Interview: Horizon Simulations

Matt from FSElite interviews the team behind Horizon Simulations.

Posted: 19-Aug-2023 @ 12:00z
Updated: 21-Nov-2023 @ 14:28z
Interview: Horizon Simulations

FSElite interviews the team behind Horizon Simulations, who have brought compatibility modifications and enhancements to the LatinVFR Airbus series, the Kuro Boeing 787-8 and the Salty 747-8 Mega Pack for Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Who are Horizon Simulations?

Horizon Simulations is an international group of dedicated developers, quality assurance testers, 3D artists, and livery creators. In total, we have roughly 40 members of staff from Hungary, England, Scotland, Wales, Greece, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Romania, France, the United States, Canada, Egypt, Spain, Singapore, Poland, Australia, Thailand, Brazil and Japan.

The idea and the concept of Horizon Simulations started with our Co-Founder & Lead Developer: Toby Cook releasing the first FlyByWire compatibility mod for the LatinVFR A321neo. Who has been joined by our other Co-Founder, Public Relations Manager & Lead QA Tester: Mark Szutor.

We brought together a handful of people at first to continue work on the A321neo, and we have started thinking about the future, so with a few people already on board both on the Development and Quality Assurance Teams we came up with the brand name Horizon Simulations, and have moving forward ever since.

After about half a year, to six months into this venture, we have also had the fortune and pleasure to completely merge our respective development teams (and soon our products as well) with WorldlinersRS. Even better moving forward you’ll see some more collaboration between us and other freeware and payware teams out there.

Interview: Horizon Simulations

How did you venture into Flight Simulation development?

Toby Cook – Co-Founder, Lead Developer

I embarked on my journey in flight simulator development through FSX conversions. You
might be familiar with one of my notable conversions, the Canadian Mods A330, which later evolved into the extensively customised project known as the Mega Pack A330.

My inclination towards computer coding and tinkering with various elements has always been apparent. My core motivation in flight sim development revolves around creating a wider array of aircraft that I personally would want to have in my virtual hangar. This often drove me to craft modifications that fulfilled this aspiration. A prime example of my contributions is the original Captain Sim Salty Compatibility mod that I conceptualised and implemented.

Horizon Simulations has fulfilled my dreams as a developer, and I am immensely grateful to Mark and the entire team behind it. While I may not be as actively involved in development these days due to time constraints, I take immense pride in observing the remarkable accomplishments of the community even in my absence.

Mark Szutor – Co-Founder, PR Manager, Lead QA Tester

I began my journey as an ardent and zealous flight simulator enthusiast from the era of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004. Even during those early days, I found myself intrigued by the notion of potentially venturing into the realm of modding for simulator-related products. My academic pursuits were aligned with this interest, although the unpredictable nature of life introduced obstacles that prevented the complete realisation of the goals I had set for myself during that period.

Subsequently, the emergence of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 and Toby’s FlyByWire Compatibility mod designed for the LatinVFR A321neo brought a pivotal turning point. Recognising the immense potential of this endeavour, I reached out to Toby to explore the possibility of contributing as a QA Tester. The subsequent chapters of this tale form an integral part of history.

Since that pivotal conversation well over a year ago, my involvement and responsibilities have experienced substantial growth. I’ve found myself wearing multiple hats, as I’ve taken on increasingly diverse roles within the flight simulation community. Collaboratively with Rob, I’ve assumed a pivotal role in spearheading development endeavours focused on enhancing the LatinVFR Airbus lineup. Our joint efforts have been dedicated to pushing the boundaries of excellence, striving to deliver the finest possible outcomes.

Robin Breitfeld – Senior Developer

The desire to become a skilled modder had ignited during my time with Microsoft Flight Simulator X. However with the release of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, I had acquired the B777-300ER and began contemplating its potential for refinement. I recall obtaining the compatibility mod developed by Toby, which rendered the aircraft flyable, yet it remained devoid of certain enhancements.

This prompted me to delve into the code, initiating discussions with the adept members of the “salty team” to explore avenues for further improvement. Given their reluctance to engage with payware support, my journey ultimately circled back to you, after a period of attempting to navigate these
intricacies independently and rekindled my collaboration with Toby.

Why did you choose your current projects?

After the release of the first FlyByWire – LatinVFR compatibility mod, the direction of Horizon Simulations was quite clear and logical which was to make sure that we improve upon existing products out on the market and bring them to a wider audience. We knew that for those that are passionate about the Airbus aircraft family, especially their single-aisle offers, the compatibility mods for the LatinVFR aircraft will be a hit and so far the download numbers do show that we have made the right choice.

Regarding our other projects, such as the separate GSX profiles, (as soon as reintroduce the “Collaborator” feature) liveries were a natural evolution to how we wanted our product line to be. We wanted to make sure that we appeal to you as large of a target market as possible, and that we satisfy as many simmers with our mods as we can.

Interview: Horizon Simulations

Congratulations on celebrating your first anniversary. How has the past year
been for Horizon Simulations?

First of all, thank you for the congratulations on our first anniversary. We really appreciate the recognition. The past year has been eventful, to say the least. In total, we have published 8 mods during this time. With numerous updates to each and every single one of them.

During the last year, our community has grown to more than 5000 members, alongside our complete staff growing to 42. This is something that we have never imagined that we would be able to do from the beginning, but it is definitely a nice surprise and a result that we’re very proud of.

What more can we expect to see with the LatinVFR Airbus series?

With the release of v2.0 and the subsequent updates to the Kuro 787-8, our focus is entirely back on the LatinVFR Airbus series, and we’re as busy as ever to make sure that these products are up-to-date, and they will bring a much-needed update to the underlying systems. In their current form, all of the LatinVFR Airbuses are based on an old version of FlyByWire Experimental which led to some performance, and other usability issues, and which also doesn’t leave a good impression on us as a development team if these are not getting patched and updated soon.

So what we’ve been working on in the background since the release of the A320ceo mod and the update to the rest of the lineup was to move everything over to the same build process as FlyByWire and Headwind Simulations are using to build their remarkable aircraft. This, in turn, allows us to tweak everything further, and modify parts of the systems that we have not been able to do in the past.

Such as adding our own branding to the EFB, updating the FADEC to better simulate the fuel consumption of the older engine variants, or being able to modify the engine governance characteristics and achieve things like accurate maximum reverse thrust percentages. Version 2.0 is going to be one of our biggest updates to the LatinVFR lineup to date, which we look forward to seeing in the hands of the community. For now, we have planned out the roadmap of these products until roughly the end of the year, and the list of features that we’re planning to implement could make an article by itself. Rest assured though we will be sharing timely updates about these developments.

Interview: Horizon Simulations

How did you get involved with Kurorin and the Kuro 787-8? And could we see
a 787-9 in the future?

We saw immense potential with the 787-8 and we wanted to assist Kurorin as much as possible in making the best possible product out there. We also wanted to make sure that the community that’s behind that aircraft has a place where they can get support, and have their questions answered and as we already had our own Discord server at that time we offered a partnership to Kurorin with that.

Regarding the 787-9 we understand that this may be a popular product and the initial survey that we have conducted about what aircraft people are missing the most from Microsoft Flight Simulator showed the same. For now, we have no plans on undertaking this venture, at the same time we never know what the future may hold.

What more can we expect to see with the Kuro 787-8?

We have conducted a survey amongst our community to see what it is that they are missing the most from the default Boeing 787-10, and thanks to people that have joined our team since then we are achieving the creation of things like more realistic wing-flex, and a SATCOM antenna which is now both part of the model, a re-design of the PFD Colours, to be more true to life.

All credit for these achievements goes to our team members: Andromeda95 and Max. Apart from these improvements, we are of course eagerly waiting for any further improvements from Working Title that we can then implement into the 787-8. And with the release of SU13 Beta, we’re already hard at work bringing the new features into the Kuro 787-8.

Interview: Horizon Simulations

Now that the AAU2 has been released for the Boeing 747-8, are there any plans to further work on this like the Kuro 787 or continue your work with the Salty 747-8 Mega Pack? Or both?

With the release of AAU2 for both the Boeing 747-8 and the Boeing 787-10 we were really excited to get this incredible update integrated into our products and to make sure that we can have our community enjoy them as much as possible. With the Kuro 787-8, we’re planning on making sure that if there are any updates from Working Title towards the base code of the 787 that those are implemented into the aircraft, and that if any modifications are needed to make the underlying code more tailored towards the 787-8 that those modifications are done as well.

Regarding the 747-8 Family as we’re currently focusing on the Kuro 787-8 and on the LatinVFR Airbus series, this mod is in the back of our minds and we have some future plans with it. We would like to keep the user base happy, and of course, give them the options to choose from as well. So with the 747-8, we are thinking of building and maintaining two separate variants one of which would be a continuous update of the Salty-based version, whereas the other will be based on Working Title’s systems. If we were to give an estimate for this to happen, it would be safe to say that the first progress reports of this will start emerging after SU13 is released as there’s a long road ahead of us to make the Queen of the Skies shine again.

Is there going to be an installer for Horizon Simulations mods such as the Installer by FlyByWire Simulations?

We have played with the idea, and have also asked our community if they would be interested in seeing an installer from us, to which the answer was of course an overwhelming yes. However, there are a few things which we would need to overcome for this to happen. As I’m sure a lot of your readers know the FlyByWire and in turn, the Headwind installer relies on a Content Delivery Network or CDN. These solutions that are out on the market can get quite expensive, quite quickly, depending on the amount of traffic that we would expect to go through if the community would rather use our installer than rely on downloads from

It would also not necessarily benefit our current development processes and pipelines. As you might have seen so far we’d much rather focus our efforts in development and testing on larger and more meaningful updates to our products, instead of smaller, incremental updates. Which while wouldn’t defeat the purpose of an installer, but, it would definitely not help with the user’s perspective.

Regardless of all of the above mentioned, we’re of course open to new ideas, and we will
explore the installer as a possibility once more in the future.

Interview: Horizon Simulations

Also, finally, are there any other projects on the roadmap?

There are some projects on the roadmap indeed, all of these are in their infancy at the moment though, so, unfortunately, we do not have any images to share, or teasers to provide. We’re using these as proof of concept at the moment, to see if a full development of these projects alongside the maintenance of the current ones would be something sustainable.

What we can say for now is that we’re playing around with implementing aircraft both from Airbus and Boeing but as to which ones exactly that is for a future announcement. Rest assured though as soon as we have any further news we’re going to inform FSElite and its readers so that they can receive the updates accordingly.

To stay up to date with Horizon Simulations you can find their Social Media links below.

More From:   Horizon Simulations Kurorin
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Matt Ashwood
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Matt is a Freelance Web Designer & Digital Marketer, he discovered his passion for aviation and flight simulation over 20 years ago with FS98. Outside of FSElite, when not building websites or helping his clients improve their online business, he can most often be found flying the virtual skies in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

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