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Some Freewares to Enhance Your Flight Experience Into the Flight Simulator Franchise

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We have evoked, with the tutorial 'About the Accuracy of The Flight Simulator Franchise', how the Flight Simulator franchise are easy to improve. There, we are to describe swiftly some free softwares which may usefully be used at that purpose. Some are of use with the FSX version only as others may be used about planes, landscapes, etc. of the three last iterations of the franchise, since FS2002 or even since FS98, for example. CAUTION! INTERVENING into the folders and files of your FS may prove dangerous as it is about sensitive locations and files. Do not venture out there except with full knowledge of the fact. ON A OTHER HAND, the commonly accepted practice in the field is to always make a backup, or copy of the file upon which you consider to work, so to be able to be back to the original state of things in case of trouble. AS FAR AS FSX IS CONCERNED, of use too is to refer to the ressource in the SDK, of which the fsxsdk.chm help file. You will note at last that once given the name of a freeware, we will not give any downloading address as you will easily found that in a search engine by typing the software's name (just check the current trend which offer to install the software online and some unwanted additional ones installed further, which are not necessarily harmful but annoying and uneasy to uninstall. So just try to download the complete file into your computer and then install from there as, there too, the same annoyances may exist; take care of unchecking appropriately along the installation steps. Forums of flightsimming sites may also be a good ressource as much in terms of archives than of their current information. You will have often to register however

A Simple Text Editor

A simple text editor, like the one delivered with the varied versions of Windows, or the 'Notepad,' is useful as it allows to open a variety of files in the Flight Simulator franchise. Like, for example, the aircraft.cfg or panel.cfg files, which are found in such or such plane's folder. The aircraft.cfg file holds basic data about a plane as the panel.cfg all what is about a plane's panel and gauges. A simple text editor allows too, with the FSX version, to have access to the dll.xml or the fsx.CFG files. The first one allows to add diverses utilities to FSX as the second to change the general characteristics of the configuration. The place where to find such that files depends upon your computer's operating system. Under Windows 8, that is generally to that path:\Users\ -user name-\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\FSX). As far as all those types of files are concerned, YOU WILL TAKE CARE OF NOT doing the text editor you use the default editor for those files. Albeit not much serious, all the icons for those files would be changed and attributed to that text editor. In the same kind of idea, you will also know that, in Windows 8, some FS files may be acceded only through the so-called 'hidden' folders or files. Those are folders and files which the software engineers considered sensitive and to be kept by default out the reach of basic users. To have such items displayed in Windows 8, just use the menu Display of the File Explorer and check 'Hidden Elements,' which makes that folders and files to get displayed shaded


AirEd, which now may be found under the name 'goodAirEd,' is a freeware by William M. Roth. AirEd is well known to the flightsimmers because it exists since long. It allows to open the .air file of a given plane, which file hold all a set of very technical settings. AirEd is to be used for some settings which would be impossible on a other way like brakes strength, the aerodynamical effect of flaps, for example

illustration for the tutorial: Panels in the AirED .air file editor
Panels in the AirED .air file editor (non-clickable illustration)

DXTBmp is a other software well known in the flightsim community. It allows to read the file in a plane's texture folder, there where the files determining the plane's livery are to be found. DXTBmp is extant since relatively long and the easiest way to find it is at the author's site, Martin Wright at MW Graphics -- do not hesitate to dig in as his softwares are relatively ancient -- as it may need a .dll additional file, or the mwgfx.dll. DXTBmp allows that you open into a drawing software, the simple Windows Paint included, the miscellaneous texture files to a plane and too, possibly, their transparence layer. It is relatively easy to touch up textures but it is relatively hard to re-do a entire fuselage, for example, as texture creators are using advanced drawing sofware, like the famed Photoshop, which allow for blurred colored areas

Scenery Creation Freewares

Let's go now with what's about sceneries in the Flight Simulator franchise as two freeware mostly are used. 'Airport' is a ancient one which is no more used with FSX, for example. Moreover it is harder and harder to find it on the Internet as diverse versions exist along with their updates. It remains useful however. 'ADE,' for 'Airport Design Editor,' by Jon Masterson, is recent as it is useable in FS2004 and FSX only. ADE is very useful because it can altogether create a terrain from scratch, or to add to or modify a FS default one. Those both freewares are technical enough but they are of interest. When you want to add some elements to populated a landscape, or a approach, for example, you may turn to the FSX additional tool as provided in the SDK, or the Object Placement Tool, which is usually used to create missions. A flightsimmer interestingly found that a part of that tool allow to quickly create simple sceneries as his intructions of used are found with the You will first have to install, thus, the FSX SDK Object Placement Tool as it will appear with the Tools menu in FSX. Then just use the adding objects part (check more just below). The question of creating sceneries, generally, even at the simple level at which we practice it ourself is that one may rapidly come to spend time into mastering relatively complicated softwares. The best seems to find the fine balance between the time you spend and the purpose you are aiming to. Of interest too, for FS2002 and 2004, is AFCAD, a freeware needed to organized data of terrains you create. As far as FSX is concerned, JABxBglComp (which is found on the site of a Swiss, who ask to register to be able to download his freewares), is a tool allowing too to add default FSX scenery objects into a given location in the simulator, which goes like we told above about easy to use

illustration for the tutorial: A view of the ADE scenery creation software!
A view of the ADE scenery creation software! (non-clickable illustration)
Simple Tools to Add Scenery Objects Into FSX

The '' freeware by Luis Féliz-Tirado is a useful tutorial about a hidden tool inside the FSX Deluxe edition SDK. That allows to easily place the miscellaneous defaults objects found with the FSX 'objects library,' those elements of sceneries, some people included. Check the instruction. For a survey of the default FSX objects useable with, check at FSX scenery library objects. At last, still about adding simply objects into FSX, you may also check the well-known site of Jacky Brouze, a Swissman. His site, among others, features the JABxBGLComp tool, which is also useful (the webmaster however refuses to translate that tool menus into English)

Some More Freewares

Should want to get into FSX complicated files, you will need, for example, a bgl to xml file converter, like Bgl2XML. The reverse operation (xml into bgl), just use the SDK's BglComp.exe. More advanced still is the spb2xml tool with its SDK simpropcompiler.exe counterpart. Like said, the FSX SDK is very useful as it provides a range of tools. Of use are those of the Traffic Toolbox SDK folder in terms of AI planes or boats traffic. It is relatively technique however. At last the FSScreen freeware is of a more general -and easier- used! It is already ancient but a small utility which allows to perform a series of screen captures under the different recent Windows systems (since Windows XP) withouth using the tiedous copy-paste technique, which is useful when used with the Flight Simulator franchise

Website Manager: G. Guichard, site Lessons In Microsoft Flight Simulator / Leçons de vol pour les Flight Simulator de Microsoft, Page Editor: G. Guichard. last edited: 3/14/2016. contact us at
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