Today several new add-ons for Microsoft Flight Simulator have been released, and some break new ground for flight simulation in general as a genre.
The Boeing 737-800 and 737-900 by PMDG have been released for Xbox, priced at $69.99 each. You can find them directly in the official marketplace within the simulator. This release marks an important milestone for the genre, as the aircraft represent the pinnacle of modern airliner simulation realism and they're now available and fully functioning on a console.
While Xbox users already had a taste with the Airbus A310 that came with the 40th Anniversary Edition, which is pretty high-fidelity, it doesn't go quite as deep in the simulation rabbit hole as PMDG's products. Mastering these aircraft will require a lot of study, but once you've done it, you can truly say you have experienced airliner simulation at its highest level. To give you an idea, counting the PC version, these aircraft have been in development for four years.
Below you can check out the features of the more common 800 version (the 700 version is similar but has slightly different variants and it's shorter) a trailer that was originally released for the PC version.
Incidentally, if the pricing makes you balk (albeit it's the norm for an add-on of this complexity), you may want to wait for the 600 version to be released. While it's less popular among airlines in the real world, it comes with the same simulation complexity but it's priced at $34.99. Being considerably shorter, it's also easier to rotate for novices without risking a tailstrike.
- Fully customized system simulation for all major and minor aircraft systems and components.
- Highly sophisticated logical simulation of onboard information systems and aircraft management.
- PMDG's customized, flight model with enhanced physics augmentation.
- Rigid body physics for wing and tail surfaces.
- Fully customized flight control systems with normal, standby and reversionary capability.
- Accurate resolution cockpit displays
- Interchangeable equipment options for cockpit instrumentation
- Numerous user configurable options from throughout the global 737 operator fleet.
- Updated 737 options packages reflecting operational improvements and changes to the global 737 fleet.
- Full featured failures simulation to cover nearly all QRH scenarios as well as real-world mean time to failure simulations model.
- Native PMDG datalink simulation compatible with simBrief integration.
- Incandescent and LED lighting packages, as well as fully dimming flight deck lights and annunciators.
- Driveable pushback tug.
- Customized sound package that leverages advanced sound recording and playback technology for incredible realism.
- Sound environment built using recordings from a purpose-instrumented airplane recording effort.
- Highly integrated exterior, interior cabin and flight deck sound environments.
- Includes the 737-800 in passenger configuration with both blended winglets and split scimitar winglet configurations.
- Includes the Boeing Business jet in with both blended winglets and split scimitar winglets configurations.
- Includes both the 737-800 BDSF & BCF freighter with main deck cargo door with blended winglets.
- Full set of ground equipment for each aircraft type, including passenger servicing vehicles, VIP vehicles for the BBJ and cargo handling equipment for the BDSF as well as the BCF.
- Virtual cockpit model, with ultra high detail textures, 3D rendering and reflective properties.
- Advanced animations techniques leveraging the new MSFS engine to truly bring the 737 flight deck to life.
- Cockpit differences between the passenger, cargo and BBJ airplanes are accurately rendered.
Another complex aircraft released for Xbox is the British Aerospace 146 by Just Flight, also available on the official marketplace for $69.99.
While this one is also very high-fidelity and an excellent add-on, it offers a different experience compared to the 737s, as it's a considerably older airliner, presenting another era of aviation in which systems and automation weren't as complex, but they were no less fascinating.
This one will also require a lot of study to master, so you know what you're getting into. You can find the features on the developer's official site as the list would be too long to reproduce here.
Moving on to releases for PC, Lionheart Creations launched the Bellanca Super Viking general aviation aircraft. It's available on the official marketplace for $24.49.
You can check out what it looks like in the screenshots below.
We also get the release of multiple airports, starting with Calgary Airport (CYYC) in Canada by FSimStudios. It's available on Orbx Direct, Simmarket, and the developer's own store for $21.49.
Airport & City Features:
- FSimStudios Premium Quality: Extremely accurate and detailed rendition of Calgary International Airport for MSFS
- Sharp, High-Resolution texturing
- Fully detailed terminal interiors in piers A, B, C, D and E
- Realistic night lighting
- Calgary Tower Included. More downtown buildings coming soon (The Bow, new Telus Tower)
- Crossiron Mills and New Horizons Mall modeled on approach to RWY17 L/R
- Fully Detailed Twin Otter manufacturing plant
- Optimized for excellent performance.
- GSX Profile with animated deicing pads (GSX Required)
- Air Canada Maintenance Hangars are dynamically animated – doors open and close based on time of the day and weather conditions.
- Stampede Fireworks Show: During July, from 11PM to Midnight, a fireworks show can be seen on approach to RWY35 L/R
- Functional VSDG (coming on V1.1)
- Free Gift: Kenn Borek DC3 Livery
- Product Configurator, that allows deactivation of static aircraft, ground service equipment and clutter, terminal interiors, etc.
Fsdreamteam released Houston Intercontinental Airport (KIAH) in the United States. It's available on the developer's own store for $9.99 plus VAT.
Here's what it includes.
- Airport fully updated to its 2023 status.
- New Terminal C modeled from scratch, with full interiors. All gates on this Terminal use the GSX "Airport walkers" featrure, to show passengers walking inside the terminal interiors, in addition to the ones eventaully boarding/deboarding the airplane with GSX.
- Complete customized integration with GSX Pro, with the included profile featuring more than 1500 custom pushback routes, 49 Walk-in Gates, 156 VGDS.
- New door automation, with all doors at Terminals B and C automatically opening/closing during passenger Boarding/Deboarding in GSX, with the relevant information panel at the gate animated showing the GSX operation in progress.
- All parking positions have custom friendly names in the GSX menu, to bypass the limited naming convention possible with MSFS by default.
- Highly accurate airport definition file, with proper parking codes for AI, tested with both FSLTL and FS Traffic.
- Full Dynamic Lights, with hundreds of light sources spread around the whole airport.
- Bridges/underpass depicted using the latest high-rest Terraforming.
- Fully customized Taxiway lights, with dynamic lighting, including orange/green variations on taxiways that intersect runways.
- Most textures improved and upscaled usign AI, then manually converted to PBR.
- Extensive use of the MSFS Parallax shaders, to improve the appearance of all buildings that don't have modeled interiors, with almost zero cost on performances.
Lastly, we get something completely different with Orléans – Bricy Air Base (LFOJ) in France by Skydesigners. Unlike the previous French Airbase released by this developer, this one is still active and perfect for the recently-released Airbus A400M and C160 Transall.
It's available on Simmarket priced at $19.64.
- Static aircraft (C160 Transall NG, Mirage 2000B, C130 Hercules, Airbus A400M, DH-6 Twin otter with real machine numbers and registration, textured in photo realistic in accordance with the squadrons present on the base)
- Maintenance Zones and Hangars, as closely as possible representing the base in 2010.
- Vegetation biomes suitable for actual vegetation.
- Specific service vehicles, and ground crew.
- Photo realistic textured buildings with night textures,
- Representation of the different areas of the base: Living area / Squadron area, ESTA hangars, CIET, as well as Airbus Training center. Experience the base as if you were there!
- Modeling of Military installations and their dedicated Transport squadrons (Bearn, Anjou, and Poitou Squadrons)
- Hundreds of objects making the scene even more immersive (Radars, ground maintenance personnel, surveillance vehicles)
- Optimized for minimum use of system resources
- Included MIAC charts (aerodrome and approach charts for the corresponding period)
Microsoft Flight Simulator is currently available for PC, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox Cloud Gaming, including Game Pass. If you'd like to learn more, you should stay tuned on TechRaptor as we have daily Microsoft Flight Simulator news to keep you updated on the many add-ons coming and released for the sim. We have also recently interviewed Microsoft's Jorg Neumann about the Antonov An-225 "Mriya" and iniBuilds' CEO Ubaid Mussa on the work of the popular third-party developer. If you're interested in reviews, you can check out iniBuilds' New York-JFK Airport, Orbx's Oslo Gardermoen Airport, and RHDSimulations' Boeing 767-300ER.