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Evan Reiter

  • Training Administrator
  • 6265
Why Doesn't My Weather Match the METAR?
« on: January 10, 2014, 08:12:02 pm »
If you aren't using an add-on weather program like ActiveSky, do you often find that the weather you see in FSX doesn't match real-world reports? Perhaps you've listened to a controller report that a previous aircraft "broke out" at 500', and yet you see clear skies. The reason for this is that FSX's "real-world weather" is often inaccurate, and many of our members have chosen to use add-on weather utilities that greatly improve the FSX experience.

The type of weather that is in use is configured by the server. Server administrators select one of FSX's weather themes or what FSX calls "real-world weather" when setting up the session. However, the server itself doesn't 'push' weather conditions to pilots. Instead, when the server is configured with dynamic real-world weather (which it almost always is), each user's copy of FSX downloads and interprets its own weather from the central server. Couple the fact that aircraft are on different update cycles with a weather server/engine that isn't great to begin with and you get a common situation for pilots using FSX default weather: conditions that don't match up with the METAR. You'll also often see erratic wind shifts at high altitudes that can cause 100+ knot wind shear at the high flight levels. This should be consistent in single player and when connected to our server.

Fortunately, freeware and payware weather add-ons offer a simple solution to the problem, so much so that a payware weather add-on is often the first add-on that members purchase. It's also our top Recommended Software Add-On.

If you are willing to pay for a weather add-on, ActiveSky is the way to go. The current version of ActiveSky (at the time of writing, it was "ActiveSky Next") offers superb weather accuracy when compared to the default FSX weather engine and other add-on products. While some versions of ActiveSky do include textures, ActiveSky's real value is in its depiction of weather. Its engine is extremely accurate, so you'll see conditions that match up with the real-world METAR every time. You can read more about ActiveSky on our forums or the Recommended Add-Ons page.

A number of our members use a freeware weather add-on called FSrealWX. While I haven't used the program personally, it has been reviewed by a member and the price is right. It should certainly offer a good improvement over default FSX weather in terms of accuracy, and would be a good stepping stone for someone interested in an eventual purchase of ActiveSky.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2015, 03:02:01 pm by Evan Reiter »


Evan Reiter
Training Administrator

Re: Why Doesn't My Weather Match the METAR?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2014, 01:44:26 am »
Evan, thank you for that clear explanation.  I recently added ActiveSky; your recommended settings will help.
Semper Fi,
John

Re: Why Doesn't My Weather Match the METAR?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2014, 04:08:50 am »
I have activesky 2012 and am too lazy to thoroughly read through the instructions.  I have figured most of it out but I still get dramatic wind shears (I fly mostly 17,000 and below, I notice no difference in severity of wind shears whether I'm at 2000, or 17,000)  So dramatic that if I'm 10 knots below redline on the airspeed indicator in, say, my Lancair Legacy, that wind shear could be enough to throw me into the overspeed and overstress and thus endeth my flight.


Is there something I'm missing?  I don't have enough time to post in the forums lately let alone read that AS2012 PDF Manual lol.


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Evan Reiter

  • Training Administrator
  • 6265
Re: Why Doesn't My Weather Match the METAR?
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2014, 07:14:17 pm »
That's not right.

By any chance are you running FSUIPC?


Evan Reiter
Training Administrator

Re: Why Doesn't My Weather Match the METAR?
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2014, 07:17:00 pm »
Yep.  Use it to map my joystick commands in multiple aircraft.


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Evan Reiter

  • Training Administrator
  • 6265
Re: Why Doesn't My Weather Match the METAR?
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2014, 08:28:50 pm »
Try updating it to the latest version. Depending on how old your FSUIPC is, there's a possibility it's interfering with ActiveSky. This was a known issue several versions ago but I believe has been corrected in the latest.


Evan Reiter
Training Administrator

Re: Why Doesn't My Weather Match the METAR?
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2014, 10:58:25 pm »
Do weather Add-Ons depreciate Frame Rate and general performance of FSX?

MHM49

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Evan Reiter

  • Training Administrator
  • 6265
Re: Why Doesn't My Weather Match the METAR?
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2014, 11:11:12 pm »
It depends on your settings. I would say that it's possible to install ActiveSky Next and see a 2-3 FPS drop but probably not much more than that. And depending on what your weather settings are like now, you could even see an improvement in performance. For example, if the default FSX weather has been causing you to see clouds where they shouldn't be, you'll likely see an improvement in performance with an add-on program because it will clear away those FPS-killing clouds. But those bad weather days might hit a bit harder.

If you're worried about performance, there are a few things you can try. For starters, you might consider downloading the free software application we mention above to see the impact it has. You can also set up ActiveSky to run networked on a second computer. If you have another machine lying around (it doesn't have to run FSX), you can run ActiveSky on that computer and therefore save yourself a little bit of computer power on your primary machine. However, you may find after installing ActiveSky that such an arrangement isn't necessary and your performance is more or less the same as what it was.


Evan Reiter
Training Administrator