Airport Ground Handling Simulator VR: Take the Quest to the tarmac

Airport Ground Handling Simulator VR: Take the Quest to the tarmac

Take over the tasks of the apron personnel in Airport Ground Handling Simulator VR. Is flying the only thing more beautiful?

Agriculture, railroads, police - there are simulators for everything. On computers' and consoles' flat screens, I personally don't understand their appeal. In virtual reality, on the other hand, I understand the joy of piloting an airplane as realistically as possible.

With Airport Ground Handling Simulator VR, I can even play through the tasks of apron personnel at an airport.

Real training software for airport ground staff.

The simulator is based on actual VR training software for airport ground staff. The public-facing version was initially only available on SteamVR, but has since been released for the Meta Quest 2 and Quest Pro via applab.

In the software I choose from five scenarios:

  • Taxiway control before aircraft arrival
  • Aircraft maneuvering
  • Connections for ground equipment
  • Operation of aircraft cargo doors
  • Checks before departure

Each scenario is playable with different weather and lighting conditions. For example, I can set a foggy night or work in bright sunshine.

First the training, then the test

On the runway, I choose whether I want to start an exercise or an exam. During the exercises, I am told exactly what my tasks are. I have all the time in the world for that. Markings also help me, and when I'm maneuvering aircraft with glow sticks, a colleague shows me the correct arm movements.

An airport employee on a tarmac.

Airport Ground Handling Simulator VR teaches you how to maneuver aircraft. | Image: MIXED

In the tests, I'm on my own and have to apply exactly what I learned in the exercises. Tests also have up to three optional challenges each, sending me into predefined scenarios or confronting me with unforeseeable difficulties.

Airport Ground Handling Simulator VR's limited scope

When I complete certain tasks, I get awards. However, with only four possible awards, Airport Ground Handling Simulator VR currently offers too little for trophy hunters.


Overall, the scope of the simulator is rather small. In other games of this type, I experience entire daily routines with various events and tasks. In Airport Ground Handling Simulator VR, I only perform the activity that corresponds to the selected scenario.

Further, with only five scenarios, there is little variety, and the tasks quickly become repetitive. At least the simulator will be expanded in the future. In the main menu, for example, the resetting of aircraft is announced as a new scenario.

Great graphics, realistic sound

Unlike many other simulators, Airport Ground Handling Simulator VR looks fantastic - even on the Quest 2! The aircraft and equipment are very well recreated and it's exciting to be able to explore a tarmac yourself for once.

Unfortunately, the interaction options are very limited. For example, during apron control before the arrival of an aircraft, I can identify possible sources of danger, but not remove them.

The simulator's sound is a double-edged sword. While it matches my idea of the sounds on a tarmac, anyone who has ever heard an airplane take off knows how loud these machines are. Accordingly, there is a constant, high noise level throughout the game.

Airport Ground Handling Simulator VR trial conclusion

Airport Ground Handling Simulator VR makes aircraft fans who have always wanted to get on the tarmac themselves very happy for a short time. After that, however, boredom is likely to set in quickly due to the lack of content.

You can always tell that the software has its roots as a training simulation. As such, it certainly does a good job. But, it still offers too little to convince as a game.

You can buy Airport Ground Handling Simulator VR here.