Microsoft partners with Orbis International and brings charity aircraft into Flight Simulator 2020

Raising awareness in the virtual skies.

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Microsoft and Asobo haven’t been shit when it comes to adding plenty of free content into the base version of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 but the latest addition is something a little different.

The Seattle giant has teamed up with Orbis International, a non-profit organization working on the treatment and prevention of blindness.

Orbis has kitted out and converted a veteran MD-10 cargo aircraft into a fully-fledged teaching hospital that can travel around the world. Known as the Flying Eye Hospital, Orbis describes it as follows:: “The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital is unlike any plane you’ve seen before. A state-of-the-art teaching facility complete with an operating room, classroom, and recovery room – this amazing aircraft has been an example of the marriage between medicine and aviation since 1982.”

Arriving in the Flight Simulator 2020 marketplace as a free download, the MD-10 will be a static “scenery” add on (as in you won’t be able to take to the skies in it, unfortunately, but you will be able to visit it and move around inside to see what it is made up of.).

Microsoft said: “Microsoft Flight Simulator users can tour the Flying Eye Hospital in full hospital mode with stunningly authentic detail and learn more about Orbis’s mission to train and inspire local teams to save sight in their communities by accessing the plane free-of-charge through an in-game news link or directly via Microsoft Flight Simulator Marketplace. The plane, however, is not currently available for flight.”

The Flying Eye Hospital will also be available in the forthcoming version of Microsoft Flight Simulator for the Xbox at the end of July.

A Microsoft spokesperson further added:

“We are delighted to announce today that we are partnering with Orbis International, a non-profit organization transforming lives through the treatment and prevention of avoidable blindness, to give flight simmers the chance to virtually explore the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital.

Orbis is making a profound impact on people’s lives and we’re proud to support their fight against avoidable blindness; a large but solvable problem that affects millions of people around the world who don’t have access to eye care. According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, there are 43 million people living with blindness, and 295 million with moderate-to-severe vision loss, 77% of which is completely avoidable.

The Orbis Flying Eye Hospital is a one-of-a-kind aircraft and an incredible feat of engineering. A converted MD-10 cargo plane, it’s now a fully accredited teaching hospital, equipped with a state-of-the-art operating room, laser treatment room, simulation center, classroom, and AV suite, that conducts training programs across the globe.

We recognized an opportunity to raise awareness for Orbis’s cause by incorporating the Flying Eye Hospital into the Microsoft Flight Simulator experience.”

The move is a unique way of promoting a charity through the means of a game and will no doubt bring the work of Orbis International to a much wider audience than previously.

It will be interesting to see if this kind of partnership develops further into the life of the flight sim. In the meantime, you can head to the Marketplace and add the Flying Eye Hospital into your game.

Meanwhile, you might want to check out or articles to increase your enjoyment of your flight sim. Find PC Guide’s Best Yokes and Best Rudder Pedal recommendations right here.

Paul is a contributor to PC Guide, having covered news coverage, Raspberry Pi, Windows releases and peripherals - among other things - across the site.