The exact way to play an airplane simulator game differs between games, as the design heavily influences the controls and objectives. In general, most airplane simulator games allow players to use a keyboard and mouse to simulate the different aspects of flying an airplane, including landing, taking off and maneuvering.
The general focus of airplane simulator games it to recreate the actions necessary to control different types of planes. One of the biggest factors determining how to control the game is its graphical style, as three dimensional games use different types of controls than two dimensional games. For example, the two dimensional airplane simulator game "Flash Flight Simulator" uses the up arrow key to accelerate the plane, the left arrow key to tilt the plane upward, the right arrow key to tilt the plane downward and the down arrow key to flip the plane upside down. Alternately, a three dimensional flight simulator uses controls that account for a full 360 degrees of motion within the game world.
The controls for an airplane simulator on a mobile device also vary significantly due to the nature of the device. Many mobile games use an accelerometer to change the direction of the plane. Many airplane simulator games also place the player in a first-person perspective, which may change the control options significantly.