In my last blog post where I discussed the upcoming MSFS AAU2 (Aircraft & Avionics Update) which is due to release on 23 June, I briefly mentioned some issues I had been having with my gaming PC. The PC in question, I called GBS Beast Mark V (which was the 5th gaming machine I had built in recent years). I built the machine in May of 2018 (5 years ago) and at the time it was pretty much top of the line with an Intel i7 8700K CPU, Nvidia 1080Ti GPU and 32GB of RAM. It performed well with the games of that time period including American Truck Simulator, Euro Truck Simulator 2 and Prepar3D Flight Simulator. It performed OK with the new Microsoft Flight Simulator. However, sacrifices had to be made with some graphic settings in an effort to keep the FPS above the 30 FPS mark.
However, over the past month or so I had been experiencing several issues which caused concern for the overall health and longevity of the machine. I’m pretty good about keeping backups, so about two weeks ago I made a backup of everything I needed and a few days later the machine finally rolled over and said no more. I quickly put a plan in place to start looking at the costs of building a new machine which would obviously be more powerful and hopefully future proof for at least another 5 years.
GBS Beast Mark VI
Obviously technology has taken a huge leap forward over the past several years and certainly so since 2018. As previously stated, I wanted to try to future proof any new build everywhere possible. As with previous builds, the most intensive gaming I play is flight sim. To truly maximize the total immersion possible, any new build would need to have the very best CPU and GPU available and that’s what I’ve done with this new build.
GBS Beast Mark VI features an Intel i9 13900KF CPU on a Z790 motherboard and cooled with a liquid CPU cooler. In addition, I’m going with the top of the line Nvidia 4090 24GB GPU. In addition, I’m adding three Samsung 990 Pro NVME SSD’s and reusing three Samsung 870 Evo SSD’s from the old machine. Total storage capacity will be 8 TB. In addition, I’m adding 32 GB RAM (DDR5) which is more than enough for the games I play and all this will be housed in a massive (largest case I’ve ever used due to the massive Nvidia 4090 GPU) Corsair 5000D Airflow ATX Case.
As I have stated many, many times over the years. I tweak my system for smoothness and typically don’t concern myself too much with how many FPS I can get from the hardware. As stated above, my old gaming machine was still capable of giving me a fairly smooth experience around the 30 FPS mark in Microsoft Flight Simulator. Of course, I had to dialed down some of the graphics settings in order to achieve this, but nonetheless I was able to enjoy the sim just the same.
Of course, the beauty of having this extremely beefy system now with the i9 13900 KF CPU and the truly awesome Nvidia 4090 GPU, I’m pretty much able to run my graphics settings to the full extreme and still enjoy a smooth, buttery visual experience at 60+ FPS with both the Fenix Airbus A320 and the PMDG Boeing 737-800.
The WOW Factor
I’m literally blown away at the huge leap forward I’m experiencing with this new PC and it very much reminds me of how I felt 5 years ago when GBS Beast Mark V came to life. But of course MSFS wasn’t around at that time and has completely changed the flight simulation landscape. Over the next few weeks I’ll continue tweaking the new machine and will post my settings once they are all dialed in the way I want them. While I’m not saying one cannot enjoy MSFS without a 4090 GPU, I will just say that it is absolute joy to see the virtual skies in all their glory without sacrificing performance.
It’s great to have a gaming machine once again and I look forward to many years of what I believe will be truly awesome experiences in all the simulation games I enjoy. Obviously, Farming Simulator and American Truck/Euro Truck will certainly enjoy the benefits of the updated hardware, but of course not to the same level as MSFS since that is both a CPU and GPU extensive simulation.
Over the past few days I’ve been watching different streamers showcasing the AAU2 (Aircraft & Avionics Update) beta for Microsoft Flight Simulator. This update which is scheduled to release to all users on 23 June and is a partnership between Asobo and Working Title and will bring a major overhaul for both the Boeing 747-8i and the Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner.
I’m particularly interested in the Dreamliner as I believe this will be our best chance of seeing this aircraft in the sim at any point in the near future. From what I’ve seen, and while the beta still has some challenges to overcome, it’s going to make for a very nice addition to the virtual hangar. Upon release I would expect the default MSFS Boeing 787 Dreamliner to be just as flyable/enjoyable as the QualityWings 787 in P3D.
Speaking of QualityWings and MSFS. Last month I posted my thoughts on the “PMDG 787 Dreamliner Rumors” which was making the rounds on social media. While we’ve not heard anything further on this possibility, (and it’s possible Robert Randazzo was just trolling the flight sim community) I just don’t see any sort of partnership between PMDG and QualityWings ever coming to fruition. While the development team at QualityWings remains silent on the subject of MSFS….it’s certainly not something I think we’ll see this year and actually may never see happen.
While we’ve had the ability to enhance the default MSFS 787 with the HeavyDivision Mod for over two years, I believe this update for both the default 787 and 747 is fantastic news for the flight sim community. In addition, I could see where the HeavyDivision mod could (once it is reworked after the AAU2 changes are implemented to further enhance the experience.
While I’ve not had the opportunity to install the AAU2 beta (experiencing major hardware issues at the moment), I trust the few individuals who have spent time with the beta and shared their opinions. I’m looking forward to the official release on 23 June and truly believe this update to the default Boeing 787 will help bridge the gap until PMDG releases their 777 later this year.
About two months ago, there was a Community Q&A livestream between a YouTube Content Creator named FilbertFlies and PMDG’s Robert Randazzo. During this 3 hour, 32 minute and 48 second event a question was asked by FilbertFlies regarding whether or not PMDG would be interested in developing a Boeing 787? The response from Robert is somewhat vague, but his response nonetheless has lead some to believe that PMDG and QualityWings could be planning to work together to finally bring the much loved Dreamliner into MSFS. But is this true? Is this really what Robert Randazzo said?
Let’s break down the conversation which took place at the 2:17:00 mark of the video (see video below).
FilbertFlies: Might you make a 787?
Robert Randazzo: (long pause), Hmmmm, Would I like to? Yea…Sure…Hmmm…So we’re having some conversations about that with someone else.
FilbertFlies: Woooo, that’s interesting!
Robert Randazzo: Yea, hmmmm, yea it is. The people we’re having that conversation with actually make 787’s. So it’s an interesting conversation. But yea, sure….why not.
Of course, Robert didn’t mention QualityWings by name, only that “The people we’re having that conversation with actually make 787’s”. While this could be QualityWings, it could also be the team behind the HeavyDivision mod as they are developing a stand alone 787. But….it could also mean that PMDG is talking with Boeing. After all, PMDG has a longstanding relationship with Boeing and all of the PMDG add-ons are officially licensed Boeing products.
In my opinion, everyone that has jumped to the conclusion that somehow, someway PMDG and QualityWings will join forces to bring the 787 Dreamliner to MSFS is putting the cart way ahead of the horse.
But don’t get me wrong….I understand why a PMDG/QW partnership makes sense. After all, the team at QW has all but gone dark with any new news regarding their plan to bring the 787 into MSFS. While we’ve known for some time that QW is working on it, we haven’t heard from them in a really long time. The last comment I’ve found on the QW forums was back in March 2022 where they mentioned “the Q2 2021 estimate for the 787 was way off. We’ve decided that for now being quiet is better than giving wildly inaccurate deliver estimates”. While I can appreciate QualityWing’s does not want to set a release date, I certainly believe they could and should provide some news on at least a quarterly basis just to let us know things are progressing. But I suppose at the end of the day, QW can run their company as they please.
The bottom line is, we just simply don’t know precisely what Robert meant with his comment. For now, I’m optimistically hopeful we’ll see the PMDG Boeing 777 release sometime this year and I’m sure a study-level, high fidelity Dreamliner will eventually make its way into MSFS at some point in time. Until then….we just have to wait and see.
One of the most common questions I receive from readers of my blog is regarding FPS improvements in Flight Sim and in recent months (for obvious reasons) these questions are concerning MSFS or Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020). Just in the past few days I’ve received three different emails asking for pointers on just how to squeeze out a few more FPS on the platform. While I’ve provided a few tips/answers to these emails already, I’ve selected one of those email questions to feature for this article. Let’s go!
Hello Jerry, I’m really struggling to achieve 60 FPS within MSFS when flying either the PMDG 737 or the Fenix A320. My hardware setup is not that much different from what you are showing on your blog site and I’ve also attempted to match your MSFS settings. The best I seem to be able to achieve is about 35-40FPS with mostly clear skies. But this number drops down to 25-30 FPS in cloudy/stormy conditions and about the best I can achieve on the ground is in the mid 20’s. I’m fairly new to flight sim with MSFS being my first introduction. I don’t seem to have these issues when flying the default Cessna and my other games also seem to be fine with 60+ FPS. What gives? JP
Thank you JP for your email. First, allow me to state for the record that I don’t get a consistent 60 FPS in MSFS with my posted settings. I never have. For many years I used to really stress over this fact until I finally realized that within flight sim a steady 60 FPS isn’t necessary and second to that, is really, really difficult to achieve especially when flying the more complex airliners like PMDG. On my current hardware configuration, really the only way one could achieve a steady 60 FPS will require the graphics settings to be turned down really low and that’s just not something I’m willing to do, nor do I feel is necessary.
One of the best solutions I can provide to you is fairly simple. Setup your sim the way you like it, which will provide you a smooth visual experience and simply forget about the actual FPS number. I realize this is probably the advice you were not wanting to hear, but trust me….once you get MSFS dialed in where you have stable visuals and just simply ignore the FPS number, your overall enjoyment factor will increase.
Over the past couple of decades I’ve used all flight sim platforms from FSX, P3D and now MSFS. I’ve always been somewhat behind when it comes to hardware specs. Today, my gaming machine is approaching 5 years old. When it was built and for a few months I perhaps could have considered it the top of the line at that time, but that’s no longer the case. Even after upgrading my GPU to the 12 GB 3080 Ti back in the late summer of 2022, I’m still running an older spec CPU which went into the machine in 2018. These specs just aren’t capable of running MSFS at a steady 60 FPS or more with the desired visual settings I require in the sim.
Having said all that, what I can say is based on my current hardware and my MSFS settings which I’ve posted, I have a steady sim with zero lag, zero stutter and all the beautiful eye-candy that I require in my sim when flying the PMDG or the Fenix. Some may argue with me, but flight sim does not require a solid 60 FPS to be enjoyable.
In closing, the Microsoft/Asobo team have made incredible progress with better maximizing the performance of the platform and I’m sure over time this will continue. In addition, the Fenix team have done the same with even more work currently in progress. The best advice I can give anyone reading this is to dial in your graphics settings to the point where you can achieve a stable experience with no lag and no stutter, then forget about the FPS number. Once you’ve done this, I promise you can enjoy flight sim without the stress of chasing 60 FPS.
Hello to all my loyal readers. I recently received an email from one of my long-time blog subscribers that I wanted to answer and share with the rest of you. I figure many of you might be wondering the same thing as well…so let’s get started.
I hope you and your family are doing well. You might remember me from many years ago. I’ve been a subscriber of your blog site from the very beginning and you helped me with some issues I had been experiencing with FSX and the PMDG 737 about 10 years ago. Like you, I recently made the transition to Microsoft Flight Simulator and have been having so much fun in the PMDG 737-800 and the Fenix A320. I’m amazed at just how far flight sim has come over the past decade. I’m curious if you have any insight into when we might see our first study level widebody long-haul aircraft? By the way, thank you so much for the article you published back in September about using caution when purchasing add-on aircraft for MSFS. I had been tempted to purchase the Captain Sim 777, but I vaguely remember you writing an article about that plane many years ago in FSX. Anyway, I hope all is well and I look forward to hearing from you soon. Randy
Before I get into answering Randy’s question about “Where are the widebodies” allow me to just briefly explain exactly what a wide-body aircraft is in relation to Microsoft Flight Simulator. By definition, a wide-body aircraft is any aircraft which is wide enough to accommodate two passenger aisles with seven or more seats abreast. Popular wide-body aircraft are the Boeing 747, 767, 777, 787 or the Airbus A310, A330, A350, A380. The typical wide-body aircraft I just referenced are also sometimes referred to as long-haul aircraft due to their range. In comparison, a narrow-body aircraft (like the Boeing 737, 757 or Airbus A320 series) has a single passenger aisle. Of course, in modern day aviation we’re seeing many narrow-body aircraft replacing their wide-body counterparts on transatlantic routes. But I digress….
Now in some respects, I personally have only started missing the wide-body aircraft I knew and loved in P3D and were lacking in MSFS when SU10 released in late September. The reason I say this is before SU10, MSFS would typically crash on most users after 3-4 hours of flight due to a memory leak that has existed in the sim for some time. But with this issue now resolved, I’m truly looking forward to the availability of my favorite wide-body, long-haul aircraft so I can stretch my wings and do some transatlantic flights in MSFS. I’m currently tracking the progress on several planned wide-body aircraft which I want to share what information I’ve learned with all of you. Let’s get started!
iniBuilds Airbus A310-300
Depending on when I actually finish this article and publish it, the first wide-body aircraft I want to discuss is the Airbus A310-300 which will be part of the Microsoft Flight Simulator 40th Anniversary Update (Sim Update 11) which is scheduled to be released on 11 November. SU11 will include the much anticipated Airbus A310-300 which was developed in partnership with Microsoft/Asobo by iniBuilds. The iniBuilds A310-300 will be the first complex, immersive wide-body aircraft for the MSFS platform and will (at least temporarily) fill the void in the wide-body category.
Other Future Wide-body Releases
Unfortunately, all we really know about possible future wide-body aircraft releases for MSFS are simply the what and by who. In other words, we have a general idea on what the aircraft type will be and who is developing it. But as for as expected release timeframe….well that’s anybody’s guess at this point in time. So let’s break this down by developer and I’ll share with you what I know about each.
Out of all the wide-body, long-haul aircraft that we know about currently being developed for Microsoft Flight Simulator, the PMDG 777 and 747 are perhaps the most anticipated (especially the 777). PMDG long ago announced the release order for their MSFS products which included the 737-700, 737-600, 737-800 and finally the 737-900. As we all know, only the –700, –600 and –800 have been released at the time of this writing. The –900 is long overdue but we certainly know that PMDG is burning the midnight oil to get it out to us as soon as possible. We’ve also been told that once the complete 737 series has been made available (including the EFB) the next aircraft we will see from PMDG will be the Boeing 777, followed by the Boeing 747 and then finally the Boeing 737 MAX.
While I’m sure the PMDG team can multi-task and have some individuals working on the 777 alongside the 737-900, but if I were a betting man, I would wager we won’t see the PMDG Boeing 777 until late Q3 or Q4 of 2023 at the earliest. Of course, we could all be surprised and see it appear earlier….but PMDG is a developer that prides itself on only releasing their products only when they are 100% ready and as bug free as humanly possible. So with all that said, I seriously don’t believe we’ll see the PMDG Queen of the Skies (747) until sometime in 2024.
If you are relatively new to flight simulation you may not have heard of TFDi. They are a small developer who are behind such add-ons as PACX and if you fly for a virtual airline you may also use their Smartcars flight tracker to log your VA PIREPs. A few years ago, TFDi released their Boeing 717 for FSX and P3D and we’ve known for some time they have been working on an MD-11. Their MD-11 for MSFS has been getting a bit of attention in the past few weeks and the expected release timeframe could be as early as the end of September 2023.
The team at Aerosoft have been working on their Airbus A330-300 for quite some time and judging from the information I’ve seen on their forums and other social media outlets, we could actually see the Aerosoft A330-300 in Q2 or Q3 of 2023.
When it comes to the Airbus A380 we’ve heard of several teams attempting to develop the aircraft for P3D. Each of these efforts have sadly evaporated into thin air. However, the team that is behind the highly successful FBW A320 in MSFS are developing an open source Airbus A380 for MSFS. While there is no release date currently available for this highly anticipated aircraft, the team are steadily making progress. You can learn more about the FBW A380 from the FlyByWire Facebook page. Based on what I’ve seen I believe it might be safe to say we could see this beast of an aircraft come to MSFS sometime in 2023.
Unfortunately, all we know about the QualityWings 787 Dreamliner is the team has plans to eventually bring it to MSFS. While I understand why developers don’t want to provide key details behind expected release dates, QualityWings has (in my opinion) dropped the ball and gone completely silent the past several months. But this is really nothing new from QualityWings. They’ve gone dark before for months and then out of the blue will surprise us with some news and images. Could we see the QW Dreamliner sometime in 2023? I hope so, but I’m also not going to get my hopes up based on the fact that we haven’t had an update on any progress in a very, very long time.
While this last aircraft isn’t a wide-body, this aircraft is absolutely one of my favorites behind the Boeing 737 and 777. The team at Bluebird Simulations is developing a Boeing 757 (in conjunction with Justflight). There will be two variations of the 757. One will be a simplified version and the second will be a more complex version. The plan is to release a passenger variant in both the 757-200 and 757-300 versions. A cargo variant is planned but will be released as an expansion add-on. I believe the expected release timeframe is Q2 or Q3 in 2023.
As we are quickly approaching the end of what I have said has been an incredible year for Microsoft Flight Simulator, I truly believe 2023 will far surpass what we’ve experienced this year as far as add-on aircraft is concerned. The sim itself is stable and it’s exciting to see the level of commitment from not only Microsoft/Asobo….but also from all the 3rd party developers who are working extremely hard to bring us all the extra bells and whistles we desire in a flight simulator. For someone like myself who has been involved in the hobby of flight simulation for almost four decades, this is truly a great time to be alive and be involved in this wonderful hobby.
Thank you all for taking the time to read. If I hear updated news on any of the aircraft I mentioned above, I’ll certainly share that information right here on my blog site.
There are many reasons why the user community of Microsoft Flight Simulator or just about any major gaming title (simulation or otherwise) should participate in the various beta or early adopter updates released from time to time. While in a perfect world, the developer behind any gaming title should have the resources to perform system testing to rule out major issues, the hard truth is most do not and there’s almost no way for any developer to test all the possible scenarios including hardware configurations and 3rd party add-ons/mods which all can and mostly likely will have an impact in the finished product. In actuality, the developer (in this case Microsoft/Asobo) will perform their very best due diligence to ensure the update performs on a few different hardware configurations and generally leaves it up to 3rd party developers and mod creators to “shoe horn” their add-ons around what they’ve been provided. So our participation in these beta programs (especially when feedback is sent back to the developer) is instrumental in the overall wellbeing of the gaming title.
Generally speaking, most 3rd party developers will participate in the beta programs for obvious reasons. But they do not receive the beta version in advance of the general public. In other words, 3rd party developers like PMDG and Fenix only have access to the beta when it’s been made available to all of us. The 3rd party devs will utilize the time between when the beta is released and it becomes GA (General Availability) to work out any issues with their add-on. Of course in many situations this all becomes a fast moving target as there may be many iterations of the beta. The time a 3rd party developer spends adjusting their add-on to function correctly with the beta could become a complete waste of time as changes are made and pushed out during the beta cycle. In other words, in some cases the only way of truly knowing if a 3rd party add-on is going to work is to wait until the beta has become GA and been released to the entire community.
Over the years, I’ve participated in many beta programs for all sorts of gaming titles. Some have been positive, wonderful experiences of being able to gain access to new functionality or performance enhancements before everyone else. But in a few cases these beta experiences have become an absolute nightmare. In many cases the only way to escape the beta is to complete reinstall the current live version. As you can probably imagine this can be an extremely time consuming process.
A few weeks ago, Microsoft/Asobo began their open beta for the upcoming SU11 update and the word on the street is the experience hasn’t been an easy one. Especially with some 3rd party aircraft and live weather. Some 3rd party developers will do their best to provide solutions or workarounds for their products for the beta cycle, but most simply can’t and won’t guarantee functionality on a beta installation. On the bright side, with regards to the SU11 beta, some users have reported experiencing a significant performance improvement from SU10.
If you’re wondering if participating in the MSFS beta program is right for you, I would say it depends. If you mainly fly default aircraft or if you still fly P3D/XPlane then participating in the SU11 beta (or any future beta release) is probably OK for you. However, if MSFS is your sole flight sim platform and you’re an every day flyer of add-on aircraft like the Fenix A320 or the PMDG 737, then I would highly suggest you hold off. Bottom line, if you want full system compatibility between MSFS and 3rd party aircraft, then stay on the current live MSFS build. Otherwise you may be in for a surprise when you attempt to fly your favorite 3rd party aircraft in the beta build.
Good Sunday morning! We awoke this morning to some really great news regarding the highly anticipated PMDG 737-800 for Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS). Essentially, the PMDG Boeing 737-800 is on final approach and should be available sometime between 23 August and 31 August. This is excellent news for any fan of the 738. After all, it’s really been a long time coming. For me personally, this particular aircraft has been the “missing link” in my MSFS setup.
Along with the release of the PMDG 737-800, some really cool lighting features are also due to be released. While I’m not 100% certain of this, but I think these lighting features will be available for the other 737 types including the –700 and –600 which have already been released. In any event, these new lighting features including spotlights and sun visor/shade devices will be extremely helpful to have in the sim. A new video was released this morning showcasing these new features. You can view that below.
Until MSFS came along, I really didn’t have much desire to fly during the nighttime hours. Oh sure, I loved flying into LAS just before dusk, but in previous sims (FSX and P3D) I found the night lighting to be less desirable and harder on my system. Plus I just really couldn’t see as well. With MSFS, all elements of light have been drastically improved from the previously mentioned versions and flying at night is something I actually enjoy now.
In Other News
Most likely you’ve also already heard that Sim Update 10 for MSFS has been delayed a few weeks. Microsoft/Asobo is shooting for mid September for this update. SU 10 may prove to be one of the greatest achievements we’ve seen thus far in the life of MSFS as it should deliver many performance improvements.
CTD’s and Other Annoyances
Have you been experiencing multiple CTD’s (Crash to Desktop) in the past few days? If so, you’re not alone. Even after my recent sim machine rebuild and reinstall/reconfigure of MSFS, I’ve been plagued with a few CTD’s. Fortunately, all my CTD events (knock on wood) have been occurring during the launch process for MSFS and not during flight. There is a very long thread on the Microsoft forums discussing these recent CTD’s and the general consensus is that they have something to do with how MSFS interacts with the servers controlled by Microsoft/Asobo.
While early speculation pointed the finger at FSDreamTeam and the new GSX Pro, there are other users who have experienced recent CTD’s and haven’t purchased GSX Pro nor own any FSDT add-ons. You can read this rather lengthy forum post here.
Well that’s about all I have time for today. I’m approaching DEN in the Fenix A320 and need to now focus my attention on a safe landing.
In just a few days, 18 August 2022, Microsoft will celebrate the two year anniversary since the release of Microsoft Flight Simulator. During the summer of 2019 and somewhat out of the blue, Microsoft announced they were working on the new version of their extremely popular Microsoft Flight Simulator. I use the words “Out of the Blue” because most in the flight sim community were not aware of this news and it came to us with excitement and even some speculation. Many of the blog postings I wrote here on my blog were very much mixed with my own personal excitement but also with guarded concerns. After all, Microsoft had abandoned Flight Simulator and as a result many of the long-time fans of the sim had moved over to Prepar3D or X-Plane. For the most part, I was certainly happy with the direction Prepar3D was moving in and was having a lot of fun in the sim.
As we approach the two year anniversary of the release of the new Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) I can happily say that much of the concern or speculation I once held towards the title have been dismissed. After all, earlier this summer when the Fenix A320 and PMDG 737-700 released for MSFS, I began flying MSFS almost exclusively. I still occasionally fly P3D when I have a need to fly the PMDG 777 or the QualityWings 787. But I would say this is perhaps only 1 out of 100 or so flights that I do this. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the time I spend in MSFS and the experience gets better and better. As a matter of fact, I changed my mind on the decision not to purchase the PMDG 737-700 (I initially said I would hold out until the 737-800 released) as the few times I tried flying the 737-800 in P3D, I just didn’t enjoy the experience. While MSFS may have some limitations, the overall beauty of the sim makes up it. Plus the addition of the Fenix A320 and the PMDG 737-700 (and soon to be released 737-800) have been instrumental in keeping me flying MSFS and essentially letting P3D gather dust.
About those concerns…
The concerns and speculation many of us long-time flight simulation enthusiasts once had for Microsoft and Microsoft Flight Simulator have (in my opinion) to be null and void at this point. In all honesty, while it did take me about a year and a half to fully embrace MSFS for my jetliner use, I was convinced that the efforts of both Microsoft and Asobo would truly turn MSFS into the future of flight simulation we have been longing for. It just took some time for some of the more advanced airliners to make it into the sim and of course it took some time for Microsoft to work out a few bugs. But as I’ve mentioned a few times, I’ve been enjoying the hobby of flight simulation since the early 1980’s. The advancement of flight simulation over these past 35+ years is truly amazing. The dedication I see from Microsoft, Asobo and all the many 3rd party developers certainly have me convinced that Microsoft Flight Simulator earns the right to say “As Real As It Gets” and will only continue to get better as time goes by.
While August is about half way done, I believe we’ll see some amazing things happen this month. First and foremost, Microsoft/Asobo have been working hard on the sim update 10 release. While I haven’t participated in the beta, I’ve heard from many simmers who say that SU10 addresses many of the bugs we’ve been plagued with and moves the sim one step further ahead with better performance and features which many 3rd party developers can take advantage of. While I’m not a fan of Microsoft’s “Must Update Features”, I am anxiously awaiting SU10 and hope the update/upgrade process works as smoothly as all the previous updates have.
In addition to SU10, I believe we will see the PMDG 737-800 release this month or early September. The 737-800 is my all-time favorite aircraft to fly in the sim and I’ve missed having it. Yes, the 737-700 is just a bit smaller, but I want my 738 and I want it as soon as possible. I know many of you do as well.
Finally, I also believe we will soon have FSDreamTeam’s GSX available to us during the month of August. For those that don’t know, GSX is the ground services component to flight simulation. GSX controls all aspects of cargo and passenger loading, including the visuals for baggage/cargo being loaded onto the aircraft along with fueling, catering and that much important de-icing during the winter months. In addition, GSX also does a really good job with aircraft pushback services which are truly lacking in MSFS at the present time.
The Future Remains Bright
I believe we’ll continue to see some truly amazing things come to MSFS in the later half of 2022 and early 2023. I’m hopeful SU10 paves the way for Chaseplane to finally come to MSFS and of course we might….just maybe see the PMDG 777 before end of year or perhaps very early 2023. Time will certainly tell. It’s certainly a great time to be alive and a great time to be a flight simulation enthusiast.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read and I look forward to returning with a blog post in a few weeks to document my experiences with SU10, PMDG 737-800 and hopefully GSX.
I learned a long time ago to never….absolutely never say never. Yes, my friends. I broke down and pulled the plug and purchased the PMDG Boeing 737-700. Yes, I had previously stated that I had no interest in the –700 since the virtual airline I’m involved with is an American Airlines based VA and American only flies the 737-800. While we have codeshare airline agreements with Alaska (who do still operate the –700) and most recently GOL Airlines (who also operate the type), the main reason I pulled the trigger on the PMDG 737-700 was mainly due to the desire to fly the PMDG in MSFS.
After having exclusively used the awesome Fenix A320 in MSFS for the past several months (since its release day) and flying over 100 flights, I was seriously missing flying my PMDG. One morning I fired up P3Dv5, loaded up the PMDG 737-800 and departed DFW airport. Almost immediately my eyes said NO…Stop This Maddness! I was quickly reminded as to the many reasons I enjoy the hobby of flight simulation so much.
While P3D has provided me years and thousands of hours of flight simulation enjoyment. It just no longer ticks all the boxes for me from a visual eye-candy perspective. But with the delays in PMDG bringing their 737-600 to market and knowing the 737-800 could still be several months away from release, I just needed to have a PMDG aircraft in MSFS.
I quickly killed the flight, rebooted my PC and purchased and downloaded the PMDG Boeing 737-700 for MSFS and installed an American Airlines livery. I loaded it back up in DFW and departed towards my destination. While American Airlines never operated the –700, my VA allows for this aircraft substitution and the value in having it and flying it outweighs the fact this is an entirely fictional aircraft for AAL.
Since that first day a few weeks ago, I’ve flown over a dozen flights in the –700 and mostly love the experience thus far. I say mostly, only because I do still believe in the current state (version 3.00.00.25) the Fenix A320 is a more complete aircraft….but the PMDG 737-700 is still very much fun to fly and only lags behind by a very small percent (in my opinion).
Now I have absolutely no plans to purchase the 737-600 which could be released any day now. While according to PMDG news updates, they are working on the 737-800 in tandem with the –600 and Robert Randazzo even stated the –800 could be ready to release at the same time or even ahead of the –600. I know from a business perspective, PMDG will most likely release the –600 first and then after some delay the –800 will release. Otherwise, if PMDG releases the –800 ahead of the –600, then the sales of the –600 will be very minimal. Most likely the sales of the –600 will be minimal anyway compared to that of the –700. Personally, I believe PMDG should have followed their strategy from P3D and released the –600 as an expansion for the –700 and then release their –800 with an expansion to the –900. But I digress…
In any event, I’m absolutely loving having both the Fenix A320 and the PMDG 737-700 in my virtual hangar for Microsoft Flight Simulator. While I do miss my PMDG 777, PMDG 747 and the QualityWings 787…the time I have available for flights at this moment somewhat limits me to the shorter-haul flights which the A320 and B737 are designed for. I know in time these other awesome aircraft will one day be available in MSFS.
What are your impressions of the PMDG 737-700 for MSFS? I’d love to hear them in the comments.
It’s been a while since I took the time to write a flight sim blog post. I’ve been busy with lots of DIY projects and just enjoying the spare time I have flying. As I discussed soon after the release of MSFS, I decided to continue to fly Prepar3D v5 for all my airliner flights and have enjoyed Microsoft Flight Simulator mostly for General Aviation flying. While I recognized from the very beginning that MSFS was going to be the new flight simulator standard, I saw no immediate need to begin flying airliners in the platform until just recently for several reasons.
First, while I did briefly play around with the FBW A320 in MSFS and will admit that what that team accomplished with the FBW A320 project is truly amazing, I didn’t see it replacing the FSLabs A319, A320, A321 I had in P3Dv5. Second, from a short-haul perspective….I had everything I truly needed between the FSLabs and the PMDG 737. I truly was waiting for something to grab my attention to the point where it would suck me right into MSFS. Third, I must admit that I’m super spoiled with using Chaseplane to handle all my camera views in P3D. The MSFS camera view system is seriously lacking when compared to Chaseplane and as I’ve been a Chaseplane user from the very beginning, old habits are truly difficult to break.
While I’ve been anxiously awaiting PMDG’s release into MSFS, I was slight disappointed in their release strategy. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the reason behind releasing the Boeing 737-700 first, followed by the 737-600 then finally the 737-800 followed by the 737-900. After all, had PMDG released the B738 first, they might have struggled with getting the sales on the –700/-600. But, for me personally I’m just not interested in owning a –700 or –600 variant. My primary interests are in the 737-800 and the 737-900. As I fly mostly American Airlines with some Alaska Airlines flights mixed in. But I digress as this blog post is supposed to be about the Fenix A320.
I began hearing about the Fenix A320 project a few months ago. I’ll be honest, I really didn’t pay much attention to it until the last 60-90 days before release. But the more I read about it the more I anxiously awaited its release and realized this could be the airliner to finally bring me more into MSFS. After all, I absolutely love the visuals (eye candy) in MSFS over P3D and truly want to do more airliner flying in the new sim.
The Fenix A320 was a day one purchase for me and since the release, install and setup…I’ve flown nothing but the Fenix in MSFS. I’ve successfully logged 24 flights in the Fenix and absolutely love it. I’ve managed to setup the MSFS camera system to a point where I can use it and have been having fun. I’ve flown a variety of short flights (1-2 hours) and several longer flights of 3-4 hours. Both the Fenix and MSFS have performed flawlessly. I’ve also started adding a few airports into MSFS from both some freeware selections on Flightsim.to and a few payware options where I’ve had discounts from previous P3D purchases. While I’m not ready to uninstall P3D as I plan to fly P3D tomorrow in the Boeing 777, I’ll do the majority of my short-haul operations, and certainly all my Airbus flying in MSFS.
Final thoughts on the Fenix A320. I don’t like to “Never Say Never”, but if the devs behind the Fenix project remain true to their word and release the additional engine types and sharklets for the A320 and if they also produce (in time) an A319 and A321, I’ll be a Fenix customer from this point forward and won’t even consider any future FSLabs purchases in the A319/A320/A321 categories. But of course time will tell.