Drone simulators are an excellent way of improving your flying skills in a number of areas. With practice you could learn to manoeuvre a drone through an awkward spot smoothly, produce more detailed aerial photographs, or gather more precise reconnaissance.
These sims are also a great choice if you are relatively new to the world of UAV piloting and are considering a more expensive quad-copter. High-end drones are never cheap, but you can get in plenty of practice hours with an immersive UAV simulator before you even un-box a new gadget.
Drone flight simulators are compatible with Macs as well as PCs, and are also available as FPV (first person view) simulators. Although it’s not as intense as a visit to a multi-rotor flight school, the training you’ll receive on a simulator can cover every aspect of drone flight.
The right software can help you build upon your existing flying skills, but also provide lessons on capturing great video footage. You’ll learn more about controlling the gimbal and then practice these techniques in a number of different environments, without the risk of losing or damaging your drone.
Take a look at the various simulation packages on offer, then you can decide which one would work best for you.
The droneSim Pro
This is a great choice for people who want an affordable solution, but don’t want to compromise on the quality of their experience. The droneSim model was created using data drawn from real world physics; when the motor behaves in a certain way in-game, it’s reflecting the way a real aircraft would perform in the same circumstances.
That means in terms of responsiveness and handling, you’re getting as close to the real thing as possible. Better still you can train when it suits you, no need to check for the right weather conditions or worry about a low battery, the simulator is ready when you are, 24 hours a day.
The team behind the simulator can also tailor-make any number of scenarios to help you practice for a specific event or job. Whether you need experience with flying in industrial areas, or you’ll be capturing a wedding day, or you’re involved with the entertainment industry, the droneSim Pro package can deliver a realistic simulation.
FPV Event Personal Edition drone software
When you’re flying with FPV Event, each drone is uniquely rendered with its own type of flight controls and attributes. You can also create a bespoke drone by adjusting the settings; this could be to replicate the drone you fly for work or in your spare time, or to learn more about the characteristics of another quad-copter before you commit to buying it.
FPV Event have added an element of competition to their simulator with a pilot rankings leader board, this not only informs you of your progress in comparison to other pilots, but suggests events and qualifiers based on your changing skill level.
The drone simulation software from FPV Event Personal Edition uses a 3D game engine and so needs quite a substantial machine to work optimally. For the smoothest flights and seamless visuals, the minimum PC spec should be Windows 7, 4GB Ram, an Intel i5 dual CPU and a NVidia 750 Ti standard graphics card, as well as a solid internet connection.
The Real Drone Simulator
This drone simulator is still in pre-alpha testing, but an early version has recently been published and reached an impressive total of 3000 downloads. It’s a free flight sim that was designed to both educate and entertain. Users can receive training in any number of different drones, without having to invest a penny – because the software is completely free.
When released as a full version the game will be centred on each player’s career, you will perform tasks which enable you to earn virtual cash, and then use it to buy a better model for your next flight. You’ll also need to pay for the upkeep of each aircraft you own by purchasing new parts and keeping it well-maintained. They have teamed up with JJRC and EMAX, so you’ll be able to test their drones in game, but more manufacturers will soon be added as the company grows.
If you often fly a drone with other users, the split screen version of this simulator could be worth a trial run, along with the online multi player mode.
VelociDrone FPV Racing Simulator
Aimed mainly at the FPV racing crowd, the VelociDrone is a fast moving simulator which can be played alone or as a multiplayer game. It features a range of tracks, each with its own set of obstacles to overcome, not all of which are static.
You can fine tune your skills as a pilot amongst other players, or choose to test yourself with their Time Attack mode. Here you race against yourself and try to beat your personal best.
RealFlight Drone Simulators
This is the ideal option for UAV pilots who are serious about improving their skills and getting in more hours of flight practice. It can help you get better results with a camera, teach you to manoeuvre like a pro and give tips on using a gimbal correctly.
Many types of drone can be tested and there are challenges to keep your levels of interest up. To enhance your ability in different conditions, you can preset any simulation to feature a specific time of day and wind speed.
More information/buy: Great Planes RealFlight GPMZ4800 RealFlight Drone