Sponsored Review–LOWI Innsbruck Airport

 

About This Sponsored Review

The product I’m reviewing today was provided to me at no cost in exchange for writing this review.  As with all my reviews, it is my intent to provide to you, the reader, a full and un-biased review of this product.

About The Real Innsbruck Airport

Innsbruck Airport (LOWI), is the largest international airport in Tyrol in western Austria.  The airport officially opened in 1925 and handles regional flights around the Alps and seasonal international traffic to many European destinations.  Winter is the peak season due to holiday ski travel to the region.  The airport features a single runway measuring 6,562 ft (2,000 m) (08/26) and can handle aircraft up to the size of the Boeing 767.  Innsbruck Airport is known for having a difficult approach due to surrounding terrain.

Why Consider Add-on Airports

Microsoft Flight Simulator utilizes satellite imagery from Bing maps to create much of the airport scenery and surrounding area we see in the simulator, it’s far from perfect and generally leaves default airports lacking the same level of detail one would might see if visiting in real life.  While Innsbruck Airport is one of Microsoft’s custom, hand-crafted airports available in all versions of MSFS, there are significant improvements which have been made to the Orbx add-on that may be of benefit to some users. 

Before & After Images

Default MSFS (left column) Orbx Innsbruck Airport (right column).  I’ve set the weather conditions for clear skies and the time is mid-afternoon.  Click thumbnail to view full-size image.  As you can tell between the before and after images, the Orbx Innsbruck Airport scenery adds extra details which are missing in the handcrafted default scenery.

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Additional Orbx LOWI Innsbruck Views

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Orbx Innsbruck Airport (LOWI) Review

I’ll be brutally honest and say that when I first heard Microsoft was going to include several custom, hand-crafted airports in MSFS I certainly had hoped they would be up to the same standards we’ve come to expect from many of our add-on airport developers.  After all, Microsoft certainly has a much larger development budget and resources to truly make each of these custom airports shine.  Upon getting MSFS installed back in August, Innsbruck was one of the first airports I loaded up in the sim and had a look around.  I did somewhat cheat a bit and fired up P3Dv5 to take a quick look around just to refresh my memory and soon realized there was a difference between what I could see in P3Dv5 compared to MSFS.  Thankfully, with the Orbx Innsbruck scenery installed in MSFS all is once again right in the sim world.

Much like I did with my first look of London City Airport review, I spent about an hour flying around and exploring the custom, hand-crafted Innsbruck Airport which comes standard in all versions of MSFS.  Compared to the standard default airport, the Microsoft custom, hand-crafted version is nice.  During my time exploring, I flew the default Cessna 172.  My FPS ranged from the mid 70’s to low 80’s in various areas of the airport scenery. 

With the Orbx Innsbruck Airport (LOWI) scenery installed and using the same default Cessna 172, my FPS under clear skies (around mid-day) held an average FPS in the low to mid 70’s.  Introducing clouds and evening skies did drop the FPS down into the low to mid 60 FPS range.  I did some circuit work around the airport and even flew down the valley about 15nm from the airport and then back with no stutters or freezes on approach.  As a point of reference, my hardware specs are as follows:  Intel 8700K, GTX1080Ti, 32 GB RAM, 1 TB M.2 SSD and I’m running on Ultra Graphics Settings in MSFS.

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Note:  As you can see from a few of the above screenshots, my FPS did drop down into the low 50’s.  This only occurred under cloudy, evening conditions.  Knowing that MSFS still isn’t fully optimized and for the most part I’ve never experienced FPS in FSX/P3D above 35 in these same conditions, I’m personally not troubled by this.  While the jury is still out on what may or may not happen when we start adding more complex aircraft into MSFS, the sim remain stable with no lag.  Remember, FPS is just a number.  You always want to tune your sim for a smooth and eye pleasing experience.  I believe this is exactly what I’ve done. 

In comparing the Orbx Innsbruck Airport runway 26 with that of Google Earth, I believe Orbx did a fantastic job in recreating the runway as you can see in the below images. Images from left to right: Google Earth, MSFS custom and Orbx.  Orbx even provided a much closer looking mowed grass texture.  Remember, it’s sometimes the little things like this that truly helps to add to the level of realism we experience when flying.

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Another area I’d like to point out which Orbx included in detail is the general aviation area.  Once again, from left to right: Google Earth, MSFS custom and Orbx. 

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How To Purchase

The Orbx LOWI Innsbruck Airport add-on can be purchased one of two ways.  Users may purchase directly from the MSFS Marketplace (see image below) or from Orbx direct.  If purchased from Orbx, you’ll need to install via the Orbx Central application.  The cost of the add-on is $26.99 AUD.

MSFS Marketplace

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Orbx Central

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I install in the Main Library

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Install Complete

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Once installed, just launch MSFS and select LOWI as your departure airport and enjoy!

About Orbx

Orbx has been the leading developer of scenery for flight simulation since 2006 and have published over 800 high-quality add-on products for Flight Simulator X (FSX), Lockheed Martin Prepar3D, Aerofly FS2, X-Plane 11 and now Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.

About GrizzlyBearSims

Jerry (aka GrizzlyBearSims) is an independent blogger and avid flight simulation enthusiast covering the flight simulation hobby for over 10 years.  He began flying computer based flight simulators in the early 80’s on the Commodore 64 and today enjoys both Prepar3D and Microsoft Flight Simulator.

I would like to thank Orbx for the opportunity to review LOWI Innsbruck Airport and provide this review to the readers of my GrizzlyBearSims.com blog site.  If you have questions regarding this scenery, please visit the GrizzlyBearSims Discord server and let’s discuss.

Thank you for taking the time to read this sponsored review.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Parting Shot

With the sun going down on my Innsbruck adventure, it’s time to shut down and head over and grab me one of those picnic tables and enjoy a cold brew.  Thanks again for reading.

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Confused in Cleveland–Weather Addon for MSFS

I recently received an email from one of my long-time blog readers asking my opinion regarding the recent announcement from REX on their upcoming release of Weather Force 2020 for Microsoft Flight Simulator.  With his permission, I’m going to post a portion of his email and then provide my opinions.

Hello Jerry,

I hope you and your family are well.  I’ve really enjoyed reading all your blog posts regarding the new Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.  Like you, I’ve been excited about this new sim ever since I first learned about it.  But I’m slightly confused about a recent posting over on FSElite regarding a new add-on being developed by REX.  REX appears to be developing a weather add-on for MSFS, yet I thought (I think we all thought) MSFS had real world weather baked into the sim and weather add-ons from REX or Hi-Fi  Simulations (ActiveSky) would no longer be needed.  I’m curious what your opinions are on this subject?

Thanks again for all your efforts.

Confused in Cleveland,
Bill

Bill brings up a very valid point and one that I’ve taken some time to ponder.  He’s right!  From the very early news regarding the new Microsoft Flight Simulator we’ve been led to believe that the sim would include real-time weather injection that would be far superior to anything we’ve had as default in the past and there would be no need for a 3rd party add-on to provide this function.  Microsoft actually released a video in October of last year where they specifically discussed the new weather system within Microsoft Flight Simulator.

It is worth noting, at the present time…Microsoft is well aware and working to resolve the real-time weather functions within MSFS.  We expect to see a fix in the upcoming “Patch 2” release from Microsoft in the next few days that hopefully will address the weather (or lack thereof) issues within the new sim.  I personally remain extremely confident that in time (and that’s the operative word or phrase we must all understand) Microsoft will address all these issues/bugs and MSFS 2020 will be an amazing sim. 

The news article which Bill references from the FSElite site can be read here.  It’s also worth noting some fine print which REX discusses on their website“Even though the REX weather engine is pushing the proper temperatures and winds aloft data through to the simulator, due to core issues of Microsoft Flight Simulator, temperatures and winds aloft are not properly rendered yet. Microsoft & Asobo are aware of this issue. (September 13, 2020)” 

My personal opinion and certainly my initial plan is to take a “wait and see” attitude regarding all things weather in the new sim.  While it’s been an almost necessity to use an add-on weather engine in FSX/P3D, the jury is still out on whether this will remain true in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.  At the present time, I’m not even sure the default aircraft flight models are stable enough for real-world, real-time weather.  This is also currently being worked on and improvements to both aircraft aerodynamics, avionics and systems are part of this update #2 patch.

Interestingly enough, later today Hi-Fi Simulations commented on the future of their Active Sky product as it directly relates to Microsoft Flight Simulator.  This announcement was posted to FSElite and can be read here.  One of the key takeaways from that article reads, “Sadly, Damian did say that right now they are not aware of any way to bring weather interpretation into the simulator or what the possibilities will be.”  I find this statement rather interesting considering the REX product announcement discussed earlier.  I’ve tried both REX and Active Sky over the years and always found that Active Sky does a much better job with accurate weather interruption and injection.

Having said all this, does this still mean there will never be an opportunity for a 3rd party weather add-on in Microsoft Flight Simulator?  Where I personally believe some type of weather add-on might be beneficial is for those who enjoy flying with historical weather.  But I plan to allow Microsoft time to address the current issues with real-time weather functionality and go from there. 

I appreciate Bill taking the time to email me his question and would like to invite anyone else the opportunity to do the same.  You can contact me via email or by Discord private message

Thanks to all for taking the time to read my blog articles.  I hope you find them educational and entertaining.  Stay tuned for more…

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Sponsored Review– EGLC London City Airport by Orbx for MSFS

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About This Sponsored Review

The product I’m reviewing today was provided to me at no cost in exchange for writing this review.  As with all my reviews, it is my intent to provide to you, the reader, a full and un-biased review of this product. 

About The Real London City Airport

London City Airport (EGLC) is a small international airport located in the Docklands of East London, England near London’s Financial District.  The airport features a single 4,948 ft (1,508 m) runway (09/27) which allows for only multi-engine, fixed-wing aircraft capable of flying a 5.5 degree approach.  The largest aircraft allowed to conduct operations at London City Airport is the Airbus A318.  London City Airport is the 5th busiest airport serving the London area and in 2019 handled over 5 million passengers.

Over the past 18 years, I’ve had the opportunity to fly into and out of London City Airport numerous times on flights from London to Antwerp, Belgium. 

Why Consider Add-on Airports

Microsoft Flight Simulator utilizes satellite imagery from Bing maps to create much of the airport scenery and surrounding area we see in the simulator, it’s far from perfect and generally leaves default airports lacking the same level of detail one would might see if visiting in real life.  While default type airports have been significantly improved in MSFS (compared with FSX or P3D), there’s still many reasons to consider purchasing/installing payware add-on scenery. 

The Orbx EGLC London City Airport add-on includes a full PBR representation of London City Airport and the surrounding area with full HD textures throughout.  Includes the Excel building and the Tate & Lyle Sugar factory along with other nearby landmarks. 

Before & After Images

Default MSFS (left column) Orbx London City (right column).  I’ve set the weather conditions for clear skies and the time is mid-afternoon.  Click thumbnail to view full-size image.  As you can tell between the before and after images, the Orbx London City Airport scenery adds extra details which are missing in the default scenery. 

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Additional Orbx EGLC London City Airport Views.

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Orbx London City Airport (EGLC) Review

Before writing this review, I’ve spent a few hours flying into and out of the London City Airport in both the default configuration and also with the Orbx London City Airport installed.  During the default experience (flying in the default Cessna 172) my FPS ranged in the 60 to 70+ range.  Note:  during my default testing I also did not have the London City Pack by Orbx installed as I wanted a true default experience.   I’ll review the Orbx London City Pack soon. 

With Orbx London City Airport installed, and real time weather I witnessed no impact to my FPS as observed with FPS counter in upper left corner.  I was still maintaining an FPS ranging from 60 to 70+ during circuit flying in and around the airport with no lag.  My hardware specs are as follows:  Intel 8700K, GTX1080Ti, 32 GB RAM, 1 TB M.2 SSD and I’m running on Ultra Graphics Settings in MSFS.

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I compared the Orbx London City Airport details with that from Google Earth and noticed no irregularities with the airport including runway and taxiways. I enjoyed the added level of immersion the Orbx scenery has added to London City Airport and surrounding area.  As this is an airport I enjoy simulating flights to/from I regard this scenery as a must have for my collection. 

How To Purchase

The Orbx EGLC London City Airport add-on can be purchased one of two ways.  Users may purchase directly from the MSFS Marketplace (see image below) or from Orbx direct.  If purchased from Orbx, you’ll need to install via the Orbx Central application.  The cost of the add-on is $20.99 AUD. 

MSFS Marketplace

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Orbx Central

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I install in the Main Library

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Install Complete

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Once installed, just launch MSFS and select EGLC as your departure airport and enjoy!

About Orbx

Orbx has been the leading developer of scenery for flight simulation since 2006 and have published over 800 high-quality add-on products for Flight Simulator X (FSX), Lockheed Martin Prepar3D, Aerofly FS2, X-Plane 11 and now Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. 

About GrizzlyBearSims

Jerry (aka GrizzlyBearSims) is an independent blogger and avid flight simulation enthusiast covering the flight simulation hobby for over 10 years.  He began flying computer based flight simulators in the early 80’s on the Commodore 64 and today enjoys both Prepar3D and Microsoft Flight Simulator.

I would like to thank Orbx for the opportunity to review EGLC London City Airport and provide this review to the readers of my GrizzlyBearSims.com blog site.  If you have questions regarding this scenery, please visit the GrizzlyBearSims Discord server and let’s discuss. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this sponsored review. 

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

MSFS2020 PMDG Delays?

Could the PMDG 737NG3 for MSFS2020 be delayed even longer than first anticipated?  While many of us fully understand the time it would take to bring an aircraft of the level of quality and sophistication like the PMDG 737 into MSFS2020, we might need to wait just a bit longer.

A few weeks before the new Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 was released, Robert Randazzo (CEO of PMDG) announced we could see the new PMDG 737NG3 in the new simulator sometime in late Q1 2001 or early in Q2.  Here’s the link to the full article and below is a snippet from that same article discussing the possible timeline. 

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However, it appears Robert commented just a few days ago with the following:

pmdg 6-12 mos

While certainly his now 6-12 month comment isn’t a sign of panic, after all I’d personally rather have it 100% ready than to have PMDG rush to bring it out only to find it’s useless.  Plus this isn’t how PMDG operates anyway. 

What this comment tells me and I quote from the post, is the platform (as it stands today) simply isn’t ready for products as complex as PMDG’s.  I believe the same can also be said for FSLabs and others.  Again, I’m not worried (and neither should you be) as those of us who are content with P3D and X-Plane certainly have alternatives. 

Of course, time will tell just what other “stuff” is coming to P3D and whether anyone will buy it.  I’m just hoping the release of their Boeing 777 is sooner rather than later for P3Dv5.  While I tend to mostly fly shorter-haul flights in the Boeing 737 and Airbus A319/A320/A321, I do still enjoy stretching my legs on some longer flights and absolutely adore the 777. 

So Robert Randazzo, if you happen to stumble onto this writing (which I doubt you will).  Take your time with FS2020.  It will be worth the wait. 

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Microsoft Flight Simulator Patch 1.7.14.0

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The highly anticipated, brand new Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 (MSFS2020) was released on 17 August 2020 with much fanfare.  The release wasn’t without a few small hurdles and within days of the release, Microsoft had already announced a patch would soon be made available.  I discussed this first planned patch earlier this week.

Before I get into my experience with MSFS2020 after the patch, allow me to say this.  To the best of my memory, and at no other point in the history of flight simulation related to Microsoft or even Prepar3D have we experienced a shorter timeframe between initial release and the first patch.  While some will say that MSFS2020 was rushed and should have been delayed a few weeks which may or may not have avoided the need for an update patch, we’ll never really know.  But I believe when Microsoft released FSX back in 2006 it too was not without issues and required two service packs to fully resolve all issues.  It took Microsoft about 6 months to release SP1 and another 5-6 months to push out SP2.  It really wasn’t until SP2 was made available that FSX was truly stable. 

With Prepar3D v5 (the latest P3D release), it was released on 14 April and the first hotfix (HF1) was released on 30 April.  But many still experienced issues(myself included) which made the sim unusable until HF2 was released on 23 June.  It should also be mentioned that unlike Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, Prepar3D v5 was not a complete rewrite of P3Dv4.5.  MSFS2020 is a completely brand new simulator from the ground up. 

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My Experience Post Update Patch

The past few weeks I’ve been heavily prepping for a series of job interviews which have taken priority to my gaming time.  As of this writing, I’m still awaiting the official news as to whether I’m still in the running for the position and exactly what the next steps are.  But….what time I have spent with flight simulation has mostly been in P3Dv5.  P3Dv5 provides me more immersion based on the type of flying I mostly enjoy (jetliner), but this doesn’t mean I’m ignoring MSFS2020. 

As I’ve discussed in previous articles, I believe MSFS2020 will become the next generation flight simulator and in time, it will completely blow away what we have today with P3Dv5 and XP11.  However, with exception to VFR/GA flight, there are several obstacles preventing me from flying any of the jetliners in MSFS2020 and especially flying on the VATSIM network.

Lack of Immersion

This is key to me.  While the visuals are absolutely stunning and better than I can possible achieve in P3Dv5, the lack of payware/study-level aircraft is only one of the deal breakers for me at this time. I know I probably sound like a payware snob and I certainly don’t mean to.  In all honesty, I believe the work that is being done on the default A320 via the MS2020 A32NX Project will eventually have me flying the Airbus A320 in MSFS2020 on the VATSIM network.  But even then, until there is a model matching program that allows me to see other aircraft in the liveries those pilots are flying, the immersion is very much blown for me.  While I realize this is just a slight niggle, it’s big enough for me to stick with P3D.

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Fine Job

In all honesty, the recent Microsoft patch resolved two major issues I had been experiencing.   First, the load time seems to have been reduced.  However, even in P3Dv5 the load time generally takes 2-3 minutes from the time I launch the .exe until I can actually begin prepping my aircraft for flight.  But in reference to MSFS2020, the load up time seems to be much improved.

The really big issue for me was related to the performance hit when connecting MSFS2020 to the VATSIM network and of course I wasn’t the only one.  VATSIM stated all would be ready to go on day 1 and to their defense,  the issues which caused the performance hit wasn’t their fault.  There was a major bug with the Microsoft Simconnect which was the culprit.  Simconnect is what allows 3rd party applications (like VATSIM’s vPilot) to connect to the simulator.  This middleware connection is responsible for sending/receiving data elements to these third party add-on apps. 

On Wednesday evening (with the MSFS2020 patch installed) I fired up MSFS2020 and loaded up the Cessna 172 and then connected to VATSIM via vPilot and had my first successful VFR/GA flight around the Denver area.  It was a lot of fun and I’m sure there will be many more flights just like that in the near future. 

Not Fully Baked

Rest assured, this first patch for MSFS2020 is only the beginning.  Very soon we’ll learn what’s on Microsoft’s radar for the next patch.  I would suspect we’ll see multiple patches over the next several months as Microsoft/Asobo gently fine tunes the sim. 

Interested in Flight Sim?

If you are interested in getting started in the flight simulation hobby, there’s no better time and in my opinion, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is your best option.  While flight sim can be looked at as just another game, for those of us truly passionate about it…flight sim is much, much more.  For those who are new to flight sim, MSFS2020 will be your best investment option and will allow you to grow in your experiences.  While I’ve discussed limitations which I view as showstoppers for my own enjoyment, these shouldn’t prevent anyone coming into flight sim from experiencing an “As Real As It Gets” experience. 

In time all the bugs will be gone.  In time there will be more add-on aircraft (both payware and freeware) available to the new sim.  There’s hours and hours of fun which can be experienced in the new sim with the available aircraft on and off the multiplayer services like VATSIM, IVAO and PilotEdge.  Get started today and earn your wings.  I’m looking forward to seeing you in the friendly skies very soon. 

Thanks again for reading.  Until next time…

Happy Flying!

Jerry

The Return of Community Spirit

Once upon a time, there once existed a spirit within the flight simulation community where talented individuals created many marvelous things to enhance the base simulator application.  Everything from navigational aids, enhanced airport scenery and aircraft.  At one time in our not so distant past, the quality freeware offerings outnumbered payware.  As the base simulator began to evolve (circa FS9 –> FSX timeframe) the quality freeware began to decline and the rise of payware took hold.  While I won’t pretend there’s absolutely no freeware available for P3D, I will tell you that the quality content is very few and far between.

Of course the X-Plane community has, for years and still very much to this day, enjoyed a very strong community spirit around freeware/shareware concepts.  Many of the X-Plane users in the virtual airline I belong to have spent little to almost no money to enhance their simulation experience.  Arguably, one of the very best freeware aircraft models ever known to exist is the Zibo 737.  The Zibo 737 Project, led by a team of developers to expand the capabilities of the default 737 in X-Plane.  Many who fly both the PMDG 737NG and the Zibo 737 will tell you the differences between the two are hardly noticeable.  Others might describe the Zibo 737 as being on-par with Aerosoft quality.  Either way, it’s a fantastic aircraft and absolutely free.  Who can argue with free? 

With the launch a few weeks ago of the new Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, many were bracing themselves (and their wallets) for an onslaught of payware add-ons.  After all, if you’ve spent the past decade or more flying study level aircraft the excitement of a brand new simulator may wear off fairly quickly once you climb into the flight deck of the default Airbus A320.  Sure….it’s pretty.  But within just a few minutes you realize you’ve taken a huge step backwards in the level of immersion as most features are labeled as Inop.  I’ve even stated several times that for me, MSFS2020 will most certainly become my go-to flight simulator, but only once aircraft models from PMDG, FSLabs, QualityWings etc. become available.  This won’t be happening this year.  Most likely this won’t be happening until sometime late in Q1 2021 or perhaps even early Q2 2021. 

But….

In just the past week or so, there’s been news about a project underway to create a “Zibo” like experience with the default Airbus A320 in MSFS2020 called the MS2020 A32NX Project.  I can tell you from first hand experience that what this team of developers have been able to do in the short time since the release of MSFS2020 has certainly piqued my interest in both MSFS2020 and the default Airbus A320 from an airliner perspective. 

Understand, the project is still very much a work in progress.  But they’ve certainly managed to excite me in such a way that I can certainly see myself flying the A320 in MSFS2020 on the VATSIM network very soon.  Certainly much sooner than I originally believed would be possible. 

Want to learn more?

Of course you do!  I’d suggest watching the video I’ve embedded below which will bring you up to speed on the progress already made as well as what’s in-store for the very near future.  The video description area will provide you with the links to download the mod and how to join the project’s Discord server so you can stay informed on the team’s progress.  I hope this news excites you as much as it does me.

Final Thoughts

Thank you for reading this article.  It’s much appreciated.  For those who are thinking the MSFS2020 A320 project will never be on-par with the likes of the FSLabs A320, you are probably correct.  However, as previously stated….the FSLabs Airbus series is most likely 4-6 months away from being available.  I’d be willing to bet, the team working on the MSFS2020 A320 project will (in time) bring this up to a level of quality and realism as what we currently see with the Aerosoft A320 and perhaps beyond. 

Many are asking if the same might also happen with the default Boeing 747 and Dreamliner.  Unfortunately, due to the DRM status of these two aircraft…this may never be possible.  But I suppose one should never say never. 

Thanks for reading.  I’ll soon provide an update to my experiences with the latest MSFS2020 patch.  Stay tuned….

Until next time….

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

MSFS2020 First Patch Coming Soon

If you’ve been enjoying or trying to enjoy the brand new Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, you’ll be happy to note the first expected patch is due to be released in the next few days.  Microsoft recently announced on their dev blog the full list of fixes users can expect in this very first patch

Yes, it’s a short list!

Many in the flight sim community are expressing disappointment with this first patch believing it should include more fixes and enhancements.  I personally believe this update is 100% spot on and is precisely the fixes the sim needs now, versus waiting another week, two or more to include more. 

First, there are many who are still struggling simply to download and install the sim.  If you refer to the patch notes, you’ll see there are several items being addressed which should help the folks who haven’t been able to install. 

Second, the SimConnect FPS drop has all but grounded anyone who desires to use MSFS2020 with the online networks like VATSIM, IVAO and PilotEdge. 

Third, the sim crashes when USB devices are connected or disconnected is another show stopper in my opinion and has been causing issues for many users.

More to Come?

Absolutely!  There are many opportunities which need to be addressed and I’m confident these will be addressed in time.  I’d personally rather see Microsoft/Asobo address the truly show stopper issues first (as they’ve done with this first patch) then hold this patch up several more weeks. 

How to Apply the Update?

That’s Easy-Peasy, Lemon Squeezy.  If you happen to be running MSFS2020 at the time the update is released, just simply shut down the sim and restart.  The sim will automagically download and install the updates. 

We should know more about what’s on the horizon in future patch releases on 3 September.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

MSFS 2020 48 Hours In

As I type this on my laptop, I’m carefully watching my default Cessna 172 fly low and slow along the Fjords from Stewart, Canada on a flight to Ketchikan, Alaska in the brand new Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.  I honestly can’t believe my eyes. 

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As Real As It Gets?

What I’m seeing and experiencing today has only really been achievable in real life flight.  Don’t get me wrong, pursuing ones private pilot license will certainly trump any experience on a gaming PC in my basement man cave.  But if you don’t have the time or the money to pursue such endeavors, then one can have an almost “As Real As It Gets” experience with the new Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. 

For many of us who have been in this hobby for many years, MSFS2020 is exactly what we’ve been waiting and hoping for.  After many felt Microsoft let us down many years ago, I personally believe they have hit a home run with this new simulator.

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Is it Perfect?

Of course not!  But we’re 48 hours into what I believe is the future of the flight simulation hobby and a platform that should carry us well in the years to come.  While there’s certainly areas to improve upon (and I’m confident these will be addressed in time) the new sim is stable, performs well and chocked full of hours and hours of flying fun. 

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Well I better focus my attention on landing in Ketchikan.  I’m loving this….

Until next time…

Happy Flying!

Jerry

MSFS 2020 Release Date

You’ve probably heard by now that Microsoft announced the much anticipated release date for their new Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.  The currently scheduled release date is Tuesday, 18 August 2020.  This announcement and more importantly this date surprised many in the flight sim community, myself included.  While I personally had no doubt that Microsoft would release the new sim this calendar year, I was thinking it would release in the late fall timeframe (October/November).  After all, we only heard a short time ago that the product was exiting the alpha stage to enter beta. 

All the Hype

I genuinely understand the hype.  I too am excited about this new simulator.  I’ve spent all my adult life (and some of my teen years) flying computer based sims.  For me, it all started in about 1983/84 on the Commodore 64.  I then evolved to the PC versions in the early 90’s and my current sim of choice is Prepar3D simply because it is the evolution of FSX and it has made the most sense for me to use. 

Release Details

Instead of me typing all the details out regarding the various pricing options for MSFS 2020, I’m going to share a link to the FSElite website and the article they wrote which covers all these details.  For me personally, I’ll probably go with the Premium Deluxe Edition. But I’m not planning on whipping out my credit card just yet. 

Why I’m Waiting

There are a few reasons why I’m making the decision to wait on purchasing MSFS 2020.  Perhaps one of the main reasons has to do with the fact that just about two weeks ago my 22 year career came to an end after being laid off.  While this has less to do with finances, it has more to do with my focus and attention.  I need to spend my time on searching for another job and some much needed DIY tasks around the house.  While I’m still spending time enjoying simulation based gaming, I know that MSFS 2020 would probably suck more of my time away when I need to stay focused on other more important things. 

Second, these days I tend to do most of my flying on the VATSIM network.  I’m guessing it may take some time before MSFS 2020 is compatible with VATSIM.  Third, and this one is perhaps more important than #2 is the fact that it will also be sometime before study level aircraft make the scene.  What I’m hearing is the larger jets that come standard with the new sim are all default level.  This is 100% OK as this new sim will introduce many to the world of flight simulation and default style aircraft are a great way to learn and enjoy flight simulation.  But I love my PMDG and FSLabs aircraft and would easily get bored flying default aircraft. 

Finally, I know there will be challenges and bugs with the new release.  Having some experience with software development, I’m not sure how it can go from alpha to beta and then literally within weeks ready for prime time.  So Microsoft is doing what most software developers do (and they probably wrote the book on this) is release it to the masses and allow their customers to perform a widespread beta test.  I’m 100% OK with this as I know it happens across the entire spectrum of software development.  I also know that Microsoft will release updates/fixes and MSFS 2020 will become everything we have wanted it to be since we learned of the demise of FSX.

Finally, Finally…..if you’ve been reading my blog site you know I did purchase Prepar3D v5 and I’ve been taking a slow approach making the move from v4.  In the past few weeks I’ve been using v5 exclusively and getting it all dialed in.  I have most of my favorite aircraft installed along with scenery.  v5 is a huge jump from v4 and I’m having fun with it.  Flight Simulation has navigated me through some dark times in the past 35 years.

Well…I need another cup of coffee and I believe I’ve said all I intended to say on this subject.  Thank you for reading.

Until next time…

Happy Flying!!!

Jerry

Microsoft Flight Simulator (AKA MSFS2020) News

In addition to sore, tired muscles from a weekend of major DIY work (see photo below), I also woke up to some really awesome news about the upcoming (sometime in 2020) Microsoft Flight Simulator.  More about this in just a bit.

Major “Honey Do” list work

One of the reasons why I haven’t been very active posting articles on my blog site has been primarily due to the fact that most weekends since I’ve returned from my European Vacation, I’ve been either up a ladder or crawling around on my hands and knees.  Long story short, we returned from vacation in early August to find an upstairs leak that had ruined our kitchen ceiling.  While much of the work to repair the kitchen ceiling was covered by insurance (and performed by contractors), we decided to also repaint and redecorate much of the rest of the house in the process.  After all, new paint in the kitchen will just make the 12+ year old paint in the rest of the house look dingy. 

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The above picture is me working on painting the edges where the wall meets the ceiling. 

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The second photo is me preparing to install a new light fixture in the entry hall way. 

We still have a few more weekends of work before it’s all done.  But once it’s done, the entire interior of the house will have a fresh, new coat of paint.  But enough about this.  I’m getting tired just thinking about it.

Microsoft Flight Simulator News

You may recall, I discussed the new Microsoft Flight Simulator which we all first heard about back in June.  You can find these two articles here and here.  In both articles, I expressed my guarded reservations but tried to be as optimistic as possible on this news which hit the flight simulation community by complete surprise.  After all, many of us are still bitter about Microsoft turning their back to the community not once, but twice and we all questioned why they would want to re-enter the flight simulation space. 

Watch This Video

If you have 32 minutes of spare time, I would like to direct you to a video by FroogleSim.  Pete discusses his recent trip out to Microsoft to see and experience the brand new Microsoft Flight Simulator which has been in development for the past 5 years.  Unlike some of Pete’s other videos on this subject, he actually did a very good job and he admits he was initially wrong about the opinions he first expressed back in June.  Again, if flight simulation interests you…then the video below is a must-see. 

My Thoughts

OMG!  Yes, literally…Oh My God!  Bottom line, we still just have to wait and see.  But I’ve seen enough and heard enough to realize that 2020 is going to be an amazing year in flight simulation.  We don’t have all the answers to the million and one questions yet to be asked.  Initially this new sim from Microsoft may not be able to tick all the boxes (multiplayer, third-party add-ons etc.), but I believe Microsoft Flight Simulator will once again regain its place at the top and re-write history.  I personally don’t see it immediately replacing P3D/X-Plane, but once we can begin to have access to a wide range of study level aircraft, online multiplayer (VATSIM) then I believe both P3D and X-Plane will begin to see a decline. 

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.  I hopefully will return soon to posting more content about flight simulation and other simulation based game topics here.  Until then….

Thanks for reading.

Jerry

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