Let’s say it’s the month after Christmas, and you’ve been trying to fly your new present. You’re not having much luck because even though it looks easy, you just keep on crashing. You’ve gone down to the hobby shop and seen the Real Flight 6.5 display but with a couple kids, mortgage, and car payments, $200 is a lot of skin for something you’re not sure you’re going to stick with.
Or let’s say you’re an old dog modeler and in the long winter months you want something to keep your skills up. You don’t need a lot of options and you don’t want to go online in multiplayer. You just want to sit down occasionally and keep your thumbs sharp. You just want something simple, yet still performs well.
Ever hear of Real Flight Basic?
Real Flight Basic is a “stripped down to the essentials” version of the legendary Real Flight simulator. Instead of 85 aircraft you get 47, including a nice variety of aerobatic, scale, sport, jet, and helicopters.
In addition to the stock variety of models, I was very surprised (and pleased) to find classic airplanes like a P-51, T-6, and even a turbine F-86, plus a simplified USMC Harrier to play VTOL with.
The included controller in Real Flight Basic replicates a generic 6 channel radio, with channels 5 & 6 controlled by simple 2 position switches. On retractable gear aircraft such as the “not the Boeing 777 but looks like it” airliner, the flaps are slaved to the gear control, retracting when the landing gear is brought up and extending when the gear is lowered.
While Real Flight 6.5 includes 30+ airports, Basic includes 5 outdoor and 1 indoor airports, including my favorite – Evergreen Airport. Just because there’s only a few airports doesn’t mean you’re short of challenges, so go ahead and try flying the J-3 Cub around the inside of the Great Planes E-Fest gym, or work on your 3D flying with one of the many foamies.
Have some things been cut back? Sure. No gliders or floatplanes are included, you’re limited to daylight flying and you can’t add aircraft, paint schemes, or airports. BUT, the nice thing is that is still uses the “keyboard free” controls on the transmitter so you can be lazy, lay back on your couch with your laptop and fly.
Another good thing about the Basic version is the lighter system requirements. Though a 3D accelerated video is recommended, I tested RF Basic on a 2 year old $500 Acer laptop with built-in Intel 3000 HD graphics. While the program does not display measurements of frame rates, except under heavy demand it ran fine and was more than adequate for simming. Shifting over to my desktop dual core 64X2 Ivy Bridge 3570i processor powered machine, Real Flight Basic was smooth as silk.
I’ve already fallen into a habit of leaving the controller on the coffee table in my den, and after dinner I’ll occasionally stretch out on the couch with some music playing or the TV on, plug the controller into my laptop and play with RF Basic. Nice way to spend an evening.
2 Brothers Hobby
RealFlight, distributed exclusively by Hobbico, www.realflight.com, (800) 682-8948