FSR500 Review: a new standard for immersive turboprop simulations in MSFS


When FSReborn debuted in Microsoft Flight Simulator with the release of the Sting S4, it immediately became clear that the developer was onto something special. Featuring unique features such as a fully functioning ballistic parachute system and in-depth systems simulations, FSReborn quickly garnered a devoted following. This was not least because of Raul Morales, the lead developer behind the project, who is regarded as nothing short of a legend by many in the community who have known him over the years.

Raul may well be the real gem in this entire conversation. His wealth of experience across the industry is revered by many, from his regular collaboration with //42 in highly-rated products like the FreedomFox and Campout, to his exciting partnership with SimWorks Studios on the upcoming Boeing 727-200 for Microsoft Flight Simulator. His insatiable passion for what he does, which translates to excellent products backed by absolutely relentless support, is nothing short of spectacular. Raul himself is a feature of the products he makes.

By now it should be clear where this is going… but let’s get back to today’s focus: the FSR500. This is effectively a high-fidelity simulation of the Piper M500 (but don’t call it that!), and marks FSReborn’s latest and most ambitious project to date. It represents FSReborn’s commitment to defining the future of flight simulation and is, in the developer’s own words, a “future-defining project for the company”.

Overview of the Piper M500

As an accurate replica of the Piper M500, the FSR500 is capable of flying 1,000 nm and reaching speeds of up to 482 km/h, which makes for an excellent cruiser and a great aircraft to choose for a round-the-world trip.

Key Specifications and features:

  • Engine and Performance: The M500 is powered by a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-42A turboprop engine, renowned for its reliability and efficiency. The aircraft’s performance parameters make it an excellent choice for medium-range flights.
  • Avionics: The aircraft is equipped with the sophisticated Garmin G1000 NXi avionics suite. Recreated with great fidelity by the Working Title team in MSFS (and receiver of a regular stream of features and updates), this integrated flight deck offers enhanced situational awareness, flight planning capabilities, and safety features, making it easier for pilots to manage the aircraft.
  • Cabin and Comfort: The M500 comes with a pressurized cabin, ensuring passenger comfort at various altitudes. The cabin is designed to accommodate up to six occupants, offering a blend of luxury and practicality, with high-quality finishes and attention to detail.
  • Safety Features: One of the M500’s notable safety features is the Enhanced Automatic Flight Control System (E-AFCS), which contributes significantly to flight safety and workload reduction for the pilot.

All of these aspects are simulated in the FSR500.

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It’s technically *not* a Piper, but I couldn’t help myself. Freeware branding mod available here.

Opportunities and Interesting Aspects:

  • Versatility in Use: The M500’s range and performance make it suitable for a variety of missions, from business travel to leisure trips. Its ability to operate in different environments, including shorter runways, expands its usability both in the real world and in the simulated environment of MSFS.
  • Technological Showcase: For aviation enthusiasts and professionals, the M500 serves as a platform to experience state-of-the-art avionics and flight systems. This aspect makes it a valuable educational tool as well as an enjoyable flying experience.
  • Safety and Training: The M500’s advanced safety features offer an excellent opportunity for pilots to train in a highly secure environment, enhancing their skills in utilizing modern flight systems and handling different flight scenarios.

The FSR500

The FSReborn FSR500, exclusively available on the MSFS Marketplace, is packed with features and realism, which include so many cool things to list, such as simulated bird strikes, ground operations, fuel freezing, and much more.

The FSR500 aims to bring a unique, high-fidelity aircraft to the virtual skies, combining deep system accuracy with intuitive and enjoyable flight dynamics. The development team focused on delivering an aircraft that allows enthusiasts to closely mimic real-world procedures while maintaining the fun and accessibility of virtual flying. This approach reflects FSReborn’s ethos of blending precision and playability, catering to both seasoned simmers and newcomers alike​​.

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The FSR500 distinguishes itself through its utilization of the latest tools available in Microsoft Flight Simulator, including Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for flight modeling. This advanced technology ensures that the aircraft does not require external software modules, making it accessible to a broad range of pilots across different platforms, including PC and Xbox (soon). Key features like the turboprop operating temperatures and cabin pressurization systems have been custom-coded by FSReborn. Furthermore, the aircraft’s development involved collaboration with real-life pilots of similar single-engine turboprops, ensuring an authentic experience that mirrors the performance and systems of this class of aircraft​​.

The FSR500 offers an immersive experience from start to finish. It boasts a meticulously modeled PT6A turbine with accurate start logic and temperature controls, posing a realistic risk of a ‘hot start’ for those who engage the realism settings. The aircraft’s handling is crisp and lively, making manual flying a joy, capable of cruising at flight levels up to FL300. The integration of Navigraph flight planning adds to the sophistication of the flight experience, ensuring smooth and intuitive planning.

First Steps and User Onboarding into the FSR500 Experience

At the first start of the FSR500, users are greeted by a first-flight wizard that will help set up an experience baseline according to the user’s preferences. It guides users through a series of questions to establish initial realism settings, which will impact various aspects of flight dynamics and system behavior. These are not set in stone and can be modified anytime via the EFB Realism page.

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If, for some reason, you’re feeling daunted, fear not. FSReborn includes an absolutely remarkable set of learning resources that cover absolutely everything you need to know. First, there are short video tutorials that cover essential aspects of the FSR500 experience, including flight deck orientation, engine start procedures, taxi and take-off processes, flight planning, and approach and landing techniques. Then, the comprehensive user manual is invaluable and explains literally everything there is to know about the product.

Beyond all that, FSReborn offers extremely robust support for its users. Assistance is readily available through their Discord server, offering a community-driven platform for troubleshooting and advice. For more direct support, users can contact FSReborn via email or visit their website for additional resources. And while the manual and video tutorials cover the most common issues, Raul is just around the corner to listen to any feedback and offer diligent help sorting out any issue. Other developers, take notice: this is how you support and product and build a long-lasting relationship with customers.

The Visuals of the FSR500

The FSR500 offers an exceptional visual experience, both externally and internally. On the outside, the external model has clearly been crafted with attention to detail and is an impeccable virtual representation of the real-world aircraft it’s inspired on. Nothing to fault here, neither in terms of modeling, textures, or lighting. Could the gear bay be more detailed? Yes. Does anyone care beyond the first 10 seconds? Highly doubt that.

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Internally, the FSR500 is even more impressive. The glass cockpit may not be as charming as the classic options offered by the Blacksquare TBM 850 or the SimWorks Studios PC-12, but it’s still quite stunning, with each display, switch, and panel showcasing high levels of detail with impressive texturing and a very realistic look. Night lighting is fantastic!

This level of quality extends to the back, in the cabin, where passengers enjoy a luxurious environment with comfy seats and highly detailed surfaces. A very nice place to sit in while cruising above the clouds with a coffee at hand.

The high-quality graphics do come at a performance cost, though. Lower FPS are to be expected and the FSR500 performs roughly equally to other similar payware airplanes, but definitely worse than Asobo’s default airplanes. A predictable trade-off for the added features and immersion.

A very powerful EFB

The EFB built-in the FSR500 is one of the highlights of the whole package. It’s where you’ll find many of the unique features of the product, from doing maintenance on the aircraft’s components, managing ground operations, fuel and payload, checking passenger satisfaction – and act accordingly -, and powerful flight capabilities thanks to seamless integration with SimBrief and Navigraph.

The EFB is very simple and intuitive to use and its position can be realistically adjusted within its space by the pilot’s seat. It can also be popped out into a separate window that can then be freely positioned or even set to appear on a secondary monitor. Very handy!

The EFB is at the heart of the whole FSR500 experience and it’s a very accomplished feature of the package. It will accompany you from the pre-flight stages as you check for the aircraft’s health, all the way through cruising where you’ll get to check passengers’ happiness and serve them a coffee and croissant to keep them quiet. Immersion really is the main selling point of the FSR500 and this tablet is a key component of that facet.

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Flying the FSR500

Flying the FSR500 in Microsoft Flight Simulator offers an experience that reminded me of the A2A Simulations Comanche 250. It’s very engrossing from beginning to end!

You’ll be enthralled with this aircraft even before starting its engine. On the ground, the pre-flight setup is a crucial phase. Using the ground operations page in the EFB, pilots can manage the arrival of passengers, either in real-time for a more immersive experience or through an instant load for efficiency. Passengers arrive on an actual moving vehicle and will wait for the aircraft’s door to be open. A very cool touch… even if they are not visible.

Immediately as you begin to thinker with the airplane you’ll start to notice the excellent sounds. Every switch sounds realistic and when that engine springs into life, you’ll feel its powerful roar echoing through the cabin and, especially, through the air from an outside view. This is one of the best-sounding airplanes in MSFS, without a doubt, and this contributes greatly to that sense of immersion that characterises this product so well.

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Taxiing the FSR500 is a bit tricky and requires the use of the beta range on the throttle to control speed and minimize brake usage. Otherwise it will just want to get going at a swift pace. You’ll really want to make sure you’re not wasting the brakes unless necessary, otherwise you’ll have to face an inevitable repair down the line, because they do wear down. And the last thing you’ll want is to land and find that one side breaks more than the other and end up flipping the aircraft on the runway.

It’s this level of simulation that sets the FSR500 apart and it’s something that can be seen throughout the whole experience. For example, the doors will blow off if not properly closed or opened in flight. Tire pressure is also affected by altitude and temperature, so it’s another thing to keep an eye on. Such details not only enhance the flying experience but also educate pilots about the complexities and responsibilities of aviation.

During my first test flight in the FSR500 – a very scenic flight from Nice, in southern France, to Innsbruck, in the Austrian Alps – the aircraft proved to be an extremely enjoyable, capable, and versatile machine. Handling is very pleasurable, albeit it feels a bit sensitive in pitch on takeoff rotation.

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FSReborn’s simulation highlights the airplane’s performance and modern navigation capabilities, powered by Working Title’s excellent G1000NXi, which can be augmented even more with a Navigraph subscription. Highly detailed charts can be accessed via the EFB or directly in the G1000’s MFD, offering pilots a highly capable IFR platform where everything is seamlessly integrated. While some may miss the charm of an analog panel, the sophistication and capabilities of the FSR500’s glass cockpit provide a modern and efficient flight experience.

Knowing that FSReborn has modeled every system in great detail keeps you on your toes. Engine management is a necessity and all the circuit breakers work in the FSR500 and have a direct effect on their respective components. On my first flight with the aircraft, I was getting a generator error which I innocently disregarded for a few minutes fuelled by the excitement of flying the airplane. I was already in the air when the prospect of dying virtually with a faulty airplane had me search for answers, just to find that the circuit breaker for the generator was popped out. Had I not have fixed that in due time and bad things would certainly happen!

In summary, the experience of flying the FSR500 in Microsoft Flight Simulator is deeply engaging, even educational, and reflective of real-world aviation practices. The aircraft’s comprehensive feature set and attention to detail make it an excellent tool for both simulation enthusiasts looking for an engrossing aircraft private aircraft and those looking to understand the intricacies of operating a sophisticated airplane like the Piper M500.

Final thoughts

The FSR500 in Microsoft Flight Simulator stands out as an exemplary aircraft, offering a dynamic and evolving experience akin to the best payware add-ons in the market. This aircraft not only provides a highly realistic flight experience but also evolves over time, simulating the wear and tear of real-world aviation and thus making the FSR500 feel like your airplane.

After all of that, one of the most commendable aspects of the FSR500 is the unparalleled support provided by FSReborn. The team’s responsiveness and effectiveness in addressing issues are evident in their handling of various challenges, including a notable FPS issue that popped up in some systems in the earlier hours following the launch. This issue was swiftly identified and rectified, demonstrating their commitment to maintaining the highest quality standards in their simulation​​​​. And there are a lot of things coming, from compatibility with Xbox to the implementation of an extended failure model.

The Good

  • High level of realism
  • Stunning visuals and sounds
  • Dynamic wear and tear
  • Advanced glass cockpit
  • A very immersive overall experience
  • Exceptional developer support
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The Not so Good

  1. Noticeable impact on FPS
  2. A bit sensitive in pitch
  3. Marketplace exclusivity may alienate the most stubborn simmers

Overall, the FSR500 is a highly recommended aircraft for Microsoft Flight Simulator and one of the most impressive releases so far for the simulator. It’s as much a future-defining project for FSReborn as, arguably, a future-defining release for the simulator as well. Its blend of realism, attention to detail, and exceptional developer support create a comprehensive and engaging flight simulation experience that is difficult to find elsewhere.

The FSR500 is available in the MSFS Marketplace for $32.99.