Microsoft Flight Simulator has just received its 27th update since it was released back in August 2020. The new update (Sim Update) is a celebration of the last 40 years of Microsoft’s longest-running franchise.

You can download the update now. Whilst it is downloading, why not check out our first look impressions from the event we attended this week.

Some of the biggest highlights of the update are to do with aircraft. For the first time, in an official capacity, there is now full helicopter support. There are two helicopters included: Bell 407 and the Guimbal Cabri G2. In addition, there are now gliders, complete with AI aircraft tow and winches. The two gliders included are the LG8-18 and the electric DG1001E Neo. Of course, there is also the big airliner release too: the A310 by iniBuilds.

In the update, there’s a range of historical aircraft to experience. Included are the 1903 Wright Flyer, the 1915 Curtiss JN-4 Jenny, the 1927 Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis, the 1935 Douglas DC-3, the beautiful 1937 Grumman G-21 Goose, the 1947 Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, and the famous 1947 Hughes H-4 Hercules “Spruce Goose,” the largest seaplane and wooden aircraft ever built. What is cool is that various developers such as Blackbird Simulations and Aeroplane Heaven were involved in the development of some of these new aircraft.

Beyond aircraft, there are also four new hand-crafted airports. These include classics such as Meigs Field, Kai Tak and Saint Marteen. There’s also World First Airport modelled to a high level of degree.

In summary, here’s what is in the update:

1 true-to-life Airbus A310 airliner

2 helicopters and 14 heliports

2 gliders and 15 glider airports

7 famous historical aircraft including the Hughes H-4 Hercules (also known as the Spruce Goose)

4 classic commercial airports

24 classic missions from the franchise’s past

Check out the Microsoft Flight Simulator 40th Anniversary Edition today, available as a free update for existing players. For new simmers, the 40th Anniversary Edition is the perfect entry point to the franchise.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 40th Anniversary Edition is available for Xbox Series X|S and PC with Xbox Game Pass, PC Game Pass, Windows, and Steam, and on Xbox One and supported mobile phones, tablets, and lower-spec PCs via Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Other Changes for v1.29.27.0

Alongside all of the new content, there’s a huge number of changes included as part of Sim Update 11.

7 classic aircraft:
1903 Wright Flyer

1915 Curtiss JN-4 Jenny

1927 Ryan NYP Spirit of St. Louis

1935 Douglas DC-3

1937 Grumman G-21 Goose

1947 Havilland DHC-2 Beaver

1947 Hughes H-4 Hercules

 2 helicopters:
Guimbal Cabri G2

Bell 407

 2 sailplanes/gliders:
DG Aviation LS8-18

DG-1001E neo

 1 true-to-life airliner:
Airbus A310-300

4 iconic airports:
Hong Kong Kai Tak

Meigs Field in Chicago

Princess Juliana International in Sint Maarten

First Flight Airport, Kitty Hawk

 24 classic activities from previous Flight Simulator titles:
First Flight at Kitty Hawk

San Juan Island Run

1st US Airmail Route, 1918

Aleutian Cargo Run

Grand Canyon Scenic Tour

Transcontinental Speed Record

The Hell Stretch, 1918

Charles Lindbergh, New York to Paris

Hawai’ian Vacation

Flying blind across the channel

Meigs Field

Spruce Goose

Rome-Naples Airline Run

Sitka Approach

Monsoon

Caribbean Landing

Hong Kong at Dusk

Waimea Canyon

Mount Rushmore

Miami by Moonlight

San Francisco Sunset

Mendenhall Glacier Tour

1950: Frontier Airlines

Alaskan Floatplane Pilot

 7 new tutorial missions for Gliders:
Aerotow

Winch Launch Training

Winch Launch Training, Advanced

Basic Handling

Slipping Approach and Landing

Thermal Identification

Ridge Soaring

New features

 Live traffic has been updated with various quality of life fixes (details below)

 New memory defragmentation system has been implemented for DX12 to limit maxed out VRAM

 New Dpad / keyboard arrows navigation accessibility feature is enabled by default in the menus (alternative to the cursor)

 AMD FSR2 graphic option is now available for PC

 Title now supports new NVIDIA technologies such as DLSS3 (including Frame Generator) and Reflex on supported NVIDIA graphics cards on PC. We also added support for 2 DLSS modes Super Resolution: Auto and DLAA

 Improved atmospheric simulation with a big focus on Thermals and general tweaks for the CFD

 We added a new CFD airflow display visualization in game for aircraft that are CFD-enabled (accessible under assistances and can be mapped to a button/key)

 3D thermals visualization can be toggled via the weather panel

 New mapping for the Back to fly feature, including height gain depending on the plane situation and current altitude (below 1000ft, 5000ft and 10 000ft), allowing to quickly adjust your flight in a variety of contexts. Very useful during glider runs if you do not wish to restart the flight after having landed

General Bug Fixes

 Several crashes have been fixed across the title

 Ongoing performance optimization work including cursor improvements in the world map

 Fixed graphical artefacts on cockpit screens when using DX12

 Fixed broken rendering of rainbows

 Center of Gravity (CG) is no longer shown outside of limits when there is a lateral imbalance

 Fixed Toggling Landing / VFR / Copilot View commands that were not functional

 Fixed aircraft flying erratically into the air when there are no wheels defined at all in the flight_model.cfg file

 Fixed an off-by-one error on fuel junction settings when loading FLT files of SimObjects

 Display state of combustion in engine added in debug window

 HDR10 is now properly applied when launching the title in fullscreen mode on PC

 Improved transparent UI readability on HDR screens

 Fixed a scenario when road traffic disappeared when multi-monitor is active

 Various fixes and improvements for the screen reader accessibility feature

Navigation/Traffic

 Copilot will no longer request push back service when it is only managing ATC communications

 Fixed a scenario when some ILS were misaligned ; some missing procedures are now in the sim

 Fixed an issue with ATC being on the wrong airport when having a VFR flight plan and landing at another airport

 ATC UI is now enabled with COM Radio for planes lacking Nav radios

 Live traffic planes no longer turn and fly over the airport at low altitude before the initial climb

 Added Departure procedures to Air traffic

 Fixed live traffic planes always using the same runway in worldmap

 We are now using the flightplan to interpolate position of live traffic planes

 Fixed live traffic cruise altitude

 Wind direction information is applied before selecting the runway for live traffic

 Fixed an issue where loading navdata packages with BGL navdata deletion flags could cause ident search and other navdata lookup failures

 Fixed an issue where an overriding package containing navdata loading the same facility ICAO as an earlier loaded package would be unable to change the QMID of the facility and would receive “facility in a different QMID than the ICAO index list thinks” error

 Fixed wrong callsign used by ATC for live traffic planes

 Fixed live traffic planes cruising at extreme altitude in game

 Fixed live traffic planes getting stuck at the center of the airports

Weather

 Added Metar interpolation every 10 minutes to avoid haze apparitions being too abrupt

 Better handling of Metars in areas where there is a lot of available Metars

 Proper temporal fading over 1 min when new data arrives

 The clear sky preset is now cleared of all clouds

 The sun disc is no longer visible through thick clouds (does not affect overall lighting conditions)

Activity

 Auto refuel at the end of the leg is no longer activated by default across all existing bush trips (can be set via RefuelOnLegStart)

 “Wing Commander” achievement can now be unlocked passing 1000 flight hours

Planes

GENERAL

 Fixed an issue that would cause Morse sound not to work properly on some planes

 Fixed an issue on the VNAV button that caused it to not properly sync when present on 2 glasscockpits on the same plane

 Fixed some scenarios where we could have camera glitch when flying under bridges

 Fixed a scenario where clicking and manually dragging the zoom slider does not change the zoom level in all Camera options (Cockpit, External, and Showcase)

 Added RotorIndex & default RTPC for Rotor sounds

 Unable to set NAVX_SOUND for NAV3 & NAV4

 Added a parameter to prevent the template ASOBO_HANDLING_RudderTrim_Template from being disabled when AP is enabled

 Added the PctPressurePerPump parameter to the Modular Fuelsystem’s manual pump to allow it to only provide part of the maximum amount of pressure

 Added Electric Engines

 Fixed reverse PITCH_INCREMENT on VS knob on some aircraft

 Added the KEY_SPOILERS_INC/KEY_SPOILERS_DEC keys that give incremental control of the spoiler lever

 Added  KEY_PROP_LOCK_SET/TOGGLE/ON/OFF which can be called to lock the propeller in position while it is at low speed. Matches with the simvar SIMVAR_PROP_LOCK

 Added keys that were present in ADF1 to ADF2

 Added an option to the modular FuelSystem that allows fueltank to generate their own pressure

 Fixed an issue that would cause the ASOBO_HANDLING_Spoilers_Template template to incorrectly interpret a value in percent as if it was in degrees

 Fixed a scenario where setting an aircraft’s wheel to have 0 compression or radius may cause a crash

 Fixed the SIMVAR_PLANE_TOUCHDOWN simvars to ensure they work for water landings

 Fixed the behavior of KEY_MIXTURE_SET_BEST to ensure it more accurately sets the best mixture

 Fuel no longer resets to 0 unless set with slider in weight & Balance

 Cruise Altitude can now be edited if SimConnect calls flightSave

 Added the keys that were present only for Nav1/2 to Nav3/4

 Corrected the template ASOBO_INSTRUMENT_Needle_Altimeter_SubTemplate to allow for the unit used to be overriden

 Added the INTERCEPT_INTERACTIONS param to the ASOBO_GT_Material_Emissive_Code template to ensure any screen can easily intercept clicks to prevent them from interacting with elements beind the screen

 Icing slider no longer affects aircraft body and windows when icing is deactivated from the assistance menu

 Filled up debug variables for cylinder friction and torque for piston engine

 Smoothed ground normal and ground position in CFD simulation to make ground effect smoother

 Thermals simulation now simulates ground slope orientation. Sun exposed slopes receive more heat

 Ground effect in CFD simulation now accounts for objects, helipads, rooftops…

 CFD simulation now support sloped ground surfaces adjusting ground effect automatically to the sloped surface

 New system to choose the reset mode for PIDs. Applied to pitch & roll on the Cessna 172

 Improved ground heat based thermals for a better balance of up and downdrafts

 Fixed an issue where having multiple active Bing Map graphics could cause a CTD while getting elevation data under high load

G1000 NXi

 Fixes GPS SimVar ‘GPS WP DISTANCE’ showing 0 when in a random Direct To

 Corrected label on the Departure page that said “Arrival”

 Fixed issue with VNAV PATH arming while ALT CAP autopilot mode is active

 Fixed incorrectly highlighted areas during Checklist evaluation

Cessna 172 Skyhawk G1000

 Added new system to choose the reset mode for PIDs. Applied to pitch & roll

 The stall speed was 10 kts slower than what it should have been

Darkstar

 Improved cockpit lighting and wear and tear

Beechcraft King Air 350i

 Fixed a visual issue with the behavior of the AP/Disc bar

Flight design CTLS

 Fixed the negative flaps settings

World

 Fixed an elevation hole in Spain between LEAD and LEMB

 Fixed car size and changed car density for low settings on parkings

Airport

 Fixed trees in path to Runway 10 at TFFJ

 AFB has old name and is now KCOF Patrick SFB

 Fixed terrain spikes between N47 and O03

 Fixed a scenario where cars go across taxiways at KMCO

 Fixed elevation issues on terrain around CAJ3 airport

 Changed ICAO for Caselnuovo Don Bosco airport to LILF

 Fixed terrain issues in north-west of General Santos

 Fixed missed buildings at MMMX

 Fixed beacon on runway 9TE6

 Fixed beacon on runway at 57D

 Fixed scenarios where jetway update were too slow

 Fixed Lod issue at KDEN

 Fixed building issue at LEMD

 Fixed terminals 2 and 5 at EGLL

 Removed building on taxiway at EHAM

 Fixed YCOP name and location

 Fixed some wrong airport codes in Papua New Guinea

 Fixed road vehicles appearing on KLAX runways

Peripherals

New supported devices:

 Added Turtlebeach VelocityOne Flightstick support (PC & Xbox)

 Added Honeycomb Alpha Flight Controls XPC support on PC & Xbox

 Added Honeycomb Charlie pedals support on PC

 Added Pro Flight Trainer Puma X support

 Added Thrustmaster TCA Sidestick X support (PC & Xbox)

 Added Thrustmaster MFD Cougar support

New presets

 Added dedicated Helicopter gamepad preset

 Added dedicated Glider gamepad preset

 Added a dedicated Thrustmaster T16000M helicopter preset

 Added a dedicated Thrustmaster TCA Flightstick X helicopter preset

 Added a dedicated Thrustmaster T.A320 helicopter preset

 Added a dedicated Thrustmaster HOTAS One helicopter preset (Xbox)

 Added a dedicated Turtlebeach VelocityOne Flightsitck helicopter preset (Xbox)

 Added a dedicated Logitech Extreme 3D Pro helicopter preset

New controls

 Added dedicated Helicopter inputs

 Added an input to trigger the Back to Fly feature

 Added digital inputs to increase & decrease the spoiler

 Added an input to toggle the water ballast

 Added an input to release the tow plane while in a glider

 Added plasma control inputs

 Added mac ready setting inputs

 Added an input to toggle the CFD

 Added an input to toggle the Thermals display

 Added an input to toggle on or off the variometer sound

 Added some missing ADF2 inputs

Various peripheral fixes

 Devmode inputs are now remappable and localized

 Fixed a bug where it was impossible to zoom the VFR map while using the the drone camera

 Fixed a bug that was toggling the landing gear while browsing fixed cameras

VR

 Fixed VR default panel opening position

 Toolbar panels opened in VR are no longer open when switching to normal mode

 Flight panel windows positions are now saved after closing and reopening from the toolbar

 Fixing rendering issues using canted displays

  Fixed Raycast not aligned with cursor in main menu

SDK

IMPORTANT: From SU11 onwards, we added some restriction on allowed files in an Asset Group of type SimObject (aircraft), click here for more info on what files are allowed or not.

Please note that despite what the doc is saying you don’t have to manually edit the definition files to reference extra files that you want to put in your simobject asset groups (the doc will be updated for official release).

 Fixed progress text in SDK installer

 Added support for 3D Studio Max 2023 in SDK installer

 Relative path fixed in the options of the multiexporter for 3dsmax

 Fixed crash when using the same model for two vector placements

Devmode

 A link to DevSupport has been added to the DevMode bar

 Opening “Online Documentation” using DevMode now opens “flighting” online documentation if the build is a beta one

 Weather Debug : New developer debug window to display and debug detailed weather data

 Added new “Aircraft data” debug window

 The editor no longer crashes when trying to add new items

Visual Effects Editor

 Alt+LeftClick now properly destroys a link in the effect data, not only visually until the graph is refreshed

 Unit dropdown menu on the SimVar node inspector is now tall enough to display unit list below the filter

 The BezierCurve node has a Loop parameter to wrap the sampling of the curve when the input is outside the boundaris of the points of the curve

SimConnect

 It is now possible to request a Vor, a Ndb or a Waypoint knowing only its ICAO. In case of conflict, the API will return a list of possibilities

 It is now possible to request ICAO, REGION and IS_TERMINAL_WPT while requesting waypoint

 It is now possible to request FIX_LLA, ARC_CENTER_FIX_LLA and ORIGIN_LLA while requesting APPROACH LEG using NavData API. It is also possible to request NEXT_LLA and PREV_LLA while requesting ROUTE

 It is now possible to request ICAO and REGION while requesting VOR and NDB using NavData API

SimVars

 AUTOPILOT AVAILABLE now returns the correct value (returned always 1)

 Added TURB ENG THRUST EFFICIENCY LOSS, TURB ENG FUEL EFFICIENCY LOSS, TURB ENG N1 LOSS, and TURB ENG COOLING EFFICIENCY LOSS simvars, to aid in simulating turbine engine bleed air efficiency losses and mechanical wear/failures

Scenery editor

 Adding a better way to edit taxisigns directly in their properties window. Check the official documentation for more information

 The editor no longer crashes when trying to add new items

 Fixed gizmo scaling value in “Gizmo” window not updating properly

 Added helipad start edition

 Improved dev camera focus on object

 Fixed polygons that are not refreshed when opening a project

 Fixed material button

 Fixed little shifting when resizing large rectangular aprons

 Fixed rectangular apron picking

 Show warning for vector placement with several meshes

 Improved polygon picking

 Added helpers for LightPreset “direction” and “direction2” vectors

 VASI/PAPI better placement on the first spawn

 Fixed vehicle not hidden by tunnels or exclusion polygons

 Now it reset display name when replacing model

 Added option “”Disable TIN color correction”

 Fixed debug OSM feature points and OSM power lines debug

 Fixed debug terraforming

 Fixed a scenario where delete nav command that remove nav data from its own package

 Fixed gizmo scale axis

 Fixed large independent proj mesh disappearing when moving them

 Fixed Asset selector closing immediately after opening in the material / scenery editor

Aircraft editor

 Fixed “Teleport on  camera” and “Save&Reload” and “Camera save” button in tab Cameras

 New parameters were added to the aircraft config-files

 Added support for negative drag on negative flaps. Tuned negative drag for CTSL

 Added new parameter recip_stop_min_acceleration” for minimum acceleration below which we completely stop the propeller. Default to 2.0

 Filled up debug variables for cylinder friction and torque

 Debug wheels now displays longitudinal and lateral friction forces separately

 Added legacy_fm_only option to allow plane makers to force the exclusive usage of the legacy flight model

 Required parameters are now force written

 Fixed bug on indexed parameters moving, duplication, adding and removing

 UI/UX improvement regarding float3 parameters

 Fixed Undo/Redo; Added min size of Indexed parameters; fixed duplicating camera GUID

 Fixed fuel tank and station load debug visualization

 Fixed parameters labels

 Fixed display of lift_coef_aoa_table parameter

 Added manifold pressure settings to engines.cfg (manifold_pressure_correction_by_rpm ; manifold_pressure_min )

 The correct Fuel section is now shown based on the data in the cfg in the aircraft editor

 Added an option to set the ICAO engine type to “None” in the aircraft editor

 Added support for multiple data with same name in arrays (see “options” in parameter “Junction”) in the aircraft editor

 Added new parameters for Helicopters and Gliders in the aircraft editor

Project editor

 NEW Bundle/Pack objects available in the project editor, check official documentation for more information

 Fixed bushtrip save behavior in case you have multiple bushtrips in the same package

 The Package Builder now automatically lists Airports, POIs and Missions in “ContentInfoContentHistory.json”

 Timestamps are now properly updated when removing files from previously compiled asset groups

 Fixed the Material Inspector message that stated “Editing material ‘M’ from library ‘L’”, It now states “Editing material ‘M’ from package ‘P’”

 Removed “Update Package/Group name” button, instead do the update on enter or when loosing focus

 Added a “Back/Next” flow for a lot of successive popups in the project editor

 Fix some metadata and release notes not being correctly copied during a project “Save As”

 Fix thumbnail not being loaded in project until drawing it in the inspector, fixing potential issues

 The “Export & Build” window no longer resizes each time the export mode is changed

 “Remove Filter” window is now properly resized on first opening

 The input ints to change release notes version no longer loose focus each time a character change

 Adding a new release note version now selects it

 Using undo/redo while changing release notes versions now keeps the current version selected

 Input ints in release notes tab now prevents user from entering irrelevant values

 Fixed “Build & Export” duplicating or adding files from packages that are not selected to the .zip archive

 Fixed sources paths for BGL, Mission and Visual Effects asset groups that could result in a bug when adding several packages/asset groups of the same type in a project

 Post Build/Export user agreement windows are now properly resized on first appearance

 Added “Heliport” section to “World” category for Marketplace

 Import item Feature to import an existing package or bundle/pack to the current project. Check official documentation for more information

 Fixed crash upon cleaning a package that has some files being used in the package editor

 Fixed crash when cleaning a package that has just been renamed in the project editor

 Option added in bushtrips to enable/disable auto refuel at the beginning of a leg

Package Tool

 Fixed compilation error for models with more than 9 model attachments

 glTF compilation now fails in case of duplicate animations in the source file

 Improvements on Package order tool

 Submodel merging now also fails when there are duplicate animations in the base model

 Misleading timestamp error message has been removed when compiling an empty Material Library through the Package Builder

WASM

 SimConnect_AISetAircraftFlightPlan and SimConnect_AICreateEnrouteATCAircraft used in a wasm environment, are now linked to the work folder

 It is now possible to make HTTPS requests through Wasm. See documentation for more information

 Set 2D custom LLA now uses geoid reference

 Optimization of Wasm module is now forced by default while compiling in Release Mode through Visual Studio

 Compilation time performance improvements, translating to faster loading times the first time an aircraft is loaded

 Fixed potential memory corruption issue when using gauge_calculator_code_precompile and execute_calculator_code from WASM