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Halo Pelican comes to Microsoft Flight Simulator

It’s the first officially licensed fictional craft to be added to the simulation game

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The UNSC Pelican from the Halo franchise is coming to Microsoft Flight Simulator. Microsoft made the announcement Sunday during the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase. It’s the first officially licensed fictional aircraft to be added to the realistic simulation game — and Microsoft even showed it flying in outer space. Fans can download the free add-on and fly right now.

Also known as the Dropship 77 - Troop Carrier, or the D77-TC, the Pelican should be very familiar to fans of Master Chief and his ilk. The versatile aircraft is capable of both space and atmospheric flight. It is commonly used for point insertion of both troops and vehicles, but can also serve in a ground support role when properly equipped. Its signature armament is a chin-mounted auto-cannon controlled by the co-pilot.

Halo vehicles have previously crossed over to Xbox’s driving game series, Forza Horizon, with a drivable Warthog in Forza Horizon 3, 4, and 5.

Also announced on Sunday is the 40th Anniversary Edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator, a free update coming in November. It will include a number of fan-favorite airframes from the series’ 40-year history, such as the Wright Flyer, Spirit of St. Louis, DC-3, De Havilland Beaver, and the Airbus A310. The update also brings helicopters, including the Bell-407, and gliders.

In a news release, also issued Sunday, Microsoft noted that the game would feature a completely new sub-system to help enable these sopphisticated aircraft:

We have also listened to our community and will incorporate the most requested aircraft types: helicopters, brought to life with an all-new Fluid Dynamics Simulation, gliders that allow you to experience the planet in a totally unique way and a highly detailed, true-to-life airliner!

Flight Simulator was released in August 2020 to rave reviews, including here at Polygon. It accurately recreates the entirety of planet Earth by streaming satellite and photographic information directly from Bing Maps to users around the world. It is available as part of the Xbox Game Pass program on Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Windows PC.

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