"X-Plane is the world's most comprehensive, powerful flight simulator, and has the most realistic flight model available for personal computers."
Ask X-Plane users what is X-Plane, and each will come up with a different definition. Suffice to say that X-Plane is not a Microsoft Flight Simulator or Terminal Reality Fly!. It has very unique features and strengths not found in any other general aviation simulation. It also has its own special share of assorted warts.
To learn more, see the X-Plane description page.
X-Plane Classic is the name given to the last 3.x version from Laminar. Back in version 3, X-Plane did not support textured graphics and required no special video hardware to run. Version 4 introduced textured graphics and required users to have a compatible OpenGL hardware accelerated 3D video card.
X-Plane v3.x has since been referred to as X-Plane Classic; it is no longer available from Laminar Research. The last version released was Classic-5. It was included on the 5.52/5.54 Xicat CD (which also serves as its full-version key).
Classic has not been updated except for a few minor bug fixes after v4.2 and is no longer supported by Laminar. It may be of interest to those who wish to run the older version of X-Plane on old machines like Pentium 120's or even 466 DX PC's.
X-Plane Classic in many ways represent the best of X-Plane to many old X-Plane hands. It is viewed with nostalgic and many have very fond memories of those early times of the young X-Plane.
It is always a great idea to try before you buy and X-Plane supports this fully. You can download the latest demo for X-Plane from the X-Plane download page.
The demo version is the same as the full upgrade version for existing X-Plane customers. The full upgrade version includes all the latest X-Plane software, the latest aircraft and terrain for the greater Los Angeles area. When this full upgrade version is used without a valid X-Plane CD, the software reverts to demo mode.
X-Plane provides excellent and smooth framerate on the standard machines of today. In other words, if your PC is capable of running FS2002 or FS2004, it should also be more than capable to run X-Plane. Provided of course you have OpenGL support for your video driver (MSFS uses the Microsoft DirectX/Direct3D standard instead).
For detailed, current hardware requirements and a list of recommended video hardware, see the X-Plane system requirements page.
The X-Plane full download is simply a compressed archive of the X-Plane directory tree. Open it with Stuffit Expander on the Mac; just run it on a PC. Expand it to wherever you have space. On a PC, in the Program Files folder is the recommended location. You'll need upwards of 500MB of HD space (as of version 8.00).
When the X-Plane CD is not detected, the X-Plane software reverts into demo mode. In demo mode the following restrictions apply:
There are no other limits. After 6 minutes of joystick flight, you can still fly X-Plane using the various auto pilots. (Note that the "click the mouse in the windscreen" mode is also considered joystick input and is also disabled after 6 minutes.) You can also download many of the available custom aircraft designed by freeware designers and use that. However, any custom scenery that is outside the default scenery area can not be used.
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