The first post-holidays development update from the MSFS team brought some fresh news about what’s coming soon in new content for Microsoft Flight Simulator. Besides an update concerning new add-ons that have been added to the Marketplace this week, we also got an updated roadmap that is shedding a little more light on some new stuff that was broadly announced a while back.
Last November, the MSFS team revealed that the next World Update was going to be dedicated to Australia, a large and much-requested location from the community. Initially scheduled for January 25, this launch date has now been revised to the last day of the month, January 31.
This will be the 7th World Update to launch on the platform since its release, and follows on the Germany, Switzerland and Austria package that came out in September. We’re still waiting for specific details about what will be included, but it’s safe to say that new POI’s, improved airports, better aerial imagery and elevation data, and a bunch of new photogrammetry cities, will surely come to the Australian scenery later this month.
Together with this 7th World Update, a new aircraft will also be out from the MSFS team. The Fokker FVII Trimotor, developed by Orbx and announced also in November, will be coming to the simulator on January 31.
The Fokker Trimotor will be the second aircraft in the Local Legends series, after the Junkers Ju-52 that launched along with the Germany, Switzerland and Austria World Update. Orbx is modeling a detailed virtual version of the Southern Cross, a Fokker F.VIIb/3m trimotor monoplane that was flown by famed Australian aviator Charles Kingsford Smith, who in 1928 made the first transpacific flight from the United States to Australia.
Orbx has said before that they have many in-depth materials about the aircraft, including pictures of the original cockpit. The plan is also to design a second, more modern cockpit. The Southern Cross will also be the first aircraft from Asobo/MS to include a user manual, a much-requested feature, especially for more detailed airplanes. Furthermore, it will be the first airplane to have an exclusive mission that recreates a flight the aircraft is famous for.
The updated roadmap also established for the first time a release date for the Antonov An-2, the first aircraft in the Famous Fliers series that the MSFS team is hoping to launch in tandem with the Sim Updates. The tentative release date for the An-2 is currently set for February 22, exactly by the time Sim Update 8 launches as well.
The Antonov An-2 was initially an independent project from ATSimulations, but the developer and Asobo/MS formed a partnership to incorporate the aircraft in the new series of famous airplanes. The Antonov An-2 certainly deserves that moniker, as the aircraft with the longest production run in history!
When we saw the initial interview with ATSimulations’ Andrei Tsvirenko, the plan was to release the aircraft before the end of 2021, but it appears there were some licensing details that needed to be ironed out, so the project ended up getting slightly delayed.
The Antonov An-2 will come to MSFS in a variety of different configurations, with different liveries and a mix between a classic panel with steam gauges and a more modern variant with GPS. It will be available for just $15.
One final note for what’s coming next, in March. The roadmap update mentions that the World Update 8 and the 3rd Local Legend aircraft, both still unannounced, are currently scheduled for a release in late March. Still some time to go, but clearly the team has a clear path ahead for 2022. Soon we should get more details about those plans, so stay tuned!