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Is This Sim the Next Best Thing to Microsoft Flight Simulator on a Phone?

Even after all these years, the sheer processing power of your average smartphone can still surprise us. 

Aerofly FS Global, from flight sim specialist IPACS, somehow manages to fit the entire world into a device that you can put in your pocket. 

Even more impressively, it lets you explore every inch of this photorealistic, authentically undulating environment from the comfort of your virtual cockpit, in a painstakingly modeled 3D aircraft that looks and behaves just like the real thing. 

There are 30 different planes and helicopters to collect in Aerofly FS Global, though only eight of these are available in the basic (8GB!) download. 

Those eight include the Jungmaster biplane, the Learjet 45, the Baron 58, and something called the F-15E Strike Eagle. Whether you favor a leisurely trip through the clouds or a deafening demonstration of extreme g-forces, you’ll find the right vehicle. 

The other 22 aircraft on offer, available through in-app purchases, include the iconic UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, the Fokker Dr.1, the enormous Boeing 787-10, the positively quaint WWI-era Sopwith Camel, and even a couple of gliders in case you don’t like engine noise. 

A massively impressive sim

Each of these aircraft is accurately modeled inside and out, with every switch and gauge in the right place, and exterior lights that illuminate the ground as you descend. 

Scenery-wise, the base game limits you to a chunk of California stretching from Sacramento to Monterey, incorporating San Francisco and landmarks like Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. 

To enjoy access to the rest of planet earth, you have to buy a subscription. 

For your money you’ll get 3D buildings everywhere (as long as your device is powerful enough to render them), over 8,000 airports (a quarter of them hand-made), and more than 10,000 missions based on real world flights.

There’s also a global air traffic control system, an optional co-pilot, replays, a day/night cycle with realistic lighting, and a ton of technical details that only pilots and flight sim enthusiasts will understand, such as accurately modeled actuators, wing flex, a center of gravity that shifts upon gear retractions, and so much more. 

If you care deeply about the thermodynamics of individual aircraft engines and you know what ILS, NDB, VOR, TDC, and FMS stand for, you’ll be right at home.

Aerofly FS Global is available to download for $3.99 on the Google Play Store and the App Store

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