkidIndicatorMin = -2.5
    SkidIndicatorMax = 2.5

    PlaneMark =
    -.01 .04 .01 .04
    .00 .05 -.00 .03

    PitchLadderDV = 5
    PitchLadderSmallInLarge = 2
    PitchLadderSmallMark =
    -0.08 0.0 -0.04 0.0
    0.08 0.0 0.04 0.0
    PitchLadderLargeMark =
    -0.13 0.0 -0.04 0.0
    0.13 0.0 0.04 0.0
    PitchLadderY0 = -0.35
    PitchLadderY1 = 0.35
    PitchLadderXOffset = 0
    PitchLadderLetterOffset = 7000

    HUDColor = 65280
    StallColor = 255
    StallX = 0.7
    StallY = -0.65
    StallText = STALL
    StallMinSpeed = 6
    StallTextParams = [center bottom]
    GearX = -0.85
    GearY = -0.65
    GearText = GEAR
    GearTextParams = [center bottom]
    FlapsX = -0.7
    FlapsY = -0.65
    FlapsText = FLAPS
    FlapsTextParams = [center bottom]

    HUDLineWidth = 1.3
    HUDLineSmooth = true

    ThrottleIndicatorX = -0.95
    ThrottleIndicatorY0 = -0.8
    ThrottleIndicatorY1 = -0.8
    ThrottleIndicatorWidth = 0.00

    ElevatorIndicatorX = -0.7
    ElevatorIndicatorY0 = -0.5
    ElevatorIndicatorY1 = -0.5
    ElevatorIndicatorWidth = -0.0

    AileronIndicatorY = -0.5
    AileronIndicatorX0 = -0.8
    AileronIndicatorX1 = -0.8
    AileronIndicatorWidth = 0.0

    RudderIndicatorY = -0.6
    RudderIndicatorX0 = -0.8
    RudderIndicatorX1 = -0.8
    RudderIndicatorWidth = 0.0

  165. Google has instructions for this on it's google earth website.

  166. Are there any mods for this?

  167. how do you start it up

  168. use the mouse instead of arrows- click in center of screen and ur cursor will be a +. move cursor down, plane goes up, left right, yea.

    its lots easier with the mouse.

  169. I think this is really good, I never knew it was there, but I never looked.

  170. It looks like a more realistic experience than what offer most video games on that subject

  171. it didnt even work!

  172. how do you know where you are in the flight simulation? Like say i wanted to go to Toronto how would i know i got ther or not or is there a way to get there?

  173. That´s an interesting Post. I just want to say thank your for discovering such a nice feature. Google should develop their flight simulator further and add a few more features.

  174. doesn't work on my mac

  175. Great post, I love the topographic viewing in this simulator. they are great, and you can get a lot of information about geomorphological condition on the land.

  176. Great simulator, DRAMemory must be in GBs

  177. Omg, I crashed into the mountain!
    Works on my Mac great!

  178. why press up arrow to take off give it flaps and it will lift itself soon as it reaches lift off speed 100 ? quite frightening first time mine tends to need right brake occasionly to steer straight. Also if I try Meigs airport which apparently is now non existant I start off in the car park and have to speed to 10mph and use l+r brake to steer to the runway -----weird. Also in flight tends to veer left can find no way to 'trim' the aircraft(similar to a model car where straight on can be a 'trim' to the left or right.Dave.

  179. to
    stop 'jerk' when changing from /to keboard by clicking mouse on/off the deltawing that chevron bit. When youtake off note directions landing is same as outgoing or direct opposite return i.e. north out south back also watch take-off height or you will never land properly Nepal a/port is 2700 above ground before you take-off. Dave.

  180. I totally love this flight simulator! If it was any more complicated, it'd crash. LOL

  181. The release of 4.3 BETA has made it easier for people to get to the simulator. On the tools menu, you can enter the flight simulator directly now.
    I have created a forum about the simulator but I'm not sure if it's cool to post the link here. My homepage is
    If you go there, click on GEFS Forums. There is some cool info there especially for newbies.

  182. Interesting, so they're opening it up slowly. Wonder when, if ever, they will publicise it one the Google Earth site as an "official" feature.

  183. George: I love this, Thank you

  184. This comment has been removed by the author.