• Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator

    Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator

    By Adrian McCormick

    Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator

    One of the things I have enjoyed seeing with the new Microsoft Flight Simulator, is the increasing amounts of freeware being made available to users.

    When a new flight simulator is launched, be it civil or military, there is always a question mark over how popular it will be with the community, and this of course has a knock on effect on how much freeware is developed.

    Both FSX and X-Plane continue to be very popular with freeware developers, but what about the new Microsoft Flight Simulator?

    Well, having explored the file library at FlightSim.Com, I can tell you that even in these early days, things are looking pretty healthy in terms of freeware. At the time of writing, there is as follows: 83 aircraft enhancements, 150 sceneries, and 37 misc items. Of course, as with most freeware, these vary in quality, but on the whole, most are pretty good and generously offered.

    In this short article, I will list three items which I feel are worthy of your time and well worth downloading.

    Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator     Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator

    Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator     Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator

    Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator     Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator

    Caernarfon Airport

    The first add-on we will be looking at is Stewart Haworth's scenery of Caenarfon Airport in Wales. One of the reasons why I chose this particular scenery, was due to its proximity to Snowdonia located off to the east. If you have never flown around Wales, then this area in particular has to be one of the most beautiful locations on offer. With its stunning mountains and gorgeous valleys, Snowdonia really is a sight to behold.

    Caernarfon Airport, formerly RAF Llandwrog, is mainly used by small fixed wing aircraft, helicopters and microlights. Several companies are based at the airport that offer flight training. North Wales Flight Academy offers fixed wing training for the issue of a PPL (A) and other fixed wing qualifications.

    As you can see from the screen shots, Stewart has done an excellent job at improving the area. The default airport, if I am brutally honest, really was not very good at all, but with this custom version, things are very much improved (even with the missing wind turbines). Yes, not all the objects are custom made, but the way they have been laid out, increases the authenticity no end.

    Download caenarfon.zip
    Download other Stewart Haworth scenery

    Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator     Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator

    Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator     Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator

    Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator     Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator

    Paignton Pier

    Our second scenery takes us down to Paignton, a rather scenic town on the Devonshire coast of England. The scenery in question is not of the actual town, but rather the 140 year old Paignton Pier.

    It was financed by Arthur Hyde Dendy, a local Paignton barrister and designed by George Soudon Bridgman. The 780 feet (240 m) pier, with its customary grand pavilion at the seaward end, was opened to the public for the first time in June 1879.

    In 1919 the pier-head and its associated buildings were destroyed in a fire. These were never replaced and a period of decline followed. Sectioned as a defence measure in 1940, for fear of German invasion, the damaged neck was eventually repaired once hostilities had ceased.

    In 1980 the fortunes of Paignton Pier took a turn for the better when a major redevelopment project was undertaken. This included the widening of the shoreward end to ensure a uniform neck, and the construction of the rather stylish pavilions that remain today.

    The author of this impressive scenery is Keith Hackett, and Paignton is just one of a series of piers he has created for MSFS. The amount of detail Keith has managed to include in his model is quite something. The pier not only includes authentic looking shops, but also kiddy rides at the far end, and when the sun sets, the pier looks even more atmospheric with its night-time lighting effects.

    Download paigntonpier.zip
    Download other Keith Hackett scenery

    Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator     Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator

    Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator     Flying Free in Microsoft Flight Simulator

    Mount Rushmore

    Heading across the pond, we leave good old Blighty and take a look at our third and final scenery, that being Mount Rushmore by BluntSmokeTrauma.

    Mount Rushmore National Memorial is centered on a colossal sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills in Keystone, South Dakota. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum created the sculpture's design and oversaw the project's execution from 1927 to 1941 with the help of his son, Lincoln Borglum.

    The sculpture features the 60-foot (18 m) heads of Presidents George Washington (1732-1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) and Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), as recommended by Borglum.

    The four presidents were chosen to represent the nation's birth, growth, development and preservation, respectively.

    The default landmark in MSFS is a low-resolution photographic overlay with no 3D relief and doesn't do the historical landmark any justice whatsoever. However, all this changes when the new scenery is installed. Instead of a flat area devoid of any character, we now have a 3D model featuring all four presidents. Again, the screen shots speak for themselves.

    Download mountrushmore.zip

    Summary

    So, there you have it, three add-ons which I feel are well worth downloading and exploring. Caernarfon Airport provides you with a starting point to explore the wonders of Snowdonia, Paignton Pier is great fun when using the Icon A5, and Mount Rushmore is just stunning...at any time of the day!

    Happy flying!

    Adrian McCormick

    Tags: freeware

    3 Comments
    1. ussmidway's Avatar
      ussmidway -
      Well done! And I had completely missed the Rushmore addon.
    1. Aviation392's Avatar
      Aviation392 -
      Great article, thanks for sharing this information./Aviator392
    1. bjl345's Avatar
      bjl345 -
      Very useful. Thks. Not the place but I miss the freedom of FSX for free flight.
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