Microsoft Flight Simulator is entering the home stretch of testing and updates before release on Aug. 18. On Tuesday the game entered a closed beta period, with developers adding nine new aircraft and nearly two dozen landing challenges. The announcement was made on the game’s official website.
Among the new planes available for beta testers is the Icon A5, a petite sport plane that’s able to make water landings. The plane — which will be available in all three versions of the game, including the Xbox Game Pass version — allows players to land on any body of water in the world.
Also included is the Aviat Pitts Special S2S aerobatic biplane and the Zlin Aviation Savage Cub, a light but rugged two-seater bush plane popular with outdoor types.
Asobo also announced the addition of three sight-seeing bush trips, which include overflights of Nevada, Patagonia, and the Balkans.
Another major addition is a series of landing challenges which will test virtual pilots with adverse wind conditions at some of the most dangerous airports in the world. They include an approach at Tenzing–Hillary Airport, also known as Lukla Airport, in Nepal. Located at more than 9,000 feet of elevation, it’s perched within the tallest mountain range in the world.
The new beta build also adds support for Track IR, an infrared peripheral that tracks user’s head movements inside the cockpit.
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