What are runway tears, and why is it a big problem? Runway tears are issues with terrain data loading too slowly, which usually happens when landing or taking off with a faster plane, such as an airliner, in an area of photogrammetry. I believe what is happening in these cases, is the plane is moving faster than the terrain data can load, resulting in a “line” across the runway where the terrain is uneven. Hitting this line can ruin your day, as it has physics, potentially resulting in a crash. If you switch over to developer mode or drone camera and look at the same spot that just crashed you, you will not see any abnormalities, because you’re now moving slow enough for everything to load. If you swap over to a slower plane, like a 152 and take off or land on the exact runway that just crashed you, you also likely won’t see any abnormalities, as you’re moving slow enough for everything to load.
Why aren’t more people complaining about this issue? Actually, they are. The issue is not amplified because players seem to think these are isolated issues related to specific airports instead of one big broad issue affecting literally every airport in every photogrammetry area. It’s also likely that players with real beefy systems can load everything fast enough to never see this issue. The issue has been discussed several times on this Forum, but always in reference to isolated issues. I will attempt to consolidate as many of those threads as possible here to illustrate the consistency of this issue.
Here is a fantastic video showing exactly what this is: More Runway Anomalies in MSFS
11/11/20 Edit: Adding new links that appear to discuss the same issue below
Black lines on runway will crash airplane - Fantastic screenshots on this one
11/20/20 Edit: More links. Added a Q&A link. Please vote on this issue to get visibility to the question.
BUG REPORT - VOTE HERE: RUNWAY TEARS / TERRAIN ISSUES