It’s hard to believe but Microsoft Flight Simulator is Microsoft’s longest running franchise and its about to celebrate its 40th anniversary this fall. A new trailer is out today celebrating the upcoming anniversary and its packed full of new content including some very exciting tidbits of information especially for airliner fans. Let’s break down the trailer, looking at the key moments that you may or may not have caught plus an examination of everything we know about what Microsoft is planning. Also, there’s a fun Halo connection which I’ll talk about at the end.
This article was updated on June 12 at 8:12 pm EDT adding a note about Aeroplane Heaven and their DC-3.
Developed by Sublogic and published by Microsoft in November of 1982, Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.0 was a trailblazing product created by Bruce Artwick who had created a previous flight sim product with FS1 Flight Simulator. This follow-up product and the first to bear the name Microsoft Flight Simulator had limited aircraft and gameplay but it was a sign of things to come.
In recognition of this anniversary and of the longest running franchise in Microsoft’s history (before Windows, before Office, and way before Xbox), Microsoft is bringing out an update this fall that appears to be loaded with new content.
According to the announcement, this will be a completely free add-on that will introduce some essential new content for the sim.
Four historical aircraft will be added with the Wright Flyer, the Ryan NYP (you’ll know this as the Spirit of St. Louis), Douglas DC-3, and De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver. I love historical aircraft and these represent some of the most iconic types in history. What a collection!
This fall will also be a landmark moment for the history of the newest entrant into the Microsoft Flight Simulator legacy as it will introduce the Bell 407 and Guimbal Cabri G2 helicopters to the sim. These are important as they will bring with them necessarily hooks within the sim for more realistic helicopter behavior which third parties have been doing through other means so far. Expect a rapid expansion of the number of helicopters from third parties sometime after this date.
Then we have another major addition. Two gliders from glidermaker DG Flugzeugbau with the LG8-18 and DG1001E neo. I’m less well versed what these two gliders are like individually but this is once again a major addition as it opens the door to better support for gliding and again I expect to see a wide variety of third party options following on.
Finally, they have a category called “True-to-Life Airliner” and here we have an extremely interesting airplane. Its the Airbus A310 and its an aircraft that I’ve reported on before because Microsoft and Asobo are partnering with iniSimulations to bring this aircraft to Microsoft Flight Simulator.
The A310 is one of several airliners that iniSimulations have brought to X-Plane 11 previously and they have become well regarded for their high fidelity simulations of airbus aircraft. A follow-up announcement from iniSimulations gives us some more detail on the wide-body airliner. On release it will be an A310-304 passenger variant powered by General Electric CF6-80 engines.
With all iniBuilds aircraft you can expect the complete package; visuals, systems and sounds. This aircraft will be no different. We are super lucky to have access to a real-life flying aircraft throughout the development process and have been able to acquire authentic sound recordings from each area of the real aircraft.iniSimulations
The aircraft will have detailed systems, sounds, high fidelity graphics and an EFB.
The collaboration with iniSimulations isn’t the only one as MilViz, Bluemesh, Aeroplane Heaven are all contributing to this package as well.
Update: Aeroplane Heaven have released a statement on their Facebook page about the package. Included in the statement are expressions of their excitement. They go on to say the following:
The sounds have now been completed by the best in the business and a new flight model is also now complete, authored by another top FM coder. As part of the Anniversary celebrations we will be bringing you ALL the liveries we have shown you, in a special add-on package ABSOLUTELY FREE. We will now be able to bring you updates both here and with Microsoft, as the package progresses to release in November.Aeroplane Heaven
The new trailer kicks off in spectacular fashion telling us exactly what we’re going to see. New helicopters, gliders and aircraft. Then we jump to the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina before showing us the new Microsoft Flight Simulator Wright Flyer in all its glory.
Next up we have our next round of historic aircraft with the Ryan NYP, Douglas DC-3, and DHC-2 Beaver. The ‘Gee Bee’ also makes an appearance as well although its already available and on sale in the marketplace and doesn’t appear to be included in the 40th Anniversary edition.
IniSimulations Airbus A310 gets its moment in the sun with this trailer. We get some good shots of the exterior and a brief glimpse of the interior.
Then its on to the DG Flugzeugbau LG8-18. Some dramatic moments are captured here as the aircraft sails along through what appears to be the alps.
Helicopter fans will no doubt be jumping for joy at the next section as we get to see the Bell 407 and Cabri G2. Both are fun helicopters to fly and both are ideal for getting people flying helicopters. The Bell 407 is also a classic type so I’m very happy to see it!
Finally, just when you think the trailer is over…
Releasing to the Marketplace sometime today, Microsoft is offering a free piece of Halo content with the Pelican Dropship. Halo fans, is that the D78-TC? Anyways, for serious sim fans this will be a bit of a goofy crossover with another Microsoft product but if you’re a Halo and a flight sim fan and you’ve always looked at the Pelican and wondered how flying one of these would feel? Now you can.
Check out the full trailer here and then read the announcement for the 40th Anniversary right here.