Many people wish that they could fly a plane, but in reality this is incredibly difficult to achieve, partly because schooling for pilot takes a lot of money and time. Fortunately, there is Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 which allows you to explore the sky from the safety of your home, and travel anywhere you want around the globe. Powered by Microsoft’s Azure AI, the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator lets you visit any place on Earth, and as such is a true technical marvel, as well as a treat for all fans of flying simulators.
One of the best features of Microsoft Flight Simulator is its modding support. The game allows you to add custom extra features, such as aircrafts, plane liveries, airports, landmarks, activities, and more. This way you can upgrade your flying experience, and customize it to your own needs. Microsoft Flight Simulator includes a built-in Marketplace where you can find and buy addons, however, most of them are quite expensive, and are not affordable to everyone.
Fortunately, there is a ton of free mods and addons for Microsoft Flight Simulator. In this guide we’ll focus on the best free airplane mods which you can add to your Microsoft Flight Simulator installation. From commercial airliners, to military jets, and even gliders, there is a bit of everything on this list. Scroll down to see more.
10. Hot Air Ballon
The Hot Air Balloon mod is probably one of the weirdest mods for Microsoft Flight Simulator, but is also one of the funniest. It essentially adds the hot air balloon to the game, which you can fly around the globe. The balloon can take off almost vertically thanks to its two engines, and you can use landing gear action button to trigger the flame effect.
Unfortunately, this mod is not very realistic, since the hot air balloon behaves like a jet in the air. Nevertheless, this is a very cool and fun mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator, and if you are tired of piloting jets, then you should give this mod a try.
9. Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk
Flying state-of-the-art jets is cool, but piloting a World War II fighter is equally badass. If you are in love with old warplanes, then be sure to add this Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk mod to your Microsoft Flight Simulator collection.
Just like Brits had their Spitfire, so did Yanks have the P-40, which was the U.S. Army’s most capable fighter at the beginning of World War II. The P-40 Tomahawk was a modified version of the old P-36 Hawk. It had its maiden flight in 1938, and played a crucial role in the defense of Pearl Harbor. Although it was later outmatched by more capable enemy fighters, the P-40 was kept in production due to its low cost, and many of them were sent to Russia as part of Lend-Lease programs.
8. Grumman Goose G-21A
This is another oldie but goodie plane on our list. The Grumman Goose G21A Redux II is a faithful and loving restoration of the old Grumman G21A Goose mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator X. The updated model features new 3D instruments, new flight model, updated animations, and highly detailed mesh.
Like the real-world Grumman Goose G21A, this plane is an amphibious flying boat, meaning it can land both on ground and sea. During 1940s, the plane served as an eight-seat “commuter” aircraft for businessmen from Long Island area. The G21 was Grumman’s first monoplane to fly, its first twin-engine aircraft, and its first aircraft to enter commercial service. During the World War II it was used as a transport vehicle for U.S. military. Besides its great historical importance, the plane can also boast with an iconic design which is why it’s in the eight place on our list.
The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15 was one of the first successful jet fighters to feature swept wings to achieve high transonic speeds. The plane made its debut in 1947, and played a crucial role in the Korean War, outclassing contemporary jet fighters. During the 1960s, the upgraded version of MiG-15, called now MiG-17, proved to be equally effective against Western fighters such as F-105 Thunderchief, and McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II. The original MiG-15 used two reverse-engineered BMW 003 engines, and could achieve a top speed of 1,076 km/h (669 mph).
This mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator is still work in progress, so don’t expect seeing all functionalities like on vanilla aircrafts made by Asobo. Nevertheless, the model looks really nice, and is a great addition to the default roster of aircrafts. You can download the MiG-15 mod from flightsim.to.
6. Air Creation 582SL
If you are tired of flying with jets and simply want to enjoy the scenery, then be sure to download this mod which adds the Air Creation 582SL glider to Microsoft Flight Simulator. Featuring a highly detailed 3D model with 16K AI upscaled textures, as well as fully animated suspension, native VR support, interactive cockpit, and modern flight model, this addon is a treat for fans of gliding.
Overall, this is a very fun addon. The takeoff procedure is a bit more complicated than it may seem at first, but if you follow the included instructions closely, you’ll get in air in no time. To install this mod, simply extract the compressed file, and copy all of its contents to the Microsoft Flight Simulator’s community folder.
5. ATR 72-600
Microsoft Flight Simulator’s roster of aircrafts doesn’t include any commercial turboprop planes, which is a pity. Fortunately, there is the ATR 72-600 Community Version mod which adds the ATR 72-600 twin-engine turboprop airliner to the game. This is a total remake of an older mod for Flight Simulator X, which was initially released as a payware, but is now free. The upgraded version features reworked animations and flight dynamics, as well as new ground interactions, and lights.
The only big flaw of this cool mod is that it hasn’t been updated in a while, so it might not work with the latest version of the Flight Simulator. Also, the internal cockpit is copied from another smaller plane which can cause bugs while switching between external and internal view.
4. Antonov AN-225 “Mriya”
Developed by the Ukrainian aircraft manufacturer Antonov during the period of former Soviet Union, the Mriya (dream) was the largest and the heaviest aircraft in the world. Only one was ever produced and put into operation, however, it was destroyed in 2022 during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The AN-225 featured six turbofan engines, and could boast with a maximum takeoff weight of a whooping 640 tonnes (705 short tons).
Thanks to a modder called DerAnakonda, this magnificent plane can now be flown in Microsoft Flight Simulator. Although it features Boeing 747-8 cockpit, the plane comes with its own custom sound files, animations and liveries. The plane also comes with its own animations, and the ability to fully open its cargo bay. The mod can be downloaded from here.
3. Boeing C-17 Globemaster
Developed for the United States Air Force (USAF) during the late 1980s, the C-17 Globemaster became the main military transport aircraft for the U.S. Army. From performing strategic airlift missions, to transporting troops and cargo, the C-17’s roles also include tactical airlifts, medical evacuations and airdrop duties. One of the most notable features of this amazing plane is the fact that it can operate from runways as short as 3,500 ft (1,100 m), which makes the C-17 an ideal transport plane for operations in unhospitable areas.
The C-17 Globemaster mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator includes brand new external and internal models, complete integration of MSFS effects (including engine heat, lights, rain), 4K textures with PBR, realistic sounds, numerous real-world liveries, and custom C-17 avionics. The mod also comes with custom animations, openable cargo ramp, cockpit windows and paratrooper doors. The mod can be downloaded from flightsim.to.
2. Airbus A330-900neo
The Airbus A330-900neo is one of the best free addons for Microsoft Flight Simulator. It adds the A330-900neo wide-body jet airliner to the game, featuring 4K PBR textures, native wingflex and engine torque, custom flight model, native MSFS effects, and semi-customized cockpit. The plane also comes with 11 real world liveries, all in 4K.
Speaking of the aircraft itself, the Airbus A330-900neo is the largest plane in the Airbus A330neo family, and features up to 460 seats in economy class layout. The plane is powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, and has a maximum flying range of up to 7,200nm (13,330 km). The first A330-900neo made its maiden flight in October 2017, and as of April 2022, 74 of these have been built.
1. Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor
In the first place of our list of the 10 best free aircraft for Microsoft Flight Simulator we have the Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor mod, which you can download from here. This is without a doubt the best addon for the Flight Simulator, as it adds the world’s most advanced operational air superiority fighter to the game. The mod can boast with a high-quality 3D model of the F-22A Raptor, highly detailed cockpit, special afterburner effects, and native MSFS effects support.
Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful aircrafts ever made, the F-22A Raptor is a true engineering marvel. Despite being discontinued, and succeeded by the F-35, the F-22 still remains one of the most advanced and the most mysterious stealth jet fighters on the planet. All 195 aircrafts that were built still remain in the possession of the USAF, and its air combat capabilities are considered to be superior to the F-35. With a maximum speed of Mach 1.82, piloting this plane proves to be an incredible experience, especially in Microsoft Flight Simulator.
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