X019 in London, a celebration of all things XBox (and XBox gamepass on PC) is kicking off this weekend and along with it we’ve got a brand new Microsoft Flight Simulator trailer. It’s a big one focusing a lot on the aircraft that are coming to the sim and there’s one big reveal that I think will have airliner pilots very excited.
It’s all about the aircraft
A lot of the marketing on the new Flight Simulator to-date has been on the incredible technologies that Asobo Studio are bringing to the table with this new simulator. A lot of that has been focused on weather and terrain which are key and essential parts to the experience, however, the aircraft have kind of taken a bit of a back seat in all of that. Not this time.
We start with another look at the incredible scenery and clouds in this new trailer. No aircraft yet but it does help establish the stunning quality on display here.
Then we start to get into the aircraft. The first one is a familiar sight, a TBM 930, which is one of the latest versions of the SOCATA TBM line of high performance single engine turbo prop aircraft. Classified as an “executive transport” and civil utility aircraft, the TBM 930 can seat up to 6 and represents a class of aircraft that is growing in popularity among civil aviation operators.
The TBM 930 has just enough capability to fly medium distances and operate at high altitudes and at near jet-like speeds but without the operating costs. For sim pilots the 930 should be a fun aircraft with enough sporty handling to make it ideal to fly into almost any airport but with the speed and range to let you do cross country hops.
Virtual bush pilots will hopefully be excited about this next one. The XCub produced by CubCrafters in Yakima, Washington, is the latest in a long line of aircraft that draw their lineage to the Piper PA-18 Super Cub. This newest version features large amounts of carbon fibre which reduces weight and added performance giving it 800-1,000 mile range at economical cruise settings and a top speed of 153 mph. Thanks to it’s low stall speed of 39 mph and the large wheeled landing gear, the XCub is capable of flying out of short airstrips and from rough terrain that other aircraft simply can’t. Back country exploration are going to be what this aircraft can do superbly well.
Our next image is of an aircraft we’ve already seen in past images and trailers. It’s the Airbus A320neo. The 320neo (neo = New Engine Option) is the latest version of the popular A320 airliner family and it’s new larger diameter LEAP or P&W PW1000G engines plus aerodynamic changes make it 15-20% more fuel efficient than past models. Plus the wingtips have those really cool ‘sharklets.’
Next is the amphibious Icon A5 light sport aircraft. This aircraft is designed to be a recreational aircraft more akin to an ATV or watercraft than other aircraft. It’s good handling is supposedly backed up by a spin-resistant wing, automobile like ergonomics, and reasonably low operation costs. It’s not a fast aircraft but it should be good to tour around in (and hopefully land on water).
Next we have the Cessna Citation CJ4 – a business jet with a 10-seat capacity and a range of 2,100 nautical miles. With the range and cruising speed of larger jets, the CJ4 gives us a light to medium jet that can be used for all kinds of different kinds of flights around the virtual world that is being built. Business jets are sometimes overlooked but not here.
We’ve seen the Diamond DA62 a fair bit already in Flight Simulator materials so it’s inclusion is no surprise. The DA62 is a twin engine turbo prop light civil aircraft with a 7 seat maximum capacity and luxury interior. It can fly up to 20,000 feet and speed along at 192 knots.
We’ve also seen a few brief images of the DA40 as well though not in this trailer.
Next we have some more video of the Mudry CAP 10. This low wing, two seat, aerobatic aircraft has been in production since the 1970s and has some impressive G limits including +6.5g and -4.5g.
Finally, we have the biggest reveal (of both literal and figurative senses) with this next aircraft…
Yep, that’s a Boeing 747-800 which is the latest version of the original jumbo jet. Longer and capable of carrying 467 passengers up to a cruise speed of Mach 0.86.
Something for almost everyone
When it comes to types of aircraft, Microsoft Flight Simulator appears to be trying to appeal to the widest variety of virtual pilots. A couple of general aviation aircraft including the Cessna 172 and the aforementioned DA62, DA40, and Robin DR400 are complimented by a couple of executive and business aircraft in the form of the TBM 930 and Cessna Citation CJ4. People who enjoy airliners will have the Airbus A320neo and now the 747-800. Aerobatics pilots have at least one option with the CAP 10.
What remains to be seen is just how much detail and depth each of these aircraft will have. It seems unlikely that they will be study level aircraft on the level of say your average DCS World hi-fidelity module or something like the Hotstart TBM for X-Plane. But I do hope that they are able to incorporate at least some level of systems modeling.
It may be difficult to compete with the likes of the Zibo 737 mod for X-Plane but then again if the system is extensible enough there may also be future opportunities to bring greater depth to these modules too.
Time will tell!
Flying over cities
To end this article off, there is more content coming from media sources attending the event. IGN released this video showing off 9 cities in 4K 60fps gameplay captured from within the sim. This is more or less raw footage from the sim so you have a chance to linger over details and see how beautiful the sim is as well as some of the rough edges (buildings notably pop between detail levels in some images). Of course, everything is work in progress at this point.