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.
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.
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.
Concorde by DC Designs
The legendary and one-of-a-kind Concorde comes to your copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator with this release developed by DC Designs and published by Just Flight. The first Concorde add-on that has been released by any developer for the new MSFS and much attention to detail has been included with virtually every knob and switch in the cockpit functional and depicted.
This model includes a fully functional 3D VC with all of the gauges and instruments found in the real-world aircraft. While the Concorde has been grounded for over a decade, you can take to the virtual skies with this mod. Even included is the unique "whiskey" compass gauge found on the original aircraft.
The Concorde first took to the skies in the 60s under testing and was finally adopted by carriers such as British Airways and Air France for their first commercial flights in the 70s. The final flight was in 2003 as the last BA Concorde landed at Heathrow. Its demise was due to increased maintenance demains for such an old aircraft along with some technical failures.
This payware pack brings a complete Concorde model along with 4 liveries/repaints including; British Airways 1985-1987 (Landor), British Airways 1997-2003, Air France 1976-2003, and finally Singapore Airlines G-BOAD. The entire cockpit and engineer's panels have been mastered in 3D and are fully functional. Nose animations are working, accurate, and based on the original documentation. A highly accurate fuel modeling system has been included which features all 138 lines, 64 pumps, and 38 valves. However, this can be automated for ease of use when starting (for the novice virtual pilot).
Download size: ~487 MB - Developed by: DC Designs
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 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
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.
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
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 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.
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
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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 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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
Missions & Adventures Add-ons
A selection of payware mission and adventure add-ons for the new flight sim, Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) 2020 release. Some fun packs include weather add-ons along with extreme flights.
"STORM" Weather/Mission/Challenge Add-on
A completely unique add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator bringing custom weather scenarios based on extreme weather, in particular, Storms.
This add-on, developed by SoFly (the developers of "A Guide to Flight Simulator" brings a barrage of extreme storm weather scenarios to the sim.
This add-on brings many aspects of extra features to MSFS including; weather presets (extreme), missions/adventures, narrated (audio based) flight missions, landing challenges (in extreme weather), discovery flights, and a fully interactive manual and guide.
Essentially, this add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator is a brand new, unique add-on that brings a wide range of extreme weather scenarios to your flight simulator and also provides hours of flights, plans, and even historic narration to some of the well-known storms over the years. This is a one-of-a-kind add-on and will add hours of fun and flights to your copy of MSFS.
All of the scenarios and presets are based on real-world data and historic records however also included are fictional superstorms and other scenarios that you could only imagine in your dreams.
Download size: ~700 MB - Developed by: SoFly
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
?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
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 include flight tutorials, training for ATC, VFR flights, and IFR flights and to simulate your flights as realistically to the real world as possible.
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, that all of the payware add-ons for MSFS listed above are linked to Fly Away Simulation's official payware outlet, SimShack. They have all been sourced from the SimShack Microsoft Flight Simulator payware section. 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. And for further reading, we have now launched our official "best of" article covering the best freeware mods & add-ons for the new Microsoft Flight Simulator. Are you an MSFS 2020 freeware developer? Submit your add-ons here.
Don'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.