Microsoft Flight Simulator Guide – Flight Planning

Flight Simulator Flight planning:

Aircraft over water

It’s great to just plug some coordinates into Microsoft Flight Simulator, teleport in, and tool around a landmark or your hometown in an aircraft of your choosing. If you’re just wandering, things like headings and directions don’t matter much. For a more simulator-y experience, though, you’ll need things like airports and runways. And a flight plan.

In this Microsoft Flight Simulator guide, we’ll teach you about flight plans, how to make them, and the various ways you have to navigate from point A to point B (and point C, for that matter).


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:

There are IFR and VFR. IFR stands for instrument flight rules, and VFR stands for visual flight rules. If you would like to fly without instruction from the control tower on what altitude to maintain and direction to head, use VFR, and if you would like to fly with instruction from the control tower use IFR.

It is good to use it because you will communicate with traffic control, so a control tower will instruct you to maintain a certain altitude and turn to a heading direction until you approach the 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.

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