Just flying around aimlessly in the sky might not appeal to many, although it's quite often exactly what you'll find yourself doing with Flight Simulator, but throw in a schedule and some real purpose to your flight and it becomes a totally different experience.
Much like adding a timetable to Train Simulator, Airliner Pilot adds the feeling of actually having to be at specific places on-time, as if you've really got hundreds of customers who want to get somewhere, and a responsibility for getting them there rather than just flying around in circles doing some sight seeing and landing at random airports.
There's also a career path introduced, in an aspect which will make the expansion appeal to a wider audience, and sees you going from Junior First Officer to Captain as you get promoted through the ranks, but only as you fly larger aircraft and longer routes, racking up your flying hours and experience.
Your choice of aircraft also requires you to gain experience and flying hours before you can move up to bigger and better things, and starts off with the modest Dash 8, before allowing you at the controls of the likes of the Boeing 777 and 747-400, which of course leads to longer flights as you end up spanning the globe in Inter-Continental routes.
It's not as daunting as it all sounds though, and a choice of difficulty levels allow for an easier start for the less-experienced of virtual pilots, and the Route Tracker feature allows you to see exactly where you're going right or wrong during flights, giving you a detailed evaluation of just how well you're doing as you make your way between waypoints and hopefully arrive at your destination on time.
The other nice touch to Airliner Pilot is your ability to create a livery for your airline, and whilst this is only at quite a basic level compared with some of the more professional add-on's which are painstakingly created, it does give the average gamer a chance to personalise their aircraft and have something a little different from all the others on the taxiway. There's also a large community involvement on the official website with further importable files which can enhance the expansion pack yet further, adding even more to the experience on offer.
Airliner Pilot is one of those expansions which seems to cater for two distinctly different markets - on the one hand gamers who want something more from Microsoft's Flight Simulator will love it because you've now got some real purpose to flying a plane around the skies, whilst flight simulation fans will get a huge amount of enjoyment about being able to fly real routes as if they were actually a true world-class airline pilot. A highly recommendable addition to any flight-simmers hand luggage.Overall score: 8 out of 10
Publisher: Just Flight
Recommended Price: £24.99
Available: NowBuy Airliner Pilot for the PC from Amazon
or directly from Just Flight