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Terrain Display

terrain display

Sicily, Italy

The Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems (TAWS) is a system used to alert the flight crew in a timely manner of hazardous situations ahead of the airport to avoid Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT). A part of TAWS is to overlay the approach terrain on the ND, referred to as Terrain Awareness and Display (TAD), for the awareness of the crew. This display is derived from a database and subsequently can be out of date, which can lead to TAWS making false positives and general nuisances to the crew.


Please be aware that we are still continuously optimizing the performance of the TERR ON ND feature.

SimBridge must be running in order for the Terrain Display to function.

The SimBridge Terrain Display feature relies on the MSFS SimConnect API. If you are having trouble with the TERR ON ND, please ensure your SimConnect configuration is not unaltered and can accept local connections.

See Autostart documentation on how to start it.

Check Troubleshooting if you are having issues.

Terrain Database

The aforementioned database has worldwide coverage and is defined according to a standardized Earth Model, dividing the surface into grid sets. Several optimizations have been made to the database to deal with size constraints within the aircraft.

  • En-route
    • 3.0 NM resolution
  • 22 NM from airports
    • 0.5 NM resolution
  • within 6 NM from airports
    • 0.25 NM resolution

Enabling the Terrain Display

The Terrain Display can be enabled on either the left or right Navigation Display. To enable the display, push the TERR ON ND pushbutton and the display will begin to overlay the terrain ahead of the aircraft in a sweeping motion.


The display contains many details, and understanding these details will allow you to effectively use the display as well as understand its faults. If the aircraft is descending more than 1 000 ft/min, then the display provides a 30-second advance display for better projection.


The TAWS provides two different modes of terrain display on the ND.

Standard Mode

The terrain is displayed according to the vertical displacement between the terrain elevation and the aircraft's current altitude. If the aircraft is more than 2 000 ft (610 m) above the terrain, no terrain information is displayed.

Peaks mode

In this mode, terrain is displayed regarding the absolute terrain elevation (referring to the sea level instead of the aircraft elevation). It aims to improve terrain awareness of the flight crew. If the aircraft surpasses 2 000 ft (610 m) above the terrain, the terrain is still displayed but with a gradient of green (see right-side of image below). It also displays the highest and lowest terrain elevations as two figures in the bottom-right corner of the display.

taws peaks mode

Innsbruck, Austria


The TAWS displays the surrounding terrain on the ND according to the aircraft's current altitude, with color-coding to help provide an understanding to the crew of where they are in relation to the terrain.

TAWS Color Coding