Microsoft Flight Simulator July 2nd Update: FlightAware, Alpha 5, and a Feedback Snapshot

July 2, 2020

In this week's development update of Microsoft Flight Simulator, the team announced a new partner as part of their Partnership Series, FlightAware, as well as some details on the Alpha and Closed Beta.

According to the blog post on the Microsoft Flight Simulator website, FlightAware is "an aviation intelligence company that provides real-time and predictive flight insights to all the biggest players in aviation. [They] synthesize data from thousands of sources across the globe and our team of amazing engineers layer on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence to give the most accurate predictions on where a flight is and where it’s going.

"[Their] data is used everywhere from Google flight statuses, airport notification boards, airline systems managing gate flows, individual pilots sharing their private flights, to the millions of travelers and their friends and families checking out our web and mobile apps to get info on their flight. Now, [their] data stream called Firehose is going to power the real-time, global traffic in Microsoft Flight Simulator so that while you’re using the sim, you can see planes near you in real life."

Asked where the company gets their data from, FlightAware says: "We’re a data company. Our data merges sources such as commercial schedules, air navigation service info of over 45 countries, VHF and satellite datalink, worldwide weather, and ADS-B data both from earth and in outer space. At the core of our data is our own ADS-B network – right now 28,000 receivers (and counting) – managed by a network of aviation enthusiasts across the globe that capture what’s happening in the skies above them and transmit the data directly to us. Planes are required to give off this information, we cast the net that captures it, then we synthesize the information on our site and in our products.

"The fun part about these receivers is that you can make them yourself. Get a Raspberry-Pi, pop our software on it, hook it up to the Internet and start sharing. Costs run less than $100 for the basic setup. Here are the instructions. For folks who live in areas where we need more coverage and can pass an application process, we’ll literally send you a pre-made one in a box – for free.

"You’ll become part of a network of ADS-B hobbyists across the globe and start seeing the skies in a totally different way."

Further details about the company were also added in the blog and why FlightAware tracks aircraft.

Speaking of the partnership with FlightAware, head of Microsoft Flight Simulator Jorg Neumann had this to say: “Microsoft Flight Simulation’s team is fully dedicated to bring to simmers the most accurate replica of the world ever seen from a plane perspective. Thanks to Flight Aware data, we are thrilled to be able to populate this world with the actual aviation traffic all around the world, whether it be on ground or in the air. Out of the box, Flight Aware data will allow simmers to fly sharing their air space with the current air traffic but also to check arrivals and departure from airports, select any flight to see its fly plan and even have the possibility to, virtually off course, take controls.”

A new Feedback Snapshot was also affixed in the Insider Area, which can be viewed below.

The team also made their semi-official Discord server the official server, which can be joined here.

Regarding the Alpha, number 5 is expected to be released one week from now, with a date on the Closed Beta also expected on the same day.

Last week, the team introduced NAVBLUE as a partner. An Airbus company, NAVBLUE provides the real world with FMS data and charts; these services are to be implemented in the simulator both upon release and post-release.

The remainder of this article features some screenshots from the blog post. To view every single one and three new videos, head on over to their website.

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