Microsoft Flight Simulator comes loaded with beautifully created airplanes, exquisite scenery, and an amazing level of built-in features. However, what is included with the base game is not always enough, nor is it always as detailed or well-executed as it should be. Thankfully, the flight sim community is full of skilled designers, developers, and people willing to donate their time to improving the game.
Below are our favorite free airplane mods for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. All of these are freely available and supported by the community. Unfortunately, due to technical restrictions, these mods are only available to PC gamers.
FlyByWire Simulations A32NX
Even though Microsoft Flight Simulator includes the Airbus A320neo already, it is lacking not just in features, but also falls short in the execution of many of its flight systems. In steps the FlyByWire Simulations team with a mod that adds countless new features and improvements.
Initially, this mod only added fixes to the Asobo-created A320neo, but now, the A32NX is a stand-alone aircraft with its own systems. Work is ongoing on a new custom FMS system, lateral navigation, and vertical navigation coming soon.
If you’re interested in learning how to fly an airliner in Microsoft Flight Simulator, the FlyByWire A32NX is the absolute best place to start. For download instructions, as well as a detailed user guide, visit the FlyByWire Simulations A32NX Project website.
Working Title CJ4
For those looking to ease their way into turbine-powered aircraft, the Citation CJ4 is usually the first step. Unfortunately, like many of the default flight systems, its autopilot leaves a lot to be desired. Fortunately, the Working Title team has created the single most advanced flight system for Microsoft Flight Simulator. Its CJ4 mod includes enhancements to the Collins Pr Line 21 FMS, improves the PFD and MFD, makes major flight model changes, and even throws in some more realistic lights and sounds. The result is a flight management system that is the current standard in custom mods for Microsoft Flight Simulator. It is also one of the few airplanes that now features a functional VNAV system.
As a reward for their efforts, the Working Title team was recently contracted to work with Asobo and Microsoft on improving the stock functionality of the game’s flight systems. We can’t wait to see all their excellent work in the stock game itself.
To find out more and to download the CJ4 mod, visit the Working Title website.
The Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner included in Microsoft Flight Simulator is a beautifully designed and powerful airliner. Like many others, it falls a little shy of perfection in the flight management systems area of the sim. This is where the Heavy-Division team, another community group, steps in with their B78XH project. It features improvements in the areas of FMS functionality, ND and EICAS accuracy, and other systems. With this mod, flying the 787-10 Dreamliner becomes – pardon the pun – a dream. Working VNAV and a custom payload manager are just the cherry on top.
To download the Heavy-Division B78XH, visit the Heavy-Division B78XH GitHub page and follow the documented installation instructions.
Salty Simulations 747
If you’ve been tempted by the Boeing 747-8, Microsoft Flight Simulator’s largest airliner, I don’t blame you. Flying this great beast is quite an accomplishment, and thanks to the Salty Simulations 747 project, it doesn’t have to be a pain. Inspired by the FlyByWire work on the A320neo, the much smaller Salty team has produced some very real improvements over the stock systems. If you’re hoping to have a smooth flight in the world-famous “Jumbo,” be sure to check them out.
To upgrade your Boeing 747-8, visit the Salty 747 Project page for download links and documentation.
HYPE Performance Group Airbus H135
Wait a minute, Microsoft Flight Simulator doesn’t have any helicopters or supports that type of flight model; what magic is this?
The Airbus H135 helicopter is an incredible addon for this sim, and the fact that it is available for free is even better. A custom flight model, brand-new design, and fully interactive cockpit means that flying helicopters is about as good as it can be at the moment.
Once you’ve downloaded and tried out these incredible free addons for Microsoft Flight Simulator, be sure to check out our other Microsoft Flight Simulator coverage and look for more ways to improve your flight sim experience.