Microsoft has made Flight, its new flight simulator, available as a free download. Available only for Windows it is also restricted to the skies over the Big Island of Hawaii.
The new program is the successor to Microsoft Flight Simulator, which was discontinued in 2009 much to the dismay of a committed community of users.
According to Joshua Howard in the announcement of its availability
Flight represents the culmination of three years of hard work and experimentation as we worked to reimagine the 30-year-old Flight Simulator franchise, push forward the evolution of the PC flying experience, and bring the thrill and wonder of flight to whole new audiences.
There’s a lot to do in Flight’s version of Hawaii, from basic flight instruction to hunts for hidden Aerocaches, from experimenting with different aircraft to showing off your skills in aerobatics challenges, from ferrying passengers and cargo around the islands to advancing your career as a pilot.
The new game is intended to appeal to a wider audience and the free download (1.43 GB) has a variety of exciting missions, challenges and hidden Aerocaches. It includes two aircraft, an Icon A5 and a classic Boeing Stearman, and if you want others there are add-on packs for a North American P-51 Mustang and a Maule M-7-260C.
There are free previews but the full packs are priced at $7.99. There's also a Hawaiian Adventure Pack, priced at $19.99, with more missions and challenges and a Vans RV-6A.
The idea of a free main program with extensions that provide a revenue stream seems like a good model to follow.
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