Microsoft Flight Simulator – Payware Airplane Essentials
Microsoft Flight Simulator has steadily accumulated a growing collection of add-ons over the past few months. Of course, the world of freeware add-ons is growing rapidly, but so is the world of paid software equivalents. The gaming market is certainly regularly updated with such products, so it can be a little difficult to know which ones are worth looking into.
After spending a lot of time with a few products, here are some recommendations from my collection, but in no particular order. All you really need to keep in mind is that these planes are all unique and will be best suited for certain types of flight. So the “best” ones are those that suit your personal tastes in terms of where and how to fly.
Please note: All prices are in USD.
de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter by Aerosoft ($34.99)
At the time of publication, this is one of the newest aircraft in the paid software line. It is also one of the most anticipated by some simulation enthusiasts. The Twin Otter is a world famous turboprop that has been in production since the 1960s and continues to be so to this day. It serves regions as far north as the frozen wild tundra of Alaska, south to the isolated jungle regions of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. The Twin Otter is special because of its incredibly tough design that allows it to tackle all of these different flying conditions and landing terrains.
Here in Microsoft Flight Simulator, it can be fitted with tundra tires for dirt, grass and snow runways, or even floats for performing water take-offs and landings. Aerosoft has created 13 unique models that each offer such variations, along with a few others like a three- and four-blade propeller option. The extreme multi-purpose case of the ‘TwOtter’, as some fans affectionately call it, makes it one of the few aircraft that can be considered ‘anybody’s flywheel’. Simply put, because it can go just about anywhere, it can be enjoyed by most. While certainly not as fast as the other turboprops in the simulation, the Daher TBM 930 or the Beechcraft King Air 350i, its rugged, rugged and reliable design makes it a simple and fun aircraft to ideally perform short jumps.
Speaking of “short,” the Twin Otter also has unique STOL capabilities. It is able to take off and land over very short distances, which makes it ideal for diving in very small and remote places.
My personal journey with the TWOtter has so far involved circumnavigating the West Indies; the chain of islands between Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago in the southeastern Caribbean. In real life, Twin Otters can be found here quite frequently, so it was a fitting testing ground. Definitely consider taking it if you like to fly low and slow to take in the scenery.
Junkers JU-52 by Asobo ($14.99)
In 2021, Asobo introduced a new line of aircraft that it would gradually bring to Microsoft Flight Simulator. Dubbed the “Local Legends” series, each aircraft in this collection would roll out alongside an appropriate global update. The first local legend to take flight was the Junkers JU-52, which was released alongside WU VI in September 2021. Originally, I didn’t pay much attention to this aircraft, as it was honestly old and slow. . Still, the charm of its design drew me in.
Fast forward a few weeks later, and I bit the bullet just because the plane kept looking “cool” to me. But really, “elegant” is a much better word for this ancient bird. The JU-52 is a tri-engine aircraft from one of the earliest eras of flight, having been first produced in the 1930s.
While its primitive design and specs are very telling, Asobo crafted it with such immaculate detail that its vintage feel is part of the experience. Although it pales in comparison to most other aircraft in the simulation in terms of performance, the JU-52 is still a surprisingly outstanding aircraft. There are three landing gear options: traditional wheels, skis and floats. That means you can take JU-st almost anywhere (pun intended). The trimotor handles well and the sounds of its three archaic piston engines make for quite a soothing sound.
Admittedly, the lack of modern avionics makes the flight experience more tedious than modern craft, it’s still worth it just for its remarkable beauty.
Piper Warrior and Arrow/Turbo Arrow Series by Just Flight ($44.99/each)
Although there were technically four different Piper aircraft (Warrior II, Arrow III and Turbo Arrow III/IV) that came Microsoft Flight Simulator from Just Flight so far, I decided to group them together because they are all so similar.
Much like the aforementioned Twin Otter, these Piper piston-engined aircraft date back decades, but are still in heavy use today. You can find them around the world, especially as private planes. While they’re certainly not the fastest or the sleekest, they’re very easy to ride and get the job done without too much hassle, hence why they’ve survived for so long.
The Turbo Arrow III/IV variant is the most capable of the Just Flight collection to date. However, it still does not compare in performance to more modern props in the simulation like the Beechcraft Bonanza or the Diamond DA42. The avionics (the flight systems) are also much more primitive, although still sufficiently capable thanks to the inclusion of various models of GPS and even a simple autopilot system.
If I really had to recommend only a for the sake of money, I’d say the Turbo Arrow III/IV stand out the most to me simply because of their higher cruising speed. But, nonetheless, you could very well choose any of the planes as they all feature beautifully modeled interior and exterior textures, great sound, and cool interactive surfaces.
Cessna 170B by Carenado ($14.99)
The Cessna 170B, or simply “C170B”, is a rugged STOL compatible accessory. If “I only serve one purpose” was a plane, then this would be it. This little metal tube doesn’t have much power, and it doesn’t have any fancy avionics of any kind. It is simply content to be light, maneuverable and just fast enough to stay in the air. You’re not flying this thing to get very far in a rush; you fly it to really get hands-on experience and take in the sights around you. Carneado did this bush flier justice.
It is certainly an excellent plane for venturing into the smallest and most rugged airports. Whether it’s the Australian Outback or the Great Plains in the United States, the C170B is a bird that begs to be tossed and glided through fields, river banks and plateaus. This is a proven backcountry flyer; think of a Jeep Wrangler, but with wings.
Carenado’s Piper Seneca V ($40)
Rivaling the included Beechcraft Baron, the Piper Seneca V is a twin-engine piston propeller designed for dual-cruising quality. A much more modern airframe than its earlier single-engine ancestors, the Seneca V has legitimately good cruise speeds and altitude capabilities. This makes it a much more viable option for longer trips, as you won’t feel like it’s taking forever to get there. Carenado’s interpretation of the twin went well.
Prior to a recent actual trip I took to Southern California, I decided to check out some of the sites from above. The Seneca proved to be a fine choice for such a mission and soared effortlessly above the high mountain ranges that cross this part of the state. In typical Carenado fashion, there’s plenty of eye candy to enjoy; great texture work, and even nicely animated fittings such as the wing lines bouncing in the wind. This plane also features interactive animated surfaces, which none of the default planes have to date.
It really is an excellent bird for most general aviation flights. While not as rugged as any of the previously mentioned planes, it can still handle off-road missions like landing on short grass and gravel strips, letting you dig through most places as long as they are not too extreme.
Mitsubishi CRJ 550/700 by Aerosoft ($50.99)
Aerosoft’s Project CRJ has the special designation of being the first complex airliner add-on to come Microsoft Flight Simulator, beating the likes of other big names like PMDG and QualitySimulations. The CRJ 550/700 series, previously created and owned by Bombardier before being purchased by Mitsubishi in recent years, is a very popular family of regional jets used by airliners around the world for several years. If you’ve ever flown short or medium haul with airlines like Air Canada, Delta, American Eagle, United or British Airways, chances are you’ve taken one of them. at least one time.
In Microsoft Flight Simulator, the CRJ is a high-performance alternative to piloting the included Airbus A321neo for short and medium-haul routes. It’s quite the rocket ship, with pretty decent climbing and cruising abilities. Its rear-mounted engines and pencil-like bodywork also give it a noticeably sleeker and sharper profile than the Airbus. If you consider yourself an aerial photographer, this also provides a nice visual change of pace.
But, of course, it’s really its flight dynamics that really help it stand out. Depending on who you ask, Aerosoft’s CRJ may or may not be considered a “level of study”. Still, it’s definitely a bit trickier to set up than most of the other planes included. However, this can be replaced with a handy built-in tablet that can switch between different “states” for the aircraft while on the ground. As such, you can certainly spend some time learning how to realistically run through its checklist for starting and taxiing, while programming the navigation systems and calculating the weight and balance of fuel and gasoline. payload. Or, you can just jump straight to your destination.
Either way, it’s a fun narrowbody jet to fly and continues to scratch the itch of providing an alternative aerial experience, that is until other top-tier versions are coming to market soon.
Again, these are only a handful of aircraft that are currently in Microsoft Flight Simulator additional library. Additionally, we also have two volumes of free software recommendations found here and here.
As more planes come out, we’ll continue to create more lists like these to help guide you to what might be your next potential favorite pilot.