Hello Holly! Welcome to the forums!
It’s great that you want to surprise your husband and we are here to help you out.
Please bear in mind that I will be giving you a lot of information right now and I know that it’s a lot to chew on and I understand that. Do note that we will be here to help you, answer your questions and advise you the best we can so please don’t be afraid to ask as we try to funnel you through the best options possible for you until we can reach a good conclusion and get you to surprise your husband!
Consoles are not the best option for sims at all, as there are no good sims for that platform. Microsoft Flight Simulator will be released for consoles in the future but that will take a while. Also, that particular sim does not have helicopters yet and that will take a few months until it’s out, unfortunately.
If you are Mac based, you have only one good option, which is X-Plane. That is one of the best sims out there right now and it runs on Macs. May I ask you which Mac you have? Sims are beasts and demand a lot of power from computers. If you have an old Mac, you may not be able to run the sim properly. I would start there: let us know which Mac you have so we can see if X-Plane would work.
Since you said you would be OK with getting a PC, let me tell you that a machine ready for a sim will cost you quite a bit. Around $2000 or more for a good, able computer. The sim would cost around $60, an AW139 would cost about $40 (but the one for X-Plane is not completely finished yet), a good joystick would cost another $300 or so and some good pedals probably around the same amount.
If that is an amount you can spend, I can give you other options as well.
So, there are a couple of things that we need to know first:
- Your Mac version/model
- What’s your budget for such a project
Please note that I am trying to give you some pointers to decent simming material. It’s not cheap/bad quality but it’s not the best of the best, yet it will do its job.
Let’s start with those 2 questions first, shall we?
Thank you very much for stopping by and allowing us to be part of this surprise somehow. I’ll be thrilled to help in any way I possibly can.