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Microsoft Flight Simulator Beginner’s Guide

Flying On Xbox

Microsoft Flight Simulator has just taken flight on Xbox Series X and S. Not only that, it’s available on Game Pass for no extra charge. If you’re looking to book a ticket on Microsoft’s revamped aircraft simulator, now is the best time. But before you’re cleared for take off, you may want to cover the basics of directing a metallic cylinder at hundreds of miles per hour through the sky. To help you out, we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to Microsoft Flight Simulator with six key points to know.


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Microsoft Flight Simulator Beginner’s Guide

Microsoft Flight Simulator beginners guide

It’s best to start with something small before moving on to the bigger aircraft.

1. Complete the Tutorials

If you’re interested in Microsoft Flight Simulator for Xbox, chances are you’ve flown a plane or two in another game. While it may be tempting to hop right into the cockpit of a Boeing 747 and take to the skies, it’s worth remembering that Flight Simulator is a more realistic game than most. There are actual flight readouts, controls, and physics to account for when in the air. As a result, it’s more than worth your time to complete the tutorials.

The tutorials are segmented into a few key areas that cover controls and general aviation, as well as takeoff and landing. They’re super quick, too, so you should be able to knock them out in an hour. Afterwards, consider doing a few of the available challenges to really hone in that muscle memory.

2. Don’t Be Afraid of Autopilot

When you start playing Microsoft Flight Simulator for the first time, many of the assisted flight options will be selected by default. While you can certainly turn these settings off to get a more realistic feel, you should consider leaving them on while learning to fly. 

These settings can help you correct a stall, tailspin, or any other disaster waiting to take you out of the sky. You can also access your “Flight Assistant” via the cursor menu at any time during a flight to bail you out of a bad situation. Just don’t expect it to save you when your nose is ten metres from a mountain face.

Flight Simulator Beginner's guide

The Flight Assistant is an invaluable tool for beginners in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

3. How To Avoid Stalling in Microsoft Flight Simulator

You may notice that while flying a plane upwards, you suddenly lose all airspeed and begin tumbling downward. This process is called “stalling,” and it occurs when your angle of attack (the angle of your plane relative to the ground) cannot be maintained by your plane’s acceleration. An alarm will ring off in most planes, warning you that you are about to stall. But to avoid this situation all together, be sure to only climb with a small angle of attack.

You can see your angle of attack on the readout to the left of your fuel. Keep your plane within the green and yellow segments and you should avoid stalling. If you are using an Xbox controller, you can tilt the left joystick until you find a good spot to hold. There’s also an option in the Flight Assistant cursor menu to have the autopilot prevent stalling altogether. If you’re looking for a more exact approach, though, a flight control system would allow you greater control over both your angle of attack and flight altogether. Speaking of which…

4. Consider a Flight Control System for Better Maneuvering

While using an Xbox controller in Microsoft Flight Simulator is certainly more intuitive than a mouse and keyboard, a flight control system can offer you an even better experience. The VelocityOne Flight Universal Control System is a full-fledged controller built for Microsoft Flight Simulator. It features a true-to-life yoke that can be turned 180° in precise movements to give you complete control over your aircraft.

Microsoft Flight Simulator beginner's guide

The VelocityOne Flight Universal Control System is everything you could need in a dedicated flight sim controller.

You can map multiple controls to the attached modular throttle quadrant, giving you complete customization over your flights. There’s even a status indicator panel that sends readouts from your plane’s cockpit directly to you, even when you’re flying in third person. 

The VelocityOne Flight Universal Control System is compatible with both Xbox Series X and S systems, as well as Windows 10. You can sign up to be notified when pre-orders go live here.

5. Taking Off and Landing in Microsoft Flight Simulator

Two of the most challenging aspects of flying in Flight Simulator are taking off and landing. It’s best to practice both of these tasks in a smaller plane when you first begin. Landing a jumbo jet is very different to a Cessna, but learning how to land the latter will make the former much easier.

When first starting out, begin your flights from the runway instead of the gate. This prevents you from having to constantly taxi your plane to the runway. Taking off is as simple as pushing your throttle up and angling your plane upwards when you have assist options on. You can use the “Travel To” option in the cursor menu to automatically travel back to the runway. This allows you to practice taking off multiple times in quick succession, turning off a few assist options each time as you grow more comfortable.

Landing is more of a challenge. However, you can use the “Travel To” option here again to teleport instantly to a perfect location for practice. This can help you avoid having to line up a landing in the beginning, which is easily one of the most difficult aspects. After perfecting your landings, a flight control system can help you line up the landings yourself with enough precision to avoid veering off the runway.

Microsoft Flight Simulator beginner's guide

Microsoft Flight Simulator packs a lot of tools to help you practice take offs and landings.

6. Take to the Skies With Turtle Beach

With these tips under your belt, you’ll be able to make those long-haul flights in no time. Don’t be afraid to turn off assist options as you progress and see just how good of a pilot you are. If you want to take your Microsoft Flight Simulator experience to the next level, the VelocityOne Flight Universal Control System will be there to take you to new heights.


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Nicolas Perez is a journalist who has played way too much Civilization 5. He’s rambling on Twitter @Nic_Perez_.