Are you on the lookout for the best airplane games on PC? It's a wide-ranging subject, so it can be difficult to choose just one if you're seeking a list of the top flight simulators.  To assist you in narrowing down your options and selecting something that caters to your preferences, we've compiled a list of some of the best airplane games on PC in 2023, representing all of the various niches, including several free PC games.

Whether you want to fly through the air gracefully for hours, settle in for a cozy evening flying a jumbo jet from New York to Las Vegas, or engage in a gritty WW2 dogfight, there is something for everyone. As with many simulation-based genres, such as submarine games, locating and running the classics on modern PCs can be difficult, so we've made an effort to include mostly recent entries for ease of access.

1. Microsoft Flight Simulator

If you're interested in flying and sightseeing from above, Microsoft Flight Simulator is perfect for you. However, it requires a high-end computer to run smoothly, and even then, you may need to lower some of the settings. Many people build custom computers with the latest CPUs just to play this game, and even then, they may need to lower the settings to make it playable. To have an authentic experience, you'll need expensive peripherals. Unfortunately, the Marketplace for DLC is buggy, and it's common for purchases to be deducted from your wallet but not show up in the game, making it a risky gamble.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 Plane Games
Microsoft Flight Simulator

If you have lots of free time and money to spend on hardware, this game can be an incredible experience. It features a 1x1 map of the entire world and with a good VR supported aircraft, it can be almost as beautiful and thrilling as real flying. However, some of the DLC aircraft may not live up to expectations. The default scenery is excellent, and some of the add-ons greatly enhance the sense of a "living" world around you. The graphics are far ahead of X-Plane, although X-Plane has better flight dynamics. The game requires a lot of data, and the initial 180 GB installation is just the beginning; the DLC adds up quickly. Some people complain about the file size, but it's necessary for all of the realism.

2. IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad

IL-2 Sturmovik is the ultimate WW2 game for airplane enthusiasts. Although it is a solid flight simulator, it is also user-friendly, making it accessible to beginners. The latest version has realistic graphics and damage modeling, which make it even more immersive. The game includes small details, such as water streaming over the canopy when flying through clouds, or enemies flying towards the sun to make you lose track of them, which enhance the experience of being in the cockpit of a WW2 fighter. The game has a dedicated multiplayer community of dogfighters, so finding a match is not difficult.

Best Plane Games Il 2 Sturmovik Battle Of Stalingr
IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad

3. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown may have realistic graphics, but its gameplay and storyline are far from realistic. The plot is confusing, making sense only if you are a long-time follower of the series, but the game makes up for it with its fast-paced and exciting dogfighting. Bandai Namco has made sure that the campaign missions are as thrilling as possible, including canyon battles, lightning storm raids, and dramatic flybys amidst collapsing structures. If you enjoy arcade-style plane games and don't mind some absurdity, then Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown might be worth considering.

Plane Games Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown

4. Arma 3

Arma 3 is a different kind of combat plane game compared to others on the list, as it allows players to fly fighter jets and provide support on the battlefield by strafing heavy tanks and performing airstrikes. The depth of mechanics and flight physics is not as intense as some of the more hardcore flying games, but there is still room for players to improve their skills.

Best Plane Games Arma 3
Arma 3

Air-to-air combat is primarily about managing position and utilizing various missiles to take down targets from above the battlefield. Air-to-ground aircraft play a significant role in the game, and pilots with skills in modern technology such as laser-guided missiles and anti-armour cannons are vital for success. The game also features a wide range of helicopters, giving players the option to switch things up from airplanes.

5. X-Plane 11

X-Plane 11 is an updated version of FSX that features better graphics, cockpit designs, and a more user-friendly menu system that avoids any frustration during your first takeoff attempts.

Plane Games X Plane 11
X-Plane 11

Furthermore, there are numerous features to appreciate in X-Plane 11 even before taking off, such as the captivating scene of ground support vehicles moving around the airport. However, it is during the actual flight that X-Plane 11 really shines, particularly when piloting light aircraft as the simulator accurately replicates every bump and idiosyncrasy of the plane's flight performance.

6. Superflight

Although it may seem strange to include Superflight on a list of plane games since it doesn't actually feature planes, it's worth mentioning because of how fantastic it feels to fly in the game. Despite the fact that it revolves around flying down a dangerous mountain in a wingsuit and earning points by flying close to rock formations, Superflight is one of the most relaxing games available. Additionally, since each level is randomly generated, there is always a feeling of exploration, and if you discover a particularly interesting level, you can save it and invite your friends to compete against your score.

Plane Games Superflight

7. Bomber Crew

Bomber Crew is a game where you take on the role of the crew leader of a WW2 bomber. Your mission is to select and manage your crew, and lead them through bombing raids while keeping casualties to a minimum. The gameplay involves managing the positions of each crew member, fighting against enemy fighter planes, and ensuring that you're flying at the right altitude and direction. If you make a small mistake in this strategy game, it can result in the death of your crew members, despite the game's cheerful appearance.

Plane Games Bomber Crew
Bomber Crew

8. Sky Rogue

Sky Rogue is an arcade-style plane game that disregards realism to offer a thrilling experience. The game has a neon aesthetic and appears to be simple, but it offers a lot of depth. Prior to each procedurally generated mission, you will select your jet, modify the weapon system, and choose a livery. Then you'll zoom around the level and obliterate everything in sight. Sky Rogue features 12 jets and over 30 weapons, providing endless opportunities to destroy enemy planes, battleships, and tanks.

Plane Games Rogue Sky
Sky Rogue

9. Star Wars: Squadrons

Star Wars: Squadrons is a flying game with arcade-style gameplay that heavily focuses on intense dogfighting, epic space battles, and has an abundance of charm. The game allows players to take down enemies with ease and manage their power distribution, which feels fantastic. While Squadrons is easy to get into, it also offers a relatively high skill ceiling, making it appealing to a broad range of players. The campaign is short but enjoyable, while the multiplayer action is what will keep you playing for months to come. Unfortunately, EA’s post-launch plans are limited to simple cosmetics, which is a disappointment.

Star Wars Squadrons Review 4
Star Wars Squadrons

10. War Thunder

War Thunder has expanded from being an outstanding free-flying game to including tanks and naval battles. However, its original strength lies in its realistic flight physics, extensive selection of authentic planes, and accurate ballistics modeling. Since its launch seven years ago, Gaijin has continuously updated and expanded the game, now offering aircraft from six classes and eight different nations. To excel in the game's multiplayer skirmishes, players must utilize genuine dogfight tactics and maneuvers, such as mastering the Split S to outmaneuver inexperienced opponents.

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War Thunder

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