People are flying virtual planes into Hurricane Laura in the latest version of the classic game ‘Microsoft Flight Simulator,’ which simulates real-world weather patterns

Image
‘Microsoft Flight Simulator’ enables players to fly anywhere on Earth — including through active hurricanes. Petri Levälahti/Microsoft

Ever wanted to see inside the eye of a hurricane from 10,000 feet in the air?

A new update to the classic game “Microsoft Flight Simulator” uses real-time imaging to simulate weather patterns all over the world. And some players are using that feature to fly directly through hurricanes, including Hurricane Laura, which made landfall on Thursday in Louisiana and Texas.

Some of the images players captured are downright stunning.

Though “Microsoft Flight Simulator” is played on computers, it’s less video game than it is meteorological simulation.

Players are able to operate planes with realistic cockpits, and navigate the planet as the game uses Bing mapping to pull geographic data. Some players even use expensive peripherals that replicate cockpit controls.

In reality, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the US Air Force Reserves fly actual planes into storms like Hurricane Laura. These so-called “Hurricane Hunters” provide critical meteorological information to forecasters, who attempt to predict strength, direction, and timing of potentially devastating weather events.

Take a look at a flight through Hurricane Laura in “Microsoft Flight Simulator” right here:

Got a tip? Contact Business Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email ([email protected]),
or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.