It’s hard to believe the end of year is just days away. The year really went fast, but I guess that is also part of getting older. Anyway, I’ve been thinking about some of the MSFS add-ons which released this year and also wondering how it compares with 2022. During 2022 we had some really amazing and much needed add-ons appear on the scene. Most notably the Fenix A320, PMDG 737-800 and GSX Pro. To be brutally honest, 2023 hasn’t really been as exciting as 2022 and much of that has to do with developer delays.
Most of us speculated that PMDG might be able to get their Boeing 777 out before the end of the year and Fenix had also hoped to release their Airbus A319 and A321 airliners. But unless something changes in the next few days, we’ll have to wait until 2024 for these. I recently wrote about “What’s in store for us in the new year”? Have a peek at that article and see if you agree on some of my non-scientific speculation.
I’ve come up with a short list of the add-ons that I added to the sim in 2023 that truly impressed me.
Horizon Simulations Boeing 787-9
Anyone who publishes their top add-ons for 2023 and does not list this one at the very top or very near the top needs their head examined. In my opinion, prior to the release of the Horizon Simulations Boeing 787-9 we were absolutely starving for a truly capable long-haul, widebody aircraft. Naturally, the Horizon Sim 787-9 wouldn’t have been possible without the AAU2 Aircraft & Avionics Update released back in June. This revolutionized both the default Dreamliner and 747 in MSFS and of course the developers at Horizon Simulations capitalized on that and released their aircraft. The truly awesome thing about the Horizon Simulations Boeing 787-9 is it’s freeware. Pending you own the Premium Deluxe version of MSFS, this aircraft is 100% free. In addition to the bit about it being free, in my opinion it is just as good as the QualityWings 787 from P3D which we most likely will never see in MSFS.
Kuro Boeing 787-8
Directly behind the above mentioned Horizon Simulations 787-9 is the Kuro 787-8. These two could be interchangeable as for what might go into the #1 spot or the #2 spot. I’m ranking the Kuro behind the Horizon simply because the Horizon Sim 787-9 was released about a month before the Kuro. But they are both grade A representations of the Boeing Dreamliner and both (again in my opinion) exceed the QW Dreamliner which again, I must say we’ll never see in MSFS.
Headwind Simulations Airbus A330-900
While I believe this aircraft may have actually released back in 2021, it really didn’t catch my attention until earlier this year after it had had plenty of time to get all the kinks worked out. This was my first Airbus widebody to ever fly and I’ve had pretty good luck with it. While I’m mostly a Boeing sim guy, this has been a fun aircraft to fly and I highly recommend checking out the Headwind Simulations Airbus A339X.
Various Airport Sceneries
I’ve added some really awesome airport to MSFS over the past year. While I can’t be 100% certain that every one of these are new to 2023, they are new to me in the past year. FlyTampa EHAM, iniBuilds KPSP, Flightbeam KMSP, MKStudios EIDW, Dominic Design KPHL and KIND (along with a few others that I am pretty sure were released in late 2022) all are excellent representations of their real world counterparts.
Looking ahead to 2024
With regards to all the aircraft I mentioned in this recently blog post titled “What’s in store for us in the new year?” I failed to mention the FBW A380X. Based on some of the screenshots and updated information which was released around the middle of December, the project is coming along and hopefully we may see this aircraft sometime in the new year. Also, iniBuilds also just announced their plans to release an Airbus A350. I’m not sure if we’ll see that in 2024, so time will tell.
I’m also really hopeful that someone will someday, someday really soon release a quality Dallas/Ft. Worth KDFW airport. The Asobo version is ok, but it really doesn’t do this awesome airport justice. FSDreamTeam has always been the developer to make DFW, so hopefully it is on their list for the new year.
Of course, I’m really excited to see what Microsoft/Asobo releases with MSFS 2024. I know this is a sore subject among the flight simulation community. I provided some of my thoughts and opinions way back in June which you can read about if you so desire. But I’m really excited about MSFS 2024 as I believe this new sim will be a truly amazing upgrade to what we have now.
Well….that’s about all I can think of at the moment. Yes, I do believe perhaps 2022 was a much bigger year for add-ons….but while 2023 might have been a bit of a sleeper, I think 2024 will really blow our socks off.
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I look forward to all that the new year has in store for us.
Until next time…
P.S. I started writing this blog post in very early December. The teasers from PMDG regarding their 777 and the assumed 737 MAX began gaining serious traction around the middle of the month. As I’ve always released my “Top Add-ons” blog post just before Christmas, I did have hopes that I might need to edit it and slot in a new PMDG release. After all, if PMDG had released either the 777 or the 737 MAX in the calendar year 2023, that release would have been my #1 add-on of the year. However, as the 777 only went into beta testing around the 17th, I don’t anticipate it releasing until sometime in the first quarter of 2024.