30 years of using flight simulator but disappointed by 2020 version

As a pilot (CPL-IR) I must say that I’m not very happy with FS2020…To start, some challenges are totally unrealistic…For example I have landed airplanes used one third of the runway and didn’t pass the “ground roll” requisite, or rated to minimum on my touch down when it looked perfect…With more than 3000 hours of real flight time I know what a hard landing or an excessive ground roll are… In addition I would like to say that, compare to the last versions of Microsoft Flight Simulation the FS 2020 is…extremely complicated…Instead of give dozens of camera views, for example,and same thing for almost all systems of the aircraft which is not reallynot useful for flight simulation it would have been better to provide less but clear settings like the last versions did…or airplanes with opening doors…About of the setting of the reverse thrust on joystick or keyboard…I keep trying to figure out how to set it…Just doesn’t work properly like it did in the last versions…This new 2020 as only one think: the quality and realism of the sceneries, besides the airplanes miss a lot of function and the settings are extremely complicated to set…The VFR map looks kind of ridiculous compare to the maps available in the last versions…Adding so many not very useful combinations didn’
t help a lot, at the contrary …It just made the all thing quite tedious to manage and to use. I use flight simulator to teach student s pilot on some topics like navigation and I’m sorry to say that, in order to have a nice simulator, quite realistic with all systems and functions working properly I’m still using my old FSX…


While I can’t say I disagree with most of the faults you mention, I find it nonetheless interesting that after 30 years of simming and even having a license, basically none of the things you mention are about the actual flight simulation part of MSFS2020, like flight models, aircraft systems, weather simulation, ATC, etc.

Landing challenges and flight training are a matter of taste, I agree. But they are not really an integral part and say nothing about how well flying is simulated. Stock planes have always been rather primitive in MSFS - no wonder since you get 20 of them in one 120,- package. Opening doors may be immersive but hardly a sign of quality. Most 3rd party aircraft have opening doors, and it’s always been the case that the more experienced simmers will prefer 3rd party planes. After 30 years of simming you probably noticed that as well. The UI is always a matter of taste as well and I can’t see that much wrong with it. Of course it’s not the same as FSX but I would have been disappointed if it were. Reverse thrust works perfectly btw. If you don’t know how to set it, feel free to ask.

So again while I can’t really disagree with what you are saying, I cannot for the life of me understand your motivations for simming or your expectations. To me it doesn’t come across like arguments a 30 year sim-veteran would be concerned about. But if you are happier with FSX, by all means knock yourself out. Have fun. Best wishes


I think the core reason is that the designers of this game were neither pilots nor flight simers, but generic game designers.


That’s most likely true for most games out there, just like racing sim designers are no racing drivers.
The core reason for wrong comparisons is that MSFS2020 is one year old, while FSX/P3D have been around and are being improved upon since 2006 and Xplane 10/11 is also a 10-year-plus piece of software. Get yourself a copy of the original FSX or XPlane 10 without any addons and load it up and then tell me it was better and more realistic than stock FS2020 (excluding graphics of course)
I guarantee you: you will see FS2020 in a totally new light …


22 years of FS here. And I have to agree. The sim itself is amazing. But basic quality of life features we’ve been used to are gone. Proper detailed easily accessible maps with important info like instrument approach frequencies are missing, simple replay feature (yes I know a fiddly solution has been added recently), a way to easily flight plan when loaded into the aircraft, working ATC for IFR, good lessons and tutorials andany others. If I remember correctly, fsx even had approach plates.

Still, the overall sim is great. I mean, as a 10 year-old boy who opened FS98, and began his simming journey, this is really a dream come true. But to miss out key things we’ve been used to for years and which make simming easy and fun, is unforgivable.


Why is opening doors a requirement for teaching your students about flight. You brought up 3 different things that show it is impossible use MSFS 2020 as an additional training mechanism for your students, and opening doors was one of them. I’m afraid I don’t see the correlation. Are you afraid your students won’t pass their pilots license because they will get perplexed by what to do when it comes to getting in the test aircraft?


Not true. All popular sims I know are made by teams which are in this business for years or decades. Asobo didn’t have any sim experience before this and it shows.


I agree, but the biggest issue of all those popular sims were the semi-pro Graphics + weather engine + lighting environment etc.

It is always interesting to hear what a real pilot thinks.

I still think FSX was a remarkable product. I think a nice mix of a game and a flight sim. Clearly something that serious aviators found useful.
The only problem that nobody, probably not even Richard Branson or Bill Gates could run it at anywhere near max settings when it first came out.
For yours truly it was just a side show. Nor did I see any animations until I paid out for an expensive GPU.

As a non pilot my impression is that for training aspiring pilots X Plane really has to be the D’s Bs.

MSFS surely is for people like myself who just love the sensation of flight and the sensation of being ‘there’ but either can’t justify the expense of learning to fly or maybe they prefer to avoid the risk of a painful or very expensive mistake.

Seems to me so many are at either extreme. They either love it or hate it. Love the way some melodramatically announce their departure from the ranks.

To be honest I am somewhere in the middle.

After all it is still WIP.


Asobo already did stuff for FSX…
And that’s the whole point. Currently there are only two development teams who have experience with modern day flightsims, and they are already doing XPlane and P3D. I’m reasonably sure though that Asobo and MS have gotten employees from both of them. In any case a completely new platform will always need some time to get going. And for that I think FS2020 is already pretty good. A lot is missing or not working as well as in the more seasoned sims, but overall I think it’s pretty awesome.


One just has to remember one most important facts: MSFS is a Flight Simulation GAME !
I, with my CPL &IR, rather enjoy the game, especially the graphics of my home town area and airport. The MSFS Game just keeps getting better and better. Enjoy !

What about IL2 or DCS? What about all the more niche developers. Even Aerosoft had their own sim at some point. Also all the extension and addon makers. They all have extensive knowledge and experience. Asobo didn’t have any as far as i know. They just had the idea to use bing data and sold it to Microsoft. MS gave them the FSX source code and so it started…
Don’t get me wrong. I thing they did (and are still doing) an amazing job. But the lack of domain knowledge just shows. Small things - like the hard to use controller setup menu, lack of TrackIR support during launch, SDK limitations and other things like that.

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I ne4ver said that opening doors where important to my student neither for me. It was a “joke” to illustrated the idea of having flight-simulator 2020 offering dozens of keyboard combinations only for a cockpit view for example (8 cameras man!, for what?) …Many people are using flight simulator as a trainer for real flight and don’t really care (this is also what I heard from other users) about so many keyboard combinations just for a "cockpit view " functions…In word word: Make it look nice (what they did) and make it simple (they didn’t)…This is of course not more than my point of view…I said “I was disapointed” I never said “dont buy it”

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It took me a few hours to fell comfortable with FSX and former versions. It took me a few hours to fell comfortable with Xplane11 …I still find flight simulator 2020 difficult to use after months… About the reverse thrust I did what I had always did: go to setting, look for reverse thrust, hold, release…set it to my keyboard and to my joystick,…It doesn’t work properly…In internet you can many many comments like this one: “I dont understand how to activate the reverser. I have a single axix throttle from thrustmaster. T160000M and I have binded a button on my hardware throttle, but if I press it, it doesn not activate it. Can someone please point me into the right direction? Would be very much appreciated. These are my settings. Everything else is working. I have done a full flight, just without the reverser. What settings do I need to change. Or what I have done wrong.”…It seems that I’m not the only one to have trouble with the reverse…


I know you didn’t say don’t buy it. But the conclusion to your post was that all the things that you stated make it impossible to use MSFS as a training aid. I can see where training missions being too harsh would effect that, but I don’t see the correlation how non opening doors, or multiple cockpit views or complexity setting up makes it impossible to use for your students. You would be the one to set it up for your students. The doors shouldn’t be a deterrent from training. And multiple cockpit views your students don’t have to use if they don’t want to. The summary basically saying is MSFS needs to improve on these things before you can use it as a trainer, and I’m not seeing how it prevents training.


From my experience, being used to something can be a great hinderance to using something new.
I can’t relate to your problem in this case, however, as I found MSFS a very straight forward experience. I started with FS2 on the Atari ST, bought every version of MSFS since, and had a long pause (10 years) after I quit FSX, and found MSFS very easy to get into.

But when it comes to training, your students should be the benchmark. Have you asked them how they get along?


The one thing I keep saying, is the sim is still a game designed by designers to give the ‘player’ a sense of realism.
The eye candy scenery brings the realism closer to a PC from other Sims ie FSX. I remember having to wait for Add on scenery to give me the illusion to near real representation.
Now with the XBox version we are now sharing the virtual skies with others who seek the joy of aviation.
After 150 hors of Real flying its a huge investment in time and money. At least 2020 allows a more affordable experience.


Hard to understand what you are getting at. I assume English is not your native tongue.


Can’t we just have a ‘Dear Diary topic’ for stuff like this so I can mute it all at once? What am I to do with this guys flight sim disappointment? Just go back to Flight Sim 98 and be happy again. What could I possibly do for you?


I had FS 2004 and FSX before this. This is as much a sim as fsx was/is in my opinion, not a game, and i play it on xbox. Its more than realistic scenery, its a challenge to fly, especially setting up low cloud/ high winds and carefully planned chaotic landing manoeuvres in those tough conditions. Minus the current issues, i am still enjoying the flight dynamics as i did in fsx and the far superior scenery.

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