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It’s fall, so let’s fly over corn mazes in Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator was built to enable virtual pilots to learn to fly like real ones do. That’s why the entire planet has been rendered in sufficient detail to allow for VFR navigation.

VFR stands for “Visual Flight Rules,” which means navigating by landmarks. Like The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim’s “You see that mountain over there?” rule, if you can see it in Microsoft Flight Simulator then you can fly over it in an airplane. The trick is knowing where you are in the sky relative to all the visible landmarks down below. What better way to test out your navigational skills than by finding some of America’s best corn mazes from the air?

So. Here are five of the best corn mazes in the country, plus rough directions how where and how to find them. But first, a quick note on how we chose them to begin with.

Methodology

Corn mazes are highly regional. If you live in the Midwest like I do, you likely have one or two that you’ve visited with your family over the years. I’m a big fan of the Richardson Adventure Farm in northern Illinois. But there’s corn mazes all over these United States, including places where you don’t really expect them to be, like Florida and California. The good folks at USA Today rank them annually.

Their annual ranking spans top-10 lists for the last several years — including 2020. But that particular list won’t actually help us inside Flight Simulator.

The reason is because Flight Simulator uses archival satellite imagery to create its maps of the world. The corn maze that the Richardson farm cut this year won’t be included in the game until next year at the earliest. Instead, I used the 2019 top-10 list as a guide. All of the images included there matched up in-game.

But, even that list wasn’t entirely helpful. The corn eventually gets chopped down for harvest, leaving a very small window of opportunity for satellites flying overhead to grab a picture of them. I had to fly over all 10 of USA Today’s best corn mazes of 2019 to find five that actually showed up in-game.

Tools

None of the top corn mazes from 2019 are listed as points of interest on the map in Flight Simulator, so you’ll need to use VFR to find them. I’ve listed a nearby airport for each, but that alone won’t help you. If you go looking, use Microsoft’s Bing Maps for best results, as it will show you roughly the same terrain as you’ll find in-game. Once you’re airborne, you’ll also want to turn on the in-game VFR map as well. If you’re really looking for a challenge, turn off GPS guidance as well.

Exploration Acres, Indiana

Just outside Purdue University, Exploration Acres is a cinch to find. You’ll want to take off from Wyandotte Airport (6IN3) and fly due south over U.S. 65. The 2019 corn maze is themed “150 Years of Giant Leaps” and celebrates the university’s many firsts.

Treworgy Family Orchards, Maine

Image: Asobo Studio/Xbox Game Studios via Polygon

Treworgy Family Orchards is another easy find, although the closest runway isn’t. You’ll want to start out at Griffin Field Airport, which can be hard to locate by searching for it in-game. Reference Bangor International Airport and track northwest along highway 222. Zoom in, hover your mouse over the location, and you’ll have it.

Once spawned in at Griffin, head northeast along Pember Road and you’ll locate Treworgy without much trouble. The trees that get auto-populated into the image make it hard to see, but the photo here is of a maze shaped like a rabbit — from way back in 2010.

Devine’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch, Kentucky

Another farm that’s easier to locate than the nearest airport is Devine’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch. For this trip, I recommend starting out well north at the Capital City Airport (KFFT) in Frankfurt. Keeping the Kentucky River on your left, head south over highway 127. Devine’s will be off your right-hand side a few minutes into the flight. For this one, you’ll definitely want to use Bing Maps’ satellite view as it will help you tell one farmer’s field from the next on your way in.

Scott’s Maze Adventures, Florida

To find Scott’s Maze Adventures, you’ll first need to wrestle with a bit of ambiguity with how the nearby airports are named. In-game, you’re looking for Orlando County X04. On some charts — and on Bing Maps — it’s called Orlando Apopka Airport.

The runway at X04 sits parallel to highway 441, which you’ll want to follow northwest, and then turn due west over West Jones Avenue.

Uncle Shucks Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch, Georgia

Image: Asobo Studio/Xbox Game Studios via Polygon

Uncle Shucks Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch was the hardest to find by far, mainly because there aren’t any nearby airports. Situated in the rolling hills of northern Georgia, it’s just on the other side of the Chestatee River from the Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport (KGVL).

Flying over the Chestatee, use Bing Maps to get a good look at War Hill Park. To the southeast of that park is a large island, which doesn’t have a name on the map. That will be your point of reference to get oriented toward highway 53 East. Follow 53 northwest to where it crosses with highway 400 — around Lumpkin. Continue along 53 and you’ll eventually find Uncle Shucks.

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