Microsoft Flight Simulator was released just a few weeks ago, but the amount of freeware content is already extremely impressive. This is particular evident when it comes to airports and scenery features, with the community creating countless small airfields and airstrips, improving on the default airports sometimes dramatically. We’ve been checking many of these new airports and below are 5 of our current favorites so far:
OG20 Fairways Airport
ORBX is obviously a well know developer, which has created some of the best flight simulation custom scenery in recent years. This time they released a free airport for MSFS, Fairways Airport, which looks great and is an excellent starting point to explore Oregon’s natural beauty and cities. It’s very close to Portland, which is a default photogrammetry area, and to Mt. Hood, Oregon’s tallest mountain. Its two grass strips make for a great start for GA flights around the area.
Aerosoft is also no stranger to anyone in this world, and similarly to ORBX has released a free airport, although in this case it’s not just a small airfield, but a full blown commercial airport, with flights covering most central Europe airports and hubs. Here are the main features:
- Detailed recreation of Paderborn airport
- Custom aerial images covering the airport and surrounding area
- Current runway, taxiway and stand layouts
- Custom taxiway signage
- Realistic night time lighting
- Accurate depiction of the terminal interior
- Custom jetway models
- Custom windsock models
Machmell Fisheries – British Columbia, Canada
49NM south of Bella Coola is this narrow bush strip, created by Ry4nFlint. It was built in 1998, and was operational for just 6 months and rarely used again, but the old strip is still there, together with some abandoned buildings. It’s a very interesting spot in one of the most beautiful places on Earth!!
Airstrip of Chamois (AO02) – Valle d’Aosta
This little grass airstrip didn’t exist in the sim, so NikPrist decided to create it. It’s just to the south of the valley that leads to the famous Matterhorn, which makes for a super-interesting flight heading into the Alps.
Since the surrounding area has poor Bing satellite coverage, the developer tried to fix some of the ground textures, terrain and forests around de airstrip, turning the area into a more realistic representation of reality.
As for the airstrip itself, it’s has a grass runway with a slope that reminds us of Courchevel, and it’s used only by light aircraft. It’s a very nice spot right by one of the worlds most famous mountains!
Meigs Field – KCGX
And to end on a nostalgic note, an airport that is dear to old school flight simmers: Meigs Field, in Chicago. This used to be the default airport until Flight Simulator 2004. Unfortunately, in the real world, this small airport no longer exists, after having been bulldozed in 2003 and replaced by a park.
It’s a great starting point to explore the stunning Chicago skyline, and has custom parking areas, detailed textures and full night lighting.
And here you have 5 amazing airports that are completely free, which provide great opportunities to explore areas of the world that you would probably never visit. We are looking forward to visit these places in some incredible upcoming aircraft, like the Aermacchi MB-339, the Lockheed Vega or even the Spitfire!
Do you have other recommendations for great freeware airports? Let us know in the comments below!