GEFS is a free, online flight simulator based on Google Earth.
Whether you are a licensed pilot practicing VFR, an aviation enthusiast
or just looking for some fun flying a plane in beautiful sceneries, you can enjoy GEFS quickly, directly from your web browser.
built on Google Earth: worldwide photo-realistic sceneries
simulate fixed wing aircraft, helicopter, paraglider and hot air balloon
supports joystick control
realistic flight model (lifting-line theory)
real-time weather, dynamic wind lift
multiplayer: fly and chat with other pilots across the globe
over 30,000 runways and global airspace map
To use this flight simulator, you will have to install the Google Earth
plug-in. The installation should begin automatically as the game
For sound to be enabled, the Flash player must be installed too, but you should already have it.
Finally, if you want to play using a Joystick, you will have to install a browser extension: more details here.
How to control the flight simulator?
The option bar, at the bottom of the game screen, is the main way to interact with the flight simulator:
The first three yellow button are used to choose your aircraft, location and camera mode.
The "options" button opens the configuration window: use it to set
your pilot callsign, configure controls, weather preferences, etc.
The "pause", "mute" and "reset" buttons respectively pause the game, mute the sound or reset your flight to the last state.
The "talk" button shows an input field to type a chat message. (Chat is disabled by default, enable it from the option panel)
Arrows up & down: tilt the aircraft
Arrow left & right: roll the aircraft (mixed with yaw by default but can be configured)
<Enter> to re-center keyboard control input
A & D: steer the aircraft (Yaw) (only effective when roll/yaw mixing is disabled)
You can reconfigure every axis and buttons of the joystick from the "option" panel.
All other keyboard controls are the same
Helicopters are by definition much more difficult to fly than
airplanes. The basic principle is to play with collective pitch (going
up and down), cyclic pitch (going forward, backward, right and left) and
anti-torque control (rotation/yaw).
By default, mouse and keyboard controls are mixing roll and yaw
(aileron and rudder). This has to be disabled (in configuration panel)
in order to properly fly the helicopter.
Idealy, you would have to use a joystick to be accurate enough with the
helicopter but the mouse should be enough for a start.
In GEFS, the collective pitch is controled using the same input as the
throttle for airplanes: if you press '+' several times, the helicopter
will lift-off, if you press '-' it will go down.
Cyclic pitch can be controled using the arrow keys or the mouse.
When roll/yaw mixing is disabled, use the rudder keys (default are keys
A & D) for the anti-torque (yaw).
The rest is just practice and finesse.
Flying Major Tom:
Major Tom is probably the easiest and most relaxing way of flying in
GEFS. With just two keys you can take to the skies and look down at the
The 'up' arrow key fires the burner and when air is hot enough the
balloon will take-off.
The 'down' arrow key open the parachute vent to release some air and
initiate a descent.
To navigate, you can try to climb to different altitudes and reach
different direction and speed of wind.
Five cameras are available. You can choose between these five modes
from the option bar or by pressing "C" to cycle through all modes.
Follow: the camera follows the plane at a distance.
Cockpit: the camera gives a view from the pilot seat.
Cockpit-less: same as "cockpit" but without visible 3D model.
Chase: the camera is static but look at the plane.
Free: this is the default Google Earth camera (uses default controls).
In "Follow" and "Cockpit" mode, you can left-click and drag your mouse to change the camera orientation.
In "Follow" mode, you can right-click and drag to set the camera's zoom factor/distance.
When in "Free" mode, you can position the camera to a location you like
and press <Tab> to place the aircraft where the camera is.
Where can I fly?
You can pick a preset destination from the option bar.
The location selector also offer a searh input field in which you
can type any destination. The aircraft will be positioned at the chosen
place and at an altitude of 1000 feet.
The last (and best?) way is to use the in-game map to fly from over 30,000 runways in the world or anywhere else you may choose.
Open the map using the "map" button in the option bar.
Two types of map are available: standard and aeronautical.
Every coloured dot marks a runway threshold. You can click on these
dots to open an info balloon in which you can see two links to "take-off
from" or "fly by" the clicked runway. When chosing "take-off from", the
aircraft should be positioned on the threshold and facing the runway. note: due to some imprecision in the collected data, this is not always true (especially for small airfields).
Dots are colour coded depending on the length of the runway: blue for
major runways (>3,000 ft), green for airfield size runways, yellow
when length is unknown.
A right-click on the map will bring a window to fly to the clicked destination from 4 pre-set altitudes.
In "Aeronautical" mode, the map shows a layer of airspace areas. This overlay has been generated using DAFIF data. While
this can be useful to practice some flight patterns, these data are to
be used with this game only and should not be used for real life flying.
How to improve the graphics (Anti-aliasing):
The Google Earth plugin does not offer any 3D graphic settings but if
your graphic card is recent enough, you can probably force anti-aliasing
from the driver's configuration panel.
Refer to your graphic card manual to know how to access the configuration utility.
From there, you may be able to force anti-aliasing, anisotropic and texture filtering, etc...
How to enable Joystick control: