Airport Simulator on Android

Dont rise your expectation to high on this topic for now. Before jumping into the serious use cases for airport process and environment simulations, as well the gamification of enterprise environments, I will review some simulator apps available on Android and PC in a rather humorous way.

I just love simulators, it is amazing to see how current 3D and physic engines running on today’s powerful and affordable hardware can execute real-time simulations that were only possible in well equipped research labs 2 decades ago. I am experimenting with various 3D engines like Unity and CryEngine, both freely available as personal or educational version or for indie games.

OK, lets have a look at simulators available for the Android mobile platform. If you search for the term simulator you will get thousands of apps, and there is a simulator for almost everything and anything you never heard of before, though the majority is plain crap and only exists because Unity makes it so easy to create a game by clicking-together some assets and adjusting some properties, almost without the need to code. Most of them are just badly made and often only serve the purpose to bombard you with ads once installed or running.

We find 100’s of car, truck, train simulation apps, plus dozens of somewhat strange apps to simulate dogs, cats, dinosaurs, Fishing, Fork Lifts, shark attacks, Miami Crime, swimming trains, flying boats and tuk tuk’s and endless more objects.

Finetuning our search towards the term airport (vehicle) simulator we still reveal dozens of results. Here we have a selection of flying, airport construction and all kind of driving around the airport tasks. The majority is made with Unity engine and the free assets, one reason why most of these apps display the same assets like cars, trucks and planes.


Selection of simulator apps

Most of them have in common: Well rendered icons and preview images in the play store to catch your interest, generous with requested permissions and truckloads of ads.
Surprisingly all of them have downloads of well beyond 100.000 ! Guess we don’t know the uninstall-rate though, but if you look at the user comments you know.


Permissions galore inclusive to run as service during startup, snooping accounts and location, downloading files.

Here some actual screenshots of the often weird gameplay or scenery I found.


Factory Airport ? Not much room to maneuver. Where are taxiways, positions, gates ? But 3 Towers !


If your are short of pushbacks, go for a regular truck as fallback !


Personal pickup service for MIB passengers in Area 51 ?


Taking off from a construction site with speed limits and stop signs. Here the tower also a bit too close to the runway maybe.


Disembarking Zombie passengers walking down from the service staircase to the waiting Cobus(?)


Driving a heavy duty tow truck between the planes parked on the grass. Nothing else to do. Maybe one of these defunc airline desert airplane parking grounds ?


This time we drive an airport security car in a totally static airport. Someone forgot to add tarmac lines here ?


This plane looks like the airport fire brigade drill setup. But in this app all planes look like this model (front part is mocking a war train from the 1930’s). Not so standard cargo handling either.


Interesting, floating mobile stairs supported by a RC wreck. Walls at the tarmac ?


Winter wonderland. Random assets like palms, lamp posts and others stuff thrown at the scene. Big Christmas trees at the end of the runway… Walls again.


Gives the term Greenfield Airport a more genuine meaning ! Randomly appearing zombie passengers again. Leave the boarding gate through the window ?


Oh yes, that is a smart way to avoid a potential IP conflict with a famous airline ! Bonus: Floating bridge and you fly with a 1:5 scale plane ?


Smart parking, what to say ? Smart as in stacking cars on the back of a truck or smart as in placing this thing at the end of the runway ?

Conclusion: Dont expect anything when downloading these simulators, other than uninstalling it again and potentially being spied or bombarded with ads. None of the app I tried even remotely comes close to any real operations. These are games – confirmed – nothing else.

In the next blog entry we will look at Simulator Software available for Windows PC’s.

Stay tuned.



Where is the Cloud ?


Java Security

I always knew secutiy is of high importance, but I didnt know already in 1969 books where available on the same topic.


Java Security anno 1969

Just to mention that Apress (link), Packt (link) and Pragmatic (link) are my favorite publishers for development related topics.