FlightAware Discussions

Visualizing ADS-B Data in MSFS2020

Just found this and was totally unaware - the new Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 gets (or can get) its “AI” traffic from FlightAware ADS-B data.

Apparently we can visualize air traffic in full 3D in the new Microsoft Flight Simulator. It gets the data from the “firehose”.


There is a 5 minute delay on the ‘Real Time’ traffic though!


Shame there is no way we can’t use our own feeds in the game

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Correct! Although it’s a slightly delayed version of our Firehose product.


It’s still a very interesting way to visualize air/ground traffic even if slightly delayed.

There was a video recently of a 3D visualization of ADS-B data that I thought was just amazing. You could watch traffic taxi and take off at major airports. I bet it was just this.

I think it adds a whole other facet to flight simulation and bet airports start putting up monitors of ground and near air traffic just for public interest. The 5 minute delay might be confusing, though.

Do you know if there is a way for airports (and those of us running FlightAware ADS-B nodes) to get more current data in FS2020 where the visualizations are more real-time? Not as important for hobbyists, but the delay might frustrate airport viewers using something like that to follow flights they might be taking? But it would also be cool to synchronize a virtual flight with a real life one like flying “formation” with a real life pilot flying over or near your house so you hear the flyover. Totally unnecessary but kind of amazing where we have come with all this technology.

that’s cool…so if someone scripts an ATC feed that is 5 minutes behind, you could fly “live” with real planes.


Here’s a live LAX feed with a simulator view, include ATC

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A nifty bit of parking at LAX


In the above post, the photo of Virgin’s plane G-VORC at KLAX is real, and is NOT Photoshopped.

Captured by Jeroen Stroes .
© Jeroen Stroes / pinkfroot
This picture was shot from a helicopter, flying at 1000ft between the runways of KLAX.
The Plane in photo was below the level of helicopter, only few hundred feet above the Parking lot.

The parking lot is located just before the start of runway (see photo below).


I noticed the delay too but I don’t think I saw any civilian aircraft, only commercial flights. I’m also not sure every commercial flight is duplicated in MSFS traffic. I sat on the DFW taxiway waiting for more aircraft to land around 5pm and expected to see more as I was also watching ADS-B traffic at the same time. I hope I’m wrong on both issues.

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I think you are right, though. There seems to be little or no private aircraft, or at least with my settings, I don’t see any, and the commercial traffic does seem thinned.

It makes sense, though. The sim is phenomenally beautiful and they might not want to bog it down too much at busy airports. For those that fly “live”, there are quite a few other virtual pilots which reduces the need to bring in real-world traffic.

Still, it’s very cool to see the commercial traffic, but I bet it is getting thinned.

I read a MSFS forum post that others noticed the weak LIVE traffic but there was also a mention that LIVE traffic had been fixed/improved. It does seem like more aircraft are in the air now.

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I was showing my son the realism and detail of MSF2020 doing a little ‘local flying’ and saw a commercial flight indicated on the sim. I looked at my local SkyAware map and there was the flight - different positioning due the delay, but pretty good demo of how the live data is being integrated


Shame it never seems to work. Flight Aware shows traffic online, but starting at a busy location and nothing shows in the sim. Just wondering if this is a Flight Aware issue or a Microsoft one? There’s certainly something wrong with the feed.

FS2020 is having teething pains. The real world weather is wonky for a lot of people, too. Some see weather while others don’t. We see the same thing with FlightAware aircraft. Sometimes you see them just fine while other times there at least seems to be nothing.

There has been one patch since release but it addressed all the downloader issues people were having. There is supposed to be another patch in a week or two that we’re hoping addresses the weather/traffic issues.

And just to be clear, I don’t me we in any official capacity. I just know one of the guys who was in the beta test and he communicates the stuff we see to whatever bug report system they use.