Understanding PAPI and VASI lights in Microsoft Flight Simulator – red and white runway lights

Safety first.

Microsoft Flight Simualtor

Image via Microsoft

Microsoft Flight Simulator is a game about information, and the more information you can discern from the game, the better you will be at flight. Landing an airplane can be a particularly tough task, but there is one crucial information source that you will need to familiarize yourself with that can make life easier. These are the red and white lights that will appear on the runaway as you approach for your landing.

These PAPI and VASI lights will give you important information about your angle and depth of approach, but to discern what they are trying to tell, you will need to learn what different lighting configurations mean.

PAPI lights consist of a single row of four lights, while VASI lights consist of a double row of three lights each.

VASI Configurations

  • All lights red – too low
  • All lights white – too high
  • Nearest row is white, further row is red – correct approach

PAPI Configurations

  • All lights are white – Too high
  • Three white, one red – slightly too high
  • Two white, two red – correct approach
  • One white, three red – slight too low
  • All red – too low

As you approach the runway, pay close attention to the PAPI/VASI light and adjust your approach accordingly, as it is one of the most important indicators that something is wrong with your approach.

For anyone curious, PAPI stands for Precision Approach Path Indicators, and VASI stands for Visual Approach Slope Indicators.