Correction to Default Seat Height - Pilot Camera / Eyepoint / Viewpoint

It’s a simple fact, the default camera for the “Pilot” view is set far too low in every aircraft, to the point that it obstructs the ability to fly well.

I realise this is to give a clear view (almost an IFR view) of the instruments for people that can’t easily move the view around, and that ‘Space’ on the keyboard can be used to temporarily raise the seat height.

Also, I know that you can permanently raise the seat height across all aircraft, in the menu under General > Camera > Cockpit, but I do not think this gives a consistent correction as it may depends on how ‘low’ the default view is in each aircraft. For those unfamiliar, it’s this option:

Those are the facts, but I would like to see an option to use a ‘correct’ default viewpoint. Based on a typical pilot height, of course :slight_smile: The “IFR view” (current default view) could then be a second camera, which is used at the appropriate time. Perhaps with use of ‘Space’ to duck down to see the instruments - the opposite of what we have now.

I expect that this approach of a low viewpoint was chosen to suit newcomers, so they could see the main instruments as standard, but if I were a newcomer I would be horrified that I could not see where I was going most of the time and, as a result, stick with the external view for most of the time, while wondering how pilots ever see where they are going in real life! :eyes:

Some illustrated examples follow.

Here’s the Cub, with the approximate viewpoints marked from the outside - actual and default.

Assuming the model is roughly correct, the pilot’s eye level is between the 2nd and 3rd fastener down the windscreen frame.

In-cockpit show showing the approximate horizon level (centre-point of screen; may not be exactly correct as I think the viewpoints are tilted down slightly by default). Either way, it’s clear the seat height is too low and is nearly at the 5th fastener down the windscreen:

With ‘Space’ to temporarily raise the seat, it gets better (just below the 3rd fastener) but still a bit too low with very little of the nose visible:

Let me say that I do really appreciate the new “height” option in the menu which offers some relief, but I cannot agree with the default seat height being so low that it makes general flying more difficult for all users ‘as standard’ out of the box. This is meant to be a simulator, above all else - and of aircraft, not of dwarves :grin:

Now for some more examples of other aircraft for those interested. Click to expand for screenshots:

C152 comparison images (including fact that 83% height = 'Space')

Actual viewpoint should be just above the top edge of the side window:

Default viewpoint, using the distant horizon as a guide this time, showing the viewpoint well below the top edge of the side window:

Here’s the view with ‘Space’ to raise the seat, it’s pretty close to where it should be (unlike in the Cub!):

With some adjustments in the menu, I found the value most closely matching the default view when raised using ‘Space’ is 83% height:

King Air 350i comparison images

Viewpoint should be a little higher than the top of the small triangular window, but a little lower than the top corner of the main windscreen:

Default view, too low but doesn’t seem as bad as some other aircraft:

View with seat raised using ‘Space’ - much better, but possibly even a bit too high now?

A320neo comparison images

Correct viewpoint should be about 1/3 of the way down the windscreen or side window frame:

Default view, much too low:

View with ‘Space’, pretty close now, maybe a bit too low, going by a comparison with the pilot’s head position in the external model and where the horizon is measured up the window frame (but pretty good when going by the eye reference indicator (three balls) on the central windscreen frame).

I realise it’s not a very exact approach but I’d be interested to know what the general consensus is of those that love or hate the default seat height?

Many thanks for this post, I was struggling with all aircraft trying to get the correct viewpoint and was not aware of the Height preference.
I agree with you, all viewpoints are too low, they remind me of the very old fs2004 views where 75% of the screen was covered by the panel.


You’re welcome, glad I could help.

The height slider is still not entirely satisfactory, but I’ve started saving some adjusted views (higher or lower as needed) in some aircraft with Ctrl+Alt+1 which I can quickly get back to with Alt+1 if necessary. It’s a workaround but it’ll do for now.

Thank you for this post - I was just busy typing up something similar when I came across it. When I fly in MFS2020 I feel I must have had a drastic reduction in my size or something, because in the default “Pilot VFR view” I can’t see over the instrument panel properly. I’ve flown real Cessna 152s, 172s and the 210, and I never noticed trouble seeing over the instrument panel. I was very excited to buy the Carenado Cessna 182T, but here I am lined up on the runway, in the default “Pilot VFR view”, and I cannot even see the runway :frowning:
Now, what would be very nice is if we could set and store the default views ourselves!


That’s the truth!

After the patch, I felt that I was sitting too high in both aircraft that I have flown (King Air + C172), so I believe they may have raised the default seating position. I haven’t flown in anything else yet but I did drop the camera height back to ‘50’ to test it and the position didn’t seem as ridiculously low as I remembered it. The severity of the ‘problem’ is aircraft dependent so some may have worked out better than others if indeed the camera height was shifted up for all aircraft by some amount. I’m not entirely sure. If I get the chance to try it and compare I’ll update my original post.

Actually the eyepoints are not to high. You would wonder how bulky these panels are when sitting in the real thing. Regarding to the Cessna G1000 Screenshot above, this is the view you get in real life too. Most pilots stretch theirselves a bit to have a good view while taxing. Inflight you mostly look left or (sitting in the right seat) on the right sidewhere the panel lowers a bit. The classic Cessna 172 in the sim by the way has an eyepoint that is way to high.

Well, we might have to agree to disagree on some of these points.

@StevoSim above has real-life experience but reports differently to you.

I did a little searching. This comment from Scott Gentile at A2A Simulations (whom I greatly respect) posted on Avsim about their C172’s default eye point for FSX/P3D is an interesting one:

we lowered the forward view so we would be able to see better out the side view, but in v.2.0 we made the forward view proper. In the real C172, when you look left, you duck.

So that conversation lends weight to the fact that the higher viewpoint I have set, where it IS necessary to duck to see the horizon or wing underside when glancing left or right (easily done with TrackIR) is likely close to correct. It also matches the screenshots I posted in the first post of the C152 where the pilot’s eyeline is above the top of the side windows from the external camera.

I also found some useful information at another link below, about light aircraft:

Keeping in mind that a good portion of the engine cowling should be visible to ensure a 15 degree angle of view over the nose, the pilot should adjust their seat to where they think they should be sitting (and yes, this may involve cushions and phone books – there is still a purpose for printed yellow pages). Have someone else walk approximately 30′ in front of the airplane. The pilot should be able to see the feet of that person.

There’s also an image of a King Air’s design eye reference point on this page, and it happens to match the ‘actual’ line in the screenshot in my first post, not the MSFS ‘default’ which is lower.

The lead photo on this page of two pilots in a Cessna doesn’t show such visibility over the nose on the other hand, but the aircraft is sitting quite nose-high which may be a factor.

You’re quite free to disagree with me, but posting some evidence is always useful instead of just saying “that is how it is”. Of course, every pilot will sit in a slightly different position as per their preference, and we perhaps have to account for ‘gameplay reasons’ to an extent as most players won’t have VR or TrackIR or equivalent from the start.

I’m still convinced that the default eye points are not close to correct and should be adjusted. The height slider offers some ‘workaround’ but the results vary by aircraft so some end up too high or too low.


What annoys me most is the head position is too far forward.

Is there a keyboard short cut to move the eypoint backwards ???
I looked under every rock I could think off and other than editing the camera.cfg I do not find one.

Never mind…while searching for the camera options one should not have it set to “assigned” but to “all”. Then there are options to translate the view point :smiley:

Glad to see I’m not the only one with that problem. Pressing space to raise the seat position is a quick fix but after using „Quickglance“ to look left or right, the view sways back to the lower position. :angry: It’s super annoying when flying in the pattern and constantly eyeing the position relative to the threshold when you have to correct your position each and every time you dared to
glance out of the side window.

Yeah, I eventually got out of the habit of using the space bar to raise the seat. Instead I use Ctrl + Arrow Keys to move the viewpoint up/down to a suitable position prior to flying and then it usually stays there during the flight (as I use TrackIR exclusively to move the view).

With the ‘camera height’ set to 75 or 80 in the menus I find the view suitable in most of the original default aircraft, but the other day I loaded up the newer default PC-6 and found I was far too high. I think the developer of that aircraft set the default viewpoint (i.e. when camera height = ‘50’) to the correct position, so when it gets moved up by the menu option being set to ‘75’ or so, it ends up far too high.

I simply cannot understand why every aircraft doesn’t have a common baseline height for the pilot view, based on an average/typical person. The inconsistency between aircraft is frustrating and makes the “camera height” option in the menu rather pointless :confused:


That eyepoint discussion is one that we have had in forums for FS9 and X.
And probably even before that :smirk:

Oh, that doesn’t fill me with any confidence, not that I truly had any to begin with… :laughing:

Since all aircraft exist in the 3D sim space in what should be true-to-life measurements, it really should be possible to have some kind of default viewpoint in every aircraft that is representative of a person of a set height (notwithstanding the fact that the seat height is adjustable in some aircraft). Then the view menu should allow us to adjust our pilot height - all aircraft default viewpoints would adjust accordingly.

What we have instead is many default aircraft with viewpoints that are far too low, for the purpose of giving a view of the instruments. Third party aircraft, meanwhile, are likely to be set more correctly (when the default height of 50 is configured in the menu). By putting my own viewpoint setting up to 75 or 80 for the default aircraft, my view is far too high in third party aircraft. So it’s a poor situation at best.

While you can save and recall custom camera views, I think the only real ‘fix’ is to edit the camera.cfg file to change the default viewpoint? At least until we get something like ChasePlane, perhaps one day.

Sometimes it’s the simple things like this that can cause the most ongoing frustration with using the sim… :unamused:

I use RCtrl+Up and RCtrl+Down to adjust my camera height. The other weird thing is that, more often than not, both commands move the camera down, while neither actually move it up! I’ve checked and reset the mappings multiple times. You just couldn’t make it up!!!

In the aircraft I use a lot I simply change the camera position to suit me.
Then I only have to remember that when there is an update :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I use the UP and DOWN keyboard buttons to adjust seat height then save with
Ctrl-Alt-(NUM) for each aircraft.

My problem is that the up/down arrows move the view too quickly making precise adjustments difficult

Is there any way to slow it down?


With keyboard, no.
But you can bind them to an axis (i.e. on a gamepad if you have one) and set sensitivity and reactivity for this axis.


This is exactly why we should get some more votes on this topic :slight_smile:

Previous camera add-ons had the ability to adjust every which way of the cameras.

When the developers created the cockpit for the default A320N, did they use a 10-year-old boy to model the eye level viewpoint on? I always have to raise my eye level in this aircraft :rofl: