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Microsoft Flight Simulator closed beta adds 9 new aircraft and TrackIR support

(Image credit: Microsoft)
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With Microsoft Flight Simulator (opens in new tab)'s launch fast approaching, Asobo Studio is opening up the hangar doors a wee bit more with a closed beta (opens in new tab), which begins this week. The build itself is available to alpha testers now, however, and a list of new additions has been released.  

The first alpha tests started not long after it was announced at E3 2019, followed by frequent updates and more testing phases. The initial reveal whet our appetites, and since then Asobo has been keeping us supplied with the granular details we crave for the last year. Through the roadmap and blog updates, development has been pretty open, and even if you've not had a chance to play yet, you can still get a pretty clear idea of what to expect. 

Flight Sim's closed beta build throws nine new aircraft into the world, and new players can get a leg up thanks to the four new flight tutorials, giving you a Cessna 152 to fly as you learn about traffic patterns and navigation. If you already know your stuff, you can go on a trio of new bush trips that will send you to far-flung locations. The boldest pilots, meanwhile, should check out the new landing challenges, of which there's 22. 

If you've got a TrackIR headset, you can now use it while hanging out in the clouds. You'll be able to take advantage of the head-tracking wizardry in the hangar and when you're flying, letting you control the cockpit and chase cameras. Asobo also hopes to eventually add VR support. Prospective pilots started clamouring for it as soon as the reveal trailer appeared, and it's since become a "very high" priority (opens in new tab) for the team.

Here's everything that's been added to the beta:

Aircraft

  • Aviat Pitts Special S2S
  • Extra 330LT
  • Flight Design CTSL
  • Icon A5
  • JMB Aircraft VL-3
  • Robin Cap10
  • Zlin Aviation Savage Cub
  • Textron Aviation Beechcraft King Air 350i
  • Textron Aviation Cessna Citation CJ4

Bush trips

  • Breckenridge to Mariposa Yosemite – Nevada – Savage Cub
  • Los Cerros to Cochrane – Patagonia – X Cub
  • Rijeka to Santorini – Balkans – Cessna 172 Skyhawk SP

Flight training tutorials

  • Traffic Patterns – Manoeuvre safely around a busy airfield
  • First Solo Flight – Tackle a traffic pattern on your own
  • Navigation – Follow a flight plan from point A to point B
  • First Solo Navigation – Fly from A to B entirely on your own

Landing challenges

  • Jackson – KJAC, USA – Cessna Citation CJ4
  • Llanada Grande – SCLD, Chile – Cessna C172 Skyhawk (G1000)
  • New York – KJFK, USA – Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental
  • Nice – LFMN, France – Beechcraft Bonanza G36
  • Quito – SEQM, Ecuador – Beechcraft King Air 350i
  • Rio de Janeiro – SBGL, Brazil – Airbus A320neo
  • Sydney – YSSY, Australia – Airbus A320neo
  • Toronto – CYTZ, Canada – Daher TBM 930
  • Aspen – KASE, USA – Cessna Citation CJ4
  • Bugalaga – WX53, Indonesia – Cessna 208 B Grand Caravan EX
  • Lukla – VNLK, Nepal – Cessna 208 B Grand Caravan EX
  • Paro – VQPR, Kingdom of Bhutan – Airbus A320neo
  • Saba – TNCS, Caribbean Netherlands – Beechcraft King Air 350i
  • Saint-Barthelemy – TFFJ, French Antilles – Daher TBM 930
  • Tegucigalpa – MHTG, Honduras – Airbus A320neo
  • Donegal – EIDL, ireland – Beechcraft Bonanza G36
  • Funchal – LPMA, Portugal – Airbus A320neo
  • Gibraltar – LXGB, United Kingdom – Airbus A320neo
  • Innsbruck – LOWI, Austria – Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental
  • Nanwalek – KEB, USA – Cessna C172 Skyhawk (G1000)
  • Nassau – MYNN, Bahamas – Daher TBM 930
  • Queenstown – NZQN, New Zealand – Cessna Citation CJ4

TrackIR

  • Menu – Hangar
  • In-flight – Cockpit camera
  • In-flight – Chase camera

Invites to the closed beta will be sent out through July 30, when it officially begins, followed by the full launch on August 18. 

Fraser Brown
Fraser Brown

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.