F-15 Altitude How-to

First, I complement the JustFlight group on the F-15 update. The aircraft seems to handle better since I loaded that update. It is a fun aircraft.

I have still not figured out however, how to set, get to, and hold specific altitudes. Other aircraft have altitude hold buttons, altitude set knobs, altitude change buttons and altitude rate change wheels. (Forgive my novice-like descriptions.) The only thing I have found on the F-15 is an altitude hold switch that can grab some almost random point. I have tried and failed to find anything else in the F-15 cockpit controls or in the MSFS 2020 controls/commands (XBox controller, mouse, and keyboard for my configuration) that would provide the various altitude functions.

Edit: I have also found that I can somewhat hold a NAV vector but the F-15 wants to run a zig-zag pattern like a sine wave centered along the NAV line, flying right of the line, correcting, heading left over the line, correcting, etc. etc. Other aircraft will get to the line, do a correction and hold on it to the next NAV point.

You’d probably be better off asking this in the ‘Third party’ subsection of the forums.

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Thanks Mort - I moved it.

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Hi, the Eagles operate a simple three-axis autopilot, which functions only at subsonic speeds. To hold an altitude, simply fly to the desired height, engage the autopilot master switch on the forward left-hand side panel, and then the ALT-HOLD switch. The aircraft will now settle at the desired height. On the right-hand side panel, you will see an AP MASTER light now switched on, and an ALT HOLD light also.

You can also hold a heading, GPS NAV track, and ILS approach with the same technique. Note that you must select either NAV or GPS mode to track a VOR or flight plan respectively. The only one that doesn’t work ( yet ) is airspeed hold, due to MSFS having a problem with auto-throttle disengaging. The Eagles are set up for it to work though once the bug is ironed out.

Glad you’re enjoying the Eagles :slight_smile: They’ll be joined by the F-14 Tomcat in May 2021 if all goes well.


Dean, Thanks for the reply. I did not know the F-15 autopilot was not functional at super sonic. That is one mystery solved but disappointing since traveling from point to point FAST on AP is a fun concept. On AP I get a lot better chance to spend time looking at the scenery racing by.

I have been using the hold button and light as mentioned, however, I cannot get a specific altitude and been able to get to a new specific altitude when ATC tells me to. By the time I manually get close to a new altitude, I cannot hold a consistent exact level and worse, when I look down to hit the hold button using the mouse, the altitude may be thousands of feet off of what I intended when my eyes left the HUD or gauge.

Other planes have a wheel to set the desired level, a VR button to start a change, and an ascend /descend wheel to set change rate.


It’s tough to provide everything that everybody wants unfortunately - the hard-core fans want more realism and would be appalled with an Airbus-style all-singing autopilot, while those who don’t care about systems functionality want to be able to blast everywhere at Mach 2. I have to find a sensible balance between the two, and as the real F-15 does not have a highly functional autopilot that’s the way I’ve gone with it.

I think that the mod by CodenameJack here on the forums has a much more detailed AP, so that might be worth checking out if you really want more functionality on that front :+1:


That’s something I did not know and answers the question. I kept thinking that somewhere in the other used and unused switches and knobs that there might be that functionality. In a real F-15, can AP be set at super sonic or is that a MSFS thing?

I’m not sure of the real F-15’s supersonic AP capability, but I would doubt it was used much even if capable of it - the most common reason for supersonic flight in military aircraft is high-speed intercept or running away, both of which require hands-on flying. Fighter aircraft rarely use their AP except for long transit flights, and even then they’re often in the company of a tanker and so fly manually. Most of the other jets in MSFS didn’t model in an AP at all.

In the future though, given the many requests for this, I might model in a more complete AP so that folks can sight-see a bit easier.

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I would be one of the votes for keeping it as realistic as possible. Or at least have a hard-core option without such an autopilot. As you even said, the community has a mod for a different autopilot so those that want that already have that option.

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Coming from DCS, pretty much every military fighter jet has a very basic autopilot. It will hold your current altitude, but you cannot set an altitude or change the held altitude. There is no VS type system at all, only an attitude hold. Most modern fighters will do route navigation via autopilot, but that won’t include altitude.