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Being on furlough from flying the B737-800 in the day job, one of the things I wanted to get back into was flight sim, but didn’t want to go out and spend a fortune on computer equipment.
I wanted to use my MacBook Pro that I already had for video editing etc. I was pleasantly surprised! Read on to see how the MacBook Pro (M1) Base model coped with my using X Plane 11 for the first time!
X Plane 11 demo
When I was younger, I used to play Microsoft Flight Simulator (a lot!) – starting with FS95, FS98, FSX etc.! My first step was to download X Plane 11 demo (that is free). Coming from windows to Apple Mac, the installation is ok enough, but is clunky.
I’m still getting used to manually moving each now program I install that is not from the app store manually into the applications folder. I just wish Apple would give and allow the necessary permission straight away to 3rd party software.
I tried the X plane 11 demo flight sim version – Cessna 172 circuit and managed to complete one without crashing! The graphics and scenery were smooth, and I did not have any performance issues. For the joystick, I recycled what I already had (Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Precision Joystick Black)
With the MacBook only having USB C ports, I had to get a USB to USB C adaptor to allow the joystick to work.
If you have multiple screens, non-bluetooth keyboard and mouse etc, then you may want to get a USB dock to plug in the various accessories you have.
With the demo version of X plane 11 for Mac working well, I bit the bullet and paid for the full version of X Plane 11 on MacBook Pro (2020) M1 processor.
What are the X Plane 11 system requirements?
Lifted straight from X Plane site:
Recommended Hardware Requirements:
- CPU: Intel Core i5 6600K at 3.5 ghz or faster
- Memory: 16-24 GB RAM or more
- Video Card: a DirectX 12-capable video card from NVIDIA, AMD or Intel with at least 4 GB VRAM (GeForce GTX 1070 or better or similar from AMD)
This meant absolutely nothing to me so instead, before paying for the full version, I read on various online forums and checked YouTube to make sure that X Plane 11 would work with the MacBook Pro (2020) with the M1 processor that I have.
How did I find using X Plane 11 MacBook Pro 2020?
There is a lot of learning I am doing on X Plane but definitely enjoying using it. To start with, I just did a few circuits at Blackpool Airport where I did my hour building, IMC rating and Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL).
I was just using the basic graphics but had no performance problems. I plan to get more addons so will share how that goes on kcthepilot YouTube.
Overall, the full version of X Plane 11 worked well on the MacBook Pro and would recommend it for those trying to recycle and use what they already have.
If interested in learning more about flight training, check out my best-selling Pilot Training Guide on Amazon.
If you have any questions on X Plane 11 Macbook Pro 2020, or if I have forgotten anything, please leave a comment in the section below. I would love to hear from you.
Kudzi Chikohora is a B737 captain with over 3,000 hours of flying in Europe. He holds a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering, is a chartered engineer, and is a member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.
Kudzi completed his pilot training via the self-funded modular pilot training route and created kcthepilot.com to share pilot training and aviation content.