9 Best Drone Flight Simulators for 2021 (FPV and Commercial)

9 Best Drone Flight Simulators for 2021 (FPV and Commercial)

If you’re new to the world of flying drones, you’ll have heard somebody advocate that you just follow your flight abilities on a drone flight simulator reasonably than on an actual drone. While this will likely not sound almost as thrilling, it’s truly fairly good recommendation.

Drones don’t come low-cost, particularly as you get to the higher-end fashions, and it’s by no means enjoyable to see your funding crash right into a tree, or land within the lake simply since you lack finesse on the controls. A flight simulator will help you keep away from the frustration of a broken drone whereas supplying you with the flight expertise you want.

What is a drone flight simulator?

A drone flight simulator is a computer-based software program designed to duplicate the expertise of flying a drone in actual life. In a flight simulator, you employ a controller linked to the pc with a purpose to management the drone on-screen. 

In most circumstances, you run a flight simulator on a Mac or PC, though in some circumstances you need to use a pill or smartphone on your flight simulation. Most flight simulators will will let you choose the kind of drone you might be simulating, and select flight modes based mostly on the abilities you need to develop.

There are two primary several types of flight simulator applications on the market, meant for various functions. Any drone flight simulator will help you enhance your flying, however totally different ones goal several types of flight abilities.

The first sort goals to assist practice industrial drone pilots and enhance their abilities with inspections, images, videography, and so on. The second sort, and these are in all probability probably the most plentiful, are geared toward offering an introduction to or bettering FPV drone racing abilities. 

Reasons to make use of a drone flight simulator

The largest purpose to make use of a drone flight simulator is to keep away from damaging your drone whereas studying to fly. On the simulator, if you crash, you merely decide up the place you left off, or begin over once more. But this isn’t the one advantage of utilizing a flight simulator. Here are a number of different causes utilizing a flight simulator is a superb concept.

  • You don’t want to attend for good climate. With a flight simulator, you’ll be able to follow your drone flying even when it’s pouring down rain exterior, or snowy, or freezing chilly, or blustery, or… you get the thought.
  • You can get began studying with out all of the gear. The drone pastime can get a bit costly, particularly when you issue within the drone itself, the FPV goggles, the radio controller, and so on. With a flight simulator, you can begin studying the ropes even earlier than you’ve saved up sufficient to get all of the gear you finally need to have.
  • It’s an important coaching device. For professionals, flight simulators are an effective way to study new abilities in images and videography, in addition to on the management sticks. For FPV racers, it’s an effective way to place in coaching time with out placing put on and tear in your equipment.
  • You received’t run out of battery. When you’re out flying, you’ve solely acquired a couple of max of half-hour of flight time. Even you probably have spare batteries, your flight time is restricted. When you come dwelling to cost up the batteries, you may get extra “flight time” in on the sim with out having to observe for the low battery warning.
  • It’s enjoyable. Just like flying a drone is enjoyable, flying on a digital program is solely a number of enjoyable. It has its variations in fact, when it comes to the texture of the controls and the visible expertise, however it’s nonetheless a enjoyable solution to spend a number of hours, whereas additionally bettering your real-life abilities.

9 Best Drone Flight Simulators

1. Liftoff by Immersion RC

Features

  • Game fashion flight simulator with good graphics, a number of quad selections and customizable maps.
  • Competitive occasions and leaderboards within the recreation.
  • FPV fashion drone flight expertise for skilled pilots or newbies.
  • Steam Workshop help allows you to obtain different customers’ personalized quads and maps.
  • Over 16 race-course flying environments.
  • Supports FPV goggles and radio controllers for extra real-world flight expertise.
  • Available for Xbox and Playstation 4, and in addition accessible on Steam.

Pros

Liftoff is a devoted FPV simulator/recreation, nice for getting your head within the recreation with FPV flight. Good graphics, and the power to customise your quad make it much more life-like, together with compatibility with FPV goggles and radio transmitters. Even although the flight controls aren’t precisely how they really feel in actual life, it’s nonetheless a great follow expertise.

The comparatively low value of the simulator at $19.99 is an effective way to save lots of the price of repairs on a crashed quad for these simply beginning out with FPV. It’s simple sufficient to make use of for a whole beginner to get a really feel for FPV, and lifelike sufficient to offer skilled pilots a satisfying follow session.

Cons

This feels much more like a recreation and fewer like an precise flight simulation to the purist. Notwithstanding, it nonetheless provides a practical FPV expertise and the power to follow your flight abilities in a method that applies in the actual world.

Physics will not be tremendous, and the quad tends to really feel somewhat floaty, as is a standard difficulty with most game-style simulators.

Liftoff is restricted to FPV and the drone racing area. If you need to follow different kinds of flight abilities and even aerial images on a simulator, this isn’t the one for you.

Compatible Controllers

  • FrSky Taranis
  • Spektrum
  • Turnigy
  • FlySky
  • Futaba
  • Radiolink
  • Realflight
  • Grauphner
  • Nirvana
  • DEVO
  • Playstation controller
  • Xbox controller

Learn extra about Liftoff Simulator here, or purchase it on Steam.

 

2. Velocidrone

Features

  • Drone flight simulator designed particularly for FPV drone racing.
  • Good physics with a excessive diploma of customizability for a life-like flight expertise.
  • A whole lot of preset quad choices, with the liberty to regulate parameters to duplicate your individual quad.
  • Preset tracks compel you to fly in and round obstacles.
  • Customizable tracks give innumerable choices of locations and programs to fly.
  • Multiplayer mode to race towards buddies on-line.
  • Premium content material accessible for upgraded purchases.

Pros

Velocidrone is without doubt one of the greatest game-based FPV flight simulators when it comes to the physics and skill to customise your quad and your flight surroundings. The flight controls and customizability make follow flights with this system really feel very lifelike, for higher switch to the actual world.

Despite, or actually due to, the marginally decrease degree graphics than among the different simulators, Velocidrone is ready to run on older or much less highly effective computer systems, so that you don’t have to have a great gaming system to have the ability to run this system.

Although a game-based simulator, Velocidrone feels much less video-gamey, with extra of a performance-based flight strategy. That’s to not say it’s much less enjoyable or interactive, as you’ll be able to nonetheless race towards your mates, and take part in leaderboards if you’d like.

One nice facet of Velocidrone is the compatibility with nearly any USB controller. Use the one you have already got, simply plug in, configure, and also you’re able to play.

Cons

One potential sticking level with Velocidrone is its comparatively excessive worth, going for £16.99, which is round $20-$25 {dollars}. You even have the choice to buy upgraded premium content material for extra flight environments and recreation modes.

Another potential trigger for hesitation with Velocidrone is that it’s not accessible on Steam, making upgrades a bit much less streamlined and computerized, however then once more, in the event you don’t need to improve, there’s nothing making you.

Compatible Controllers

  • Any USB connectable controller

Learn extra about Velocidrone, or buy your license here.

 

3. FPV Freerider App

Features

  • Lightweight software program for newbie FPV pilots.
  • Able to run on older PCs resulting from fundamental degree graphics, and so on.
  • Offers line-of-sight and FPV flight modes.
  • Supports each acro mode and angle mode.
  • Six pre-designed tracks or choice to construct your individual.
  • Customizable management responsiveness, drone weight, and digicam velocity.
  • Free demo model restricted to a single monitor.

Pros

One of the most important advantages of FPV Freerider is the low value, at solely $5. At this worth, there’s no purpose to not strive it out, and get began with the advantages of practising on a flight simulator. Even simply to spend a half hour or extra orienting your self to the FPV expertise earlier than making an attempt out your quad on an actual course is well well worth the $5 if it’s going to forestall crashes.

Another huge advantage of this program is its light-weight nature. If you’re simply trying to get a little bit of follow in earlier than beginning out with FPV, and never searching for a sophisticated simulator, you’ll be able to simply use this one while not having to improve your previous pc system.

Also good about FPV Freerider is the truth that it’s appropriate with a variety of radio and gaming controllers, so you’ll be able to fly whereas getting the texture of your real-life controls.

Cons

FPV Freerider is certainly a newbie FPV flight simulator, which you’ll rapidly outgrow with any actual diploma of expertise. Although there’s a small quantity of customization when it comes to controls and quad features, it’s fairly restricted, and this can restrict how real-life-like your flights will likely be.

One widespread criticism of FPV Freerider is that the precise flight controls and total expertise just isn’t very life-like and even user-friendly. Having a tough time getting easy management of your quad within the simulator might be irritating, however earlier than you let it put you off, relaxation assured that in the event you can grasp the flight controls within the app, you’ll in all probability have a better time of it with the actual factor.

FPV Freerider is one other drone simulator that’s strictly designed for FPV flight and racing. If you’re trying to develop different areas of your drone abilities, you’ll be higher off one of many different simulators.

Compatible Controllers

  • FrSKY Taranis
  • Spektrum
  • Devo
  • Turnigy
  • Flysky
  • Eachine
  • Graupner and Futaba RC radios
  • Realflight and Esky USB Controllers
  • Xbox, Playstation and Logitech gamepads

Learn extra about FPV Freerider

 

4. DRL Sim 3.0 Drone Racing Simulator

Features

  • Precise aerodynamics and superior physics for a really life-like flight expertise.
  • Real-life DRL race programs to follow on.
  • Advanced customization of racing quad and flight options.
  • Multiplayer racing and occasions.
  • Tutorials designed that will help you study to navigate programs and obstacles.
  • Entryway into the DRL for prime performing gamers within the simulator.
  • Available on Xbox, Playstation and Steam.

Pros

The real-life flight expertise with the DRL racing simulator is up there among the many greatest. The superior physics and excessive diploma of customizability make for an excellent simulator expertise. The real-life follow environments are additionally an enormous plus in the event you’re aiming to race with the professionals.

While not particularly a coaching course, the in depth tutorials included within the simulator can actually show you how to up your recreation. And the gaming facet of the DRL simulator makes the journey enjoyable and thrilling, identical to actual FPV racing.

As an added plus, in the event you actually have your sights set on racing drones within the huge time, placing in a number of hours with the simulator can have an actual payoff. Consistent excessive performers within the DRL simulator occasions and competitions will likely be recruited to the league.

Cons

The DRL Racing Simulator is the cream of the crop in relation to a simulator to develop your FPV racing abilities. However, in the event you’re searching for follow with FPV flight, and never a lot into the racing scene, the aggressive facet can really feel prefer it’s getting in the best way.

Compatible Controllers

  • Any USB connectable controller

 

5. FPV Air 2

Features

  • Good simulator for newbie FPV pilots.
  • Basic graphics and respectable physics given the low value.
  • Customizable physics, and Betaflight-like GUI.
  • Multiplayer mode to race towards buddies.
  • Ultra-low graphics mode permits it to run easily on an previous/gradual PC.
  • Additional maps and content material accessible for buy.

Pros

For a low-cost, newbie degree FPV flight simulator, FPV Air 2 has surprisingly good physics. You can even mess around with settings to attempt to replicate your particular quad and make your flight much more life-like. And multiplayer mode provides the chance to race towards buddies to assist your race coaching abilities.

The graphics, whereas comparatively low high quality, do make it potential to run this program on nearly any laptop computer or PC, so in the event you don’t have a gaming setup and simply need to do some fundamental FPV coaching, you have to be all set.

The greatest promoting level of FPV Air 2 is the low value. For lower than $5, you may get a very good FPV flight coaching expertise.

Cons

If the standard of recreation graphics is vital to you, you would possibly discover the very fundamental degree surroundings on this simulator distracting. And whereas there are a selection of programs to select from, their degree of interactivity is considerably restricted, with out a number of room to discover. It’s additionally a bit irritating that it’s important to buy further tracks.

Compatible Controllers

  • Taranis
  • Xbox
  • FS-i6
  • Turnigy Evolution
  • Falenci
  • Interlink
  • And extra

Learn extra about FPV Air 2

6. DJI Drone Simulator

Features

  • Professional and enterprise degree drone pilot coaching software program.
  • DJI’s distinctive flight management expertise is tailored to create a practical simulated flying expertise.
  • Good visuals and a life-like surroundings with lifelike wind and terrain results on flight.
  • Three simulated flight modes and a number of POVs for complete coaching expertise.
  • Three coaching modules together with abilities coaching, free flight, and utility coaching.
  • Most DJI fashions replicated embody: Mavic sequence, Phantom sequence, Inspire sequence and Matrice 200 sequence (enterprise degree drones not included within the free trial).

Pros

Almost the whole lot DJI does is top-quality, and the simulator doesn’t disappoint right here both. The appear and feel of the surroundings, the physics of the drone flights, and the broad number of flight eventualities all make for a really strong simulator.

The DJI drone simulator is a superb program for skilled or enterprise degree pilots who need to get some coaching expertise earlier than flying their costly gear in a real-world situation. It’s additionally an effective way to get further coaching in particular abilities reminiscent of powerline inspections or search and rescue missions.

The simulator can also be a great way to check out the texture and efficiency of an enterprise degree drone earlier than you truly purchase one. While it’s not precisely the identical as flying the actual factor, it can provide you a reasonably good concept of how a sure drone mannequin will deal with in sure situations. The entry to an entire vary of drone fashions to check out is purpose sufficient to do this simulator.

Cons

The simulator is strictly restricted to DJI drones. If you don’t have a DJI drone, and don’t plan to get one, you’ll be able to nonetheless profit from the follow with a DJI drone mannequin on the simulator, however it received’t be fairly the identical as attending to “practice” by yourself sort of drone.

The DJI drone simulator is designed to assist practice industrial drone pilots, and doesn’t embody any FPV flight modes. If you’re searching for a drone simulator that will help you study to fly FPV, even when it’s the DJI FPV drone, this one received’t be any assist.

Being as this simulator is geared towards enterprise operations, it ought to come as no shock that it comes at a a lot larger value than many of the different drone flight coaching software program applications on the market. At $1,350, this simulator is a severe funding.

Compatible Controllers

  • Mavic Air
  • DJI Smart Controller
  • Phantom 4
  • Phantom 4 Advanced
  • Phantom 4 Pro
  • Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
  • Matrice 100
  • Matrice 600
  • Matrice 600 Pro
  • Inspire 1 Series
  • Lightbridge 2

Learn extra in regards to the DJI Drone Simulator here.

 

7. Zephyr Drone Simulator

Features

  • Drone pilot schooling coaching program with built-in classroom administration instruments.
  • Accurate physics to duplicate real-world flight.
  • FAA pointers are included into flights, and related warnings are included in coaching.
  • Continual program growth and updates to incorporate new coaching modules and plane.
  • Customizable climate settings to boost coaching expertise.
  • Large number of customizable drone fashions.
  • FPV and VLOS flight modes accessible.

Pros

The Zephyr drone simulator is purpose-built to be an schooling device, and is in contrast to any of the opposite simulators on this listing in that it incorporates an teacher management and suggestions facet. Students enrolled in a coaching course could have their flight statistics despatched to an teacher for overview and suggestions. It’s not restricted to classroom use, nonetheless, and professionals can use the coaching program individually.

The coaching focus is even prolonged to the realm of security coaching, with in-built FAA security pointers constructed into this system to assist pilots study to function inside the parameters of FAA guidelines.

The physics and customizability make this system an correct and lifelike coaching device, with simple switch to real-world flights. An enormous number of coaching modules and conditions make Zephyr relevant to nearly any industrial and even pastime drone consumer.

Zephyr can also be fairly moderately priced so far as skilled drone coaching simulators go, with the essential package deal starting at $75. Of course you can too take a look at out the free trial earlier than deciding if that is the fitting simulator for you.

Cons

For those that simply need the whole lot in a single package deal, the pricing construction of Zephyr (for particular person skilled buy) could also be a bit complicated. A variety of totally different non-obligatory add-ons might be bought individually, however it might be arduous to know the place to begin. Starting with the free trial might show you how to decide which package deal you want.

Zephyr is primarily a industrial drone coaching simulator, and in the event you’re simply after a enjoyable introduction to flying a drone nearly, it is a bit dear. And in the event you’re eager to get into FPV racing, Zephyr doesn’t provide that fashion of flight coaching.

Compatible Controllers

  • XBox 360, XBox One, and Playstation controllers
  • Spektrum DXe, Dx9, Dx6i
  • Hobby King 6-CH RC Flight Simulator Controller
  • Interlink Elite by Futaba
  • FlySky FS-i6s, FS-T6
  • Taranis FrSky X9D Plus
  • Futaba: T6EX, T14SG, T8FG
  • Iris+ FlySky FS-TH9x

Learn extra in regards to the Zephyr Drone Simulator here.

8. droneSimPro Drone Flight Simulator

Features

  • Custom-built flight engine permits the simulator to duplicate the real-world physics of drone flight.
  • Customizable environments with lifelike lighting and terrain options.
  • Two customizable drone varieties together with Phantom 2 and Phantom 3.
  • Supports USB controllers for flight management.
  • Flight eventualities embody impediment programs, a home hearth, and open subject flight.

Pros

The droneSimPro Drone Flight Simulator gives a reasonably true to life flight expertise, because of the flight engine within the software program program. This makes it extra correct within the really feel and response of the controls. As a coaching flight simulator, that is vital for serving to pilots transition to real-world drone flight.

At solely $29.99, droneSimPro is an effective deal. Many of the upper finish coaching simulators value an entire lot greater than that, with out bettering an entire lot on the precise real-world really feel of the flight expertise.

The flight eventualities are lifelike and satisfying as nicely, particularly with the power to customise the environments. You can recreate nearly any sort of situation that it’s essential to fly in actual life, and follow flying it within the simulator first, whether or not it’s a burning constructing or a tower inspection. This is nice for drone pilot coaching functions.

Cons

Only two drone varieties are presently replicated within the simulator, the Phantom 2 and Phantom 3. While that is nice if considered one of these is the drone you’re flying, it doesn’t give fairly the identical really feel as attending to fly your individual drone mannequin in a simulator. More drone fashions are promised to be coming quickly.

Also a downside is the brief listing of supported controllers. While gaming controllers are nice, additionally they don’t give fairly the identical expertise as studying to fly along with your actual flight controller. An extended listing of appropriate controllers is promised to be coming quickly as nicely.

Compatible Controllers

  • Xbox One
  • Xbox 360
  • Xbox 360 (Gamestop model)
  • Playstation 3

Learn extra in regards to the droneSimPro Flight Simulator here, or obtain the free demo.

 

9. RealFlight RF9.5 Drone Simulator

Features

  • Great physics for real-world flight expertise.
  • Over 170 totally different RC and drone fashions.
  • Over 40 totally different flying websites.
  • Ability so as to add and edit plane and flying websites for extra customization.
  • Game-like challenges, multiplayer choices, and VR headset compatibility for added enjoyable.
  • Lessons to develop images abilities.

Pros

The wonderful physics of the RealFlight RF9.5 simulator make for a great coaching device, offering a extra life-like flight expertise. And the broad number of lifelike flight eventualities solely provides to the coaching advantage of this system.

Challenges and classes make studying and practising intuitive and enjoyable, maintaining you engaged in studying. Flight coaching just isn’t the one factor to study on the RealFlight simulator both, as different classes in this system show you how to follow images and videography abilities as nicely.

The compatibility with a radio controller is a big plus right here, because it provides you follow utilizing your precise flight controller reasonably than a gaming controller. You can purchase the Spektrum controller that comes with this system, or use considered one of your individual, as fairly quite a lot of radios are supported.

Cons

At $179.99, this flight simulator is reasonably costly as they arrive, and that is due largely to the truth that it’s not only a drone simulator, however consists of such an enormous number of RC fashions. If RC is your recreation, that’s a profit, however in the event you’re simply into drones and need to follow drone flight, you’re paying for an entire lot of simulator performance that you just’re by no means going to make use of.

Another huge downside is that the RealFlight RF9.5 simulator is barely appropriate with a PC, so in the event you’re on a Mac, you’re out of luck.

Compatible Controllers

  • USB 2.0 Port
  • Compatible FM or FM-selectable transmitter

Learn extra in regards to the RealFlight RF9.5 Flight Simulator here.

Final ideas

When you’re searching for a drone simulator, you in all probability have a reasonably good concept whether or not you’re searching for FPV fashion drone follow, or whether or not you’re eager to get some coaching in industrial drone operations. This will clearly show you how to slim down which kind of simulator is the perfect match for you. But for the merely curious, those who simply need to check out some drone flying with out the chance of crashing, it may be a tougher alternative. In that case, my suggestion can be to check out a number of of the free trials and see which fashion of flying fits your fancy.

While a few of these simulators are higher than others when it comes to flight physics, graphics, drone fashions, customizability, number of flight environments, and so on., every one has its personal band of supporters claiming that that is the perfect one on the market. Ultimately which one you suppose is the perfect will rely in your targets, your finances and your preferences.

Image Credit: DRL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *