Every time we fly in Microsoft Flight Simulator, we are presented with one of the most striking virtual representations of our world ever realized. It’s an incredible technology, one that has brought our beautiful planet to a flight simulator, where the joys of virtual aviation and the discovery of our collective home became a single experience that is here to stay.
But not everything is perfect, as we’ve come to realize over the last 17 months since MSFS was released. There’s always something missing: the changing colors of the different seasons, trains, antennas, or something else that adds to the realism and immersion of the scenery in MSFS. Thankfully, the third-party community has taken these omissions as a challenge to improve on the base platform. Today we bring you one of the most recent endeavors, which fulfills a glaring omission in the simulator: the lack of powerlines and solar panels!
This past week, we saw the release of a brilliant freeware mod that adds powerlines and solar farms to MSFS. It’s that simple! Developer mamu82, who brought us the also excellent Project Lifts with its cable cars, gondolas and chair lifts for MSFS, is back with a similar mission: to fill the world of MSFS with powerlines and solar farms, according to existing data from OpenStreetMap.
Currently, the creatively named Powerlines and Solar Farms covers most of Western Europe: Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Poland. The goal is to continue to increase this coverage with time, eventually making this feature available, hopefully, in the whole world.
Powerlines are very important when flying, because they are one of the most serious hazards when closer to the ground, and especially when near an airport. This mod takes this into account, so you should see special powerlines with red/white ball markers when near an airport, and the same applies to the pylons that support them.
As for the solar farms, they are an important VFR landmark due to the high visibility from the sky. Together with the powerlines, all these elements end up improving the realism of the terrain below and actually provide an useful utility, as VFR-friendly objects, but also as elements to take into account when departing or approaching certain airports.
Interestingly, these last few days we’ve seen another developer, Taburet, releasing a stream of payware add-ons that add powerlines to the simulator. At a hefty price of around $10 for each country, these will quickly become a huge investment, so we have to recommend that you stick with this excellent freeware alternative.
Together with Project Lifts and We Love VFR, a couple of freeware developers are managing to add to MSFS one of the most requested features from the community. One that, curiously, is actually planned for this year, judging from the latest Feedback Snapshot. Let’s see how the “official” implementation will compare with the community projects once both are available!
Powerlines and Solar Farms is now available at flightsim.to.