Cream of the Crop

A perpetual debate among flight simmers is which is the best aircraft or scenery or utility we have available for a complete delight of our hobby. There isn´t of course a unique answer and each of us has his own opinion. But let us venture again and pick the cream of crop – the best of best. This is obviously a personal list – some will certainly disagree – but I am sure the more experienced simmers will certainly approve this list. Please note that this selection is presented alphabetically – the selected items deserve all be number one! NumberOne Aircraft:

Her  graphics are outdated (and, no, I will not mention their B757!) but no such a list could ever omit this pioneer addon. Her age shows, but she was (and for many, still is) queen of the virtual skies for a number of years.

It is one of the most advanced simulations available at the moment. It combines an exceptional depth of systems accuracy with good performance.

Here I am sure nobody will disagree! These aircraft opened new areas of development that increased vastly our enjoyment!

These are two general aviation jewels! Extremely well simulated and a great joy to fly. Scenery:

The choice in airport scenery is vast and of quality.  One should mention FlyTampa´s TNCM, KTPA, KBOS, CYUL, FlightBeam´s KIAD, FSDT´s KLAX, Taxi2Gate´s LTBA, KMCO, and a bunch of Aerosoft Mega Airports (Dublin, Innsbruck, Helsinki, etc.)

A 6 GB download that makes a difference! An innovative and large-scale project  that drastically changes as we see the world in FSX (and Prepar3D). Utilities:

One of the most impressive FS addons! It is a camera and effects system and manager that enhances the pilot experience in FSX. It offers view control in FS for easy navigation throughout the virtual cockpit and cabin, around the aircraft, and even around the FS world. It incorporates visual effects of both pilot and camera shake, caused by aircraft accelerations, surfaces, and turbulence.

Based on actual Boeing 737 Standard Operating Procedures, this product is an “expansion” pack for a number of popular FSX aircraft such as PMDG 737 NGX (and soon also for the B777), Aerosoft AirbusX, Majestic Dash8 Q400, etc. It adds a highly realistic flight, cabin and ground crew to the aircraft, and allows users to simulate real-world airline multi-crew flying from the perspective of the Captain and Pilot Flying.

A weather add-on that uses realistic radar simulation, cloud position awareness and synchronized ambient effects, brand new air effects, brand new thunderstorm depictions, microbursts, thick overcast, smooth cloud transitions, variable cloud areas, voice weather briefings and forecast data integration. It is fair to mention other similar and popular programs such as Opus and FS Global Real Weather.

This innovative flight planning tool allows the creation of professional quality flight plans similar to those used by real-world airlines, with a user-friendly interface that allows to easily build flight plans. It is loaded with a few advanced options that allow a realistic flight planning with sophisticated features such as Long Range (EROPS) and Re-Dispatch Planning. The printable Flight Briefing Package includes real-time weather and wind charts as well as NOTAM, METAR and TAF reports. More importantly, the planned routes can be exported to various add-ons and programs: Airbus X Extended, PMDG 737 NGX, B777, MD 11, XPlane, IVAO, Vatsim, etc.

0 Responses

  1. So what are your top add-ons for X-Plane, Johan?

    I only have a few add-ons for the sim, but things like the Ramzzess jets have got to be worth a mention in a highlights reel for XP?

    1. Well, I’m the low and slow type, but absolute must haves:

      – Andras Fabian’s HD Mesh Scenery v2 (donationware), and while we’re at it, his Tree Lines and Farms V2 perhaps as well

      – Photo sceneries: simHeaven (freeware)

      – Weather engine: SkyMAXX Pro (payware)

  2. I would only add to this list 2 or 3 more addons that became invaluable to make me enjoy flightsimming:

    – Radar Contact, with real world ATC procedures, including even Maydays, not to mention holdings, crossing restrictions, deviation requests, now the controller is really there, even to report you should you misbehave.

    – AES – and now you have catering trucks, cleaning crews, fuel truck, stairs, pushback procedures and follow-me cars, and ramp agents!

    – FSPassengers – you really feel like you are carrying passengers and a cabin crew doing their work (or you doing yours and their work should you want to), and who will grade you at the end and complain about your stunt maneuvers at FS350.

    – And point out voice control for Fs2Crew and leave a note about MultiCrewExperience MCE that adds a copilot, a cabin crew, and an ability to talk to ATC (default or radar contact) and to control AES ramp teams with your voice only. In the real world you do not press “1” on the keyboard to hear someone else’s voice contact a controller for you:).

    Level-D deserves that position. I want to point out it first came out for FS2000 (or was it FS98??).

    Thanks for this article.

  3. I used Level-D 767 in the past, but I think there are the PMDG and Majestic in the first place. Then what about GSX from FSDreamteam ?

    And for the sceneries I think there is difference in quality and innovation between – for example – Aerosoft, FSDreamteam, Flightbeam and so on….
    All are good but some of them are at another level 🙂

    Bye, Max

  4. The new King Air from Flight 1 is exceptional, as is the Cool Sky DC9 if you like steam gauges and VOR to VOR navigation.

  5. Accurate list… However, I just think that FlyTampa needs to be on the top of the scenery list, in my opinion. They deserve a big bow for creating amazingly detailed and true to life airports and surroundings that don’t kill the performance of FSX…

    Other publishers create equally detailed and realistic scenery but unfortunately most of them drain every drop of FPS, with lag and stutter even on the most powerful PCs…

    So that was my comment regarding the scenery publishers choices…


  6. Where’s REX Essential and REX weather and texture set by a long way.

  7. I’d like to add an addon that I wish someone redid without limitations. Anyone ever tried FSHotseat or FSHotSFX? This product changed the AI aircraft sounds making an airport simply come to life. You had to listen to really feel it. An airliner taking off resounded like thunder, just as in reality, as did the reverses on roll out. Unfortunately, this utility was incompatible with RadarContact (unless you wanted to hear ATC call airliners by their tail numbers). But this is one product that I really loved, solving the “washed out”, black and white, soundscape of every FS airport, and, to my knowledge, nothing ever came close to it (DO correct me if I am wrong!).

  8. Surely there’s an even bigger one missing from the list, in that most of the add-ons listed would not work without FSUIPC, or Simconnect, which wouldn’t have been included were it not for FSUIPC’s earlier versions.

  9. It seems to me that nowadays you have to use FSX as my comment about FS2004 doesn’t seem to have made it. It doesn’t, or rather shouldn’t, have to be the latest and the biggest to make it onto the list, but I guess that’s the way it is nowadays.


    1. Or it might have been that all the staff were offline and unable to approve your comment. No conspiracy theory against your favourite sim, just simple reality that people have to do other things and/or sleep!

    2. Come on, if even my comment about X-plane made it here, surely comments about FS2004 can 🙂

      1. I really was playing with the country’s biggest train set to pay the mortgage!

        One interesting thing about this list is that many of the add-ons listed for FSX will also apply to FS9 and, in some cases, to X-Plane as well. I have Aerosoft airports for all three platforms. AES works with X and 9. ActiveSky is available for X and 9. FSUIPC, as mentioned above, works for X and 9… and XPUIPC with X-Plane. PMDG are available for X and 9, plus are looking at X-Plane.

        There’s no reason at all – other than a lack of comments – why we couldn’t do this list for FS9 or X-Plane rather than it being “FSX exclusive”. Any other XP or FS9 fliers out there?

  10. For all those people suggesting certain items should be ranked higher in the list. If you read the post until the end it clearly states the list is in alphabetical order.

  11. Bob. Nothing stopping you doing “A List” for FS9 knock yourself, out have fun.

    1. By “we”, I was referring to simFlight and everyone who posts here..

      People are complaining that their preferred sim is under-represented in the thread, so they’re welcome to add to the list themselves, or create their own.

  12. I am still stuck an FS9er as I am still stuck with an old PC that has trouble running FSX, and I took this list as not being FSX exclusive because it fit perfectly for me, like Bob pointed out above. I want to move on to FSX or P3D soon but I do love FS9 for the fact that even though computer technology has advanced immensely, with faster hardware and bigger memories, it keeps allowing me to buy new state of the art mega airports sceneries that look incredibly detailed AND fast when compared to airport sceneries from 10 years ago, and use them on an 8 year old PC!

  13. REX does not belong on this list because Active sky is truly the “best” wx add-on hands down. I predict that most simmers will flock over to Active sky next and leave rex essential. I also predict that the new weather add-on that rex is working on will have the same problems that essential had which the active sky series solved many years ago. REX is ok for only one purpose and that is taking screenshots, but I would rather be flying 🙂

    1. explain yourself Paul what is wrong with REX that HIFI solved years ago.and also how do you have inside info on the new weather engine from REX.

  14. Gentlemen, please take the product comparisons elsewhere, this is not the place for them.

  15. If you need an explanation then you must be a screenshot junkie and I cannot help you. So sorry.

  16. Bob, is not this article about comparison’s? Or is the author blind to the fact that a whole bunch of products were left off of this list for a *reason*. There were comparisons made and the article was written. People leave comments about why REX is not on the list and I made my comment as to why its not on the list, in so doing I agree with the author for leaving REX off the list. I really don’t understand why negative yet true comments are always shot down. If something is not good or really bad, somebody has to say something so that the standard of quality improves.

    1. I think it’s just that negative comments usually start arguments, as someone will always disagree, and this might not be the best place for that. One could get the same message across stating it in a more positive way, also.

  17. Exactly Alex. This conversation is going nowhere but downhill into an argument, so I am requesting, politely, that you take that argument elsewhere. Opinions vary. Some people prefer some packages, others prefer others. So list your preference and if you want to argue about it, do so somewhere other than our front page comments! 🙂

    This article is about listing your top add-ons, not about arguing that others’ opinion is wrong.

  18. Paul,

    Let me add a note. In the article I state clearly “This is obviously a personal list” and “…each of us has his own opinion…”. Therefore it is not open to debate whether this product should or should not be included. I prepared this list based on the FS addons I end up to use most. That´s it. But I have to confess that in fact I forgot to include REX – I did have it in my original list but I involuntarily omit it when I prepared this post – every time I fly, I do use REX textures (with ASN for weather). Please let us end up this discussion here because we all agree that there are a number of outstanding addons that are not in this (very short) list!
    I am grateful to all who left a comment and to those who were kind enough to leave a thank you note. I thank you all!

  19. Edited by Bob: You were asked to stop before it descended into an argument. As you have not, I am no longer asking.

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