Gaming, at its core, is all about living out our inner fantasies; playing as Navy Seals, F1 drivers or galaxy-saving space marines. If your fantasy is more along the lines of managing airport traffic then we've stumbled across a few iPhone games that may appease those secret pen-pushing, desk-jockey desires.
Flight Control lets you play airport God while the planes are in the air. Its simple design shows a three-path landing zone; one for big planes, one for small planes and a third for helicopters. After you start a new game planes immediately appear on the screen, each with a different trajectory. Your task is to guide them safely onto their respective runways by selecting a plane with your finger and drawing the best path for them to take.
The game starts slowly, but you'll soon discover that it isn't a simple matter of drawing a straight line from plane to the start of the runway, and that you'll likely have to draw a large looping path to be sure each plane or helicopter lands with a short interval between. As the tempo builds it becomes increasingly challenging to estimate the distance each plane needs to travel and if their path will collide with any others. Strangely, there's no level system, so you start the game and play until two planes collide and then Game Over.
If you want a more involved airport experience then Airport Mania is for you. This game also has you time the taxiing of incoming air traffic, but most of the gameplay takes place on the ground. After a plane lands you need to direct it to a terminal to unload and take on new passengers, and if the plane needs fuel or maintenance you need to make room for them at the gas station and the service hangar.
The heart of Airport Mania is time management in the vein of the popular Dinner Rush games. The incoming planes are painted in various colours and you earn multiplying bonus for matching planes with similarly coloured terminals.
Both games may lack the thrill of actually flying a plane, but offer something a little different in return for AU$1.19 each.