Microsoft Flight Simulator 19th March Development Update

Alex John
Thursday, March 19, 2020

With the COVID-19 situation continuing to affect hundreds of millions around the world, Microsoft opened this week's update with a statement titled 'Together'.

"It is with immense pride that we stand with our community during this very challenging time. We continue to prioritize the health and well-being of our team, friends and families. We do so with an unwavering commitment to remain connected to the community as we continue to develop the next iteration of Microsoft Flight Simulator. Your feedback, support, and encouragement continues to be an invaluable inspiration to the team.

"With guidance from our leadership, we have taken steps to establish remote work spaces that will minimize impact on our development efforts. We have prioritized team focus on key deliverables core to completing the project, while pausing work on deliverables that are not. In the near term work will be focused on delivering an updated Alpha build, followed by assessing our Alpha participation. Once we’ve completed that process, we will turn our focus back to other deliverables we have in the pipeline (e.g. Feature Discovery Series Episodes, DR Roadmap Updates, Partnership Series updates, etc.). This is a temporary measure, we will continue to monitor the situation while providing frequent updates to the community.

"For now, expect that many of the deliverables we’ve been working on will be delayed by a few weeks while we get the team working at optimal efficiency remotely.

"In moments like this we are mindful of the importance of taking care of those that take care of us. From all of us, to all of you, we wish you good health and safety.  

"We are all in this together."

It was then onto the weekly development update which began by listing all of the deliverables that have been postponed in light of COVID-19:

  • EPISODE 8 (Multiplayer) will be released.
  • DR roadmap preview for April/May will be released. (potentially delayed)
  • EPISODE 7 (IFR) will be released.
  • Partnership Series update will be released.
  • Feedback Snapshot update.

This was swiftly followed by an update with regards to the alpha build, where Microsoft said an updated build is planned for release next week. A list of highlights for the build was listed:

  • We’ve added Groups to multiplayer, and while still early in development you should be able to Add Friends and find them on the world map, and click to join them.
  • We’ve added Training Missions for those who are new to Flight Simulator. These missions will take you through the Basic Controls, Attitudes and Instruments, and Take-off, Level flight and Landing.
  • The Cessna 152 has been added and is now cleared for takeoff
  • We’ve added Live Events which are time-limited activities that we plan to switch out with different events frequently.
  • Peripherals Support has been improved, and more devices added. Please note that due to these changes, previous mappings from the Alpha will no longer work with the current Alpha.
  • We are hard at work prepping the airliners for release in the next Alpha update!

As for new content, training missions, a Cessna 152, and a Sedona landing challenge was announced, along with the following plane-specific updates:

  • Cessna 172 Skyhawk (G1000) has been improved for flight controls and instruments
  • DA40 TDI instrumentation improvements
  • DA62 has improved pilot controls
  • DA62 instrumentation improvements
  • Beechcraft Bonanza G36 issues glass cockpits improvements
  • TBM 930 flight controls improved
  • TBM 930 instrumentation improved
  • TBM 930 animations have been updated

Alpha invitations were also addressed by the team.

"There have been a number of discussions in the community regarding Alpha build access recently. We are continuing to discuss our current participation strategy and will finalize any changes/communicate to the community, once we release the updated Alpha build."

Their top three priorities for alpha participation are to:

  1. Ensure that everyone that received an acceptance email has access to the Alpha.
  2. Ensure that those that registered early for pre-release build testing, have access to the Alpha.
  3. Assess Alpha participation options for adding more people as quickly as possible.

Last week's update is available to read here.

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