Latest Microsoft Flight Simulator launched with large GA fleet

PUBLISHED: 11:44 18 September 2020 | UPDATED: 12:55 18 September 2020

C152 in Baltimore rain

C152 in Baltimore rain

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After a lengthy wait, Microsoft launched in August its latest Flight Simulator (also known as FS2020), which features up to thirty different types of general aviation aircraft

The simulator, whose first version was released in 1982 (with the extremely simplified graphics available at the time) has been praised by game experts for the extremely high, photo-realistic level of graphic rendering.

Among the twenty-two piston aircraft that users can fly there are classic models (C152, C172, and the Beechcraft Bonanza), aerobatic aeroplanes (the Pitts Special, the Extra 330LT and the CAP 10) and more modern, microlight types like the Flight Design CTLS and the Pipistrel Virus SW 121.

Aficionados of the Piper Cub won’t find the exact aircraft, but they can choose to fly two derivatives−the CubCrafters XCub and the Cadet Zlin Savage Cub.

Diamond aircraft are also well represented, with four types available, including the DA62, the company’s latest seven-seat twin.

CAP 10 in inverted flightCAP 10 in inverted flight

In the next class up, users can also choose from three turboprop aeroplanes: the Beechcraft King Air 350i, the Cessna 208 B Grand Caravan, and the Daher TBM 930.

The simulator was developed by Microsoft in close cooperation with several aircraft manufacturers, in order to maximise the realism of the flight simulation.

In the case of the TBM 930, for instance, the developers were assisted by Daher engineers and, before the simulator’s final release, the TBM 930 flight model underwent a final evaluation by the engineering team.

Readers should be warned, however, that FS2020 has very demanding system requirements and will run optimally only on computers that are geared towards gaming, with a dedicated graphics card.

Flight Simulator 2020, in fact, represents a significant advancement in virtual flight, showing a world reconstructed from high-definition satellite imagery that is enhanced by the use of artificial intelligence algorithms.

Using a cloud-based platform, the simulator’s capabilities include a live weather mode to incorporate real-time meteorological conditions. (See ‘Books & Gear’, p.74 of the October issue for our initial review−Ed.)

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