Autopilot Cruising Speed Too Slow?

One thing I really dislike about MSFS2020 vs earlier generations is complete lack of options for long term cruising. One feature I liked about previous MSFS , particularly FS2000 through FSX was that I could set a destination on the GPS, take off manually to cruising altitude, set GPS, but fly at whatever speed I wanted too.

Recent changes have the jets flying slower than I like, well below their normal cruising speeds, making long haul trips taking hours longer than I’d like. Is there any workaround to this? This is annoying for long haul trips. Before, autopilot use to fly a little too fast, but I didn’t mind that. Now, it is flying WELL under normal cruising speeds. I just want the ability to set cruising speed within the rated speed range of the plane. This should be easy to implement in a sim update.

Actually, the darn autopilot is malfunctioning. It has the correct speed set in the autopilot, but the actual throttle is not cooperating. It is running 50 knots below cruising set speed. WTH?? When I take it off autopilot, the sim won’t let me adjust the speed, which means I won’t be able to land, so I quit the game. Disappointed.

I set a button on my flight stick to increase Sim Rate.
I set a button on my flight stick to decrease Sim Rate.


You’re not referencing IAS are you?

Actual AI autopilot is flying at TAS is 50 knots below what was set in the flight plan (default MSFS, but speed acceptable to me). The IAS is 30 knots slower than the autopilot set point, which makes sense relative to IAS, but don’t know why the AI is running it slower. Only 61% throttle, and it is clearly showing the autopilot IAS setting 30 knots faster than actual IAS speed, but it doesn’t increase the throttle. Makes no sense.

I’m not familiar with the AI at all as I don’t use, my apologies. Try messing around with cost index.

You should adjust your Title to what you want.

Well the actual autopilot cruising speed is too slow. The default cruise speed (TAS) in the flight plan is fine, but the autopilot falls short in the actual execution. I’m not sure why. It didn’t have that issue pre SU5. Is that a bug?

Does it matter what you fly? I need an excuse to fly the WT CJ4.

EDIT: But then again that doesn’t have an AT.

Well, the actual autopilot is doing whatever you want, mostly. You just need to tell him what you want.
You’re aware of the fact, that not all Aircrafts are equipped with Autothrust?

I’m sorry to say, but if I do understand you correct, there is no bug except in front of the monitor…maybe…. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

And another thing. Switch off all that ■■■■ AI Assistance. It’s not worth to tell it AI and is responsible for a lot of problems like yours.

I’m a bit confused. So we actually have control over autopilot details? I thought (perhaps incorrectly) that MSFS2020 completely nerfed autopilot, such that the only way to use it was to use the AI assist (I don’t like that…normally for long flights, I take off full manual, reach cruising, then set on the AI).

So there’s a way to use autopilot without engaging the “Flight Assistance - AI Piloting” ??

I only fly using external view, since I cannot see anything when using cockpit view - no horizon visible, but also no meaningful controls visible. I’ve obviously not played the game nearly as much as others. Looking for genuine help, not criticism.

It’s helpful to provide a few more details, such as aircraft type you’re flying.

Depending upon your answer, there are Mods and official code improvements that make the FMS closer to real life that drive the autopilot behavior.

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Autopilot has nothing to do with AI assistance. You should probably search for some tutorials (either web pages or videos) for the specific airplane you want to fly in the sim. Different planes have different autopilots (or in some cases, no autopilot) and are controlled differently depending on the plane. (Or via external controls, if you have them).

Generally speaking, an autopilot will be able to engage some sort of lateral mode (either ‘roll’ which just holds the current roll, or ‘heading’ which maintains a specific heading, or ‘nav’/‘lnav’ which follows either your GPS flight plan or a specific radio beacon, depending on configuration) and some sort of vertical mode (‘pitch’ holding current pitch, ‘vs’ holding a specific vertical speed, ‘ias/flc’ maintaining a specific indicated airspeed or mach speed, or ‘vnv’/‘vnav’ which is more complex and usually not properly modeled in the sim right now).

Additionally there’s an ‘approach’ mode which can engage both the lateral and vertical modes when following an ILS or RNAV approach with vertical guidance. You’ll want to look up details on using these properly.

Some planes also have an autothrottle which allows it to maintain a specific speed throughout the entire flight profile, managing the throttle for you. This includes the Citation Longitude, the Airbus A320, and the 747 and 787.


Thank you all. I had no idea. This makes more sense. I haven’t figured it out on the Longitude yet, but we may be getting there on the 787 dreamliner. I’m able to take off normally through a normal ascent pattern, and then set VS to hold altitude, and then set “LNAV” to steer the plane - that is what is needed for the long haul flights, and I just set the throttle wherever I want.

Just started a long haul on 787 that seems so far so good.

For long haul on the dreamliner, the “bug” is that ATC wants to keep me at 16000 ft despite planning for a FL370 cruise. This has happened 3 times in a row. I just ignored it and went to FL370 since I can manually set autopilot on the 787. Despite being 30 minutes into cruise and well past when FL370 was planned (take off was 60 min ago), ATC still wants me to descend to 16,000 ft. If I was stuck using the AI, I’d be stuck at FL160.

Did you try requesting a higher cruise altitude in the ATC dialog window? You can ask in increments of up to 10,000 feet: so if they put you at 16,000 you can request FL260, then FL360.

Note that if you’re on a westbound flight you can’t get FL370, as cruise altitudes are staggered; odd thousands for IFR go to eastbound flights (magnetic course from 0 to 179 degrees) and even thousands go to westbound flights (course from 180 to 359 degrees).

For the full rules (in the US, which are based on the ICAO international rules I believe) see eCFR :: 14 CFR 91.179 -- IFR cruising altitude or flight level.

(Note that VFR flights go on 500-foot offsets from that.)

I have noticed this also using the FBW A320 and MSFS 2020 ATC. The 3 flights that I have made since the latest update ATC stopped clearing me to climb at 7400 ft. I was flying between KDFW and KDEN. My flight plan called for a cruising level of 360. I ignored ATC and climbed to FL360 anyway. But this was after waiting almost 20 minutes to be cleared higher. Then ATC bugged me during my whole flight to expedite my descent to 7400 ft. I really wish Asobo/MS would allow 3rd parties to fix not only the ATC but the weather. For me the weather is always wrong.

Yes, I’m flying west. KJFK to RJAA (where flying at sufficient speed has hours of impact). Thanks. Learned something new about ICAO rules. Changed to FL360 but ATC still wants to descend to FL160, which I ignore. That’s a bug. Even before when I only knew to use AI for AP, ATC would at least get the cruise correctly. This is a bug similar to the post below.

Did you request a change to your altitude from the ATC menu.

Yeah, the ATC gets… confused sometimes. :wink: I also find that if I ascend over what it tells me and then request an increase in cruising altitude, it still wants me to go down first before telling me to go up again. So I always request my increase before I climb above what they told me.

May or may not help in future. :wink: