XPlane11-12 vs MSFS flightmodel

XPlane12 is still in development, but I see a lot of interviews where the head of Xplane makes statements summed up like ‘‘XP12 gonna be ultra realistic in terms of the flightmodel, while MSFS is just a good looking arcade game’’.

What are your thoughts on the realism of the flightmodel in comparison?
(currently with Xplane11 and later on with 12)

(This is not about which sim is better in general, there is no point arguing about that, this is purely about the flightmodel, so please keep it on topic and civil.)


one thing that stood out for me was this statement:

‘‘Microsoft flight sim wont even let you use their sim for training… and Xplane is at the testpilot level’’



I don’t believe (someone can correct me if I am wrong) that this is new for XP12, XP is known for its flight model already.


It’s called marketing … but I suspect deep down Laminar knows they are done for


The focus in XP12 on the flight model can be appreciated. But as always: how a plane in the sim ‘feels’ depends just as much on your own settings like sensitivity etc and the controls you are using (thorttles, yoke, etc), and will definitely vary by plane.

The statement he made about testpilot level… I think he is trying to ensure his marketshare in the market that has become very dominated by MSFS.

I might give XP12 a try when it comes out, as the whole cloud based architecture of MSFS also has disadvantages. If I will like it, will also depend on the visual quality, as a perfect mathematical flight model is to be appreciated, but my eyes like to be pleased as well :wink:


flight models may be impressive, but nowhere i found evidence that xp 12 will even look remotely better than 11. Same dull washed out grey/green landscapes, boxed shaped buildings. the trailers are all eager to zoom in on details to avoid the sight of the overview that will be disappointing once again.

Even if you like realistic models, you still want to see a different landscape when you go from Dublin to Marseille. And msfs2020 actually has that feel. No matter where you choose to go.


We’ve been told that for years with XP11. How can you improve upon perfection? :wink:

Joking aside, like a lot of companies, what they have right now is the best ever until they have something new to sell you.

The fact of the matter is Asobo can continue to improve the current flight model, and I hope that they do. Laminar aren’t ever going to improve the visual fidelity of XP to the level MSFS enjoys out of the box, you don’t have to spend hundreds of pounds on scenery packs for chunks of the country you wish to fly in. It’s already there, on a global scale.

In other words, Asobo have by far the easier job.


Before MSFS X-Plane was the only sim seriously interested in a realistic flight model. With P3D a significant second place finisher.

MSFS is now that second place finisher in terms of flight model and is improving.

I don’t see Microsoft trying to make MSFS a commercial flight simulator. I just don’t think the payoff is worth the effort.

Laminar Research has made creating a commercial flight simulator a priority, now that they have been relegated to the #2 slot for consumer flight simulators I suspect they will double down on marketing X-Plane for commercial use as well as consumer use.





It is nothing new, XP11 flight model is already way superior than MSFS. But then again, you’ll be flying in a dead world, which you need to inject with $1,000 worth of add-ons to bring it alive. And then there is also the weather part, which is pretty frustrating. You’ll practically fly the most realistic aircraft in PC in an environment that is akin to a wind tunnel that has earth-look alike graphic projection. Transitioning between one METAR / TAF zone to another, feels like the wind tunnel operator pulling switch to adjust the wind strength and direction: abrupt and pretty violent. As realistic as it does, they don’t teach you to expect some updraft wind that follow mountainous countour or something useful for GA or glider flying like that. Back then, I pick it over P3D’s plethora of addons availability, for me it was a bit easier choice than current one.

XP12 mostly addresses the graphic, the world, and weather part. Hopefully, they’ll get it right.

There is no exact XP or MSFS is better overall, since I am still very hard pressed to pick between the two. There are so many ways to address the MSFS inherrent lack of flight model realism, but its brilliant weather engine and immerssion is more than make up for the deficiencies. At this age and stature, I am no longer feel obliged to pick sides nor inclined to be a fanboy like early 20 year olds. I know what I want, and I want immersion and more on the “look & feel”, which at current state, MSFS already feel slightly better. I have tons of add-ons and investments in XP11 (some of which are said to be XP12 compatible), I honestly like them, but it’s been like 3 months since I last touched them. The appeal of much more realistic flight model of ToLiss A321, the superior and more immersive BSS soundpack for PW1000GTF just doesn’t move me anymore, when I am limited to fly on region where I install the ortho textures.


I agree Microsoft’s interests are more geared towards their Metaverse but there could feasibly come a time when the aircraft industry see MSFS as the best option for their simulators and it will have little to do with scenery. I have noticed more and more RL pilots are finding some handling characteristics to be better in MSFS already.


Yes, and I’m done with spending hours cranking out Ortho, which then look a little rubbish when draped over a low quality mesh. Want to improve the mesh? Sure, but now you can’t have the Ortho.


but at which point? from what i have seen with airflow and all these hundreds of measuring points, where forces are getting calculated, it looks all similar if not more advanced in MSFS, me as an casual simgamer I can’t see where Xplane is actually far ahead.

I would really like to know, where is the big difference?


In the two years since launch many rl pilots have posted here about the accuracy of the flight model. It’s more about whether a plane makes optimal use of the available model, which many planes don’t, because of the lack of resources and knowledge.
Now with SU10 the encrypted files will be decrypted. This will open the stock planes for modification. Which will shortly be done for the c172.
Let’s have this discussion again after this mod has dropped and been flown by a few people with accurate knowledge.

And indeed @HomieFFM, nobody has come up with a list of arguments why the other sim would be better. It all seems a matter of taste, nostalgia, it doesn’t go further than that ‘it feels better’. Currently I am in training for LAPL and the characteristics of the planes I fly seem accurate enough to me. It’s as much about whether my controls are tuned accurately, which they often aren’t. I have the other sim as well and don’t feel much of a difference.

Here’s another thread on the same subject:

And this citation:


I hate this sort of thread, it can bring out rabid fanboyish behaviour in my opinion.

I have a foot in both camps so I have no axe to grind either way. I love what MS/Asobo are doing to make the world a really interesting and dynamic place to fly in. For exploring the world, its got no competition. But I also love Laminars passion for making their flight model as good as it can be.

There is no one winner for me, they each have areas where one is better than the other and long may that continue.


I cannot count anymore how many times I saw such XP vs. MSFS topics and I (again) go to say that the comparison of both sims is pointless.

XP was created for professional training and especially for what its name stands for: testing experimental aircraft designs by small manufacturers. XP is not about flying but testing aerodynamics and aircraft behavior in the first place. The “ultra realistic flight model” also is only unlocked if you obtain a special usb stick and pay some bucks more :wink:

MSFS is, when it comes to flying known aircraft as good as XP is. The core uses the same models right now (blade element theory and CFD simulation - that was not the case with FSX), the only big difference is that MSFS is limited on how many lifting surfaces one can add to an aircraft. This especially is important when it comes to stall characteristics on multi-wing aircraft.

If you want to fly just from A to B with some aircraft like the C172 or the A32N there is no real difference in their behavior on both simulations (if the aircraft flight models were tuned accordingly! I speak about similar aircraft :wink: ). Keep in mind that aircraft FDEs need tuning on both simulations - default aircraft on both sims are usually not study level.


XP still has more measuring points over all of the blade elements, from the propeller blades (the biggest deal for many GA pilots, probably) simulating its prop wash, all the way to the tiny bits like the effect of turbulence on all the wing surfaces. You can see how easy it is for high-fidelity airliner add-ons in XP11 can easily maintain real world-like flight profile compared to MSFS. Even the legendary PDMG’s autopilot has to make quite a lot of twitchy out of character corrections when doing the RNAV path.

Then there is also the bit that drives hardcore simmer nuts: control inputs. In car or driving sim, people talk a lot about input lags, and XP11 simply has one of the best “feels” out there. My real world pilot friends can testify that it has much closer control profile feel to the real world counterpart. MSFS is still super twitchy and require quite a lot of configuring to get it somewhat right, but then you will be defeated by their often exaggerated weather effects.

But all in all, it is just a very subtle difference that doesn’t take it into “arcade” realm.


I’m fairly sure they in fact mentioned it is “good looking”

That’s not what I meant to say, I wanted you guys to ignore the visuals for this thread, just focusing on the flightmodel.
I changed a few words now, sorry for the misunderstanding.

This is more about LR being willing to jump through FAA hoops and less about the quality of either.

That said XP in is certified in extremely specific conditions, if you install it on your home PC it is not certified. Them making statements like this is purely marketing hype and nothing more.

Directly from XP’s website.
“Certification requires not only that the user have the certified X-Plane software, but also certified hardware (cockpit and flight controls) available through companies like Precision Flight Controls and GLEIM Aviation. This is because flight training systems can only be certified as a complete package (a software and hardware combination). The certified software is available for $500 to $1,000 per copy from PFC and GLEIM and the hardware runs from around $8,000 to $500,000 depending on your needs. The retail version of X-Plane purchased at X-Plane.com is not certified for flight training right out of the box, since certification requires a software and hardware combination.”