Microsoft Flight Simulator

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Microsoft Flight Simulator is a series of flight simulator programs. It is one of the longest-running, best-known, and most comprehensive home flight simulator programs on the market. It was an early product in the Microsoft application portfolio and differed significantly from Microsoft's other software. At 37 years old, it is the longest-running software product line for Microsoft, predating Windows by three years. Microsoft Flight Simulator may be the longest-running PC game series of all time.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is discussed as one of the best-looking video games to ever be released, and it contains a photo mode, which in Microsoft Flight Simulator is referred to as a Drone Camera.

MSFS: In this shot the light is created by the AI

Slew Mode

Slew is simply a useful shortcut way of quickly re-positioning your plane if you don't want to fly the normal way.

You can start the plane by enabling all the AI- Modes. If you have reached a stable flight position you can hit pause. Use key 'Y' to enter and exit Slew mode. Then you can move the plane in Slew to where you want it.

F1 to F4 are the slew altitude keys. If you want to Slew for many miles for whatever reason, push your joystick in the direction you want to go, and if it's not fast enough for you, hold down a keyboard arrow key at the same time to go to warp speed.

Drone Camera

  • Entered into the Active Pause state (Pause)
  • Press the Insert key on your keyboard
  • This is how you toggle the Drone Camera on and off.
  • You can also activate the Drone Camera by moving your mouse to the top of your screen and activating the top menu, then choosing Camera.

Drone ControlKeyboardController
Toggle Drone Depth of FieldF1B + Y
Toggle ForegroundF5B + left on d-pad
Drone Top Down ViewCtrl + SpaceX + Y
Attach Drone to Next TargetCtrl + Page UpNone
Attach Drone to Previous TargetCtrl + Page DownNone
Toggle Drone Auto ExposureCtrl + F4Y + LS
Toggle Drone Auto FocusF4B + LS
Decrease Drone Rotation SpeedF3X + RB
Decrease Drone Translation SpeedF1X + RT
Decrease Drone Depth of FieldF2B + LT
Increase Drone Depth of FieldF3B + RT
Decrease Drone ExposureCtrl + F2Y + LB
Increase Drone ExposureCtrl + F3Y + RB
Increase Drone Rotation SpeedF4X + LB
Increase Drone Translation SpeedF2X + LT
Lock Drone to Next TargettNone
Lock Drone to Previous TargetShift + tNone
Translate Drone BackwardsLeft Stick Down
Reset Drone RollSpaceRB + LB
Translate Drone UprRT
Translate Drone RightdLeft Stick Right
Translate Drone LeftaLeft Stick Left
Translate Drone ForwardwLeft Stick Up
Translate Drone DownfLT
Reset Drone Target OffsetNum 5X + A
Pitch Drone DownNum 2Right Stick Down
Roll Drone RightNum 9RB
Pitch Drone UpNum 8Right Stick Up
Yaw Drone LeftNum 4Right Stick Left
Yaw Drone RightNum 6Right Stick Right
Roll Drone LeftNum7LB
Toggle Drone Follow ModeTabRight Stick
Toggle Drone Lock ModeCtrl + TabLeft Stick
Increase Drone ZoomNum +Y + RT
Decrease Drone ZoomNum –Y + LT
Toggle Plane ControlscNone

Free Camera Mode

You need to enable the Developer mode from the general settings. Start your normal flight, once you are loaded, in the top down menu, there is a Camera menu, press that and then choose Developer Camera. You can control the camera either from your keyboard or from your mouse by holding Alt + (left, middle or right) mouse button to control the camera. The mouse controls can be summarised like this:

  • Alt + Left mouse button controls the orbit's camera.
  • Alt + Center mouse button controls the pan camera.
  • Alt + Right mouse button controls the camera zoom, height.


Eric Adams is a professional photographer and writer. He is impressed by the possibilities of the flight simulator: "Thanks to its fast "slew mode" and clever drone functionality, it allows users to move through the earth precisely, and to set up scenes with their preferred time, date, and weather conditions, giving photographers the ability to scout locations remotely in ways that Google Earth can’t even touch. You can experiment with lighting and weather to find out when you want to be there, how much time you’ll have to do your shooting before the light disappears, and what your optimal compositions might be as you slew around the environment exploring different angles and elevations and viewpoints. You can move with spooky ease to find your absolute best compositions." [1]