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Flight Unlimited Las Vegas is an impressive iOS flight simulator

Back in the dim past of personal computers, flight sims were the rage. They were the kind of game that didn't just emulate something simple like Tic-Tac-Toe or a Monopoly board. The computer could do the calculations to give you a rough feeling of flight. The original sims were wire-frame applications, but as computers gained in power, the simulations got more and more realistic.

Flight Unlimited Las Vegas is a very slick flight sim at a reasonable on-sale price of US$2.99. The game lets you complete missions for the Las Vegas mob, or just fly around, look at everything and land again.

The views out the windows are detailed and impressive. The app renders 130 square miles of the city, and you can fly down the Strip and look at the hotels and other sites. When you are close to the ground, don't be surprised to see trucks, cars and buses on the roads.

The app offers several views, from behind the plane or different angles outside. There is an in-cockpit view, and you can see the important instruments you need to stay aloft and land with. Tapping the screen gives you access to the flaps and throttle controls.

When you first start the app, you calibrate the controls, rudder and ailerons, by moving your iDevice in four directions. I found the controls reasonably sensitive on an iPhone 5s and an iPad 3. The app supports particle effects and a crash leaves you with a destroyed airplane and lots of realistic smoke and flames.

Six aircraft are included, among them a Cessna, a Lear Jet and a Douglas DC3. There is also a military package which is an in-app purchase. I was quite satisfied with the base aircraft that are included.

I liked Flight Unlimited a lot. It was fun to fly, and there was plenty of scenery. For iOS flyers who want something more technical and complex, take a look at the X-Plane series of apps, which has been a long-time computer and iOS favorite.

Flight Unlimited Las Vegas has the best frame rates on newer iOS hardware. It's good on the iPhone 4 and up, and the iPad 2 and up. As a universal app, it works on all the appropriate iDevices. The app requires iOS 5 or greater and it's optimized for the iPhone 5 series.

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