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Top 10 Microsoft Flight Simulation Aircraft [2024]

Top 10 Microsoft Flight Simulation Aircraft [2024]

, by Alex Myastan, 9 min reading time

See the top ten paid and top ten free aircraft ranked by over 450 participants in MSFS 2020. Note these will be compatible with MSFS 2024.

Microsoft Flight Simulation (MSFS) has revolutionised the world of flight simulation by creating a highly detailed and realistic virtual world. The use of satellite imagery, real-time weather data, and advanced aerodynamics makes for a fully-fledged simulation.

Beyond that however, there are 100s of aircraft to choose from. There are around 40 across the various packages currently available, but many, many more sold by third-party developers, most of which are better modelled than those already included in the game. Don't be concerned about MSFS 2024 making these redundant, they have publicly announced that current in-house and third-party aircraft will be backwards compatible with MSFS 2024.

This article will detail the top ranked overall aircraft, top ranked free aircraft, and the top ranked in-house planes.

JUMP TO SECTION

Categories of Aircraft

The three major types of planes are propeller-driven (prop), jet engine, and turboprop planes. The distinction between these lies in their propulsion systems and subsequent performance characteristics. Besides these types of planes which make up the majority of available aircraft in MSFS, there are also helicopters, gliders and even airships.

Prop planes, emblematic of general aviation, rely on piston engines that drive a propeller. Models range from the smaller Cessna 152 to larger aircraft like the Beechcraft Baron G58. Generally, prop planes offer moderate cruise speeds, operate at lower altitudes, and are favored for training, recreational flying, and short to medium-distance travel.

Jet engine planes, on the other hand, operate with gas turbine engines that produce thrust by compressing air, mixing it with fuel, and igniting the mixture. This category encompasses large commercial airliners such as the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental, as well as military jets like the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet. Jet planes are known for their high cruise speeds, impressive altitude capabilities, and suitability for long-haul flights and high-speed travel.

A screenshot of a PMDG 737-800 for Microsoft Flight Simulator in midflight.

The highest rated airliner in the game, and the second highest rated aircraft overall, the Boeing 737 by PMDG.

Turboprop planes represent a hybrid category, featuring gas turbine engines that drive a propeller. Aircraft like the Daher TBM 930 and Pilatus PC-6 Porter exemplify the versatility of turboprops, offering a balance of jet-like speed and the ability to operate from shorter runways. With performance characteristics falling between prop and jet planes, turboprops find applications in regional transport and utility missions.

Within these broad categories, there are subcategories. There are seaplanes and warbirds which are propeller driven; there are business jets and military jets which both utilize jet engines. Turboprops however are more limited in the total number of planes, despite their distinct mechanics.

Third-Party vs. Free Aircraft

The MSFS community enjoys a vibrant ecosystem of third-party developers who bring a multitude of aircraft to the simulator. The motivations of developers vary, but a common thread is a passion for aviation, driving them to create highly detailed and realistic models. The pricing of third-party aircraft often reflects the depth of simulation and the effort invested in their development.

Asobo, being the core developer of Microsoft Flight Simulator, also develops the core aircraft that come packaged with the game. Third-party developers like PMDG and FlyByWire bring a specialized focus to the development of high-fidelity aircraft and enhancements. PMDG, for example, known for its study-level aircraft, sets the standard with its meticulously detailed systems simulation and comprehensive documentation. FlyByWire, on the other hand, stands out for its community-driven approach, exemplified by the A32NX project for Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Are MSFS 2020 aircraft compatible with MSFS 2024?

Yes, according to the information provided in the Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024 FAQ, current aircraft and virtually all marketplace add-ons from Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 will be supported in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2024. We must say, Their commitment to backward compatibility is very commendable!

Top 10 Overall Aircraft

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Rank Developer Aircraft Category Popularity Pricing
1 Flysimware Cessna 414 AW Chancellor PistonGA 35% US$39.99
2 PMDG Boeing 737 Airliner 32% US$69.99
3 SimWorks Studio Quest Kodiak 100 Turboprop 31% €19.99
4 MilViz / Blackbird BB310R PistonGA 30% A$61.00
5 Just Flight Piper Turbo Arrow 3/4 PistonGA 24% €23.37
6 PMDG Douglas DC-6 Vintage / Biplane 18% US$59.99
7 FlyByWire A320 (NX) Airliner 17% Free
8 Flying Iron Spitfire Mk. IX Warbird 17% A$35.00
9 Fenix Airbus A320 Airliner 15% £49.99
10 A2A Simulations Piper Comanche 250 PistonGA 13% US$49.99
❱ ❱ ❱   SCROLL ON MOBILE   ❱ ❱ ❱

Top 10 Free Aircraft

❱ ❱ ❱   SCROLL ON MOBILE   ❱ ❱ ❱
Rank Developer Aircraft Category Popularity
1 FlyByWire A320 (NX) Airliner 17%
2 Asobo Cessna 152 PistonGA 13%
3 Asobo / WT Cessna Citation CJ4 Business Jet 11%
4 Asobo / Blackbird DHC-2 Beaver PistonGA 10%
5 Asobo Cessna 172 PistonGA 10%
6 Asobo Taher TBM 930 Turboprop 9%
7 Asobo Cessna Longitude Business Jet 6%
8 Aeroplane Heaven Douglas DC-3 Vintage / Biplane 6%
9 Microsoft / iniBuilds Airbus A310-300 Airliner 5%
10 Asobo Bonanza G36 PistonGA 5%
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Top 10 In-House Aircraft

There are three main packages available when you purchase MSFS 2020. The base package is $59.99/€69.99, the Deluxe is $89.99/€89.99 and the Premium Deluxe is priced at $119.99/€119.99. The main difference between these packages is the number of aircraft available and the number of handcrafted airports. Note that the Deluxe package includes all base content, and the Premium Deluxe includes all Deluxe and base content. All in all there are about 40 aircraft available across these packages.

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Rank Developer Aircraft Category Popularity Edition
1 Asobo Cessna 152 Piston GA 13% Base
2 Asobo / WT Cessna Citation CJ4 Business Jet 11% Base
3 Asobo Cessna 172 Skyhawk Piston GA 10% Deluxe
4 Asobo Daher TBM 930 Turboprop 9% Base
5 Asobo Cessna Citation Longitude Business Jet 6% Premium Deluxe
6 Asobo Cessna 208 B Grand Caravan EX Piston GA 4% Base
7 Asobo Diamond DA62 Piston GA 4% Base
8 Asobo Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental Airliner 2% Base
9 Asobo Cirrus SR22 Piston GA 2% Premium Deluxe
10 Asobo Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner Airliner 2% Premium Deluxe
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Ranking “Popularity”

The aircraft rankings are based on a community forum poll that was last updated on 31 December 2023. The poll asks users to tally their top 10 aircraft, and then ranks the aircraft based on total votes. The popularity column in the above table shows the percentage of the 454 participants that chose that aircraft in their top 10. FYI the poll includes a total of 291 Aircraft.

 

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Conclusion

While the various packages include a diverse range of around 40 aircraft, the MSFS community benefits from an expansive collection of third-party offerings, often surpassing the in-house models in terms of detail and realism. The backward compatibility assurance for both in-house and third-party aircraft in MSFS 2024 is also great news given the hours put into developing these aircraft.

In our forthcoming article, we will delve into more specifics, which will hold purchase on both your curiosity and, well… your purchases. We’ll break down the best aircraft per every category (Pistons, Airliners, Turboprops, Military Jets etc.), and we'll also profile a few of the standout third-party developers.

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