Meet X-Plane

What is X-Plane?

X-Plane is the world’s most comprehensive and powerful flight simulator for personal computers, and it offers the most realistic flight model available.

X-Plane is not a game, but an engineering tool that can be used to predict the flying qualities of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft with incredible accuracy.

Because X-Plane predicts the performance and handling of almost any aircraft, it is a great tool for pilots to keep up their currency in a simulator that flies like the real plane, for engineers to predict how a new airplane will fly, and for aviation enthusiasts to explore the world of aircraft flight dynamics.

X-Plane contains subsonic and supersonic flight dynamics, allowing users to predict the flight characteristics of the slowest aircraft or the fastest. X-Plane also includes more than a dozen aircraft in the default installation, spanning the aviation industry and its history. Aircraft included range from the Sikorsky S-76 and Cessna 172 to the Space Shuttle and the B-52 Bomber. Additionally, more than 1,400 additional aircraft models can be downloaded from the Internet (X-Plane.orgthe Links page, and Google are good places to start looking), many of which are completely free. If those aren’t enough, users can design their own airplanes and test-fly them!

The full X-Plane scenery package covers the Earth in stunning resolution from 74° north to 60° south latitude. On Earth, users can land at any of over 33,000 airports or test their mettle on aircraft carriers, oil rigs, frigates (which pitch and roll with the waves), or helipads atop buildings. They can also realistically model the flight of remote-controlled model aircraft, perform an air-launch in an X-15 or Space Ship One from the mother ship, fly re-entries into Earth’s atmosphere in the Space Shuttle, fly with friends over the Internet or a LAN,  or shoot approaches to aircraft carriers at night in stormy weather and rough water conditions in a damaged F-4. The situations that can be simulated are unbelievably diverse!

More information on the many other great features of X-Plane such as

can all be found in the online manual.  We’ve also got a free course to help you get started using X-Plane.  You’ll receive a few emails over the course of a month to help you get the most out of X-Plane.  You can find the sign-up for this free course after you download the installer.

X-Plane’s accuracy (in flight model), scope (in aircraft and terrain coverage), versatility (in aircraft type and weather conditions), add-on programs (in aircraft and scenery editors), customizability, downloadable aircraft, and downloadable scenery make it the ultimate flight simulation experience for Macintosh, Windows, and Linux platforms.

Included with every version of X-Plane:

  • Plane Maker (to make your own planes and helicopters, if desired)
  • Airfoil Maker (to make airfoils for your custom aircraft)
  • X-Plane (the actual flight simulator)


Customizing X-Plane

Make the simulator truly your own by making custom scenery and aircraft. It’s as simple as opening a file and making your changes, and absolutely no experience is required. X-Plane includes the Plane Maker program to customize aircraft, and WorldEditor for scenery is a free download.

Share your scenery creations with all X-Plane users through the Airport Scenery Gateway.

Read more about Plane Maker and WorldEditor on the Development Tools page. Tutorials are also available on the basics of aircraft creation and airport customization.

User stories:

  • Jan Vogel, Captain for a major European airline has been flying X-Plane for more than ten years.  He enjoyes the superior flight dynamics that hooked him from the beginning.Captain Vogel shares in his testimonial, “Much like the familiar ‘armchair flying,’ executing a challenging instrument approach with X-Plane alerts me to any pitfalls and prepares me mentally.  I have the confidence of familiarity once I am in the airplane and actually flying the approach.”  Read more here!
  • At Iowa State University, Professor Tom Gielda has incorporated X-Plane into the aerospace engineering capstone project.  Professor Gielda averages 80 students per semester in the Senior Design course. Professor Gielda shared his thoughts with those not familiar with X-Plane and Plane Maker, “ X-Plane’s program, Plane Maker, allows design engineers to look at the integrated design of the aircraft is powerful.  All too often, most companies develop the aircraft in functional silos.  This development process takes too long and does not allow synergies to be explored and exploited.  X-Plane is the perfect learning tool for today and tomorrow’s engineers.” Check out the rest of his story.
  • Student pilot and eighth grade student Thomson Meeks has been an X-Plane user for five years.  He started with Microsoft Flight Simulator but shortly afterwards discovered X-Plane and quickly found himself flying that program exclusively.  Thomson said that at first he found that he had a learning curve because the program he had been using was only a game but X-Plane was a full simulator and much more than a game.  He quickly adds that it was well worth the time taken to learn how to fly X-Plane. You can read more of Thomson’s story here!

You can read these and other great stories in full on our user stories page!

How X-Plane works

Click here to take a look inside X-Plane.