X-Plane 10 vs Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX) for Cessna 172 Private Pilot Training

I’m trying to get really comfortable with the cockpit of a Cessna 172 before I do real flight training.

The 2 most popular products are: X-Plane 10 and Microsoft Flight Simulator X (aka FSX). I own both and have been going back and forth between them.

X-Plane 10:


  • Visuals: Better visualizations and scenery, and graphics engine
  • OS Compatibility: Works on Windows, OSX and Linux
  • Flight Characteristics: More realistic flight controls and flight models
  • Networking: networking computers is integrated into X-Plane – can use 2nd computer as an instructor or display for other gauges or scenery (though a separate license is required per computer)


  • GPS: Garmin 430 only – with limited, “direct to” functionality
  • Lessons: Lack of flight training material integrated within X-Plane, though they have a website with lessons
  • Start Up time: Slow start up –  usually 90 seconds or so.
  • ATC: VFR ATC doesnt work very well, IFR is suppsed to be OK.
  • WideScreen – Multi Monitors: Multiple monitor layout is limited – requires more separate computers other monitors in most cases
  • Price: More pricey ($69 per computer license)

Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX):


  • Lessons: Included flight lessons for VFR, IFR and Commercial pilot are decent and a good way to get familiar with flying
  • GPS: Both a Garmin 530 or G1000 equipped Cessna’s are included, Though they both have limited functionality. Flight Plan is entered via  menus, not manual on the GPS, unless it is a “Direct to” point.
  • Addons: Many more addons are available for FSX, since it have been around since 2006.
  • Price: Cheap ($18 on amazon.com)
  • Widescreen – multi monitor: Much easier to move around instruments and scenery to other screens attached to same computer, though 2D panel disappears when with triple monitor widescreen.
  • Automated ATC: ATC works for both VFR and IFR, and gives you some exposure to the phraseology.
  • ATC Addon: VATSIM seems to work better – via squawkbox


  • Software Improvements: Microsoft has discontinued the product, so no more patches or updates
  • More Addons Requires: FSUIPC4 required to connector most other apps, like Plan-G3, ForeFlight, etc.

Here is another persons comparison discussion:X-Plane 9 and 10 vs. Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX) Comparison Video



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