Did you know Google Earth has a built-in flight simulator? One of the coolest features Google added to Google Earth was the built-in Flight Simulator (a feature originally added as an easter egg in 2007, but later made a permanent feature). It is the single-most powerful visual demonstration of the capabilities of Google Earth. Many people just don’t realize how capable of rendering the 3D world Google Earth can be. It can literally fly you around the planet at up to 60 frames per second.
The last several versions of Google Earth had a bug with the flight simulator. The controls that showed the position of throttle and stick in the lower left have been missing since Version 6. I reported the error to Google several times, but no one has seen fit to fix it. Now, with the latest version, GE 7.1 – the numbers for the other instruments are disappearing or blinking and are basically useless. See the screenshots below comparing the way they used to work before version 6 on the left, and now in version 7.1 showing the problems on the right.
I’ve reported the new problems to Google as well. Hopefully they will fix both bugs in the next release. The flight simulator is not only a wonderful way to demonstrate the power of Google Earth, but also is a great free flight simulator with the most powerful dataset of our current 3D world available on the Internet! Here’s a link to my original Google Earth flight simulator demonstration video (from 2007) which gives you a feel for what its like to fly Google Earth: