May 26, 2018
Archives  Reviews  Fly!  

Publisher: Gathering of Developers    Genre: Flight Sim
Min OS X: Not Supported    CPU: 603 @ 200 MHz    RAM: 32 MB    Hard Disk: 400 MB    4x CD-ROM    Graphics: 800x600 @ 16-bit

January 25, 2000 | Dan Radmacher

Click to enlarge
Fly! is simply the best general aviation simulator for the Mac with an affordable price tag. Of course, it is also currently the only general aviation simulator for the Mac with an affordable price tag.

Even so, it has features that would set it apart even in a crowded field. On the PC side, it rivals Microsoft's mainstay Flight Simulator 98. Unfortunately, the current release of Fly! is riddled with bugs that range from annoying to debilitating. And, apparently because of the agreement with airplane manufacturers that allowed it to reproduce cockpits and systems with such fidelity, damage modeling simply does not exist in Fly! At all.

If you slam the Hawker 800XP jet into the ground at nearly the speed of sound, it will simply hit the ground, and fall over, often landing on its wheels. Engine shut-down is the only indication that you've done something bad. Oh, and a little message in the corner that says, "Excessive Positive G Load."

Similarly, the only way you know if a landing was too hard is if the engines shut down.

Apparently, the manufacturers didn't want to turn off potential customers with depictions of their airplanes exploding on impact or the landing gear snapping off on an extra hard landing.

Despite these shortcomings, Fly! offers a more complete flying experience than any simulator I've ever seen. Fly! models the cockpits of its five airplanes in exacting detail. All the instrumentation works. Every switch does what it is supposed to do. This gives Fly! an unprecedented feel of reality and complexity.

Starting the engines in the Hawker is extremely complicated and time consuming. You must deal with low-pressure fuel cocks, high-pressure cocks, AC inverters, air valves, etc., all the while switching between the roof panel and the center pedestal. Alternately, you can simply press "E," and the computer will go through the start-up sequence for you.

Fly! comes with a 280-page manual. I recommend a thorough reading if you want to have any idea what you're doing.

If you have trouble with delayed gratification, Fly! includes a "Fly Now" feature with a good selection of prepared scenarios that place you in the different aircraft in different situations in different cities. Some of these are simple, putting you on the runway at Dulles, or on approach into San Francisco International. Some are more interesting. In one, you attempt to land on the Golden Gate Bridge. In another, called "Escape from New York," you are in a Cessna 172 parked on top of the World Trade Center, with very little fuel. You take off from there (well, actually, you drop off there into a steep dive until you pick up enough speed to actually fly) and try to land at an airport outside of Manhattan before you run out of gas.

Fly! is a pretty simulator, all the way around. The scenery is fantastic, especially in the five high-detail cities: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas and Los Angeles. Mountains, rivers and the oceans all look good, though they look much better in the high resolution areas. Clouds are stunning. They are volumetric, which means they flow and slither by the window as you pass through them, almost exactly like real clouds.

The various cockpits and interiors of the planes look like the real thing. Complex cockpits, like the Beech King Air B2000, take up acres of screen space, requiring you to shift between the roof panel, the main cockpit panel, the central console, and the side panels. If you look behind you, you'll see those volumetric clouds outside the passengers' windows.


Archives  Reviews  Fly!