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Check-in has opened for Microsoft Flight Simulator's technical alpha

Here’s a confession: I actually quite like airports. Yes, they’re crowded, and smelly, and charge a 200% markup on an underwhelming coffee, but there’s something quietly wonderful about the space-between-countries. Within a few hours, I could be anywhere but here, and all it cost was a gross violation of my privacy and less cash than a British train making the same trip. Thanks, privatisation!

This month, it’s time to pack your cabin-friendly hand-luggage and queue up for check-in – Microsoft Flight Simulator is looking for passengers to take part in its first technical alpha.

The last decade has been a bit of a rocky one for Microsoft’s flagship flyer. The last true “Flight Simulator”, Flight Simulator X, is still kicking about on Steam, although developers Dovetail Games’ attempt to build from that base with Flight Sim World didn’t fare so well. Microsoft’s own follow-up, Microsoft Flight, was just a bit naff.

Next year’s Flight Simulator seems to be a fresh start, at least by the name. There’s not long to wait to find out, either. If you’ve picked up a lucky ticket (or, err, signed up for the Insider Program), you may be able to get into the cockpit sooner rather than later. Just don’t tell anyone: this first round is heavily locked behind an NDA, blocking you from sharing pics, videos or details.

Like booking last-minute with Ryanair, there’s no guarantee you’ll get a seat. MS will be picking prospective pilots based on the answers you submit and your system hardware. They’ll still send you some nice updates on the state of the game if you miss out, mind, and there’s always the chance you’ll get into later testing rounds. Check out the Insider FAQ for more on how it works.

Microsoft will lay out more details on the alpha timeline this Thursday. It’s likely to take off before the end of the month, as info on the second alpha touches down on October 10th.

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