butt in virtual combat including real time chat!
special effects like airplane details and engine smoke.
can use a real controller with the supplied InterLink Cable. Includes
connectors for square Futaba style and JR style.
G5 is the latest release from Great Planes of their famous radio
control flight simulation software. When the first release of
RealFlight hit the market, it set a new standard for graphics, flight
dynamics and realism. The folks at KnifeEdge Software (the developers
of the RealFlight software) and Great Planes have done it again!
G5 offers you an amazing radio control simulation package. This
software will let you practice flying or simply have fun. If
you're looking to sharpen your flying skills, there is basic and
advanced flight training that covers topics like learning to land and
learning to hover. Both things I could use some practice in!
G5 isn't all business. When you're looking to kick back and burn some
virtual nitro for fun, crank up the real time combat. While being
challenging and fun, it's also highly addictive.
the InterLink® Elite controller ?
with digital trims, QuickSelect®
new to G5:
with up to 31 other pilots using the Multiplayer and your
Multiplayer sessions ahead of time ? invite pilots
and describe the airports, aircraft, activities and time limits.
your own online ?pilot?s license? profile.
the Targeting System to select a single Combat opponent and track his
movement throughout the virtual arena.
on-board cameras with the Aircraft Editor ? change
their angle from your controller and enjoy ?from the
cockpit? views with First Person Video.
Great Planes RealFlight G5 Mode 2
GPMZ4441 Great Planes RealFlight G5 Mode 1
own RealFlight G3, G3.5, G4 or G4.5?
Move up to the latest features with the G5 Upgrade (GPMZ4448)!
this review, Great Planes provided a RealFlight G5 Mode 2 stock number
G5 comes packaged in a full color box. The InterLink controller is well
protected against the delivery folks in a Styrofoam tray and full color
box. Included with the controller and InterLink cable is a DVD case
with the program disk and instruction book.
The instructions are clearly written and explain the basics of the
program. The InterLink Controller is similar to a 4 or 6 channel
transmitter, except it has a USB cord protruding from the top. The
radio looks very similar to a Futaba 6EX. The program will not run
unless the InterLink controller is connected to the computer.
red button is the handy "reset" button that you will use to reset after
crashing. There are plenty of switches, and all the switches are
control sticks feel very similar to a basic four or six channel radio.
The sticks are smooth and the throttle ratchet is very positive. The
rear of the controller has the square trainer port that the InterLink
cable is plugged into.
use another transmitter, plug in the InterLink cable. Plug the
InterLink Controller into your computer and then plug the other
controller into the back of the InterLink Controller via the supplied
cable. The whole setup is a little cumbersome on the desk, but it works
well. The benefit to this is that you get to use your actual
transmitter to fly the simulation.
System Requirements and Installation
is what Great Planes publishes:
Minimum Recommended System:
Some graphical features may be disabled. Aerodynamic calculations will
still be high quality.
Windows* XP, Windows* Vista® or Windows* 7
*Local administrator access required.
Pentium® 1.0GHz or equivalent
512 MB RAM
4 GB Hard Drive Space
3D Accelerated Video with:
32 MB Dedicated Video Memory
Full Windows DirectX® 9 compliant (Pixel Shader 1.4 support)
InterLink® Elite Controller:
Compatible with the trainer jack on most Futaba and all JR, Spektrum
and Tower Hobbies systems (if using the interface mode)
Dual core 2.4GHz CPU
2 GB RAM
3D accelerated video with:
256 MB dedicated video memory
3D accelerated video with: 512 MB dedicated video memory, Pixel Shader
Computer microphone for voice chat
*Please note that the number of participants in a Multiplayer session
may be limited by the internet connection (speed and bandwidth)
available to each participant.
The connectors on the InterLink Elite cord and included adapters make
the InterLink Elite compatible with the trainer jack on most
Futaba® and all JR®, Spektrum® and Tower
Hobbies® systems. Special adapters for use with most older
Futaba and Hitec® systems are available separately. Windows is
a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States
and other countries. For more information vist the RealFlight web site
was a snap. Follow the directions and you'll have the software
installed in a matter of minutes. One slightly annoying part was the
online update program. The online update program will automatically
download updates, but it requires you to restart the program. On my
installation it downloaded an update for the update program (go
figure), but after a few times everything was installed with the latest
I received RealFlight G5 from the delivery truck, I couldn't wait to
load it up and see how this puppy performed. I was curious to see if I
would have to buy a new computer or if I needed to pour some some 20%
glow fuel into the one that I already owned.
a 3 GHz Pentium 4 processor and 1 GB of RAM with onboard video really
isn't considered a hotrod gaming computer, it is above the 1 GHz and
512 MB RAM that are the "Minimum Recommendation". I'm running Windows
XP with Service Pack 3 installed.
the default setting I could fly planes and have fun, but the simulation
would get choppy every now and then - but it was still very useable
when I turned off most of the memory and processor intensive graphics
features. The great news is that the aerodynamic simulation isn't
affected by the framerate. Even if the simulation is choppy, the flight
dynamics are still right.
knew I needed a good excuse to order more memory and a new video card,
and now I had one. I installed 2 additional GB of RAM (for a total of
3GB) and a NVIDIA GeForce 9400 GT 1GB video card. Since I only had a
PCI (not a PCI-e) slot open, I was limited to the video cards to choose
from. The GeForce 9400 met the requirements for G5 and has the most
memory that I could find.
operation upgrade in the rear view mirror, I fired up G5. With the
monitor now hooked to a DVI port (white plug with all the funny pins)
my frame rates went through the roof! There are times in the simulation
where my frame rates hit 130 fps! I still can't turn on all
the memory and processor intensive features, but I was able to put a
number of them on the middle setting. For a point of reference, 60 fps
will give you nice smooth video.
The first step to running RealFlight G5 is to plug in the InterLink
controller, the program will not run without it connected. Set the
throttle to idle and check the positions of all the switches. Opening
RealFlight G5 will put you in the last airplane that you were flying
when you shut the program down. Mine started up with "Big Beautiful
Doll" a famous P-51 mustang and the sound of an engine thumping along.
I like this thing already!
the left side - a menu pops out when you move the cursor over it. From
here you can select aircraft, flying fields and pop out some helpful
- Gives you the
basics, airspeed, altitude, heading and RPM. Also tells you what the
current framerate is.
- Similar to the NavGuide but for gliders. Shows rate of climb
graphically and in numbers along with altitude in above sea level and
above ground level.
the top are several menus including Simulation, Aircraft, Controller,
Multiplayer, Recordings, Training, View, Window and Help.
InterLink controller worked with no tweaks out of the box. I did run
through the controller calibration menu under controller, but I didn't
see any difference.
taking off I wiggled all the sticks to make sure everything was
connected like I expected. The flight controls on the airplane actually
move, so it was easy to check. I played with all the switches to see
how the gear and flaps worked. And yes, you can retract the gear on the
ground! A quick push of the reset button on the InterLink controller
and I was ready to fly again. I wish fixing planes in in the shop was
InterLink controller allows you to virtually control every aspect of
the simulator from the controller thanks to it's many switches.
You can even select different aircraft, flying sites, etc.
a few seconds I had "Big Beautiful Doll" rolling down the virtual
runway and I was airborne. Having flown a few Mustangs, I can say this
one felt very realistic. The airplane performed aerobatics like I
expected and was very close to flying a real model. KnifeEdge prides
themselves on having an accurate flight model, and from the airplanes
that I flew I would say they should be proud. I really look forward to
using this software on future reviews so I can get used to the
airplanes before I get to the field.
you are looking for the most realistic flying experience, try setting
the simulation to "expert mode" under Difficulty in the Simulation
Menu, then and add in some wind and turbulence. Without the wind and
turbulence, the airplanes are easy to fly - but rarely do you have a
flying day that nice!
the simulation menu you can change the airport, environment and even
the difficulty. You can even create a new airport to simulate where you
the aircraft menu you can select which aircraft (or helicopter) to fly.
You can also set the aircraft paint job (color scheme) and change the
controller menu will let you select the controller to use and calibrate
that controller. You can also change the mapping of the channels from
the multiplayer menu you can join or host a multiplayer session. You
can also control various aspects of the multiplayer sessions and
control the voice chat options.
recording menu will let you record your sessions so you can play it
back later. This can be handy when learning to land or when trying to
perfect your aerobatic skills. This menu also allows you to open an
training menu is your gateway to the various training options that
RealFlight G5 offers. You can learn how to takeoff and land as well as
hover both airplanes and helicopters.
the view window you can change all the view options. This includes the
perspectives, like in-cockpit view or the game like following view.
window view will keep your windows organized. One handy feature is the
"Capture Screenshot" option. The menu's show you the shortcut keys too.
The capture screenshot shortcut key is the Tab key.
help menu has a handy list of keyboard shortcuts and links to helpful
keeping with the "real" in RealFlight, RealFlight G5 offers
photo-realistic flying fields. There are tons of fields to choose from.
RealFlight G5 also includes a simple to use editor that allows you to
"build" your own flying field. You can use this editor to pick from a
library of objects (trees, buildings, signs, etc.) and place them on
the map. You can adjust many different parameters about the objects,
making it easy to recreate your flying field. If someone has created
that field in RealFlight, you can always import a field too.
cool rendering feature is the "depth of field" setting. You can set
this so the background is always clear and sharp, or you can set it so
the background is blurry. This setting can be handy to match your eye
sight to the simulation.
The aircraft in RealFlight G5 look, sound and fly spectacular! My first
R/C flight simulator was the old Dave Brown Simulator with the large
metal controller that looked a lot like an old Kraft radio. Things have
come a long ways!
aircraft are VERY detailed. The control surfaces and landing gear all
move just like they would in the real world. Visually the airplanes
look photorealistic and even the shadows imitate real life. There are
several other realistic details that complete the "real" simulation
including the way the engines sound and the smoke trails coming from
the exhaust stacks.
found the flight models to be excellent. The airplanes all flew like I
expected, and exhibited the same flight characteristics of the real
thing. I found the flight models to be accurate at both high and low
speed too. Even taxing the airplanes on grass - they bounced and
required more power, just like the real thing.
G5 lets you set the level of detail that is displayed in both the
airplanes and the scenery. This is nice if you want to bump up
framerate performance, you can set the level of detail as required to
get the performance that you desire. Another nice feature is that the
flight models are always accurate, even when the frame rate is down.
thing I think is really cool about RealFlight G5 is that you can fly
airplanes before you build them. Take the V-22 Titltrotor for example.
Building a V-22 would take probably take years, but you can fly it in
less than 5 minutes in RealFlight G5. Oh yea, and when you accidentally
let terra firma meet the the rotors, err propellers - it won't cost a
couple hundred bucks or more.
out the realistic looking rotor blades. At low speed (below) they look
just as if they would in real life. Bump the throttle up and the visual
model changes (above).
Ultimate is fun to fly and will do just about any trick in the book too.
can see the complete list of over 75 airplanes and helicopters that
comes with RealFlight G5 HERE.
In addition you can also purchase expansion packs to add even more
airplanes. Great Planes doesn't publish much information on their
expansion packs, but you can see some information on them HERE.
If you want to tweak any of the airplanes, or even create your own you
can do that in the easy to use aircraft editor.
Multiplayer and Combat
version of RealFlight has Multiplayer and Combat flying including
Streamer Cutting, Paintball, Rocket Launching and Machine Guns! When
tired of flying around the patch by yourself, you can log in to the
mulitplayer mode and have some fun. This is very addictive and very
fun! I would recommend a headset or microphone for the most enjoyment,
this will allow you to real-time chat with your friends, err opponents.
being able to fire rockets off a P-51 clearly brings this part of
RealFlight G5 into the "game" category, I think it adds a great new
dimension to the software. Within seconds I can go from doing some
serious hover training to adrenaline pumping fun with multiplayer
combat. Combat is a lot harder than in looks too! Be prepared to push
the reset button allot
your first few times in the combat sessions. These guys are serious!
have the option of joining an open session over the Internet or even
hosting your own session. You can password protect your sessions, or
you can leave them open to everyone. On a weekend night, if you host a
combat session - chances are you will have 6 or 8 fellow pilots join
you within a few minutes. There is also the option to join in a
multiplayer session via a LAN network. The multiplayer over the
Internet works great. There were a few times that the game would "lag",
but only enough to be slightly annoying.
G5 has a built in targeting system that will show you where the
opponent that you have targeted is. To change the person that you have
targeted, press the up and down arrows. To see a list of other keyboard
commands at any time in RealFlight G5 hit the "H" key. You can choose
from several views, including the in-cockpit view. RealFlight has
detailed a few of the airplanes to make it feel like you are sitting in
the real thing.
multiplayer aspect quickly became my favorite part of RealFlight G5.
You can even personalize your name with your "pilots license" and
select an avatar. I really liked that multiplayer wasn't just buzzing
around in W.W.II planes. You can also shoot paintballs with 3D foamies
or do streamer cutting with W.W.I biplanes and anything in the middle.
RealFlight G5 also gives you a variety of places to fly too from the
construction site to the boneyard. You can even fly at night! So when
you venture into the Multiplayer Menu, make sure your refreshments are
well stocked - you'll be addicted for a long time!
some hours on the simulator can really payoff at the field. RealFlight
G5 has some specific training modes that work great. When I first tried
the helicopter and airplane hover trainer, I thought it was really
annoying. If you get just a tiny bit out of the orange circle on the
ground the model crumbles as if hit by a giant invisible hammer. Push
the reset button and you're back in the center of the circle hovering.
After working on my skills for a few minutes I saw that because the
model crashes, it forces you to try harder to stay in the circle.
cool feature is the ability to put certain channels on "autopilot".
This allows you to concentrate on one or two channels at a time, and
you can add more channels later. This technique works very well and is
the same approach I use when teaching new R/C pilots.
addition to the hover training, there is also takeoff and landing
training. In this mode the simulator adds some visual cues to help you
out in the pattern.
think RealFlight G5 is a great product. It covers all the bases from
serious training to just pure fun. Excellent graphics and realistic
flight models make this a very real simulator. The planes are very
detailed and have great effects like smoke trails from the engine.
RealFlight G5 has several features to make the flying fields very
realistic including depth-of-field, wind, turbulence and several other
As an added bonus, Great Planes included the
InterLink cable so you can use your actual transmitter to fly the
simulation. The InterLink cable will work with a square Futaba and a JR
radio trainer port.
I was surprised to see that you can run this
software on slower computers. While having a super-monster gaming
computer allows you to use more of the visual features, you can also
turn these features down or off to allow you to run this software on a
RealFlight G5 is sold as a package with a
controller or you can purchase an upgrade from an earlier version of
RealFlight. You can also purchase expansion packs that will add to the
75+ pre-installed airplanes and helicopters.
I was very impressed with the whole
RealFlight G5 package. The software installed easy, and was intuitive
to use. The simulation is very realistic and the airplanes fly very
close to their real counterparts. RealFlight G5 is a great tool for
sharpening your flying skills and it's a lot of fun too!
RealFlight G5 :
Distributed exclusively by Great Planes Model Distributors
The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.