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50 MacDirectory CLOSER LOOK FROM THE APP STORE > GETTING AWAY FROM IT ALL Come Fly With Me If Laminar Research had simply dropped off the iPhone version of X-Plane and walked away from they platform forever, they could safely assume that they created the greatest flight simulator for the iPhone and they could probably rest on those laurels for years to come. But no. The release was quickly followed by X-Plane Helicopter (for the vertically obsessed) and X-Plane Airliner for heavy metal fans. Meanwhile, a series of free updates brought some fun features to the original. But the application really took off (so to speak) in February with the launch of X- Plane Extreme. It added four new birds to Laminar's livery that most folks never get to see, never mind fly: the B-1 and B-2 bombers, the retired but still record- holding SR-71 spy plane and state-of-the- art F-22 Raptor. The new release brought something else: playmates. In the default scenarios, you find yourself lined up in the number-two position behind a plane flown by an artificial intelligence (AI) pilot. If your skills are up to the task, you can follow them around and learn a bit about the plane's flight dynamics. The F-22's AI pilot doesn't take well to company, so it will do its very best to shake you off at the earliest opportunity. X-Plane Extreme also opened up the world of multi-player aviation. Partner up with another player on your wireless network and take to the skies together. Laminar's latest release is X-Plane Racing, by far the most challenging and addicting of their applications to date. You're led through a series of virtual gates (green boxes) racing against another AI aircraft through geography so challenging that it may take several hours for your jaws to unclench. In this simulation, you have your choice of a WW II-era P-51 or F-4U Corsair, a Vietnam-era F-4 Phantom, or a contem- porary FA-18. The course includes some of the most challenging geography of the entire series. All the X-Plane simulators offer some of the most realistic flight models available on a personal computer (or cell phone, for that matter). Each version of X-Plane for the iPhone /Touch series are $9.99 each. And, as of this writing, Laminar Research is still offering the desktop version of X-Plane 9 for $39.99, including a collection of scenery DVDs that include virtually every acre of land between the Arctic and Antarctic circles. Keeping in Touch Travelling with an iPhone is, in some ways, even better than lugging a laptop. For one thing, it's a lot lighter. You can use it while flying coach and not suffer any long-term neck or back injuries. And it will even make phone calls. But there are times when you WORDS BY RIC GETTER X-PLANE RACING X-PLANE EXTREME REMOTE TAP WIN ADMIN

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