System Requirements

X-Plane 11.20 supports native virtual reality, or VR. The additional X-Plane system requirements for VR are:

  • Windows 7 64 bits or newer operating system
  • HTC Vive or Oculus Rift
  • 1 or more VR controllers
  • Steam VR installed

Your CPU & GPU will need to meet all additional requirements as specified by your headset manufacturer. X-Plane supports the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

Note: Steam VR is a free download that enables X-Plane 11 to use VR. Steam VR is compatible with the X-Plane 11 DVD set, digital download edition, and X-Plane on Steam.

No Intel GPUs are supported. Room-sized VR is supported, as well as using joysticks and other USB devices.

Set Up

To get started using VR, first set up your device according to manufacturer’s instructions. You may need to enable foreign apps in the VR system settings. For example, with the Oculus Rift, you would go to Settings > General and toggle the button to the right to enable apps from Unknown Sources, such as X-Plane.

Next, if you don’t already have it, you will need to download the Steam software and create a free account in order to install Steam VR. Once the Steam client is installed and you have signed in, go to Library > VR. Click on SteamVR under the Tools section in the left sidebar, then the install button.

Finally, launch X-Plane and go to settings > Graphics. As long as your headset is attached, there will be a check box at the bottom to “Enable VR hardware.”

You can turn VR off by unchecking the box in Graphics Settings, or by using the large blue Disable VR Headset button in the X-Plane window on the computer.

Once VR is up and running on all devices, you should find yourself in a virtual hangar in X-Plane. From here you can access the main menu, all settings, and any pop up warning screens.

Controls & Manipulators

The default fleet (minus the CirrusJet, SR-71 and F-4) are VR-ready but 3rd party aircraft are probably far less usable in VR. Feel free to try other aircraft but be aware they will have limited functionality & use.

In general, the manipulators in and around the aircraft function the way they would it real life. Grab the throttle of the Cessna 172 by pressing and holding the trigger near it. It will light up green, then push or pull the knob to adjust the setting, for example.

The yoke behaves slightly differently than real life however–it works by tilting your wrist up or down to control pitch, and rolling your wrist left right for roll. (Moving forward and back does nothing.) This allows you to keep your hand in a relaxed and comfortable position while you fly and also allows you to be more precise with the controls. Some rudder input will be added automatically as roll is controlled in order to allow you to taxi on the ground if you don’t have rudder pedals attached. If you do have hardware rudder pedals, it is up to you to control them. One other important note about the Yoke that makes it different than other manipulators. It is a “latching” manipulator. If you click it once, your controller will stay attached to it. You must press the trigger a second time to release it.

Move around the aircraft or the world by using teleport: push down on the thumb stick (Oculus) or touchpad (Vive) to see a blue arc with a circle at the end, which is your landing spot. As you rotate the thumb stick you’ll move the red line on the circle, which indicates your view direction when the teleport is executed. Some parts of the aircraft, such as seats, have a hotspot which will light up and snap you to that location.

Press the three line button (the menu button) of the virtual controller to access the menu options. Note that the “Get in Pilot’s Seat” controller menu option is both a shortcut into the cockpit if you’ve moved to a different view, and a way to recenter yourself in the pilot seat.

The three-line menu option opens the main menu so you can access the usual options: load or save a flight, change your view, modify the flight, and so on. Use the thumb stick (Oculus) or touchpad (Vive) to move around menus and submenus, then use the trigger on the controller to select an option.

Troubleshooting

Stuttering or Low FPS

VR is more demanding on your computer than simply using the desktop simulator. If you are not consistently running at around 45 fps in the base desktop sim, you will need to turn rendering settings down. Review these instructions on setting the rendering options if you need to adjust your settings for VR.

If your machine is having trouble sustaining 45 fps,first try turning reflections all the way down, then turn off scenery shadows. If this doesn’t improve things enough, consider turning down autogen.

Oculus Rift Tips

Error 306 when trying to start X-plane or enable VR (and VR won’t enable):

  • Quit Steam VR (if running) and X-Plane
  • Restart X-Plane, re-enable VR

No image at all in HMD, but X-Plane shows a scene:

  • Quit SteamVR (if running), X-Plane
  • Kill OVRServer in task manager process list using “kill process tree”
  • Restart X-Plane, re-enable VR

Oculus Home or settings menu in HMD, but no tracking in X-Plane:

  • Quit X-Plane, SteamVR (if running)
  • Kill VRCompositor, VRServer, VRDashboard in process manager task list
  • Restart X-Plane, re-enable VR

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