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Sully's Flight on the iPhone

Mel Martin

The flight simulator X-Plane is generally acknowledged to be among the best on either a Mac or a PC. Surprisingly, X-Plane [App Store link] made it to the iPhone as one of the first apps available.

That was quite an accomplishment, and while the iPhone version is not as sophisticated as its big brother, it has a lot of the accurate flight physics bundled in to give you a pretty compelling flight simulator experience on your iPhone or iPod touch.

Now, Laminar Research has done it again, bringing a simulation of Chesley Sullenberger's January 15th USAirways landing in the Hudson River saving all the passengers and crews from what could have been a very deadly accident.

You can relive the experience with Sully's Flight [App Store link, U.S. $0.99] and you don't have to even have X-Plane installed to run it.

You start out on Runway 4 at LaGuardia Airport, in similar weather conditions to the real event. You take off, and to follow the original flight path, there are rectangular hoops displayed for you to fly through. To make the sim even more realistic, you get the actual air traffic communication with the stricken airliner. It gives you an appreciation for just how cool Sullenberger was that day, matter-of-factly telling air traffic control he wouldn't be trying to make a landing at another airport, but was going to land in the Hudson River instead.

I've tried the sim a few times, and pretty consistently I land too fast... I need more work on flaps and the aircraft speed when I get closer to the water.

Normally, I might say a game like this is in questionable taste, but it is more a simulation than a game, and, of course, no one was seriously hurt in real life. It would be good to know something about flying before trying this app, because with no engines the plane goes down pretty rapidly. The average person trying it won't be able to escape the physics of the simulation, so if you're looking for a full flight sim, this is not for you.

Like all X-Plane products, there will likely be some updates, but I did not see any bugs when running the sim. And remember, Sully's Flight is not a standard flying game. No matter what you do, you will hit the birds, and your engine will fail, so don't plan on just flying around Manhattan.

Gallery: Sully's Flight screen shots | 3 Photos

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