20 Best Mods For Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 (All Free)

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Microsoft Flight Simulator is one of the most technically impressive video games ever made.

After 14 years of silence, the series came back with a vengeance.

Thanks to the excellent real-scale simulation of Earth achieved by Microsoft’s Azure AI, the level of detail and realism is astounding both inside and outside the cockpit.

It’s no wonder the game has received critical acclaim – especially considering it was released at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, becoming a bit of an escape for quarantined gamers.

In the 14 years since the original release of Microsoft Flight Simulator X in 2006, modding kept the game alive – and the tradition carried on into this new installment.

It’s time to book a flight to the mods of your dreams.


20. MSFS Legacy Importer

MSFS Legacy Importer mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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Before we get into any new creations for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, I found something veteran FSX modders will find helpful for sure.

The MSFS Legacy Importer is a work-in-progress tool to convert your favorite custom planes from the classic simulator to MSFS (2020).

It’s not perfect – as the games are just too different to just drag and drop. But it’ll give you a half-working conversion to use as a base for a full-fledged MSFS add-on.

At the very least, you’ll be able to use it for screenshots.


19. Fokker DR.1 Triplane

Fokker DR.1 Triplane mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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Speaking of screenshots…

I can’t picture a more photogenic aircraft than the Fokker DR. 1 Triplane – especially in bright colors like yellow and red.

This iconic plane was designed by Fokker Flugzeugwerke way back in 1917 under the idea that adding more wings would somehow make a plane better.

In the case of this Triplane, it definitely worked. It helped German WWI pilot Manfred von Richthofen – The Red Baron – gain his last 19 victories (until he was finally shot down in it).

Hopefully, nobody will try to shoot you down as you fly Mykrode’s modded Fokker over Europe in MSFS.


18. Star Wars Ships

Star Wars Ships mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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For something a little bit more unorthodox, consider this pack of highly detailed Star Wars vessels by Flight Sim Squadron.

This set includes over 30 iconic spaceships belonging to the Rebels, the Empire, and the Republic – along with some extras like Star Trek’s Enterprise and the VF-1 Valkyrie from Super Dimension Fortress Macross.

Admittedly, most of these ships aren’t too well implemented.

Their flight systems aren’t realistic, and in some cases, they make no sense at all.

That said, they’re still a lot of fun – and make for some killer screenshots.


17. Star Wars Scenery

Star Wars Scenery mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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Explore how an imperial invasion of Earth could look like with Flight Sim Squadron’s Star Wars Scenery.

The pack includes both a Star Destroyer and an AT-AT for you to fly around, taking footage and pictures of this bizarre phenomenon.

The Star Destroyer can be found casting its angular shadow over Sydney, Australia, or near the Statue of Liberty in New York, USA.

On the other hand, the AT-AT stands proud in the chilly plains of Norway, looking like it’s the Battle of Hoth all over again.


16. Anime Sci-Fi Scenery

Anime Sci-Fi Scenery mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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Star Wars is the entry-level stuff everybody knows.

If you’re serious about Sci-Fi, you’ll love this broader scenery pack by Flight Sim Squadron.

Instead of a couple of Star Wars staples, this pack includes eight creations based on classic Japanese animated franchises like Ultraman, Gundam, Macross, and Evangelion – along with some fun extras.

With this, you’ll find a Gundam RX-78 in Yokohama, a Gundam Unicorn and the EVA-01 in Odaiba, Ultraman near the Golden Gate Bridge, and fun extras like Nessie in Loch Ness, Scotland.

The contrast between these Sci-Fi elements and the natural world around them is sublime. It really helps you visualize how big some of these things really are.


15. New York City Landmarks

New York City Landmarks mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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If you’d rather adorn your flight routes with something a little bit more realistic, I suggest you schedule a flight to New York City.

As you know, MSFS’ 3D cities aren’t as detailed as they could be.

The game’s 3D representations of Earth are incredible to be made with just data from Bing Maps, but there’s plenty of room for improvement.

These custom NYC Landmarks by creator EdPatino will give one of the most impressive cities in the world some of its charms back.

It includes over 30 iconic buildings, such as the One World Trade Center, the Yankee Stadium, the Chrysler Building, and the Empire State.


14. Dubai Landmarks

Dubai Landmarks mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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Flying to Dubai is one of the weirdest experiences a pilot can have.

Not only do your passengers include some of the wealthiest and most influential people in the world, but the city itself looks like a bright jewel sandwiched between the ocean and a sea of sand.

That’s partly thanks to its many iconic structures, such as the Burj Dubai hotel and the colossal Burj Khalifa.

While the base game does include landmarks like the Palm Islands, the vertical structures are pretty underwhelming.

This mod by Risuali brings the city back to life with more than 250 buildings and thousands of different objects around Dubai.


13. More Airport Lights

More Airport Lights mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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It’s incredible how many airports you can fly to and from in Microsoft Flight Simulator – but a ton of them don’t have adequate lighting to help pilots land during the night.

Creator Andres3D has taken it upon himself to add lights to over 950 national and international airports worldwide.

Many in the MSFS community have requested their favorite airport be illuminated, and he has delivered to the best of his abilities.

With a straightforward install, you’ll improve your night flying experience immensely and add many worthy destinations to visit.


12. Controllable Naval Fleet

Controllable Naval Fleet mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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Microsoft Flight Simulator is, understandably, focused on airplanes.

Despite having one of the most detailed and good-looking models of the real world, we can only traverse it by air.

That is, without mods.

This add-on by RodrigoMoraes94 lets you commandeer 19 unique naval vessels, including a nuclear submarine and The Titanic.

The simulation isn’t the most sophisticated, but it scratches my naval itch.

And this mod only gets better combined with the next one….


11. Global AI Ship Traffic

Global AI Ship Traffic mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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The Controllable Naval Fleet is based on KL791’s Global AI Ship Traffic, a mod that breathes life into the world’s oceans by introducing countless autonomous vessels all around Earth.

The AI Traffic includes over a thousand different ships sailing the Seven Seas in realistic routes without user input.

You’ll see NATO military exercises, ferry routes, intercontinental tankers carrying tons of crude oil and imports… You’ll even find the Maersk Alabama – the ship from Captain Phillips (2013) – in the same place it was hijacked by Somali pirates in 2009.

Whether you enjoy this from high up in the air or aboard your own ship, the maritime spectacle is out of this world.


10. Go Kart

Go Kart mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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There should be no problem with driving on land if it’s possible to sail the seas, right?

With this mod from GamerDEAL, there really isn’t.

This Go-Kart is the perfect vehicle for an afternoon of fooling around at the race track. It has perfectly functional controls, fairly realistic physics, and pretty good animations.

If you want something to go a little faster than 70km/h, check out GamerDEAL’s Mercedes C63 Coupe.


9. Airbus H135 Helicopter

Airbus H135 Helicopter mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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One of the most fan-requested features for Microsoft Flight Simulator is helicopter support.

While Asobo has announced plans to add official helicopters to the vanilla game sometime in 2022, fans have limited patience – and modders took it upon themselves to add the feature.

The Airbus H135 helicopter is one of the most famous and well-made options out there.

It’s fully functional, with realistic systems like you’d expect in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

It also comes in several colors/liveries, so you can customize it to your liking.


8. Heli-X Helicopter Mission Generator

Heli-X Helicopter Mission Generator mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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So you have the helicopter.

What now?

If just flying around in your helicopter doesn’t cut it, consider downloading the Heli-X app.

This nifty add-on by GxM42 will generate realistic helicopter missions, such as transplant delivery, medevac, rescue missions, and even police chases for you to play out.

Think of it as helicopter Uber!

You won’t earn anything from completing these jobs, but it’s a great way to approach flying from a new perspective.

Some missions even require you to land in some unusual places, which can be a significant challenge.


7. EA-7 Edgley Optica

EA-7 Edgley Optica mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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The EA-7 Edgley Optica was designed back in 1979 as a cheaper alternative to helicopter flights.

Back in the day, its low-weight aerodynamic design was considered futuristic – and more than 40 years later, you could totally convince someone that this is some new experimental prototype by Elon Musk.

This add-on by Jonx brings the Edgley Optica to MSFS in all its glory, complete with realistic systems and everything you’d expect.

The level of detail is striking, and it all looks just like the real deal.

There’s even a little knob at the top of the glass canopy that you can use to spawn or despawn a gorgeous Golden Retriever to fly with you in the cockpit. That’s what I call luxury!


6. ICAO/EU Phraseology Mod

ICAO/EU Phraseology mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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Next up, we have something sure to increase your immersion in European flights.

As you may have noticed, flight control in MSFS uses the same terms and phrases worldwide.

Any real pilots will know that phraseology and radiotelephony practices vary between the Americas and the European Union.

This mod by real-world airline captain Nijntje implements the required changes for a more realistic experience.

For the most part, European flight control will communicate according to ICAO recommendations.


5. Working Visible Copilot

Working Visible Copilot mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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Hardly anybody wants to stay in a cockpit for eight hours without company.

And most of the time, real-world pilots have some help during the flight – especially in larger aircraft.

For a game with such a focus on realism and immersion, it’s surprising they left out a native copilot option.

If you want to stop feeling like the loneliest airline pilot in the world, check out this mod by AaronEC.

This fantastic add-on copies the copilots you can see in external views and spawns them into the cockpit with you. You can also spawn yourself, if looking down at an empty seat in VR ever felt weird to you.


4. BushTalk Radio

BushTalk Radio mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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Much like real-life commercial aviation, MSFS keeps you very busy during take-off and landing but leaves you a whole lot of nothing to do in the middle.

Without something to keep you busy, long flights can get a little boring – even if you make time go 2x, 4x, or 16x faster.

I mean, an eight-hour flight will still take at least half an hour at 16x!

One way you can make your flights more exciting is through BushTalk Radio, an add-on that lets you play audio tours detailing the surrounding points of interest as you fly by.

It’s a great way to learn about different regions, cultures, history, and famous landmarks.

You can even submit your own audio tours!


3. Toolbar Pushback

Toolbar Pushback mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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Something a lot of players wanted more control over back when MSFS came out was pushback – the process by which a plane is pushed out of a hangar and onto the runway or vice versa.

The Toolbar Pushback mod by AmbitiousPilots completely overhauls the pushback in MSFS, giving you complete control over the procedure. You can control the tug direction and adjust the speed to your liking – all from within the game.

You can call ground services to your aid with a single click, and the mod supports interactive pushback comms as well.


2. Best of Liveries Mega Pack

Best of Liveries Mega Pack mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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Liveries are one of the most popular mod categories for MSFS.

Everyone wants their planes to look the best!

To avoid turning the list into a Liveries ranking, I chose to recommend only the very best.

And this Best of Liveries Mega Pack is a curated collection of hand-picked liveries every pilot should have at their disposal, including some of the largest airlines in the world, along with some special entries.


1. FlyByWire Simulations A32NX

FlyByWire Simulations A32NX mod for Microsoft Flight Simulator

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The Airbus A320 family is the highest-selling airliner worldwide, and it makes up a very large chunk of many fleets, including American Airlines, which holds the most A320s in the world.

The FlyByWire Simulations A32NX project seeks to bring a perfectly recreated Airbus A320neo to Microsoft Flight Simulator for free – and they’ve done a terrific job so far.

Flying in FBW’s A320neo gives players a true-to-life experience all the way from power up to aircraft shutdown.

Along with many technical improvements, it features enhanced cockpit textures with realistic wear, exterior and interior lights, faithful avionics, and much-improved sound design with samples recorded from real A320s.

It would take an entire article to list everything this mod can do for you – so if you’re interested, just go try it out for yourself!

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.