Weather in sim vs VATSIM


I am using XP12 with the native live weather or the VisualXP weather data. The weather never equals the weather I get from ATIS on a terminal on VATSIM.
Of course weather in the simulator is produced by the chosen weather source and not VATSIM. My question, is there a way you can change the weather according to the VATSIM ATIS? I suppose not. How do pilots deal with this weather discrepancy (simulator vs VATSIM)?

I am using the built-in weather in MSFS and it usually matches the METARs that VATSIM provides - VATSIM usually downloads and divulges METARs from the NOAA-source.

Hi Thomas,

In XP11/XP12 there is no way to change the weather source that is used by the live weather. You would need to use a third-party addon to download and display different weather and sources. In contrast, I’ve noticed that sometimes Vatsim ATIS weather does not match the real weather observation/sources. Maybe because the controller has not published an up to date ATIS.

How do I deal with this weather discrepancy? If the weather difference between my sim and Vatsim is very small, I don’t worry about it and just keep flying. If there is a big difference for whatever reason, I will switch my sim built-in weather to “manual” and enter the weather data so it matches the Vatsim ATIS.

An ATIS by a controller does have no influence at all on the weather. Controllers get METARs presented by the VATSIM weather server that in turn pulls them from NOAA (and other sources). Since METARs are only published every 30 in 30 minutes (sometimes with even bigger intervals in between them), this is what VATSIM controllers know about weather.
The weather that pilots download is completely independent from what VATSIM ATCOs see and use.

1 Like

In this regard, I’d like to add:

Please don’t do that. The point of using live weather is to make sure that all pilots are at roughly the same levels and speeds. Even if you think your weather might be wrong, all other pilots (at least those using the same simulator) will have the same “wrong” weather so if you change your weather, you will become the unpredictable component that CoC B13 is supposed to prevent.
Also keep in mind that the VATSIM METAR can often be outdated by 30 or more minutes, so even if your sim and the ATIS (or VATSIM’s METAR) disagree, it’s very likely that your sim just uses more up to date data. And if they disagree by a lot, then there has probably just been a strong weather shift, in which case changing your weather will most likely have a significant impact on your speed/altitude/WCA relative to other pilots. And while setting the weather manually based on the VATSIM METAR will probably give you a good approximation of what the METAR says on the ground, it will probably butcher winds at altitude (which are the more important factor here).

What I was referring to was only changing certain weather items (clouds, vis, etc). I always use current real word data for winds, pressure and temps to stay in compliance with B13. I don’t change that, as I know how this impacts ATC flow and other users.

1 Like

Thanks Andreas for explaining the flow of weather data for a controller’s ATIS.

1 Like

My experience is that the weather is somewhat roughly in the ballpark of what the current METAR say. I have, for example, never experienced that the METAR said 195/12 and the XP12 native weather gave me 268/5 (or something similar). But if the METAR says 155/10, then the sim might give 148/12 or thereabout, which I don’t find completely unreasonable.
Real life weather also doesn’t follow the METAR, but can vary in between because the METAR is only updated in an interval.

Also, I would like to add, that in XP12 you can open the map (M key), zoom in on your position, select the airport and pick information. Here you can see the exact weather XP12 is modelling at this airport. Instead of changing the weather to conform with the VATSIM METAR, you can just read it off the sim itself.

But again, I have never noticed any huge discrepancy between the sim weather and METAR’s.

1 Like