Google Earth Flight Simulator

Easy Instructions on How to Fly a Plane in Google Earth

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Google Earth 4.2 came with a nifty Easter egg: a hidden flight simulator. You could fly your virtual airplane from several airports or start mid-air from any location.

The feature was so popular that it was incorporated as a standard function of Google Earth and Google Earth Pro. No unlocking necessary.

The graphics are pretty realistic and the controls are sensitive enough to feel like you have a lot of control.

If you crash your plane, Google Earth will ask if you want to exit Flight Simulator or resume your flight.

See Google's instructions for using the virtual plane. There are separate directions if you're using a joystick versus a mouse/keyboard.

How to Get the Google Earth Flight Simulator

  1. With Google Earth open, access the Tools > Enter Flight Simulator... menu item. The Ctrl-Alt-A (Windows) and Command-Option-A (Mac) keyboard shortcut works too.
  2. Choose between the F-16 and SR22 plane. Both are fairly simple to fly once you get used to the controls.
  3. Pick a starting location in the next section. You can pick from one of many airports or just select to use your current location. If you've used the flight simulator before, you can also begin where you last ended a flight simulator session.
  4. If you have a compatible joystick connected to your computer, Google Earth will let you select Joystick enabled, and you can control your flight using the joystick instead of your keyboard or mouse.
  1. Once you've chosen your settings, press the Start Flight button.

For Older Versions of Google Earth

These steps apply to Google Earth 4.2 since the menu isn't the same as newer versions:

  1. Go to the Fly to box in the upper left-hand corner.
  2. Type Lilienthal to open Flight Simulator.

    If you're directed to Lilienthal, Germany, it means you've already launched Flight Simulator. You can launch it from Tools > Enter Flight Simulator....
  1. Choose a plane and an airport from their respective drop-down menus.
  2. Start Flight Simulator with the Start Flight button.
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