Is the Flight Model of the MSFS 2020 realistic or do we need a completly rewrite?


Can some realworldpilots maybe also 747 and A320 Pilots tell me how realistic the Flight Model of the MSFS 2020 is for now? Or should i look better to the Xp11 when i would like to have a good flightmodel which is quiet realistic?

Planes that i usually fly in MSFS 2020:

A320 FBW

And i know its a question with a lot of difference Answered. Because of every people perceive the reality a bit another.

regards Legendsy


Please search in this forum, you’ll find several threads about this.


Software developer here. MSFS and X-Plane have very similar flight model. XP calls it "Blade Element Theory. MSFS calls it “Surface Element Model”. But the underlying principles are essentially the same. Their implementations are somewhat different (MSFS needs to accommodate certain legacy aircraft parameters from FSX). But both have the potential to be very accurate for desktop usage. Just needs a lot of tuning to get the behavior you want out of it. And the more data you could get on the real life aircraft the more accurate final results would be.


Oh sorry i wil do it next time before i open up a new thread.

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Thanks for this Information. :slight_smile:

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Not a real pilot,
But I read and watch plenty of real pilots’ experience about flying airliners in the Sim, as well as GA. All they basically say that GA aircraft are quite relistic but when it comes to the airliners they need a lot of work. Watch for example 74Gear videos about flying 747 in MSFS and comparing it to the real 747 behaviour. There’s plenty of entertaiment like landing 747 at some random small airports - but he also have some technical points.

I also wonder when I see some mods that aim to improve the default aircraft. FBW and I guess Working Title does not rise any suspicion in me, but when it comes to Salty 747 or Heavy Division 787 - I wonder where does exactly they knowledge of what is real come from?

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I hope that when some one a Airplane in the MSFS 2020 like to improve. That he/she is a real world pilot or get some knowlege about this specific flight model. How it reacts etc when he works together with a real world pilot. But for me makes all another no sense.

I’m not a real world pilot so the answer I’m about to give you is not mine. But I’ve been doing for a year what you are doing now: ask people who are 1) real world pilots and 2) have real world experience in programming flight models for various other flight simulators such as P3D, X-plane, Flightgear etc. So basically, consciously or subconsciously, knowingly or unknowingly, I’ve been doing a survey.

I’ve received various answers from various people. I could easily categorize them into three groups. For example, one would say: 1) “oh yes! MSFS 2020 flight model is extremely realistic, almost as realistic as some of the full motion simulators I’ve worked on”, and another would say: 2) “it’s good but it’s got some issues that needs to be sorted out”, and the last group would say: 3) “it’s completely wrong. It feels more like a video game than a flight simulator.”.

So basically, for group 1, the flight model is perfect. For group 2, it’s a good flight model but needs some tuning here and there, and for group 3, the whole flight model feels completely wrong.

When the flaps bug appeared in MSFS 2020 back in February/March 2021 iirc, I decided to take the flight model bit of the product a bit more seriously and started to do a survey in a serious manner.

This is my finding:

The majority of real world pilots said that in general, the flight models for any or all aircraft in MSFS 2020, whether they are default or third party, feel wrong in most or all circumstances. Group 3 is the winner here. You are now more than welcome to do your own research and survey similar to mine.

My personal opinion based on the evidence I have so far is that the flight model as well as several other aspects of this product has been intentionally dumbed down in order to keep it optimized and compatible with Xbox controllers, so that flying an aircraft on Xbox feels easier for the majority of people on Xbox. Think about the lowest common denominator. The huge majority of Xbox users will have a Xbox controller first and foremost. And for Microsoft, that’s where the largest majority of money is going to come from. The number of us PC flight simmers is not large enough for Microsoft’s financial profit and success.

So in order to answer your next question:

My answer would be: yes, based on my own tests, and feedback I’ve received from numerous people highly knowledgeable in the subject matter.

Here’s one good example:

Microsoft FS2020 has gorgeous visuals with many photorealistic airports and an eye-popping level of detail. When it came to the actual “flying,” though, X-Plane had the edge. Its physics and handling felt more like an airplane, while FS2020 was more “arcade-like” (i.e., slightly more rubbery and forgiving). The difference wasn’t stark, but it was noticeable.


For what it’s worth, I think the differences boil down to personal preference: FS2020 feels like a really polished video game, while X-Plane feels more like a simulator accessible to the general public.

The statements quoted above are from James Williams, a real world pilot, FAA employee, ground instructor and FAA Safety Briefing’s associate editor. And he said all these in a blog/website hosted by FAA themselves. Source: Fly Into the Matrix. How to Get Into the World of Virtual… | by FAA Safety Briefing | Cleared for Takeoff | Medium and for the root: FAA Safety Briefing – Medium and FAA Safety Briefing – The FAA Safety Policy Voice of Non-commercial General Aviation

Do I agree with him (and people like him who said similar things about MSFS 2020’s flight model)? Yes. Why? Do I have some sort of personal bias? I’d say no, simply because I’ve been using flight sims since 2005-6 and I never felt as if the flight model of any past flight sims I used feel arcadey, gamey, springy and twitchy. MSFS 2020 is the first flight ‘game’ (I hate to call it a sim now) where the FM feels completely wrong, arcadey and twitchy. Matter of fact, and embarrassingly enough, few days ago I reinstalled GTA 5 and flew one of their planes for a while, and they felt more realistic. All planes released so far, default or third party, feel like paper toys with no inertia. It’s almost as if they copied the physics code from a Disney mickey mouse game and pasted it into MSFS 2020.

Note: It’s extremely important to understand that there’s not a single flight simulator (home or professional) in the world that has 100 percent realistic flight model. Such a thing doesn’t exist. If realistic flight model in a home desktop flight simulator is extremely important for you, and if that is what you are after (and you don’t care about anything else), then you have to find the home desktop flight simulator that offers you the highest amount of accuracy, or “as real as it can get” within the current constraints of your home desktop hardware (PC).


Thanks for this Answer and Information. Since i have the MSFS 2020 my feeling is still: Its just a arcade Game for people who will fly after work in the evening a fast round with an Aircraft from A to B. Maybe with a Controller. And for those peoples is the msfs 2020 good enough. But for us that have Flightsimming as Hobby is the MSFS 2020 not so good. Becasue of the Flightphisyics that feels to me like a flying potato or something. I mean self GTA V feels to me same in flightphysics .


Yes, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. And this is where many people in this forum and elsewhere get me wrong. Just because the flight models of aircraft (default and 3rd party) in MSFS 2020 behave in an arcadey, incorrect and twitchy, Xboxey way doesn’t mean it’s a bad product and can’t be enjoyed by a lot of people including serious flight simmers like you and I even.

Let me give you an example. I have a car driving simulator and trainer in my computer that is also used by professional driving schools in some east-european countries. I sometimes fire it up just for fun. You have to be careful about obeying traffic signals, rules and many other things.

Then I play GTA 5 which imo is more fun. I can get into a car and drive at high speed without having to worry about a lot of things.

Fun means different things to different people. If you play MSFS 2020 to enjoy the breath-taking scenery, take part in group flights on Twitch etc etc, don’t let anyone stop you. But if someone comes to me and tries to claim that its flight model, avionics and system modelling in general is as good as Prepar3D, Xplane 11 etc, that’s absolutely false and I’m going to call them out on it. It’s nothing personal. There are inaccuracies in X-Plane 11, Prepar3d and even DCS too, but since I don’t think of them as my religion, I don’t get offended when/if someone decides to criticize them.



I think in the topic of flighthphsics we get so many diffrent answeres how much user the flightsimulation use. Because every guy/user regonize the reality a bit another. The one realworld pilot says msfs 2020 is quiet realistic and again an another real world pilot says no! xp 11 is more realistic. And that is why the most of useres here have a diffrent meaning about the comperasion between all flightsimulations like xp11,msfs 2020,p3d,dcs etc.

The one says like above written msfs 2020 is quiet relastic and a another user says no! xp11 is realistice, msfs 2020 is arcade game like. The main reason is how i have writte above, the diffrent perceived realitys and feelings of the users.

And Last but not least when you would like to have the quitest flightphysics to the realitiy and do you would like to have the best realistic look of the terrain without a downgrade of the terrain graphics.

then you have to fly in realife and make your pilot license. Becasue of we haven’t for now the technice and the knowlege to 1 to 1 to represent the reality in an computer game i nwhich you cant regonize any diffrence to the reality.

And i invite lovely you all to these disscuse :sweat_smile:

This was their biggest mistake I feel.

For me as a real world pilot, this sim/game feel much less on rails that previous versions of MSFS. Aircraft don’t stay where they’re meant to generally. I didn’t dabble into XP11 too much, but it sounds like I should have!

Depending on the aircraft and how it has been tuned, it’s either fairly good, or nothing like it. The Cessna’s are fairly good - many improvements can still be made, especially after SU5 where a LOT of parameters were changed to 0!

I just went for a fly in a Flight Design CT, and apart from it being a little more stable IRL, it’s model was fairly good pre SU5 - haven’t flown it since. The aircraft is manoeuvrable yet stable, with quite stiff rudder input IRL.

The A320 doesn’t fly much like the real one at all. FBW’s one was getting better, but it’s been a couple of months since I last tested it. Really looking forward to Fenix’ A320 model - at the very least the systems are extremely well modelled/integrated.


Not wishing to derail the thread at all but could you tell me the name of this product please? It sounds quite interesting :slightly_smiling_face:


Sure. It’s called City Car Driving


Thank you. I will have a look at it :slightly_smiling_face::slightly_smiling_face:

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Of course it is not realistic . Try flying a GA aircraft when you have a real engine out, you have misjudged the turbulence on a hot Summer day…the cross wind is much worse than the forecast, you have to file an Airprox with a low flying military jet
You can’t just press Pause and Resume.
VR is better but obviously still not like the real thing.
Also you are reluctant to comment on a Forum because you are often told you are wrong .

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And that is what i mean with diffrent points of view what is realistic and what not. because of the diffrent perceptions and feelings from us users. One says that one is more ralistic then the other one. get out the Popcorn guys :popcorn: :popcorn:

I can’t convince you that my opinion is better than others. But I’m just simply using my experience of developing experimental aircrafts in XP11, XP10 and MSFS as a reference. A model is only as good as the person using it. I once made a wood plank strapped to a beer can in Xplane and gave it some engines. Flies nothing like a wood plank + beer can in real life…

So once again, both flight models have all the right bits for them to be very realistic. But at the moment the documentation on some of the details in MSFS is incomplete IMO. So if you encounter problems while tuning the model you might not be able to get help. But that’ll change over time.

And let me assure you, the underlying flight model in MSFS is NOTHING like GTA… :wink:


2 things:

1 - The SDK doc needs more details. For some of the parameters/coefficients there’s barely any explanations as to how they actually affect the overall behavior. That can get pretty confusing. (I was puzzled by some of the yaw defining parameters last night, couldn’t find any answers…) But I’m sure that’ll improve over time.

2 - A lot of how the 320 feels is actually down to the implementation of its FBW system and not necessarily a function of the FD. And there are also plenty of misunderstandings around how the different modes/laws work IRL. (Saw an avsim post last night of an entire thread of people completely misunderstood how “flare mode” actually works…) Furthermore, if you tried to take that FBW system and use it on a 787 or vice versa then neither would fly anything close to their real life counter part. So there’s that.


Assuming this in real life … what would happen to the plane?

On the other hand, it should be noted that this is still a game …
While recording this video, I did not touch the sidestick … All you see is a flight without any control.