Weird routes when flying IFR via flightplanner - realistic or bug?

I recently started to learn IFR procedures and have been enjoying it a lot. I’ve only used in-game methods to create IFR flight plans (mostly low altitude airways) but for some I’ve gotten really weird routes.

I don’t know enough about the topic to tell if that’s a bug, or if sometimes certain IFR routes are just odd due to the nature of it. Sometimes I try to coax the route planner into better routes by adding waypoints but it almost always makes it worse.

So is this realistic and sometimes routes are weird in the real world, or would manually flight planning (LittleNavMap etc. - was hoping to avoid external tools) give me clean simple IFR routes like I’d prefer?

MSFS IFR routes, STARs and Transitions can be weird as the Flightplanner has bugs and in quite a few cases the Navdata is buggy.

However in order to specifically confirm this in your case you would need to best post the route here plus a screenshot of what you perceive as weird. If you can, search for an official map and compare the routing.

Gotta define “weird” for us….

Get an external flight planner like Little Nav Map, and you can define route parameters easier - like a mix between Airways and Direct, Jet vs Victor etc. The sim stock flight planner will eventually be replaced by the one Working Title has embedded in the G1000 NXi but that’s a long way off. LNM is fast, easy to learn and free.

A G1000 with a flight PLANNER?! Normally you load a plan in or create it with that double rotary on the lower right?! Have they put a „gimme-something“ feature in it??

I’ll try and get pictures today but hadn’t had time yet.

The weirdest I had was a flightplan that basically made you fly the longest enroute leg thrice. Just before reaching the target airport, it looped back almost all the way to the start airport, then flew back to the destination again before leading you into the ILS.

Rather often I have weird spikes, like T shapes. It flies me to a waypoint, does a 90° left for a few nm, then just does a full 180° and flies to the destination - crossing the waypoint where it turned into the wrong direction in the first place.

It’s lots of little things like that. For some I found out it’s just teardrop entrances so a legit thing, but others just blow up the flight time with very questionable decisions. I’ll try and get some good pictures.

Is that truly your flight plan or is it what your plane did?

There are several bugs…

That’s actually a good question and I think the answer is both. I noticed that the G1000 NXi likes to do very weird things on top of weird flight plans as well, which is why I removed it for the time being until I figure the other issue out.

I definitely had flight plans that looked correct before starting, and then I have weird loops that looked like the NXi’s turn anticipation (or whoever is responsible for that) went haywire and added parts that never were there and made no sense, too.

I’m starting to understand people’s frustration with this sim if you do anything beyond VFR flying. I dabbled with LittleNavmap for a bit today and made super simple IFR flight plans - and loading the same flight plan 3 times produced 2 different flight plans in game. For some reason it randomly decided to honor my select approach and runway, and 2 times it didn’t.

I’ve found 2 simple examples of the issues I’m talking about.

My typical process is picking 2 airports closeish, selecting IFR low altitude airways, then I like to select an ILS runway, and that’s where the weirdness usually appears.

Below are 2 screenshots of flight plans I just now created to showcase the issue. They both make very little sense to me, but I can’t tell if airways are just weird like that or whatever. The route can be seen at the top including all waypoints added by the flight planner, I did nothing but select start/end airports and the ILS approach I’d like to fly.


STAR HUBRD1 from Navigraph


… I have seen worse from the MSFS FP… try using the G1000NXI or the FBW A32NX experimental version as an alternative if you can.

Create a LL IFR plan in LNM. Make sure to use the Wizard/Magic Wand icon to generate the route. Load it in the sim. It will look weird because the stock sim still does not understand all 23 procedure leg types. However the G1000 NXi will show the same plan as LNM and will execute accordingly.

Eventually, G1000 NXi Flight Planner will replace sim core flight planner but that is much further down the road. Notably, other third parties who make popular MSFS planes are using the Working Title code flight planner embedded in the NXi.

Caution: loading an IFR plan from LNM into the sim the first time will force a STAR and Approach even if the LNM plan did not select one. Load the plan again and it should pick Direct/Automatic.

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I already gave LNM a shot today and to my surprise I actually enjoyed creating clean flight plans with an external tool, something I initially wanted to avoid, the tool is really easy to use, good documentation too, so I’ll stick to it for now.

I had issues with loading a flight plan from LNM today too though. The game ignored my approach on first load, and when reloading it seemed to add oddities again. Setting the approach to automatic made the flight plan clean but I don’t understand the “Automatic” setting.

Good to know while it looked weird in the planner it would’ve looked properly with the NXi, I didn’t even start the flight to test it.

Direct means you don’t need to follow a Standard Instrument Departure route when leaving the Departure field. After clearing the airfield airspace, you go straight to your first enroute waypoint.

Automatic for arrival means you’re waiting on ATC to assign you a runway/approach for landing as you get closer to the destination, usually based on prevailing wind at that location and/or active runways in use.

Ah I completely forgot about ATC, I have it turned off, that makes a lot of sense that they’d assign me an approach when setting it to automatic.

Alright so I’ll experiment some more with LNM+NXi and hope I can coax the game to let me fly the nice and clean flight plans I click together in LNM and maybe I’ll try to incorporate ATC as the next step then.

I’m no expert at this stuff, still learning as well. I looks to me that if you compare your screenshot of the KSFO approach with the actual approach plate posted later, that the flight plan is directing you to fly the complete ILS approach, including the procedure turn starting at the Mission Bay VOR. If you had included at STAR the routing might have looked different, and IRL ATC would likely have vectored you around to avoid having you fly the whole procedure.

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Instrument rated pilot here. Agreed. The top picture followed the ILS 9 procedure quite nicely.

Yes… Except between CARDI…TORIE, which should have been DCT, not RF leg :rofl:

But we know that’s ongoing issues with the sim where routes are smoothed, even when they shouldn’t be.

But yes, I know what you’re saying: the procedure is indeed to get to Mission Bay, head outbound for course reversal and then join final rolling out of the turn.

Yeah I mean I could pull the chart and look at it more closely, but generally speaking it looked correct. Some procedures are pretty involved. Imagine what he’d think if he flew an approach with a DME arc!

For clarity, I wasn’t saying you were wrong. I was just making a joke about the route smoothing that’s ubiquitous in MSFS.

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I was joking, I didn’t take it that way.

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