Microsoft Flight Simulator Guide – Tips for Planning Your Aircraft Route Like a Pro

Microsoft Flight Simulator Guide – Tips for Planning Your Aircraft Route Like a Pro:

Aircraft over water

You can select any aircraft type, departure and arrival airport, active runway and destination where you want to fly to.

In this Guide, we will teach you how to fly and use the navigation system from Point A to B and C.


Flight plans are put together with that specific aircraft and destination in mind. And from the very basics to navigating around a given airport, there’s a whole lot to learn. So, before we go into specific tips, let’s start by giving you a little background on flight plans.

Flight plans:

Let’s say that you’re piloting a Boeing 747, and you’re landing at Dulles Airport. Before you go to place your coordinates in Microsoft Flight Simulator, you need to think about where you’re going to be when you arrive. What’s a nice mid-afternoon flight to LAX for the wife worth? What if she’s on the same flight? What if you need to be in a morning meeting? All of these things and more factor into the overall flight plan.

In short, a flight plan is a detailed map of your route. The first time you fly, you’ll just have your planned takeoff and landing points. Some planes have an area at the top that’s actually used for a flight plan. This is useful when you first start flying. The plane is flying around in a general area, so if something goes wrong, you’ll have a plan to help you fix it.

If you need to deviate from your planned route, it’s possible to fly a flight plan that encompasses all the places that the plane is needed. This makes for a safer journey, as well as allowing you to make one particular, specific trip. In that case, the plane won’t be “stuck” in the place where it was sent.

When you actually start flying, most airplanes will have an interactive flight plan button.

How to create a flight plan:

flight plan

You’ll need a flight plan if you’re planning to fly somewhere or want to take off from your home airport and head to another one. You don’t necessarily need a plan if you’re just visiting someone or even heading to a park (though we wouldn’t advise it).

Regardless of whether you’re flying solo or on a multi-crew aircraft, creating a flight plan is key to any pilot. It outlines how you’ll get where you’re going and should include the name of the destination airport, your anticipated flight time and speed, and a forecast weather report. If you have a long-haul flight, you’ll want to include the time it’ll take you to get to the final destination, as well as where you’re flying to from.

Flying from point A to point B (and C):

Headed for Seattle? You’ll need a flight plan!

How do you prepare to fly from one city to another? You can book a ticket, of course. This is how you navigate from point A to point B. By booking a flight, you’ll give the airport a location and let them know when and where you’ll be flying. This is generally the easiest way to get started. However, it’s not necessarily the cheapest way, either. Before you fly from A to B, you’ll need to calculate the takeoff distance (or aerodynamic drag for vertical landings), calculate the fuel needs for both your takeoff and landing, choose a method of landing, and how you’re going to get back down to Earth.

Then you’ll need to make sure you have fuel for both your takeoff and landing. Now you can choose where to go and what to do.

How to get the plane to follow the flight plan:

In a simulator, you don’t control the plane directly. Instead, you simply use the “flight plan” to direct it in the right direction. In the main window, right-click the tray to see your profile.

There are two tabs at the top. One lets you view your flight plan. The other is your personal profile, which you can use to log in, adjust your flight plan, or have your profile name show up on the virtual displays. Click the “My Profile” tab.

On the left-hand side, under your profile name, you’ll see a section that says “Flight Plan.” Click it.

This section lists your “flight plan.” You can have multiple flight plans in the Flight Plan section. When you log into Microsoft Flight Simulator, you’ll see your profile name. Underneath is your flight plan.

Instrument Flight Rules vs. Visual Flight Rules:

Two primary sets of regulations dictate flight rules: instrument flight rules (IFR) and visual flight rules (VFR). If you prefer to fly without direction from air traffic control on altitude and direction, VFR is the preferred option. On the other hand, IFR is the ideal option for flights with guidance from air traffic control.

It’s beneficial to adopt IFR because it ensures communication with traffic control. The control tower will provide instructions on maintaining a specific altitude and turning in a particular direction to guide you to your destination airport.

How to look for airports and runways:

statue of liberty

Knowing where airports are can be useful for any simulator, but the standard way to see where a place of interest is to use a flight plan. You can see the fields that contain these maps under the list of templates in the “Packets” tab at the top of the Landing menu (pressing D will bring you to a more complete list).

If you’re using Windows 10 and want to look up runways, you’ll want to use Bing maps. The popular search engine has a flight plan search feature that works just as well.

Using flight plans in MSFS:

The base level of the Flight Plan system is flying manually, but a flight plan (also called a controller chart) is the official map of your flight plan. This is your chart that shows your route. We’ll go over them below.

Flight plan charts are created in MSFS with a pilot on the ground and a controller. It’s not very common these days for one person to be in charge of a multi-engine plane or a flight from New York to Miami, and it’s generally a good idea to keep the controller insight while you’re flying.


This Microsoft Flight Simulator guide is designed to help you learn how to make flight plans in MFS. Ideal approach and departure. This is the most commonly used approach plan that allows you to use nearly every airport in the world.

This is the most commonly used approach plan that allows you to use nearly every airport in the world.

With all details provided in this guide, now you are able to create a perfect flight plan for your next flights and enjoy your flying more than before!

I hope you enjoyed reading this article, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

14 thoughts on “Microsoft Flight Simulator Guide – Tips for Planning Your Aircraft Route Like a Pro

  1. Is this a game or is it something that is real? I want to get this for my brother as he has always told me that he wants to be a pilot but I need to know what it is exactly before engaging. I will be sure to share this article with him and I will let you know what he thinks. 

  2. I have never been on a plane but this looks like I can simulate a flight before I actually fly. Are you telling me this software can help you learn to fly? You gave me a lot of ins and out of flying as if I was going to fly the plane myself then you slip in there how the program functions. I understand the difference between mission control and “dude I got this” but what I am lost about is, does this function on a computer or is the Microsoft flight simulator actually in the plane?

  3. Just imagining how to create a flight plan is exciting. How much more will it be to use the flight simulator itself. The more I read about flight simulators the quicker I want to get started. Getting our plane to do exactly what we want it to do in the air is something that thrills me.

    1. Hi Ann,

      Thanks for the feedback. I don’t think it is that difficult to create a flight plan. You need to learn how to control aircraft while in the air or in the around.

  4. I have played Microsoft flight simulator on my pc, and I’m amazed at how realistic it is. I just wish they had more Airbus and Boeing Commercial aircraft. I never made flight plans as I just played for fun, but I’ll give that a try next time I play. 

    Have you tried Mobile Flight Simulators like RFS or Infinite Flight for iOS and Android?

    Looking forward to hear from you, Great Article and Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I  tried Flight Simulator on iOS once, but it is not as detailed as on the computer.

  5. When you just those graphics, how much has industry gone ahead in few years, or decades. Simulators are my favorite type of “game”, and flight is the second-best for me, first would be a train simulator. The great thing because you can learn a lot about planes, but also see great-looking scenery.

    1. Yes Flight Simulator is fun for those who want to sit at home and explore the world virtually and for those who want to become a real pilot. You are free to choose any aircraft to fly around the world.

  6. This is simply amazing!  Your review of flight simulators and flight planning is great, I’m over 40 years and I’ve never come across such a gem.  Although, reading how to make a flight plan is almost like planning a car journey, except a plane is so much bigger.  I was blown away with your detail and enthusiasm, I can’t wait for your next post! 

    1. Yes thanks for the feedback. This guide teaches you how to make a flight a plan when departing and arriving from anywhere in the world. Flight planning helps in navigation so you don’t get lost while flying.

  7. Wow, who would have thought that all these details could also be thought about when booking a plane ticket. Personally, I think it is a lot easier to book a plane ticket to a certain destination and let the airport deal with the rest.

    I suppose if you take your flying seriously or want to become a pilot, this app could make things a whole lot more interesting for you. Also booking virtual flights can be very interesting, especially if you can follow in real-time where you are going and what it all looks like.

    Technology is amazing!

    1. Yes technology is becoming more advanced than ever. Planning a flight virtually is like booking a ticket.

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