Amateur flight simulation




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Pilotwings[a] is an amateur flight simulator video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. The game was originally released in Japan in December 1990, shortly after the launch of the Super Famicom in the country. It was also released as a launch title for the SNES in August 1991 in North America, with a European release following in 1992.


Pilotwings takes place in a series of training areas called the “Flight Club”. The player’s objective is to pass each training area and earn licenses based on the difficulty of the courses.[4] Each area features events, which may be played in any order. In these events, the player controls one of four aerial vehicles and must complete a task (usually flying through floating markers) within a time limit. Upon completing or failing an objective, the player earns points and receives comments from the instructors.[5] Points are awarded based on criteria such as the time taken to complete the event, the accuracy of the landing, and the completion of certain tasks, such as flying through colored rings or orbs. To pass a training area, the combined scores from each event must exceed a certain threshold.[4] Each training area can be replayed if necessary, and passwords allow players to save their progress.[5]

The screenshot shows a pink hang glider in flight above an airstrip compound at sea. A dotted ring and a rising air thermal are visible in the background. The player’s radar, altitude, and time are visible at the top of the image.

The first event, the light plane, requires the player to follow a guide path of orbs, or to fly through rings of orbs, and then land on the runway.[4][6] In the second event, skydiving, the player jumps from a helicopter at a high altitude and maneuvers by leaning forward and back, and by rotating on a horizontal axis. The player must fall through rings of orbs in the sky before deploying the parachute, and must then attempt to land in a target area made up of concentric circles, with marks indicating the points awarded.[4][7] The third event sees the player taking control of a rocket belt, which can be controlled with left and right yaw rotation, leaning forward and back to control speed. High and low levels of thrust allow high speed and finer control, respectively. The player must take off and fly through a series of rings, bars, or other objects before landing in a target area.[4][8] The objective of the fourth event, hang gliding, is to catch thermal currents (represented by ascending white dots), reach a specified altitude, and then land as close as possible to the center of a gray square target.[4][9]

Some events have bonus stages that add to a player’s score, even if it has already reached the maximum number.[5] In the skydiving, rocket belt, and hang glider modes, landing on moving platforms rewards players with a perfect score, and a bonus stage for extra points may be earned by falling into the water of a target area.[4] These stages include maneuvering a diving penguin into a pool, bouncing a winged man across a series of trampolines, and flying another winged man as far as possible.

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