Using Microsoft Flight Simulator to Practice Adverse Weather Flights

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Using Microsoft Flight Simulator to Practice Adverse Weather Flights
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Practicing All-Weather Flight Conditions in MSFS

Occasionally, General Aviation (GA) pilots encounter adverse weather conditions. On extended flights, there's a good chance that you'll encounter unexpected weather conditions. Being knowledgeable, prepared and practiced for adverse weather conditions helps ensure that you will be able to manage conditions appropriately and safely.

Microsoft's Flight Simulator (MSFS) 2020 can help you practice flying skills in most weather conditions that you will encounter.

MSFS robust weather condition settings can be set prior to a flight or updated while in-flight. Live, location-based actual weather conditions can also be set to drive simulated weather.

VFR to IFR Flight Simulation Training

MSFS virtual pilots can also simulate IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) flight conditions, for those pilots who want to practice flights that transition from VFR to IFR.  

Dangerous in the real world, you can simulate flying into a wall of overcast clouds, performing a 180-degree turn while maintaining altitude and airspeed, and flying back into VFR airspace.

Practicing Emergency Landings due to Pitot Malfunctions

Pitot icing and tube blocking typically affects all on-board air data systems, including the pilot and copilot airspeed indicators. Simulating a partial or complete malfunction of the Pitot system can be simulated via weather and other simulator settings.

Advanced Avionics In-Flight Practice

Selected MSFS virtual aircraft are equipped with weather radar, navigation and lightning detection. Simulated advanced avionics, like the GARMIN G1000NXI, are becoming available to be added-on to virtual aircraft.

Working with the MSFS Weather Settings

Changing the weather settings within Microsoft Flight Simulator is easy to do. While flying in a selected virtual aircraft, you can change wind speeds, cloud heights, barometric settings and more.

Weather Settings Are Key for Glider Pilots

With the upcoming 40th anniversary release of MSFS, fixed wing gliders will be introduced for the first time. Glider pilots will appreciate the capability to set seasons, cloud density and frequency, as gliders are powered primarily by wind lift generated under cloud formations.

Glider pilots that want to experience an extended flight can set the weather conditions to provide a Cloud Street.

Experience Extreme Weather Flying with MSFS

In October 2021, Hurricane Sam, a strong Cape Verde hurricane was raging near Bermuda. MSFS provides a configuration option to set live global weather, and a flight enthusiast spotted Hurricane Sam on his General Aviation aircraft's Garmin navigation system live flight weather.

Plotting a night takeoff in his darkened sport aircraft, he set a course on his simulated in-cockpit Garmin flight navigation system, for a flight through through the eye of the hurricane.

Many significant updates have occurred since this October 2021 flight, including improvements to the real-time weather simulation, which adds to the utility of using MSFS as a real-world flight simulation training tool.

For Storm Chaser Enthusiasts: The STORMS MSFS Add-on

MSFS Sofly application developer provides STORMS, an add-on that enables you to experience what it's like to be a storm chasing weather pilot.

The STORMS add-on provides over 35 varied missions that are fully voiced to provide exciting and thrilling educational experiences.


The Microsoft Flight Simulator is a terrific way to practice all-weather flight conditions adjusted by season, time of day, and a variety of weather conditions.

Being knowledgeable, prepared and practiced for adverse weather conditions will help ensure your safety, the safety of your passengers and those along your flight path.


Scenarios to fly in Microsoft Flight Simulator. (Chris McGonegle, Sporty's PilotShop, 2/11/2022) In this article, we'll cover some scenarios to try, from fun flights to VFR maneuvers to instrument procedures and even emergencies.

How to change weather settings in Microsoft Flight Simulator.  (Sporty's Pilot Shop) Editing the weather settings within Microsoft Flight Simulator is easier than most know. While flying the digital aircraft, we can change wind speeds, cloud heights, even the barometric settings. Set the cloud ceilings for your favorite IFR approach 20 feet above the minimums and enjoy the challenge!

Pitot-Static Blockages. (Richard Newman, Aviation Safety, 10/20/2020) They can be insidious and present a conflicting picture of the airplane's performance and situation. Systems knowledge and good piloting skills are key.

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