Jorg Neumann (Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator) and Matt Nischan (Founder of Working Title Simulations) have announced on the latest MSFS developer stream that the next major Aircraft and Avionics Update (AAU) for Microsoft Flight Simulator will cover the Boeing 747-8 and 787-10 Dreamliner.
When the AAUs were first unveiled as a new category of update back in November, it was speculated that future updates may revisit the 787-10 after Jorg Neumann said he wanted other premium edition aircraft to “feel more like premium products”. This latest news confirms that not only will the Dreamliner receive a Working Title makeover, but the base game 747 will also benefit from a complete systems overhaul.
Matt listed an impressive list of features being worked on for the Dreamliner, including high quality LNAV, performance based VNAV, ECON speeds, cost index, a reworked auto-throttle “with all the right modes”, V speeds which will come straight out of the FMC, fly-by-wire systems with trim speeds, TPR (turbine pressure ratio) simulation on the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines, completely overhauled screen visuals, fonts, all of the plane’s autopilot modes, a new decluttered mode for the HUD which only shows the runway outline for low-visibility approaches, systems and synoptics pages, and an updated flight model based on real performance data.
In terms of the scope and scale of fidelity we can expect, Matt said it won’t be as detailed as the Citation Longitude, which was covered in AAU1, but more detailed than the CJ4. This would indicate that the new 787-10 is still not going to be a study-level plane, but will give simmers who invested in the premium deluxe edition an offering that feels more complete with much needed additional systems and a reworked autopilot, which in its current form is known to occasionally have a mind of its own.
Matt then showed off some screenshots detailing the new features we can expect to find when the update comes out. First, we saw the MFD, which now contains a lot of updated CAS messages, followed by the PFD which was displaying the plane in the VNAV SPD mode on the climb. Matt did confirm that the VNAV is working for climb and descent.
Moving on, we could see that checklists have now been included on the flight deck. Matt said that although the team at Working Title had wanted to include these on the CJ4 with AAU1, they had unfortunately not found the time. This time around, however, they clearly have. We also saw the ND in plan mode, and this can now be full-screened.
Next up, Matt showed us that the CDUs are now split just like on the CJ4/Longitude reworks, meaning you can now use both CDUs to perform independent tasks. Matt showed off some of the functionality this enables, with one CDU showing systems synoptics while the other was set to the performance management page.
Then we got a look at a feature which makes the 787 stand out in game – the HUD. The image we got was of the HUD in the aforementioned ‘decluttered mode’, and Matt remarked that this was “really fun to use”. During this segment we could also see that the Working Title Team has included autoland functionality, and in this instance it was holding centreline and glide slope perfectly.
Immediately following his breakdown of work on the Dreamliner, Matt launched straight into work that has also occurred on the base game 747-8, which is included in the standard package of Microsoft Flight Simulator and so will benefit all simmers – not just the premium deluxe users.
Matt said that a lot of the systems on the 747 are pretty similar to the 787, and so the feature list looks largely the same where it is applicable. That list includes LNAV, VNAV, complete auto-throttle with associated modes, V speed computations, full set of autopilot modes, overhauled screen visuals, synoptics pages, and a new flight model. He also remarked that the team has been able to get the simulated plane very close to the “book numbers”, or matching the aircraft’s behaviour and calculations in-sim to what it would be expected to do in reality.
Matt also showed off some screenshots of the 747. We saw the PFD and MFD displaying VNAV CLB mode, split CDUs, a weather radar on the MFD as well as tuned VOR stations, the ECON page on the FCDU, the middle main display showing off the new font and general look of the display, the autopilot panel displaying the plane in VNAV mode.
We also saw the PFD showing the plane in VNAV descent, with deviation indicators included. The planes should both be able to hold a geometric descent path, and calculate idle descents.
While the news is all good for simmers who are looking for a more high fidelity experience, the update poses questions too. In particular, it is yet to be seen what the new update will mean for modding teams Salty Simulations and Heavy Division, who have created freeware modifications to the 747 and 787 respectively.
Reacting to the news on their Discord server, Salty Simulations team member Timbo said “I mean, since [the update] is base package we can prolly just fork the reworked 747 and then still continue to make small improvements. Idk tho, not sure what ninjo (another developer on the team) would do”.
Prior to the update, the Salty Simulations team had been planning to add an EFB, interior cabin model, payload manager and Simbrief integration to their hard fork of the base-game aircraft. As far as FSElite can tell, no senior members of the Heavy Division team are yet to publicly comment on the announcement of AAU2.
Additionally, the update raises questions about how aircraft which are based on MSFS’ default avionics, including the entirety of CaptainSim’s 777 and 767 lineup, will be affected by the changes. It is possible that these aircraft will require some kind of patch to work properly once the new avionics are added to the base game.
Aircraft and Avionics Update 2, covering the Boeing 747 and Dreamliner, will be releasing on June 23. A beta version of the update will be available as soon as May 15. FSElite will continue to keep you informed on the status of the update as soon as we learn more!