How to Get a Microsoft Joystick Working With Google Flight Simulator

Written by larry simmons
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Google Flight Simulator is an Easter Egg add-on introduced into the Google Earth application with it’s August 2007 release of Google Earth version 4.2. Using satellite data collected by Google for its Earth program, you can enter into flight simulator mode and fly several aeroplanes over any point of the earth, taking off and landing from a predetermined runways. The flight model is a simplistic one that you can control using a Microsoft-brand joystick. To use the joystick for flight operations, you must first enable the joystick in your Microsoft operating system.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • PC
  • Microsoft joystick
  • USB to game port converter
  • Microsoft OS
  • Joystick drivers
  • Converter installation disk
  • Google Earth

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  1. 1

    Plug the Microsoft joystick into your computer. Older joysticks connect using a 15-pin analogue game port. Plug the 15-pin plug ion your joystick cable to the analogue port if you’re using Windows XP or older operating systems. For Windows XP-64 bit, Vista or Windows 7, the analogue port is disabled and you’ll have to connect using an analogue-to-USB converter. Plug the joystick into the 15-port socket on the converter cable, and then plug the other end of the cable into the USB port of your computer. Newer Microsoft joysticks come with a USB connector already present.

  2. 2

    Turn on your computer and wait while it goes through the operating system loading sequence. As it loads, the operating system will automatically detect and install the controller, if the drivers for the control are present. If the drivers are missing, download them from Microsoft’s support site. Save the driver installation file to your desktop and then double-click the file to install the driver. The computer may need to reboot to complete the installation.

  3. 3

    Install the USB-to-game port converter, if used, and the computer does not detect the Microsoft joystick at all. Use the controller disk that came with the converter plug, following the manufacturer’s instructions to install the necessary drivers. After installation, reboot the system to go through the auto detection process for the joystick again.

  4. 4

    Calibrate the joystick using the calibration software present in your operating system. Open the "Control Panel" for your computer using the "Start" Menu. Choose the "Game Controllers" option and then pick your joystick from those listed. Press "Properties" to open the joystick properties menu and then click the "Calibrate" button. Follow the calibration instructions presented to centre the joystick and program in the movement ranges of the joystick. Click "OK" to exit.

  5. 5

    Start the Google Earth application, version 4.2 or above. Press the "Ctrl," "Alt" and "A" buttons simultaneously to open the flight simulator set-up box. Choose an aircraft and a starting position from the listed options. Click on the box labelled "Joystick enabled" to choose joystick control and then press "Start Flight" to begin flying your aircraft in the simulator using the joystick.

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