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Manual Flight Simulation Tutorial

Updated: Feb 22

In this tutorial, you will learn how to simulate the manual flight of a drone using your own controller.


You will need to configure your controller with SIMNET in order to fly your aircraft manually. Please see our Controller Setup Tutorial for more information.


  1. Load Your Aircraft: Click on 'Aircraft->Load...' in the toolbar, and load your aircraft of choice. In SIMNET, any aircraft that says 'ArduPilot' or 'PX4' in its name (for example, the 'T55 Quadcopter ArduPilot') is set up for SITL simulation. These aircraft require using a Ground Control Station to operate them, as explained in our SITL Simulation Tutorial. If you only want to do manual simulation without SITL, select an aircraft without 'ArduPilot' or 'PX4' in its name, such as the 'T55 Quadcopter' aircraft.

  2. Load Your Flight Location: Click on 'Location->Load...' and select your flight location of choice. If you want to create a custom flight location, please follow our Custom Flight Locations Tutorial.

  3. Select Your Layout: You may wish to use only one simulation view or combine multiple at a time. For example, when flying an aircraft with a camera, you may choose to have the pilot's point of view on the left, and the camera point of view on the right. To open a new simulation pane, click on 'New Pane->Simulation' on the toolbar, then you can drag the pane to the desired location by dragging the 'Simulation' label on top of the toolbar. Use the 'View' button to select the desired view on each simulation pane. Alternatively, you may load a preset layout using the 'Layouts' button on the toolbar, such as the 'Simulate (Pilot and Camera Views)' layout.

  4. Start Simulating: Use your controller to fly the aircraft. You may press the space bar or click on 'Simulation->Reset' to reset the simulation at any time.


The flight simulation interface provides all the information you typically get from most drone systems, such as speeds, altitude, battery, and signal status. The zoomed view on the top-right corner helps the pilot maintain a sense of the aircraft's orientation, even when the aircraft is far away.

SIMNET Simulation Interface on Pilot View Mode

When the View mode is switched to 'Stabilize Camera' mode, additional controls appear, allowing the pilot to control the camera gimbal.

SIMNET Simulation Interface on Stabilize Camera View Mode

You can view the Pilot and Stabilized Camera points of view simultaneously, by loading the '4: Simulate (Pilot and Camera Views) layout, which opens two simulation panes side-by-side. When using the Pilot point of view, you can look around by clicking and dragging the screen with your mouse. You can also adjust the zoom level by using the Z and X keyboard keys.

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