To use this flight simulator, you will have to install the Google Earth plug-in. The installation should begin automatically as the game starts.
For sound to be enabled, the Flash player must be installed too, but you should already have it.
Finally, if you want to play using a Joystick, you will have to install a browser extension: more details here
How to control the flight simulator?
The option bar, at the bottom of the game screen, is the main way to interact with the flight simulator:
- The first three yellow button are used to choose your aircraft, location and camera mode.
- The "options" button opens the configuration window: use it to set your pilot callsign, configure controls, weather preferences, etc.
- The "pause", "mute" and "reset" buttons respectively pause the game, mute the sound or reset your flight to the last state.
- The "talk" button shows an input field to type a chat message. (Chat is disabled by default, enable it from the option panel)
- Arrows up & down: tilt the aircraft
- Arrow left & right: roll the aircraft (mixed with yaw by default but can be configured)
- <Enter> to re-center keyboard control input
- < & >: steer the aircraft (Yaw) (only effective when roll/yaw mixing is disabled)
- + & - (or PgUp & PgDn): Increase or decrease throttle
- [: lower the flaps one step (when available)
- ]: raise the flaps one step (when available)
- Home/End: increase/decrease elevator trim
- <Delete>: Reset elevator trim
- G: raise or lower the landing gear (when available)
- B: extend/retract air-brakes (when available)
- E: start/stop engine
- <Space bar>: brakes
- <;>: Engage/Disengage parking brake
- You can configure the keyboard sensitivity from the "option" panel.
- 0 to 9: Directly set throttle by 10% steps
- A: Toggle autopilot
- C: cycle camera mode
- N: open navigation panel (map)
- O: open option panel
- <Tab>: fly to camera location (in free camera mode)
- P: Pause the simulation
- S: mute/un-mute sound
- K: set controls mode to "Keyboard"
- M: set controls mode to "Mouse"
- J: set controls mode to "Joystick"
- T: to start typing a chat message
- H: to hide/show the HUD (indicators)
- Mouse acts as a Joystick
- push/pull for tilt
- left/right for roll (mixed with yaw by default but can be configured)
- You can configure the mouse (sensitivity, exponential) from the "option" panel.
- All other keyboard controls (except for arrows) are the same
see how to enable the joystick
- Joystick axis and button are by set by default
- If available, yaw is set on twist axis
- You can reconfigure every axis and buttons of the joystick from the "option" panel.
- All other keyboard controls are the same
Helicopters are by definition much more difficult to fly than airplanes. The basic principle is to play with collective pitch (going up and down), cyclic pitch (going forward, backward, right and left) and anti-torque control (rotation/yaw).
By default, mouse and keyboard controls are mixing roll and yaw (aileron and rudder). This has to be disabled (in configuration panel) in order to properly fly the helicopter.
Idealy, you would have to use a joystick to be accurate enough with the helicopter but the mouse should be enough for a start.
In GEFS, the collective pitch is controled using the same input as the throttle for airplanes: if you press '+' several times, the helicopter will lift-off, if you press '-' it will go down.
Cyclic pitch can be controled using the arrow keys or the mouse.
When roll/yaw mixing is disabled, use the rudder keys (default are keys A & D) for the anti-torque (yaw).
The rest is just practice and finesse.
Flying Major Tom:
Major Tom is probably the easiest and most relaxing way of flying in GEFS. With just two keys you can take to the skies and look down at the earth.
The 'up' arrow key fires the burner and when air is hot enough the balloon will take-off.
The 'down' arrow key open the parachute vent to release some air and initiate a descent.
To navigate, you can try to climb to different altitudes and reach different direction and speed of wind.
Five cameras are available. You can choose between these five modes from the option bar or by pressing "C" to cycle through all modes.
- Follow: the camera follows the plane at a distance.
- Cockpit: the camera gives a view from the pilot seat.
- Cockpit-less: same as "cockpit" but without visible 3D model.
- Chase: the camera is static but look at the plane.
- Free: this is the default Google Earth camera (uses default controls).
In "Follow" and "Cockpit" mode, you can left-click and drag your mouse to change the camera orientation.
In "Follow" mode, you can right-click and drag to set the camera's zoom factor/distance.
When in "Free" mode, you can position the camera to a location you like and press <Tab> to place the aircraft where the camera is.
Where can I fly?
- You can pick a preset destination from the option bar.
- The location selector also offer a searh input field in which you can type any destination. The aircraft will be positioned at the chosen place and at an altitude of 1000 feet.
- The last (and best?) way is to use the in-game map to fly from over 30,000 runways in the world or anywhere else you may choose.
How to use the map?
See the standalone live GEFS map
Open the map using the "map" button in the option bar.
Three types of map are available: standard, runways and aeronautical.
In Runway mode, every coloured dot marks a runway threshold. You can click on these dots to open an info balloon in which you can see two links to "take-off from" or "fly by" the clicked runway. When chosing "take-off from", the aircraft should be positioned on the threshold and facing the runway. note: due to some imprecision in the collected data, this is not always true (especially for small airfields).
Dots are colour coded depending on the length of the runway: blue for major runways (>3,000 ft), green for airfield size runways, yellow when length is unknown.
A right-click on the map will bring a window to fly to the clicked destination from 4 pre-set altitudes.
In "Aeronautical" mode, the map shows a layer of airspace areas. This overlay has been generated using DAFIF data. While this can be useful to practice some flight patterns, these data are to be used with this game only and should not be used for real life flying.
How to block users in the chat?:
You can block a user's chat messages by clicking on it's callsign (name) and clicking the "block" button.
If you accidently blocked a user, you can un-block him from your profile panel (home page > profile > blocked users).
How to improve the graphics (Anti-aliasing):
this does not work anymore with Google Earth plugin version 7.
The Google Earth plugin does not offer any 3D graphic settings but if your graphic card is recent enough, you can probably force anti-aliasing from the driver's configuration panel.
Refer to your graphic card manual to know how to access the configuration utility.
From there, you may be able to force anti-aliasing, anisotropic and texture filtering, etc...
How to enable Joystick control:
Or get the latest from the project page(Recommanded)
Google Chrome (from version 22) is equiped with native Joystick support (although very experimental). Chrome ships with a DirectInput/XInput emulator so your old DirectInput joystick "may" work natively.
According to Google, you need to press one of the joystick's buttons in order to have it detected. I could not test this feature as I did not have the required hardware and I am looking for feedback.
Known issues and troubleshooting:
The plane or some of its parts are not visible:
The plugin cached half loaded resources. Try the cache clearing procedure described bellow and restart the game.
Your joystick model is not working properly:
- Clear your web browser's cache
- In your process explorer (Ctrl+Alt+Del), kill the process called geplugin.exe
- Restart the simulator: planes should now be loading properly.
The flight simulator is slow
3D rendering is broken (ground not visible)
- GEFS requires a recent computer and a good graphic card in order to achieve confortable frame-rate.
- Make sure GEFS only is running (close other browser tabs and background applications)
- Some people experienced this issue with the latest Google Earth plugin version. Google is working on a fix which should be availabe soon.
- If the flight simulator does not work on your computer, please try using a different web browser.
- Try to clear you cache, re-install the plug-in and refresh the page.
For any other issues, please submit a bug report (see below, and remember to mention your web browser and operating system version).
You can report issues on this Google Group
When reporting a bug, please be as descriptive as possible and indicate what operating system and web browser you are using to run this game.
A "debug info" tab is available in the option panel. Please communicate this info when reporting a bug.
I am Xavier, a web developer by day and building GEFS in my free time. I have always been fascinated by flight simulators ever since I ran SubLOGIC FS1 back in the 80s. I built a few simulators over the years, GEFS being my best shot at it I believe.
GE Flight Simulator takes full advantage of Google Earth and enables a realistic flight experience in a fantastic scenery.
While simple, the flight models are complete enough to deliver a realistic flight simulation experience. More than just a game, GEFS is a real flight simulator.
From the Piper Cub to the Airbus A380, the range of available aircraft should satisfy every aviation enthousiast. Flight simulation is a vast subject and I hope to be able to improve and enhance this game further.
Even though GEFS is built on top of Google Earth, I am not a Google employee and GEFS is not related to - or a product of - Google.