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Microsoft Flight Simulator release time - here’s when you’ll be taking off

The release time for Microsoft Flight Simulator varies depending on where you live and which version you're playing

Your flight stick and rudder pedals are dusted off, plugged in, and ready at your desk. You’ve downloaded and pre-installed all 127GB of the game. So now you’re left wondering, “when does Microsoft Flight Simulator unlock?” The answer depends on where in the world you are, and how you’re accessing the game.

If you purchased Microsoft Flight Simulator on Steam – which apparently an awful lot of you did – the answer is pretty simple: the game unlocks at 4:00 UTC August 18. For sim pilots on the US East Coast, that’s midnight tonight; while our friends in the UK will be getting airborne at 5:00 BST. Players on the US West Coast can get going “early” at 21:00 PDT.

It’s a different story if you’ve purchased Microsoft Flight Simulator through the Windows Store or are playing it on Game Pass. If that’s the case, you have two options: the first is to head over to Microsoft’s blog post and scour through the list of countries and times to work out when your copy will unlock.

The second option is to realise, “Oh, I get it, it’s midnight local time basically everywhere.”

That’s right – on Windows platforms, Microsoft is running a rolling midnight release around the globe.

However, we’ve reprinted the countries and times list here in case you want to double check. Once you’ve got your time worked out, be sure to check out our Microsoft Flight Simulator review in progress – our Ben has been having a good time with it, but he’s had to do a lot of waiting around on the tarmac.

AUGUST 17, 2020

10:00 UTC


11:00 UTC

American Samoa, The Marshall Islands, Mauru, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, The United States Minor Outlying Islands, Wallis and Futuna

12:00 UTC

Antarctica, Fiji, New Zealand

13:00 UTC

New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu

14:00 UTC

Australia, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia, The Northern Mariana Islands, Papua New Guinea

15:00 UTC

Japan, Korea, Palau, Timor-Leste

16:00 UTC

Brunei Darussalam, Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR, Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan

17:00 UTC

Cambodia, Christmas Island, Indonesia, The Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mongolia, Thailand, Viet Nam

17:30 UTC

The Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Myanmar

18:00 UTC

Bangladesh, Bhutan, The British Indian Ocean Territory, Kyrgyzstan

18:15 UTC


18:30 UTC

India, Sri Lanka

19:00 UTC

The French Southern Territories, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan

19:30 UTC


20:00 UTC

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Mauritius, Oman, Qatar, Réunion, Saint Barthélemy, Seychelles, The United Arab Emirates, Yemen

21:00 UTC

Åland Islands, Belarus, The Comoros, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, Greece, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Madagascar, Mayotte, The Republic of Moldova, Palestine, Romania, The Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, United Republic of Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine

22:00 UTC

Albania, Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Eswatini, France, Germany, Gibraltar, The Holy See, Hungary, Italy, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Republic of North Macedonia, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Zambia, Zimbabwe

23:00 UTC

Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, The Central African Republic, Chad, The Democratic Republic of the Kongo, The Congo, Equatorial Guinea, The Faroe Islands, Gabon, Isle of Man, Ireland, Morocco, The Niger, Nigeria, Portugal, Saint Helena, Ascension, and the Tristan da Cunha, The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

AUGUST 18, 2020

00:00 UTC

Bouvet Island, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Greenland, Guernsey, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iceland, Jersey, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo

01:00 UTC

Cabo Verde, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

03:00 UTC

Anguilla, Anguilla and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, Dominica, Brazil (BRT), The Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Martinique, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, Virgin Islands (U.S.)

04:00 UTC

The Bahamas, Brazil (AMT), Plurinational State of Bolivia, Canada, The Cayman Islands, Chile, Curaçao, The Falkland Islands, Georgia, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, The Turks and Caicos Islands, The United States of America (all 50 states), Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

05:00 UTC

Belize, Brazil (ACT), Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru,

07:00 UTC


10:00 UTC

The Cook Islands French Polynesia