Runway approach lights - should be directional

It is not realistic that one can see the runway approach lights when one is 90 degrees off (or greater) from the alignment of the runway. They are FAR too prominent from a great distance, especially if not lined up with the runway, and this is not at all realistic.

I think you’ve enabled it so the VASI/PAPI lights on runways are directional - that should be the case with the approach lights as well.

I believe the current rwy lighting is a somewhat “arcadey” approach to make it easier for newer pilots to navigate. But I agree.

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I agree that most of the airport environment lights are too bright. I hope they address this down the road.

100% agree. The rwy approach lighting is too generalized and makes it too easy to find runways from any angle.

this is a nice video

I didn’t even notice this topic before, so I’ll add in here some of the comments I’ve posted elsewhere.

NB: the screenshots below are from my original post back in September

Here is a screenshot I took at LFMN to show how runway lighting is displaying.

You can gauge the relative angle of the view direction and the runway in looking at the Safe Taxi airport diagram on the Reality XP GTN 750:

X-Plane 11

Same spot in FS2020:

NB: It is not dimming the lights as much as expected (I can see when circling around the airport the threshold is about 90 deg indeed):

For comparison, here is about the same vantage point seen in P3D5:

Here is another set of screenshots with XP11 illustrating how it is actually dimming the RWY lights


For more night lighting problems descriptions (some of which are also showing in these screenshots) and suggestions how to correct these:

Night lighting issues still present - The community solutions - #1111 by CptLucky8

Please note I’m not debating which simulator is better with these screenshots. I’m just using it in order to try illustrating the idea of dimming the lights with a narrower view cone and how it is helping decluttering the taxiway/runway lighting when not viewing in close direction to the taxiway/runway line.


Great comparison screenshots, thank you! IMHO, the X Plane taxi and runway lights are very well done and we should also have this quality in MSFS.


I do agree that X-Plane has the better and more realistic lighting compared to MSFS. Asobo needs to also make the size of the individual light sources more defined. Now, they look like blurry orbs, especially at higher resolutions like in 4K. You can really see how bad they look.

Airport lighting, taxiway lighting, runway lighting, aprons, etc, all needs to be reworked. Pretty much everything else looks or is getting better in MSFS except for the lights. I really hope they can do something to improve them.

When you get close to the ground, you will see that the lights are floating objects, which really ruins the immersion. This was how it was in FSX/P3D. So I’m hoping that they will rework the lights to make them actually attach to something. Like for street lights, the lights should be attached to a pole, instead of just floating in mid air.

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Looks like the approach lights are improved in SU6.
When you first look toward an airport, the appr lights are still omni directional and stupid bright, but then they transition to dim within a few seconds and are hard to see. I guess that’s an improvement…

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Seems like the folks at X-plane are doubling down on a true realism advantage they have. Meantime we have FSX runway lighting…

“…KLAX was always an inky black void in the sea of lights that is the LA basin; at 34,000 feet no runway lights are pointed up at us.”

X-plane 12 will introduce a new photometric lighting engine.

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Is it just me or when flying the downwind leg I can only see the taxi lighting. I should be able to see the runway lighting as well. Otherwise VFR pilots would not be able to see the runway location.