In 1995, Flight Simulator 5.1 was introduced, adding the ability to handle scenery libraries including wide use of satellite imagery, faster performance and a barrage of weather effects: storms, 3D clouds and fog became true-to-life elements in the Flight Simulator world. This edition was also the first version that was released on CD-ROM and the last for DOS. This was released in June 1995.
In the fall of 1995, with the release of the Flightshop program, nearly any aircraft could be built. The French program "Airport" was also available for free which allowed users to build airports (FS5.1 only had 250 Worldwide) and other designers were doing custom aircraft cockpit panels. This all made for a huge amount of "freeware" to be released to be downloaded and added to the FS5.1 simulator.
It was all finally coming together in late 1995 and into 1996—a much improved flight simulator, more powerful computers that were becoming affordable, the Internet for uploading/downloading, programs which allowed users to share their "third party" aircraft and scenery with others, and forums such as CompuServe, Avsim, and Flightsim.com to act as libraries for the uploads and discussion.