It’s a thought that’s crossed all of our minds at one time or another, wouldn’t it be cool if you could fly around Google Earth in a jet. Well, someone at Googleplex must have had exactly the same thought, because there’s a hidden flight simulator built into the latest version (4.2 beta) of Google Earth.
South African computer science student Marco broke the news of the secret flight simulator to the delight of the Internet community.
“All-in-all I think it’s a great feature Google has added to one of their top products,” wrote Marco.
“I still remember the days when Microsoft Flight Simulator was considered so cool and that you had to pay for! With a bit more work this has lots of potential to greatly surpass other flight simulators.”
Mashable’s Pete Cashmore described the secret flight simulator as the “best Easter egg ever!”.
Despite the general perception that this is something completely new, this flight simulator appears to be an improvement of the flight simulator mode that appeared in Google Earth (version 4.0) last year.
To access the flight simulator you need to position Google Earth over the US. Then press Ctrl+Alt+A, or if you’re on a Mac Command+Option+A. According to Marco some people have reported that Ctrl+A or Ctrl+Windows+A works when the standard Ctrl+Alt+A does not.
A dialog window should appear that allows you to choose between a F16 or a SR22, and which airport you’d like to start at. You also have the option of enabling a joystick.
While the flight simulator is quite simple, the real imagery makes for an a very cool visual experience.