The best helicopter simulator (2019 edition)

I’ll admit it. This article is long overdue.

Our original “best helicopter simulator” goes back to 2016 . A lot has changed since then. Some sims have disappeared, others have evolved and a new one (which we will obviously not include in the list) is still in the making.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I am a pure beginner in any flight sim…would x plane 11 helicoptor sim be too difficult to start with, bearing in mind this sim is your choice to use? Thank you

Hi @Jingles. It wouldn’t. It can be a bit overwhelming at first as you try to grasp things but that’s just flight simulators in general. You have a great community to help you out. Both here and in our Facebook Group, you’ll have folks to help and guide you through your first steps.

I fly DCS and keep thinking about having a go with X-plane.
With DCS, there’s a mission and purpose to the flight. What does X-plane have regarding missions?


It doesn’t, really. X-Plane is mostly about flying, not really about missions. It has a few tutorials (a sort of flight school) but the whole concept of the sim is to just fly aircraft.

Thanks for the reply.
This is what I find confusing with xplane, if a helicopter is search and rescue, fire control, or transport with hoist, can any of these be used in the sim?

You can sling cargo with some limitations.

Although it’s a flight simulation game, X-Plane was built to be more of an aid for training procedures by its author (he actually did that as there was no sim out there that, according to him, could help him at the time).

The X-Trident Bell 412 also allows you to hoist people but that’s specific to this helicopter.

There are plugins to help you sling objects and it even simulates some firefighting but it’s quite limited.

If you are looking for goals, the only actual goals in X-Plane is to fly aircraft. Just that. The rest, if you need it, is left to your imagination.

Very interested reading.
About flyinside, I do not like their sim for now, but their xplane addon was amazing. And for some reason, I have better fps using xplane in VR with flyinside than with the native xplane VR.
I have a long way to go in helicopter training though, and I’ll check your articles for that…

The problem with DCS is that we are carrying ghosts :slight_smile:
I have been in a mission to go save an injured soldier. Once I got there and they have put the soldier in my helicopter, I turned around and… no, nobody in the back of my helicopter :slight_smile:

Yeah that’s a problem with most sims, really. It would be cool to have something more immersive. Which we may be getting in the future, with Airland, actually!

Vehicle Simulator by Ilan Papini. Vehicle Simulator - The New Simulation Experience
I played with the Jetranger in the demo and the aerodynamics seem top-notch, not surprisingly for a product that has been updated continuously for 20 years or more.