If you want to take your drone flying abilities to the next level, an FPV drone simulator can really help. These programs work by allowing you to control and navigate a virtual drone in a manner that seems almost identical to how they operate in real life. A simulator is equal parts fun and practice. That is why they help you become a better drone pilot.
That being said, not all FPV drone simulators are created equal. In this guide, we will take a look at some of the best simulators that offer realistic flight, quality controls, and excellent response that will help you translate back into real-world flight.
- The RealFlight 9 is a top FPV drone simulator option. Not only does it let you practice flying with a number of models, it also allows you to virtually pilot a wide range of other RC craft as well.
- An affordable option that you can easily download on your phone is the Quadcopter Drone Simulator 3D. This is a great way to practice the controls of a quadcopter drone without any equipment other than your phone.
- The RC Tech Flight Simulator is another quality option. This one comes with a good controller that can be used with plenty of other simulators as well.
Who Should Get This?
Drone simulators can be a lot of fun on their own, but they also serve as a great way to improve your flying skills when you take to the skies with a real drone. While there is no substitution for real-world flying, a simulator can help you learn the basics or improve your skills when you’re unable to fly. That may be because of the weather or the fact that you don’t have the money to buy a drone just yet.
The simulators you’ll find on this list are great for anyone who falls into those camps and offers a solution to flying when the environment, or your bank account, won’t allow you to take to the skies. When paired with VR goggles, some of these simulators can come pretty close to a true flying experience.
Best FPV Drone Simulator in 2020: What to Consider
Before you purchase an FPV Drone Simulator, you’ll want to make sure the software is compatible with your computer or other device. Chances are that it will be, but you don’t want to spend the money on a simulator only to find out that it won’t work on your system. Higher frame rates will allow for better simulations, and they are common on newer computers. However, most simulators will work alright on older models as well.
In order for a simulator to be an accurate representation of real-world flight, you need the controller to be similar to an actual drone. Some drones are able to be controlled by a smartphone or tablet, and that makes things fairly easy. Other options have a dedicated controller that’s built to properly control all elements of flight.
I would recommend that you get a simulator with an included controller, as that will allow you to get the hang of drone controls so you can develop your skills in a way that will closely resemble real-world situations. Controllers that have dual joysticks and other control features are ideal here.
One of the best features of a drone simulator is that it allows you to basically fly a drone at a fraction of the cost of what an actual flying device would be. Sure, this isn’t quite as fun as the real thing but if money is a major concern, a simulator will allow you to enjoy flying a drone in a virtual environment that is far cheaper than the real deal. Simulators themselves come in various price ranges with app styles being cheaper than full software with controllers.
Best FPV Drone Simulator in 2020: Our Picks
1. RealFlight 9
RealFlight 9 is a great FPV drone simulator. This is a full-fledged RC flying simulator that offers a variety of drone options in addition to airplanes, helicopters, and other flying devices. In fact, you can choose to fly over 140 different types of aircraft at 60 different simulated sites. That’s quite a lot to choose from, but it’s a surefire way to improve and enjoy virtual drone flight.
This is an intuitive simulator that puts out accurate representations of real-flight situations. It comes with a high-quality controller and is VR compatible so you can take the simulation to the next level. It features realistic flight and terrain, and you can also run the simulation through obstacle courses to improve your maneuvering.
- Realistic flight simulator
- Many drone options to choose from
- VR compatible
- Controller included
- Various terrain and site options
- Easily customizable settings to replicate real-world flying
For a budget option, check out the Quadcopter Drone Simulator 3D. This is an app simulator that will allow you to practice the flight of common quad-rotor style drones. It has somewhat of a video game feel, but still has accurate and responsive controls that will translate over to drones that use your smartphone as a controller. Affordable and easy to use, this is a cheap-but-quality simulator.
- Realistic smartphone controls
- Fun to use
- Great for quadcopter practice
- Only uses quadcopter drones
- Can feel more like a video game
The RC Tech Flight Simulator is another quality option. One of the best features of this simulator is the great controller that you can use to both operate the included software and control a number of other FPV drone simulators you might be familiar with. It’s also affordable and has high-quality 3D graphics that provide an accurate flying experience. When you connect the controller to your computer with the included USB cord, you don’t need batteries.
- Affordable simulator with controller
- Controller is compatible with many other simulators
- Realistic graphics
- Downloadable software
- Software isn’t the best
Useful Tips & Resources
When using an FPV drone simulator, it’s always recommended to tune the software to replicate the drone that you will fly in real life. If you don’t plan on getting a real drone, you can skip this advice. However, for those who use a simulator as practice, you’ll want to get factors such as weight, gravity, air resistance, and thrust. Here are some tips and tricks to flying the RealFlight simulator as well.
An FPV drone simulator is a great way to learn new skills and improve your capabilities once you actually take to the air. It’s also a way to experience drone flight without spending a bunch of money on an actual drone. Regardless of why you’re using a simulator, the options you’ll find here are all realistic and fun.
Do you have any drone flying tips or tricks for anyone with less experience in the air? Let us know in the comments below!
Chris is a lifelong tech enthusiast with a broad range of interests including coding, data analysis, traveling, and more. He used to work as a software programmer immersing himself in the world of codes, now he finds it more interesting talking to real people.