North Pole BUG

Navigational BUG/Error while flying above the north pole.

Large divination from the earth’s magnetic field relative to the true North.

What exactly is the bug?


The bug can be seen on the ND, the route is not aligned, and the aircraft waypoints are not properly located where they should be.

Even when the Autopilot is flying the route all the time, It is probably a bug related to the mapping of the north pole area, which is quite confusing even for experienced pilots who need to take into account the magnetic deviation which is largely increased while flying north pole routes.

Just above the engine display is a toggle switch marked MAG / TRUE. When flying in the vicinity of the North Pole, that switch needs to be set to TRUE to change the heading reference from magnetic north to true north. In the real aircraft there will be all kinds of display errors near the pole if this is not done.

I have no idea if this switch is operational in MSFS, or if so, whether it has the desired effect. Chances are it will not. The real 747 also switches to an alternate coordinate system called “polar grid” near the pole, because the meridians of longitude all converge to a point at the pole, and any navigation calculations involving standard longitude become useless. I doubt this is implemented in MSFS.


Think you for the enlightenment of the topic.

Much easier to use a sextant as they did in the old days

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Coordinates should be WGS-84 based, not sure if heading has any influence on this. As long as it has a GPS / IRS position it should work I would say. IRS systems often do have a limitation and won’t work properly above x latitude.

I actually tried to fly over the exact geographic pole a while back and it ends in tears. Same as trying to fly under a bridge, aircraft gets hooked up and crashes.

It’s kind of disappointing that literally no sim can handle poles. It’s 2020, how is it that no sim can handle North Pole/South Pole calculations?

I get the divided by zero argument, but come on, terrain doesn’t get divided by zero in reality; the only mathematical complications at the poles are all man-made (like GNSS and INS failures) but the terrain, weather, and flight physics should not collapse into a black hole???


Capture d’écran 2020-11-30 155026

It’s not a bug : you simply can’t fly through the axis…

More seriously : having a correct navigation around the poles would suppose that MSFS integrates the polar grid system and switches when it needs to. Of course it could be done, but it’s a complication that very few people would be able to use properly, and these areas are certainly not the most busy parts of airspace. So it’s certainly not a priority.


Navigation near the poles is no trivial matter mathematically speaking, either in a simulator or in a real aircraft. The sim has problems with it for the very same reason that real aircraft systems do. The standard spherical trigonometric formulas used for navigation become unstable and unreliable when the longitude is rapidly changing moment to moment and the latitude approaches +90 degrees. The sim has to keep continuous track of the aircraft’s simulated latitude and longitude as it moves, which is why things tend to go pear shaped trying to cross directly over the pole. It is especially a problem if the aircraft path causes the longitude to go instantly from a negative value (west longitude) to positive (east longitude) at the same moment that the latitude becomes +90 crossing directly over the pole.

I wouldn’t necessarily call it not a priority. The North pole is crucial part of the airspace for transpolar airline flights from NA to Asia. We have a 747 in the game that has the range to perform these flights so it’s not like the north pole is not relevant in the game. Also, I’ve flown transpolar flights in FSX just fine with little to no issues. A modern flight sim should definitely be able to handle it.

That’s true, and I can absolutely see avionics failing at the poles. That’s not a shock.

What’s disappointing, however, is an aircraft hitting an invisible wall, or terrain merging into a non-physical singularity. Last I heard, the various expeditions to the poles didn’t accidentally clip into the earth or disappear. I’m having a hard time believing that this is an insurmountable issue for a simulator.

The bigger bug here is the lack of ice…

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