What better way to practice than to hop into a simulator?  When you’re a beginner FPV racing pilot, there are a lot of steps to take before getting out there and flying around – that is assuming you don’t want to immediately crash every time you take flight! Aside from learning with a toy quadcopter, spending time in a simulator will really boost your ability to fly in the real world.  That is of course if the simulator is a good one!

We want to share with you some of the most popular FPV drone racing simulators on the web. There are a lot of great options out there for people to try. Check back as we write up our feedback, reviews, props, and slops about each piece of software. If you’re going to be spending “prop cash” then you’re going to want to make sure you’re spending it on the right software.

Be sure to also check out our guide on how to connect your Taranis to a Windows 10 PC if you need help connecting your transmitter to use with a simulator.  Similarly, make sure that your firmware is up to date, as we have seen many people experience issues using out of date firmware on their transmitters.

 

FPV Freerider

 

Links:

Propwashed Review

FPV Freerider site / store page

 

Summary:

The classic. FPV Freerider has received acclaim from across the community.  Even years after its release, Freerider lives on as a go-to source of training for many pilots.  FPV Freerider has been a staple in the drone racing community, and is a quick to recommend simulator from many pilots.  The different levels offer a variety of environments, with a race component added to each one. You have the option to easily switch between flying FPV or Line of Sight depending on your flight preference. You can also choose between practicing flying in acro mode and self-leveling mode. The devs continue to keep the game up to date, adding 3d flight mode in late 2016 alongside a new map!

FPV Freerider works great as a no frills simulator if you are looking to just get practice in.  The downsides being there is no multiplayer support and little quadcopter customization.  Similarly, with newer sims offering level builders and more base maps, the default five maps may not be enough variety for some pilots.  However, at a $5 price point, FPV Freerider is a tough entry level simulator to beat!

 

Quick Stats:

Price: $4.99

Levels: 6 – The Two Towers level was added in the most recent 2016 update!

Transmitter binding difficulty: Easy – we were able to perform the transmitter setup and calibration on two different transmitters within a few minutes.

Multiplayer: No

Recommended for: Beginners new to quadcopters that want to learn how to fly before hitting the field.

Props: Cheap, recommended by the community, good ‘feeling of flight’, extremely easy to setup and calibrate transmitter.

Slops: Low amount of overall quad customization, no multiplayer, UI design and user experience features leave more to be desired

 

FPV Freerider Recharged

 

 

Links:

Propwashed Review

FPV Freerider Recharged site / store

 

Summary:

The followup to one of the most respected simulators of all time, FPV Freerider Recharged brings new, larger levels to the FPV Freerider platform.  Featuring four brand new levels, you can see the detail and large scale in each of Recharged’s new creations.  However, at a $10 price point, it’s a hard sale over the original.  Not much has been added over the new maps, and some features like racing have gotten arguably worse.

While the same great feel of flight from the original is found in Recharged, many other simulators with more advanced features and competitive pricing have found their way onto the market.  Love Freerider and want some more maps to explore?  Then Recharged is probably not a bad purchase for you!  However, if you are looking to start flying, you are better off checking out the original version.

 

Quick Stats:

Price: $10

Levels: 5 (though one of the levels, Carpark, is a direct reskin from the original FPV Freerider)

Transmitter binding difficulty: Same as FPV Freerider: Easy. We could perform the transmitter setup and calibration on two different transmitters within a few minutes.

Multiplayer: No

Recommended for: Beginners new to quadcopters that want better graphics than the base FPV Freerider.  That said, we would recommend Freerider classic over Recharged.

Props: Similar look and feel to FPV Freerider (easy setup, settings carry over, great for learning). One of the few sims with the ability to fly 3d flight mode.  Flight recorder is a great way to practice following another pilot in freestyle or ghost race.

Slops: High price tag for what is basically a better graphic map pack for the original FPV Freerider.  Low amount of overall quad customization. UI design and user experience have fallen behind competitors.  No multiplayer.  Racing is unintuitive and a step back from the original Freerider.

 

Liftoff

 

Links:

Propwashed Review

Liftoff site / store page

Summary:

Liftoff is an in-development simulator brought to us from the people at LuGus Studios in partnership with FatShark and ImmersionRC.  This simulator is the only one on this list (as of writing) that has fully enabled Steam support.  For the non gaming readers, Steam is the largest PC gaming platform and offers a wide array of community tools to developers.  If you are a Steam user, this means setting up and inviting your friends to games is as easy as selecting names on your friends list.  Similarly, this simulator is classified as “Early Access”, which means that it is still in active development.  From what we have seen from the folks at LuGus, they have remained dedicated to pushing out updates and involving themselves with the multicopter community since the first release of LiftOff.

You can check out an interview that we did with the team here!

Liftoff offers a ton of quadcopter customization – utilizing branded parts that many pilots will be familiar with.  The ability to create levels and download user created content should keep the game fresh for those bored with the same old tracks.  All of these great features come at a price though – the $19.99 price tag is on the higher side of simulator pricing.  In terms of things we weren’t huge fans of – the game definitely needs some work in the user interface / user experience department.  Binding transmitters isn’t intuitive, and we have had difficulty saving and utilizing the transmitter presets.  Again though, as Liftoff as in-development, we will be updating our review (and this article!) frequently with changes.

 

Quick Stats:

Price: $19.99

Levels: 9 standard + track builder allowing for a near infinite course selection and track customization.

Transmitter binding difficulty: High – many users have expressed difficulty using a Taranis with Liftoff.  Likely a Taranis / OpenTX firmware issue, however the setup process and troubleshooting need work.

Multiplayer: Yes, Steam enabled race and freestyle multiplayer is included in Liftoff.  We also really like the ‘trails’ behind other quads to better see your friends.

Recommended for: Intermediate users who want to race with friends and want a strong community presence. This is the simulator for those that want the community feeling of flight while practicing at home.

Props: Usable through Steam, large community support with frequent updates, huge amount of customization options, multiplayer, and great feeling of flight.

Slops: Transmitter binding can be difficult. UI and options features need work.  Track boundary limitations can be frustrating.  More expensive than other simulators.

Review note – the team at Propwashed was given review copies of the game from the Liftoff team

 

DRL FPV Simulator

Links:

Propwashed Review

DRL simulator site / download

 

Summary:

DRL Simulator offers a huge amount of content at an unbeatable price.  This free FPV simulator has an amazing assortment of levels ranging from explorable cities to familiar DRL tracks.  Additional features such as leaderboard and personal race replay with transmitter overlay are great for new pilots looking to watch and learn from seasoned pilots.

However, we found the flight physics very different from most other simulators on the market.  Similarly, crash detection is sketchy, and may give beginner pilots a false sense of skill during the early stages of learning.  Multiplayer lobbies are nowhere to be found, and it will be up to you to organize your own sessions with friends.  Finally, race and crash restart is cumbersome and can be slow.

If you are looking for a graphically polished simulator at zero cost, give DRL simulator a shot.  Exploration of the “Gates of Hell” level alone will entertain most pilots for a few hours, and the “Miami Lights” course is fun to run after watching the original YouTube race.   For more experienced pilots, we do recommend customizing the physics to your liking in non-competitive modes.  For beginners, we recommend running the tutorials and watching some replays of leaderboard pilots for great lessons on stick control.

 

Quick Stats

Price: Free

Levels: 7, with multiple race layouts and start points in most maps.

Transmitter binding difficulty:  Extremely easy.  We used three different transmitters with no issues.  Re-customizing controls is a little sloppy and requires running the binding process again.

Multiplayer: Yes, but we were unable to find any active games.

Recommended for:  Fans of DRL wanting to race replica courses.  Seasoned pilots looking to hone their skills and aren’t afraid to adjust the settings to their liking.  Beginners looking to watch replays from amazing pilots.  Pilots that want to explore the nooks and crannies of huge maps.

Props:  Free.  Great assortment of levels that are fun for exploring or reliving past DRL races.  Easy transmitter binding.  Leaderboards and excellent replay feature for watching / reviewing past races.

Slops:  Arcade like feel to flight – experienced pilots might feel the physics don’t quite match real life.  Crash detection and reset features need work.  Multiplayer lobbies nowhere to be found.  Internet connection required for play.  Race lines can be hectic and confusing to follow.

 

Hot Props

Links:

Propwashed Review

Hot Props site / download

 

Summary:

A free to play (as it is currently in open beta) simulator that has the added bonus of multiplayer.  HOTPROPS features a lot of levels, including the most open and vertical level that we have seen in an FPV simulator.  We are a huge fan of their city level that tests your ability to fly up and through objects – something key for moving from being an intermediate to advanced pilot.  This is a great simulator if you want to practice some freestyle moves in a variety of locations.  Their user interface and user experience need work though.  This is a hard simulator to recommend for absolute beginners on the scene, as the transmitter setup requires a decent amount of work (in our testing), and the default options (PIDs, quadcopter weight, rates, etc.) need customization to really feel locked in to a real quad.  However, once everything is setup, you can do some really fun flying.  As this simulator is in beta, we will keep our review updated with the latest news and updates!

 

Quick Stats:

Price: Free (currently in open beta, price may change in future)

Levels: 8

Transmitter binding difficulty: High – definitely an un-intuitive process to calibrate and set all of the axes for our transmitters.  Without this video we would have been lost.

Multiplayer: Yes – race AND freestyle multiplayer support.  However, it can be hard to see other players, and we did notice quite a bit of position update lag when flying around other pilots.

Recommended for: Intermediate to advanced users that want to practice crazy freestyle stunts (building dives, etc) without causing property damage in real life

Props: The MattyStuntz level is our favorite sim course we have played so far, freestyle multiplayer, free (open beta).

Slops: Transmitter binding not intuitive, UI and selection features need work, multiplayer racing hit or miss, requires internet connection to open the game

 

 

Rotorcross

Links:

Propwashed Review

Rotorcross site / download

 

Summary:

Rotorcross is an open source FPV simulator released in early 2016.  Rotorcross aimed to be a unique simulator in a growing market, as Its open source nature allowed developers the opportunity to contribute to building the sim.  Moreover, at the time of release, the simulator had an interesting UI, decent graphics, and unique features.

However, in 2017 with more polished simulators on the market, Rotorcross doesn’t hold up against the competition.  Development on the sim has ceased, numerous bugs populate many of the levels, and many of the customization options are antiquated.  Check out our review link above for more details, but we think your simulator time is better spent on other options.

 

Quick Stats:

Price: Free

Levels: 4

Transmitter binding difficulty: Difficult to find, but admittedly easy to setup.  However, there does not seem to be any way to invert or trim axes, which may cause major issues for some transmitters.

Multiplayer: None, however you can race against customizable AI quads.

Recommended for: We would not recommend Rotorcross at this time unless you have a programming background and are interested in developing it further.

Props: Open source community driven free sim.  AI opponent racing.  interesting UI selection and customization without leaving the playable game. Multiple race tracks within levels.

Slops: Antiquated quadcopter settings.  Rates are difficult to tune correctly. Numerous terrain and collision bugs. Unfinished software that seems to have been abandoned by the developer.

 

VelociDrone

 

Links:

Propwashed Review

VelociDrone site / store

 

Summary:

VelociDrone is a single player and multiplater FPV simulator that offers a wide array of features.  Similar to LiftOff, track editing, sharing, and leaderboards are offered to allow replayability outside of the pre packaged tracks.  They offer a three day trial license, and once that expires, you will need to purchase the full version.

 

Quick Stats:

Price: ~$20 (site price is in GBP)

 

Drone Racing League: High Voltage

drone racing league: high voltage

Links:

Propwashed Review

DRL: High Voltage (Coming Soon)

Summary:

Drone Racing League is coming to Steam with Drone Racing League: High Voltage.  The game is currently awaiting approval in the Steam Greenlight program.  At first glance, it looks like the classic DRL simulator is heading to Steam with more multiplayer and customization features.

 

Quick Stats:

Stats currently unknown: DRL: HV is currently in the Steam Greenlight Program.  Check back for updates later!

 

Missing something?

Do you know of a FPV Racing Simulator that hasn’t been mentioned here?  Leave a comment below, or get in contact with us!

 

 

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