You may have looked at our official list of all the planes in Microsoft Flight Simulator and been left wondering what the best third party planes are. There’s a hell of a lot of options and quite a few scams to avoid, so we put together this list of planes the community generally agrees are the best available options. How do we decide what makes the cut? Generally it’s a couple of factors including the plane’s cost versus the amount of accuracy and detail.
For example, you don’t want to pay $40 for a plane which looks like a new plane but is actually just the systems of an existing plane with a different exterior, especially if that exterior isn’t up to snuff. What we want to focus on are planes that are good for the price and at least somewhat match a pilot’s expectations for the real world plane, even if the features aren’t always study level.
Either way, we recommend researching these planes before you purchase, just to make sure you’re getting what you expect. With Flight Simulator it’s all too easy to buy something and have it not be what you expect.
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Just Flight PA-28R Turbo Arrow III
To start things off, if you’re looking for a great all around general aviation aircraft, the Just Flight Piper PA-28R Turbo Arrow III is probably the best place to start. It comes complete with the ability to swap out the navigation systems to make them more advanced or more rudimentary. You could save some money by downloading various GA improvement mods from sites like FlightSim.to, but if you want something that’s more simulation level, you’ll need to pay for something like this.
- Download: Just Flight Website.
- Price: $45
If old planes are your thing, there are few better options than the PMDG Douglas DC-6. This four-engine piston powered airliner hasn’t been built since 1958, but some of the original 700 still fly today. With a capacity of 68 passengers, a cruise speed of 270 knots, and a range of almost 4,000 nautical miles, this is a steam gage fan’s best friend in an airliner form.
- Download: PMDG Website.
- Price: $60
SimWorks Quest Kodiak 100 Series II
This is the plane I recommend to anyone who is a fan of turboprops with support for the G1000 Garmin system. As someone who has personally purchased the aircraft, I was pleased with the level of detail, simulation support, and amount of effort needed to fly the thing correctly. Unlike default planes in Flight Simulator, this one needs consistent adjustments to the rudder trim especially on take-off and whenever you’re trimming the plane. Without it, the plane will veer hard to the left at maximum power, crashing you off the runway.
On the realism side, it has functional doors and windows, proper air conditioning with simulated temperature control, oxygen supply tracking, and varying cargo configurations including passengers and boxes which change depending on the load you set. We highly recommend reading the instruction manual for this one.
- Download: In-game marketplace or SimWorksStudios website.
- Price: About $32
Orbx Edgley EA-7 Optica
This is just about the weirdest looking plane I’ve ever seen. VFR enthusiasts swear by it, however. The unique cockpit gives an incredible field of view with the only major blind spot directly behind the pilot. Plus, unlike the Top Rudder Solo, which we talk about later, this one can fly for a full eight hours and cruises at a much faster 115 knots.
- Download: OrbX Central.
- Level of Detail: Casual.
- Price: $15
If military jets are your thing there are lots of options. The problem with all of the ones in the official store is there’s no real way to determine what is a quality purchase. They all have descriptions and ratings, but users can’t leave comments. Our recommendation? The IndiaFoxtEcho MB-339. It’s got one of the best modeled interiors and has an expected level of functionality given the price.
- Download: In-game Marketplace or OrbX Central.
- Level of Detail: Casual
- Price: $25
One of the interesting things about Microsoft Flight Simulator is the number of high quality completely free mods. You may have heard of Working Title and their efforts to make more accurate Garmin systems. Another well respected development community is FlyByWire who is working on creating a study level Airbus A32NX. As it stands, this is likely the most accurate plane in all of Flight Simulator 2020 and the best part? It’s completely free. Even for everyone on Xbox! Thankfully, Asobo worked with the team and managed to get the freeware available in the official store. This way you don’t miss any of the latest updates!
- Download: In-game Marketplace or FlyByWire Website.
- Level of Detail: High.
- Price: Free
Top Rudder 103 Solo
Sometimes you just want to fly and sightsee with as little visual obstruction as possible. The Top Rudder 103 Solo has come to be the favored aircraft of many in that category. The ultralight is literally just a framework with overhead wings, an engine, and a windshield. There’s no doors or floor to obstruct your line of sight, making it an excellent way of low altitude cruises. Just keep in mind that it maxes out at around 50 knots, at least half the speed of the game’s many propeller planes. You aren’t going anywhere fast in this one.
- Download: In-game Marketplace
- Price: $10
Just Flight 146 Professional
If study level jets are your thing, Just Flight recently released what many consider to be the first study-level aircraft in the game. The Leonardo MD-82 “Maddog,” released just afterward, is noticeably more expensive at $79. For those trying to get their foot in the door with something so accurate it needs a 260 page manual, this one might be for you.
- Download: Just Flight website.
- Price: $65