We finally have some news about the replacement for the venerable Microsoft Flight Simulator and this one will be free to play.

According to a press release posted earlier today at the Microsoft Flight website the game will be out this spring and available as a free download which will allow budding aviators to fly their aircraft around the Big island of Hawaii so they can accomplish various tasks and missions to prove their air worthiness.

In Microsoft Flight, players view the world from above in a visually stunning and realistic representation of the earth, complete with region-specific weather patterns, foliage, terrain and landmarks. Players can choose to take the helm using highly rendered, accurate cockpits and authentic piloting procedures, or simply use their mouse and keyboard to control the plane in an exterior view. More experienced players can tailor the flight controls to match their skill level, making Microsoft Flight easy for beginners while still challenging for the most accomplished PC pilots.

“Many people dream of flying, but few have the chance to experience the fun of exploring the world from above. Microsoft Flight provides players the opportunity to explore that curiosity and interest,” said Joshua Howard, executive producer of Microsoft Flight. “Aviation can be incredibly technical, but we’ve taken great care to build an experience that makes taking to the skies thrilling and accessible for everyone.”

The press info also states that if a gamer signs in with their Game for Windows – LIVE account they will receive additional free content for the game which includes aircraft, missions, achievements and an online profile.

This games business model will be to sell gamers add-ons that will enhance and expand the game even further.  This should sound familiar as many game franchises now use a similar model for online play.

Interested in helping beta test Microsoft Flight? There are apparently still opportunities to get in on the closed beta – just head over here and sign up –

The game will also be demoed and available to try out at CES 2012 next week in Las Vegas. Until then here is a video featuring new footage of the game in action: