New Pilot to FS2020 and finding it a little hard

preamble: I know this is a bit of a rant, but it’s because I really do love the game and have been a fan of MS Flight Sim since Noah was a boy. I have played almost every version of Flight Simulator ever released from the wireframe version 1 on the old Apple ][ in the early 80’s through to this current version (with the exception of “Century of Flight” I’ve owned them all). Please be gentle :slight_smile:

I have never had any control gear, never even had any rudder pedals, only ever a joystick.

With the exception of graphics, I have felt FSX gave a much better flight experience out of the box than FS2020. It seems that everything I do in FS2020 I need something extra, or it’s harder or just not possible.

FSX had an awesome in-game map tool to bring up all the information about all the airports, and there’s absolutely zero that i can find in 2020. I need to either purchase additional software or download my own charts, manually trying to enter a flight plan or look up VOR and ILS frequencies seems impossible in 2020.

I have found liitlenav and that is now sitting on another monitor and that is awesome. But IMHO, the inclusion of this in the box with FSX seemed to make it a complete product, the absence here seems weird. It’s just incomplete.

I find flying all the smaller aircraft quite enjoyable, and easy enough, even in difficult conditions, but the game is very unforgiving in larger aircraft:

  • The other day I was flying an Airbus A320neo for the first time. I thought I had everything lined up, AP set correctly, and when instructed by ATC to head up to FL340 I was enroute when all of a sudden (with only 2000 feet left) the aircraft was continually stalling with much too great an AOA, I kept forcing the stick forward and it would constantly trim to 100% up and try and kill everyone on board. I got ATC to lower us and was able to descend only to find it overshot the descent and then again began to stall trying to gain that last 2000 feet. I came across a thread (I think it was in this forum) that controversially detailed a way to override what was happening. I ended up doing that and was off on my way. Now, I know I was obviously doing something wrong, and that’s fair enough, but throughout it all I was trying to find a way to make the aircraft “just jump” up those 2000 feet. There seems to be no slewing at all.
  • Continuing on from that last point, when I stuff something up, there seems to be no way to go back and do it again. I can’t rewind 30 seconds, or 5 minutes and give it another run. If I’m on the wrong line and want to shift it over to a different angle, altitude or heading or whatever, there’s just no way to accomodate this. Really? I remember when I first got FSX (I was playing at a mates house and he re-introduced me to the game) and he set me up for a landing which he deliberately made hard. I overshot and he slewed me back for another go-around. It seems I have to do the whole flight again to try that landing again? Am I missing something?
  • Bridges: oh bridges, aren’t bridges in FS2020, they’re walls/dams. Flying under a few bridges around various places Australia, USA and Europe, and it’s just a black screen and a message about landing gear… So I tried it in the Icon A5 and it also crashes. err, black screens.
  • Gfx overload: I’m running an RTX3070 and an i7-10700F with 64GB RAM. I know it’s not the beefiest of systems, but I can’t run 4K and get any decent frame rate. I really thought I’d be able to run Ultra, but was greatly let down. I was slightly comforted when I saw that someone with an RTX3090 also wasn’t getting close to 30fps in many of their demos, especially SanFran.
  • Camera navigation and control panels: This is probably the one that hurts the most. It is awful getting to certain controls in a hurry without having a physical control panel to use. I was in a difficult landing this evening and I must have entered the ILS wrong, not sure how, but I was manually bringing the 747 into Fiji on R02 when I decided to allow the ILS and AP take over. I had already lined it up and all of a sudden FS2020 decides it wants to head to it from a different angle. I wish I’d recorded this flight, but I was scrambling around between camera views to try and disengage certain things and I realised I didn’t have a keyboard control for auto-throttle (that I knew of at first hand) and something else, so I’m scrambling around trying to get different inside camera views to show me different things all the while trying not to crash. I was super stoked when I managed to fly around and come in from the other side. A little hot and heavy, but it never black screened on me and I stopped well short of half way along the runway, so I was happy. But to be honest, I really wanted to go back to the ILS approach and try it again, but how?

Now, having ranted for all that, and if you’re still here, let me say…

I LOVE THE NEW FLIGHT SIM! I just do wish it was a little better!

So much so, I am now inclined to want more controls. I’ve looked around and have drooled over what’s available, but I have decided I want to make something myself and I have the knowhow to to do. I don’t really care too much for true to life, because flying a flight sim with various aircraft, unless you’re going to build multiple control systems, one generic one will suffice.

In the mean time, I would like to use something that’s on screen that could be off the main screen, or even preferably (I don’t know if this is possible) on an iPad?? that allows quick and easy access to various control surfaces, especially in the AP arena, flaps, landing gear, reverse thrusts, NAV and COM settings, generic gauges (horizon, vertical speed etc).

The only thing I’ve seen so far (and will probably buy) is Air Manager. But that’s about all I’ve seen. Is there something else? Especially that could be run externally on an iPad or Android tablet?

And lastly, most of the videos I’ve seen on youtube about flying different approaches in commercial airliners seems focused on point and click, do this, then do that. But I learn by understanding and would much prefer knowing exactly what this button does and how to best utilise it. eg, VS over VNV.

Appologies if this has come across as a bit negative, largely I do love the product, I just had to get those few things off my chest.

I’m about to go jump in a Caravan and do a mail run out bush :slight_smile:


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deleted due to my inability to read the above post correctly.

OP actually said he only ever had a joystick. It’s all you really need if you don’t mind fiddling with the mouse every once in a while. Saves you boatloads of money too.

Just re-read. Thanks. I had lots of different yokes and pedals over the last few decades.
In the meantime I’m very happy with my T16000M since many years.
Perfectly suited for a desktop sim IMO (and it doesn’t occupy the desk space when not needed.)

I know what you mean, OP. This sim has lots of issues right now. Features missing, CTDs, performance issues. It can be really frustrating at times. Like yesterday, I started a flight, took off, went to my G1000 to program a different route, and what do you know? CTD. But in a couple years time, or hopefully months, I believe this sim will be incredible. All the issues you described above I believe will be resolved sooner than you think. Maybe I’m just feeling extra optimistic today, but right now that’s what I believe.
Cheers and safe landings.

MSFS Mobile companion App on allows control from iPad. It is free but I find it does not respond to input all the time.

TOUCH PORTAL (I paid for the full version ~$20) does the same but I also found it to be quirky.

I hear your pain, but a small light maybe…

You can plan your IFR routes quite easily within the sim - go to the Globe icon, and select your departure and destination airports. Left like that, the aircraft will appear at the runway with engines running ready for takeoff…
However, zoom in to the departure airfield, select a gate, and the journey will start at that gate with the aircraft cold, no engines running.
At this point, go into the menu at the bottom of the screen that enables you to set preferences - and switch on all navigational aids.
Once that’s done, you can then zoom into either end of the destination airport runways and click on the navigational ILS beacons either end of the runway. This will open up a menu right hand side which will reveal airport details including the ILS frequency. CRS details that used to be in FSX are not supplied or needed in MSF2020.

The flight plan also gives options for IFR flights, and you can also specify the landing entry pattern.

Hope this gives a small ray of hope…!!

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That looks nice, my first and now updated second joysticks have both been thrustmasters. I dug the old one out of storage to find that it had the old game comm port connector and I have no idea where the USB adapter is for it, so I went out and bought the Thrustmaster HOTAS One or X or something. t’s ok, but my old one had slightly more functionality, although the thrust lever and extra buttons there are nice. It’s just not enough, so time to start building /me thinks!

Thanks to all who commented, it’s great to see such a community here. It’s funny reading the forums I’m reading CTD everywhere not knowing what it meant (I thought it was some sort of paid content delivery and people were talking bad about it) but when I read:

I knew EXACTLY what it meant LOL

After I posted the opening post last night, I could not get FS2020 running. It just kept consistently crashing or loading forever. I must have CTD at least 8-10 times. I rebooted at least 8 times. I changed graphics settings, in the end it had something to do with the quality and type of flight plan I had (I think). I eventually got to a point where I could get the game started and I changed to lowest end PC settings, picked a remote outback airport and went for a flight. All good. Changed graphics back to ultra and still ok, then loaded in my London to Paris flight plan and it worked. So beats me. But close to two hours of reboots, restarts and crashes… Oh well, running now /fingers crossed.

It’s great to hear the positive feedback, I thought I might have got slammed for my negativity, but it does come from a place of love and frustration lol. I’m glad it was well received.

I didn’t know about those particular companion apps, I’ll definitely be looking into those, thanks!

Especially @loveclose, I knew and saw the filters and had turned on some things, but I didn’t know about how extensible that was.

I didn’t know about this last part, I will def be giving that a go tonight! Thanks!

Like a typical kid though, I generally just jump straight in and start playing, although I am getting better at laying down flight plans, I really want to learn how to do it “in glass/in game”. I’m getting there, but it’s just that some aircraft allow different functionality in their glass and learning on the trot when you’re trying to navigate at the same time is just that little bit too challenging. Although now that I’ve had some time with the game, it’s getting better and I’m focusing more on actual flight plans and game play, I’m having a blast.

I can’t wait to start building some sort of external controller.

Thanks again to all those who commented.


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From first flight in msfs2020 I thought the experience of the flight itself, as well as the world around, was so much better than fsx, that I never looked back. I actually get better performance out of msfs2020 compared to fsx got extreme on cpu with orbx package etc etc (which was needed to look fairly accurate IMO).

I only have a cheap joystick (and a Xbox controller for drone cam) and I think that works fine. Have been thinking about other controllers but so far haven’t bought any.

When I need to do something outside what stick covers I simply right click mouse and use that view. For some reason that (and zoom) comes more smoothly for me than hoping between different views. Was the same in fsx. I only use hot keys for things that I think can be stressful like trim, flaps, landing gear (well mostly comfort), spoilers, reverse thrust, autopilot off :slight_smile:
(However some airliners have panels that are either very large or at a hard angle, forcing me to switch view.)

The lack of information in game took a while to get past. But on the upside it sets up most things for you, including settings in plane. That however can be confusing and frustrating especially on airliners if you are not comfortable with their system. For me that actually increases the threshold of handling an airliner which I partly enjoy but also makes me curse a lot. But on the other hand, once you get used to quickly bring forth charts etc on a second screen or second device (phone, iPad, etc) it’s so much smoother than fiddling in map in fsx.

There are quite frustrating bugs in msfs2020. Just the other day I adjusted heading -10 degrees and the autopilot started bank right. I got so curious of what it was doing that I just let it be. I was convinced that for some reason it decided to do a lap instead of just making the small adjustment. After about half lap sim went black with message of over stressed airplane. No overspeed, no extreme turning, no change of altitude (and well within what that plane can handle). Watched the replay multiple times and can’t explain. - well it’s still not enough to make me want to go back to fsx :wink:

Edit: Oh and btw I generally run with no aids and as realistic as possible, except marker for poi to help viewers. Was doing same in fsx, except no markers. But having aids can help you get going, just use the presets.

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This is what happened to me last night, sans the F2B (that’s happened at other times when I know there was no stress on the aircraft, still didn’t work out why, annoying at the end of a long flight). I was coming into Fiji relatively lined up for the ILS, and when I clicked on APP the game decided I needed to go left and slowly (albeit too late) brought me into line but I was no longer ready, mostly because I’m thinking “WTF??? Just happened???” I lapped around and came back from the other side. Still very confused as to what happened.

As already mentioned, the mobile companion app is free and works on any device on your local home network that has a browser (including a second screen on the same PC as the game).

Also look at some of the addon mods for the MFDs in your cockpit, like the working title stuff and also that GTN750 touchscreen mod that allows you to load METAR data for airports (and even Jepperson Charts if you have a Navigraph subscription) without leaving the cockpit

To tthe OP, you may also find live mapping a boon. I use Plan G, tried little Nav Map but prefer Plan G. If using MSFS20 you need the V4 Alpha and to get this you need to register at the Plan G site then open the Forums and get it from there. For any other Sim it’s a straight forward download.

Check out Plan G site

I find zooming out, right clicking an airport and choosing extend runway centre lines helps a great deal. All the live flying I’ve seen pilots use tablets with similar software on anyway. Whatever, it helps me as I have confusion and short term memory loss due to meds for severe pain.


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