The eagerly awaited FlightSimExpo 2023 has just taken off, marking the beginning of an exhilarating aviation event in Houston, Texas. According to host and co-founder Evan, this is the biggest flight sim expo in history. As the opening day unfolded with a flurry of captivating announcements, we are thrilled to bring you a concise summary of the standout highlights of today's show. As First Class Media Partner and Livestream Sponsor, Flightsim.to has been able to stream the entire Announcement Seminar on Friday evening online on our homepage or YouTube Channel. You can watch the full event below.
Thrustmaster kicked off with an exciting announcement of their brand new Viper TQS Mission Pack. The pack includes a 1:1 scale throttle and detachable panel controls, replicating the F-16 Throttle grip with precision. Designed for realism and immersion, it features quality components, backlit switches, and a chaff/flare 'panic button.' The pack, licensed with the U.S. Air Force, will be available for pre-order on August 31st, priced at $529/€499 for the throttle and panel bundle or $349/€329 for the throttle alone and $249/€229 for the panel separately. Streamer Chewwy had to chance to unbox this pack exclusively, you can watch the video on their YouTube channel.
According to the developers, BeyondATC is a new ATC addon which offers an impressive range of features, including support for over 100 realistic voices, integration with FSLTL and FSTraffic, and seamless integration with Simbrief. BeyondATC is designed to replace the standard air traffic controllers in Microsoft Flight Simulator by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and adhering to FAA and ICAO guidelines for accurate phraseology. A preview video provides a glimpse into the various features and capabilities offered by BeyondATC. No release timeline shared yet.
Fast Cow Productions announced the Cicaré 8 helicopter for Microsoft Flight Simulator. Fast Cow Productions, a relatively new developer specializing in helicopters for MSFS, has obtained official licensing from Cicaré. Additionally, they have signed an agreement to bring another Cicaré aircraft, the Cicaré SVH-4 helicopter trainer, to the simulator. The Cicaré 8 add-on by Fast Cow Productions promises an immersive experience with accurate systems, an authentic flight model, custom sounds, and a detailed exterior model. The development team is also working on implementing a fully functional failure system to add to the realism.
A2A Simulations has showcased their highly anticipated Piper Comanche 250. The aircraft has been meticulously designed with accuracy in mind, incorporating real-world flying experiences of A2A Simulations' own Scott Gentile. From bumpy air and wing stress to precise landings and retractable flaps, every detail has been faithfully replicated. The video presentation demonstrated a wide range of features, including a comprehensive pre-flight check, customizable engine conditions, and a degradation system for realistic engine performance. The immersive experience is further enhanced by impressive sound design, as exemplified by the unique method of capturing ground rolling sounds without engine noise. The Piper Comanche 250 by A2A Simulations promises to deliver an unparalleled level of authenticity and realism, you can watch the presentation below.
iniBuilds has announced the inclusion of the A300-600 in their product series, starting with the cargo variant. The team at iniBuilds has completely redesigned the exterior model of their flagship aircraft to enhance the visual experience, as already shared on their forum along with additional images. The goal is to deliver a realistic and complex commercial aircraft with hundreds of features. The A300 for Microsoft Flight Simulator promises a comprehensive systems simulation and an authentic flight model that faithfully replicates the handling, performance, and behavior of the real aircraft. The aircraft will also offer full ACARS/CPDLC simulation, including SimBrief integration, and a feature-rich Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) with Navigraph charts compatibility. Users can expect a wide range of liveries, both realistic and fictional, available for free through the iniManager. The A300 experience will be further enhanced by a custom WWise sound set, featuring authentic recordings from the real aircraft. The release will include a fully modeled freighter version, with a passenger version to follow later, complete with a detailed cabin.
Navigraph is excited to announce the release of Weather Layers in Charts 8, a highly anticipated feature that provides real-time weather information directly within the app. This new addition offers dynamic weather layers, including radar, AIRSIGMET/CWA, METAR, turbulence, icing, and more. Pilots can access these layers by clicking the weather icon on the map interface. Weather Layers are available on all platforms except the In-Game Panel for MSFS, with future plans for its integration. To enjoy this game-changing feature, users need Navigraph Charts 8 and an active Navigraph Unlimited subscription. More information on the Navigraph blog.
Honeycomb Delta Flight Displays are a series of reconfigurable, 1080p touchscreen displays designed specifically for flight simulation. These displays wirelessly connect to your PC and offer a customizable and immersive cockpit experience. With a combination of the upcoming 12" and 7" multitouch displays, users can build their own flexible display setups. Honeycomb ensures compatibility with X-Plane, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and DCS World, and is developing a "Certified for Delta" program to assist add-on developers in ensuring compatibility with their aircraft. Each Honeycomb Delta screen is equipped with a motion sensor and a rotary knob. The screens can be purchased separately and mixed and matched to suit individual cockpit configurations. While no specific release date has been announced, the 12" screen will be available for $349.99, and the 7" screen for $249.99.
Additionally, Honeycomb unveiled the Honeycomb Xbox Hub, an accessory priced at $39.99 that allows connection of Honeycomb products to the Xbox Series X or Series S. In an unexpected surprise, the Xbox hub will also enable compatibility with the Logitech Throttle Quadrant and Rudder Pedals. No specific release timeline has been provided for the Honeycomb Xbox Hub.
SoFly has unveiled their latest project, Animals for MSFS. This new add-on will bring a variety of animals to the virtual world, including different whale species, lions, pigs, horses, sheep, crocodiles, and more. The developers have animated these animals, allowing them to roam or fly across the landscape, making them discoverable from the air. SoFly's focus extends beyond a single region, as they aim to populate all continents with animals waiting to be found. Animals for MSFS is set to be released this summer, available through SoFly, Orbx, and the in-game marketplace for MSFS.
First Class Media Partner and Livestream Sponsor Flightsim.to has taken the chance to reveal their website's upcoming new version. The redesigned website will be crafted from the ground up, boasting a sleek, fresh, and modern appearance. Scheduled for release in the third quarter of 2023, the revamped website promises to offer an enhanced user experience.
Microsoft has been on the FlightSimExpo for the first time this year, with hopefully more years to come, Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator Jorg Neumann said on stage. Jorg acknowledged the strong support from the community over the past 33 months, as the Microsoft Flight Simulator community has witnessed unprecedented growth in its 40-year history. Asobo and Microsoft teams have also expanded significantly. The first discussion centered around Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024, the upcoming simulator. Key scenes from the trailer were revisited, and it was confirmed that Airliner Operations would be included, with further details to be announced later. The new simulator aims to deliver improved performance, faster load and download times. Rather than downloading entire world updates, only the necessary parts for the pilot's simulation will be downloaded, significantly reducing the size of downloads and installations. Additionally, a new physics and aerodynamics engine was announced, promising enhanced realism, increased control for aircraft creators, and simplified development. Microsoft leverages advanced physics methods and simulations, including rigid and soft body, tissue, and rope simulations, to enhance realism and introduce new types of simulations. These cutting-edge technologies were showcased through a demonstration featuring a balloon, which showcased inflation, deflation, and flight based on the new physics systems. New features such as Electrical, Pneumatic, Fuel, and Hydraulic Systems, Failure and Wear & Tear Systems, Payload & Passenger Systems, and a Default Cockpit Tablet were announced. The Digital Twin concept focuses on creating a highly accurate and visually stunning digital representation of the world. By employing low altitude training for machine learning, Microsoft and Asobo are able to achieve more precise representations of areas that would otherwise lack coverage, such as Mount Kilimanjaro. The simulation is further enhanced with a new variety of 3D trees, improved cliffs, and enhanced ground materials. Everything is supposed to be backwards compatible - as for mods, this does apparently also affect the Community folder; though there have not been any details given at all at this point.
Microsoft has furthermore introduced the new Ford 4-AT Trimotor for Microsoft Flight Simulator. This all-metal, high-wing, three-engine passenger and cargo aircraft is designed to withstand rugged conditions, the Trimotor can operate from even the most challenging airfields. The Ford 4-AT Trimotor is available for free to all simmers for one week, starting from next week on, it can be purchased for $14.99.
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