FlightGear, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and X-Plane 11 are some of the best Cessna flight simulator software solutions. Usually, flight enthusiasts search for simulators that support specific aircraft (e.g. Cessna models), so we assembled a list of the best ones you can find.
Although many regard flight simulators as video games, the former’s complexity outweighs by far that of the latter; no argument there. However, despite the fact that you can enjoy flight simulators as typical games, you should certainly take them more seriously.
Before we start, it’s worth mentioning that Cessna is an aircraft company that is best known for small, piston-powered airplane models, but it also produces business jets.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flight Simulator X is, without doubt, the most popular flight simulator out there, as the series goes back a long way, back to when it was designed to work on MS-DOS and even Classic Mac OS systems.
But what makes this flight simulator really stand out in the crowd is the fact that it holds a broad variety of aircraft models in its portfolio, including Cessna C172SP Skyhawk, Boeing F/A-18 Hornet, Agusta Westland AW101, and the Mooney M-20-M Bravo.
Unfortunately, Microsoft Flight Simulator X can’t be downloaded and tried for free since a lot of work has been put into it and, as a result, you must purchase it before you can use it.
The standard version of the simulator came with two Microsoft-released service packs that aimed to fix a bunch of issues, and an extension that added multiplayer mode, missions, as well as new aircraft.
However, the Steam edition comes with all the service packs and expansions gathered into a single bundle that requires a single installation.
You’re going to love this one: FlightGear is not only a free flight simulator, but it’s also open-source.
This usually means that there’s someone who’s probably working on this project at this very moment, which leads to fast, high-quality development. But enough about the boring stuff, you’re here for the planes.
This tool can help you get a taste of how it feels to pilot some of your favorite aircraft, such as the Cessna 172p Skyhawk (which used to be the default light airplane model for FlightGear), but also Boeing, Bugatti, and many others.
FlightGear sports an oblate ellipsoid world for you to explore and gives you three ways of doing so: you can either download 10×10 degree chunks of the world, run a utility called TerraSync that retrieves scenery in real-time as you fly, or purchase the entire world’s available scenery on a 3 DVD set.
The last option’s cost is split between supporting the project and charity, so you’d do a lot of good if you’d choose it.
It’s worth mentioning that the base package of FlightGear only comes with a few representative aircraft models, but you can download more from the official website of the project.
However, if you’re using the latest version of this tool, its built-in “Aircraft Center” feature allows you to select and download new aircraft from within the simulator.
Well, X-Plane 11 is perhaps the most detailed flight simulator on this list, as it can provide you with hours of eye-candy, aircraft that are modeled down to the finest details (some say the rivets are right where they’re supposed to be), IFR-ready, fully operational cockpits, and airplanes with Garmin 1000 systems.
This flight simulator’s airplane model of choice (or better said, its go-to model) is still the Cessna 172 (or C172) we’ve been building our list upon, so it shouldn’t be difficult to spot it once you’re in the simulator.
It’s probably already loaded. The reason why this model is so popular is that more C172s have been built than any other aircraft, so many argue that it’s the most successful plane ever.
X-Plane 11 includes high-definition 3D scenery for over 3000 airports all around the world, such as jetways, hangars, and terminal buildings that contribute to making said airports feel more real-life-like.
Unfortunately, the link above is only a demo version of the X-Plane 11 flight simulator.
However, the official website also offers you additional goodies, such as courses on how to get the demo up and running right away, how to add new aircraft, customize your airports, and test your skills in emergency situations.
Last, but not least, Infinite Flight is one of the best flight simulators that allow you to pilot a Cessna 172. However, we’ve got some news, and it’s up to you to decide whether they’re good or bad.
First things first, Infinite Flight is only available for Android and iOS, and second things second, it’s not free. On the bright side, it’s way less expensive than other flight simulator software on our list.
Among Infinite Flight’s features you can find:
- A large fleet of aircraft, ranging from models used in general aviation to military airplanes;
- Several regions that include high-definition scenery, and accurate topography built with satellite imagery;
- Customizable weather conditions and time of day;
- Autopilot mode;
- Navigational aids;
- Comprehensive replay system;
- Door animations, aircraft cockpit, suspension, and wing flex animations;
Closing thoughts on best Cessna flight simulator software
To wrap it up, it doesn’t matter if you’re an airplane enthusiast, a huge fan of Cessna aircraft or just curious about how planes look on the inside; flight simulation software solutions can help you scratch that aircraft-related itch in a quick, convenient way.
X-Plane 11, FlightGear, and Microsoft Flight Simulator are some of the best flight simulator software solutions that can bring you closer to your dream of piloting an airplane by generating a believable environment for you to hone your flying skills virtually, from the confines of your own computer.