Flight Simulator goes beyond just 40 airports

There’s been some confusion since the announcement that Microsoft Flight Simulator is coming out August 18 with some worried that the title will ship with just 40 airports. This is what we know about the locations that you’ll be able to land and takeoff from in the new Flight Simulator.

Thirty Seven Thousand

According to Microsoft and Asobo Studios, 37,000 airports were hand edited to ensure that their basic structures including runways and taxiways were present and modeled. The news of that made the gaming press in articles such as this one from PCGamesN, this one from Eurogamer.net, or this one from PC Gamer.

Of those 37,000 airports, according to Asobo Studios from their Feature Discovery Series Episode 6, eighty of them have been given higher detail levels and then there are 40 that have been given much higher levels of detail. Of the 40 airports, 30 are available to Standard Edition and XBox Game Pass owners, add five more to the list if you own the Deluxe Edition, and ten are added to the standard list if you get the Premium Deluxe Edition.

Those airports with the higher detail levels are broken out in this feature list with explanations on which are included in which version of the release.

What can we expect?

Outside of the higher detail airports its a little less certain what to expect. A few leaks from testers have suggested that the details on these airports are still generally quite good with generic buildings, runways and taxiways all present. Some of them may not have specific runway markings and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of the 37,000 have some issues that may not be fully found out until after release.

Though not confirmed, I also expect that relevant ATC, VOR, ILS and other services would be modeled at most or all of them using published and available data so they should be functional.

I’m generally encouraged at this point to believe that we’ll see their teams efforts, their world technology and Azure AI will have created some decent generic airports that have at least a toolbox of regular buildings and services that you’d expect. Nothing approaching the handcrafted effort that we’ll see at some of these high detail airports but I do expect to see more than just an empty runway.

I hope that clears things up a bit!

7 Comments Add yours

  1. CanadaOne says:

    I could live with FS2020 only having three or four planes, but I want all those thirty several thousand airports.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I’m hoping for a very enjoyable cross-Canada tour!


      1. Martin says:

        I invite you to Patagonia .. I only hope the lands in the southern hemisphere are at the level of the videos that I have seen so far


  2. Aaron C White says:

    I’m curious to see what kind of detail level the default planes are at.

    Thinking about the Zibo mod in X-Plane, compared to the default 737, it would definitely be rough dealing with that level of simulation for the price. I’m tempted by FS2020, but leaving X-Plane, and the money I’ve put into it, plus the great freeware like the Zibo is just a big hurdle to clear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      I am too. There’s varying levels of aircraft in X-Plane and I suspect that MSFS will have some of the same details but not the extreme detail from Zibo or HotStart’s TBM.

      There’s plenty going for X-Plane.


  3. David Cook says:

    Will this version be comparable with FS2004?


    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      It certainly looks like Flight Simulator 2020 will be recreating the successes of FS2004 and FSX. A wide variety of aircraft, 37,000 airports, impressive visuals, I think this will be doing very well for the genre.


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