Thermals, Up & Downdrafts - Realism Update/ Remove Limitations

Thank you for the motivation guys!

I found an interesting topic called '‘Wave Flying’'

I wonder if this is also represented in MSFS (when they give us an unrestriced version).


looking at some gameplay from the newly released World of Aircraft - Glider Simulator.
They are using the birds for thermal visualization, just like Asobo mentioned in one of the Q&A’s.

Nothing wrong with using a bird here and there, because that can happen in real life.
But please don’t use it for every thermal and don’t use 100+ birds for each of them, that’s a complete realism / immersion killer :sweat_smile:

(still wondering who is the hired partner producer team for the gliders in MSFS, maybe the folks from World of Aircraft?)

My head has kind of been in the sand on a topic like this, but after reading everything I think it’s really discouraging to see that Asobo would be so reactive to complaints about up/downdrafts and local convective areas being too strong or unrealistic. The strong incorporation of real effects such as that felt like a hallmark of their weather and flight model in the earlier days of the sim and really made flying enjoyable and rightfully unpredictable to me. In the earlier days, I felt like at some airports near challenging terrain you could really lose lift, or quickly come in too high and have to go around or correct for instantaneous changes in condition. I haven’t felt that as much anymore. I think people don’t want aircraft that feel like they’re flying on rails, but at the same time they balk at stuff like this.

However, I have to agree that they’ve done themselves a huge disservice by not including some sort of airflow visualization in the sim to actually convince people that the right physics is happening. This kind of visualization is something that is obviously possible (see X-Plane, or even Asobo’s own promo videos), maybe with some additional optimization. The dynamic air mass model they’ve developed is the shining part of this sim, and is what brings the flight model to life. They should want to show it off however possible.

I’m hoping that this topic gets more visibility, and also that Asobo gets back to fixing this sooner than later. I’d also like to see other related aspects patched in, such as wake turbulence. You cannot have a good flight model without appropriately modeling your atmosphere.


I definitely agree with you, that is the big problem, most of the players do not care about realism… do not care about real aviation, they just want to jump in the cockpit engine on and fly right away… Of course there is a place for everybody but they are the majority so that votes concerning realism are in the bottom of the wish-list as a matter of fact!!!

I really don’t understand Asobo that talk and talk and claim about realism when we do know that in aviation the weather is the main corner stone! It is so frustrating to fly through CB without any sort of danger encountered, at that moment it really feels like an arcade game!

I even don’t understand why Asaobo is so “scared” to open the doors of the limitations of turbulence, thermal, updraft/downdraft, we could have an option like “arcade mode” and “realism mode” or something therefore everybody will be happy!.. and what is the problem for “GTA players” to avoid TS, what is the issue to avoid thunderstorm, Asobo won’t loose any money for that because some of them will complain? On the contrary they will buy some credibility in terms of realism, anyway It just doesn’t make sense at all… Also maybe players will have fun to care about the weather, and learn something new, is it that bad to learn? It’s enjoyable!

So far in MFS2020 we still can fly a C172 in any sort of “severe” weather conditions no matter what, which is totally unrealistic!

I’m tired to wait and wait for updates but… Don’t give up, let’s hope!

Happy flying Captains! :wink:


We won’t get too many votes but we can always submit a bug report. I’ve submitted a couple of bugs last week regarding wind/realism. At least they fixed the wx radar despite the fact that the topics themselves didn’t get enough votes.


I start to play the lobbyist around guys hhh here an example:

and I will open a thread to ask users to vote for the links bellow :


I think we need to stick to one post describing all the weather bugs rather than creating lots of posts spreading our votes. TBH, I’m not very pleased with what I see after each update. Not to mention the fact that devs listen to the community where we are the minority. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s said that turbulence was tuned down because some people were complaining. Just imagine what’s gonna happen when the XBox version comes out. In the mean time I keep my fingers crossed reading the forum and flying that other sim where I can feel the plane and how it reacts to the wind and such.


Yes I agree with you, it would be nice to get one post really ahead with this topic, since this is the most voted I would stick to this right here (not because I created it).

I’ve got this response from the community team in the bugs section before the thread got closed and I reopened it right here in the wishlist section:

Hello everyone, I’m closing this thread as this not an issue but a will to unlock any sort of limitation on updrafts.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts after the last Q&A! This feedback has been shared to the team!

So the will to unlock and improve this is definitely there, also mentioned in a lot of interviews.
And the problem with the casual players isn’t really one, since this realism feature could be optional, like everything else.

The only real question is: ‘‘When they gonna improve/ release something?’’
They said last year they want to roll out a few updates this year, but so far we got nothing.

That’s why it’s a good idea to push this topic, it could move up in the priority list, or at least we could get an estimated releasetime .

1 Like

Over 200 votes. Thank you so much guys!!
Does somebody know when the next Q&A is?

We could ask again for an thermal/drafts update.
But maybe they gonna answer this directly without asking, because Asobo mentioned they want to announce the glider dev-team partner and therefore they maybe gonna talk about the status of a possible realism update.


Voted. please stop dumbing things down in a “flight” simulator.


Hey folks, no-one was more surprised than me but I actually found a thermal inside an MSFS thunderstorm:

So this has two parts:

  1. simulated vertical air movement that has a perfectly reasonable effect on the aircraft
  2. the thermal location is linked to the presence of the cloud (I assume - can’t be 100% sure)

So Asobo do seem to have a capability designed in to MSFS (maybe), it’s just very very hard to detect at the moment, but maybe we should be optimistic.

I kinda hope Asobo see the use of the simulated Netto vario to give a tangible indication of what the sim plane thinks is happening around it - it’s a more realistic way of exploring the simulated thermals than looking at numbers in a debug tool.


That’s awesome! Thank you very much for sharing! First time I see an thermal/updraft like this.

I tested it with other cloud types, seems like it works as well all of sudden (not that constant and strong like with the thunderstorm, but still noticeable).

Just a speculation, but it looks like they didn’t limit up/down drafts like an maximum number, but they reduced the overall percentage of the effects like:

  • 100% = 10% (thunderstorm)
  • 80% = 8% (broken clouds)
  • 60% = 6% …and so on…

would make perfect sense, that’s why under normal conditions we notice almost nothing and that updraft in your video has the effect of a ‘‘weak to normal’’ thermal.

But if they turn it up to 100% the glider would be thrown around in that thunder cloud like a piece of paper, just like in reality.

Holy moly, I can’t wait for ‘‘full percentage realism’’; that’s gonna be awesome. :wind_face: :100:

Is it just me or are the up&down drafts all of a sudden a lot stronger?

Latest flight with the DG-808S I’ve got some very strong (terrain based) updrafts. Longer flights are possible instead of a slow ‘‘delayed downfall’’.

By ‘terrain based’ you mean ridge/slope lift?

I’ve not studied that carefully recently but I have noticed the ‘thermal’ air movement seems to have changed and suspect an Asobo update.

@MSGamerTag01 yes ridge/slope lift, flying randomly over some mountains.

Used real life weather (wind speed around 7kt) and got some very nice strong uplift , which was constant in phases. Almost similar to your thermal discovery.

I’m curious if there was any update in the background, because there wasn’t any update to download recently.

I’m guessing it was Sim IV update Release Notes ( Sim Update IV Now Available! - Microsoft Flight Simulator even though there’s no mention of it.

And if ridge lift and thermals have both had an uptick maybe your earlier theory that everything was/is dialled-down was correct and Asobo just reduced the dialling-down a little bit.


trying to reproduce the nice constant updrafts in mountain areas I have to say it doesn’t work :sweat_smile:
maybe it was a coincidence with some perfect airflow that caused it to be working a few days ago.

Meanwhile the thundercloud updrafts (discovered from @MSGamerTag01 ) are still working, so they can be used for gliding, you just have to pretend they are ‘‘friendly sunny clouds’’ and not thunderclouds which would spin/crash your glider in real life :joy: .

what’s the issue here Homie? You mean with no wind?

it was possible for once to generate some realistic up/downdrafts with low to normal windsettings in an mountain area (I used real life weather). That’s not reprudceable.

You have to crank the windspeed up ridiculously high to make it work,
that’s where we end up in the Asobo placed ‘‘percentage effect reduction’’ again :laughing:

Ah I get it… for low-level ridge soaring e.g. near Mifflin USA: KRVL with long SW-NE ridges ~1500…2000 feet, the MSFS slope lift seems not too far off what it should be, i.e. 17 knots NW wind enables you to cruise along the ridges pretty well.

Do you think the mountains issue is that MSFS slope lift is not working accurately in that scenario, or that real-life mountains often have accumulated thermal updrafts following the slope on the sunny side of the mountain?