Tidbits from the latest MSFS Dev Q&A – moddable Premium planes, Italy update information, Antonov news

This week marked the release of Sim Update 9 for Microsoft Flight Simulator, following Microsoft’s and Asobo’s plans to regularly and continuously bring improvements and fixes to the platform. It was also the time for the team to project the near future in MSFS, while providing answers to some of the most common questions from the community.

As usual, the MSFS team went live on Twitch to update us all on the current development status of Microsoft Flight Simulator and brought along with it some great news and an exciting confirmation. Here are some of the most notable topics that were discussed:

Moddable Premium Planes

One often requested ability from simmers and developers is the possibility to mod airplanes from the Premium and Deluxe versions of MSFS. Currently, this is limited to just a few aesthetical changes, with the flight model, engine performance, and autopilot being left behind encrypted files that cannot be modded.

After much consideration and discussions with manufacturers, it has been recently decided to finally open up these airplanes to the community of modders, so they can play around with the aircraft and provide some significant modifications that make them more realistic and fun. It’s something we’ve seen with Standard Edition airplanes with great success, like the FlyByWire A32NX or the Bonanza Turbo. It should enable talented modders to work on planes like the Boeing 787, the Cessna Longitude, or the Cirrus SR22.

msfs boeing 787
The Dreamliner is one of the Premium airplanes that should soon be more easily customizable.

World Update 9 – Italy & Malta

As we’ve learned before, the next MSFS World Update will continue to be focused on the European territory, following the launch of the Iberia Update a few weeks ago. This time, Italy will be the main target of the update, along with the island of Malta, in the Mediterranean. This week we’re also learning some additional information about what will be included, with the first images showing some of the scenery’s features.

As usual, WU9 will bring a variety of new and improved content to the target region. This will include 4 bespoke airports (developed by Gaya Simulations), 13 photogrammetry cities (the most significant number in a World Update yet), and more than 100 points of interest. Elevation data will also be updated, which should be particularly important for the mountainous areas in northern Italy.

Besides the improved scenery and new airports, the MSFS team will also include a series of activities that take advantage of the new territory to explore, often introducing simmers to some of the stunning locations in each region. This time, there will be 3 new Landing Challenges, 3 Discovery Flights, and 3 Bush Trips.

World Update 9 is scheduled for May 17th, just a few weeks away. For now, enjoy these first images:

MSFS Italy Malta Update 1

MSFS Italy Malta Update 2

MSFS Italy Malta Update 3

MSFS Italy Malta Update 4

MSFS Italy Malta Update 5

MSFS Italy Malta Update 6

MSFS Italy Malta Update 7

MSFS Italy Malta Update 8

MSFS Italy Malta Update 9

MSFS Italy Malta Update 10

MSFS Italy Malta Update 11

Local Legend #4 – the Savoia-Marchetti S.55

There’s a recent tradition in MSFS of having a new airplane release along with each World Update, a Local Legend that ties together with the region that is being updated. This time, unsurprisingly, we’ll be getting an Italian airplane, and it’s quite a peculiar choice!

Again, this new Local Legend will feature a historical airplane from an olden era of aviation. The Savoia-Marchetti S.55, an Italian flying boat from the 1920s, is being finished for a release alongside World Update 9. Interestingly, it’s being developed by a new partner, Mike Johnson, who may be familiar to some older simmers: he was the founder of Lotus Sim, creators of a rather remarkable and beloved simulation of the L-39 Albatros during the old days of FSX.

Now, Mike Johnson (who also contributed with his work to the L-39 featured in the Reno Air Races Expansion), is putting his magical touches on this old Italian classic, an unusual airplane that set several records at the time, including many successful transatlantic flights. The only surviving airframe, currently on display in Brazil, was the study object that will enable this digital restoration in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

MSFS Marchetti s 551

MSFS Marchetti s 552

MSFS Marchetti s 553

MSFS Marchetti s 554

MSFS Marchetti s 555

MSFS Marchetti s 556

MSFS Marchetti s 557

MSFS Marchetti s 559

Antonov is alive!

Finally, some great news concerning the partnership between MSFS and Antonov. As we know, the An-2 has been put on hold for some time, especially after the war began in Ukraine, because Antonov has been, understandably, unreachable. But, this week, Antonov has finally resumed contact with the MSFS team, opening the way for the release of the An-2, which is now getting a final review to check if everything is ready. We should get more exact information about that soon!

Speaking of Antonov, Jorg Neumann has also confirmed what we initially reported a few days ago. The team is really looking forward to restoring the An-225 Mriya for Microsoft Flight Simulator, and now that the Antonov team is back, Jorg believes this will eventually happen. None of the specifics have been discussed about this project, but the MSFS team hopes to contribute to rebuilding the real airplane with the sales of the future An-225 for Microsoft Flight Simulator.

These are just a few notable topics discussed during the Dev Q&A stream, but there are a lot of additional tidbits, especially in some answers to community questions. For example, DLSS is coming with Sim Update 10, the Scenery Gateway system continues to be developed, seasons are harder than it seems, and much more. Watch the full stream below to learn more: