Google Earth Flight Simulator Controls

By Xah Lee. Date:

Google Earth has a flight simulator built-in. It offers 2 planes: jet fighter F-16, and a propeller plane Cirrus SR22.

To begin to fly from a airstrip, hold ⇞ Page Up to increase thrust, and when the jet is fast enough (wait for few secs), press to lift off. Then, click mouse left button to activate mouse control. Once the mouse control is active, moving your mouse controls your flight.

If you haven't used a flight simulator before, it takes some practice to not crash.

google earth flight simulator hud
Google Earth Flight Simulator HUD. The left bar is speed (in knots/h), right bar is altitude (in meters; the number above is speed of altitude change). Top is compass. (you might need to adjust your window size to see it). Middle tells your pitch angle and roll.

More Fine Controls

If you are not a flight simulator fanatic, you probably won't need to use any of the following, except the ⇞ Page Up for initial trust for liftoff.

Increase Thrust⇞ Page Up
Decrease Thrust⇟ Page Down
Left Brake,
Right Brake.
Elevator Push
Elevator Pull
Rudder Left⇧ Shift+
Rudder Right⇧ Shift+
Center Aileron and Rudderc
Extend or Retract Landing Gearg
Toggle HUD on/offh
Increase Flapsf or ]
Decrease Flaps⇧ Shift+f】 or [
Rotate Viewpoint (fast)Ctrl+‹arrows›
Rotate Viewpoint (slow) Ctrl+‹arrows›
airplane stabilizer-s
Airplane stabilizer: rudder, elevator.

Traveling Around the Globe by Plane

If you are thinking about exploring the world in Google Earth by plane, it's not good, because it's too slow. e.g. from San Francisco to New York takes 4 hours, even with F16.

On the other hand, directly manipulate the earth gets you around much faster, as if by magic. And you can zoom in, change angle, orientation, altitude, extremely fast. (See: Google Earth Mouse Navigation and Keys)

Also, if you fly, it's rather quite hard to control, especially when you want to change direction. Try flying from San Francisco to LA. You'll probably get lost, if you manage not to crash 50 times!