Saturday, 29 September 2007

Flight of the easter eggs!

Are you excited about the idea of pretending to be a pilot as this chap quite clearly is? Or maybe not quite as 'excited' as him, but would at least like to have a go? Especially if you didn't have to shell out on a standalone flight simulation program just to have a quick fiddle.
Well, did you know that the chance to do so may be tucked away on a program you already have?

All you need is Google Earth. More specifically the latest version of it; Google Earth 4.2.
Not only does this latest update now have the added function of Google Sky; where you can get all starry eyed and explore the cosmos, it also has a nice little Easter Egg of a flight simulator.

As you can see from the pic above, the flight sim offers you a choice of two planes; a F16 (a jet fighter sometimes called a "Viper") or a SR22 (a high-performance four-seat propeller plane).
You also get a choice of airports from around the world from which to fly from including (amongst others): London Heathrow, LAX, JFK and Kathmandu.

Yes, enough of the chit-chat I hear you groan, "how the hell do we get unveiling this flying egg thingy?"
As is the nature of Easter eggs, they are hidden and you need to discover them. And it seems different combinations of keys work for different people (don't ask me why).

The general consensus is that (with Google Earth 4.2 fired up and running) you hold down the keys: CTRL + ALT + A (for Windows) or COMMAND + OPTION + A (for OS X).
Although for me the combination that worked was: CTRL + WINDOWS + A.

After you have accessed it once, it will then be placed permanently in the Tools menu as 'Enter Flight Simulator Ctrl + Alt + A' (this combination now works for me even though initially I had to use the Ctrl + Windows + A combo to kick things off).

All being well, hitting one of those combinations of keys you should see the pop up window as above. If you don't, then it hasn't worked. Try different keys. And remember, this won't work on older versions.
I'm not too sure about all the control keys. I just fiddled around with the arrow keys and the Page Up/Page Down keys. I'll leave it up to you to discover more.

Also see:
The geek shall inherit the Google Earth
Some more Google Earthiness

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