Let me first preface this piece by explaining my background with flight simulators. I played Microsoft Flight Simulator ’98 back in the day, I had an absolute blast…but wasn’t actually any good at flying the planes. Since then, my flying experience has mainly come from the Battlefield games, along with a dabble in things like Tom Clancy’s HAWX. What does that all mean? If you are a die-hard flight simulator fan, this isn’t the article for you as I won’t be talking about how accurate the plane models are or other details like that, but please feel free to laugh at my flying “skills” in the videos!
Now that I’ve put everyone at ease, and clarified my experience with these games, let me say that Dovetail Games Flight School is looks set to be a fun, budget flight sim when it launches later this month. For £12 you will be getting immediate access to two light planes, with a third arriving in the summer. There is a well-stocked range of tutorials, a handful of challenges to complete, along with a free flight mode where you can plot a journey across the globe.
Like any sensible student who is attending Flight School, I walked into the classroom and started with the tutorials.
- Taking off? Easy, just add some throttle and watch the nose of the plane gradually rise.
- Climbing and descending between one and three thousand feet? Child’s play.
- Turning to different course headings? Nailed it.
There are other tutorials in the beginner’s section (trimming the plane and landing it), but I had built up a basic understanding of flying and controlling a plane to broaden my horizons. After a few trips in the free flight mode, it is becoming obvious that I should have tried the advanced tutorials which would have educated me in the ways of navigation, communicating with air traffic control and other nubbins.
I’m sure dedicated fliers won’t need these tutorials, but they will be there for newcomers like myself. The build I’m playing at the moment is listed as an Alpha, so I’m not going to pass judgement on some visual artefacts I experienced, or any changes that might come to the failure conditions in the tutorials. I do hope the failure conditions are changed, it was extremely frustrating to fail the landing tutorial for coming in a bit too slow and not having time to correct the problem before the instructor took control and failed me.
Grumblings with the tutorials aside, Flight School looks like it will be shaping up as a very decent, budget priced affair. I haven’t checked out the challenges yet, I think I will wait until the full release for those. Free flight though is a lovely affair. It reminds me of the peaceful joy that you get with European Truck Simulator, once you are in the sky, you can just sit back and watch the world go by. I’ve had a few short flights (check out the videos), and despite failing to actually land at Gatwick when I attempted to get there from Heathrow, it’s been nice.
My next step will be to complete some of the advanced tutorials so I can ensure I am navigating the globe properly, ideally without running out of fuel between layovers. For casual fliers like myself, Flight School is shaping up well so far. I look forward to trying the final build in a few weeks.