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Pro Flight Simulator: What You're Really Getting

39.9k48
Last updated Fri, 29 Apr 2016 16:51:07 GMT
Originally posted on Tue, 21 Feb 2012 10:19:48 GMT

There is a new flight simulation packages that I'm sure thousands of you may have heard.  It goes by the name of Pro Flight Simulator.  Pro Flight Simulator isn't really that new at all, in fact, it's a re-brand of a flight sim package you may have been using for years.

Proflightsim website screenshot

Screenshot from the "Pro Flight Simulator" website.

Screenshot from the "Pro Flight Simulator" website.

Pro Flight Simulator has been hot in the social media - the company promoting and branding this product have run a intense social marketing campaign, have employed article spinning techniques to improve their search engine rankings and have also run regular advertising on many flight simulation websites (including our own).  In fact, we have noticed that the advertisers on our own website are just affiliates for the company branding the product.

You may notice that I don't ever say "developing" the product and only "branding" because that's exactly what's going on here - Pro Flight Simulator is not a new flight simulator, it's simply a re-branded version of a popular free packages you may have heard of called FlightGear.

While this isn't an illegal practice, it has upset many in the flight simulation industry, including the developers of FlightGear themselves.  The reason this isn't illegal is because FlightGear is open-source software under the GNU GPL licence, which allows re-sale of the software.

This is the statement on the official FlightGear Wiki Page regarding the product:

The GNU GPL license, under which FlightGear is released, allows reselling under certain terms. The main issue that FlightGear developers have is the misleading marketing tactics used by pro flight sim that target unsuspecting users who aren't yet familiar with FlightGear. This is primarily an ethical, not a legal issue.

FlightGear also state:

Pro Flight Simulator is a commercial product very heavily based on FlightGear. Investigation by a number of the FlightGear developers has found no difference between this and the FlightGear v1.9.1 release other than a change of name. Pro Flight Simulator is in no way endorsed or supported by the core FlightGear development team.

Given the similarities between Pro Flight Simulator and FlightGear, we would recommend that prospective buyers download FlightGear for free and satisfy themselves that Pro Flight Simulator provides worthwhile value for money before purchasing it.

The official promotional video from the Pro Flight Simulator website:

So it seems that Pro Flight Simulator is simply a re-brand of the popular FlightGear package, and while what they are doing is not technically "illegal", it's somewhat unethical given the circumstances.  The developers capture hundreds of "first time" flight sim enthusiasts with their page one listing on Google for the term "flight simulator".  In fact, there are hundreds of "capture" websites that have been set up for the practice of capturing searchers and leading them to their website to purchase the product.

They have also set up many Twitter accounts that regularly tweet with links directed to their main website - in fact, everywhere you look you can see advertising and canvassing material.  There are hundreds of websites, affiliate portals and they have even dominated the first page of Google for the term "flight simulator".

I won't link to them within this article, however you may do a search for "Pro Flight Simulator" yourself to understand what is going on here.

Ian Stephens

About Ian Stephens

Ian Stephens is a Flight Simulation enthusiast with a keen interest in aviation and technology. He has been writing for Fly Away Simulation for over 9 years.

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48 comments

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JerzyTue, 21 Feb 2012 10:49:25 GMT

Careful! This seems to be a freeware package called Flightgear. So get it for free if you want it!

DD60Tue, 21 Feb 2012 13:14:02 GMT

I wasn't impressed with it, slow and not reactive, joystick commands not all working, save your money.

Tom FerrellTue, 21 Feb 2012 13:27:32 GMT

I bought the Pro Flight package and when I saw it was "junk", that it didn't meet my expectations I asked for a refund. After an initial positive reply, I heard nothing else for a month. Ended up filing a complaint with VISA and they (Visa) gave me my money back. Bad experience.

Mike CyniclTue, 21 Feb 2012 14:12:39 GMT

Hey Guys! THEY LOVE IT - Yep, one born every minute! I'd steer clear of this one! It's really a throwback to the early days of the FS robber barons running amoke again! Caveot Emptor om!

JustinTue, 21 Feb 2012 14:26:17 GMT

Very interesting indeed. I hadn't installed FSX on my new build and was doing a search to see if there were any hot new Flight Sim stuff out there and I came across this. Interesting enough it just seemed a bit too good to be true, didn't take me long to find flightgear which I had heard of. I was dissapointed thinking that another company had invested a lot of time, dissapointing to see this great marketing for something free.

Robert FinchTue, 21 Feb 2012 17:07:48 GMT

I bought it and cannot load the planes other than the initial 25. They answered re my problem once and since then nothing.

Marv M.Tue, 21 Feb 2012 17:51:30 GMT

They took my $131.71 screwing (plus $3.71 tax...do you think they actually pay their taxes?) in February of 2011. I can't believe they're still around.

Comes the revolution, folks like that are going to be hunted for pleasure, aren't they?

You would think one well organized class action suit would slow 'em down. Probably not. Without jail time laws...they flourish in the Internet medium.

Burma Shave

DaleTue, 21 Feb 2012 18:50:34 GMT

And looks like the pro-flight people also heavily borrow from Andrew Kramer's Video Copilot effects to do their After Effects animations for their promotions. Nothing illegal or unethical, just un-original.

Bill DacusTue, 21 Feb 2012 19:17:43 GMT

Thank you Fly Away and for the comments. I won't waste my time with it. Just stick to my Microsoft and X-Plane. I'm ready and waiting for the new versions to hit the market.

Jason MilesTue, 21 Feb 2012 19:35:32 GMT

Thanks for posting this. I had briefly considered this purchase a few months back and didn't. I will definitely grab the open source version.

I did grab X-Plane, and once you get past the quirky differences from FS-X, it's pretty decent. I may purchase version 10...

Tony E BaggettTue, 21 Feb 2012 21:01:46 GMT

I bought this thing for $97.00 and it was not even close to what I expected. I was really looking forward to a more realistic experience. It was so bad that I deleted it.I asked for my money back and have not heard from them. Guess I'm just another one of their suckers. I have all of Microsoft's Sims and they do work great for me, should have stopped there.

JosephTue, 21 Feb 2012 21:26:01 GMT

Dont purchase Pro Fliight. Bloody RIP OFF and Crap.

Pro MemberbigG46Tue, 21 Feb 2012 21:43:08 GMT

I had a similar experience to Tom Ferrell. Bought the programme and when it didn't meet my expectations asked for my monety back under their 60 day guarantee. That was 3 months ago and have heard nothing since!!

Peter TikoianWed, 22 Feb 2012 00:30:15 GMT

I want the package. How & where can I get it Pete.

JaredWed, 22 Feb 2012 01:32:23 GMT

Oh boy, This Pro Flight Simulator is stirring up Dust yet again!. I have been aware of it for quite a while, Several years in fact, Whilst its not illegal its still wrong to me, I agree with all on the premis of users getting Ripped of or severely heart broken for something that is marketed to be so Great. But i reckon when MS FLIGHT is released, MS will grab Google's search engine and they will atop it, I wonder what the pro flight scammers will do when MS simple name change for their legitimate Flight game hits the market hits Google?. I hope that at least new Flight simmers are redirected to MS FLIGHT rather than pro Flight. We can help Stop Pro flight Simulator by Visiting Flight gear website and sign a protest forum they have set up. As said, What Pro flight have done is legal, is still dodgy, and a punishment for misleading users should be their game ripped and then torrented over P2P Clients because Pro flight has NO Demo Version. Plus isn't it Weired that Hard working LEGITIMATE Developers have their games Distributed by P2P and we cant find Pro Flight anywhere on P2P Networks (Not that i promote p2p), the reason we don't see it on P2P is because some other Crooks might get an idea to create Proflight Advance, so they are scared that we might find out that they think because they branded Flight gear they don't need a Demo version because Flight gear is There Demo only that they hope we Click Buy NOW!. The Flight gear team have lost their work to a company that now feeds and Finances itself Through the hard work of Flight Sim Fans that created it, I can only hope that there reign of in-just and dodgyness Falls apart and they say Sorry to thousands of fans and Very disappointed Customers. Any way i could go on forever on this topic because i have read testimonials on Pro flight that are never published on their website (The Negative feedback)and people who purchase this never get their money back, and worst of all no Customer Support for Proflight, Except for a link to a Flight gear user manuals published years ago and re-branded. Just Dodgy all out!.

ANDREW RIGBYEWed, 22 Feb 2012 08:12:11 GMT

Have purchased Pro Flight Simulator...agree it is expensive rubbish.99.9% of U.S. sites I patronize end up in some sort of scam or disappointment.Have tried repeatedly to cancel membership of "Fly away simulation" and "Paypal" but still getting pestered.All I do now when I see that have stumbled on a U.S. site is select the "red cross". The "Information Highway" has simply turned into a "Flim Flam" operation.Will be most surprised to see this in your comments section and no doubt any return comments from others will be abusive and illiterate.

DOUG WLKINSWed, 22 Feb 2012 11:38:11 GMT

I HAVE BOUGHT THE COMPLETE 4 CD PACK AND HAVE TRIED TO RUN IT ON win7 64bit with no result also tried it on my other vista PC also no success, have emailed the USA site MEMBERS AREA but have had NO reply.!! so my feeling is that I have bought an expensive item . there should be a warning that the system will play on certain systems.

DavidWed, 22 Feb 2012 12:41:31 GMT

They just sell a very very old version of Flightgear! Get Flightgear 2.6 for free on www.flightgear.org. That's just a huge difference. Then just check the FlightGear wiki/forums and enable the cool options. The hardest part for newcomers is to find the third part sceneries and aircrafts. Or just the work in progress stuf. But you will see, they just improve the whole thing a lot. Try a search about the LOWI airport on the FG forum for example :)

Joe LittlejohnMon, 27 Feb 2012 17:49:36 GMT

I am glad to see that I am not the only one screwed by this company. ProFlight is a scam, plain and simple. Anyone buying this sim will be greatly disappointed and if you ask for customer support or a refund, it will be the last thing you ever hear from them. DON'T BUY THIS SIM.

LuckyMon, 27 Feb 2012 18:15:15 GMT

I had a bad experience too. Lost my money, sim was useless. BEWARE

EricMon, 27 Feb 2012 19:54:37 GMT

Yeah, I rank right up there with the rest of the poor schmucks that were taken in by their flashy ad. What a P.O.S. sim. Quirky isn't even a suitable descriptor about how bad this software is. I have a state of the art system that can handle even the BEST FPS games and graphics, and this ran very choppy with clunky controls, horrible graphics, etc.... I didn't even bother going back to get a refund, especially now, after reading their lack of response to everyone else. I figure it's like thrown bad money after good. I'll just wait until Wednesday and get the new MS sim.

Mark NyulMon, 27 Feb 2012 23:36:02 GMT

I got scammed by this offering, good luck trying to get your money back! The whole thing just plain doesn't work! The people who pull this kind of semi legal crap should be shot and pissed on , thats just an opinion!

Peter WilsonTue, 28 Feb 2012 00:48:56 GMT

Having looked over the Pro Flight Sim ad, I was at first a bit enthusiastic about a new flight sim. But further exploring bought me to the registration that this nowhere near the Micro-Soft, or even the past sims, gave me the impression a hastily put together gimmick. Very happy I saw through it, and not shelled out any cash for this SCAM!!!

Dave DuhrkoopTue, 28 Feb 2012 04:41:30 GMT

I wished I'd read this information prior to buying the Pro Flight Simulator! I haven't heard anyone speak of the less than helpful technical support, or lack thereof. I had some great expectations of this simulator, especially with the price people have paid for it. So far, I'm out a little over 100.00 and have asked for a refund on two occasions. None of which were responded to. I've filed a dispute with Papal, however it appears that their money-back policy does not include this type of transaction. I've learned again to not believe what I read. Particularly when the propaganda is to-good-to-be true.

Olaf WADINTue, 28 Feb 2012 08:10:21 GMT

Dear Forum members. I bought the full Proflight approx 1 yr. ago and just do not understand, why they are still offering this expensive product. It is a real disappointment.To my mind it makes no sense at all as you cannot combine it with any of the existing simulators. I have seen flight gear a similar however free product on the computer of a friend of mine. He could manage it however but was disappointed as well. It is so clumsy that it is hard to understand it. I do not say anything more.

jim tylerThu, 01 Mar 2012 00:04:21 GMT

purchased proflight and was disappointed in it. i asked for a refund two weeks ago and still have not received it. sent another note asking status of refund. no reply. save your money.

wenceslaoThu, 15 Mar 2012 04:44:55 GMT

I am new to this and was going to it. Thanks to all of you I will not be buying it.

Pro MemberchucklesbuttMon, 26 Mar 2012 02:33:36 GMT

I too almost ordered it and a little birdie inside me told me something was up. I have had FSX for a few years and very happy after i upgraded from a build with a AMD 2600 + to building a dual core AMD machine

robhowFri, 06 Apr 2012 09:37:21 GMT

The whole programme of Pro flight is a mess. Aircraft don't even sit on the runway properly. The whole design is dreadful -warning don't buy it!

GabrielMon, 07 May 2012 08:47:53 GMT

I hate proflight it is such a rip-off; all that money For nothing!

TomWed, 23 May 2012 18:15:35 GMT

I bought this POS too. But I managed to get my money back, not from the company but from the resellers (clickbank) 60 day guarantee. I bought the 4 cd's too, Pay pal was the middle man. I complained within their 45 day refund policy. I had to jump through several hoops including returning the cd's to the company... It has a PO Box in Singapore. It cost me 25$ in registered postage, but I got receipts. Singapore never answered and after emailing a scanned copy of all my shipping receipts, Pay pal refunded the 45$. But I was still out 25$. It was worth it to force this fraud site to give me my money back.

David HolmanFri, 25 May 2012 04:30:34 GMT

Hello, I just thought you would like to know, "good old Dan Freeman from Australia", has a new shtick. He is now pedalling "Virtual Pilot 3D" as the new and improved "ProFlightSim"! There should be a law! Thanks DRHolman

whipWed, 30 May 2012 15:49:50 GMT

Thank the flight sim gods for Visa. Got my money back. I was told long ago Visa will work with you. Pro Flight Schmo Flight - what a rip. I turned the program over to the sharpest gamer I know and it took him a week to find out it was a scam. P.S. I had already contacted Visa to squelch the whole abortion. Everybody watch your back on this one AND your wallets. Scarface

MikeFri, 01 Jun 2012 15:55:46 GMT

I received an e-mail this morning advertising VirtualPilot3D. This, it seems is the same product under a new name. I was initially suspicious when I ran their video, just a series of stills with lots of swirly colours, rather than actual simulations. That set me to googling and eventually to this site. thanks for the warning. I won't be buying it.

RonSMon, 04 Jun 2012 14:28:04 GMT

The guy behind this is named Burak Mentes. He is either one heck of a fan or a lead freeware/rebranding/unethical thief because he is the guy writing all of the abysmal English "reviews" of the copycat product.

RonSMon, 04 Jun 2012 14:36:39 GMT

The best combo I have found so far for absolutely ultra realistic flying (wish I could post photos) is: FSX Deluxe (sp2 freely downloaded) REX Essentials (Real Environment Xtreme $39) GEX North America (for my area: Ground environment Xtreme $39 as well)

The result is absolutely the MOST realistic haze, clouds, dawn/sunsets, ground textures af water with THOUSANDS of beautiful aligned autogen buildings where they belong plus several GB of photorealistic textures. Including dynamic water textures (about 15 of them or more) with transparency to see coral reefs in the tropics etc...

Can't get enough of it. Great combo there...

Look it up, dont take my word for it.

Peter DThu, 07 Jun 2012 17:47:04 GMT

This is dead set a scam. The advertising from their home page does not even have images from in Virtual pilot 3D, it has obviously been ripped from a superior program. Also the scam continues with them trying to sell you the hard copy as they make installing additional planes (not these are advertised as included in the program when you purchase it) an annoying task and every time you log in you have to choose basic graphics configurations. This is a badly rehash of a free program and anyone planning on purchasing this should be advised to save their money. The in game graphics are at best 10 years old.

Peter DThu, 07 Jun 2012 18:12:09 GMT

This is also packaged as Virtual pilot 3d...what a joke...got ripped off. Have put in a dispute with Paypal so will have to see what happens.

Pro MemberRoderick35Thu, 07 Jun 2012 19:31:54 GMT

I start'd this horrific experience in april. I bought Proflightsimulator. I bought their small trial program first. It seemed like it might be a good simulator program, so I bought their full program to get the two disk's. After waiting three weeks, I started trying to get an answer as to when would I get what I paid for. Well I can now see that after two months, I'm up that old proverbial creek. I tried to get my money back, buy going through CLICKBANK. KISS that one good buy too. The whole thing is just a big thing. They all are getting paid under the table. Every one, start writing these comments to alert others about PROflightSimulator's big scam. Tell about CLICKBANK and PAYPAL or any others who wont help to put ProFlightSimulator off E-Bay.

brianSat, 09 Jun 2012 14:04:09 GMT

Well this is what happend to me, bought proflightsim for $97 plus $46 for shipment still waiting after 11 months pay pal and above a SCAM at least 10 so called tickets Will never buy on the internet again

robertTue, 19 Jun 2012 15:09:32 GMT

I also made the error, was told it would work wonders on an intel iMac---Joystick commands are all bad and no way to correct them. Graphics look poor to fair, sure not the same as FSX on Win 7

DennisFri, 13 Jul 2012 00:54:48 GMT

I have been a die-hard Microsoft FS fan for 14 years (MS FS 1998) was my first experience. I've been bitten by the bug ever since. When I've been seeing pro-flight and recently renamed virtual pilot 3D on Facebook ads I almost took the bait hook, line and sinker. Glad I googled pro-flight simulator scams first. Saved me a lot of money and headaches.

JohnSat, 20 Apr 2013 13:45:26 GMT

From the comments I've read, many of the people that purchased ProFlight did not do their research. You didn't do you research and you bought something on an impulse(never a good thing) and ended up on the short end. And you blame the company who put out the product.

All I'm saying is, when buying anything virtually or from someone you do not know, get a reference. Actual REAL scams could be avoided this way as well. Do your research. Is the company legitimate? What has been their past customer's experience been like?

Wisdom is the ability to recognize difference. Difference in a moment, a situation, a person. If you asked me if there was anything in life that you could improve that would change your life, I'd have to say to develop wisdom. Have a great day!

Harold SchmidtFri, 15 Jan 2016 20:29:05 GMT

Unfortunately I'm one of those people who got suckered into buying Ver. 4 of ProFlight simulator and to make matters worse, not only won't it run on the same machine that handles FSX flawlessly, but he only suggestion that Customer Service Tech Support could offer was to uninstall Ver. 4, and install Ver 3 instead. Bull crap!!!!!!

Larry Wed, 24 Feb 2016 18:08:19 GMT

In December my wife purchased ProFlightSimulator (for $97 by the way) as a gift to me. I then foolishly forked out more money for the CD set to get the additional aircraft. In order to get this supposedly "best flight simulator ever" to work properly on my desktop computer, I had to upgrade my video card which also required an upgrade to a larger power supply. I finally got the program to run, Only to find out ProFlightSimulator, in my opinion, is no better than the FSX program that I was already using. I now have unresolved scenery issues with ProFlightSimulator that I cannot seem to get answers to from their technical support. I agree with those above that Buyer Be Aware before buying a product like this online. I can guarantee that my wife has learned this lesson.

RonMon, 26 Dec 2016 02:09:43 GMT

Got the dvd package followed instructios and it wouldn't work. After a few hours of tinkering got it loaded and now aircraft won't load. Says there is yada yada missing and need to go to flightgear to fix it. What a waste of money. And I just got a new custom gaming computer and all my other games work fine i.e. gold flight simulator, train simulator work flawless.

Alfred GoodTue, 17 Jan 2017 15:50:48 GMT

I too bought Pro sim. and could not load it.Had it checked by a computer tec. and he told me it was no good. Soo I bought virtualpilot, and guess what.... the same thing happened. So I guess I just blew away a few hundred bucks on JUNK!!!!

GuidoFri, 31 Mar 2017 05:41:13 GMT

I'm one of the stupid Who felt in this robbery I plaid 100 euro To get a fregare flightgear ehi che doesn't even works. I wonder how this can be legal Unfortunately i re ad your post too late

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