Microsoft Flight Simulator Update (Feb 20th) Features Airport Renditions

Tristan Garratt
Peter Tram
Friday, February 21, 2020

The Microsoft Flight Simulator Team has issued a new Feature Discovery Series Episode, featuring a showcase of several custom-modelled airports and airport mechanisms such as ground services and jetways.

After a short break, Microsoft has provided another technical development update, including a “Feature Discovery Series: Airports” video.

As well as this update, the MFS team has made aware that Episode 7 will be moved back, and Episode 8 moved forward. This means that Episode 8 will be released on March the 12th and Episode 7 late march.

March will be seeing two Feature Discovery Releases, Partnership announcements, pre-release build timeline, and an Update regarding the SDK. April will see Feedback Snapshots, a Feature Discovery Series update as well as SDK and Media updates.


Below are some screenshots provided within this update;

Within the Feature Discovery Episode, Asobo covered three topics;

  • Airport Coverage
  • Airport Treatment Timeline
  • Airport Life

The developers beamed that every single airfield on Earth is present, with the addition of 37,000 manually edited airfields. Below are screenshots of airfields from the video. Some highlights include major US airports JFK, and LAX, and Caribbean airports such as TFFJ:


The team aims to complete coverage of the world's airports by starting off on the existing FSX database, to which they would expand on that by increasing the database of their own. The end result involves having over 37,000 airports utilising satellite imagery.

To achieve this, the team used a three-step process to edit airports, which along the way involves "mapping" the airport based on satellite imagery, akin to X-Plane's World Editor. This process is as follows;

  1. Trace logical elements directly onto Bing Maps. This includes the Airport Perimeter, runway definitions, Taxiway details and parking spots. 
  2. Defining Surfaces. This is whether the surface is Grass, Concrete, dirt etc. It allows for greater runway and taxiway integrity. 
  3. Post Processing. This includes generating materials, runways, taxiways and airfield markings. 

The finished rendition won't be as specialised as certain airfields like the aforementioned airports, but will appear to be a convincing replication of the real-world counterpart without delving too deep into the details. Below are examples of airports which have been given this treatment:



The Discovery Feature video lastly featured "Airport Life", demonstrating the mechanism behind utilising airport services, the simulator enables users to request typical ground services; pushback, fuel, power, baggage, and catering. Perhaps, arguably the most exciting feature is the jetway connection: where the hood extends and land onto the surface of the aircraft fuselage.

In short, here is the list of prioritised movements to include;

  • Ambient Life. Trucks, Busses, Workers.
  • Ground Services. Pushback, Fuel, Power Supply, Baggage, Catering, Jetway. 
  • Air Traffic.


That's all for this update, be sure to stay tuned to Inter-Sim for your comprehensive coverage of the new Microsoft Flight Simulator news!

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