Aerosoft is one of the key third party developers for Microsoft Microsoft Flight Simulator and have been one of the companies that are shaping the SDK for the sim. Notably, they have been working closely with Asobo Studios to help set the course for high fidelity aircraft in the sim’s future. There’s plenty of interest and anticipation for the release of the work that Aerosoft is doing as a beacon for what’s possible in the future of the sim. The developers have been trickling out new details over the last several months and I thought it was well past time to check in and see what they are doing through notes, screenshots, and video!
Aerosoft’s four CRJ’s for Microsoft Flight Simulator
The Bombardier CRJ belongs to a series of regional jets introduced in 1991. These aircraft are popular on short-haul flights and commuter trips and Aerosoft is bringing four versions of the jet to the sim including the CRJ 550, 700, 900 and 1000.
Over the last several months, developers from Aerosoft have been posting regularly with screenshots, videos and information about the development of the jet. One of the areas that they’ve poured attention in is the texture work for the cockpit and here the jet really impresses with quality levels that match the excellent work being done by Asobo.
It’s harder to show but Aerosoft are keen on making this jet as a high fidelity, by the numbers, kind of aircraft. One of the ways that they can do that is show us the instrumentation in action and in this next one we can see the PFD/MFD screens working as the jet maneuvers. The animations are appropriately smooth and detailed and, as a bonus, you can hear the sound set working as well – and it sounds amazing!
Another item on the list, a working HUD, something that’s been missing from Asobo’s aircraft (including the Citation Latitude which has one that is permanently stowed). This work in progress image shows the HUD looking convincing enough to me.
Exterior details look impressive too
As much as the interior is important, having a good looking module overall is important here and so it looks like just as much attention has been paid to the exterior. Over that last several months, dozens of screenshots have been released.
Keep in mind that these are work in progress – but it’s hard to say that they are anything but of the highest detail levels and are fully consistent with what we’ve seen from other types in the sim so far. Even at extreme zoom levels, as shown in the one of the last few screenshots in the above gallery, we can see things looking sharp and detailed.
Comments on wing-flex
One of the favorite pastimes of flight sim airliner pilots have enjoyed over the years is wing-flex. That is, the movement of the wings in turbulence and in certain maneuvers. It looks like Aerosoft won’t be doing a detailed wing-flex model for Microsoft Flight Simulator, however, before that becomes disappointing, it’s important to understand fully why.
Mathijs Kok from Aerosoft explains their rationale starting with an explanation of the real aircraft’s wing structure,
The CRJ has very stiff and rather short wings, it is not an A330 with huge floppy wings. That’s why the CRJ is not the most very comfortable aircraft in turbulence. It is like sportscar with stiff suspension.Mathijs Kok from Aerosoft
Interesting information to start off with. Clearly, the wings don’t move very much on the CRJ line in comparison to some of the airliners with bigger (and floppier wings).
All in all we simple felt like we could not do wing flex on the CRJ in a way that would be cheap enough on our development while still being reasonably realistic. Not for the 15 pixels of animation. Not for a 40 Euro add-on. Now if this would be a 100 Euro add-on I would most certainly want to see the data we have implemented. It is not so important that customers would not see 90% of the actual animation as it are tiny ripples or a few centimeters of movement.Mathijs Kok from Aerosoft
Fair enough. I think that’s ample justification on a cost to benefit scale where the costs associated with doing the modeling are perhaps not worth the extremely limited and almost unnoticeable experience. Having flown aircraft with and without the feature in MSFS and I can say in cases where I was flying the Citation Latitude or CJ4, that it was hardly noticeable.
What about newbie pilots?
One of the other questions that’s come up frequently is what will new pilots be able to do with this aircraft when its released? The answer sounds promising and it comes in two parts. First, the developers will be releasing 5-manuals along with the jet so documentation should be strong. Having a reference guide like that is usually a key thing when you need to look something up.
Second, Aerosoft will be doing a video series on the CRJ as well with Mathijs Kok jumping in to explain the details,
A good friend, a real pilot with thousands of hours on the CRJ will be doing short training ‘sessions’. These will consist of short (say between 5 and 10 min) video’s about certain aspects of the aircraft.The first one will be called, ‘Bring Your Coffee and Let’s Sit Down“.Mathijs Kok from Aerosoft
Release date and pricing
The last thing we all want to know right now is when and how much? Aerosoft are keeping the release date unknown for now, however, there has been considerable talk about an end of year release and it does seem like the project is very well advanced. Still, times can slip and 2020 has been a unpredictable year so it’s possible that we’ll see this slip into 2021. That said, it sure doesn’t sound like we’ll be waiting for very long.
Pricing has been announced and will depend on what you want with there being a base package and an expanded package. The base package, the CRJ 550/700 will cost €42 (plus taxes) and you’ll be able to add the CRJ 900/100 with a price of €16.75 as an expansion.
I’ll be keeping an eye on this. A Canadian designed and built regional airliner for Flight Simulator? I may have to cave on that one.