Pro Pilot: The Complete Flight Simulator

Flying the friendly civilian skies.

7_1Sierra enters the world of commercial flight sims with Pro Pilot: The Complete Flight Simulator”, an ambitious project that adds quite an impressive amounts of detail to the simulation of flying small planes. With plenty of interesting features like a GPS map, active Air Traffic Control (ATC) and full use of Visual and Instrument Flight Rules (VFR/IFR), a useful co-pilot feature and video tutorials galore, even veteran pilots will find details presented here that are missing in other sims, most notably Microsoft’s FS98. Unfortunately, a handful of bugsdiminish what could be an outstanding product.

Two single engine props (Cessna Skyhawk and Beechcraft Bonanza), two twin-engine props (Beechcraft Baron and Beechcraft King Air) and one twin-engine jet (Cessna CitationJet) make up the hangar of aircraft. Well rendered cockpit panels grace each plane, complete with fully detailed instrumentation and controls that are mostly accesible with the mouse. Prominent features, such as city skylines and even the Statue of Liberty, dot the landscape. The terrain graphics are in the so-so range, with details looking much better at higher altitudes.

As a simulator pilot, you are given control of almost every instrument and tool in aviation. A GPS map may be called up for instant locations. ATC will give help with patterns and traffic with uncanny accuracy, while a mission planner lets you plot your entire flight before taking off. Flight characteristics are reasonably well-done, with a few minor inconsistencies such as the ease of maneuvering with one engine off in the Beechcraft Baron or very little change in perceived speed when taking off. The variety of planes allows you to progress in stages from single-engine to twin-engine or jet flight.

6_1The documentation includes a nearly 300 page manual and plenty of ingame help, including complete checklists. Though well-detailed on flight instruction, the manual pays very little attention to the actual controls and how they work. Any newcomer will have a difficult time trying to figure out various instruments and controls. Just to start the engines on the Bonanza requires 10 “switches” to be clicked in proper sequence. Behind all the details are some bugs, ranging from brakes not performing properly to mission problems. But for a first effort this is a really good product, with enough hardcore details for flight enthusiasts.

System Requirements: Pentium 90 MHz, 16 MB RAM, 60 MB HDD, Windows 95

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