Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I haven't been able to fly any RC aircraft for many weeks.

Given that the pandemic shows no signs of slowing down, I'm preparing for the continuation of this situation for quite some time.

To keep skills current, are there any good free RC simulators for airplanes, helicopters, or drones? I'm interested in web-apps, desktop software (for any OS), and even smartphone/tablet apps (for any OS too).

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I think this could do with a recommendations tag as well, and in that case, do you have any other wishes this software should fulfill, except being free? Are there any things you'll specifically need to keep your skills up to date? So that, instead of just a list of free software, this can become a question of free software that meets certain requirements? $\endgroup$ – Tinkeringbell Apr 15 '20 at 7:49

For quadrotors, there are simulators for racing drones, such as the DRL one Velocidrone.

For camera platform drones you have droneSimPro, Liftoff or DJI's own one. There are loads of them, and the physics engines are all improving in all. A fair few are free or very cheap or have a free version.

At the other end of the scale are programs like Phoenix R/C Pro - which has models for quads, helis and fixed-wing - and to be honest, if you plan to fly in any commercial aspect, at $200 it's worth paying the money for this one.

  • $\begingroup$ Also look at CurryKittens free simulator. It's quite good and he's actively working on it. He also said that he may make it that you can fly the plane later on as well. $\endgroup$ – Paul Kendall Apr 15 '20 at 8:13
  • $\begingroup$ Phoenix R/C is no longer available, however RealFlight is supposed to be similar. $\endgroup$ – Kralc Apr 21 '20 at 22:07

For FPV drones you could try FPV Freerider (https://fpv-freerider.itch.io/fpv-freerider). The free version includes only a map and has some limitations about setting rates, but for some training it could do.

Unlocking the pro version costs only 4.99$, so it's not a big investment. A nice bonus is the fact that you can pick almost any platform around: Linux, Windows, Mac and Android and on any of them (including Android) you can hook your RC controller (if it supports it) and use it.


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