Flight simulation programs for the home computer have evolved significantly over the past decades. The first popular flight simulator was released for the Apple II computer in 1979 by subLOGIC Corporation. The graphics, sounds, and flight model were very basic compared to what is available today. Additionally, joysticks were limited to a basic 2-axis, 2-button option. Many people simply used their keyboard to fly in their simulator. Despite the lack of immersion, it was the closest way for many aviation enthusiasts of all ages to experience flight without spending thousands of dollars in flight school. See an illustrated timeline of Microsoft Flight Simulator evolutionary history.
The advancement of computing power, video card performance, graphics quality, sound quality, and other technologies in the past decade have all contributed to make flight simulation very realistic and immersive today. Flight simulations today generally falls under two categories - combat simulator or general/civilian simulator.
The Digital Combat Simulator World (DCS) is a popular platform for study-level combat aircraft that enables you to perform realistic air-to-air and air-to-ground attacks, carrier landings, air-to-air refueling, and many other functions. On the civilian side, popular platforms include Microsoft Flight Simulator, X-Plane and Prepar3D. In fact, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 simulates the entire Earth with such detail that you can fly VFR (visually using landmarks) from one airport to another using Bing Maps sateliite data interpolated with artificial intelligence.
To help enthusiasts maximize their flight simulation experience, we have compiled the following hardware options we feel can help elevate the realism, precision, and your enjoyment. These are our Amazon affiliate links and can be use to learn more or to make a purchase. This list offers a variety of different features, build quality, and price to provide a good selection to accommodate different needs and budget.
There are many more products in the marketplace and we encourage you to explore and research hardware that's best for you. We hope this selection exposes you to new and interesting hardware you may not be familiar with. We will update this list with new and interesting hardware as we learn about them.
Honeycomb Aeronautical Alpha Flight Yoke & Switch Panel - Aviation Control System for Fight Simulation - Home Cockpit for Sim Enthusiasts &, Aspiring Pilots - 180 Degree Rotation - Switch Panel – PC
Honeycomb Bravo Flight Simulator Throttle Quadrant - Trim, Gear, Flaps, Autopilot, Radio Switch Panel - 6 Interchangeable Levers – Desk Clamps Included - Programmable Functions – USB-C Cable Included
ASUS TUF Gaming AMD Radeon™ RX 6900 XT OC Edition Graphics Card (PCIe 4.0, 16GB GDDR6, HDMI 2.1, DisplayPort 1.4a, Dual Ball Fan Bearings, All-Aluminum Shroud, Reinforced Frame, GPU Tweak II)