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Microsoft Flight Simulator omits Harbour Bridge

written by Adam Thorn | August 19, 2020

The new edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator has launched to rave reviews – but the release version omits the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

However, the tech giant told Australian Aviation on Wednesday there are plans to eventually include the iconic structure in the game, which will be continually updated for “years to come”.

The game has received positive reviews from some of the world’s most prestigious computer game websites and newspapers, after its release on Tuesday.


The Harbour Bridge isn’t the most startling omission in the game, though. The sim’s first reviewers have discovered that London’s Buckingham Palace, home of the Queen, has been rendered to resemble a generic office block.

The mix up is because the majority of the buildings in the game are automatically rendered from Microsoft’s equivalent of Google Maps – Bing Maps – which allows the sim to recreate the entire world in detail.


An Xbox spokesperson told Australian Aviation, “The launch of Microsoft Flight Simulator is the beginning of our journey. We will continue to update, expand and refine Microsoft Flight Simulator for years to come.”

Despite the omissions, the game has launched to giddy reviews from both computer game and aviation enthusiasts.

Eurogamer rated the new version ‘Essential’ and said it was a “technical marvel” that demonstrated the “joys of flight”; IGN said it had “never seen anything close to this level of accuracy in a flight simulation before”; while The Guardian gave it five stars and said it “captures the wonder of flight, and the spiritual and emotional rush of seeing the world in a different way”.

Previously, Microsoft confirmed to Australian Aviation that the game allows players to take off and land at 613 airports in Australia and 37,000 globally.

It features a special “hand-crafted” replica of Sydney Airport, shown in a video below, including animated windsocks reacting to real-life weather; staff going about their work and accurate signs and taxiways.

Players can fly around this world in up to 30 aircraft ranging from the A320neo to a Cessna 152 and Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental. All feature accurate cockpits with realistic controls and instrumentation.

The sim comes in three versions, ranging from US$60–US$120, with the Deluxe and Premium editions including more planes and airports.

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  • Annoyed Simmer


    Yes , Microsoft have also missed several bridges in Brisbane. They have also made a similar bridge type error for the iconic story bridge and twin Gateway bridges which are very close to Brisbane airport (Missing second runway). Microsoft have had “beta testers” playing for several months , how were these basic items missed ? , there is also a lack of helicopters in the new Sim which would have helped to explore the new scenery , Not good enough

  • Thies Schaper


    No problem. We will sell you a car today, delivered with a 2 stroke motor to keep it moving, while the intended 4 cylinder engine will be fitted, when we recovered the development costs. Ah, yeah, the back seat will be sent out then too. And the side mirrors. Hubcaps ? Sure, still in design stage. Will be the hottest in town. Fuel tank ? I am pleased you are pointing it out. The technicians have come to an agreement, that it will be a multi version car, with options as fossil fuel, electric and hybrid driven models on offer.
    You see, there was such a high demand, we had to launch it this way. It will turn out well over the next few years …

    • Neo The Fat Cat


      I think the better analogy is people buying an MP3 player and then complaining that every song ever written isn’t already loaded on to it!

  • Rowan


    I mean, at least for London there’s the Orbx landmark pack! I don’t get how they’ve done such a stunning Opera House but not the Bridge!?

    • Adam Thorn


      Yes! I’ve seen that many third-party developers are working on upgrades and clocked the London one. Surely someone will work one out for Australia, soon. If so, get in touch, we’d love to interview you.

      I don’t want to be negative because this is clearly a great sim…. but how can you miss out the Harbour Bridge?!

      Thanks for your comment,


    • Joseph King


      This being Australia and considering why the Europeans are here I think you might find some bastard stole the bridge and that’s why it’s missing. You know it makes sense.

  • Ron


    Where to buy the MS Sim in Australia?

  • Robert Morrison


    I wonder if Flight Sim 2020 omitted the White House and the Empire State Building???

  • Dave


    This article is only partly correct. The real reason for the omission of the Harbour Bridge is because it is copyright protected. The NSW Government / City of Sydney needs to give permission for the bridge to appear in the sim.

    • Adam Thorn


      That’s not what I’ve heard from Micorosoft Dave. And also, they could have simply put in a similar bridge, no?

      If anyone knows the legals surrounding the Bridge. Drop me a message or email. I’m keen to get to the bottom of this.



  • sim86on


    The MCG is a generic ’90’s office building too.

  • Mark Fahey


    Too funny! This is a global sim! Do you think bridges over the Brisbane River are international landmarks that the French designers had time to custom model. 😂

  • Angry Simmer


    It should not matter what city it is, they are marketing the product as a VFR type product. I was under the Impression key landmarks Where fundamental aids for navigation under VFR rules? I also note the the Toowoomba West “Wellcamp” airport is completely missing including the 9416ft – 747 rated runway which busts the statement that “no airport has been missed”. I would hope that the updates come thick and fast over the next few months.

  • Neo The Fat Cat


    Yes, it’s a bit embarrassing to have such major, well-known landmarks missed out like this. But when you look at the entirety of what they’ve produce, it’s nothing short of amazing. The step up from FSX is huge and we should be marvelling at the work involved. I did a test flight over Canberra and the quality is enough to fool you into thinking you’re right over your own house.

    I doubt whether they ever intended it to be a fully completed world with every aircraft. Like with FSX, they’ve made room for developers to create and sell their own content.

  • Laurie


    Melbourne does not have a Westgate or Bolte bridge I thought the scenery was supposed to be satelite imagery. What a dissapointment after waiting so long.

  • Karl


    I could imagine that bridges and other strategic buildings may not be shown in a flight simulator- we do not know who will use a flight simulator and who may have “unfriendly” intentions…

  • happy simmer


    1. no, landmarks are not key fundamental aids for VFR, 2) YBBW is present in the game, however lacks the 9416ft runway instead having 3506ft grass, 3) if you look at Bing maps for the airport (satellite mode) you’ll see exactly why – that is, it looks like a technical issue with the satellite data, 4) the game in its present state is still very, very good even without “thick and fast” updates

  • Abc


    westfield tower building also missing 🙁

  • Jason


    As mush as it was a disappointment to me that my city Sydney, doesn’t have a rendered version of the Harbour Bridge, Anzac Bridge and Gladesville Bridge, you have to remember that this simulator covers the entire world, and if the team at Microsoft and Asobo had to render every bridge around the globe to its exact design specification, they would have to employ hundreds of 3d modellers to render every bridge in the world, which would take a few years of hard work.

    The fact that ORBX had released a addon with 100 buildings/landmarks for London city, I wouldn’t be surprise if they are planning on doing the same for Melbourne, Sydney and other capital cities around the world.

  • Disappointed


    There’s a reason for this…Microsoft has a lot of “photorealistic cities”, 341 in total at the moment, which are accurately represented and which are impressive, and used in the marketing of the sim. Unfortunately most of those are in the US (off course), and a lot more in Europe. And unfortunately that does not include London, not even Paris. And the rest are just AI generated with selective landmarks custom drawn.

    That being said, Aus does have a few cities represented: Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast, Hobart, Newcastle and Wollongong. Unfortunately none of the big capital cities.

  • Curly Ware


    Major computer upgrade – deluxe MS2020 – and it won’t accept any of my Control input devices, including CH Control Yoke, CH Rudder Pedals, Logitech Switch Panel, Multi Flight Panel, Radio Frequency Panel, and TPM (Throttle/Prop?Mixture) box either. So hope the “Patch” that comes out on 27th Aug will fix this.

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