It’s been about a year since I last played Microsoft Flight Simulator and after I had downloaded the massive 45GB update, I came across the Top Gun Maverick FREE expansion and just had to dive into it. Now, I don’t profess to be a very good pilot at all, but I can sail a boat, which is a lot easier than controlling a chunk of metal hurtling through the skies. Heck, I can even ride a motorcycle through a crowded city, but flying a plane for me is challenging, to say the least.
The expansion is described thus by Microsoft:
- A “Top Gun: Maverick Edition” livery for the F/A-18E Super Hornet
- Three training missions for the Super Hornet that will allow you to master radical flight maneuvers including unrestricted take-offs, split S maneuvers, and low altitude, high-speed maneuvering through complex terrain
- Five high-speed, low-level challenges that require utmost skill to navigate just above mountains and traverse through canyons
- A carrier deck landing challenge, one of the most demanding operations in the world of military aviation
- A never-before-unveiled hypersonic aircraft that can attain speeds of Mach 10 and altitudes greater than 150,000 feet above sea level
- A mission to roar into the stratosphere
There’s no doubt about it, this expansion is fantastic fun if you know what you’re doing. My first three attempts saw me crash the plane on takeoff, veer into the grass, and other mishaps. I did eventually take off and once in the air I became Tom Cruise, but perhaps not quite as good looking. The expansion has several training missions which naturally I’m in dire need of, so I stuck with those for my first forays into jet flying. One mission even includes landing the F/A 18 Super Hornet on an aircraft carrier which is said to be the most difficult of all military landings, but I need more practice before attempting that challenge.
The FREE expansion should appear on your main menu when you fire up MSFS 2020, so in the meantime, I’ll leave you with the first part of my lacklustre training day.