20+ Best Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) 2020 Payware Add-ons

There are plenty of freeware add-ons for Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) 2020, of that there is no doubt. There are also, however, plenty of payware add-ons available too. And if you going to part with your hard-earned cash, you want to know what’s out there and what you get for your money.

Fortunately for MSFS users, not only is there a small mountain of add-ons available for purchase, but we have taken the liberty of sifting through them to find out which are the best value for money.

In this article, we may interchangeably use different terms and abbreviations for the simulator such as, "MSFS", "MSFS 2020", "FS2020" but they all relate to the brand-new Microsoft Flight Simulator released in August 2020.

This article will be expanded over time - we may also remove older add-ons as they become less relevant to the content of the article.  Please bookmark this page to stay up to date.

The DC Designs F-15 C on the ground in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.

This article is quite lengthy so you can jump to the individual sections included below;

Where available, we have also included the product demo/trailer videos for your viewing under each listing.

Here, then, are some of the best payware add-ons currently available for the new sim package. And we will start with the aircraft.

Aircraft

Perhaps most important to flight simulation is the aircraft themselves. And rest assured, new aircraft are on offer in abundance. Ranging from light aircraft to passenger and cargo planes and even military fighter jets, there are plenty of options to explore.

Here are some of the best payware aircraft add-ons currently available.

Aero-Works Aerolite 103 by Nemeth Designs

An aircraft that many virtual pilots may be interested in exploring is the stunning and highly detailed replication of the Aerolite 103 ultralight.

The Nemeth Designs Aerolite 103 flying over Paris in MSFS 2020.

The flight dynamics of the aircraft have been reproduced with the utmost accuracy, including the use of a rear propeller and a piston-powered single-engine, which performs in the virtual skies exactly as it would in the real ones.

In fact, one of the first things you might notice – if you choose to purchase this particular add-on – is that this open-cockpit aircraft offers one of the most unique flying experiences, a feel that has been reproduced excellently.

Everything from the empty weight of the aircraft, the conditions it is flying in, and even the take-off and landing of it, have all been expertly programmed and calculated, ensuring a realistic experience for the virtual pilot.

There are 12 liveries available for the aircraft. And even this somewhat represents its real-life version as these aircraft are often sold in parts as an assembly kit. Because of this, each Aerolite 103 is unique to itself. The add-on also features a full manual that is easy to follow and understand.

Download size: ~620 MB - Developed by: Nemeth Designs

View/purchase the product over here.

Beechcraft Model 99 Series by Virtualcol

Development team Virtulcol offers three different models (two passenger and one cargo) of the Beechcraft Model 99 aircraft, which has been reproduced with accuracy and realism in mind.

The Beech Model 99 add-on in flight over the coastline in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Both the exterior and the interior of the planes offered are of the highest quality, with highly realistic cockpits, dials, 3D gauges, and navigation controls. Even the passenger section has been reproduced accurately and as close to their real-life versions as possible.

We should also note, that following the initial release, there were several critical tweaks made which only improved the realism and general standard of the Beechcraft reproductions even further.

For example, improvements were made to the camera views as well as to the sound and volume. Further improvements were made to the engines and the handling of the throttle, mixture, and propeller levers corrected.

Two different panels are offered and there are 20 different liveries also available. If you are looking for a smaller passenger or cargo plane to take to the virtual skies in, this add-on could be of interest to you.

Download size: ~150 MB - Developed by: Virtualcol

View/purchase the product over here.

CRJ 550/700 by Aerosoft

Arguably one of the best aircraft add-ons for MSFS is the CRJ 550 and CRJ 700 aircraft from Bombardier (now Mitsubishi) CRJ airlines. These passenger aircraft – which can seat between 50 and 100 people – offer the feel of a jet airliner for use on shorter flights. Because of the smaller size, these flights are often far more comfortable and less noisy, and the 2-2 seating arrangement also gives the aircraft a “business jet” feel, something that has been replicated well here.

The Aerosoft CRJ550/700 on ramp with cargo being loaded in FS2020.

The interior of the aircraft has been meticulously reproduced, with accurate dials and navigation controls. This realistic feel continues with effects such as rain hitting the cockpit window. The high-resolution PBR textures really do play a role in bringing these aircraft to life.

The movement and general aerodynamics of the aircraft have also been studied and reproduced with a high standard of accuracy, including the realistic sound (created using Wwise) and the way the plane responds to the environment and conditions it is flying in.

These smaller jet planes offer the chance for the virtual pilot to hone their aviation skills more so than they might if they were flying an Airbus or Boeing plane.

Lufthansa Regional CRJ taking off from a German airport in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

This is mainly due to the limited chance to use automation and the need for much more hands-on, manual piloting. Indeed, some of the smaller airports these planes will land at will often have a lack of navigational equipment and so rely on the manual flying skills of the respective pilots.

The electronic flight display system, which performs detailed performance calculations using the weight and balance of the aircraft, as well as the transfer of weight, fuel, and calculated V-speed, also adds a further sense of realism, as do the checklists for all flight situations.

There are also individual configuration settings for the preferred aircraft state when loading and general aircraft maintenance.

Extensive Flight Management System and Honeywell ProLine Avionics are also featured, which further include Advisory and Coupled Vertical Navigation, as well as a Head-up Guidance System. This navigation is delivered with February-March 2021 (AIRAC 2102) data and can be updated via NavDataPro and Navigraph.

Also included are eight different (and detailed) manuals featuring step-by-step documentation.

There are nine different liveries available across the two aircraft. The pack includes both the CRJ 550 and CRJ 700 along with nine different liveries including; United Express/Go, Lufthansa, Air France HOP, American Eagle, Alaska Airlines, Delta Connection, and more.

Download size: ~702 MB - Developed by: Aerosoft

View/purchase the product over here.

McDonnell Douglas F-15 C, E & I Eagle by DC Designs

If you are looking for something completely different from ultralight or small passenger aircraft, then you could do worse than opt for this four-plane package of the F-15 Eagle jet aircraft. Accurate and highly detailed reproductions of the F-15C, F-15D, F-15E and the F-15I Ra’am planes are offered, and each one is stunning in its attention to detail.

F-15 being refueled on ramp in MSFS 2020.

Externally, the jets are accurate and authentic replications of their real-world versions. There is, for example, custom visibility control for the wheel chocks, covers, GPU, and guards, while the canopy and crew ladders are highly detailed.

If we move on to the interior of the planes, we can again see that the high attention to detail and authenticity continues in abundance. In the cockpit, for example, the virtual pilot will find highly detailed textures and masterful replicas, including 3D instruments and navigation equipment, and modeled ejector seats. The entire interior is based on the real-world F-15s and includes the “whiskey” compass and layout.

The fully functional 3D VC and canopy of the F-15 in MSFS.

The virtual pilot also has the choice of the front or rear seat in the cockpit, with the crewmate set to “disappear” as soon as you make and action your choice. Whichever seat you do choose to take to the skies, the realism further hits you with working rear-view mirrors and such effects as the “scratched canopy” and reflective glass.  

The aircraft also features custom-built animation effects which include afterburners and G-vapor. There are also custom-coded air-intake animations, which calculate such details as the angle of attack and the overall speed of the aircraft for further realism.  

However, perhaps where the F-15 jets really come to life is when the night lighting kicks in, specifically the user-operated “slime light” which is utilized during combat missions.

Also worth noting is that each of the aircraft used Microsoft Flight Simulator code and native “Model Behaviors” animations. This means there will be no issues with any future upgrades. Each of the aircraft is also fully compliant with Microsoft Flight Simulator native materials, as well as the features of the simulator, such as rain effects and general sounds.

There are eight different liveries available across the four aircraft. The four different aircraft models are; F-15C, F-15D, F-15E, and F-15I Ra’am. 

The add-on also includes Paint Kit and full operations manual.

Download size: ~800 MB - Developed by: DC Designs

View/purchase the product over here.

Scenery

Once you have your aircraft you are going to want locations to fly to and take off from. And like the aircraft themselves, there are plenty to purchase and add to your virtual flight experience. From the hustle and bustle of big-city airport hubs to the picturesque and more serene airports in coastal and rural locations that are perhaps more challenging to negotiate, there is plenty on offer.

Here are some of the best airport and airfield locations available to purchase for MSFS.

Airport St. Tropez (LFTZ) by Aerosoft

Located around 15 miles southwest of Saint-Tropez, the St. Tropez Airport has been brought back to life with accuracy and stunning attention to detail. Developers at Aerosoft went about a complete reworking of the airport and the surrounding area, using recent orthophoto imagery to do so.

An overhead view of St. Tropez airport being displayed in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

The textures and objects at the airport and surrounding areas come from the use of the latest PBR technology. The 3D modeling of the airport buildings and hangars have been hand-generated and are highly accurate, while the static aircraft and light aircraft seen at the facility match what a pilot would see in the real-world version.

The autogen buildings help bring the surrounding areas to life, as do the landmarks and general objects. There are also completely upgraded villages of La Mole and Le Moulin Roux, each of which includes hand-placed vegetation.

The realism goes up a notch even further when the custom-designed night lighting takes control, making an immersive and authentic experience.

The Netjetz hangar at St. Tropez airport.

In the real world, St. Tropez Airport is a particular attraction for the elite and the wealthy, with many private jets using the facilities. It also offers easy transport to such other attractive locations as Monaco and Nice, through many of the charter aircraft that operate there.

This reworking and overhauled location is as close to the real thing as one might hope for and would certainly be a destination of interest to virtual pilots across the spectrum.

Download size: ~707 MB - Developed by: Aerosoft

View/purchase the product over here.

Airport Berlin Brandenburg (EDDB) by LimeSim (Aerosoft)

Now that it has finally been completed in the real world after several significant delays, the Berlin Brandenburg Airport is now available in the virtual one. And every part of the airport – including buildings, terminals, hangars, and general facilities – has been recreated in stunning detail and with the utmost accuracy. This accuracy continues with the taxiway, apron, and stand layouts, including the new taxiway G, and taxiway C extensions, and the new Terminal 2.

Main terminal building of Berlin Brandenburg Airport displayed in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.

The real-world version of Berlin Brandenburg Airport serves various purposes – from national and international freight and passenger flights to sightseeing flights for tourists, and government business flights. This latter service is also reflected in the virtual version of Berlin Brandenburg Airport with the inclusion of the exclusive terminal for government personnel, as well as ministers and VIPs.

Custom aerial imaging has been used to reconstruct the entire immediate vicinity, including recognizable buildings such as the Waltersdorf shopping complex, autobahn flyovers, and various bridges.

Further realism is displayed with the authentic and dynamic night lighting, with the add-on being the first to feature Microsoft Flight Simulator’s new advanced airport taxiway lighting system, including custom mate models for this airport. Animated jetways and taxiway signage add yet another layer of realism.

Whether you are a newcomer to the world of flight simulation or a grizzled veteran of the virtual skies, Berlin Brandenburg Airport gives each pilot the chance to practice and hone multiple skills of virtual flight.

Download size: ~5 GB - Developed by: LimeSim

View/purchase the product over here.

Airport Cologne/Bonn (EDDK) by Aerosoft

One of Germany’s busiest airports (seventh busiest, if you are asking) is Cologne/Bonn Airport, which operates 24 hours a day. Now, this hub for travelers and goods alike has been recreated accurately in stunning detail, including the buildings, facilities, and general layout – all using textures from Photoreal technology.

The gates and terminal building at Cologne/Bonn airport displayed in MSFS.

The taxiway, stand layouts, and apron has also all been accurately replicated, as have the runways, one of which is crosswind and two are parallel, and all of which are up to date.  

Created by Aerosoft, the detailed ground service equipment, general objects, and terrain make this reproduction come to life, as do the custom taxiway signage, runway guard lighting effects, animated jetway models, and windsock models.

The airport really comes to life, though, with the highly realistic nighttime lighting effects, which makes the airport almost indistinguishable from the real thing.  

It is, without a doubt, a location that would engage virtual pilots of all levels of interest and experience.

Download size: ~3 GB - Developed by: Aerosoft

View/purchase the product over here.

Hamburg Airport (EDDH) by sim-wings (Aerosoft)

Another of Germany’s airports, Hamburg Airport, and its surrounding areas, has been accurately and authentically replicated for MSFS and is absolutely dripping in realism. The entire airport has been reproduced, including the airport buildings, the interiors, and auxiliary buildings.

A busy terminal and aircraft gates and jetways at Hamburg in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.

Color-corrected aerial photographs have been used to create the realistic 3D ground, including the Lufthansa maintenance lowered highway, and the half-covered highway.

Airport operator ground maps have been used to place the stands, and the new “Interim Terminal” is also included. Another example of the attention to detail is the use of official aeronautical charts to correlate the sloped runways.

The animated jetways, static apron vehicles, and a Lufthansa maintenance area all add further layers of realism. It is perhaps the dynamic and realistic night lighting, though, that makes the airport and surrounding scenery truly come alive.

While there are many virtual airports to choose from in Germany, Hamburg Airport is without a doubt a location very much worth adding to your virtual flight experience.

Download size: ~1.7 GB - Developed by: sim-wings

View/purchase the product over here.

Alta Airport (ENAT) by Aerosoft

Along with all of the buildings and the surrounding areas, Norway’s Alta Airport has been reproduced with the utmost attention paid to every last detail.

ENAT (Alta Airport) runway and surroundings.

In the real world, the airport is located in the north of the country in the Altjafjord region, a region that is particularly remote and sparsely populated, something that has been recreated masterfully and makes the location so unique.

All of the airport buildings, including the terminal interior, have been reproduced with real airport photographs being used for the models and textures. There is also randomly placed static traffic which brings the airport to life further.

3D modeling inside the terminal buildings at Alta Airport in MSFS.

There is also a further sense of realism with the seasonal changes, which includes authentic 3D snow in the harsh winter months, and further realism with the dynamic and realistic night lighting, which includes the lead-in light for RWY29. 

Indeed, if only for the view of the magnificent mountainous terrain upon approach, you might want to consider purchasing and visiting this Scandinavian location.

Download size: ~2.7 GB - Developed by: Aerosoft

View/purchase the product over here.

Ibiza by sim-wings (Aerosoft)

One of the most recognizable aviation locations might be that of Spain’s Ibiza Airport. And this stunning reproduction, which includes all of the airport buildings, terminals, facilities, and surrounding terrain is highly accurate.

Airport and gates at Ibiza airport displayed in MSFS.

The taxiway and stands layout are also accurate and realistic in the extreme and include the new 2020 GA apron and PP layout. And this realism continues with the animated jetway models and custom taxiway signage.

Official Spanish airport charts have also been used to position the taxiways, apron, parking areas, and runways, making them highly authentic and accurate.

As we might expect, the dynamic and authentic night lighting brings both the airport and the terrain to life even more, which makes it all the easier for the user to immerse themselves in this truly unique location.

A busy terminal and aircraft gates displayed using the Ibiza scenery add-on.

The terraforming blends the airport into the default height model and the aerial terrain blends seamlessly into the default aerial terrain allowing for a smooth and faultless experience.

Download size: ~800 MB - Developed by: Nemeth Designs

View/purchase the product over here.

Airport A Coruña by TDM Scenery Design (Aerosoft)

Spain’s Airport A Coruna and immediate surrounding vicinity have been reproduced in highly accurate detail and should be of interest to any virtual pilot looking to test their skills, not least because of the need to approach Runway 03 using their visual skills only and without the use of instrumental aids.

Aircraft and control tower at A Coruna in MSFS 2020.

All of the airport buildings have been accurately reproduced, with land vehicles and general ground activity adding a real touch of authenticity. The hand-placed hangars, marks, numbers, and parking areas are fully in line with the real-world version.

It isn’t just the airport itself that boasts such intricate detail. Upon approach, for example, the virtual pilot will notice how the surroundings below, featuring customized buildings ranging from old factories to modern supermarkets, gave the airport a life-like feel.

For example, there are accurate recreations of San Anton Castle, the Tower of Hercules, and the Stadium of Deportivo La Coruna, as well as reproductions of the old hospital, the control tower, and the general seaport area.

There are also highly realistic jetways operational at Gates 1 and 3, and a customized AFCAD, allowing the user to accurately operate AI traffic and the ATC simulator.

There is plenty to make this add-on attractive to the virtual pilot. However, if you need another reason you might wish to note that there are planned updates to include further buildings around the seaport, as well as the Main Hospital of the City which will include the heliport.

Download size: ~1.4 GB - Developed by: TDM Scenery Design

View/purchase the product over here.

Chania Ioannis Daskalogiannis Airport (LGSA) by Aerosoft

Located on the western part of the Greek island of Crete, Chania Ioannis Daskalogiannis Airport (Crete International Airport) has been stunningly reproduced for MSFS along with the immediate scenic surrounding areas.

Overview of Chania (LGSA) airport in Crete being displayed in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

The airport itself is home to both military and civilian activity – separated into a north section (the civilian section operated by Fraport since 2018), and a south section (operated by the Hellenic Air Force).

All of the buildings and facilities have been accurately reproduced, as has the single 10,982 feet long asphalt runway. The taxiways and apron layouts are also authentic and represent the real-world versions. Many of the main landmarks have also been reproduced in and around the airport for further authenticity.

There are also custom animated flags at the terminal, custom animated vehicles at the apron area, and custom animated windsocks. The customized dynamic lights further contribute to really bringing this airport to life.

Given the location and the challenge of such things as the sloped runway, Crete International Airport is a location you might want to consider adding to your virtual aviation options.

Download size: ~280 MB - Developed by: Aerosoft

View/purchase the product over here.

Kalaupapa Airport (PHLU), Hawaii by South Oak Co

One of the most interesting and scenic locations, both in the real world and the virtual one, is Hawaii’s Kalaupapa Airport, which serves regional air taxi services (which include flights to Kalaupapa National Historic Park) and general aviation flights.

PHLU Kalaupapa Airport overview after loaded up in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

The entire airport, including all buildings and the surrounding area, has been reproduced in high detail and is accurate in the extreme. One of the best examples of this stunning reproduction is the Moloka’i Lighthouse, complete with its realistic and authentic rotating nighttime illumination. 

The taxiway and apron enhancements further add to the realism, but perhaps one of the most stunning recreations of the entire package will be best appreciated as the virtual pilot approaches the airport.

The combination of volcanic rock and ocean waves that runs along one side of the runway combined with lush vegetation to the other makes the landing one that will be truly unique. 

Download size: ~90 MB - Developed by: South Oak Co

View/purchase the product over here.

Port Allen Airport (PHPA) Hawaii by South Oak Co

Located on the shores of Kauai, Hawaii, Port Allen Airport is another unique aviation location that has been replicated in stunning detail. All of the buildings and surrounding areas have been reproduced authentically, as have the runway, taxiway, and apron enhancements.

Port Allen (PHPA) with heavy thunderstorms in MSFS 2020.

In the real world, this public-use airport serves several purposes. As well as operating regular regional air taxi services and general flights, the facility also acts as a hub for aviation tourism, with skydives, helicopter flights, and trike ultralight flights operating out of Port Allen. 

The surrounding area of Port Allen Airport is also highly realistic, with the combination of green fields and woodland, rocky coastline, and sandy beaches all providing a real sense of realism and authenticity. This continues further with the general objects and custom-placed vehicles, as well as the boats along the coastline.

The air tours and skydive building at Port Allen airport in MSFS.

Not only is the virtual version of Port Allen Airport and its surrounding areas picturesque, but the facility offers the virtual pilot to chance to practice multiple aviation skills.

Download size: ~283 MB - Developed by: South Oak Co

View/purchase the product over here.

Blackbushe Airport (EGLK) Scenery by Just Flight

In Hampshire, England sites Blackbushe Airport, which has now been recreated in highly accurate detail along with its immediate surroundings.

Control tower and buildings at EGLK displayed in MSFS.

All of the airport buildings have been reproduced in stunning detail using PBR textures, while the runway is based entirely on the version that you would find in the real world.

The dynamic and realistic lighting adds another layer of authenticity as do other details such as the taxiway location and dynamics.

The airport fire and rescue service buildings displayed in the simulator.

This small airport, by comparison to big city locations, is perhaps worth the small spend and is certainly worthy of being a part of any virtual pilot’s location options.

The add-on also comes with a full manual and is fully compatible with Microsoft Flight Simulator’s dynamic weather.

Download size: ~110 MB - Developed by: Just Flight

View/purchase the product over here.

UK Airfields & Farm/Grass Strips Scenery Mega Pack by Neil Birch

This particular add-on features 50-plus airfields, grass strips, and farm strips from in and around the UK developed by Neil Birch for MSFS 2020.

UK airfields and grass strips screenshot.

There is also a 114-page PDF document included with the add-on which provides information on each airfield, as well as real-world plates for selected airfields.

All of the airfields have been upgraded from the default MSFS versions - or added as entirely new airport/airfields because they did not exist in the default release.

Some of the airfields featured are; Allensmore Airfield, Hereford (EGVH), Arclid, Cheshire (EGRH), Ashley's Field, Skegness (AG518), Bakersfield (UK) Northants (AG98), Beeches Farm Airfield, Newark (EGVI), Binstead, Isle of Wight (EGRB), Bowland Fell Gliding Club, Chipping (AG96), Braintree (Rayne Hall Farm), Essex (AG101) and many more listed on the product page.

It's also worth noting that there are many more airfield pack volumes released to complement this initial release - you can find them in the MSFS scenery sections here.

Download size: ~100 MB - Developed by: Neil Birch

View/purchase the product over here.

UK Airfields & Farm/Grass Strips Scenery Vol. 2 by Neil Birch

There is also a second volume to Neil Birch’s UK airfields which features further 20-plus landing strips and airfields for the virtual pilot to explore. These landing strips come from all over the United Kingdom – including Northern Ireland – and are replicated with stunning detail and authenticity.

Vol.2 of the UK airfields pack shown in the simulator.

As we might imagine, due to the heavy vegetation of some of the landing areas in question, the virtual pilot will have to draw on all of their piloting experience to navigate them, which is perhaps reason enough to explore them.

There is also a fully-featured PDF document included with the add-on which provides information on each airfield, as well as real-world plates for selected airfields. We should also note that most airfields have a Parking Spot - PARKING0-RAMP GA SMALL.

Some of the airfields featured are; Abbots Bromley (EGRG), Banbury (EGIY), Black Mountains Gliding Club (AG102), Bonnington (AG105), Caunton (EGUC), Coal Aston (EGCA), Crowfield (EGSO), Cuddesdon (AG108), Damyns (EGML) among may more.

Download size: ~54 MB - Developed by: Neil Birch

View/purchase the product over here.

Training and Tutorials

As well as the aircraft, airports, and airfields, there are several guides and tutorials available, designed so that the virtual pilot can get the most out of the home-flight simulation.

Here are some of the best such tutorials available for MSFS.

A Guide to Flight Simulator: MSFS Tutorials & Walkthroughs by SoFly

Perhaps the best place to start would be with a complete guide that examines the many features of Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) 2020.

Cover artwork of the MSFS guide and manual.

The digital document – labeled the “missing manual” or the “manual that Microsoft didn’t include” by some - covers all aspects of MSFS 2020, examining tutorials, walkthroughs, as well as the basic steps to get you started with the new sim.

The PDF document, created by a team of experts from SoFly, is 272 pages in total and is of use to newcomers to the world of flight simulation as well as to veteran flyers who are new to MSFS 2020. It features a step-by-step guide about the aircraft featured, how they perform, and how to get the best out of them.

Example of the content of the MSFS manual e-Book.

There is also detailed information on all featured airports, as well as tips from certified pilots on some of the challenges of particular airports and how to overcome them. The document further offers a full walkthrough on getting the most out of the built-in features of the sim – such things as configuring camera controls or communicating with air traffic control.

Essentially, the guide will take you through every step of your first flight as it sends you on your debut journey into the virtual skies. Once there you will learn how to use the multiplayer flight option, as well as taking on new challenges that will hone and expand your virtual piloting skills.

In short, if you are looking to truly get the most out of Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) 2020, then this guide is an essential purchase.

There have also been several updates to the document since the initial release, something that those who have already purchased the guide can access for free by simply re-downloading the latest version from their SimShack order history page.

Download size: ~341 MB - Developed by: SoFly

View/purchase the product over here.

Flight Planning in MSFS (2020) Tutorial Videos by TopSkills

This 18-minute tutorial package actually contains two videos in one and will teach the virtual pilot (courtesy of Bill Stacks) how to plan VFR and IFR flights.

Flight Planning in MSFS 2020 cover artwork.

In the real world, flight plans are vital in helping VFR pilots accurately reach their destinations in good time, but also allow air traffic control to vector IFR pilots. Their use in virtual flight simulation increases the overall realism and authenticity of the virtual pilot’s experience.

There are several valuable learning points contained in these tutorial videos. For example, the virtual pilot will learn how to choose departure and destination airports, as well as how to choose starting points and parking places at both airports.

You will also learn how to make GPS direct routes and VOR-to-VOR routes while accessing the information on runways, elevations, and frequencies.

You will further learn how to use the simulator’s NavLog and maps, as well as how to save your flight plans and file them with air traffic control. The lessons come thick and fast, showing the virtual pilot how to choose visual or instrument flight rules, as well as how to select IFR low-altitude and high-altitude routes.

Of course, once you have mastered all or some of the above, you will see the immediate advantages of flight planning. For example, the flight plan will appear on the onboard GPS unit, as well as the simulator map, and this gives the autopilot a route to carry out. The air traffic control will also vector IFR flight plans and the plans can be saved for future flights.

In short, this video tutorial has been put together professionally, with specifically chosen topics so as to bring out the most relevant information. These are all clearly explained and easy to follow and feature animations with images taken from MSFS 2020. There is particular attention paid to the script to ensure it is concise, with the delivery of the narration being clear and perfectly audible.   

The focus of these particular training videos is on the electronic flight planner in Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) 2020 and does not apply to any other flight simulation programs. It applies to all aircraft in MSFS and is suitable for all cross-country simulations.

Bill Stacks has over 30 years of experience in training, and these videos are of the highest quality. Full instructions are also included.

Download size: ~600 MB - Developed by: TopSkills

View/purchase the product over here.

Navigating With GPS in MSFS (2020) Tutorial Video by TopSkills

Used by military, commercial, and civilian pilots, the Global Positioning System (GPS) allows pilots in the real world to navigate the skies safely. Now, a 10-minute tutorial video is available for virtual pilots (by Bill Stacks) assisting them in doing the same thing in Microsoft Flight Simulator. 

Navigating with GPS tutorial for MSFS 2020 cover artwork.

For example, you will learn how to use Garmin GPS devices (Garmin GNS 530 and GNS 430) which will allow the virtual pilot to make their way through the virtual skies anywhere in the world. The tutorial will show you how to read and decipher data on map screens, as well as how to change map and data screens and the functions of the various buttons and knobs.

You will also learn how to access detailed data about airports and waypoints, as well as how to add waypoints and change destinations en route, and use en route, terminal and approach phases.

Learning to use GPS properly will ultimately make navigating more precise and much easier, removing a lot of the guesswork which will, in turn, reduce navigation errors.

The tutorial itself is well put together by Bill Stacks – who has over 30 years of experience in such training – and features clear, concise explanations for each step. It is also compatible with the most popular software and operating systems that play MP4 files (Windows Media Player, RealPlayer, Quick Time, and WinAmp).

While the video teaches how to use the GPS 530 and 430 devices, it does not explain such things as flight planning, following instrument approach procedures, or the use of autopilots. Stacks also stresses that the flight simulation training videos and books are for home flight simulation games only and “should not be used for real-world flight or lessons” and are intended so that “home-flight simulation enthusiasts can maximize their enjoyment”. Because of this, some of the information is “not exactly like real-world flight”.

Full instructions for use are also included.

Download size: ~270 MB - Developed by: TopSkills

View/purchase the product over here.

Further Training & Tutorials

There are many new products released all of the time that provides training and tutorials for the new MSFS release.  We add them regularly to our payware store, SimShack. 

Products including flight tutorials, training for ATC, VFR flights, IFR flights and to simulate your flights as realistically to the real world as possible.

To stay up to date with the latest manuals, training, and tutorial products bookmark and follow this page on SimShack here.

Rounding it all up

So there you have it - our first edition of this article containing (what we feel) are the most relevant and detailed payware add-ons for the new sim.  We will update this article regularly (likely monthly) with new releases we feel should be included.  From time to time we may also remove add-ons to ensure that the article doesn't become too lengthy.

It's also worth mentioning, all of the payware add-ons for MSFS listed above are linked to Fly Away Simulation's official payware outlet, SimShack.  They are all available for purchase there.

What are your thoughts?  Have you used any of the add-ons listed above?  What are your opinions of them if so?  Please post them in the comments sections below - your feedback is always very valuable.

Want Freeware Instead?

If payware isn't for you and you don't want to spend a cent on expanding your Microsoft Flight Simulator experience then freeware may be the way to go.  We have launched our official Microsoft Flight Simulator freeware add-ons library where you can view many new add-ons that are completely free to download and use and are submitted/released by many new freeware developers for the new sim.  Are you an MSFS 2020 freeware developer?  Submit your add-ons here.

Download iconDon't forget... We have a huge selection (over 24,000 files) of free mods and add-ons for MSFS, FSX, P3D & X-Plane in the file library. Files include aircraft, scenery, and utilities All are free-to-download and use - you don't even need to register. Browse on down to the file library here.

Ian Stephens

Ian Stephens

Ian Stephens is a flight simulation industry expert with over 20 years of experience and also has a keen interest in aviation and technology. Ian spends a lot of his time experimenting with various simulator packages but has a love for Microsoft Flight Simulator X because of the huge selection of add-ons available. However, Ian also has copies of Prepar3D and X-Plane installed.

Ian has been writing for Fly Away Simulation for over 9 years. Should you wish, you can contact Ian via email at ian.stephens@flyawaysimulation.com.

9 comments

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The content of the comments below are entirely the opinions of the individual posting the comment and do not always reflect the views of Fly Away Simulation. We moderate all comments manually before they are approved.

James SmithSun, 09 May 2021 21:19:03 GMT

What a great introduction to MSFS payware. While the add-ons have been released for a while, this article really brings them together to really exhibit what they offer. Well done Fly Away Simulation!

Robert J McManusWed, 12 May 2021 14:38:57 GMT

I watched the trailer for PHLU in Hawaii (Molokai, it seems). The thing that dropped my jaw was the water effect! How can you get that? For me to get the ocean looking real, I have to amp up the surface winds so high that GA flight is impossible -- certainly for a plane like the Grand Caravan pictured in the trailer.

I've posted threads about this on flightsim.com, and it seems a lot of people share my frustration. What's the secret?!

Walter Ray WaddellWed, 12 May 2021 15:17:36 GMT

Awaiting the DC-3 for MSFS 2020. Thank You For Asking.

TimWed, 12 May 2021 15:52:12 GMT

You’re not showing anything new here. You’re just showing what’s already in the marketplace.

Ian StephensThu, 13 May 2021 21:14:41 GMT

@Tim

Correct - everything listed in my article above is active and released/listed/available to purchase in the "marketplace". If it wasn't available to purchase it wouldn't be listed as it wouldn't be available (or even exist)? I'm having a hard time understanding your comment.

ARMANDO DE LA FUENTEFri, 14 May 2021 04:51:56 GMT

I had a problem with a small plane; ultra-light craft, very small, it works very well two times, since that, does not work anymore. The problem does not want to accelerate to gain full velocity to fly. It appears that the brake also is on.

I have installed and uninstalled it several times, and it doesn't work. Can you help me with this matter?  My game simulator is updated until now. I will appreciate your help because I don't know what to do. Armando de la Fuente warmis.a@gmail.com.

Ian StephensFri, 14 May 2021 11:39:44 GMT

@ARMANDO

Is this regarding the Aerolite 103 add-on by Nemeth Designs?

If so, it sounds like you are running in the "legacy" flight model.

The developer has stated, "The Aerolite 103 doesn’t support the legacy (old) flight model. Perhaps the customer has his MSFS realism setting set to legacy."

So maybe set change your realism settings from "legacy" to "modern"

Let us know if this helps!

D Boyd Fri, 14 May 2021 22:24:30 GMT

I have downloaded 3 items of the freeware and for all the putting this file here and that file there is a lot of bull... I did everything they say to do and I still ain't flown or even seen the damn aircraft.  If it was one complete file to put in the FSX file or MSFS or whatever it would be a hell of a lot easier for people to enjoy the freeware or payware.  I would like to try payware But I would not waste the money on it if it's like freeware.

Bill E NelsonTue, 20 Jul 2021 00:02:19 GMT

Waiting for Carenado, whom I believe delivers the most realistic third-party downloads, to convert more aircraft currently available on FSX & P3D to FS2020. Anxiously awaiting the Citation CJ2, Citation XL, and hopefully improved versions of the Citation CJ4 and Citation Longitude that are included in MSFS2020. Carenado says they are on the way, and hopefully not too long a time!

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