Today Microsoft and third-party developers had tons of news to share about upcoming updates and add-ons coming for Microsoft Flight Simulator.
We start with Microsoft itself, which released an extensive video explaining what users can expect coming over the next few weeks and months. First of all, we get an updated roadmap, as you can see below.
First of all, on July 25 we're getting the free World Update 14 and the paid Local Legend 11. The World Update will be focused on "Central Eastern Europe" and include six countries as follows:
- Czech Republic
10 new cities will have photogrammetry, and those are
- Czech Republic: Brno, Plzeň, and Prague
- Hungary: Budapest
- Bosnia: Banja Luka and Sarajevo
- Slovenia: Ljubljana and Maribor
- Croatia: Split and Dubrovnik
On top of that, we'll get 6 airports and 103 points of interest. The only airport announced for now is Poprad-Tatry (LZTT) in Slovakia.
The Local Legend is the Aero Vodochody Aero Ae-45/145, which first flew in Czechoslovakia in 1947. While the pricing has not been announced, we know that it's developed by Aeroplane Heaven.
We also get some information about Sim Update 13 coming in September, including the fact that the beta will likely start in Mid-August. Speaking of its content, it'll include enhancements to piston engines by Working Titles, new features and bug fixes for the Boeing 747 and 787, stability improvements, accessibility improvements, updates for previous World Update content and 40th Anniversary Edition and more aircraft. Basically, it'll do a lot of cleanup alongside enhancements for the experience.
You can watch the full video below including a look at the World Update and the Local Legend.
Moving on to third-party developers, Aerosoft shared new screenshots and details about the upcoming Airbus A330, albeit we still don't get a release date. According to the developer, it's taking a "platform" approach to the aircraft, and it'll be "developed and extended for years to come."
We get the confirmation that VNAV and LNAV will be supported by the autopilot, but "additional systems," will not be available from day 1. I'm guessing they mean things like holds and go-around maneuvers, but this is just my personal speculation. Simbrief import and GSX compatibility will be supported, and the MCDUs are independent of each other. We also get a more specific development update about the current progress.
The A330 platform project is truly extensive. Although we already have a good A330 product for Prepar3D, we have repositioned for the MSFS variant. For example, the 3D model was designed from scratch for the Asobo 3D engine and various systems were not simply taken over, but fundamentally changed to provide a stable and smooth experience. Right now, we are in the process of finalising the feature set of the first A330 platform product release.
A quick look into the project technology: There are now some technical restructurings taking place. This means that server structures are being changed, workflows are being optimized and - when possible - processes are being automated to adapt to the long-term development of the A330 platform.
At the moment, the aircraft is at a stage where almost all the planned systems are working and you can get the aircraft from A to B safely. There are a lot of things that are really fun. The 3D model looks great, the EFB is a highlight, and many systems are very extensively coded. However, there are also some cases that pop up during flight testing that are not yet handled correctly by the aircraft systems. This is because critical systems such as the flight management system and autopilot had to be coded from scratch.
Here are a few examples where things are not yet running smoothly:
- The lateral tracking of the ILS approach is not precise enough under certain circumstances and lets the aircraft touch down next to the runway.
- With certain waypoint types the autopilot does not intercept the following track correctly but oscillates around the track.
- After importing a flight plan into the MCDU, a performance loss is noticeable. Entering the same route manually, however, does not cause any problems.
Furthermore, we are still working on the soundscape and the usability of the cockpit. At the same time, we are already working on the documentation. After all, there should be enough learning material available from day 1 to give everyone an understanding of this complex aircraft.
You can check out the new screenshots below.
We then get an update about the Boeing 757 from BlueBird Simulations in the form of a video showcasing the aircraft and the work done on it. We hear that the possibility that it'll be delayed to early 2024 exists. We also hear about the developer's 767 project which will come afterward.
When we presented the MD-11 at Flight Sim Expo, we were still in the process of building the starters and ensuring that a full start could be achieved without any simulator assistance (such as Control+E). For the first time, we were able to completely start the aircraft from cold and dark and progress through to the take-off roll. Although a massive achievement, there is still progress to be made, as we still need to link up the engine starters to the APU and pneumatic demand. This requires the air system to be fully developed, which has been one of our main focuses. We will have more on the pneumatic system in our next update.
Brakes and Gear
We have also made progress on more of the displays and their surrounding systems. The “CONFIG” Secondary Display (SD) page has also been fully implemented, with a full simulation of the landing gear, the tires, and the brakes. The brakes behave realistically, including some pilot-induced failures. Hydraulic systems 1 and 3 each power one of two hydraulic pressure accumulators to provide backup brake pressure. When they have pressure, you have brakes:
This backup system provides enough pressure to fully apply and release the brakes approximately 10 times. If they run out, the brakes no longer have pressure:
If you have no brake pressure, your brakes will no longer provide any stopping power until the hydraulic pressure is restored. We have also simulated the brake temperature and brake overheat as well as tire pressure. This, in effect, means that if your brakes get too hot, they can melt a fuse that depressurizes the tire!
With our custom autobrake system, we have ensured that the aircraft attempts to decelerate with the speed the real aircraft would: 6.5 feet/s2 for LOW, 9 feet/s2 for MED, and maximum braking force at MAX. This allows for a consistent and reliable stopping distance and a smoother ride for those onboard.
The center landing gear now responds to the CTR GEAR NORM/UP switch, meaning you can control the center landing gear separately. Finally, the reverse thrust system has been implemented as well. This brings us one step closer to the flight-ready state.
We are happy to report that the autoflight system is functional in MSFS! Nearly all standard modes are implemented and the aircraft is flying relatively well. Magenta line tracking code has begun but is not yet complete (though the code to generate and draw the magenta line is much further along).
Along with these improvements comes improved LSAS functionality as well. When the controls are released, the LSAS will attempt to hold the nose level (within its authority level); it will also help apply nose-down force during landing to help with landing stability.
Additionally, we implemented the single cue PFD layout as an option for those that wish to use it.
We have also been working on becoming more transparent on the progress of the MD-11, so we created the TFDi Design MD-11 progress page, which breaks down the big items and shows you the total progress for our current focus phase. We are currently working towards a “flight-ready state”, and we are getting closer to it every day. We also post updates on our Discord before anywhere else, so make sure you join our Discord if you are interested in more updates.
Last, but certainly not least, MSK Productions has completed and released its massive Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (VABB) serving Mumbai in India. You can purchase it on Simmarket for $27.30, promising the following features:
- Airport buildings with PBR materials
- Detailed scenery with numerous custom buildings
- 3D Terrain including rivers and bridges
- Dynamic lighting, animated Jetways
- Terminal 1 and 2 interiors
- Detailed night textures
- Accurate representation of ground polygons throughout
- Animated trains around the airport
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.