• Op-Ed: Buyer Beware

    FlightGear

    Buyer beware! You've heard this before applied to all kinds of possible purchases and, sadly, it applies to flight simulators too.

    We've exposed this scam before but since it keeps coming up it seems we need to mention it again. For many years now a dedicated group of developers have been working on an open source flight simulator called FlightGear. Over the years we have regularly posted news from them as various versions have been released. Though perhaps not as feature filled as the commercial sims like FSX or X-Plane it is the real thing and does have its core of users.

    FlightGear is free. Yes, that's right, free as in no cost to you. Anyone can go to the FlightGear web site (www.flightgear.org) and download versions for Windows, Mac, Linux and other platforms.

    What many unsuspecting potentional flightsimmers have discovered, however, is a "new flight simuator" that pops up in advertisements and web sites all over the internet. Various names are used such as "Flight Sim Pro", "Pro Flight Simulator" and more recently as "Virtual Pilot 3D". There are plenty more names...I've lost track of them all.

    Lately they have even been referring to the product as "Microsoft Flight Simulator", which it certainly is not. There is no "Microsoft Flight Simulator 2017" or any other version after FSX, which was released over ten years ago.

    The web sites for all these products are over-filled with the kind of hype you find on those shopping channels on cable TV. After you've seen one of these sites you'll recognize them. Though the names and some other details changes, the style and basic content is always the same.

    You'll also find "reviews" for the sim, but these are plants, not real reviews. Read them and you'll realize they just are not legitimate.

    Bottom line is, there is no need for you to buy any of these products, which are all actually the same product under different names. If you want to try this sim, simply go to the FlightGear web site and download the complete sim for free and never pay a thing.

    Just a note that under the GNU GPL v2 terms under which FlightGear is released, selling the sim actually is legal so if you have already bought it you have not done anything illegal. The issue is really more of ethics than legality.

    The FlightGear developers have their own statement on this situation, which you can read here.

    Visit FlightGear at www.flightgear.org.


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