It has been nearly forty years since the original 1982 Microsoft Flight Simulator was released, and fourteen years since its last update courtesy of 2006’s Flight Simulator X, but the wait is finally over, and Microsoft Flight Simulator delivers.

The latest version takes advantage of the robust capabilities of current and future computing systems that support rendering of the virtually photo-real graphics courtesy of Azure AI. 

Let's get into all the amazing new features in Microsoft Flight Simulator!

Virtual Flights

Besides the countless hours of pure entertainment derived from virtual flights to new airports around the globe and piloting all sorts of exotic aircraft in customizable or real-time meteorological conditions, the updated Microsoft Flight Simulator has practical flight school training potential.

It supports realistic skill development in multiple areas. Log some quality time with your simulator, and the next time you head out to the airfield, you will notice the difference.

Some of the many skills you can hone with the Microsoft Flight Simulator include a host of new features.

ILS Landing Approach Guide - YouTube VideoILS Approaches

Pilots who are working on their IFR certification can practice flying ILS approaches in a variety of airports. This is also useful for IFR-certified pilots who want to scope out the ILS approach to a new airport they have not flown into before.

Even seasoned IFR pilots can benefit from investing some extra time practicing and polishing their approaches so they are effortlessly smooth. Getting time in an aircraft rental for additional flight training or experience can be costly, keeping up with knowledge-based skills in-between flights can help a pilot get down the muscle memory of IFR flight.

 Checklists - Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 - YouTube VideoChecklists

Yes, you can bypass the checklist feature in the simulator by assigning the pre-flight checklists and tower interactions to your copilot, but you may not want to.

If your intent in flying the simulator is to gain competency and sharpen your skills, going through the full pre-flight checklist adds to that realism.

It also helps you develop muscle memory for systematically working through the checklist and confirming each item without overlooking anything.

ATC communications on microsoft Flight SimulatorATC Communications

It is not uncommon for pilots to count radio communications with air traffic control as among the most nerve-inducing aspects of flying. New pilots especially can worry about remembering what to say when and how to respond to transmissions from a controller.

One of the most low-stress ways to practice and build on this skill is through realistic simulation like that gained by time spent training on Microsoft Flight Simulator.


One of the ground reference maneuvers that pilots are tested on during check rides is s-turns. This maneuver tests a pilot’s ability to maintain a steady track relative to a fixed point on the ground regardless of wind conditions.

An extra benefit of drilling this skill in the flight simulator is that you can quickly change the simulated wind conditions so you get to practice flying the maneuver in all different types of winds rather than just whatever conditions happen to be present on the day you and your CFI designate for s-turn practice.

Cross Country Flights

Cross-country flights are another key skill that pilots must demonstrate to earn their certifications. With the Microsoft Flight Simulator, you can create and then fly your custom cross-country flight plan.

This gives you practice with the planning stage and a feel for what it will be like to actually fly the route before you do it for real.

Microsoft Flight Simulator System Requirement

Ready to try out the new program? Head over to Microsoft to purchase and download your own copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator. Remember to check and be sure your gaming system meets the minimum and preferably the recommended system requirements.

The new simulator features very advanced graphics and uses a lot of data, so you will want a quality gaming computer running:

  • Windows 10 OS version 18362.0 or higher

  • At least 16 GB of memory

  • 4 GB video memory

  • Intel i5-8400 or AMD Ryzen 5 1500X processer

  • NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD Radeon RX 590 graphics card

Flight Simulator Checklist

Do you have the right equipment for getting the best experience out of flight training with a sim? Microsoft Flight Simulator works best with a Yoke and Pedals (Or a Flight Control System). You can find a full selection of Flight Simulation Hardware at Pilot Mall.

Logitech Yoke Bundle

Logitech Saitek Yoke Bundle w/Microsoft Flight Simulator

If you're looking for a flight simulation experience like no other, our cost-saving Logitech Saitek Yoke Microsoft Flight Simulator Standard Edition Digital Download Bundle delivers everything you're after - and more! We've assembled the industry's most capable hardware components and state-of-the-art flight simulator software into a single, value-priced collection for an aviation experience so real you'll swear you're miles above the surface.

View Product

Want to learn more about aviation?

Our guides are designed to help student pilots become professional pilots and for private pilots to brush up on their knowledge and skills.

Did you find this article helpful?

Do you think we missed anything important? Let us know in the comments below!

EducationFlight simulation


Robert Lee Perry, Junior

Robert Lee Perry, Junior

I need and want a complete used flight simulator for under $1,999 dollars.

Dan Heddy

Dan Heddy

Dose the software work with Apple products?

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

Featured products

Cessna® 172 Skyhawk SP (Red) Clear Canopy Limited Edition Large Mahogany Model -
High Flying Models
360 View
Cessna® 172 Skyhawk SP (Red) Clear Canopy Large Mahogany Model
Sale price$449.00
In stock
Bose A30 Aviation Headset with Bluetooth -
Best Seller
Bose A30 Aviation Headset Dual Plug Battery Power General Aviation with Bluetooth
Sale price$1,299.00
In stock

Latest Blog Posts

View all
The Ultimate Aviation Themed Office Accessories to Give Your Pilot Office a Lift

The Ultimate Aviation Themed Office Accessories to Give Your Pilot Office a Lift

Product Information
So many of us work from home now, and we want the room we spend most of our weekdays in to reflect our personal style. Plus, even if you commute into the office or don’t have a desk job, it’s still nice to have a dedicated spot at home where you set up your computer and do focused online project work in comfort.
How to Become a Commercial Pilot (Step-By-Step) Guide

How to Become a Commercial Pilot (Step-By-Step) Guide

Commercial Pilot

Flying for fun is great, but would it not be a wonderful feeling for both you and your pocketbook if you could get paid to do what you love? A commercial pilot certificate is the ticket to being eligible to fly for hire.

The Ultimate Checklist for Selecting the Right Flight School

The Ultimate Checklist for Selecting the Right Flight School

Becoming a pilot is an exciting goal and one of the first steps to fulfilling that dream is to pick a flight school and flight instructor. There are many flight schools to choose from, and each employs plenty of flight instructors, so how do you decide which is the right fit for you? Read on to discover what things to consider as you search for the best pilot training program to spend your time and money on.