2009-02-03

Google Earth 5 + Flight Sim Easter Egg = Out-of-this-world Flying

Google released version 5 of its world exploring product Google Earth [Google] yesterday. In this newest version, among other things [Google], they released new imagery of the Earth's oceans and an interface allowing you to survey Mars.

In an earlier version of Google Earth, the developers hid a special Flight Simulator feature. I've found it thrilling to be able to fly above the satellite imagery of Google Earth, it adds a certain flare of reality which is sometimes lacking in other simulators.

With the release of Google Earth 5, and its new features, I suddenly had an itch I needed to scratch... How would the Flight Sim interact with these new features?

First, I decided to hop on over to LAX and see how my plane would interact with the newly added water. After flying over to deeper waters in the Pacific, I made a nose dive with the plane. The blue of the ocean was getting closer and closer. Would I crash (as can happen on land)? The moment of truth! No crash. I was underwater. I pulled up and turned about. I could no longer see the sky above me, just the surface of the ocean.

Next, I selected the "Mars" view in Google Earth.... The screen changed, bringing the red planet into view. Zooming in on to its surface, I again started up the Flight Sim. There I was cruising above the Martian landscape. Awesome.

Google Earth 5 + Flight Sim Easter Egg = Plane + Submarine + Spaceship

Thank you, Google Earth Dev Team!

If you'd like to have your own Flight Sim fun in Google Earth, here's the secret: Press Crtl+Alt+A repeatedly until the Flight Sim selection window pops up. Once it does, you'll have the Flight Sim option in your Tools menu from then on. Enjoy!
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