Flying the Space Shuttle

I’ve been an avid user of X-Plane for a few years now (since version 5). X-Plane is the world’s most comprehensive, powerful flight simulator, and has the most realistic flight model available for personal computers.

Now I’d always known there were pre-programed scenarios in X-Plane where you could fly the space shuttle into Edwards AFB — final approach, full approach, final re-entry and dum dee dum dum dum the FULL re-entry from orbit to landing.

In the history of Shuttle missions, …the real space shuttle has been hand-flown for the entire re-entry only ONCE, by an ex-marine pilot, as I understand it, who was ready for the ultimate risk and challenge.

Flying a full re-entry takes about 20-30 minutes and covers 5000 miles from the mid Pacific Ocean to Edwards. I’ve probably flown it a dozen times now over the past week… and died everytime! But what fun it is I must say. The closest I’ve come to success was about 100 miles past Edwards. Once you go sub-sonic in the “flying brick,” 100 miles may as well be a million miles… you’re not going to glide 100 miles.

But I’m proud to say that got to actually see Edwards from 80,000 ft. go racing under me at about mach 10.

I’m not affiliated with X-Plane in any way but if you have the system requirements and you enjoy this type of thing, it will be the best $39 USD you’ve spent in a long time.

Now if I could only get Eagle Lander 3D ported to the Mac!

3 thoughts on “Flying the Space Shuttle”

  1. I’ve been a reasonably avid user of (dare I say this in an X-Plane fan’s company?) Microsoft FlightSim and have been meaning to acquire a copy of X-Plane for ages. The ability to fly the shuttle might just push me over the edge.

    Also, I bet you’d love to see Orbiter ported to the Mac too.

  2. I just came across Orbiter yesterday as well. Looks interesting.

    I haven’t used MS Flight Sim so I can’t comment on it from personal experience, only the things I’ve heard –– that the graphics are breathtaking but it leans more towards an entertainment title than accuracy of flight model and physics (like I care when I’m hot-doggin’ around my local airport in an F22 Raptor!). 🙂

  3. Yeah, the flight model stuff isn’t generally as advanced as it is in X-Plane. That said, some model builders seem to have managed to have created some great aircraft with pretty accurate flight models.

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