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Flying-Model-Simulator, also known as Flying Model Simulator or FMS is a freeware program written in 2000 by German programmers Roman and Michael Möller.
It has since gone on to become one of the most popular downloads related to radio controlled flight. Alpha versions of upgrades are sometimes made available for the benefit of those proficient in computer programming to help sort out bugs, although last update on official site was released in the middle of 2005.
Though not intended as a replacement for actual hands-on training or as a substitute for a more advanced, off-the-shelf simulator, Flying-Model-Simulator is nevertheless an excellent tool for learning the hand–eye coordination necessary to learn how to fly radio controlled aircraft.
A number of sites are devoted to additional models and landscapes for FMS and there are tools and tutorials available so anyone can make their own.
It is possible to use FMS with nothing more than a keyboard, but anything more responsive than a trainer or slow flyer really needs analog control, such as a twin-stick gamepad controller or PC joystick. Many sources, including radio manufacturer Hitec, make cables to interface most brands of R/C transmitters with the program via the buddy box socket and a computer's USB, microphone or serial port. This adds realism as well as useful transmitter features like trims, dual rates and exponential. A limited amount of exponential can be selected in FMS's setup menu, however. Hitec's website markets their interface cable as a direct connection to FMS and includes a download link on their website.
The program's home page includes links to downloads in German, Swedish, Italian, Russian, Danish and French. Several other languages are supported within the program itself as well. The links page gives details of downloadable models, landscapes and sources of transmitter interface leads.
Point of view
In FMS, pilots control the aircraft from the ground, like real radio-controlled aircraft are controlled. When the model is airborne, the "camera" of the simulator shows the aircraft flying from the point of view of the pilot instead of the aircraft itself. Pilots have to use this visual information to control the aircraft, including overcoming control reversal when the model is flying toward the pilot.
Other camera options include a mode that chases the aircraft. While this is not a realistic angle compared to real radio-controlled flight, it does help beginning pilots learn how to control the aircraft and to study how it reacts to the controls. Many commercial simulators feature this option as well.
Types of models
FMS allows users to load aircraft models via a zip file. There are many models available for download both from the home page as well as third-party programmers. Software for creating models is widely available online. Virtually all types of aircraft are represented:
- Single-motor electric
- Single-engine internal combustion
- Multi-engine internal combustion
- Jet aircraft, both commercial and military
- Rc Helicopters
Some rather whimsical models have been designed, such as a flying witch on a broomstick, Mary Poppins with her umbrella, Santa Claus and his sleigh pulled by two reindeer and the flying De Lorean DMC-12 automobile from the Back to the Future movie franchise. The download manager below automatically links to sites which feature models such as these.