A.I. Co-Pilot: Charlie Saves the Day!

Decided to do another A.I. controlled flight today - this time from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport south to Krabi (Thailand domestic). Total flight time 1hr 46mins.

So often these A.I. controlled flights end in utter disaster - the A.I. co-pilot will overshoot or completely miss the final runway or just come in too low, etc. All very Keystone Kops. But not always.

My flight was great (A320Neo) - the A.I. Co-Pilot (let’s call him Charlie) managed a fairly tidy take-off from Suvarnabhumi Airport and made the climb into a very pleasant cruise, troubled only occasionally by mild turbulence as we headed out over the Gulf of Thailand.

As almost always with the A.I., the final approach and landing are somewhat challenging (hope you have good life insurance!). I wonder why this is? You would think, with me being completely ‘hands-off’, the A.I. would just be following a vector, ticking off pre-scripted ‘keyframes’, and would get everything perfect. It’s all just maths, right?

Charlie, of course, got it all completely wrong and, as we took off the tops of the trees, coming in too low and too fast towards sleepy little Krabi Airport (lovely scenery, btw), I resigned myself to the inevitable (and if you regularly fly A.I. Airways, familiar) black screen of death.

But no! Charlie - beautiful, dumb Charlie - for once showed some initiative! He pushed that throttle to full power mere moments away from certain death and pointed our ride straight back into the sky. We were actually doing an A.I. controlled ‘go-around’! As the landing gear folded back away, I struggled to hold back the tears. Charlie! Well done!

The second time was a charm. I was still completely ‘hands-off’ as Charlie took a wider, slightly higher approach, going right out towards the Bay before turning a lazy arc back towards the airport, all the while carefully managing his airspeed. It was a perfect landing. He even managed to taxi up to the stand without mishap.

On cue, my first MSFS 2020 Achievement duly popped-up on-screen - for completing a journey of over 300 miles. Nice going, Charlie! :sunglasses:

Fix the A.I., Asobo - please - I really want to be able to trust Charlie!


Charlie is a masterful DA40 and DA62 pilot from what I have seen but I am not sure about some other planes, I am yet to see how he handles the 787 but he struggles when flying the Citation Longitude.

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Thanks CalUKGR … best post I’ve read all day!

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No one trusted Charlie from 55 to 75. Might have your work cut out!

Joking aside what a fun way to make a point about a bug. Well done to you!


Actually made me laugh out loud. Thank you!

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Charlie hasn’t succeeded once for me … crashed on take-off. I restarted and explained the use of the flaps … got all the way to Orly at outrageous speed despite being told to keep it below 280…

After circling the airport at FL110 for 20 minutes, I ‘requested’ a new approach. That worked, but positioned us on final about 2 miles behind another inbound. At the last minute, Charlie performed the expected go around … wheels up, flaps up, max power. If only he’d eased the stick back too …

You have christened the AI autopilot Charlie … he will always be ‘Chucky’ to me. I will go to sleep tonight with my ears ringing to





confirm the problem :frowning:
I’m a beginner and really wanted to just fly with automation, but its behavior is poor

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Glad you enjoyed the tale. Charlie really is a liability. Asobo need to send him back to Flight School!

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LOL Giving ‘Chucky’ another chance … he’s taking me to Ibiza while I enjoy the view … and since installing the speech pack, Chucky sounds pretty hot … although perhaps it was my assumption that Charlie was ‘he’ …

So, much against my better judgment, I’ve been spending more time with Charlie A.I. (‘The Unreliable Co-Pilot’) this morning and I think I’ve worked out how to get him to behave professionally on the flight deck.

First, you have to put all assists on. Remember to stay ‘hands-off’ the flight controls throughout the entire flight. Fiddling about with the yoke, momentarily seizing back control from Charlie or otherwise making a nuisance of yourself during the flight, will confuse Charlie and he will lose his train of thought. You can operate the views/cameras at leisure but leave Charlie alone to fly the plane.

Plan a simple flight (just for the sake of time) and be sure to zoom in on your Departure and Arrival airports and select a point on the zoomed-in locations at either end of each runway (not the airport name markers). This tells Charlie, specifically, which runways he’ll be using and, more importantly, which final approach on which runway to take when coming into land.

This seems to clear Charlie’s head - this morning I’ve done 4 complete flights with Charlie, every one of them flawless, including take-off and landing in each case. No mishaps, no overruns, no black screens of death. In all cases, Charlie taxied up and concluded the flight to the point of switching off the engines and getting the ‘end of flight’ screen.

Charlie just needs to know specific runway details (not airport names). Even if he’s been out drinking the night before and rolls in late to pre-flight briefings if he has the runway info described above he seems good to go.


They do well but tend to 1. Over power throttle 2. Can’t land, tends to be left or right of strip onto a service road.

Charlie A.I. seems to be a bit of a sado-masochistic, glass-half-full kind of AI.

I’ve regularly encountered issues today, but I’m torn on how to feel…

Even at some of the fine, artisanal, non-GMO, gluten-free, hand-crafted aeropuertos, A.I. has seen fit to do multiple circular victory laps of the same taxiways, happily crossing active runways without making any radio calls, only to decide he’s not satisfied with just dumping the plane in the grass beside the tarmac like usual. Instead, he makes a game out of jostling the brakes on and off, and actually tried to park where the ground crew waved him in.

Still unpleasant, but small victories I suppose.

Also, fix the A.I. please. Charlie is a hazard to himself and others.

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To be fair, I now have three successful trips with Chuckie at the helm. I had no assists on; but the point about not getting in the way is very true … leave it all to Chuckie.

Figured out the speed problem - Chuckie will gun the throttles to achieve the flight plan airspeed. Above 10k, this seems to be the aircraft maximum speed and is clearly too fast (as indicated by the incessant ‘overspeed’ warnings … that Chuckie blatantly ignores). This is unfortunately - and surprisingly - not editable in the flight planner. Zendesk ticket submitted, although I suspect they’ve got more important things to do right now…

I did find out that you can turn off ‘warnings’ in the exterior view, which helps.

Sit back, and enjoy the view!


Yeah that’s the most annoying thing, a seemingly simple edit of the flight plan would make Charlie/Chuckie much more viable, where you could program in different speeds at different altitudes.

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Just for the fun of it I wanted to let Chucky fly EGLL to RJTT in the 787-10:

  • he taxied rather well, following the given route and holding at AB13
  • instead of taxing until start of RWY 09L, he applied already full throttle directly after AB13. Minor glitch.
  • with the overpowered engines, he managed to climb out in a very awkward attitude with the nose barely up.
  • after 10 minutes of overspeed warning (a very annoying alarm, indeed) I took command and enabled the AP/AT, giving Chucky control over the radios.

and I’m very reluctant giving him back controls on approach :slight_smile:


Charlie the A.I. Co-Pilot definitely has his good days and his bad days. Today, for me at least, Charlie had a good day.

Jakarta to Bali in the A320 Neo (flight time: 1hr 12mins), high-altitude airways, 3 pm (local time) departure.

Charlie followed the flight exactly and handled all the ATC. His departure was perfect, his arrival likewise - right up to the arrival gate in Bali and engines off. I was completely ‘hands-off’ all the way through, from start to finish - just along for the ride (and the marvellous views).

Well done, Charlie! We all lived!

And what a ride - far below us incredible volcanoes all the way down coastal Indonesia to Bali. This is a truly spectacular part of the world, which is why I enjoy flying here so much.

Meet my co-pilot, Otto:


Charlie is definitely a strong employee of month contender in my FSEconomy company.

Flying the KingAir 350i, he did failed to deliver several times. But he never gave up. Tapping his foot to stall warning tempo, with rock solid resolve and AOA as high as his confidence; he managed to save the day in several jobs which were about to expire.


I’m intrigued why Charlie sometimes gets it right, sometimes makes a complete hash of it. For instance, despite his earlier success today with a perfect flight end-to-end (Jakarta to Bali), I’ve just seen him completely balls-up a flight from Chennai (India) to Colombo (Sri Lanka).

The majority of the flight was fine, including take off, but final approach south into Colombo - although on the face of it very simple (the plane was only marginally off-centre for final approach down to the runway) - was too fast, too high and off-angle, resulting in an overshoot and a catastrophic crash. Charlie didn’t even attempt a go-around, although I know he can (I’ve seen him do it).

The problem with flying A.I. Airlines is that the airline itself - and definitely not their Chief Pilot, Charlie - can’t ever guarantee you’ll reach your destination in one piece. Every ticket booked with them is a round of Russian Roulette. Besides not being very family-friendly, I’m not convinced it’s a sustainable business model.


It may be sim cycles per second related. It acts like, AI and AP cycles run independent from simulation core. When you are on low sim cycles (i.e. when you increase sim rate, or you are in a performance heavy scenery) and in turbulance, AI and AP starts over correcting, which leads to gaining oscillations. It is quite similar to how a human would overcorrect when trying to fly in extremely low FPS.

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