What’s more, you can download new models that X-Plane enthusiasts make, and you can use the included tools to experiment with your own aircraft and scenery designs. But X-Plane’s scenery- and aircraft-building tools are enormously complex; using them isn’t a task for the casual user. The scenery- and aircraft-building software isn’t the only intensive aspect of the program: X-Plane has a difficult learning curve, and it’s laden with complex control panels and its own user interface. This is something of a necessity, given the complexity of the simulation, but it takes some getting used to, and plenty of help-manual study before you can take off for the first time. X-Plane’s documentation is electronic and readable; however, it’s very dense. The program supports joysticks and controllers. We tested version 6.51, which doesn’t support force-feedback, a relatively new technology for Mac users that’s supported in OS X 10.2.3 or later. However, it does feature networking support, so you can go flying with a friend. Although X-Plane isn’t a game, the developer might want to consider supporting a game-tracking service, such as GameRanger, to make networking support easier.
Complex though it may be, X-Plane is the king-of-the-hill in Mac flight simulators. Again, it isn’t a game, so expect to spend a few hours learning the basics and getting to know the interface. The payoff is worth the effort (and the price) if you’re serious about flying without leaving the ground.