Box art - Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 | How to enter traffic pattern and land

Landing an aircraft in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is the most nerve-wracking part of flying. Airplanes are very good at staying in the air, and forcing one onto the ground without destroying it takes some finesse. Fortunately, figuring out how to land one aircraft gives you a firm grasp on how to do it with others.

We’ll cover how to begin your approach in Flight Simulator 2020 and land. We’ll also include how to enter a traffic pattern if required to do so by Air Traffic Control.

How to land in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

Landing an aircraft is not an easy task. Not only do you have the work of getting the plane on the ground, but you also have to follow directions from Air Traffic Control.

When you begin your landing approach in Flight Simulator 2020, you’ll need to radio ATC. They’ll give you instructions you’ll need to follow. Sometimes, you’ll get the go-ahead to come directly in for a landing, but most of the time, you’ll need to enter a traffic pattern.

How to enter a traffic pattern in Flight Simulator 2020


Left-hand Traffic Pattern Image Source: CFI

When you begin your approach, you’ll need to radio ATC for approach instructions. I’ll use radio traffic from one of my flights into Louisville Muhammad Ali International (SDF) as an example, but you’ll encounter similar instructions no matter what airport you land at.

Upon requesting permission to land, you may receive instructions like the following:

Louisville Tower: (Aircraft Callsign), Louisville Tower. Fly left downwind runway 35L. Altimeter 29.92 Wind 275 at 3.

This instruction probably seems incredibly unintuitive, but it’s pretty simple:

It tells you:

  • Set your altimeter to standard pressure (29.92 inches)
  • Wind is blowing from 275 degrees at 3 knots

And to enter a Left-hand Traffic Pattern:

  • Line-up with the correct runway (35L) and begin flying parallel to it.
  • When you reach the end of the runway, begin your turn left, then straighten out when you’re perpendicular to the runway
  • Fly for a short distance, and turn left again, straightening when you’re perpendicular to the runway
  • Fly the length of the runway again, then turn left and repeat

You’ll find yourself in a standard Left-hand Traffic Pattern. This is one of the most common traffic patterns you’ll encounter. You’ll continue to fly the traffic pattern until ATC gives you landing clearance.

How to come in for a landing in Flight Simulator 2020

Flight Simulator 2020 Coming in for landing

It may take a few minutes, but ATC eventually will give you landing clearance:

Louisville Tower: (Aircraft Callsign), cleared to land runway 35L. Wind 275 at 3.

Again ATC confirms wind direction and speed, and clears you to land.

Continue in the Left-hand Traffic Pattern until you come to the heading of your designated runway. As you’re making your way to the correct heading, begin your descent, bleeding off speed as you go. Once you’ve reached a safe speed, you can deploy landing gear (if applicable) and use your throttle to keep the aircraft at a high enough speed to prevent a stall.

By the time you circle around to the runway, you should be around 200-300 ft. You’ll need to follow these instructions in quick order:

  • Deploy flaps to continue bleeding speed.
  • Continue your descent at a fairly shallow angle.
  • Let the plane drop out of the sky as your speed decreases.
  • As you’re about to touchdown, flare the aircraft by pulling down on the stick, and the aircraft should drop to the tarmac.
  • Zero the throttle and apply the brakes (and reverser if applicable).
  • When the aircraft drops to 20 knots, release the brakes (and zero the engines if using reverser) and radio for taxi instructions.

Every plane handles differently, but the instructions above should ensure a safe landing each time. The hardest part is touchdown, as it’s easy to overcompensate and either under or overshoot the runway. However, with practice, landing should become second-nature to you.