MSFS 2020

I expect folks have some interest in whether I’ve downloaded MSFS 2020, and if so what my reaction is. The answer is, “I have,” and my reaction is, “It’s very impressive but for someone with a home cockpit it’s still very much an early beta.”

I’m getting good performance on my rig at Ultra settings, but that’s with only one screen running as the sim does not yet support multiple monitors. I did learn yesterday, though, that you can pop out the PFD and MFD displays, and I’ve done so as you can see by the photo below.

The Yoko yokes and Saitek rudders work fine, as does the Saitek trim wheel, and I was able to bind the hat switch on the yoke to custom camera views that make up (poorly) for the lack of side windows (being able to look over each wing, 45 degrees behind, etc.). The Saitek FIPs work via SPAD.next but the current simconnect problems (as documented at AVSIM and elsewhere) kill frames so those are off. I was also able to get the FlightIllusion radio stack to connect to the sim via their FSX plugin, but that too relies on simconnect and FSUIPC. There’s a set of five rotary encoders from Desktop Aviator that the sim is seeing as sending keyboard inputs that I’ve been able to bind to heading bug, altitude bug, OBS etc. although FS2020 seems to read them as sending inconsistent keystrokes, so more troubleshooting to do there.

But the bottom line is that, at least for my setup, the sim is two updates away from being a significant leap forward: multi-monitor support for camera views and simconnect that doesn’t crater frames. Updates from RealSimGear and Air Manager will help immensely as I’ll be able to bind the buttons and rotary encoders on the 430 and 530 to make flight plan entry much easier. All this is to say that I actually got farther setting this up than I expected to, and while I’ll be using X-Plane to practice IFR work today on PilotEdge, for me at least I’m enjoying FS2020 and am hopeful about its future in my sim. It will be interesting to see how committed MSFT is to home cockpit builders as the future unfolds.

Finally, I find the flight model on the default aircraft reasonably good, and a significant improvement over FSX and much closer to X-Plane and its feeling of atmospheric fluidity. The real world weather engine is simply awesome, and the visuals are indeed stunning. Those are amazing leaps forward. If I only had them on all three screens (but I am patient).