In this post, we are going to discuss the 5 best drone simulators.
Before you set your $300 drone whizzing through the skies, simulators can assist you to hone your drone flying skills well in advance.
They also provide a valuable opportunity for pilots to try out new tricks of the trade or to keep training their fingers and building their muscle memory when they do not have the chance to fly outdoors.
The market has been proliferated with drone simulators. We have tried out five of them, out of which three have been really awesome. At present, we use only two of them. We wish we could do a screencast of our own videos using the simulator, but our computer gets hanged up when we try to screencast and play at the same time.
Simulators can be quite realistic but a lot of people are of the view that a quadcopter feels kind of floaty in it and does not behave in a manner similar to real life.
We agree with this opinion to some extent as the quadcopter does behave unrealistically but a drone simulator does help you build your muscle memory from coordinating turns and practicing throttle control.
A simulator might not give you a real-life experience but it is a great tool to hone your drone flying skills and some poor mechanics should not drive you away from using a simulator.
Now, let’s not waste any more time and get back to the business end of the post.
FPV Freerider in Drone Simulators
We flew our drone on the simulator for a few hours before we flew it outdoors in real and we felt a massive difference in our skills.
Numerous people struggle with orienting themselves and they undergo the out of the body sensation when flying in the FPV mode.
This simulator assisted us in getting acquainted with plenty of tips of the trade before we were able to implement them in real life with our drone.
The drone simulator costs $5 while the demo version is restricted to a single track only.
Having said that, the FPV Freerider is quite limited in terms of flight characteristics. You cannot customize the rates of the quadcopter so it can be a bit of a hassle to getting your drone to behave the same way in the simulator as in the real life.
That is why we would strongly recommend it, for newbies, only. Seasoned professionals will not enjoy using it but it is a pretty decent tool for beginners.
The software is compatible with both macOS and Windows operating systems and also provides support for a wide array of transmitters.
We have used it with the typical Turnigy 9X with a USB dongle along with a Taranis X9D. It should also be compatible with a Turnigy Evolution or Taranis Q X7.
You can fly your drone in 6 different scenarios including desert, island, meadow, car park, playground and a field.
The drone simulator lets you fly Line of Sight (LOS), FPV, acro mode and angle mode.
Liftoff Drone Simulator
ImmersionRC has developed this amazing drone simulator. These people have come up with incredible video transmitters and drones (Vortex) in the past. The Liftoff Drone Simulator can be bought via the Steam store.
Once we got fed up with the Freerider drone simulator, we started using the beta version of the Liftoff Drone simulator.
This simulator is highly customizable as it lets you adjust the rates through a user interface that resembles Betaflight. This allows you to get a real life-like feel of sticks as you are likely to get in real-time flights.
You can also modify motors, propellers, and batteries in your quadcopter but we are not really sure whether this will make a huge difference in real-time flights.
Liftoff drone simulator offers tons of different scenarios and a few integrated race courses. You can also download a number of community race courses from the Steam store.
A great advantage that one gets from Liftoff Drone Simulator is access to a massive user community as there are numerous experts who are endeavoring to improve the quality of this simulator.
The simulator lets you practice races while competing against other pilots via the multiplayer online modes.
Having said that, the drone feels too floaty in the simulator which is certainly not life like. So despite the hard efforts of people to improve the quality of this simulator, there is still room available for further enhancement.
But the mere fact that there is a massive community of users engaged in developing and improving Liftoff is a great advantage.
The simulator will perform well on a computer with high specifications but you can always tone down the settings and make the software run on a slower computer.
Velocidrone is our current favorite as it blends the best features of FPV Freerider and Liftoff Drone Simulator. It lets you choose an aircraft of your own choice, explore maps, create your own racecourses, adjusts Betaflight rates, and enjoy real life-like mechanics.
It is slightly expensive as it costs about 15 British Pounds but the features you get in this package make it worth this price.
The Velocidrone is plug and play which means that it is compatible with Taranis or Turnigy Evolution out of the box. All you have to do is to plug it in, configure it and enjoy it.
The maps are quite sophisticated and you get to fly your drone in scenarios such as a warehouse, a subway station, an open field, an abandoned factory, a port, and a soccer stadium.
The drone simulators also include some pre-configured courses while you can also share your own courses.
The online multiplayer mode is quite awesome while you can also race against online players on the leaderboard.
The Velocidrone requires a high-quality graphics card to run so it won’t run on a slow computer. The application works fine on Macbook Pro though it runs with a few hiccups on Macbook Air.
This drone simulator made vibes among consumers when it first burst on the scene but since then it has not made much progress. We are uncertain if the developers are working on this application.
The onscreen quadcopter does not respond to the stick’s input the way one would desire. Moreover, the drone simulator has not been updated for a long time.
Rotor Rush in Simulators
Boasting a massive online user community, the Rotor Rush drone simulator is a decent application that comes with an old fashioned user interface. The interface is similar to MSDOS and it is quite a hassle to configure the quadcopter.
Moreover, the drone simulators are not one-time purchase as it costs 4 pounds per month.
There are different applications such as Real Flight that can help you fly a drone but they are of no use unless you can connect your transmitter to your smartphone.
Using the application and the onscreen controls will be similar to playing a video game and it won’t do a lot of good to your drone flying skills.