Real Flight Mobile Review
Image Credit: Sense Innovations
Review by Nicholas Turner, Staff Contributor
- Mobile Device: Motorola Moto X
- OS: Android
- Mobile flying
- Customizable physics
- Superb graphics
- Realistic sounds
- The stick outlines fade out after a few
seconds to increase field of view
- No customization of color schemes
- No creation of custom content (aircraft, color schemes, and airports)
- Lack of tactile feedback
- Stock physics are not realistic
- No additional camera views
- Sticks take up most of screen on smaller devices
- No helis
- Keep ground in view mode causes aircraft to speck out quickly
- Auto zoom view mode causes loss of ground orientation
- Huge battery drainer
- Stick outlines fade out and leaves you with no definite area for stick controls
- No gliders
Let me start this review stating I have been using RealFlight simulator software since G2 (currently running 5.5). I am very familiar with RealFlight and even taught myself to fly helis on G2. Lately with family and work life I haven't' had the time to turn on the computer, fire up the sim and sit for any length of time flying. Same is true about getting out to the field for flying.
There have been feeble attempts to create r/c simulators for mobile devices, but the graphics and physics weren't there. Finally a reputable r/c simulator manufacturer released a freemium version for mobile devices running Android and iOS. If you're not familiar with freemium apps, the initial download is free with some free content, but you have to buy things in the app to unlock or advance through the game. For iOS devices it supports use of Fling Joysticks, I have not tried the app with the joysticks.
RealFlight Mobile is a freemium app. It can be downloaded from the appropriate app store for free. This provides one flying site, Green Hills Flying Club, and two airplanes, NexStar trainer and PT-17 Stearman. Additional planes cost $1.99 or $2.99 while additional flying sites are $1.99 each. (Prices are accurate at the time of this review). I notice bundles are offered advertising cost savings for additional content, but have not explored as I don’t see a need to buy additional content.
Upon the initial download I tried all the stock settings. I hated the stock settings. Stock, Intermediate settings are enabled. This turns on autopilot assist, reduces stall severity, and decreases the simulation speed. With these settings I felt the Stearman was harder to control and unpredictable. I flipped the Physics over to their Realistic settings and became much happier. The plane was more responsive, I wasn't fighting autopilot as it is turned off in this mode. Being a long seasoned r/c pilot in real life, I didn't spend much time with the NexStar; I spend my time flying the Stearman. Flying on my Moto X is a bit tough as the outline of the control sticks take up the vast majority of the screen, but Knife Edge Software has done a good job in keeping the plane in the center of the screen so I haven't encountered a time where my thumbs were blocking the aircraft. I do like how they incorporated the sproing sound of the stick springs if you just let go while they are extended out.
After flying around for several minutes I was able to conclude the following:
This is a great time killer app for the r/c'er who is dying to fly something in a pinch. The app will not replace the computer simulator yet, as device hardware gets faster, and cheaper I'm hoping Knife Edge Software will continue to improve the physics for the mobile app. The lack of free flying sites and additional aircraft is a drawback. Out of all of the free/freemium r/c flying apps on the Google App Store, RealFlight Mobile is by far the most realistic and best looking. I will say I don't use the app as much as I thought I would when I first downloaded, perhaps that is due to the size screen on my device. I am curious to see how it feels using a larger device, mainly a tablet. Since the graphics are so good and the screen stays on, the app becomes a huge battery drainer. I wouldn't recommend using it for hours on end, in my opinion this app is great for a quickie when you have just a few minutes available.
Would I recommend this download? Yes, it serves a niche purpose. While it won’t replace the computer simulator using a real transmitter or transmitter interface, it’ll let you get a small fix in when you can’t access your computer or the flying site. I personally feel the app is targeted to an audience of people with no r/c experience and just want a gaming feeling.