Monday, March 18, 2024

Game 404: Flight Path 737

The green rectangle is just for show; instruments tell you everything.

The first of two Anirog games by professional jump jet pilot Vaughan Dow, Flight Path 737 is a flight simulator in the same sense that Activision's Space Shuttle is - very little of the physics of flight is actually simulated, but rather a simplified model of the procedure is, which you must follow to taxi, take off, ascend to a safe height, pass over a mountain range, and descend into a valley beyond and land on the runway safely. Do anything incorrectly and it is an instant fail, with a sometimes confusing abort message to announce your mistake.

"Accent to slow?" What? Ohhh... you mean ascent too slow!

Make no mistake, this is not an easy game. You will be needing to watch your airspeed obsessively. The safe speed range for any given phase is tight - deviate from this even a little bit and you fail The optimal speed range is even tighter, and on higher difficulties you cannot afford to stray from this or you will hit the mountains, or miss the runway, or just run out of fuel. There's no autothrottle; only keystrokes to adjust in 10 or 20 knot increments, and it increases or decreases on its own with pitch, drag, or, on higher difficulties, random engine fires. While climbing or diving, you'll need to adjust it constantly, and that's all the while keeping an eye on your other gauges and remembering everything else you need to do.

Gameplay is semi-realtime; with PAL timing, the game accepts one keystroke command and/or joystick direction per second, and instruments update at about this rate. It takes some getting used to, but it gives airspeed adjustment a tick-tock rhythm; one tick it goes up by five knots because you were diving, then you hit F5 and the next tock it goes down by five, and you repeat until an event happens.

A complete run takes no more than ten minutes, and six difficulties are offered, which I completed in sequence. "Part-time" is where things started getting really difficult.

Difficulty Mountains Runway Engine fires Landing tolerance Crosswinds
First solo 5000 feet 3 miles No Moderate No
Stunt pilot 6000 feet 3 miles Yes Moderate No
Part-time 7000 feet 2.5 miles Yes Strict No
Experienced 8000 feet 2 miles Yes Strict Yes
Professional 9000 feet 1.8 miles Yes Strict Yes
Test pilot 9200 feet 1.5 miles Yes Strict Yes


Below is my first and only successful "test pilot" run - the only such video on Youtube to my knowledge. There were many unsuccessful runs.


I did find that the cassette inlay instructions are a bit confusing and sometimes incomplete. Discovering the correct procedure took some trial and error, and in the process, I rewrote them for my own benefit.

Remembering the safe airspeed rules is paramount. You should always be paying attention to the ASI indicator, and always maintain a safe speed, no matter what else you are doing.

  • Airspeed must never fall below 160kn.
  • Airspeed may not exceed 200kn while the flaps are down.
  • Airspeed may not exceed 250kn while the undercarriage is down.
  • Airspeed may not fall below 180kn while the flaps are up.
  • 180kn-200kn is the only safe range for raising or lowering the flaps.



  • Press F1 once to increase ground speed to 20kn.
  • Press V to lower the flaps.
  • Use the joystick to correct runway heading. Center once aligned.



  • Press F1 eight times to increase ground speed to 180kn.
  • Pull joystick back to increase pitch and take off.



On all difficulties except first solo, engines can catch fire any time from here until the final approach! Pay attention to the FW indicator and if it lights up, immediately stop what you're doing and hit 'E' to extinguish it. Then adjust your throttle to recover any lost speed.

  • Increase pitch to +5.
  • Maintain airspeed between 185kn-200kn.
  • Once altitude passes 300ft, press F to raise flaps.
  • Press F1 to throttle up.
  • Press A to raise undercarriage.
  • Press F1 repeatedly to reach 410kn.
  • Press F3 every two seconds to maintain 410kn airspeed.



  • Once altitude is within 400ft of the mountain tops, use joystick to level pitch.
  • Press F7 repeatedly to lower speed to 180kn-200kn.
  • Press V to lower flaps.
  • Press Z to lower undercarriage.
  • Use joystick to correct runway heading. Center once aligned.
  • On higher difficulties, it may be necessary to begin RH alignment early and multitask.


  • Once 'GW' light turns off, you have cleared the mountains. Depending on how long it took you to perform RH alignment, this may have already happened.
  • Use joystick to lower pitch to -5. Airspeed will increase 5kn per second as you dive. Let it approach 200kn, but never exceed it.
  • Press F5 every two seconds to maintain airspeed.
  • When the altitude is about equal to [distance*100], press F7 once and raise pitch to just one notch below level.
  • On test pilot mode, you will be very lucky if this is above 500ft. It's entirely possible that you completely pass the runway during descent! In which case, too bad.


Final Approach

  • Reduce airspeed to 160kn-170kn. Maintain during final approach.
  • At 10 distance, an ILS light flashes.
  • At higher difficulties, this has probably already happened.
  • White means you must lower your pitch.
  • Red means you must raise your pitch.
  • Green means you are on track to land.
  • Once green, set pitch to -1.
  • At higher difficulties, crosswinds interfere with your RH. Adjust accordingly.


  • Once altitude reaches 100ft, increase airspeed to 170kn-180kn.
  • Once altitude reaches 0, immediately level pitch.
  • Press R to activate reverse thrusters.
  • Press F7 repeatedly to reduce speed to zero.



GAB rating: N/A. More of an education product than a full-fledged game. Like other computer flight simulators, I don't feel it makes a great deal of sense to evaluate this as I would a game designed to entertain, but I don't get the impression that this is the most polished or most professionally-developed product out there. Microprose's Solo Flight outclasses this in every regard imaginable.

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