A new freeware airliner has surfaced for Microsoft Flight Simulator. Freeware airplanes for MSFS have often been announced but left undelivered, but this one is coming straight to the spotlight, ready to install and enjoy in the simulator. It’s the Headwind A330neo-900, a replica of the modern Airbus widebody jetliner. While still a work in progress, there’s already a lot to like about this project!
This A330 is brought together from a few separate pieces. The project was initially started by Philippe Marion, but has since been completely reworked by Headwind, who implemented brand new external 3D modeling and animations, as well as MSFS effects such as engine heat and contrails and upgraded flight dynamics. The cherry on top of the cake is a complete integration of FlyByWire’s A32NX virtual cockpit (v.0.6.2 as of this writing, so a little behind the latest version). Headwind then added some specific A330 features to the cockpit.
The result of this is actually an impressive package. The model looks mostly great, although clearly some work on some textures needs to be done, particularly in the (flexible!) wings. Landing gear and flaps are well animated and look realistic, and the airplane feels as heavy in its movements as it should. And with a complete integration of the A32NX cockpit, you have a wide variety of systems to manage, resulting in a rather in-depth overall experience. Impressive!
You’re probably aware that there is already a freeware A330 available for MSFS for quite some time, in the form of the Project Mega Pack A330. That one, however, is unfortunately about to be abandoned. Not like there were many updates after its initial release in March, but it may stop working with forthcoming platform updates. Thankfully, there is now this alternative from Headwind, who is looking to continue the development of this aircraft. Already planned is a complete redesign of the main wings, with the addition of a more realistic flex. Also planned is the virtual cockpit update to the latest v0.7 from FlyByWire.
There’s a few known issues at this point, but nothing that breaks the experience. There’s a visual glitch where the external fuselage disappears in a close external view, and jetways don’t exactly connect to the doors. These, and other problems, are due to be fixed in future updates.
This initial release of the Headwind A330neo includes eight 4K liveries, including Tap Air Portugal (the first operator of the airplane), HiFly, Delta Airlines, Condor, Air Belgium and Corsair International. As usual, new liveries are popping up at flightsim.to, so do check if your favorite one is already available.
While we wait for the serious jets to finally arrive to MSFS (looking at you PMDG 737 and Fenix A320), it’s always great to play around with a new model, especially when it comes for free. If you’re inclined to do that, do check the Headwind Airbus A330neo, now freely available from flightsim.to.