First of all, let's talk about the biggest benefit of a simulator before we address what is available. Namely "What is the philosophy behind using a simulator?" Answer..? To limit these types of incidents:
Personally I'm impatient and want to get out there and fly! However, there are benefits at all levels in using a simulator:
Other reasons? Yes, if I wanted to try out a new model before buying, or just couldn't afford it! Then a simulator gives me at least some exposure to review it.
Anyway, enough TALK, more flying! What are the best quadcopter flight simulators? We review them to find out.
First off, are there any good free simulators? We already want to avoid smashing our quad since it's expensive, but let's not necessarily dump all that cash into a fancy virtual reality experience when all we want to do is fly the real thing!The free/demo ones I found are:
An Android-based simulator available on the Google Play store. Currently free to install.It offers features such as a Quadcopter / Multirotor RC Drone simulator. Can be used in First Person View (FPV) mode, as well as a number of controls to get you back home or to perform acrobatics.
A nice feature is the interaction with Google Cardboard VR so you can play in FPV with goggles. Controls are quite simplistic as they utilise your touch screen for control rather than any RC transmitters.
This simulator lets you work with both FPV as well as standard view, hooks up to most controllers than can use USB input, letting you play effectively with a console/pc game controller as well as RC transmitters that you can get working over USB.
Includes self-leveling and acro mode. Six sceneries included. There is a demo version that you can try for free which includes one scenery.
This simulator supports both Windows as well as Mac.
Demo version: - the full version costs a bit more, $4.99 last time around.
A number of simulators exist that are higher end, allowing you to use controls (either your own or supplied with the software).
Aerofly professional flying simulator from Ikarus, including over 200 models, all the models are instantly scalable.
Aerofly includes quadrocopters, electric and gas powered airplanes, helicopters, gliders, jets, and scale models and lets you fly using your own transmitter.
Realflight Drone Flight Simulator from Great Planes recreates drone flight in every detail to create a polished performance when you're flying real drones.
Allows pilots to maneuver their drones for impressive aerial photos and develope FPV camera and gimbal control skills risk free on their computer.
Includes RealFlight Drone Flight Simulator Disc InterLink Elite Controller with adapters for use with trainer jacks on most Futaba and all JR
Realflight software reviewed below.
AeroSIM has released a quadcopter simulator, whereby AeroSIM RC is a full function RC flight simulator system capable of providing you with the training needed to learn how to fly RC aircraft. AeroSIM lets you fly multiple RC aircraft including quadcopters, hexacopters and multicopters as well as providing a cable to allow you to utilise your own transmitter.
AeroSIM RC offers simulation of just about every type of RC model aircraft including airplanes, helicopters and even multi-rotor aircraft (quadcopter, hexcopter etc.). It offers advanced features such as FPV flight scenarios, training programs, model tuning and much more!
Phoenix RC Sim from Phoenix describes itself as "Blending incredibly life-like and accurate model physics with beautiful cutting-edge graphics and a multitude of unique features, Phoenix is a fantastic package for beginners and professional model pilots alike. "
Phoenix has been a fantastic airplane and helicopter simulator in my experience, however with update 5 now includes a number of drone/quadcopter models as well and more being added. It integrates well with existing transmitters through its cable or with the dx6i transmitter.
The last one I found was this very interesting simulator spec'd for quadcopters which is still to be released called neXt. Video below.
Agree with our selection of the 7 simulators? Happy to include any other decent simulators that people have found or just to have a conversation of people's preferences.