X-Plane 9 for iPad is a flight simulator offering 22 different locations to choose from. The quality of the graphics is far better than its iPhone equivilant, there are more buildings a longer field of vision and many more aircraft, so many in fact I gave up counting after 40. It’s not limited to flying around though, there are modern fighters and classic warbirds ready for dogfighting. You can even land a NASA Space Shuttle from Orbit. Other variants include Gliders, Helicopters, Seaplanes and rocket powered x-planes. The best plane for your first flight will be the Cessna 172 since you can get basic instructions on take off including, power and flap settings. This gives you the basics that transfer on to most other aircraft except undercarriage. That said, you get fairly little help other than that which would be useful.
The avionics are simplified and that is no bad thing for a beginner. Whether flying. Cessna 172 or an Airbus A380 the ability to set use basic ils approach information and navigation waypoints without too much complexity adds to the realism and makes navigating between airports in the local area possible. Just go to the map and zoom in with your fingers to find the waypoint you want to navigate to. Planning a flight in advance of take off could be done but I’ve found that its far better to just to get going.
The locations offered in x-plane for iPad aren’t huge so point to point flying is not possible but the variations from snow covered Alaska to New York give you enough variety to make the most of the Aircraft available. Options are available to change the time of day and the weather conditions including turbulence, storms and thermic activity for gliding. These aren’t the kind of features you expect from an iPad app and it just goes to show the effort put in by Laminar Research in producing such a comprehensive app. Finally setting up failures on your flight will put your skills to the test. Trying to land a 747 with rudder and engine failure or including bird strikes makes a normal landing more challenging to say the least.
All in, this isn’t quite the full package for a flight sim compared with desktop equivalents but it does set the benchmark for all other flight sims on iPad. There is nothing that even comes close to this and the value for money is amazing. Well worth buying for any flying enthusiasts.