Popular Flight Simulators for Linux

Try these top quality flight simulators on your Linux PC

If you always wanted to fly but were held back by the expense and risks of flying real airplanes, you may want to try one of the flight simulators available for Linux systems. Given today's high-performance desktop and notebook computers and the high-resolution wide-screen monitors, you can experience some of the thrills of flying your own airplane from the safety of your home or office. Flight simulators allow you to choose from a wide range of aircraft, from small turboprop to large airline jets and fly to many places on the earth, and many airports in different cities.


Linux X-Plane
What We Like
  • Leader in the genre.

  • Available on Steam.

  • Demo available.

  • Extremely detailed simulation.

What We Don't Like
  • Somewhat pricey.

  • Requires a reasonably powerful computer.

X-Plane is one of the most advanced flight simulator software packages for personal computers and includes complete scenery of the planets Earth and Mars. X-Plane creates a realistic flight model by computing the forces that act upon each part of the aircraft. This includes turbulence, ground effect, and downdraft simulations. Even the weather is realistically simulated using weather data downloaded in specified intervals.

The terrain is modeled according to the data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, and the environment is animated using road traffic simulations. X-Plane 11 includes more than 25,000 airports. Efficiency improvements have reduced memory usage and increased loading speeds. Additional aircraft models have been added, and the tool to build your own airplanes has been enhanced.

The software is available for around $60 and comes on eight DVDs, which includes all required data.

A free and open-source alternative to X-Plane is FlightGear, which has been under development for ten years and has come a long way. It is a highly realistic flight simulator for use on ordinary PCs. It has been developed on Linux but is also available for most other common platforms. The wide range of aircraft and terrain, and the realistic simulations of the aircraft behavior and the environment, including the sun, moon, and earth make it both fun and instructional.


Flightgear on Linux
What We Like
  • Fully open source and free of charge.

  • Developed for years with extreme detail.

  • Configurable with plenty of customization.

  • Open and accessible for modding.

What We Don't Like
  • More technical in nature.

  • Requires some configuration.

FlightGear's simulation engine and 3D graphics rendering are so advanced that the system is used for all kinds of projects, such as a system for analyzing oscillation problems in jets, or as a visualization tool for unmanned aerial vehicles. A FlightGear based simulation was used as part of the TV show Justice to provide illustrations in a plane crash investigation.


JSBSim implements a flight dynamics model (FDM), which is used to simulate the physical forces that move aircraft, rockets, and other flight objects. Such forces include any control mechanisms applied to the object as well as natural phenomena. As such, this one isn't a full flight simulator, just the mathematical core of one. The software allows you to configure the flight control system, the aerodynamics, the propulsion, and landing gear arrangement using XML based configuration files. It can simulate rotational earth effects, such as coriolis and centrifugal forces. Data can be output the screen, files, or sockets.

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