I’ve been away from sims for a bit, so decided a couple of days ago to splurge out on some new MSFS aircraft, plus revisit some older ones. There’s about 250+ aircraft on the official store now, and some of them are awful, as quick FS ports, while others are really quite nice and much better than the ones that come with the sim. Here’s my top choices of the ones I like:
It’s free and it’s a really nice update to the stock A320 Neo that comes with MSFS. The systems are at the stage where a full flight can be planned, simbrief can be imported, has a nice EFB and pretty much every button is now hooked up. The LNAV is now fully custom and it flies nicely in that ‘Airbus Way’ of playing by its rules. It’s short on emergency procedures and the more unusual ‘everything is not fine’ direct law, but still lots to learn. Ideal for short hauls, although it’ll manage the Atlantic if not full. The upcoming Fenix A320 seems like the one to get for full fidelity, but in the interim this is a really nice aircraft. It’s become my XP11 Zibo 737 equivalent but for MSFS.
A short-haul pencil that enjoyably heavy on pilot workload, due the lack of auto-throttle. Limited VNAV so lots of monitoring needed, but a really nice flight model. Great curved screens and sort of borderline in VR due to the small real-life instruments but an aircraft full of character.
Classic airframe with super detailed systems and great helper engineer features, if you don’t want to do everything yourself. A real pleasure to fly, but you need to treat it gently or it will bite you. Limited autopilot of the time, and lots of engine monitoring needed. Great at getting in and out of surprisingly small airfields it all just reeks of quality. The start-up procedure is a joy and never fails to make me smile with the prop counts and the glorious noise.
For a nice change of pace and some VFR fun this is a nice quality aircraft. Love the weathered interior and the feel and sounds of this one. There’s an EFB for options and the usual fiddly Garmin, which is far more fun when it’s swapped out for something more analog. It’s a nice feedback flight model, nice ground handling and good visibility for tourism.
For something slightly bigger, and more of a port from FSX, the Islander is great for exploring. I’ve not spent a lot of time with it yet, and it’s not at the level of PMDG, but it’s a fun size and everything seems to work - plus the price is good. Stops on a dime.
I use all of the above in VR, hence the rather dull ground screenshots. I’m really looking forward to the Fenix A320 and the PDMG 737, even if my wallet isn’t.