7 Best FPV Drone Simulators

When you consider which drone simulator to use, you want to choose one that meets your goals. Determining if you want to practice racing drones or train for recreational use is an essential step in making your decision. Keep in mind that some of these simulators offer a more comprehensive experience than others.

Hello folks! My name is Lavelle and I am a licensed drone pilot and a long-time drone enthusiast. For the past ten years, I have been flying my drones for both commercial and recreational purposes. When I started flying ten years ago, I crashed my drone on several occasions. I wish there had been a simulator available for me to practice flying.

In this article, I will go over some reasons why you should consider an FPV drone simulator and I will share with you my list of the best FPV drone simulator applications.

Key Takeaways

  • There are two basic types of drone flight simulators: the racing drone simulator and the professional/recreational flight simulator for users to improve their skills.
  • Look for a simulation program that gives you the most realistic feel and scenarios that helps you train for real-life environments.
  • Consider applications that allow you to customize the modules to simulate your actual drone flying experience.
Do I need FPV goggles to use the FPV drone simulators?

No, you don’t need to have FPV goggles to use the simulators. Some of the drone simulators do offer the option to use FPV goggles, but they are not required for use.

Yes, the inexpensive drone simulators have a lot of value to offer you. These simulators have good training modules and allow you to experience realistic training environments.

You can look in the Google Play Store or Mac/Apple App Store for the FPV drone simulation applications. You can also do an online search to find some of the simulation applications.

What to Look for in a Drone Simulator

No one wants to damage their drone or damage anyone else’s property. More importantly, no one wants to injure themselves or others while learning how to fly a drone. For these reasons, drone simulator applications are perfect for practice flying. 

Here are some features that you should look for in one.

  • Realistic Flying Experience: The biggest quality that I suggest you look for is a realistic flying experience. The simulator should allow you to maneuver as you would when flying your actual drone. You should gain new skills that help you navigate the air more safely and efficiently.
  • Good Graphics: You also want to look for a good graphic representation of real-life scenarios in your drone simulator. You should be able to maneuver around flying birds, buildings, objects, etc. so that you gain skills that help you avoid crashes. Simulators with wind and adverse condition graphics are also great to use and experience.
  • Training Tools: Simulators are great training tools. You should look for a simulator that offers training modules that help enhance your ability as a drone pilot.
  • Interactive Learning Modules: Lastly, FPV drone simulators are so much fun! You can fully engage the application and make mistakes without the same consequences of making those mistakes with your actual drone. Many of the simulation applications are interactive and there are even some that give you a full 3D experience.

The 7 Best FPV Drone Simulators Reviewed

Here are some FPV drone simulator applications that I’ve come across that are fun, developmental, and have a great user interactive experience.

1. DRL Sim 3.0 Drone Racing Simulator (Best Overall)

  • Best Use: FPV Racing
  • Estimated Cost: $10
  • Supported Devices: Windows/Mac

My top choice is the DRL Sim 3.0 Simulator. This application offers a real-life drone experience. It is an excellent simulator with advanced physics and it is highly customizable. The practice environment options in this app are remarkable and help you to learn how to race drones at a high level.

One of the best things about this simulator is how realistic the race courses are. You can race against others and you can take advantage of the excellent tutorials. The app also has excellent aerodynamics that simulates an actual drone racing experience.

The thing that I like about this app is that it is really helpful in preparing drone racers for real-time competition. The courses available in the simulation are very realistic and the design of the race courses along with the graphic presentations are ideal for learning to race drones.

My only concern about this program is that with all of its real-life feel, it is limited to helping you learn how to race. It would be nice if they incorporated a module geared to just drone flying in general.

My Verdict: This is the best racing simulator on the market. Its realistic feel, excellent graphics, and advanced options give users a full training experience.

2. FPV Free Rider (Best Multi-Platform)

  • Best Use: FPV Racing
  • Estimated Cost: $5
  • Supported Devices: Windows/Mac/Linux

The number two choice for a full FPV drone simulation experience is the FPV Free Rider application.

This app has some great features including the ability to run on older platforms like Linux. It also has a line-of-sight mode that helps you practice keeping your drone within your view at all times.

The simulator is also customizable, allowing you to control responsiveness, drone size, and camera functions. One of the things I like most about this program is the low cost. Users can try this out without a major investment and the app gives you a great FPV adventure.

The main drawback of this app is that it takes a little time to learn how to use and some of the scenarios are not relevant. Users have to focus on learning how to control the simulator before fully enjoying the experience.

My Verdict: This application is the best option to get started using an FPV simulator with low investment and it provides good simulation exercises. The graphics on the app are fairly basic but they are good enough to get a good feel for racing.

3. FPV Air 2 (Best Racing Scenarios)

  • Best Use: FPV Racing
  • Estimated Cost: $5
  • Supported Devices: Windows

My next choice is the FPV Air 2 application. It is a good option for overall user experience and cost that allows you to play against others while learning to race. The graphics on this application are pretty good and give you a fairly good real-life view when practicing.

This simulator lets you change the settings to replicate the drone you have or will purchase and offers you a good training experience. The multiplayer mode is also useful, allowing you to race against others as you would in an actual drone race.

I also like the graphics on the simulator. They are very life-like and produce a realistic feeling to the simulation activities.

But if you want a more comprehensive feeling, then the graphics on this app might not suit your needs: the graphics are quite basic. The program is also only available to Windows PC users.

My Verdict: At the low cost, this application is a good choice. The training experience is valuable and the opportunity to race against others is fun and engaging.

4. Lift Off by Immersion RC (Best Gaming)

  • Best Use: FPV Racing
  • Estimated Cost: $20
  • Supported Devices: Windows/Mac

Next up on my list is Lift Off by Immersion RC. This simulator is the right choice for getting a true racing feel. It has good graphics and is easily customizable based on the drone you have or plan to purchase. I also like the fact that you can use FPV goggles.

The cost is relatively inexpensive and it is much lower than the cost of crashing a drone. The app is also easy to use and is realistic enough to give you some good training sessions. The application is available on Windows PC and Mac systems.

I like the customization component of this simulator. With its great graphic design and FPV feature, this simulator allows you to easily build a drone in the simulator that is almost identical to the one you own or will purchase.

Unfortunately, it feels more like a game than a pure simulation training program. While it is fairly realistic, it just doesn’t give the true training experience that the other applications provide.

My Verdict: This is a good choice for users who are more interested in fun than substance. You can still learn some good flying skills but you have to focus more on the movements than the racing graphics.

5. droneSimPro Drone Flight Simulator (Best Graphics)

  • Best Use: Commercial/Recreational
  • Estimated Cost: $30
  • Supported Devices: Windows/Mac

As we go down my list, we come to the first commercial or professional drone simulator. The droneSimPro is a great simulation package that has an actual engine and provides a good, realistic flight training experience.

The cost of this application is also a good value for what you get with the program. The flight scenarios are very realistic and you can customize the environments you fly in. 

My favorite thing about this application is that you can recreate many real-life environments such as flying over burning buildings or flying over buildings to conduct inspections. 

I have a couple of concerns with this program. Firstly, there are only two drone types that can be used in the simulator, the DJI Phantom 2 and 3 models. This is beneficial if you fly these drones, however, if you fly a different type of drone, you won’t get direct experience with your drone model. 

Secondly, there is a limited number of controllers that you can use with the application. This limits your ability to take advantage of all the training components on the application unless you have a fully compatible controller.

My Verdict: For a realistic training program, this is a great choice. While it’s limited in the options you can choose from, it does give you an excellent training experience and you can train in some good environments. 

6. RealFlight RF 9.5 Drone Simulator (Best Training Modules)

  • Best Use: Commercial/Recreational
  • Estimated Cost: $100
  • Supported Devices: Windows

The number six choice on my list is another professional application. The RealFlight RF 9.5 offers some remarkable physics in the simulation experience. There is a wide selection of scenarios to choose from and the training module is excellent.

This simulator allows you to take challenges and engage in lessons that are intuitive and fun to use. Besides the excellent flight training offered in the application, you also get to practice photography and videography techniques. 

Another great benefit of this application is the ability to use a radio controller. This option gives you the chance to practice with your actual flight controller and not just with a gaming controller. 

The main drawback of this application is the hefty cost. It is an expensive option primarily because of the many options you have with the program. Also, this simulator is only usable on a Windows PC device. 

My Verdict: This is an expensive application that has some excellent training scenarios and some nice advanced options. The lessons are realistic and you get a good feel for flying when using this program.

7. DJI Drone Simulator (Best Professional Training)

  • Best Use: Commercial/Recreational
  • Estimated Cost: $1350
  • Supported Devices: Windows

The last choice on my list is the DJI Drone Simulator. You already know that I’m a DJI owner and have a huge amount of respect for the DJI brand. However, for simulation purposes, this application is limited.

There are some great features in this application. It is designed for professional drone operators and gives drone pilots a great training experience. If DJI is your brand of choice and you want to become a professional/commercial pilot, then this is a great option for you. I’ve personally invested in this program and it’s remarkable.

The simulator has a real, true-to-life feel. It’s great for getting used to operating a professional drone. It gets you about as close to real flying as you can get without using an actual DJI drone. The application also gives you many DJI drone models to choose from while practicing.

The elephant in the room with this application is the ultra-expensive price tag. Additionally, the simulator is only usable with DJI drones. The app is also geared toward commercial pilots. Therefore, if you want to be a recreational user only, this option may not be your top choice.

My Verdict: If enterprise operations are your goal, this is the best option for you. The application helps you master the operation of DJI drones and gives you a great training experience. It does come at an expensive price point and is a major investment. 

Final Thoughts

Learning how to fly a drone for the first time can be costly! To avoid crashing and possibly fatally damaging your first drone, consider turning to FPV drone simulators. A simulator gives you the ability to practice flying a drone from the first-person view without worrying about damaging your drone or causing injury to anyone.

Keep in mind that some of the programs have advanced flight physics and real-life scenarios and some are more of a gaming practice environment.

But whatever your needs are, there is a simulator that can help you out. Hopefully, this article gave you some good information to consider as you begin your flying journey.

Do you have experience with a flight simulator that you’d like to share with us? Leave your comments below or feel free to ask a question. I will do my best to respond to you as soon as possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *