Sense of speed when flying through clouds

Hi there,

In the real world sitting up the front, when flying towards a cloud, it’s quite an exilerating experience, as you’re hitting an ‘object’ at 300knots.

In FSX/P3D the huge issue is that it feels like you fly very slowly into the clouds. Like in slow motion.

I am not sure if it’s any better in MSFS?

Also in VR i feel like you fly very slowly in the environment regardless of the speed. Is that because the frame rate is lower, or the environment is different?

Cloud surfing: Boeing 737 cockpit view HD - YouTube is an example, i don’t feel like it is the same in the sim.

That video is at about x10 speed !!

Proof: If nothing else, a 747 does not bank that fast !!

That’s why it looks different

That looks much closer to real time, straight flight, than 10x…

I’m not seeing anything at all suggesting it’s a hyperlapse / speed-up at all.
No banks as well, although I do see the camera being moved around by the pilot though, giving these jagged motions that could be mistaken for AC banks/attitude-changes in high speed video.

0:43 upper right corner, you’ll see the pilots finger while moving the camera.
0:45 bottom right, you’ll see the nose/vortex-generators, camera moves relative to the plane, not the plane turning.
Same with dirt on the window moving around, suggesting camera is moved and not the plane turning.

Having shot both hyperlapses and regular videos in very similar conditions, I can safely say this is not sped up x10.

The OP is making a valid point, MSFS clouds are lacking in “highres-noise” at close distances, not giving us the high-speed feeling you get at those speeds when punching through clouds.

Higher detailed small cloud “puffs” could be generated procedurally at close range to increase the sense of speed, as well as introducing an extra higher res noise-layer in the ray-marching used for MSFS volumetric clouds.

Also, the MSFS clouds have a very low density, slowly fading in / out when shooting through them, compared to the close to instant transition from VMC/IMC IRL.


You can find many other videos demonstrating exactly the same, and I am sure you’ve been a passenger on a commerical jet and experienced a similar thing when transitioning through clouds.

I’ve been lucky enough to sit in the hot seat of many commerical jets (737/757/a330/a340/747) and I don’t feel you should discount people’s opinion so quickly…

Edit. also if you feel like the video is sped up (i suggest you look at others too) that further supports my point that we are not experiecing what we should be in the simulator.

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Excellently put, thank you!

My apologies – I was a little quick to judge.

It was based on a comparison between that video and MSFS, where I found I had to speed up MSFS about x10 to get the same visual effects as the Video.

If course the Video’s sound was NOT speed up … I just jumped to the incorrect conclusion. I WAS WRONG.


I can think of a few things that would explain a difference in perception:

  1. Field of view. GoPros etc. tend to have a wider FOV than you’ll be using in the cockpit. This affects sense of speed significantly.

  2. View occluded by cockpit. Dependent on aircraft obviously, but typically the cockpit obscures a lot of forward vision. The clouds look ‘fastest’ as they’re moving out of frame but much of that is blocked from the cockpit view.

  3. Lack of small scale details in the clouds, as already mentioned above.

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It saddens me that this topic only has 4 votes.

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Agree. Adding to that, the MSFS clouds change (grow, disperse) way too rapidly. In real life it’s rarely possible to perceive any change to their shape. I’d say this is probably a x10 speed bug.

Cruising along at 300mph (290knts) through the fluffy clouds it’s suddenly occurred to me, should those clouds not zip past at a faster rate? They just seem to leisurely float along at no real speed. A curiosty thing, not a complaint.

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Clouds are a lot bigger than they seem from the ground :smiley: look at the size of your plane vs the cloud in external view to get a sense of it.

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The clouds are big and relatively low detail, lacking details at close proximity.
Kind of like flying over a flat and low resolution ground texture, the sense of speed is almost gone. Compared to having highres “detail texture” blended with the lowres one, which would vastly increase the sense of speed.

There are a few ways around this, like procedurally generating smaller high detail “puffs” close to the plane at the edge of clouds when breaking in and out of the clouds, or an additional noise layer for the volumetric ray-marched clouds.

But currently nothing is done in this regard, I surely hope something will be done to improve this.
IRL flying in slow trainers often give a higher sense of speed during cloud penetration than doing the same thing in MSFS using high speed jets.


I‘d love for clouds to better create a sense of speed when flying through them. Right now, even well defined cloud formations turn into haze when getting closer to them or flying through them. I miss these rushing by cloud patches or breaking through thin overcast layers where you can really sense the speed of he airplane.

I’m hoping with all the attention taken towards the weather and things such as Prop physics, Wake Turbulence etc. that they’ll eventually work towards further interactivity with the environment around us and this will be the next step forward.

I’d like to see the clouds stir, for example as we go through them.

I agree that the sense of speed isn’t there when flying through/in clouds. It’s as if the clouds are never close to the aircraft even though they appear to be.

Definitely something that should be fixed, if possible.


Clouds in MSFS fade out at a relatively large distance from the position of the observer, this is what makes it feel like they’re slow as they go by the windshield compared to RL.

On a similar note, this also is part of the reason why you never see your own wing obscured by cloud when flying through them. There needs to be a secondary particle system to “throw clouds at the plane” when you dip into one those large volumetric blobs.

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This is something I have also noticed for quite some time and hope to see it at least logged in the feedback.

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This is a just small thing that always bugged me in msfs.
Whenever I look at real footage of airplanes flying trough clouds, it looks like the clouds are zipping by really quickly. (mostly noticeable on wing views) So this gives a great sense of speed that you otherwise wouldn’t get just by looking at the ground.
In msfs, I never really got that. The clouds always fly by really slowly. No matter if it’s in a GA aircraft or airliner, or how fast I’m going.

Just my 2cents. Maybe, if at all possible, this could be tweaked in the future. Or maybe, I’m missing something?

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hi i m new here , Maybe i am wrong. but could the bug be that the clouds are spawning around the Airplane and not based on the position wehre are you flying in the world? Thats my guess. But i totally agree with you that when i fly trought the clouds their dont pass by fast enough. but i dont know how it were in rl. because i havent flown a plane in realife.

It very much depends on the type of cloud and where you are in it (in a real aircraft).

In an airliner in dense cloud at altitude theres little or no sense of speed as you have no visual reference. You will more often get the sense of speed at lower altitudes in broken cloud, typically after takeoff or on approach (ironically when your airspeed is actually relatively slow)

When I flew PA28’s you were much lower and the aircraft is much more like a little Gokart, but there wasn’t a huge sense of speed… because you invariably weren’t going quickly.