Mon. Jan 18th, 2021

Microsoft Flight Simulator: Getting Started

In this video, we go over the primary menu functions and options within MSFS to get you off the runway and into the virtual skies. We also give you some quick tips to make your experience that much better.

Hello everyone and welcome to our first video here at Simulated Aviation. I’m Tim and today I’ll be walking you through the first steps to take when you open Microsoft Flight Simulator for the first time.

First we’ll be giving you a quick overview of the menu screens available to you. Starting with, The welcome screen. The welcome screen is your main screen to get you in the pit, and into the virtual skies. Here you can take a look at the world map and start your flight to anywhere in the world.

Live Events. On release we have the beautiful Courchevel landing challenge. Check back here regularly for new live events and try your hand at getting to the top of the leader-boards.

Flight Training. Here you can learn the basics of flight utilizing the Cessna 152. Included here is Everything from basic controls, landing patterns, and even taking to the skies for your first solo flight.

Activities. Within the Activities area you can find Bush Trips and landing challenges. More activities will be added as the Simulator develops.

Profile: Next we’ll head to your profile. Here you can access your Logbook, personal challenges, achievements, and any badges you may have earned. You can also access your hangar where you’ll find a beautiful showcase view of every aircraft you own. Within this area is the content manager as well. Here you can see what addons you have installed. From aircraft to airports, find it here. If you want to remove certain addons you can also do so from this section.

Marketplace. The next menu area we have is the marketplace. Here you can browse third party addons and upgrade to the Deluxe and Premium deluxe versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator

And last but not least, in fact one of the most important menus to look at is your options menu

I won’t be going over every single option in this video, but we will take a look at some key settings you’ll be wanting to turn on, and options you’ll want to configure to your liking. Most of your personal preferences would have been set the first time you launched the sim on the initial configuration screen.

We’ll be starting with the Assistance Options as these settings will affect your final experience while flying around the world. 

Under Piloting we can find assisted controls such as rudder assistance and assisted landings and takeoffs. Once again most of these will be set to you’re liking so make sure you select the options you see fit. If you’re new to aviation you may want to start with all of these settings turned on, and turn them off as you progress.

Under Aircraft Systems we’ll find options such as unlimited fuel, automatic aircraft lights, and an auto-mixture control. 

Under Failure & Damage we’ll find anything that will break your aircraft. Things like over-speeding, or colliding into a tree will effect this. I currently have them all disabled, but feel free to enable these as you get more comfortable with the simulator. 

Navigation Aids are fantastic when trying to navigate around the world. You can turn these on or off to increase or decrease your realism within the simulator. We like to make sure the Point of Interest or POI markers are enabled. This is a great tool when looking for airports, or scenic locations to fly through. The taxi-ribbon is also helpful for larger airports that might be overwhelming with the abundance of taxi-ways and runways. 

The Notifications will pop up on your screen mid flight. The pop up notifications include things like Flying tips, software tips, as well as your aircraft systems for if anything goes wrong. 

Under User-Experience you can enable or disable certain menus that automatically open when you enter the sim, and you can also turn on or off the ATC Voices. This won’t disable the ATC Menu in-game. 

Moving to General under options, the first tab we have is Graphics, most of this depends on your computer and what’s under the hood. However we did find that turning TAA on for the Anti Aliasing option can help improve frames across the board. 

Under Camera, if we scroll all the way to the bottom we have the option to turn on the Instrument HUD or heads up display. This is all of the information you can see about your aircraft on the chase camera. If you want to take clean screenshots or not be bothered with all your flight information, you can turn this off to make for a cleaner experience. 

Under Traffic, in order to see other users in the Microsoft Flight Simulator world you’ll want to make sure Show Nameplates is enabled. In this menu you can decrease the amount of AI aircraft, vehicles, ground crew, etc if you’re struggling with FPS. 

Data. To ensure you’ll be able to fly with friends and take advantage of Live Weather and Live Air Traffic, you’ll want to make sure all of these settings are enabled. 

Heading over to the Flight Model area, we have two modes. Legacy and Modern. If you find that you’re fighting the aircraft to stay in the air, consider switching to the modern flight model to make for an easier flight experience. 

And the final thing to note within the General settings is the Developer Mode. Turn this on to access additional settings like your FPS Values. 

Now setting up your Controls. This will all depend on what type of Flight Control System you have. I personally use the Thrustmaster T.16000 and the Saitek X-52 Throttle. But there are a few options that will help you setup your FCS. 

When searching for something to assign to your controllers, make sure that under filter, you select ALL, as by default, Microsoft Flight Simulator will only show your pre-assigned controls. And if you’re struggling to find what you’re looking for, we can search for it above.

Basic Controls you’ll want to assign are your pitch, roll, and yaw. You can change the sensitivity of these controls by clicking on sensitivity. We have setup our flight controls to have a sensitivity of 25. The dead zone will depend on how new or old your stick is, and how much you’ve used it. Adjust the deadzone so that there is no movement from your controls when your stick is centered. As some sticks may experience a little wiggle room. 

You’ll also want to make sure you have your elevator and aileron trim setup as the weather can be unforgiving at times.


Some key buttons to point out are as follows:

Push back: Left Shift + P 

Internal/External Camera: END 

Slew Mode: Y

Sit Higher In the Pit: SpaceBar

Move The Camera Around: Right Mouse Button + Drag

Autostart: Left Control + E


Once you have all of your settings configured you’re ready to take to the Virtual Skies of Microsoft Flight Simulator. 

Simply go to the world map, find an airport of your liking, Click on the airport and set as departure. On the top left we can select which aircraft we’d like to fly and on the top right we can select our weather settings and what type of traffic we can see within Microsoft Flight Simulator. 

The live players option will show only other players that have the “Live Players” option enabled. All players will show anyone that is flying on your server region including live flights in the real world. 

By clicking on preset for weather and time, we are able to select what type of weather we want to see, and at what time of day. 

Finally if you would like to pre-program a flight plan, you may select an airport you want to land at, and set it as the arrival. 

Now you’ve got your flight setup, click fly, and begin your adventure. 

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