Oculus Rift Glasses Wow Flight Simulator Enthusiasts

Oculus Rift technology links seamlessly with X-Plane simulator.

One of the serious drawbacks of training with a PC flight simulator is the viewing limitation that generally restricts what we can see to a narrow field straight ahead. That can make for awkward pattern work as virtual pilots toggle between forward and side views to judge their proximity to the runway. Now, a new head-worn virtual reality display in development called Oculus Rift is poised to take sim flying to a new level.

Simulation enthusiast Mike Akers has created plug-in software for the Oculus Rift virtual reality glasses that make them fully compatible with the X-Plane flight simulator. Check out this YouTube video of Akers testing his setup:

On the screen there are two images, but the pilot sees one scene melded into a single view. As he looks around the virtual cockpit by moving his head, the view follows seamlessly.

The Oculus Rift glasses are still in development, with plans for a head-mounted display based on the technology to hit the market as early as next year. While the display shows promise for virtual aviators flying desktop sims, we’re intrigued by the possibilities for such a product in a real airplane. Obviously the technology has a long (long) way to go, but it’s possible to imagine a day when a pilot could don virtual reality glasses like these and view a VFR synthetic scene of the world outside the airplane even in the worst weather conditions.

For now, we’re excited for the possibilities the Oculus Rift head-worn display brings to the sim community — though we hope the price will be within reach of casual users.