The Microsoft Flight Simulator encompasses a virtual copy of the earth that users can fly around. Additionally, the simulator accurately depicts weather conditions in real-time across the globe. If it’s raining in London in reality, it’s raining there in the metaverse contender’s Flight Sim too.
So far so impressively ordinary. But a direct consequence of MFS’s accuracy and ability to synthesise realistic weather meant that users who were brave enough were able to fly through an accurate simulation of Hurricane Ian.
Hurricane Ian was the Category 4 storm that devasted Cuba, leaving the island nation without power. Since then, Ian has touched down in Florida and South Carolina, leaving dozens dead in each state.
A hurricane is obviously incredibly dangerous; however, through Microsoft Flight Simulator, users could safely experience what it’s like to fly through the devastating storm testing their piloting skills against the hurricane’s catastrophic winds.
Many users did the same thing back in 2020 when Hurricane Laura touched down in the southern U.S. On Twitter, users are posting photos and videos of their virtual flights through Hurricane Ian.
“Hurricane Ian isn’t so bad on #MSFS,” tweeted user JBTheExplorer.
Microsoft Flight Simulator: Synthesizing realistic weather
Microsoft partnered with Meteoblue, a weather data company, to create the simulator’s real-time weather. Meteoblue divided the earth into 250 million cubes and each one can have different weather conditions. For each box, Meteoblue measures weather factors such as wind speed, humidity and temperature. The virtual earth is also divided into 60 vertical layers from ground level to the stratosphere, allowing the weather data company to measure altitude-related weather shifts.
Some may find the idea of individuals entertaining themselves by flying into a virtual rendition of a hurricane that is destroying homes and taking lives to be in poor taste. However, Microsoft Flight Simulator offers users a way to experience the intense winds and lightning of a hurricane without any of the danger. And who among us wouldn’t be curious?