Completely broken AI GA traffic makes this not worth playing for me

Some of the posts here just amaze me. Maybe some GA procedure/watching fans would probably be better served by some runway webcams at busy GA airports, or perhaps Oshkosh footage on YouTube, than a simulator. :slight_smile:

The sim is an amazingly detailed recreation of our entire planet, with detailed replication of the system of an aircraft and the atmosphere it flies in. No, not a 100% recreation of reality, and it has its quirks and bugs and head-shaking gun barrel restriction, but overall it’s an amazing technological achievement we wouldn’t have dreamed of when I started simming on a C64. Or even in the FS2002 days.

Agreed 100%, I’d like more variety and more realistic performance/procedures from GA AI. But to say there’s nothing worth exploring in this sim because that one feature is still lacking is… just wow.

“Why kids, in my day, we were the only ones in the sky, unless we loaded up that biplane combat mission…”


AI controlled GA aircraft in circuit are going to be useless unless they are aware of you and respond to your circuit calls (both through comms and by their behaviour in circuit)at uncontrolled airstrips and when in controlled airspace they communicate with ATC in a way where you can hear their calls and the ATC responses and react accordingly.

For there to be any point in the exercise, we also would need to be able to enable collisions with AI aircraft and also get ATC calls telling us to ring a FAA phone number if we fail to follow procedures.

Otherwise it would just be eye candy.


After 30+ years of gaming (and development, some in games), I’ve known many worse games.

You only have to zoom out a little to appreciate that this version of MSFS is the best in its 40 year history.

Sure, it has issues, it’s a complex amalgamatiom of software services and components.
It can’t not have issues. If they get to the point they make you scream, it’s time to take a break and play something else.

There are many many ways to use msfs that don’t require AI GA traffic, and attaching your satisfaction of the sim to elements that are well known to not work for now (such as AI GA Traffic) isn’t a good lifestyle choice. They know about, they’re working on it, it’ll be in one day, just don’t hold your breath on it, it’ll be in when it’s in. Or perhaps a robust 3rd party solution will appear (or one of the existing ones will mature to that point). Either way, that’s not likely to happen until they finish the ATC refactor/rework as that is an essential piece of the puzzle for AI GA traffic to work, and that has some time to go until completion.

Just enjoy it for what it is now.
Change your perspective, breathe easier.


I’ve had a break-through and got my AI GA traffic working. This bug report that was posted earlier in this thread turned out to be the core of the issue.

For me all the Cessnas were invisible and since they were the large majority of the GA traffic it often appeared that there was no GA traffic at all. After installing the fix from that thread I could instantly see GA traffic flying around again.

Pretty shocking (although not at all surprising) that this bug was reported by the community nearly a year ago, and they even provided a fix for the issue, and yet three major releases later this fix for a breaking issue in a key part of the game has still not been integrated by Asobo.

I’d also like to thank everyone who contributed postively to this thread. Thanks for the assistance.


I had been wondering how MS/Asobo was going to implement standard helicopter flight AI routines going forward - but this inquiry makes me realize they haven’t fully addressed any of the AI issues…adding sub-types for wheel, float, and ski variants would have seemed like an essential step to take - yet here we see that’s not the case at all.
Being older I’m less inclined to be agitated, and more inclined to be fascinated by the way this flight sim is being managed. On the one hand it is a massive project with literally hundreds of thousands of interlocking and interwoven aspects that must be coordinated…so I have much sympathy for how any team of people might be overwhelmed. On the other hand it sometimes feels like the team is mystified by some rather basic intuitive aspects of aviation and what constitutes ‘normal’ flight operations / pilot expectations etc…And then of course there’s the odd prioritization - the fixes they want to address first vs the ones outlined via community feedback. Fascinating.


Yep, agree with that. The prioritization might come from the traffic and ATC just aren’t really seen as that important a feature as yet, and maybe something bigger in the future? It seems like there are a couple of grouping of requirements in this area of (1) just make it have some aircraft to fly around you a bit, it doesn’t really matter what they do as it just makes the world seem alive a bit (sort of like the bears and giraffes) and (2) if you are super serious about traffic & ATC then go turn it all off and use VATSIM etc or some 3rd party app like Pilot2ATC or FSHud. For the people wanting or expecting (1) to be fixed or made more accurate then there are valiant ‘unofficial community managers’ for Working Title offering some hope, but other than that, it doesn’t really seem to be in MSFS’s wheelhouse or expertise.


AI has always been broken since the beginning and will not change within the span of a couple of years. It has always been like that during the FSX days, with Perpar3D, X-Plane, etc… It just the reality of flight simming when it comes to AI. It is very complex and hard to master.

I recommend keeping up with the sim update beta threads however even if you are not participating. There have been many threads that AI is a ton better now compared to what we have right now and Asobo did come out and say that the way how the AI behaves is one of the things they have been focusing on right now for sim update 12. I still remind you though that it will not be perfect. If you want a great general aviation experience, like others have recommended, don’t use AI and rather use a network like VATSIM where you will have real people who will be playing in your sim and that most will follow the procedures on how VFR or IFR flying is done.

Apart of AI being broken, Asobo has a lot of other things on their plate to implement and fix to make the simulator an actual simulator such as improving weather, implementing a way to get 3rd party aircraft devs to be able to use a weather radar, the introduction of WASM to Xbox, performance improvements, and much more. That is why I said it is not going to be an overnight or couple of years fix. They still need to improve ATC a lot. If ATC is not working properly to give out reasonable instructions, how do you expect them to fix the AI aircraft.

If you really are letting this ruin you experience of a great sim or in this case basically all of the other great sims, you will never have fun with any other flight sims then.


I think people use those terms ‘this is unplayable’ etc as emphasis or hyperbole but are really just frustrated.
This thing has to be measured on a curve not day to day. It’s trending in the right direction…mostly

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I was just musing about this topic as it pertains to live ATC services like PilotEdge or Vatsim: PilotEdge has about 400 AI “drone” aircraft flying on its network. I don’t know to what extent their controllers can interact with those AI aircraft (i.e. give them clearances and instructions), but maybe it is something that those networks could aspire to? Having those aircraft respond verbally with appropriate responses in synthesized voices would be hard but not impossible.

I would imagine that being a controller on Vatsim might get a bit dull at times if there are only 2 or 3 aircraft in your sector and they’re 100 miles from one another, but adding in some virtual aircraft that are visible to all could increase the challenge? Then if some online controller wanted to play “Kennedy Steve” for an afternoon, they could turn up the virtual aircraft to 11 for the benefit of all on the network?

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It is important to separate functional AI aircraft that you and ATC can interact with from “eye candy” that just flies around and looks pretty in YouTube clips.


I have followed this thread with interest as I too fly solely GA and do get a wee bit lonely in the sky at times. The thing that puzzles me is that they used to be there at the outset of the sim. They used to be visible and starting up on the ramp; they used to be taxiing, taking off and landing. It was not uncommon to be held at the threshold whilst a GA aircraft, touted as being on finals, would land right in front of your eyes. It was not uncommon for you then to be instructed to line up and hold whilst you could watch the AI aircraft turning off the runway, when you would be given take off clearance. True, you didn’t see too many aircraft whilst in transit but they were often in the circuit. These days, you are instructed to hold interminably or go around when there is nothing visible either from the cockpit or from an external camera. Recently, whilst departing NZQN I was given take off clearance when, visually from the cockpit, I could see an airborne bus on approach. I voluntarily held at the threshold and watched this contraption, with LG still tucked up in the bays, pass over at altitude and descend to finally make contact with the tarmac at the far end of the runway (LG still not extended) - then instantly disappear.

So, yes the whole thing, in this respect, is screwed up (although I have never seen aircraft upside down or rotating on the spot) but I do get to fly through some awesome scenery and fly into some very remote areas where there probably wouldn’t be ATC anyway, where, if I make a horlicks of my approach or whatever I can hang my head in shame - in solitude - and vow to do better next time.

Did I get what I thought I was going to get when I paid my money in August 2020 - probably not. Am I too bothered - probably not. Is the sim going in the right direction - probably, although I do think that the bus drivers are getting the better part of the deal in many ways. All in all this sim has provided me with hours of entertainment and an awful lot of learning about aviation, an industry in which I spent my working life. As a solo septuagenarian, I am hugely grateful for those things. At this stage of life brain stimulation and activity are vitally important as you are always just one step away from being a cabbage!!!


I really wish I could give this a hundred up-votes!  Especially the video.

Yes, there are things that are annoying, (completely balled-up major landmarks is one of them), and I understand the angst when they “raise the bar” and then it isn’t raised high enough so you trip over it.  :wink:

But!  Look at what we DO have.  I remember going out to get my copy of FSX, which was DA BOMB! when I went out to buy it - first day of issue! - at a Best Buy in Braintree Ma. which was the only place that had them at the time.

When my boss asked me why my lunch break took so long, all I had to do was show him the MS FSX tin, (and yes, it actually came in a metal box!), and that was the end of the discussion.  Actually not really.  The next question was “Where did I get it?”, “How much did it cost?”, and “Do they have any left?!!”

We both adjourned for an important technical meeting that took place on the Red line heading toward Braintree, where my boss and I went back to the Best Buy there and got one for him.  Of course, since I was there anyway, I picked up an aircraft expansion pack. :wink:  Not sure, I think he got either the last one they had, or the next-to-last one they had.  In any event, we were both Happy Bunnies.

I remember firing it up and being absolutely AMAZED at the realism and detail. (and I ended up having to upgrade my iron to run it too - just like now, when I bought MSFS 2020).

Well. . .  Anyway, I still have every copy of MSFS from FS2k forward, and I have FS2004, FSX, and MSFS installed on this box.  (The others are somewhere back in the U.S. somewhere.)

Have you actually tried firing up one of those older versions?  Holy Christmas!  Even FSX felt sooooo last century - it was almost like I was playing a cartridge based game by comparison!


Yes.  it can be frustrating when things don’t work the way we would like them to, or how we believe they should.  But before you get too fierce, look at how far we’ve come and show the devs some love too.  OK?


Well if the AI Traffic was screwed up in SU11 it seems to be even worse in SU12.

In SU11 with AI traffic at 40% my main thread ran at 21ms frame rate 60fps.

In SU12 with no AI traffic my main thread runs at 14ms with 70fps, with AI traffic at 40% my main thread is 35ms with frame rate in the 20’s which if you’re using head tracking is just unusable.

That’s progress for you.

I did pay $150 for this game 2 years ago and expected it to be a flight simulator with some planes in it, which is to say to have the functional AI traffic it was advertised to have back then. Not sure why anyone would expect me to ‘love’ the fact that 2 years later I still haven’t got that.


Well, maybe the game’s not your thing then. Sorry you’re disappointed. I really am.

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Can you provide a link to that advertising? Curious, because I’ve never seen it tbh.
Most, if not all, the advertising was focusing around flying planes yourself.

Not that I don’t want working AI traffic with full bells and whistles ATC to go with it, but that’s never been an expectation of mine out the gate. All I was expecting is pretty much what we have atm (ie: some rando planes on the ground, with some flying around that you can scale up in number, but not too intelligent with basic flight pathing), with 3rd parties filling the gap as they’ve pretty much been doing for the last 20 years.

I certainly wasn’t expecting a high fidelity AI populated simulation of heathrow airport (or any airport) you could fly into. That’s not what it was advertised as, afaik, even over the last 40 years. Good stretch goal though, but they really need to implement ATC properly first before you can add AI to it - which they are doing. Even real world ATC research hasn’t been able to crack that nut for training yet either, and not for lack of trying, so to expect it in a commercial level game - even from MS - is a bit much.

For GA around regional/small fields without ATC it sounds simple but it’s actually no less complex either, as essentially you’d be having to implement VFR sensor driven AI, which is possible but not trivial to implement. Not to mention all the different types of use cases that could be simulated: emergency ops (with all their subtypes), ag ops, skydiving ops, VFR touring, business ops, training ops etc etc. There’s a lot, all with their own particular flight patterns and emergency procedures.

I’m not defending Asobo here either, I’m just trying to illustrate that to do this well, even basically, is actually a pretty hard and complex problem to solve.

MS (along with others) have been researching this type of thing for a long time, progress is being made though. See

If it’s on the roadmap, it’ll come eventually. No point wasting energy on it otherwise.


Not sure what all that is in reply to.

No one is suggestion the game should have high fidelity bells and whistles AI with emergency ops, ag ops, skydiving ops, VFR touring, business ops, training ops etc etc. Although that would be nice.

As you say, all that is expected is some rando planes on the ground, with some flying around that you can scale up in number, but not too intelligent with basic flight pathing. The exact point I’m making is that _even_that_doesn’t_work. Enabling AI Traffic at 40% my frame rate now drops from 70fps to mid 20’s.

And these expectations are honestly not hard to meet. We’re just talking about simple node pathing of aircraft from one airfield to another, where they land without even flairing (roll-eyes), and then taxi to a parking spot. Anyone who thinks that’s particularly hard has obviously never programmed anything of any consequence.

If two and half years later even these pitful expectations are not met I don’t see how that’s even remotely defensible.

Works for me.

Saying said “x should be simple to implement” is one of the big canards of programming that just doesn’t fly in reality I’m afraid.

As @LKFJP says “Sorry you’re disappointed. I really am.”

I really have to disagree with characterizing MSFS as “pitiful” though.
It has lots of issues (as if we don’t all know) but it is the best ever version in its 40 year history, and only gets better. Better to invest energy into activities that deliver a postive return, especially if you want to stick with it.


100% recommend PE, if you are looking for a realistic ATC experience and a LIVING sky to fly in. (GA or Airline)


And this “real world” AI aircraft/AI ATC research is likely coming from some of the Best and Brightest in the industry, (I’m assuming that this means folks like NASA, VPI&SU, Langley, Cal Tech, MIT, Princeton, UCAL Berkeley, DARPA and the rest of the DOD, and so forth), who have essentially bottomless budgets and access to Einstein/Hawkings levels of genius.

And if THESE GUYS are finding it a bit chewy, it makes all the work done by MS/Asobo/Blackshark all the more impressive by comparison.  Not that they, (MS, Asobo, Blackshark, etc.), are fly-weights, but they’re not even in the same league as the DOD and top-flight universities with access to the United States Treasury - and possibly other country’s treasuries as well.

Frankly, I find access to the fruits of this kind of research, even if it’s only in a “mere game”, to be quite fascinating.

Before you folks decide to continue bashing MS & Co. for their seeming AI failures, please let me suggest that you get yourself a reasonably competent robot, (The Modular Robotics/Dexter Industries GoPiGo is a great choice -, and it’s a lot less expensive than the nearest competition), and then go try some simple AI, like a “simple” autonomous robot that can wander around a room, learn where things are, and find it’s way back to its charging station.  Voice commands are optional.  Just some “simple” hardware like a LIDAR, maybe an Oak-D, Lite, and some “simple” ROS programming, that’s all.  Once you get that done, go on over to the Dexter Industries forums, and post about it there.

Note that I am not asking you to implement it in a globally large solution space (like MSFS is expected to do), just your living room - with a few chairs getting moved around occasionally - and the occasional cat or two - nothing all that complicated, right?

Go ahead.  Try some SIMPLE AI for yourself.  Publish your results and then come back here to complain about MS’s failures.



There is some GA traffic but only with AI offline mode enabled. After a year of flying I still have to see a GA plane when using Live Traffic. The small airstrips are barren and in the air there are only airliners.

Unfortunately the AI offline mode is bad, with chaotic AI behaviour and seems to be poorly optimised.