X-Plane Table Of Contents
1: About X-Plane About X-Plane What X-Plane Includes History 2: Installing X-Plane System Requirements Display Requirements and System Architecture Installing X-Plane Windows PC Macintosh Linux Installing X-Plane - Considerations for Windows Users Uninstalling X-Plane Launching X-Plane Upgrading to a later version of X-Plane Version Compatibility Flight Control Requirements Joystick Configuration and Calibration Getting help 3: Initial Flight Setup General Access Joystick Setup Axis Assignment Calibrating Joystick Hardware Button Assignment Setting Null Zones Controlling Joystick Sensitivity and Aircraft Stability Rendering Options Window Setup Setting up Your Monitor Setting up the X-Plane World Setting up Clouds Special Viewing Controls - i.e.: multiple monitors installations Setting Up X-Plane to Achieve the Best Results 4: First-Flight Opening Aircraft Position Aircraft Airport IDs explained Set Weather/Real Time Weather Using the Keyboard / Keyboard Shortcuts Using the Mouse instead of a Joystick Controlling Instruments and Avionics with the mouse

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Demo Flight Flying Yourself, with the mouse or a Joystick / Yoke 5: X-Plane Menus About File Location Settings Output View Special 6: Navigation and Autopilots Navigation Autopilots 7: Expanding X-Plane Adding Third-Party Airplanes Adding Third-Party Scenery Installing Plug-Ins 8: Expert Essays Tuning the Handling in X-Plane Tuning the Frame-Rate in X-Plane How to Set Up Advanced Displays (Multi-Monitor, Projectors, etc) Flying Helicopters Flying in Space Flying the Space Shuttle Flying on Mars Supplements Airfoil-Maker Plane-Maker World-Editor Appendices A: How X-Plane Works B: Terminology C: Trouble shooting D: Making Scenery and Aircraft Objects For X-Plane E: Custom Aircraft for Hire F: Log File Explained

X-Plane. Actual weather conditions can be downloaded from the internet. and micro bursts.. just like the subsonic terrestrial flight that is FAA-certified.flightmotion. and even hours towards an Airline Transport Certificate .000 full-motion FAA-certified platforms. Welcome to the world of props. recurrence training.000 per copy from PFC and Fidelity and the hardware runs from about $5. sporting aircraft from the Bell 206 Jet-Ranger and Cessna 172 to the Space Shuttle and B-2 Bomber. drop water on forest fires. which dates back to about 1982 . we will be there..com is almost exactly the same software as you find in the $500. X-Plane offers the most realistic flight model available for personal computers. or randomly when you least expect it! You can fail instruments. weather conditions. single. with multitudes of systems that can be failed manually when an instructor wants to. X-Plane has also been used in crash investigations to depict the view pilots experienced moments before a mid-air collision. Boeing has used it to virtually test-fly gigantic Blended-Wing-Body airliner concepts. (NOTE: This certification requires not only that you have the certified X-Plane software. X-Plane has also received certification from the FAA for use in logging hours towards flight experience and ratings. These customers serve as perhaps the most significant endorsement of the incredible capabilities of this simulator. and Weather-Briefer (to give you a weather briefing before the flight if you use real weather conditions downloaded from the Internet). Cessna uses X-Plane to train new customers in the intricacies of the Garmin-1000. allowing you to fly in weather that currently exists at the location of your flight! X-Plane also has detailed failure modeling. Airlines. Scenery is also available for Mars at www. how we got started. many other incredible things.and multi-engine airplanes. When the FAA certifies the first Martian business-jet. shoot approaches to aircraft carriers at night in stormy weather and rough water conditions in a damaged F-4. X-Plane is used by world-leading Defense Contractors. This is because flight-training systems can only be certified as complete package: software and hardware combined.com. about the only difference is that the FAA-certified versions have custom aircraft files that have larger instrument panels that are tuned to work with the hardware radios that come with the physical cockpits.com). The instructor can alter the time of day.. hours towards instrument training. This experience can provide credit towards a private pilot’s license.000 to $500. the installation DVD also comes with Plane-Maker (allowing you to create your own aircraft or modify existing designs).. fly reentries into Earth’s atmosphere in the Space Shuttle. even though those situations ARE simulated accurately in X-Plane. X-Plane contains subsonic and supersonic flight dynamics. engines. turbulence.. X-Plane is also extremely flexible.400 additional aircraft models that can be downloaded from the internet (www. World-Maker (to create your own scenery). or do many. as well as test your mettle on aircraft carriers and helipads on building tops. allowing you to easily create paint-jobs. The retail version of X-Plane that you get at www. it is a great tool for pilots to keep up their currency in a simulator that flies like the real plane. since certification requires a software and hardware COMBINATION. and thermals are available for the gliders. as well as design your own airplanes and test-fly them! The full X-Plane scenery package covers the Earth in stunning resolution from about 70 degrees South to 70 degrees North latitude. You can also realistically model the flight of remote-controlled model aircraft.. you can land at any of over 25.org.. You can also choose from more than 1. air launch in an X-15 or Space Ship One from the mother ship. wind shear. This may be predominately due to their early start with their flight simulator. allowing you to predict the flight characteristics of the slowest or fastest aircraft. Weather is variable from clear skies and high visibility to thunderstorms with controllable wind.X-Plane. You can even design and test fly your own aircraft or helicopter designs with X-Plane. Air Forces..X-Plane. and where we’re going.. Aircraft Manufacturers. Dave Rose has used X-Plane to optimize airplanes for his many wins at Reno. but also the certified hardware (cockpit and flight controls) available through Precision Flight Controls (ww. History Many people ask us about the history of X-Plane. flight controls or control cables.000.com is NOT certified for flight training right out of the box. and the FAA-certified version has some of the FUN stuff (like Mars flight and Space flight) REMOVED. X-Plane also includes about 25 aircraft on its master disk.X-Plane. and for aviation enthusiasts to explore the world of aircraft flight dynamics. and instrument panels for airplanes that you design or any airplane that you would like to modify. landing gear. The certified software is available for $500 to $2. Rain. fly with your friends over the internet or a LAN.flypfc.. spanning the aviation industry (and history). AirfoilMaker (allowing you to create airfoil performance profiles). X-Plane is not a game. thanks to the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter. and clouds are available for an instrument flying challenge. Since X-Plane predicts the performance and handling qualities of almost any aircraft. the list goes on and on and on. Northwest and Japan Air Lines use X-Plane for flight review and training. nearly all of which are free.it’s that good. for engineers to predict how some new airplane will fly. Scaled Composites used X-Plane to visualize Space-Ship-One flights to the edge of the atmosphere in their pilot-training simulator. NASA has used X-Plane to test the Re-Entry of Gliders into the atmosphere or Mars. helicopters and VTOLs. snow. Here’s some background information about Austin Meyer (the author) and the history of X-Plane: As you are probably aware.. jets. This incredible accuracy makes it a great tool for predicting aircraft performance and handling.com.com) or Fidelity (www. You can also have a friend or flight instructor (locally or via the internet... antennae. or to graphically present to juries and judges the forces that impact an aircraft in flight.000 airports. the most popular flight simulator on the market is Microsoft Flight Simulator. or frigates that pitch and roll in the waves. On Earth.1: About X-Plane X-Plane is the world’s most comprehensive and powerful flight simulator for personal computers. sounds. or any of dozens of other systems at any moment. working from an Instructor’s Operating Station) fail components on your aircraft without your knowledge.. www. but an engineering tool that can be used to predict the flying qualities of fixed and rotary wing aircraft. which mapped that planet’s elevation. the software available for about $50 at X-Plane. and even Space Agencies for applications from flight training to concept aircraft design and flight testing. Kalitta has used X-Plane to train their pilots to fly Freight 747s in the middle of the night. and failure status of hundreds of aircraft systems and components as well as relocate the aircraft to any location he or she chooses. What X-Plane Includes While on its own X-Plane represents the world’s most comprehensive flight simulator. or oil rigs.. as well as gliders. FreightLines. and Google will get you started)..

. and expensive. so it must do most of its acceleration in the atmosphere.com will run on pretty much any personal computer available in the world. I mention this to make the point that the guys that write and support X-Plane are pilots.000 mph). Here is Austin’s bio updated 2007 or so: Hi! I am a private pilot with about 2.X-Plane. and Mooney build the way they do for a very good reason: My designs were efficient. and we love what we’re doing). Anyway. and quickly learned that Cessna. fast-paced. NASA. Thus. we release updates for X-Plane about every 8 weeks! Thus. X-Plane is the only commercial flight simulator that it available for the Macintosh. X-Plane is still written and developed on the Macintosh (as it has been since day one) and ported to Windows and Linux machines to allow cross-platform sales and distribution. Over the years. and had a very difficult time getting up to speed in the crowded. with X-Plane we encourage you to go to our website every month or so and download cool new and free updates! In short. we are a few very driven and talented people that have made the improvement and accuracy of X-Plane pretty much our life’s mission. this is one of the few options that will keep the skin temperatures down and allow hypersonic flight (that is. your set of disks includes copies of X-Plane for all three platforms.com. flight at five times the speed of sound or greater). and during my engineering studies there I expanded “Archer-II IFR” to be able to simulate almost any airplane imaginable by simply plugging in the blueprints for that airplane. and I renamed the program “X-Plane. the NASP breathes air to run its engines. we’ve consistently seen increasing sales with a total of over half a million copies of X-Plane shipped through either internet orders or retailers as of 2007. evaluation. This Microsoft advantage has largely died with the release of the first set of high-definition. was the founder of this ingenious NASP concept. at the time called “Archer-II IFR. flies a Beech Baron. Quick side-story: One of the projects that DuPont was working on back then was the well-known NASP. a single-stage-to-orbit aircraft that can. the single set of disks available at www.. bulky. so there is no possibility that you will pick up the wrong version for your computer if you order from www. Over the years. which creates tremendous heat and drag. what has really caused X-Plane to stand head and shoulders above the competition has been the way the flight model is generated. except X-Plane. and is by far the largest and most important differentiator between X-Plane and its competitors. in fact the bell shaped nozzles on most rocket engines employ this technology to keep them from melting! For the NASP. (requiring about three or four flights) I decided that I wanted an instrument trainer to keep my IFR skills up to snuff so that future instrument-reccurrency flights would go more smoothly. In fact. and the high frame-rate at which X-Plane runs. and engineers. and Linux platforms. there have been many other upstart companies that have attempted to compete against Microsoft (Flight-Unlimited. Engineers at Velocity. the president of the company.. so I tried that. This is completely opposite from the way most any other simulator works. Microsoft Flight Simulator was pretty much the only game in town back then. and now the Lancair. (Sometimes retailers have been known to stock Windows-only or Macintosh-only copies of X-Plane.X-Plane.000 hours in a handful of light and medium-size Cessna and Piper singles (the airplanes I grew up flying) and a Cirrus SR-22 Centennial Edition (8141Q). in theory. but maintaining and replacing thousands of small tiles would be problematic. As well. You might think that using an insulated tile system like the Space Shuttle has would be a good option. I found myself in San Diego. which has traditionally enjoyed a relatively small market of fanatic users. as well as many more add-ons. enough about the fascinating NASP concept. and letting the sim then FIGURE OUT HOW THE PLANE SHOULD FLY based on those blueprints.. many thousands of miles per hour in the air. makes the vehicle much more light and efficient. Additionally. so read the box carefully if buying from a store shelf). and Carter-Copter have all used X-Plane to do design. which was great. These characteristics have long given us an advantage in being able to accurately calculate and depict the flight response and feel of an aircraft in flight. Microsoft had scenery that was superior to X-Plane’s. world-wide scenery disks on December 1. massive. after I had gotten my instrument rating in the calm and friendly skies of Columbia. After FINALLY getting my IFR skills up to a comfortable level. circulating fuel to keep the skin cool has its drawbacks too! The SR-71 Blackbird uses its cool fuel to keep its surface temperatures down.” in honor of the series of aircraft tested at Edwards in the 60’s and continuing through today. Thus. and I knew Microsoft would not change their sim just to suit me. In the past. and simulated flight testing. Aside from the improved accuracy and fluidity you’ll find in X-Plane. at about the mid-point of the Version 8 X-Plane run. another big difference between Microsoft’s simulator and our own is that while Microsoft only releases updates about every three years or so. or National Aerospace Plane.. Of course. Tony DuPont. which I purchased in 2003. 2004. but I was pretty disappointed in what I found. aircraft owners. rather than carrying liquid oxygen on board. Anyway. Piper. instead of buying a disk and having it be stagnant for the next 36 months. How to keep from melting? The NASP would circulate fuel through it’s skin in flight to soak up heat! Circulating cool fuel through the skin of an aircraft is not a new idea.Now you know. and in fact is limited to much lower speeds than Mach 3 when low on fuel because there is no fuel left to absorb the heat! Open the SR-71 in X-Plane and rather than seeing a red LINE on the airspeed indicator (like just about every other aircraft) to indicate maximum allowable speed. but there were a few little things I wanted done differently in the simulator. and a Lancair Columbia 400 (842X) that I purchased in 2006. working for DuPont Aerospace. Randy Witt. I started to use the simulator to test out various aircraft designs I had conceived. Fly. I used first the Cirrus. hectic ATC system of San Diego after the relatively slow and laid-back ATC operations back home in South Carolina. A Bachelors degree of Aerospace Engineering at Iowa State University soon followed. From the very beginning. or sell X-Plane without global scenery to keep costs down. and Fly-2k are a few examples). there is a whole red ARC! That big red region is the speed range that you can only operate in if you have enough fuel in the tanks to soak up the heat from atmospheric friction! How far into the red zone you are allowed to fly depends on your remaining fuel load . I took an instrument currency flight to keep my IFR skills sharp. X-Plane was born. for maximum speed to hop around the country serving customers. . (My customer support guy.or so. well known companies all over the globe use X-Plane for one purpose or another from flight training to aircraft design. Aviation is a huge part of our lives. That summer in 1988 while living in San Diego. but too difficult to fly safely. All have failed.. While the Space Shuttle and other conventional rockets use rocket engines to blast up to their orbital speed (18.” I wrote and used this program for several years to keep up my instrument currency. X-Plane today Today. back in 1988 or so. Windows. Lancair. California. take off from a runway and fly clear to orbit. but it also means that the aircraft must fly at many. Microsoft was running on the little baby Macintoshes back then. This use of the oxygen in the atmosphere. a small aerospace tech firm working on some excellent but unusual designs that I cannot discuss in detail. South Carolina.

most aircraft have only been set up with cockpits that can be stretched in a 3:4 ratio. So. Countless private pilots use X-Plane to help keep up their currency when time and money constraints keep them from making it out to the airport as often as they would like. either local or via a LAN or internet connection) provides the ability to alter the weather. Note that you will need to shut X-Plane down and the change will take effect on the next launch). X-Plane allows the use of any number of screens to depict anything you like. To avoid this. Select it. and countless youngsters gleefully crash their simulated F-22’s into the ground at Mach-2 as well.024 X 768 pixels to 9. than select the GENERAL tab.000 mph? Or to fly a full re-entry in the Space Shuttle? Or take the SR-71 to 70. which is 2 gigahertz). are simply people who want to experience the joy of flight. it is a bit more awkward. Computers up to about 36 months old may be just fine if they were top-of-the-line machines when manufactured.000 feet and Mach-3? Or fly a rocket plane on MARS? X-Plane will show you. But the majority of the X-Plane customers. . Many airline and freight pilots keep their currency up on X-Plane to breeze through their bi-annual and flight-currency-checks. A good rule of thumb is that any machine built in the last 18 to 24 months will probably be able to run the simulator acceptably. and. -1. Eight-year old kids try their own designs in X-Plane. it is not possible to run a current release of X-Plane on a really old computer. I think. but what would it be like to get dropped from the wing of a B-52 in an X-15 and head to the fringes of space at 4. or X-Plane may still be able to run with its rendering options turned down. how do you tell what your computer has? Mac users can easily find everything in the Apple Menu: About this Mac. (and safe!) way to do it. specifically the de-orbit interface to the outer portions of the Martian atmosphere at trans-orbital Mach-numbers. let you experience it for yourself. and Microsoft.5 GHz processor. immediately adjacent to your cockpit image. relocate the aircraft. (Settings -> Rendering Options. an Instructor’s Operating Station (IOS). easy. Many of the monitors and screens available today are wide-aspect ratio screens.0 GB of RAM. Thus. even better. You can pretty much do anything to the aircraft you can imagine. Scaled Composites used X-Plane for the visuals for their Space-Ship One simulator. You can use multiple computers to drive multiple monitors and thereby network up to about 20 screens showing any combination of views you can imagine. With one computer it is possible to draw any view you like and. Many pilots have regular access to old Cessnas. Many airline pilots take X-Plane with them on their (real) overseas flights on their laptop computers and simulate the next day’s flight and possible approaches while on layover. but still pretty easy.999 pixels. set your X-Plane image. or people who want a sim that has a level of realism that is appropriate for pilots. which is 1 gigabyte of RAM) Display Requirements and System Architecture X-Plane can display on any screen ranging from 1. -32 MB VRAM (video memory on your video card). I know of an 8-year old Italian girl who likes to taxi the planes around to see the Corvettes parked around the airport fence in Version 7. The IOS (also available via a different computer if you like. While X-Plane can easily fill a screen with these options. If your computer is especially powerful. 2: Installing X-Plane System Requirements Given the incredible capabilities and accuracy that X-Plane provides. For Windows users. and fail multitudes of different systems and components. Most X-Plane customers are pilots.999 X 9. Screen Resolution field) to a 3:4 ratio.0 GHz. made by Matrix) to drive three forward visuals with one machine. on wider screens. Near the bottom of the screen you will see the CPU speed (like 2. and a copy of X-Plane is a fun. NASA uses X-Plane to experiment with Mars-Gliders. with a 16:9 ratio. I have gotten a handful of orders from the DOD. the CIA.The National Test pilot school uses X-Plane to train pilots in non-conventional aircraft and flight-control systems. A window will come up with VIEW SYSTEM INFORMATION in the left sidebar. You can than use a second machine to drive your cockpit screen and IOS. including probably 98% of the failures simulated at Flight Safety and the other simulator-based flight training companies.0 GB RAM (physical memory). X-Plane 9 requires a computer with at least the following specifications: -1. Go to the START menu and select MY COMPUTER. the first private manned vehicle to reach space. You will also see memory (like 1. you can also use a video splitter (check out the ‘Triple Head to Go’ splitter. assuming that your video card has dual video heads. you will find that the cockpit image is flanked on each side of your screen with scenery.

Do this by navigating to your ‘X-Plane’ folder installed in step 4. Than click once on the X-Plane folder to highlight it and click CHOOSE. Do this by navigating to your ‘X-Plane’ folder installed in step 4. 7. Remove the X-Plane master disk from your DVD drive. 6. Click on DESTINATION and point the installer at your partially installed copy of X-Plane. 8. Note . 5. Insert any of the X-Plane scenery disks you like and run the Windows installer on that disk. Locate the application named ‘Installer Macintosh’ and double-click on it to launch the X-Plane installation. Installing X-Plane on Macintosh 1. The installer will display its progress and will normally take about 45 to 60 minutes to install each scenery disk. 3. 7. like 600 X 800 or something. We recommend installing on the root directory (that is on the first level of your hard drive.if you can not see the buttons on the bottom. 3. 5. as before. Insert any of the X-Plane scenery disks you like and run the Windows installer on that disk. BE SURE to click on DESTINATION and select where you would like to install X-Plane to before clicking on INSTALL. 8. The installer will display the current progress and will normally take about 30 to 45 minutes to install X-Plane. Launch the Macintosh Finder and navigate to the DVD drive which contains the DVD ‘XPLANE9’. Open ‘My Computer’ and navigate to the DVD drive which contains the DVD ‘XPLANE9’ (this is usually drive D: but may be different on your system). NOT inside of My Programs or Applications or Owner’s Documents or anything like that). 4. 8. like 600 X 800 or something. Note that each scenery disk has an image of the part of the Earth that is contained on that disk. 6. 5.if you can not see the buttons on the bottom. Click on DESTINATION and point the installer at your partially installed copy of X-Plane. computer to display the bottom of our screen and you will need to force-quit the installer and change your Screen Resolution in your operating system to be at least 1. 2. We recommend installing on the root directory (that is on the first level of your hard drive. The installer will display its progress and will normally take about 45 to 60 minutes to install each scenery disk. 4. Click on INSTALL to begin installation. Click on INSTALL to begin installation. Note that each scenery disk has an image of the part of the Earth that is contained on that disk. We recommend installing on the root directory (that is on the first level of your hard drive. to install the US scenery. Running at this state will not allow your computer to display the bottom of our screen and you will need to force-quit the installer and change your Screen Resolution in your operating system to be at least 1. Thus. Thus. Remove the X-Plane master disk from your DVD drive. The installer will display the current progress and will normally take about 30 to 45 minutes to install X-Plane. Than click once on the X-Plane folder to highlight it and click CHOOSE or OK or THIS IS MY X-PLANE DESTINATION. Click on INSTALL to begin installation.if you can not see the buttons on the bottom. Locate the application named ‘Installer Macintosh’ and double-click on it to launch the X-Plane installation. Insert any of the X-Plane scenery disks you like and run the Windows installer on that disk. Installing X-Plane Linux 1. BE SURE to click on DESTINATION and select where you would like to install X-Plane to before clicking on INSTALL. Note that each scenery disk has an image of the part of the Earth that is contained on that disk. Thus. insert the disk with the picture of the United States on it. insert the disk with the picture of the United States on it. labeled DESTINATION and INSTALL and EXIT than you are probably running at some minimal resolution. Do this by navigating to your ‘X-Plane’ folder installed in step 4. Insert the X-Plane DVD into your DVD-ROM drive and wait for it to spin up. Note . Click on INSTALL to begin installation. 4.024 X 768 or higher. labeled DESTINATION and INSTALL and EXIT than you are probably running at some minimal resolution. Browse the selected location on your hard disk and choose ‘Install’ to begin installation. 6.Installing X-Plane on Windows PC 1. insert the disk with the picture of the United States on it. labeled DESTINATION and INSTALL and EXIT than you are probably running at some minimal resolution. Insert the X-Plane DVD into your DVD-ROM drive and wait for it to spin up. NOT inside of My Programs or Applications or Owner’s Documents or anything like that). like 600 X 800 or something.024 X 768 or higher. as before. Running at this state will not allow your computer to display the bottom of our screen and you will need to force-quit the installer and change your Screen Resolution in your operating system to be at least 1. NOT inside of My Programs or Applications or Owner’s Documents or anything like that). Launch the Macintosh Finder and navigate to the DVD drive which contains the DVD ‘XPLANE9’. Than click once on the X-Plane folder to highlight it and click CHOOSE. Locate the Windows Installer and double-click on it to launch the X-Plane installation. The installer will display its progress and will normally take about . The installer will display its progress and will normally take about 30 to 45 minutes to install X-Plane. as the case may be. Remove the X-Plane master disk from your DVD drive.024 X 768 or higher. to install the US scenery. 7. BE SURE to click on DESTINATION and select where you would like to install X-Plane to before clicking on INSTALL. to install the US scenery. 3. Click on DESTINATION and point the installer at your partially installed copy of X-Plane. Insert the X-Plane DVD into your DVD-ROM drive and wait for it to spin up. Running at this state will not allow your 2. Browse the selected location on your hard disk and choose ‘Install’ to begin installation. as before. 2. Note .

com). This will not happen and then these users have no idea where the files are or how to access them. X-Plane will perform poorly on your system. They will be delivered in an executable that you will double-click to activate. unable to figure out why nothing is working like they expected. Note that X-Plane does NOT infest your hard drive.ati.com. and is a common necessity in Microsoft Windows. You can check for the latest driver and Open GL library versions and download them via the Internet. NOTE -. .ati..Now REMOVE the adapters inside there by highlighting them and hitting the ‘Delete’ button. You will have to re-start and you should be in business. being sure that they include OPEN GL drivers (NOT just the mini-Open GL).com) or ATI card (www. Therefore. Also. If your card does not support open GL. Download a free copy from www.dll’. As there were no shortcuts or registry entries created. while THINKING they are using the NEW software. If your computer says it detects new hardware and allows you to select the location of the new drivers.We suggest installing and launching X-Plane and seeing how it runs. However.Go to the SYSTEM icon inside of that. Installing X-Plane . Without these drivers. it may be necessary to update your drivers to the latest ones available from the manufacturer of your video card. When you get to the Microsoft website. if you get an error referring to a corrupt or missing ‘. or not at all. select the folder that you extracted the drivers into. This will cause windows to actually use the new drivers that you have extracted. First . well. then select the location of the new drivers by selecting the folder you just extracted the drivers to. This will remove your old drivers. To ensure that your machine will be ready to run X-Plane. it is a simple matter to uninstall the program. . go to the web page of your video card manufacturer and download the latest drivers. which you need to do before installing new ones.Go to the DEVICE MANAGER tab inside of that. This is exactly the type of lack of awareness that costs people thousands of hours of lost time as they cannot figure out what is actually on their own hard drive . . . upper end Nvidia GeForce card (www. or create shortcuts or subdirectories for you. which supports OpenGL. Note to Windows Users: Those wishing to use X-Plane on a Microsoft Windows operating system will also need to have Microsoft Direct X 9. as the case may be where the 900 or 915 indicates the version that you were using. Getting the latest driver correctly installed is frequently needed by X-Plane. people extract the files and have no idea where their machine extracted them to. and I won’t be a party to it. Your video card requires a special graphics driver. then go back to the device manager like you did to remove the drivers (open up the video adapter section again) but this time click “update driver” or similar and then when asked by windows to choose a location. Often. . We don’t do this because. Getting the latest drivers this way will hopefully get you in business. we just don’t think it’s right.) If you think you made a mistake and want to install the new drivers again. you will need to locate the X-Plane application and launch it. We see countless people with their desktop littered in shortcuts and they cannot tell where the shortcuts go! I have personally witnessed hundreds of hours of time wasted in frustration because people will: 1: install software and use only the shortcut to it 2: get an updated version of the software in a NEW location 3: keep using the shortcut to the OLD software. that is also a key indicator that your drivers need to be replaced.com and for NVIDIA video cards go to http://www. which can make use of the OpenGL graphics commands that X-Plane uses. you need to correctly install the latest drivers. If you end up with a screen consisting of splashes of color or random images of various pieces of the airplane or instrument panel or you get horizontal or vertical bars running through your screen it is VERY likely that your video drivers and graphics libraries need to be updated..exe or something like that in the drivers folder. X-Plane does not install a shortcut that goes off into a black hole you never understand.microsoft.Remember where you extract the folder to! We suggest creating a folder called ‘Drivers’ and extracting the files to that folder. -Download the executable file (with the ‘. (Note: if there is a file called setup. for example ‘X-Plane 900’ or ‘X-Plane 915’.0c (or later) installed for X-Plane to use audio and joystick features. search for “Direct X” in the search box in the upper right corner and Microsoft will guide you to the download site. then you can run that file and it may install drivers automatically.Nvidia.exe’ appendix) and double-click on it to blow it up into a folder. this is all that is required to remove the software from your system completely.Considerations for Windows Users OpenGL Graphics and video drivers IMPORTANT: X-Plane is a hardware-accelerated program and requires a graphics card (also known as a video card).nvidia.45 to 60 minutes to install each scenery disk. A high percentage of Windows operating systems are operating with drivers that are out-of-date or that do not currently support Open GL. Uninstalling X-Plane The X-Plane installer does not infest a hard drive or create multiple subdirectories or shortcuts on your machine. then I highly recommend any modern. follow these instructions: -Assuming you have Windows XP and a 3-D video card capable of running Open GL.Go to the video adapters tab and click on it to expand it. simply delete the primary X-Plane folder.Go to MY COMPUTER located on your desk top or in your START menu.com. Now restart your machine. assuming that the drivers will be automatically installed. The X-Plane installer installs a folder called . . Launching X-Plane When the installation of X-Plane is complete. . For ATI video cards go to http:// www. -First. On most systems the required drivers will already be installed.

throttle. or Lancair. business jets. receive ATC instructions from real live people acting as air-traffic controllers over the internet via voice-over-IP. This apparatus is typically clamped to your desk and more faithfully replicates the controls found in aircraft ranging from some private airplanes to Boeing airliners. Plug-ins should NOT be affected by the update process. With plugins. watching as they save a plane in one directory. If your joystick does not offer yaw control then you will probably want a set of rudder pedals to provide realistic yaw control in your airplanes. and two additional buttons to raise the flaps and lower them. For example.” Therefore. you can build multiplayer gaming modifications. Plug-ins are small programs that have been written by third parties to modify X-Plane in some way. XSquawkBox is a plug-in that allows players to connect X-Plane to the VATSIM or IVAO global air traffic control network. because X-Plane actually computes the forces acting on an aircraft in flight. but. here is a quick review of other available options: Joysticks typically provide pitch. X-Plane 9 will be able to fly aircraft files written in Version 8 or 9 but maybe not earlier. go to About > Current and Latest Version: Update. click on Start > My Computer and then double click on your local disk (typically your C drive) and locate your X-Plane folder. it is strongly recommended that you use (at least) a joystick to get a realistic experience.500 additional aircraft files that can be downloaded . Also. A yoke consists of a steering-wheel-like control that rotates left and right and also slides back and forth. some joysticks can have their handle twisted left and right to control the yaw axis. and more. scenery add-on packages will be backwards compatible for at least one version. Thus. So what about joysticks? Well. add scenery. the simulator will fly the aircraft the way it was built by the author. A joystick will be best if you want to fly fighter or sport airplanes. extend the cockpit. aircraft models.95 at your local retailer. if you suspect that an update has created a problem for a plug-in that you’re using. automatically download and extract the current installer. Double-click it to launch.the C drive is typical). on Windows machines. please contact the plug-in administrator or author for assistance. not the way the manufacturer built it. and sometimes even throttle control as well as a few buttons that can be programmed to do different things. You’ll note that the X-Plane program is located in the main X-Plane folder. but I have personally witnessed hundreds of hours lost by customers that don’t know where their shortcuts point to. you may program one button to raise and lower the landing gear. Compatibility between X-Plane and earlier versions of scenery. Than simply click on INSTALL and accept our licensing agreement by clicking on I AGREE. Check out www. so you will need a set of rudder pedals to provide realistic yaw-control of your airplane if you want to be able to control your airplane in the yaw axis. Any version of X-Plane will always have the ability to fly airplanes written for that version or the previous version. make sure that all of the scenery disks you are expecting to use have been installed. Once it opens. Remember that if you were using a shortcut or alias to launch X-Plane it will no longer be valid after the program is updated. Keep in mind that. Yokes may also have a throttle quadrant. So. Thus. With XSquawkBox . A multiengine throttle quadrant is recommended if you’re interested in realistically flying airplanes with more than one engine.com. since those planes are flown with yokes in reality. Now. Likewise. Make a shortcut to that EXE if you like.almost all of which are free . which will allow you to independently control the propeller. camber. A yoke will be best if you want to fly older-style general aviation airplanes. Normally. instead of using a joystick. To update X-Plane just launch the copy of X-Plane that you have been using.Garbage Out”. but it is impossible for us to keep track of all the different plug-ins that have been written for X-Plane. sweep. quality comes down to a case of “You get what you pay for. and plug-ins: X-Plane is designed to be backwards compatible but this is only possible to a certain extent. though. and you run X-Plane by going into that folder and double-clicking on the EXE.com: “X-World: Links and Lists” section for a listing of third party add-ons available for X-Plane. of course. Macintosh users should do the same by simply clicking on their hard drive icon. propeller. point it at the old copy of X-Plane that needs to be updated and diagnose the difference between your copy of X-Plane and our latest. you can fly online with hundreds of other pilots (who may be running X-Plane or Microsoft Flight Simulator). this would be set up to control the throttle. Cirrus. the program’s name has now been changed to ‘XPlane915’ or something. roll. see other aircraft ahead of you on the approach and hear ATC sequencing you in. The CH-Products Multi-Engine Throttle Quadrant offers independent and variable control of six different functions. While the shortcut may have pointed to ‘X-Plane 900’ previously. if the aircraft you downloaded was constructed with the wrong airfoil. There you will find more than 1. and mixture controls for a single propeller engine. because those planes. Upgrading to a later Version of X-Plane Before you update X-Plane. allowing independent control of jet powered aircraft with up to three engines. Thus. wondering why they can never keep the latest versions of their airplanes straight. in reality. are controlled with little joysticks! Now.X-Plane. every USB joystick and yoke on the market that we have seen recently will work with X-Plane. This is really approaching what real pilots experience every day. This controller can also be used to control throttle and condition (fuel cutoff) for jet engines. and non-Airbus airliners. Yokes do not offer control of the yaw axis (you can twist some joysticks left and right for yaw control. X-Plane will shut itself down. be leery of joysticks advertised for $29.as well as custom scenery add-on packages. most current version. and mixture controls for each engine on a twin-engine airplane. Keep this in mind when you are searching the internet for free aircraft downloads! Flight Control Requirements Joystick and other hardware selection: While it is physically possible to fly X-Plane with only the mouse and keyboard. Note that all of these files were written by our customers and some are better than others. decollage (and the list continues!) then X-Plane will predict how that aircraft would fly if ACTUALLY BUILT THIS WAY. or planes like the Airbus. You can NOT install X-Plane from disk. but possibly more. like most other things in life. you will need to remember to delete your shortcut and create a new one. incidence.X-Plane on your hard drive (at whatever path you selected in the installer . then look for it in another. Thus. For example. . are of very high quality. chord. re-program the built-in ATC. The joysticks you can buy at X-Plane. than update it and than expect to install any part of scenery as this will not work. Thus. you may choose to use a YOKE. it’s the old adage of ‘Garbage In . but not a yoke). Our experience has proven that the cheaper hardware typically does not last as long or work as well as more moderately priced equipment. dihedral. this is both cumbersome and unrealistic because no real airplanes are flown with a mouse and keyboard! While instructions for flying like this are included in the “Using the Mouse Instead of a Joystick” section later in this manual. launch it. You can ONLY install the scenery disks onto a copy of X-Plane that has been installed directly from your master disk.

To setup and calibrate your joystick. To change a button or switch assignment. your sliders) through their full and complete range of motion.000 to 3. Do the same thing for any engine controls you may have. The first thing that you must do to use a joystick (or other input device) with X-Plane is to properly calibrate it within X-Plane. just click the middle of the windshield with your mouse to take over flight control. . A few notes before we get started: . For that reason. This configuration has become the industry standard and is probably what you already have. track the runway centerline when taking off and landing. If you have additional input devices. Note: Any green bar which is not actively controlled by your hardware needs to be set to ‘none’.com in the “orders” section.992 or something. Keep in mind that X-Plane is capable of interfacing with most modern joysticks and pedals and such-forth.. When you do this. feel free to call or e-mail customer support with any additional questions you have. 5: The THROTTLE axis should probably have the REVERSE box checked. You can do this quite rapidly as X-Plane can log and remember all the different inputs at once. If you push it back and forth another bar will move. To start. Button Assignment Now click on the Buttons tab at the top of the screen. then select the required function within X-Plane by clicking on the small circular button to the right of the ‘Joy’ indicators. Contact information can be found at the “Contact Us” section of X-Plane. take off or land in a crosswind. we reviewed the various types of input devices that you may want to consider. you can program them within X-Plane in the same way. You may set a null zone for each joystick axis to finely tune how responsive your control surface inputs are.A joystick or yoke of some kind is recommended as a minimum flight control device as this will be much more realistic and provide a better environment for you to use the software. Setting Null Zones Null zones determine how much you have to move the joystick before X-Plane actually starts to take action.X-Plane. after you click the button labeled “Calibrate Joystick Hardware” move your stick or yoke from full right to full left deflection. like throttles or propellers. 2: The axis that moves when you move the stick fore and aft should be assigned to PITCH. it will need to be plugged in before you start X-Plane or X-Plane will not see your input devices. (Push the TOPS of the left or right pedal to activate the brakes on that side of the plane). . The pedals also control the brakes to help the airplane stop or turn sharply while on the ground. you will overwrite the assignment of the previous button or switch you programmed.Now about those rudder pedals: Rudder Pedals allow you to realistically control the airplane’s yaw by pushing the left or right pedal to turn. assuming your hardware isn’t excessively old. Repeat this operation for as many buttons and switches as you wish to assign the functions. How is X-Plane to know what the limits are that your joystick will create? Easy! You tell it. Thus. You do this by clicking the button labeled “Calibrate Joystick Hardware” on this window. or do various other things you might want done with the rudders. If you do not. Select from the drop down box to the left of each green bar the desired function in X-Plane. Calibrating Joystick Hardware This is a step of vital importance that often gets left out. but this auto-rudder function is not smart enough to take off or land properly in a crosswind. simply operate the applicable button or switch on your joystick or other input device. . slip.If you don’t have a joystick or other input device. Joystick Configuration and Calibration Note: If you are using a joystick or other hardware. This will bring up the screens that will allow you to configure and calibrate your joystick hardware. if you do NOT have a set of rudder pedals. Now.com. Actively controlling the rudder is needed to realistically steer the airplane on the ground. You can buy joysticks and other equipment at www. slip the airplane. So. The buttons and switches on your joystick and other input device(s) can be assigned a function within XPlane. Axis Assignment Once X-Plane is running. then X-Plane DOES automatically slew the rudder to try and keep the airplane flying true (if there are no axis assignments made to yaw . This is an indication that X-Plane has received your input. . and steering on the ground. multi-engine throttle quadrants and rudder pedals can also be configured with X-Plane. The normal configuration is as follows: 1: The axis that moves when you move the stick / yoke left and right should be assigned to ROLL.000 when you move a given control from one limit to the opposite and another may send a signal (given the same movement of your hand or foot) from -6. you can still control X-Plane by using the mouse and keyboard. 3: The axis that moves when you move the throttle should be assigned to THROTTLE (NOT ‘throttle 1’ or ‘throttle 2’ unless you’re flying a multiple engine aircraft and are using a multi-engine throttle quadrant. Earlier.) 4: The axis that moves when you move the rudder pedals left and right should be assigned to YAW. you’ll see one of the green bars move for each input you actuate.. when you roll your stick or yoke left and right only one green bar will move. The most common type of input device is a joystick. More elaborate input devices such as flight yokes. Close the dialog and your settings will be saved. To do this. Also. or recover from stalls and spins. click on the Axis tab at the top of this screen. rudder pedals (or at least a twisting joystick) are highly recommended. As you operate the buttons and switches you will see various ‘Joy’ indicators change from light gray to dark gray. move your controls around to see how the axes are mapped into XPlane. Note: You must press the required button or switch to select it prior to assigning it a function. go to Settings > Joystick and Equipment. This tells X-Plane that you are next going to give it your full range of signals for every possible input you have. from full back to full forwards. see the Joystick and Equipment Set Up section of this manual). for example to actuate the flaps or landing gear. Rudder pedals control the rudder in flight. Note that X-Plane can only listen to USB-format devices. just move every one of your variable controls (that is. Some devices may send a signal from 0 to 1.

X-Plane is subject to a continuous development and improvement program. Does the RUDDR indicate 1. Check for updates after you get your software installed by going to About > Current and Latest Version: Update from within X-Plane. Appropriate contact information is shown on their website. or near -1. Now that you have purchased the X-Plane master DVD. rudder) commands from the joystick. Then select the RIGHT-MOST box next to JOYSTICK AIL/ELV/RUD in the left-most column. and some rudder input to counter any aircraft yaw rates. In this case. Now let’s say you drag the sliders to the right a bit . for example a real Garmin 96/296/396 or 430 or 530 GPS radio.graphsim. Does the RUDDR indicate -1. you can see if X-Plane is getting proper stick input. . aileron. Notice that there is an additional set of sliders on the upper right portion of this screen. updated aircraft and resources. or near -1. If you are NOT getting the values you should according to the tests above. or near 1. Try dragging the sliders all the way to the right and flying the airplane . or your hardware is JUST PLAIN BROKEN! If you ARE getting the value you should according to the tests above. Close the dialog and these axis positions will be saved. Does the AILRN indicate 1.but this function is typically used to prevent your hardware from ‘creeping’ in flight or to ignore the constant ‘jittering’ that many older controllers will send to X-Plane. This does not mean that you get free updates for the rest of your life. Go to the SETTINGS menu. How? Pretty easy.000. EQUIPMENT. If these sliders are set all the way to the LEFT. . Do all the axis indicate zero. NOW what do you do? Well.X-Plane uses this as a ‘key’ to unlock the software. stability improvements. the version supplied on your DVD may already have been superseded by a later version. then the issue is with your hardware calibration in WINDOWS. bug fixes. the first 50% deflection of your joystick or yoke may only deflect the aircraft’s controls by 10%. . you’ll need to have the DVD inserted into your system to use these updated versions .000. set it up per the manufacturer’s recommendations and than check off on the Equipment screen (Settings > Joystick and Equipment: Equipment) that you have connected this to X-Plane.000. In other words. now it is a lot easier to fly. connect it to your computer. .000? It should! MOVE the rudder full LEFT. Now operate each axis on your controller and hold them at the point at which you want the control to begin operating while in flight. then your hardware is working fine! Getting Help. but it is recommended that you do so. therefore. click on the CENTER tab. The third tab in the ‘Joystick and Equipment’ screen. you are entitled to free updates through that full X-Plane version run. Thus. To do this. As you move these sliders to the right the response becomes non-linear. Newer versions of X-Plane often contain feature enhancements. or near -1. RUDDR (elevator. This will dampen any aircraft movements and desensitize your controls but keep in mind that the remaining 90% of the control surface deflection must take place in the last 50% of joystick travel. These updates are the full version of X-Plane and will act as time-limited demonstrations if you do not have an X-Plane master DVD. or near-zero? It should! MOVE the stick full LEFT. in this case. and seeing what values they are turning into X-Plane. The top-left sliders are the sensitivity curves which control the responsiveness of your input device. or near 1. If you purchased X-Plane on a store shelf somewhere. If these sliders are all the way to the LEFT. These control the X-Plane’s stability augmentation mode by dampening the predicted forces acting on the aircraft flight control surfaces. and even totally new features or options. Does the AILRN indicate -1. You will see the ELEV.000? It should! MOVE the stick full FORWARDS. Be sure to have the X-Plane master disk spinning in the DVD drive prior to starting up X-Plane for X-Plane to find it! Help is available through X-Plane customer support. Current contact information for Laminar Research is shown at X-Plane. right? Notice that the aircraft also becomes less responsive and heavier on the controls. Of course you do not have to take advantage of these updates.com. flight model improvements. than go to your ABOUT menu and click on UPDATE. AILRN. then the response will be completely linear meaning that a 50% deflection of your joystick will deflect the flight controls 50% of their travel. This special equipment section is generally used on multi-computer X-Plane configurations on professional/FAA certified simulators or to tie in various GPS navigators. Go ahead and play with the two sets of sliders to custom tailor the feel of X-Plane to be comfortable to you. but you still do not get the desired control response. adding some elevator input to level the nose. Controlling Joystick Sensitivity and Aircraft Stability Now go to the CENTER tab at the top of the joystick screen. Try flying with the sliders in various different positions to see what setting works best for you.000? It should! By moving the stick and pedals.000? It should! MOVE the rudder full RIGHT.000. If It Still Does Not Do What You Want Now. This gives you plenty of fine-tune control near the center of the flight-control envelope to hold altitude and roll precisely.000. this means that X-Plane will automatically add some stability augmentation to your aircraft. you need to find out if the X-Plane. Close the window. let’s say that you THINK you have done everything above. the simulator will try to make the plane easier to fly by adding control inputs for you. or through an on-line store like www. is used to setup special equipment for use in X-Plane. Does the AILRN indicate 1. . Does the AILRN indicate -1.com.com or similar . some aileron input to minimize the roll rate. As with the X-Plane version supplied on your DVD.000? It should! MOVE the stick full AFT.amazon. or near 1. Any movement inside the ‘dead range’ you just set will not affect the aircraft’s controls. only for the version you purchased the master disk for. CENTER your stick and pedals. and the computer is reading your joystick properly.000? It should! MOVE the stick full RIGHT. To update just launch X-Plane.then contact Graphic Simulations directly at www. then there is no stability augmentation of your aircraft. If you have some of this equipment.000. but still lets you get full control authority at the extremes. your controls will be very dampened for the first half or so of their travel and then become hyper-sensitive for the remainder of their throw. Then DATA OUTPUT screen.

Note: Most instruments and controls inside the cockpit are interactive. after you click the button labeled “Calibrate Joystick Hardware” move your stick or yoke from full right to full left deflection. it is much easier to use the ‘2’ key to drop a notch of flaps than it is to let go of the controls and then reach down with the mouse to adjust the flaps and then reach back up and grab the controls again. multi-engine throttle quadrants and rudder pedals can also be configured with X-Plane. Keep in mind that X-Plane is capable of interfacing with most modern joysticks and pedals and so-forth. though there are many shortcut key commands to help you navigate quickly through the options after you’ve become more familiar with the program. and trim. the layout and appearance of X-Plane is the same across all three operating systems for consistency. So. you can still control X-Plane by using the mouse and keyboard. When you do this.3: Initial Flight Setup General Access Since X-Plane has been written to operate on Windows.A joystick of some kind is recommended as a minimum flight control device as this will be much more realistic and provide a better environment for you to use the software. Some devices may send a signal from 0 to 1.992 or something. 2: The axis that moves when you move the stick fore and aft should be assigned to PITCH. How is X-Plane to know what the limits are that your joystick will create? Easy! You tell it. and Linux systems. go to Settings > Joystick and Equipment. To start. Like most programs. ‘Keys’ tab. and set the rendering (display) options to optimize the software for use with your system. These shortcuts are particularly important when you’re trying to use the mouse to fly.You can also hit your Enter / Return key to close any window that is open. like throttles or propellers.000 when you move a given control from one limit to the opposite and another may send a signal (given the same movement of your hand or foot) from -6. to see the key commands. Note: Any green bar which is not actively controlled by your hardware needs to be set to ‘none’. move your controls around to see how the axes are mapped into XPlane. Macintosh. You can do this quite rapidly as X-Plane can log and remember all the different inputs at once. -You can go to the SETTINGS > ‘Joystick and Equipment’ screen. Do the same thing for any engine controls you may have. you can program them within X-Plane in the same way. if you go to the VIEW menu you’ll see the list of all available views on the left side of that drop down menu and the list of keyboard shortcuts on the right. unless you’re flying a multiple engine aircraft and are using a multi-engine throttle quadrant. If you have additional input devices. the menu bar will appear. set frequencies. Select from the drop down box to the left of each green bar the desired function in X-Plane. 5: The THROTTLE axis should probably have the REVERSE box checked. . and easily change them to anything you like there as well. Additionally. You do this by clicking the button labeled “Calibrate Joystick Hardware” on this window. Before you start to use X-Plane. you’ll see one of the green bars move for each input you actuate. This configuration has become the industry standard and is probably what you already have. The most common type of input device is a joystick. More elaborate input devices such as flight yokes. your sliders) through their full and complete range of motion. A few notes before we get started: .X-Plane’s menu is hidden when you first launch the simulator. This tells X-Plane that you are next going to give it your full range of signals for every possible input you have.If you don’t have a joystick or other input device. while you’re attempting to do this the aircraft is merrily flying along at 150 knots or something. This will bring up the screens that will allow you to configure and calibrate your joystick hardware. Note that X-Plane can only listen to USB-format devices. Thus. . We explain that now: Joystick Configuration and Calibration Note: If you are using a joystick or other hardware. Earlier. There is no keyboard command to access the menu bar. For example. Calibrating Joystick Hardware This is a step of vital importance that often gets left out. This may be slightly different than the interface you are accustomed to. . . Axis Assignment Once X-Plane is running. just move every one of your variable controls (that is. etc. you may need to configure and calibrate your joystick (if applicable). 4: The axis that moves when you move the rudder pedals left and right should be assigned to YAW. meaning that you can use the mouse to alter switches. the simplest way to navigate around X-Plane is using the mouse. manipulate the throttle(s). just move your mouse pointer to the top of the screen. but is easy to use. To do this. when you roll your stick or yoke left and right only one green bar will move. The first thing that you must do to use a joystick (or other input device) with X-Plane is to properly calibrate it within X-Plane.000 to 3. we reviewed the various types of input devices that you may want to consider. The normal configuration is as follows: 1: The axis that moves when you move the stick / yoke left and right should be assigned to ROLL. it will need to be plugged in before you start X-Plane or X-Plane will not see your input devices. To setup and calibrate your joystick. If you push it back and forth another bar will move. To access the menu bar. When your mouse is within a centimeter or so of the top edge of the screen. In that case. from full back to full forwards. note that many of the keyboard shortcuts are shown in the X-Plane menus. click on the Axis tab at the top of this screen. Here are a few pointers to help you along: . assuming your hardware isn’t excessively old. Of course. 3: The axis that moves when you move the throttle should be assigned to THROTTLE (NOT ‘throttle 1’ or ‘throttle 2’).Anytime you’ve opened a window within X-Plane you can close that window by clicking EITHER of the close ‘X’s’ on the upper right or upper left of that window.

If you have some of this equipment. There are two things that effect the Simulator’s frame rate: the computer’s capabilities and what you are asking it to do (i. If these sliders are all the way to the LEFT. Here’s why: you would sit there for 60 minutes with out a single thing happening. EQUIPMENT. Generally speaking. As such. in this case. but still lets you get full control authority at the extremes. X-Plane has to be tremendously flexible to allow it to run on two year old computers and also to take full advantage of the newest super-computer that can be created. and some rudder input to counter any aircraft yaw rates. then there is no stability augmentation of your aircraft. Note: You must press the required button or switch to select it prior to assigning it a function. adding some elevator input to level the nose. how much visibility you have set. for example a real Garmin 96/296/396 or 430 or 530 GPS radio. The Rendering Options page (go to Settings > Rendering Options) allows you to match X-Plane’s settings (and thus computer requirements) to your computer’s capabilities. Obviously. but this function is typically used to prevent your hardware from ‘creeping’ in flight or to ignore the constant ‘jittering’ that many older controllers will send to X-Plane. For this reason.. As you can already tell. Repeat this operation for as many buttons and switches as you wish to assign the functions. This gives you plenty of fine-tune control near the center of the flight-control envelope to hold altitude and roll precisely. . Close the dialog and these axis positions will be saved. set it up per the manufacturer’s recommendations and than check off on the Equipment screen (Settings > Joystick and Equipment: Equipment) that you have connected this to X-Plane. Now let’s say you drag the sliders to the right a bit . aircraft instruments. That would be absolutely UNBEARABLE. Rendering Options Window Setup X-Plane is a very advanced simulator that has been designed for use across a broad range of computers of varying specifications. and other aircraft are being drawn. The fifth tab in the ‘Joystick and Equipment’ screen. This will dampen any aircraft movements and desensitize your controls. and then the aircraft would suddenly leap forward whatever distance had been covered in the last hour. at least for the way you’ve set X-Plane up.e. the lower the performance and frame rate. This is how many times per second the complete code (currently more than 700. this means that X-Plane will automatically add some stability augmentation to your aircraft. scenery. commonly referred to as frame rate. If these sliders are set all the way to the LEFT. You will probably want to experiment with the settings in this screen to get the best results from X-Plane on your computer. for example to actuate the flaps or landing gear. the more options you choose and the higher the setting of the rendering options. etc). this is not desirable. Go ahead and play with the two sets of sliders to custom tailor the feel of X-Plane to be comfortable to you. Any movement inside the ‘dead range’ you just set will not affect the aircraft’s controls. Notice that there is an additional set of sliders on the upper right portion of this screen. If you do not.Button Assignment Now click on the Buttons tab at the top of the screen. Suppose for a moment that your computer was only powerful enough to run one iteration every hour.000 three-dimensional buildings and cloud puffs than it would be if you set X-Plane up with only two or three miles of visibility. etc. The Rendering Options screen is where all the settings affecting the display quality and X-Plane’s performance are set. connect it to your computer. then the response will be completely linear meaning that a 50% deflection of your joystick will deflect the flight controls 50% of their travel. is used to setup special equipment for use in X-Plane. Then get to look at that image . or Hertz (Hz). You may set a null zone for each joystick axis to finely tune how responsive your control surface inputs are. As you move these sliders to the right the response becomes non-linear. It should be apparent that it will be much harder for the computer to compute images when you’re flying an airplane in 30 mile visibility with 8. right? Notice that the aircraft also becomes less responsive and heavier on the controls. Try dragging the sliders all the way to the right and flying the airplane . Setting Null Zones Null zones determine how much you have to move the joystick before X-Plane actually starts to take action. This is an indication that X-Plane has received your input. As you operate the buttons and switches you will see various ‘Joy’ indicators change from dark gray to green.). Close the dialog and your settings will be saved. Each time the computer runs through the program it advances the aircraft and recalculates the images that are seen (cloud formations. other aircraft. These control the X-Plane’s stability augmentation mode by dampening the predicted forces acting on the aircraft flight control surfaces. Try flying with the sliders in various different positions to see what setting works best for you. how many roads to calculate. . X-Plane provides the user with the option to make changes to numerous settings to optimize performance given a particular system specification or set up. Thus. In other words. the simulator will try to make the plane easier to fly by adding control inputs for you. To do this. but the program would calculate all sorts of infinite accelerations and massive changes in position and moment. the first 50% deflection of your joystick or yoke may only deflect the aircraft’s controls by 10%. This is simply not viable as the computer is just too slow to run X-Plane.for the next 60 minutes while your computer crunches through the next iteration to see what will happen next. some aileron input to minimize the roll rate. you will overwrite the assignment of the previous button or switch you programmed. This special equipment section is generally used on multi-computer X-Plane configurations on professional/FAA certified simulators or to tie in various GPS navigators. simply operate the applicable button or switch on your joystick or other input device. this is one of the most critical portions of this manual. . The Rendering Options you set will have more overall effect on X-Plane performance than any other settings you can make. To change a button or switch assignment. how many 3D objects like buildings. The top-left sliders are the sensitivity curves which control the responsiveness of your input device. . In this case. your controls will be very dampened for the first half or so of their travel and then become hyper-sensitive for the remainder of their throw. click on the CENTER tab. The buttons and switches on your joystick and other input device(s) can be assigned a function within X-Plane. but keep in mind that the remaining 90% of the control surface deflection must take place in the last 50% of joystick travel. Here’s why this is so important: The simulator’s performance is measured in frames per second. . Controlling Joystick Sensitivity and Aircraft Stability Now go to the CENTER tab at the top of the joystick screen. then select the required function within X-Plane by clicking on the small circular button to the right of the ‘Joy’ indicators. clouds.000 lines!) can be run. Now operate each axis on your controller and hold them at the point at which you want the control to begin operating while in flight. Not only do you not want to sit there for hours and hours with nothing happening. now it is a lot easier to fly.never changing .

. This will completely kill your frame-rate if you don’t have a strong video card. The following paragraphs explain what each of these options does. though. We strongly suggest experimenting with these settings in order to get the best experience from X-Plane.) The more powerful your video card is. this is also about the same place that the engineering begins to fall apart. “jaggies” result. Thus. but have a 128 MB video card. Or. Set Color Depth and Monitor Resolution on X-Plane Startup Check this box and X-Plane will automatically reset your monitor to the same resolution as X-Plane every time you start it. what do you DO about it? Well. If you buy a monitor of some OTHER aspect ratio (like a wide-screen) then if you set the monitor res to a wide-screen res (like 1280x768) then you will have un-used pixels on either side of the monitor. really not so great. So. This is no different than taking a piece of wallpaper from your wall and stretching it out too far in one direction and seeing that the circles printed on the wall-paper are now ovals! This stretching is most easily seen as instruments that appear to be oval. you can crank this option way up without the frame-rate being affected too badly. (We’ll get into a lengthy discussion on frame rate and how to optimize it in a few sections. it will simply be stretched in some direction. . we have set the minimum operating speed at this level. And. the first step is to buy standard-aspect ratio monitors if you want X-Plane to fill the whole screen. Scientific testing has shown that the human brain can interpret individual frames at frame rates of less than about 20Hz. and airplane will all look much better and sharper and more crisp. Why is this? Well. The frame rate will be VERY BADLY REDUCED. There are only about a million pixels on your monitor. Their max res should be 1024x768 if you want the X-Plane cockpit to fill their screen. The fog means that X-Plane doesn’t have to draw the world to as great a distance and this allows the computer to run faster. how do you tell what texture resolution you can set? Easy! Look at the very BOTTOM of the rendering options screen and see how much “VRAM is used at current settings. you will also get to choose a color-depth of 16-bit or 32-bit. then the runway and terrain will look pretty blurry and blocky . your frame-rate will not be impacted. If you would like to try and eliminate these jaggies select anti-aliasing and this will actually draw the X-Plane world several times per frame and blend them together. If you check this box. if the monitor is not physically 4/3 as wide as it is tall (4:3 aspect ratio) but the pixels are 1024x768 (4:3 aspect ratio) then there will be distortion of the image! Things that should be round will appear as oval. then you can go up to a higher texture resolution. doesn’t it? In reality. causing the simulation to appear “choppy. then you will be stretching 1024 pixels across the space occupied by 1280 pixels . If the X-Plane window does not fill your screen. X-Plane will automatically introduce fog to help your machine run more smoothly. then crank the texture resolution up a notch or two and re-start X-Plane. if you are using 32 MB VRAM according to the rendering options screen. runway. then X-Plane This option sets the full screen resolution of X-Plane.” Coincidentally. While this will not look too good. making the sim always run full-screen. In a perfect world. but you may find that frame-rate deteriorates just a little as the screen area gets larger..The faster the computer can run X-Plane the more realistic and rewarding you will find the simulation.. This will give maximum texture detail without overflowing the video card and reducing your fame rate. NOTE: you must restart X-Plane (but not your computer) for the changes in texture resolution to take effect! Thus. it will use very little VIDEO MEMORY (VRAM). your frame rate will be MASSIVELY impacted as the computer begins to use system RAM to store textures . This means they must physically be 3/4 as tall as they are wide. think about it: X-Plane’s standard resolution is 1024:768. The default and recommended setting is 1024x768 pixels. though. . this is a ratio of 4 to 3. . If you don’t have this box checked. If your texture resolution is LOW.” If you have a 128-meg video card. if you select a texture resolution that requires more VRAM than your card has! So. a clear case of distortion! So stick to 4:3 aspect ratio monitors to avoid image distortion if you want to fill the whole screen with an X-Plane cockpit with no distortion. Anti-Alias Level The anti-alias option is pretty interesting. This is not any sort of bug in X-Plane.a VERY SLOW process. do it the other way around: Set the resolution on your computer to match the resolution on X-Plane. The scenery. then go into the rendering options screen and see how much VRAM is used at the new setting. . resulting in a better-looking image. If your machine is not capable of delivering a frame rate of 20Hz while rendering the levels of detail you have set up in the Settings > Rendering Options page. if you see this. This is the 4:3 aspect ratio. it’s not for what X-Plane is doing. . so a high-frame-rate will be more easily possible. If you set the monitor to 1024x768. the higher you can set your texture resolution in X-Plane without hurting the frame-rate. Changes to this setting will take effect after X-Plane is restarted. NOTE: IF YOUR MONITOR IS NOT OF A STANDARD 4:3 ASPECT RATIO. as long as you do not ask for more VRAM than your video card has. which seems like a lot. THEN EVERYTHING ON THE SCREEN WILL BE DISTORTED IF YOU RUN X-PLANE IN 1024X768. determine at what screen resolution your computer is running and enter this same resolution here. Other screen resolutions can be used. it is just a fact that if you take 4:3 image and stretch it over a space that is not 4:3 in proportions. Note that if you set a texture resolution which requires substantially more VRAM than your video card has. 32-bit looks a little better. will run in whatever color depth you have your monitor set to. When any computer tries to draw a diagonal line across these rectangular pixels. and the VRAM used is only 32 Meg. the VRAM used will be just right about equal to or a bit more than the VRAM of your video card. which is probably 32-bit (or “millions of colors” as described on Macs). but if your video card is powerful. agreed? Now lets say that your monitor is NOT 4:3 aspect ratio? Then what happens? Well... Screen Res (Resolution) Setting Up Your Monitor Resolution Section Texture Resolution The ‘Texture Resolution’ setting determines the clarity and detail of the textures displayed in X-Plane. which is pixilated-looking “stair-stepped” lines. Textures are the image-maps that are draped over the terrain and aircraft to make them look realistic.

Keep in mind that drawing more and more dense forestry will have a moderate effect on the simulator’s ability to maintain frame rate. Note that the hot air balloons are only displayed on relatively calm days. Draw High-Detail Runway Environment When checked. This has no effect on frame rate unless you are above that altitude. This is analogous to looking at the X-Plane scenery from a low altitude on a clear day. Although it looks more realistic. and Frigate Vessels. These additional items have a very negligible effect on frame rate. helping the image to be more clear. Changes to this setting will take effect after X-Plane is restarted. this option will use a light texture in place of a light point wherever there is such an object used in the scenery. If selected. On this window go to “Output > Local Maps” and you will than have the option of checking on the “IOS.Setting up the X-Plane World Performance Rendering Options Forest Density This control is pretty self-explanatory. You can just start to make out the image but. As luck turned out the birds did not collide with him but it was enough to open his eyes and to realize that this potential hazard needed to be modeled in X-Plane. In the new version. . by the way) and check this box than a second X-Plane window will open on the second screen. which will be displayed in X-Plane. Use this option to switch these objects on and off. South Carolina. when you see a flock of birds it looks VERY realistic and colliding with the birds will cause damage to your aircraft as well as engine failures and other things. but the farther the scenery gets towards the horizon the fuzzier the image becomes. Aircraft Carriers. This option has a negligible effect on frame rate. World Detail Distance This will set the level of detail of objects in the world scenery. if there are a large number of lights in a scenery area. Now rotate it back towards you but only about 5 to 10 degrees. for example buildings. one day. Be careful with this one. It would have been cool to just draw a flock of birds that moves around but that wouldn’t be very accurate. The anisotropic filter helps to filter this fuzziness out.000 little 3D buildings is much more difficult than flying over rural Iowa with only 20. but also from a second computer networked to the student via a LAN or through the internet. since you’re looking at it from such a low angle the picture is all fuzzy and poorly defined. failing systems. Note that this IOS functionality is available not only on a second screen on the same computer. right? Now take the same picture and rotate it 90 degrees away from you so you’re looking at the edge. which realistically pitch and roll in the waves according to the weather conditions you have programmed. having this option enabled will negatively impact performance to a moderate degree. just like in real life. this one is a bit difficult to explain. Thus. cars parked by airports and driving on the roads. Anisotropic Filter Textures OK. The images directly in front of the aircraft will be relatively clear. flapping their wings. Oil Rigs. relocating the aircraft. This will obviously have a VERY POWERFUL effect on the simulator’s performance as flying over New York City with 8. Draw Cars on the Roads The X-Plane world can be automatically populated with hot air balloons. allowing you to control how dense the forest and shrubbery are in X-Plane. Changes to this setting will take effect after X-Plane is restarted and have a large effect on frame rate. Try it out and see if you like it and if you can live with the performance penalty. Changes to this setting will take effect after X-Plane is restarted and have a moderate to large effect on frame rate. This option has a minimal effect on most machines and a moderate impact on some machines. Things are clear and sharp. with your eye directly above the image and perpendicular to it.000 ft or higher. as in real life.be careful with this one. Number of Objects This will determine how many three-dimensional objects are drawn in the world scenery. and some other objects. Number of Roads This will set the number and complexity of roads and rivers. This option has no effect on frame rate.” or Instructor’s Operating Station. These highresolution images will typically be displayed at altitudes of 100. which can be used to perform maritime flight operations. X-Plane populates areas of ocean for you automatically with Oil Rigs. you can’t see it any longer. Carriers and Frigates In the past this was a user option. As he was climbing out a flock of birds flew in front of his aircraft and Austin thought we was about to incur multiple collisions. Draw Hi-Res Planet Textures from Orbit X-Plane can simulate orbital and sub-orbital flight using the Space Shuttle and other spacecraft. How does the image look now? Obviously. and from how far away this detail will be visible. This control will have a very large effect on frame rate . Draw Instructor’s Operating Station on Second Monitor on Same Video Card If you have a dual-head video card (which must be configured in your OS. You can land and take off from these vessels. Draw Birds in Nice Weather This is a relatively new feature in X-Plane that arose from a near-miss between Austin (the author of XPlane) in his Cirrus and a small flock of birds while departing from Columbia. and altering the weather for the ‘student’ pilot. this option will display high-resolution images of the Earth when simulating space flights. Each bird is modeled independently and has its own little mission. Imagine if you take a picture and look at it from about two feet. On the left you will than be give the option of loading different aircraft. He went much further than this and actually designed flocks of birds that fly around. This option has a moderate effect on frame rate.

As far as X-Plane is concerned..: multiple monitor installations per second) because the flight model needs at least 20 fps to do a decent job simulating most airplanes. lighter planes with less inertia and more speed for their size and more maneuverability will actually need MORE than 20 fps to fly accurately because they can flicker around the sky so quickly: a high frame-rate is needed to accurately track the plane’s rapid accelerations. which generally gives the most natural view and good all round performance. And the greater the accelerations. this option will draw randomly generated forest fires for you to practice water bombing. just as in real life. the frame rate is the number of unique pictures. The default value is 45 degrees. Draw Forest Fires and Balloons in Warm Weather. to load new scenery when you are about to fly out of one sector of scenery and into another. The smaller and more maneuverable the plane. This function will set a minimum frame rate that X-Plane will attempt to maintain. This is helpful in maintaining situational awareness. It rotates about a little depiction of your aircraft and points in the direction that your screen is pointing.Draw Cloud Shadows and Reflections This option will simulate cloud shadows on the terrain and sun reflection effects on the ocean. if X-Plane ever gets BELOW that minimum frame-rate then it will reduce the visibility to try to get the frame-rate up to draw less. Higher settings will allow more of the terrain to be viewed at any one time... Do Any Scenery Loads in the Background This will do exactly what it says. but will reduce performance. often with autopilot on) as the flight model tries unsuccessfully to predict what the plane will do next. or ‘puffs’.00. creating G-force blackouts under tight maneuvers or hypoxia from high altitude flying. Increasing the number of puffs will have a massive impact on frame rate. as a ratio to the default value of 1. They give the appearance of a true. This option has a negligible effect on frame rate..i. Additionally. then some of the crispness and precision of the textures may be lost! Try it out if you like and see what happens. If your system has too many rendering options set. or ‘frames’ that the simulator displays per second. this option will not cause a noticeable drop in performance. If your frame-rate is too low for the flight-model to handle. you will black out if you fly at too high an altitude with out first setting your pressurization or oxygen system.. Dim Under High G-Load or Hypoxia Field of View The Field of View setting will change the way X-Plane renders (displays) the view of the outside world. These affects are true to life and you will see the screen either ‘black out’ or ‘red out’ just as a pilot would experience a loss of eyesight under extreme high or low G situations. The minimum frame-rate is interesting. Size of Cloud Puffs This option sets the size of each cloud puff.00. or those options are set too high. requiring you to fly a water bomber such as the CL-415 (found in ‘Seaplanes’) and scoop up water from the ocean or a nearby lake. volumetric cloud. just like in real life. Number of Cloud Puffs This option sets the number of cloud puffs. depending on the weather conditions. When checked. X-Plane can realistically simulate such operations. Be careful with this one. and the faster it goes. or around. the greater the needed frame-rate to simulate the plane. because your computer is running too slow to take small enough time-steps in the flight model to see what the plane will really do each moment in time. You can experiment with these settings to obtain a balance between performance and visual appeal. as a ratio to the default value of 1. the higher the frame rate. This option has a negligible effect on frame rate. View Options Draw View Indicator This is a handy feature that will draw a little orange triangle in the top center of your screen when looking any direction other than forwards. X-Plane will simulate the effects of gravity. Special Viewing controls . although smaller. the greater the accelerations. the lower the performance of X-Plane will become. The term comes from the motion picture industry where each frame was a separate picture taken by a movie camera. Minimum Frame Rate As discussed previously. unsuccessfully. There is not a computer that has been built yet that has the memory required to load the . X-Plane will automatically reduce the visibility in an attempt to maintain the specified minimum frame rate specified here. Expert Rendering Options Compress textures to save VRAM Check this and re-start X-Plane and you may be able to use about twice the VRAM without overflowing your card! If you do this. which you can fly through. although this may not be too noticeable on modern video cards. Setting up Clouds 3-D Cloud Controls X-Plane’s 3D clouds are generated from many smaller cloud sprites.. This option has a negligible effect on frame rate.e. If your OpenGL graphics card and driver support multi-texturing. the greater the flight model accuracy and the better the visual appeal will be. then the plane is likely to start oscillating quickly back and forth (referred to as ‘simulator flutter’. Higher settings will also increase the ‘fish eye’ effect of the simulator. The larger the size of cloud puffs. They also develop over time. You can’t go less than 20 fps (frames When checked.

. single computer configurations. If you uncheck this option your computer will not load scenery as you approach the end of the sector that was loaded in flight. On this screen go to the Inet 1 or Inet 2 tab and enter the various IP addresses of the different machines in the appropriate location. Only then will the horizon always line up across all the visuals! In other words. The reason for this is that the center-point of the screen where the horizon rests in a level flight attitude is up near the =>top<= of the screen in the cockpit view (to make room for the instrument panel) and the =>center<= of the screen for the external visuals (which do not need room at the bottom for the instrument panel). for example a left. these images will blend together seamlessly if you don’t consider the width of the frame around the monitor. and that height is always 384 pixels (halfway up a 768-pixel screen) for the external visuals. For this reason. each gathered around him/her in a circle and pointing at him. Lock View to Forward Cockpit When you change the views in X-Plane. people will incorrectly lower the vertical offset of the center (with cockpit) view. these options can all be left at their default values Field of View The field of view (FOV) is exactly what it says: how many degrees of width are displayed on the screen. X-Plane will automatically set the vertical field of view to maintain a non-distorted image based on the aspect ratio of your screen’s resolution. Note that each screen requires its own computer and copy of X-Plane as each machine is running a parallel simulation. you are doing something wrong! You need to solve the problem by making sure that the viewpoint =>center<= is the same pixel-height on all the computer monitors that are side-by-side. Runways follow Terrain Contours X-Plane includes a feature whereby runways and taxiways can follow the elevations of the terrain upon which they are drawn. which can make airport runways overly bumpy.entire Earth scenery into active memory. tie the various computers together via a standard Ethernet network through a router and get the machines communicating.. Under normal. This will allow you to run different views on different monitors. If each visual has a field of view of 40 degree. regardless of the power of your computer or any limitations it may have. This is where a dual-core or multi-processor machine comes in useful! A single hyper-threaded CPU? Not so good . Thus. Checking this box will disable that convention and allow the runways to follow the underlying terrain. If. While you may set the width of your field of view. Often. To do this. In X-Plane each sector is three degrees of longitude by two degrees of latitude. each one off to the edge farther from the viewer than the center one. You should enter a lateral offset of -40 degrees for the left visual. and right views on three different monitors. you are placing all the visuals along a flat wall. people still make the same mistake over and over: they run a center view with a cockpit in the center screen. This will prevent your machine from going into the annoying pause (typically 15 to 30 seconds or so) but you will quickly find yourself out over the ocean if you fly beyond the location of scenery that was originally loaded. Minimum Frame Rate Lateral. Wrong. then you will enter a RATIO offset. It is =>not<= the correct response to the problem. What you need to do in this case is go to the viewpoint screen in Plane-Maker and set the cockpit viewpoint center to 384 pixels (half of the 768-pixel height of the screen) so that the viewpoint center in the cockpit window is the same as the viewpoint center in the side-view screens.0 for the left and 1. NOTE: While the view offsets do indicate how much to the left or right or up or down each view is looking.you really want a dual-core chip or dual CPU’s.. Check that box here. If you cannot set up the monitors to run their effective image all the way to the edge (as you can with some. Wrong!!!!! This results in countless problems with the views not lining up and is like taking the wheels off the left side of your car and then thinking you have the problem solved by holding the steering wheel to the right to drive straight. where each monitor is at the same distance from the viewer. If you have to enter a vertical offset for one of two monitors that sit beside each other. the default case is for X-Plane to flatten the terrain under the runways. even though you can’t see the part theoretically under the border) then you might try a field of view of maybe 38 degrees. Each computer might have a 40 degree FOV. based on whatever fraction of the monitor is visible. This option does not affect frame rate as you fly along but it does prevent your simulation from pausing periodically since it never loads new scenery. Setting up X-Plane to Achieve the Best Results Here is a procedure that will allow you to optimize the performance of X-Plane. the changes in elevation of the terrain may be too abrupt. Special Viewing Controls The options in this section are used for multi-computer simulators. the only time you should enter a vertical offset is if you have one monitor on top of another. To do this. Than launch X-Plane on each computer and go to the Settings > Data Input/ Output screen. but maybe you want a view to ALWAYS be forward-with-cockpit. where all the monitors are in the same plane. however.0 for the right are recommended as starting points. Why ocean? Because this is what X-Plane draws if you fly over an area that does not have any scenery installed. and check the right-hand box in front of “FRAME-RATE”. 0 for the front visual. and external visuals on the left and right (this is fine) but they notice that the horizon in the center (cockpit) screen does not line up with the horizons on either side. Wrong. that changed view propagates to all the external visuals. the scenery must be broken down into smaller pieces and loaded in sectors. Call customer service if you have difficulty with this and would like some assistance. In some cases. Entering the degrees of offset is what you would do for a wrap-around view. Others may like to draw the instrument panel on one screen and the forward view on a second screen. -1. Checking this option causes X-Plane to load as much scenery as possible in the background while the simulator is running in the foreground. launch X-Plane and go to the Settings > Data In / Out. Vertical and roll offset are what you would expect based on the text above. This option has no effect on frame rate. and +40 degrees for the right visual. First the basics: You have to be able to tell how fast X-Plane is running on your computer. center. Vertical and Roll Offsets Let’s say that you have three networked computers for additional visuals to form a wrap-around cockpit.

which sends the frame-rate to the screen in flight. Now you can see how fast you are running, in the “freq / sec” output on the far left. This is called “frames per second” or “fps”. - 15 fps is terrible and barely adequate to run the simulator. - 30 to 50 fps is the range you should target - faster frame rates mean your computer has reserve capacity. Studies have shown that starting at about 50 frames per second, your sub-conscious mind forgets that you are looking at a simulator, and thinks you are actually flying. - 100 fps is insanely high and indicates you have plenty of capacity to draw more buildings, clouds and other objects. What are you seeing on YOUR computer? Not high enough? OK, here’s how to make it faster: Go to the Environment > Weather screen. Set the cloud types to CLEAR or OVERCAST for maximum speed, or HIGH CIRRUS or LOW STRATUS for good speed. SCATTERED or BROKEN take a ton of computing power to run. Set the visibility to about five miles or so. Higher visibility takes more computing power to run, because the computer has to calculate what the world looks like for a much larger area. Nothing else in the weather screen will affect frame-rate, but clouds and visibility affect it a LOT. OK, close that screen and check your frame-rate now. Better? Good, but we’re not done yet. Now go to Settings -> Rendering Options. Look at your TEXTURE RESOLUTION. This setting determines how much VIDEO RAM (VRAM) you use. As long as you have plenty of VRAM, you can set it as high as you want with no loss in frame rate, but as soon as you set the texture resolution to require more VRAM than you have, your frame rate will die! How do you tell how much VRAM X-Plane is using? Easy. Look at the bottom of the rendering options screen and X-Plane tells you. NOTE: You can in some cases allocate MORE VRAM than you physically have, and X-Plane will still run fast, because a lot of the RAM can be “cached away” in the system with no speed penalty if it is not often accessed by the computer... like if it is the texture of desert sand, for example, but no desert sand is visible to you because you are not flying over the desert. But, if you have only 128 meg of VRAM on your video card, and the texture resolution is set such that you need 256 meg of VRM, then the computer will constantly be moving RAM on and off the video card (between the video card RAM and the system RAM) to draw each frame of scenery. This is VERY, VERY SLOW. Thus, you must set the texture resolution low enough to avoid this. NOTE: After you change the texture resolution, you must re-start X-Plane for the change to take effect! We recommend that you put the texture resolution on its lowest setting, exit the sim, re-start it, and note the frame-rate. Then raise the texture detail up one level and repeat, keep doing this until the frame-rate decreases . . . this is the point where you are using up all your VRAM! Back the texture resolution off to one level lower than where you noted the decrease and restart X-Plane again. Now look at the screen resolution in the rendering options screen... it uses up some VRAM, but not much. Your screen resolution is the size of the image that X-Plane is drawing, in pixels width by pixels height. You

may have a large, wide monitor but that does not mean that drawing a large, wide screen HAS to be more difficult for X-Plane. You can either draw a relatively few number of pixels on that screen if you set your system Screen Resolution accordingly or a lot. Remember, you set this in your control panel > Displays (Windows Users) and in your System Preferences > Displays (Mac users). Drawing a large screen with few pixels will look much worse and ‘grainy’ than drawing a smaller screen with more pixels - assuming that you are the same distance from the monitor in each case. Obviously, drawing more detail (with a higher screen resolution) uses up some video card CPU, but not too much. The primary drag on your computer is in the processor as it must calculate the view for a larger, more detailed area. Play with this a bit and set the resolution as you see fit... probably 1024x768 on a marginally powerful computer. Remember, you will have to shut down X-Plane and restart for the changes to take effect. Now we get to the really critical things: the all-important “number of objects” and “number of roads” settings. These have a HUGE impact on frame-rate. Set these to NONE for speed, then reset X-Plane for the changes to take effect. Then you slowly bring them up, one level at a time and restart the sim to see what the change in performance is. Setting these options to higher levels will look much nicer but will massively impact your frame rate. The many different boxes to the right of the world/object/road boxes for speed were reviewed above in detail. Most of these do NOT make too much of a difference, with the exception of “Draw textured lights” is very CPU-intensive when flying at night. Thus, set these up pretty much as you wish. “Number of cloud puffs” has a HUGE impact on frame-rate when you have scattered, broken, or overcast clouds, but you already know to avoid those if you are not getting good frame-rate. There’s one more area that is pretty important, “Number of airplanes,” accessed from the Settings > Aircraft and Situations window. It should be ‘1’ (yours) for maximum speed. Setting this number higher will cause X-Plane to use AI (artificial intelligence) to fly any specified number of other aircraft around the sky. Note that there is no logic to determine what type of aircraft to place or where - thus you may see a hot air balloon flying around New York City. Fun to look at but not too realistic, we agree. The other settings in this window don’t really affect speed too much.

4: First-Flight
Opening Aircraft Launch X-Plane on your computer. An airplane will open which will be the default airplane the first time you launch X-Plane (this is the Boeing 747) or the last aircraft that was loaded in X-Plane. Let’s start in something more simple, like the Cessna 172 SP. To open this aircraft, go to the Aircraft > Open Aircraft window. Here, on the top of the window that just opened, you will see the name of the folder that your current aircraft is located in. To the right of this is a little up/down symbol. Click on it. Now a list of the folder hierarchy is displayed below that starts with your X-Plane main folder and goes down to the folder that your aircraft is in. The second line should show “Aircraft.” We want to look inside your aircraft folder to get to the General Aviation folder so click on “Aircraft.” Now click on “General Aviation.” Finally, in here you will see the folder that contains the Cessna 172SP. Click on it to open. Every aircraft file - which is what we need to click on to open the airplane - is denoted by an ‘.acf’ extension. Inside your “Cessna 172SP” folder you will see the aircraft file called “Cessna 172.acf.” Click it once to open the file. In a few moments the screen will go black and shortly thereafter you will be sitting in the cockpit of a new Cessna Skyhawk 172.

VOR identifiers are letters only, so any airport identifier that has any numbers in the ID stays as is. Here are some examples: - 3CK stays as 3CK since it has a number in it. - OJC becomes KOJC for the airport because its identifier is letters only. - The VOR on the field is also called just OJC with no “K” to denote that it’s a VOR. - AMW becomes KAMW for the airport. There’s no VOR on this field so there’s no other identifier for this airport. Set Weather/Real Time Weather X-Plane has excellent weather simulation compared to other flight simulators. Go to Environment > Set Weather. Choose the left-most tab (Atmosphere) and take a look at the various things you can set. You can set cloud types and top and base levels for three different layers. Quick Tune Buttons So that’s all obvious, but now look down a bit: There are buttons labeled “Cat-III”, etc. What do they mean? Well, these are “Quick-Set” buttons, and pressing them will quickly set some general weather for you. Cat-III sets the weather up for a Category-III ILS approach. These are extremely low instrument conditions, basically zero ceiling and visibility. Cat-II sets the weather up for a Category-II ILS approach with terribly poor ceiling and visibility. Cat-I sets the weather up for a Category-I ILS approach with poor ceiling and visibility. N-Prec sets the weather for a non-precision approach... 3-mile visibility and 400 foot ceiling. MVFR sets the weather marginal VFR flying conditions... about four miles visibility and a 1,500 foot ceiling. VFR sets the weather to good visual flight rules conditions. That is; clear, sunny skies. CAVOK sets the weather to clear and visibility OK. Typically pilots refer to this as “CAVU - Clear and Visibility Unlimited” Now let’s look at the sliders. The visibility slider is pretty obvious... nothing new there. The precipitation slider sets the type of condition: Rain, hail, or snow depending on the temperature around the airplane, and the temperature in the clouds where the precip was formed. The icing slider is pretty clear with one exception: It sets a probability that you will encounter icing conditions.

Position Aircraft at Your Airport of Choice (Optional) You can relocate the aircraft anywhere on Earth by clicking on Location > Select Global Airport. When you do this a listing of all the airports in the X-Plane data base (currently more than 32,000) will come up. This represents practically every airport on the planet. Note: if you locate your aircraft to an area that does not have any scenery installed you will then find yourself sitting on the airport which is hovering above the ocean down bellow. We refer to this as Water World and it is covered in detail in Appendix C: Water Everywhere. In this screen you will find two areas. On the left is a listing of all the airport names, arranged by city. This format (and these names) are the official standard for that local area - the FAA for US airports. You can enter either the city name in the data entry block on the left or the airport ID in the data entry block on the right. Also, you can use the up and down arrows to move through the full list. When you find the airport you like click on it once to highlight it with the grey box around it and than click the button that says “Go to this Airport.”

Airport IDs explained Every airport on Earth has a unique identifier that is used to refer to that field in flight plans, instrument approach plates, and GPS navigators. In the United States, the airport identifiers are comprised of three digits, which can be letters only or letters and numbers. Sounds easy, right? But wait… VOR’s, a type of navigation radio, also use the same identification system and, in some cases, the very same identifier. A VOR located on a field, for example, will have the same identifier as the field itself. To prevent confusion, a ‘k’ is added before the identifier for the airport if that identifier contains only letters. All

Ice can form on the craft when the aircraft skin temperature is between about -15 and 0 degrees Celsius. For this to happen, you have to be in visible moisture (clouds, fog, rain), at a temperature somewhat below -15 and 0 degrees ambient. Now, why does the ambient temperature have to be BELOW -15 to 0 degrees to have the AIRCRAFT SKIN TEMPERATURE is to be -15 to 0 degrees? Because the aircraft itself is always somewhat WARMER than ambient due simply to the compression of air on the aircraft. At the speed light planes travel, effect may only be 5 or 10 degrees, but it does exist! Go to the Settings > DATA OUTPUT screen and output the ATMOSPHERE:AIRCRAFT line number to see the LEADING EDGE TEMPERATURE (l.e. temp)... THAT is the value that should be between -15 and 0 C for ice to form! Once you are in visible moisture (clouds or rain) in freezing conditions, ice MAY form on the plane and you can control the probability of that happening here. When ice forms on the aircraft in X-Plane, a number of things happen: The weight of the plane increases as you start carrying all that water, the drag on the airplane increases as the ice ruins the airfoil-shape of your wing, thus adding lots of drag, and the lift from your wings decreases as the airfoil-shape of your wing is ruined by the ice building up on it. As well, if you have a propeller, the ice buildup on the propeller blades will decrease the thrust from the prop because it will mess up the shape of the airfoil of your propeller. Also, the ice will get into the air inlet for the engine and begin to starve the engine of air, reducing engine power and also engine cooling. Additionally, the ice will form a coating on the aircraft including the windshield, limiting the forward visibility. Before long your visibility thorough the front windscreen will resemble the view you would see if you were inside an ice cube, which you are. All of these things happen to real aircraft when they are carrying a load of ice and so all of this is of course simulated in X-Plane. The thunderstorms slider. Drag this slider to the right to increase the propensity for convective activity and look at the weather radar map on the lower-right of the window to see where the cells are forming. Flying into them results in heavy precip and extreme turbulence. The turbulence is great enough that in reality, airplanes can fly into thunderstorms in one piece and come out in many smaller pieces. Taking helicopters into these icing and thunderstorm situations is pretty cool because their very high wingloading on their rotor and free-teetering rotor causes them to have a pretty smooth ride in turbulence, but they are still not indestructible, and they are subject to icing on their blades just like an airplane. Wind and Turbulence slider: This slider auto-sets all the sliders in the center of the screen that control the wind and turbulence. Drag this slider down to the left and HOLD IT THERE FOR A FEW MOMENTS to set all of the wind and turbulence to zero if you’d like a smooth flight. You do have to DRAG AND HOLD the “Wind and Turbulence” slider to the left to do this though. The turbulence in X-Plane is simulated very realistically. To see how incredible the turbulence in X-Plane is, drag the “Wind and Turbulence” slider up to a pretty high setting and then close the “Set Weather” window. Now hit “Shift \” (the “|” key) to go to an external view. Now hit the “/” key twice to see the wind vectors. The green arrows you see are the actual wind vectors acting on the airplane. Each of those vectors represents a wind speed and direction in the flow field around the pane, and that flow field will interact with each of the elements of each of the wings (and propellers!) of the plane. You may occasionally see little green lines sprout out of the top surface of the wings; these lines show the lift vector for each segment of the wing.

Of course, when the aircraft is flying the lift vectors will be very prominent but even with the airplane just sitting stationary at the end of the runway, the wing can indeed be producing some measurable lift. The air may be blowing UP on part of the left wing and DOWN on part of the right wing, causing the craft to roll to the right. Or maybe up on the wings and down on the tail, causing a pitch-up. Or, as actually happens in real life all the time, multiples of these situations all at once. Only after you think about the fact that the flow field is continuous and variable, covers the entire aircraft for any scenario that can be simulated, and that all different parts of each airfoil surface see different relative directions and speeds does it become apparent how much math is going on in the background within X-Plane. Use the arrows keys and +/- keys to move around and zoom out. See how the wind vectors are changing kind of slowly? That’s because you are not moving through new air velocity regions at all, but are instead sitting there motionless, waiting for new regions of air to come blowing over you. Start your plane moving with throttle, and you will notice that the changes in air vector become more and more rapid as you race though the different regions of air velocity more and more quickly. This effect results in large, slow, wallowing displacements of the aircraft due to turbulence when flying at only 50 knots in a Cessna, but sudden, sharp, JOLTS of turbulence when going 400 knots in an airliner. This, of course, is what happens in the real world. Microburst Probability: A Microburst is a rapid downward movement of a column of air. This downwardmoving column of air smacks the ground and then spreads out in every direction like pouring water out of a cup onto the ground, OK - think of a really large cup, like a five gallon bucket. If this column of air hits the ground in front of you, then you will get a big headwind from the air spreading out as it hits the ground. If you are taking off or landing, then you will see your indicated airspeed suddenly come UP as you fly into this sudden headwind. Many pilots, at this point, will pull back the power to try to slow down > Bad move. This sudden headwind will end momentarily, or worse yet turn into a tailwind as you fly to the other side of the microburst. Then what happens? Well, you are out of airspeed because you have slowed your plane, and then the wind suddenly alters to come from behind, traveling in the same direction you are. Now your airspeed is greatly reduced which reduces your lift and you will likely have to work pretty hard to avoid crashing. So, if you turn on microbursts in X-Plane, or encounter one in reality, be prepared to go to FULL POWER if your speed suddenly comes up, so that you can build enough speed, and momentum, to carry you through the drop in indicated airspeed you are about to encounter. The bottom slider is the rate of change, which you can set at will, of course. On the very bottom left you can set your temperature and barometric pressure (air pressure) within X-Plane, both conditions that will take effect at the closest airport. Keep in mind that the ‘standard atmosphere’ is 59 F (19 C) and 29.92” mercury (1013 millibars). The middle column of this window should be self-explanatory: You get three wind layers. Set the wind in each layer and X-Plane will use these and interpolate between the layers. Enter the thermal coverage, climb rate, and maximum altitude in the upper-right. This is where you enter the thermal characteristics for glider-flying. As well as thermals, X-Plane also runs air up and down the terrain as wind blows into mountains, just like the effects that real glider pilots have to keep in mind and try to take advantage of. Set the wind at 30 knots or better at a right-angle to a mountain range and run along the up-

Here’s an example to help make this more clear: You’re about to take off from Ames.You can fly with the mouse from most viewpoints. for example. for example. gear. causing the plane to pull left and right as each wheel encounters different runway conditions. To do this. be out of date. This will turn on and extinguish the white box. you can only do this if the airplane you happen to be Using the keyboard / Keyboard Shortcuts X-Plane has been designed so that it is both extremely flexible but also easily usable. it is possible to fly with only a mouse for flight control but this is both cumbersome and unrealistic (since real airplanes all have a stick or yoke). and other controls. but once the weather is downloaded (it is downloaded to a file called “Metar. You can simply click on any of the key fields and enter any key you want to control any function. switches. You have this weather (clear sky and 15 mile visibility) loaded onto your machine and off you go. Thus. X-Plane will grab actual weather conditions from the internet that are current to within one hour.e. radio frequencies. Of course you need internet access to use this option. but near-zero for the icy parts of the runway.Grab and let go of the stick by clicking the mouse button approximately on the white plus. If you download the real weather once per hour. flaps. look at the keys assigned to the various functions. To see what keys do what functions.. . Note that it may be difficult to see at times as parts of the aircraft may blend in with it while using one of the external views.Let go of the stick before you take the mouse down to the panel to change a radio frequency. and then set the runway conditions to wet or icy. the weather will. though of course. often with some wheels being on icy sections. Likewise. If you see only the cross and there is no white box around it that indicates that your hand is not on the stick. keep in mind that many of them are shown in the menus when you’re flying. The little cross signifies the center of the control range over which you can deflect the control surfaces. X-Plane will scan the thousands of airports that report weather and apply the weather from the nearest weatherreporting-airport to your flight in the sim. When the box is visible. This is some pretty interesting stuff: By checking the “Periodically Download real-weather” box. Set the temperature to below freezing. and then select patchy from the popup menu at right. up and down within the confines of the box to move the flight controls. though. since X-Plane will always find the nearest reported weather to our current location and use that to set the weather that you are flying in.wind side of the mountain range in a glider and you should be able to stay aloft on the climbing air if you stay pretty low. By this I mean you are free to move the mouse anywhere you like and there will be no impact on the fight control surfaces. . Moving the mouse to the right edge of the box means that you are moving the aircraft control stick all the way to the right and the ailerons will be fully deflected at that point. “Keys” tab.rwx”) you can keep using it forever without connecting to the net again. then you will definitely want to consider using the keyboard short cuts (see preceding section) to control the engine(s). and apply that weather in the simulator as you fly. although you know from watching the weather channel that KC is actually going through low IFR conditions. so will still give weather that varies as you fly from one place to another. Here’s how to fly with the mouse. In this case. as your hand would be used to manipulate the instruments. if you locate the mouse directly below the cross you will be commanding some up elevator (causing the plane to climb) and not imposing any roll commands (which should keep the aircraft from changing its bank). Here are a few key points to remember: . and views. within a set of brackets. because the Metar. This will now set the friction of the runway to be just fine for the dry sections. Any time that Roll and Pitch axis have not been selected by you in the Settings >Joystick and Equipment screen.click the mouse button in the vicinity of the little white cross and a white box will be visible. Drift to the downwind side of the mountain. you will see that the plane is encountering icy and clear areas of pavement at random intervals. go to the View menu and you will see that each view is listed on the left and the keyboard shortcut is shown on the right. thereby maintaining a level flight attitude. and drag the gear lever to the other position from which it is resting. though.rwx file still includes a global snapshot of the weather across the planet. with thunderstorms and significant turbulence. . causing the aircraft to bank right at its maximum rate. a small white plus sign will show up on your screen. if you keep the mouse lined up exactly with the cross. Don’t hold the mouse button down. Again. It is still nice to have. just as happens in real life. just grab the knob as you would in real life and actuate it. X-Plane assumes that you intend to fly with the mouse. For example. most of the keys on the keyboard do something.Move the mouse right and left. and an unstoppable descent is assured! Setting the runway conditions is fun. If flying with the mouse. this indicates that your hand is on the stick and any movements you make with the mouse within the box will position the flight controls accordingly. To grab the stick . As you approach the area you note that XPlane is still showing clear sky and 15 miles. it is not necessary to hold down the mouse button down.. but deflect it to the right a bit. You’re flying a Citation Jet and it only takes 40 minutes to get to the Johnson County Executive Airport in Kansas City (KOJC). Thus. just click once to turn the box on (i. NOTE: It is not necessary to try and remember all of the keyboard shortcuts. For the landing gear. reach up with the mouse. to grab the stick) and again to turn the box off (to release the stick). in that case. Get your plane going to about 90 knots and then put on full brakes. the plane should bank to the right without altering its pitch. Iowa (KAMW). or the flight controls will be deflected fully and cause the plane to gyrate out of control. Instead. add some precipitation. Just below this option is a “Periodically scan real-weather” check box. and select any function for any key as well by clicking on the little box beside each key command. but then fly out of the area you started in. . and do not scan the weather file (that was previously downloaded) then the weather that you experience at the new airport may be different than what the real weather download contained. typically located at the approximate center of your screen. some on dry. simply go to the “Joystick and Equipment” screen. Using the Mouse Instead of a Joystick As alluded to earlier. X-Plane will not change the weather as you fly along unless you have already checked the “scan real weather” checkbox. Controlling Instruments and Avionics with the Mouse When you are sitting inside the cockpit the mouse can be used to control the aircraft. only to move it within the confines of the white box. the forward view has a “[w]” next to it on the right side of that line in the View menu.. Below the Runway Conditions we see the “Real Weather” section. and download the real weather.and provide the ability to control the aircraft . Thus. Of course.

00 MHz. X-Plane is set up the same way. turn the ignition key through its various positions and actuate switches and levers with the mouse. just keep on going. but pulling back on the yoke or stick) at about 60 to 65 knots in the Cessna 172. You should experiment with the different views to become familiar with them and also practice raising and lowering the aircraft’s landing gear and flaps and such. Before you concern yourself with navigation or attempting to fly around the pattern or to come in for a landing first just enjoy yourself. These functions are available in the About > AI flies aircraft menu. To do this in the real aircraft. When you hover the mouse in the vicinity of one of the radio tuning knobs. If only it was so easy in the real world! . you will find that you have two counter-clockwise arrows on the left of the knob and two clockwise arrows on the right. This is normal in single engine aircraft and X-Plane demonstrates this behavior as well. enable the “Show Mouse Click Regions” option in the Aircraft > Show Mouse Click Regions menu. Many of these other topics are covered in Chapter 6: Navigation. The first knob controls the integer portion of the frequency and the smaller knob will control the decimal portion. Don’t worry if it takes a few tries to learn how to keep the aircraft on the runway. lower knob until 128 was visible in the window and you’d turn the small. Note on Radio Tuning Avionics in most airplanes utilize twin concentric knobs that allow the pilot to tune the radio. When you are ready to fly by ourself. To see the areas on which you can click in the cockpit. upper knob until 00 was visible. Chapter 3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Demo Flight Let’s start with an example flight. The arrows closest to the knob are physically smaller than the others and these adjust the decimal. Similarly. that was quite a lot of preliminary work but now your X-Plane software is installed. This will draw little yellow boxes around the areas of the instrument panel that can be manipulated with the mouse. Once the aircraft leaves the ground feed in a bit of forward stick to momentarily level off to allow the airplane to build speed. two sections above) or you could assign the gear function to a button on your joystick (See Button Assignment. Many of these controls can also be done with a keyboard shortcut as discussed above. You can set the AI system up to take the aircraft off and fly around. Note that if you have a mishap and crash the airplane hard enough X-Plane will automatically open a new airplane for you and put you on the end of the closest runway. your monitor and joystick settings have been perfected and you’ve become familiar with how to interact with the aircraft. set up to match the capabilities of your computer. X-Plane offers the capability to allow the aircraft to be flown by artificial intelligence (AI). the Cessna can take off in the grass just fine. Continue to advance the throttle and be ready to feed in some right yaw (right rudder or twist on your joystick. Once you get to 80 knots or so then again pull back gently on the stick and resume your climb. which may be a grass strip! If you crash but the impact is only hard enough to bend the airplane up but not necessarily to kill the occupants than your aircraft will just sit there and smoke. if applicable) as you began accelerate. turn off the AI flies your Aircraft function and open the airplane again as this is the easiest way to get it back on the ground. there are many different ways to actuate controls.flying is equipped with retractable landing gear. apply some back elevator. Go ahead and select AI flies your Aircraft and let the computer fly for you. If your airplane turns off into the grass as it’s accelerating. You should be sitting on the end of the runway in the Cessna 172 or other aircraft of your choice. Note that the aircraft will open sitting at the airport that was closest to the location at which the previous aircraft was flying. Slowly advance the throttle and then release the brakes when you get to about the half-throttle point. This would also be a fine time to practice tuning radios and to spend time becoming familiar with the various cockpits. The outside set of arrows is larger and adjusts the integer. Autopilots and Flying on Instruments. For example. or Yoke OK. Joystick. Flying yourself. If this happens than you will need to go to Aircraft > Open Aircraft and open a new airplane to get things fixed. you can control radio frequencies. Normally the pilot will rotate (that is. with the mouse. let’s say you wanted to tune your COM1 radio (the Communications number 1 radio) to 128. Keep in mind you could also hit the ‘g’ key (see Keyboard Short Cuts. Now it’s time to go out and fly. you’d turn the big. As you can see. For example there will typically be a larger knob on the surface of the radio and a smaller knob that sticks out from the large one.

stop and rewind. through many different airplane and flight situations.smo files with anyone else. The raw data for the flight is what is recorded. so the viewing options are unlimited. Save/Load Situation Movie This function will allow you to create a movie of your flight that you can play back in X-Plane later. Because the . or re-load them later yourself. share. act as a pilot and get the plane into the air. Type a name for your movie. or if you want to let X-Plane randomly go . Selects. When you select “A. 3. Some people have a difficult time upgrading their copy of X-Plane to the latest version. Map. The “Load” option allows the user to reload any saved situation and continue the situation as if nothing had happened in the meantime. File Menu Save/Load Situation These “Save” option allows you to save the current setting and situation of X-Plane. Controls Your Views” the system will show you different views of the plane as it is in the air. and the first thing I ask them is: “What version of X-Plane are you using?” 2. This means the Joystick. To Save a Situation Movie: 1. It is useful for quick reference during a flight. which tells you what your version of X-Plane is.com. Flies and controls Views of your Aircraft With these options selected. Select ‘Save Situation Movie’ from the ‘File’ menu. Everything is saved as it was at the time of the save operation. and even select views for you. Flies Your Aircraft” lets the A. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will decide which aircraft you should fly by randomly selecting an aircraft from the many you have available in your ‘Aircraft’ folder on hard disk.I.smo). while viewing the recorded movie. So. you will understand the “Versions and Updates” window. you can change views. etc. Here is how it works: X-Plane saves a huge amount of data on your flight in a special X-Plane file format in a situation movie file (. View function. Hit the ‘Enter’ key on your keyboard to complete the process. 4.I.sit . what that LATEST version is (it checks the internet to figure that out!) and even has a single button you can press to upgrade your copy of X-Plane to the latest version! So. As well. 2. I am CONSTANTLY upgrading X-Plane to new versions. just go here from time to time to see what the latest version is and upgrade as desired. You just have to learn to poke around the various menus and windows to see all the various options you can change. Selecting “A. you will be there at load time. Refer to Chapter 4 and the discussion on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Demo Flight. perhaps outputting data to some hardware or software that you have developed that you want X-Plane to drive.X-Plane. Instructions This displays a summary of the basic keystrokes and functions available. With these points in mind.5: X-Plane Menus X-Plane has the most flexible and powerful interface I have ever seen in any flight sim.smo file records a ton of info on the flight. Weather. Here you have three options. function comes to life and randomly selects a plane to be activated. When you select the “A. 3. These are nice options if you want to let X-Plane run in some sort of demo in the background while you talk to people. look at instruments. You may save multiple situations by naming the file to be saved followed by the file type .I. A dialog window will appear. If you where in Pause mode when saving. let me give you a guided tour of all of them! The About Menu About X-Plane Versions & Updates Three notes: 1. People often ask me questions about why THEIR copy of X-Plane is not doing what they expect. to evaluate or share your flight. the A. and I always announce these new versions at www.I.I. email. Selects Your Aircraft”. Select the location to which you would like to save your movie.I. etc your . Selecting this menu option will take you to the instructions window which will give you basic information on: Flight Controls Cockpit Control Keyboard ATC (Air Traffic Control) Tech Support Artificial Intelligence (AI) A. if you want to always have the latest version of X-Plane. You can then save. etc. the computer can fly your plane.

Open Livery Weight & Fuel Go here to set the weights on board your airplane. but Windows users may need to install a suitable QuickTime package in order to use these features! See http://www. Equipment and Failures X-Plane simulates countless aircraft systems failures. including Microsoft Windows. The next time X-Plane starts it will remember your settings. which are for showing movies only. so don’t record for too long! Quit This will terminate X-Plane and the current status of the simulator is saved. but have a hard time getting OFF the ground to start with. for hundreds of different aircraft systems. or from the ‘Weapons’ folder that is directly inside the X-System folder. This is a sample FDR file. Take Screen Shots This creates an image of the entire screen when selected. whether they are in X-Plane or not. A Situation Movie stores all the raw data that defines the flight. You can select weapons from the ‘Weapons’ folder that lives inside the folder that contains your aircraft. and the weight and mass-distribution of the fuel is considered by the simulation. The MOV file is a QuickTime Movie. made to be easy to create. X-Plane will have saved your situation files to the following folder: X-System/Output/Movies. and you will see that you have plenty of weapons that you can put on plenty of hard-points. and the engines need fuel to run. Make QuickTime Movie Specs A QuickTime movie is not the same as a Situation Movie. Look in the ‘Instructions’ folder in X-Plane for the file ‘FDR_reference.fdr) format. the FDR file is text so that anyone may make their own FDR files as easily as possible from whatever data they have and then re-create these flights in X-Plane. so that anyone may make a file to view a flight in X-Plane. the fuel you put on board does indeed matter! On aircraft that are equipped with internal or external stores (such as weapons or drop tank hard points). You will also find that moving the center of gravity FORWARD (LEFT) makes the plane behave like a dart. which anyone may view outside of X-Plane. and aerodynamic forces of stores are all considered by X-Plane’s flight model. but your plane will be in the same position where it was the last time you started the simulator.apple. Opening Aircraft. You will find that an airplane can typically stay in the air at very high weights.. which anyone may use INSIDE X-PLANE to view your flight from any view or angle.To Load a Situation Movie: 1. really fast. and the MOV files. A dialog window will appear. and open the folder that contains the movies you have previously saved by using the drop down menu at the top of the window. Toggle Movie This toggles the QUICKTIME movie recording on and off. or command specific failures. simply click on the movie file that you would like to load. (By default. Aircraft Menu Open Aircraft Refer back to Chapter 4: First Flight. Take an F-4 Phantom in the ‘Fighters’ folder. though. Select ‘Load Situation Movie’ from the ‘File’ menu. You can set the fuel and payload. This lets you experience what happens when important pieces of equipment don’t do what they’re supposed to in flight! The System Failures window lets you set the frequency of such failures. to summarize: The SMO file is for Situation Movies. So. and in that case people need to be able to take the data from a black box and put it in a format that X-Plane can read. but a QuickTime movie simply stores what is seen on the screen during flight. only to be used in X-Plane. which are compressed binary. 2..com/quicktime/download for more information. it will NOT want to go straight. These movies may be viewed by anyone with QuickTime. QuickTime is an Apple Macintosh movie format that is now widely supported by almost every operating system. Unlike the SMO files. mass-distribution on aircraft-inertia and moment of inertia. Flying a plane with the center of gravity far aft is like shooting an arrow backwards: with the fins in the front and the heavy end in the back. and moving the center of gravity AFT (RIGHT) makes the plane un-flyable because the plane becomes unstable. . Load Flight Data Recorder File X-Plane is sometimes used in accident investigation or re-creation. You can take as many screenshots as you like. Browse for. You can also press (CTRL -) to do this without the menu getting in the way! Each screenshot is saved in the X-Plane folder as a PNG file named ‘screenshot_x. The weight. Those QuickTime movies get really big. The FDR file is a text format. but instead flip around with the heavy end in the front and the fins in the back. png’ where x is a sequential number starting at 0.fdr’. To open your movie. this dialog lets you throw various hardware on the various hard-points of the aircraft.) 3. That format is the Flight Data Recorder (or . for example. and since fuel is burned in real time in X-Plane.

night. Field to find the airport. then X-Plane will decide that each piece of hardware in your plane has about a one-in-athousand chance of breaking each hour. which can be operated by using the mouse (in addition to any keyboard keys or joystick buttons that you may have assigned to them). Higher values will simulate your aircraft and a number of other aircraft in the region. or create a new one. on the perfect flight path to make your landing on the runway you have chosen. Can you lower the MTBF to maybe 10 hours and still get from one place to another in a complex plane like the 747? I. Logbook Aircraft & Situations What airplane tows you aloft if you are in a glider? What airplane carries you if you are in the X-1 or X-15? How many other airplanes are there? Are they trying to chase you down. VFR Final/ILS Final . Reset 3-D Flight-path This option will delete the 3-d flight path shown on you screen. You might have fun intercepting them and flying formation with them. Click in the LOWER-LEFT FIELD to enter the airport NAME. these airplanes will wander hither and yon. One important option that you can control here is the number of aircraft. Selecting ‘Show Mouse-Click Regions’ will display all the clickable cockpit areas surrounded by a yellow border. and stuff like that. If you set a MTBF of 1000 hours. and total flight time. or the airport ID that you wish to go to. Just select this option then use the slider to find the desired airport or enter the airport name in the Apt.Note that in the first tab of this window. can do it easily. Selecting a VFR (Visual Flight Rules) or ILS (Instrument Landing System) approach will position your aircraft some distance away from the airport you have selected. X-Plane creates a plain text file called ‘X-Plane Pilot. including: Date of flights Aircraft types and tail numbers Departure and Arrival Airports Duration of flights including cross-country. The ‘Choose Pilot Logbook’ and ‘New Pilot Logbook’ buttons allow you to select a previously created logbook file. which can aid in identifying what systems you can and can’t operate with the mouse. Location Menu Select Global Airport This option lets you go to any airport in our database world-wide. As in reality. All X-Plane cockpit panels have ‘clickable’ switches. maneuvering in some way that makes sense to them. jet contrails. By default. tire touchdown puffs. You may also enter the airport ID in the Apt. Since your airplane has a few hundred pieces of hardware. A value of 1 will only simulate your own airplane. To select an approach from Each time you fly in X-Plane. All you need to do is bring the aircraft in to land. if you leave the mouse motionless for a few moments over it. Inside this text file are details of your flights. or are they flying around minding their own business? All of these things are easily controlled in this window. This way you will be able to see you flight direction and the ascending or descending motion of the airplane. that means you might get a failure maybe every 5 or 20 hours or so. The general failure categories are: _ General Instruments _ Special Instruments _ Equipment _ Electric/Hydraulic systems _ Engines _ Engine Systems _ Engine Gauges _ Flying Surfaces G1000 (if you have a REAL G1000 attached to X-Plane!) ‘Instrument Descriptions’ will show you descriptions of what each instrument does. you can set a Mean Time Between Failures. Toggle Puff Smoke Selecting this Toggle will cause Puff Smoke to appear on your as part of your plane such as engine smoke. the Great Austin Meyer. X-Plane logs your flight time in an electronic ‘Logbook’. Cycle 3-D Flight-Path When you select this option X-Plane will trace the flight path of the airplane showing a line following the tail of the plane supported by elevation posts. etc. Hold your mouse motionless for a few moments over the four TEAM checkboxes to get a pretty decent description of how the teams work in X-Plane to keep things interesting if you want to have some mockcombat fun. Then click on “Go to this Airport” . this is a useful option. IFR. Show Mouse-Click Regions / Instrument Descriptions If you’re looking to practice your landings. field.txt’ in the ‘X-System:Output:logbooks’ folder. The value set in this option will determine the number of aircraft that X-Plane will simulate at once.

It also uses a terrain shader to depict the ground types and elevations. To choose an airport from the ‘Take Off’ menu: 1. ILS indicators. but it displays the medium and high level airways instead of low level ones. and low level airways. ready to begin your taxi to the runway. If you would like to begin your flight from the terminal and taxi the distance to the runway as a real pilot would. or change NAVAIDS really fast. It shows airports. rivers and railway lines. IOS: This puts the map in Instructor Operator’s Station mode. Select ‘VFR Final’ or ‘ILS Final’ from the ‘Location’ option on the menu bar. The Find Airport screen will provide you with a list of airports in the local area (about 100 mile radius) where ramps are available. oil rig. or if you have the ‘Draw Cockpit on Second Monitor’ option checked in the ‘Rendering Options’ screen. Or try putting an F-4 Phantom on an aircraft carrier. and we haven’t even got to what you can do on Mars yet. you probably want the fastest map you can get so the simulation is not slowed down much. The ‘Find Airport’ screen will present you with a list of all the airports in the local area (about 100 mile radius). the terrain shader used on this map gives an overview of the landscape as would be seen from the cockpit in X-Plane. etc. You will find yourself parked at the end of the runway at the airport that you have chosen. The ‘High Enroute’ map view is essentially the same as the ‘Low Enroute’ map view. You will find yourself aligned perfectly for your approach into the airport that you have chosen. Local Maps There are five different local map types: High-Speed This map gives maximum speed. Low Enroute The ‘Low Enroute’ map view displays your general area along with airports. Textured The textured map view displays airports. 3. change the aircraft location. or even a frigate pitching and rolling in the waves. 2. The respective menu will appear to present you with a list of all the airports in the local area (about 100 mile radius). roads. rivers and railway lines. High Enroute A ramp is effectively a parking space for aircraft. letting you run this copy of X-Plane as an Instructor’s Console. Enter the ID there to place the aircraft at that airport.the ‘VFR Final’ / ‘ILS Final’ menu: 1. That’s just here on Earth! RAMP 3. Select the runway you would like to fly from. 3. Click on the airport that you would like to fly from and a list of runways (with respective numbers or headings) at that airport will appear. Click on the airport that you would like to fly from and a list of ramps at that airport will appear. ready to begin your flight. This is a great feature for flight training because the instructor can fail systems. 4. This view uses the actual scenery installed in X-Plane as its basis. You will find yourself parked at the ramp you have chosen. Click on the airport that you would like to fly from and a list of runways (with respective numbers orheadings) at that airport will appear. Special In-Flight. and Special Approach The various ‘Special’ menus are provided to allow you to jump straight to fun situations that have been created for you. or give you the options to place the craft at or near that airport. choose to begin from a ramp. It is useful if you want to be able to scroll around the map really fast. so you select that here. 4. Use this option like this: 1. This option also lets you select which runway you would like to fly from.. The Instructor’s Console can be used in a multi-computer X-Plane setup. 2. airport/beacon frequencies. and the cockpit on the other. Choose ‘Select Global Airport’ from the ‘Location’ option on the menu bar. Take Off The ‘Take Off’ option in the ‘Select Global Airport’ screen available through the Location menu is a quick way of choosing an airport in the local area to fly from (again about a 100 mile radius). The other buttons on the left side are obvious. look on the left side of the Map window. Or fly a helicopter (or the V-22 Osprey) to a building top. Special Take Off. 2. airport and beacon frequencies. Select the runway you would like to set up your approach into. in which case the map is drawn on one monitor. roads. You can even fly the space shuttle through a complete and realistic re-entry sequence to land at Edwards Air Force Base. for . which are included in X-Plane. You will see a space on the upper left where you may enter any airport ID. Once you have checked this. Or try using the catapult to launch your F-4 Phantom off an aircraft carrier. set date and time. In this case. Sectional The ‘Sectional’ map view is designed to be a VFR sectional chart. In addition. Look on the top of the window and you will see a number of checkboxes to put the map in various modes. Note: Due to the large number of airports provided with X-Plane. Choose ‘Select Global Airport’ from the ‘Location’ menu. you will find that many will have a standard ‘default’ ramps for you to fly from. ILS indicators. You can buzz forest fires in the CL-415 water bomber and jettison the flame-retardant load right over the fires to put them out. Or get towed aloft in your Cirrus glider by a tow-plane.

Settings Menu The settings menu is the biggest menu in X-Plane. Get Me Lost Selecting this option will mean that X-Plane will start your flight in a random location anywhere in the area. let’s assume for a moment that your “BRAKE” light is illuminated on the instrument panel. shows what each of the boxes do. At the bottom right of each view there are controls to let you pan and zoom as you like. the third to a graphing function with in X-Plane and the fourth to the cockpit during flight. this is IOS’ box in the ‘Data Output ‘screen. The first box (moving from the left to the right) outputs the selected data to the internet. so the flight model when you fly on Mars is just as accurate as the flight on Earth. The “Expert Essays” chapter explains how to fly on Mars (and WHAT to fly on Mars!) in more detail. one of the most powerful tools in X-Plane is the data input and output screen. while maintaining a watch on the X-Plane pilot on the map view above. EDIT: This starts an EDITOR mode in which you may EDIT the various NAVAIDS! Just click on a NAVAID to modify it. and tell various different copies of X-Plane to talk to each other. or add a new one. but you don’t know why. altitude. Next to each of the lines you will find a series of four boxes that you can check. and where everything is. You have previously set up a set of rudder pedals to control the rudder and brakes but can not find anything wrong with the way you’ve set them up and you are not pressing the brake pedals. OR GET A CONTINUOUS UPDATE IN REAL-TIME! HOW DO YOU DO THIS? Two ways: 1: check the ‘draw cockpit on second monitor’ option in the ‘Rendering Options’ screen if you have two monitors.maximum training benefit. 2: check the ‘address of master. eh? Set the date and time as you like. but the atmosphere is thinner and there is considerably less gravity. called Detail. You can use this window to output frame-rate (a very common choice) or any of hundreds of other parameters as well. The laws of physics are the same on Mars as on Earth. Date and Time This one does not need too much explanation. Set Planet to Earth or Mars In the middle of the location menu you can select which planet you would like to fly on. The last line. Then close that screen down Planet Map The Planet Map depicts the Earth (or Mars if you are flying on Mars) in 3D. When in 3D view mode. By far. This screen can also output a host of engineering conditions. SLOPE: This shows a vertical profile of your flight if you are flying an ILS.keys to zoom in and out. REMEMBER. umm. At the top right are controls to adjust the heading. and this is the IOS machine. 3D: You can toggle between 2D and 3D views here. and altitude as well. heading. Let’s take a look. This can be used to diagnose a variety of problems because it allows you to see what X-Plane is ‘thinking’ and determine why it may be doing something unexpected. You’ve tried to turn it off by clicking on it with the mouse and you’ve also tried to use the ‘b’ key (for 2/3 braking force) and the ‘v’ key (for maximum braking effort) but it is still illuminated. For example. and it is the master machine. ‘Data Input & Output’ screen. You can enter an offset in hours if your time-zone is not QUITE what X-Plane thinks it is based on your longitude. YOU MAY BRING THIS SCREEN UP ANY TIME AND PAUSE THE SIMULATOR. REPLAY: This brings up a replay slider to go thru your flight while looking at the map. Environment Menu Weather See Chapter 4: First-Flight. the second to a disk file (be careful with this one . These variances are known to X-Plane. ‘Inet 2’ tab if you have a second copy of X-Plane running on a different computer. These detail screens can only be output to the screen. then you can drag the other panes around and set their speed. set. or the + and . If you have X-Plane configured to draw multiple planes. Go to the ‘Settings’ menu. You can rotate and zoom at will with the arrow keys to rotate and the + and . In here you will see 100+ different data sets that can be output as well as four data sets. speed and power setting of your plane.. Let’s start with a very important one: Data Input & Output This is where you output what the simulator is doing. number 130. you can use the arrow keys to rotate the view. controlled by this screen as well.you can quickly fill up your entire hard drive). and check the box to track the real time if you like as well. The buttons along the bottom left of this dialog allow the instructor to perform all these tasks from one location. You can also place your aircraft anywhere on the planet by using the mouse and clicking to select a location. Why is this so powerful? Because it lets you peer into the inner workings of X-Plane to see what the software is thinking and why it may be acting unexpectedly. INST: This shows a few flight instruments to see what the plane is doing.keys to zoom in and out. in flight. allowing you to test your navigation skills . and provide a host of engineering data for the flying surfaces of the aircraft you’re operating. What could be causing X-Plane to engage the brakes? A hint can be found by checking the right-most box on line 14 in the Settings > Data In/Out screen.

only the last number should be different on each computer. . you can select which Internet Protocol (IP) addresses each computer lives on in the network. 0 is gear up if your aircraft is equipped with retractable landing gear). Each of these stations would be one computer. and the simulated airplane.if this box is checked.and go back to your previous view and note that a line of green text appears in the upper left corner of the screen. one monitor.1.2 copilot’s machine (acf with copilot’s instrument panel used here) 192.1. compressed with S3TC compression. showing a value from 0 to 1 for the landing gear status (1 is gear down. you should output the joystick deflections to see if X-Plane is getting your joystick input. left view 192. You might. center view 192. and have its own IP address.txt’ (2nd check box): The selected data goes to a file on your hard disk called ‘Data. let’s look at each bit of it in detail. wheel brakes (on both main gear evenly) and left and right brakes (if you’re using a set of pedals or have programmed the brakes to be activated by some other control.168. you move all of your control inputs through their full range of motion. Up to ten X-Plane systems can be connected together in this way simply by assigning each system a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address. fail systems. Now that you understand the value of the data output window.168. text files. For example.168. possibly on different pitot-static and electrical systems) and maybe an IOS (Instructor Operator’s Station) where an instructor can set weather. There are four data fields in it.1. This makes it easy to set up a multiplayer gaming session on a LAN.168. This teaches X-Plane what your rudder pedals are sending out for the full range of brake applications. If you have multiple computers. This is a good example of the importance of the Data Input & Output screen in diagnosing problems that you may run into. In other sections of this chapter I’ll list the areas that may be applicable to this screen and what to look for. Cockpit During Flight (4th check box): The selected data is displayed on the simulator screen while flying.. These addresses can be Local Area Network (LAN). X-Plan will send an image of the screen at the frame rate and resolution specified in the Quick time setting. 2: Data See This tab displays a graphical representation of the data that you selected in the ‘Data Set’ tab. other copies of X-Plane. BUT REMEMBER. You can look at graphical depictions of the flight here to see trends and stuff. You remember that you had mapped individual brake controls to your rudder pedals. Apparently. It is just columns of text. or the screen during flight! This really lets you see what the simulator.168. What does each of those four checkboxes mean? Well. The format is very easy. or true Internet IP addresses. is doing. as directed.168. you can output all manner of flight data. Presto. problem solved. Network Connections Inet1 Use this tab to setup a multiplayer session. but why. The window is split into four sections: 1: Data Set This is where you can tell X-Plane what data you want to output. For example. Using these options. and one is a copilot’s. You may also write your own program to read X-Plane UDP data.1.1..6 external visual.to a computer on a network EFIS applications . ‘Joystick and Equipment’ page. one copy of X-Plane. Camera Display . and explained in the UDP reference.txt’ for observation with a spreadsheet or any word processor. As you can see. and stuff like that. This is useful if another copy of X-Plane is running on a computer with that IP address. and many other things as well. one copy of X-Plane is a pilot’s machine. for example. graphical displays. there is a label for them in the lower-right of the screen. you will see four checkboxes next to each data output option.3 IOS (instructor station to initiate failures here) 192.5 external visual. X-Plane thinks that you are commanding the right brake to be on. which is always the one that runs the flight model and has the most detail on the instrument panel). if. right view Inet3 In the this screen you define the IP addresses for sending Data Output . a nice setup with six computers and six copies of X-Plane could wisely be set up like this: 192. and you want to send data from one copy of X-Plane to another.which is a program which draws high accuracy displays. Then..0. Perhaps theirs a problem with the calibration of your equipment so you go to the ‘Settings’ menu. then click on the ‘Calibrate Joystick Hardware’ button. Disk file ‘Data.1 master machine (joysticks plugged in here) 192. For this example these suppose that the right brake was showing a value of 1. Inet2 This tab allows you to configure a multi-computer X-Plane system. for example.1. set locations. Now. a few external visuals (the machines that show the scenery out the window) a copilot’s machine (more instruments and stuff.html file in the instructions folder of X-Plane.4 external visual. have a master machine (the plane with the joysticks connected to it. This indicates that that brake is locked. Graphical Display (3rd check box): The selected data displayed in the ‘Data See’ tab as a graphical display. Note that IP addresses need to be on the same subnet. but here they are: Internet (1st check box): The selected data is sent via the UDP network protocol to the address assigned in the Inet2 tab. you can output X-Plane flight performance in spreadsheets. Perhaps the problem is there. they should all have IP addresses that are the same for the first three numbers. if your joystick is not working.

X-Plane will dump data to the ‘error. Rendering Options See Chapter 3: First-Flight. X-Plane will warn you if your frame-rate gets too low. starting airport. THEN OUTPUTTING THIS DIAGNOSTIC DATA CAN LET X-PLANE TELL YOU WHAT MESSAGES IT IS SENDING. If you select this option. X-Plane will give various text warnings on screen. over-G If you fly too fast. Such warnings include airframe ice.e. THIS IS USEFUL BECAUSE IF YOU ARE SENDING DATA TO X-PLANE AND X-PLANE DOES NOT SEEM TO BE GETTING THAT DATA AND YOU CANNOT FIGURE OUT WHY. let’s look at each of them: Start each flight on the ramp This option allows you to have the aircraft placed on a ramp (near a taxiway or hangar). gear doors over Vle Check this box and if you exceed Vfe (Velocity Flap Extended) with the flaps down.Joystick & Equipment See Chapter 3: First-Flight. Sound Umm. you might like to use the Save Situation menu item to make it available for future use! Operations & Warnings This window simply lets you specify a few little tidbits about where your plane starts.out When you enable this. or pull too many G’s.out’ file detailing the amount of time X-Plane is spending on each of its critical processes. Why would this happen? Well. Start each flight with engines and systems running When X-Plane is started or when a new aircraft is loaded. The characters in brackets on the far right are the keyboard shortcuts for each view. you will have to perform manual system and engine starts using the correct procedures for that particular aircraft before you can begin to taxi or take off. and others. OK. It will also dump data to a text file for each bit of data it sends. and various little things like that. X-Plane will dump data to a text file for each bit of data it gets over the Ethernet port in the UPD format. Special Menu: The ‘Special’ menu lets you do various odd-ball things in the sim. It allows you to see which processes within X-Plane are consuming the most CPU time and may be useful to determine which settings to reduce to attain better performance.. you can set the basics of the weather. this option will ensure that all engines and associated battery and control systems are running and ready to go. and Chapter 4 has a section on the Rendering Options screen that should tell you how to configure it for maximum speed. Dump net data to error.. Give various in-cockpit text warnings With this option enabled. Experiment by trying them all. time. Remove flying surfaces in over-speed. wings). and this option will give you a log of all sent and received data. .. you will have to taxi to an active runway before you can take off. look in the Data Input and Output screens and you will see that you can send data by UDP to other copies of X-Plane. what warnings the simulator gives you if things are going wrong.out When enabled. then X-Plane will rip them off! Ditto that on the gear doors if you exceed Vle (Velocity Landing gear Extended) Reset on hard crash If you check this option then X-Plane will reposition you at the nearest airport if you crash hard. this is likely to have disastrous results. Here. then X-Plane will remove flying surfaces (i. rather than at the end of a runway when you change airports. I do not think I need to explain this one to you. AND WHY ANY INCOMING MESSAGES MIGHT BE REJECTED. carburetor ice. Remove flaps over Vfe. change views. Dump timer data to error. Warn if incomplete scenery installations This warning will appear when scenery is installed improperly.. As in real life. whether the sim breaks the airplane if you over-stress it. View Menu The view menu lets you. and your selection of aircraft. umm. Quick Flight Setup The ‘Quick Flight Setup’ dialog offers one convenient location to change a number of basic flight options. Once you’ve created your quick flight. If this option is not selected. landing gear tire blown. Appendix C lists common trouble-shooting tips if X-Plane is running too slow. Warn of low frame rate With this option enabled.

Turn OFF the wind and turbulence and fly up close behind another airplane (use the ‘Other Aircraft and Situations’ window and the ‘Map’ window as needed to help here) and watch the flow-field around your airplane become chaotic as you enter the wake of the plane in front of you! OK. The results are placed in the text file ‘X-Plane.out’ in the X-Plane folder on your hard disk. so nothing is just for show here: you are seeing the actual work that X-Plane is doing. put your plane on autopilot in flight and walk away from X-Plane for 30 minutes or so. Open/Toggle Checklist for Use This option allows you to open any text file that you have previously created and saved onto disk within your X-Plane file folder. or procedures. The quicker the resulting oscillations damp out. Turn on some wind and turbulence in the weather screen and you will even be able to see the pseudo-random velocity-vector flow-field around the airplane. See Weapon Guidance Developed for a Military Simulation Contract. which is installed. allowing you to scroll forward and backwards using the buttons on the top left of the popup window. and put your plane on the BLUE team. ‘Plug-in Admin’ provides a set of features to administer any plug-in software. each one in the wake turbulence of all the planes in front it! This is the type of flight-model math that X-Plane does. This information can then be used to calculate the Pitch and Yaw Stability Derivatives. You can use this to experiment with some of the environmental factors that affect an aircraft in flight. The quicker the nose pops back to level flight. and documentation that allow programmers to write additions that work inside X-Plane. view information about any installed plug-ins. viscosity and gravity. Come back in half an hour and all the other planes should be on your tail. The velocity vectors you see are the actual vectors interacting with the plane. You can simulate flight on other planets this way. without modifying X-Plane or having a copy of X-Plane’s source code. try it! Show Control Deflections Developed for the National Test Pilot School. the greater the dynamic stability of the airplane. this option lets you see what images X-Plane is currently using to generate its sky colors. and find the force on each piece? Hit the ‘/’ key a few times. Open/Toggle Text File for Viewing Developed for Chief Artist Sergio Santagada. are you ready to take this to an extreme? Select about 10 other planes in the ‘Aircraft and Situations’ window of all equal performance (all airliners or all light planes) and set them all to be on the RED team. density. This is useful for notes and information about your aircraft. Set Artificial Stability. Show Projector Test This option allows you to open and display any text file that you have previously created and saved onto disk within your X-Plane folder. Then.Show Flight Model Remember how I said that X-Plane breaks the plane down into a bunch of little pieces. and the force-vectors you see are the actual forces on the plane. It will display each line in the text file one by one. Think of it as an in-flight notepad. and assign ‘hotkeys’ so that the enable/disable actions can be easily performed from within the simulator. there are no plug-ins installed. Plug-in Admin The X-Plane Plug-In Software Developers Kit is a combination of code. but there are a number of them available via the Internet. this option lets you see a little running graph of your control deflections as you fly. airports. You can then view this file with any text editor. this option lets you see what your guided-missile flight-control deflections are. By default. It is great fun to adjust these parameters in flight though to see how the plane handles. Autopilot. the greater the static stability of the airplane. for example. . This is useful for going through check-lists in X-Plane! Find Pitch/Yaw Stability Derivative Show what the projector sees when pictures or movies are to be taken and recorded. pressure. and their workings are explained in the Plane-Maker manual. Output Flight Model This setting allows you to change the virtual world’s environmental. and hit maybe the ‘|’ key and use the arrow keys to get a nice external view of the plane to see all those forces. Show Sky Colors This will dump the next cycle of calculations of the flight model directly to a disk file ‘X-Plane. Output Menu Use this setting to displace the aircraft nose by one degree in pitch or yaw for X-Plane to measure the acceleration back to level flight. DLLs. Set Environment Properties X-Plane has a number of maps and stuff. and gravitational properties. You can enable or disable plug-ins. and should be used to tune your guided missile guidance algorithms. including temperature. They are all accessible from the ‘Output’ menu. and FADEC constants These constants are normally set in Plane-Maker..out’. atmospheric. (The guided missile guidance algorithms are set in the ‘Weapons’ screen in Plane-Maker). First go to ‘Local Maps’. or select this menu item a few times.

and how to fly on instruments. One of the most important aspects on this chart is the addition of Vector Airways that are virtual highways in the sky that connect different VOR transmitters. That is .as we would have refused to take off into such conditions given the failure in the first radio. High Enroute . like V503 and are used by ATC to assign clearances. by all means take it with you and your instructor will be able to show you many of these things in practice. they would hear nothing as the signals containing the dashes and dots canceled each other out. If you’re using a laptop. we had no operable navigation radios at all and used Dead Reckoning to fly the last 300 or so miles of our trip. they would hear a series of dashes (long radio tones. This overlays the X-Plane terrain images on top of the navigation charts to give you a good bird’s eye view of the area that you’re flying over. X-Plane allows you to practice this all you like. If on course. the primary trick being to always know where you are and what to be looking for next. . Of course. they would hear a series of dots. But since the weather was nice we took off with only one navigation radio and were soon flying along on none.Very similar to Low Enroute but only showing the information of interest to pilots flying above 18. perhaps) trying to keep your goggles clean (the engines of the day routinely sprayed oil) and to stay out of the cloud on a cold winter night. like a road. No. History For the first 30 years or so the best pilots could do was to fly around using Dead Reckoning. The closer the pilot was to the transmitter the smaller the “Cone of Silence. flying along a chain of bon-fires to your next destination. that pretty much never happened resulting in the aircraft always being blown off course. To see them go to Output > Local Maps and select one of the five map types that are available in the tabs on top of the window. Sectional . After holding that heading for another five minutes or so the pilot would again observe at the relative trend of the needle and correct again. the US Mail pilots that were flying on overnight mail routes actually flew from bon-fire to bon-fire that had been set up along their route.” as it was known. shortly after college. and Flying on Instruments People often call in. During the heyday of Dead Reckoning. called the ‘NDB’ would point to the station.in the clouds). In fact. NDB Navigation Non-Directional Beacons were first invented about the late 1940’s and consisted of a ground based transmitter that broadcast a homing signal. Navigating over the Earth’s surface is as easy as knowing where your aircraft is and how to get to where you want to go. etc. this looks pretty much identical to the view you would have flying over Moscow on instruments. We now get into the area of ‘modern’ navigation that was based on ground based transmitters. if you’d like to actually fly in X-Plane using any of these methods. this is not a typical experience in the aviation world. right? Well. When Nav2 died. Before too long you’ll be flying around using Dead Reckoning just fine. You have no reference to the ground and flying over St. You’ll need a good set of charts. Louis and not over Moscow? This is where navigation comes in . not so fast. lake. railroad. A receiver in the aircraft could be tuned to about 300 discrete frequencies to tune in a particular transmitter and an instrument in the panel.. This chapter covers these areas in pretty good detail but we recommend that if you’re really serious about learning these facets of aviation that you go down to your local GA (general aviation) airport and hire a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) to spend an hour or two with you.that is they would tune into a new radio system such that. As the aircraft’s range from the station increased.Chapter 6: Navigation. Wow! I hope you dressed warm and that you are good at folding maps in 80 MPH slipstream of air that was below freezing. This system was a large leap forward in technology over the older aurally based system and was actually quite easy to use provided that the wind was perfectly calm or blowing in a direction that was exactly parallel to your direction of flight.. which was most of it.used as low altitude IFR navigation charts by piston (propeller) aircraft pilots. Imagine sitting in a dark and cold cockpit listening intently to try and hear over the drone of the engine and whistle of the wind on your wires to see which side of the cone you were on. as in Morse code) and if they were to the right of course.flying in the mid 1920’s in an open cockpit bi-plane (a Curtis Jenny. That particular aircraft was a well-used rental and Nav1 was dead from the time we signed it out. In the mid 1930’s or so a system was devised where pilots would fly using aural navigation . town.to confirm your position on a map as you fly and than look ahead on the map to see when you should be crossing some known landmark. Imagine that you’re flying IMC conditions (Instrument Meteorological Conditions . then that indicated that the aircraft was being blown off course and the pilot had to turn in the opposite direction by half of the deviation. Then.used as high altitude charts by jet and turbo-prop pilots Low Enroute . dots and silence. This really is as simple as it sounds. based on larger VORs with longer ranges. As you can imagine. how to use the autopilot. asking about some of the more advanced things that pilots do all the time: how to navigate.The standard chart that VFR pilots are familiar with. was and the more defined the boundaries between the dashes. Keep in mind these were not closed-cockpit aircraft and the pilot continually had the outside air blowing all around the cockpit. We would never have allowed ourselves to get into that position had the weather been poor or had we been flying on instruments .the art of being able to tell where your aircraft is and how to make it go where you’d like.000 and making use of Vector Airways that are much longer. Sounds pretty simple. Autopilots. They are: High-Speed . the pilots had to watch the trend of movement in the needle over a relatively long period of time (5 to 8 minutes or so) to see if the angle depicted to the station was constant or changing.a nice map that is not used in pilot circles. but it demonstrates that a pilot always needs to be thinking ahead and be prepared for contingencies. These vector airways are given names. there is much more to review here than we could ever possibly go into here so a quick search for information on the internet will be of assistance as well. This map has ground elevation data superimposed via a shaded background and information about the airports that are local to that area. As a result. the pilot periodically compares her progress over the real ground with the anticipated progress over the map to see how things were going. if they were to the left of course. Also. So how do you know you’re really over St. Just imagine what this must have been like . using the light to guide their progress. the central target (where you heard no signals at all) was much wider and weaker. Textured . but the software does contain a full set of (mostly) current charts as well. Airline pilots used this system for years to successfully carry passengers all around the world. This type of navigation is not modeled within X-Plane. If changing. Louis in the middle of an overcast layer. Austin Meyer (the author of X-Plane) and I once piloted a Cessna 172 from Kansas City to Chicago after our second (of two) navigation radios gave up and died in mid-flight.

This error could only be due to two factors . Don’t forget that you’ll have to work fast as your position will be continually changing. Each of these is a mode you can put your plane in simply by hitting that button on the panel with the mouse. when you are flying along and tune in the main VOR frequency you than fine tune your navigation display to tell you which of the 360 radials you are flying and also if the transmitter station is in front of or behind you. Thus. allowing everyday pilots to navigate around with levels of accuracy that was not even possible to imagine 20 years ago. The databases in these radios are not limited simply to the identifiers of the airports you may wish to fly to. than open the aircraft of your choice. Well. WLV: WING-LEVELER: This will simply hold the wings level while you figure out what to do next. Got it? Yes. Since the speed at which the signals travel is known. or to a GPS destination. NDBs are still used in many countries on Earth. they are modeled in X-Plane. AUTOPILOTS How to use the Autopilot One of the most-often asked questions in X-Plane is the same as one of the most often-asked questions in real planes: HOW DO I WORK THE AUTOPILOT? This is no surprise. AND THE GPS MAY BE PROGRAMMED BY THE FMS (explained soon). To the left and right of the center target (the little white circle) the instrument displays five dots on each side.. A GPS receiver can tune into the signals they send out and note the time it took for the signal to travel from the satellite to the receiver for several different satellites at once. FLCH: (Flight-Level Change)This will hold the pre-selected AIRSPEED by pitching the nose up or down. than press the ‘Direct To’ key on the GPS radio (sometimes shown as a ‘D’ with an arrow through it. This will fly a VOR or ILS radial. Instead of a NDB that a pilot could home in on. But you have no way of telling if you are 15 miles from the station or 45 miles away. if the station is behind you then the instrument is reverse sensing and that means that a left deflection indicates that the plane is to the left of your desired radial. they are all in the “autopilot” instrument folder). At this point the vertical white line should be truly vertical and your aircraft is either on the radial from the station indicated by the yellow arrow at the top or at the bottom of the instrument. VOR Navigation Very High Frequency Omni-Range navigation (or VOR’s) were introduced in the mid 1950’s and represented a large improvement in navigation accuracy. GPS systems have completely flipped the world of aviation on its ear. huh? Actually the concept is but the math is not. Keep in mind the ID conventions we discussed earlier and enter the ‘k’ as appropriate. it can be a bit confusing. (adding or taking away power automatically) This is commonly used to change altitude in Airliners by simply . If you can determine that you’re on the 67th radial from the OJC VOR and on the 117th radial from the MKC VOR than you can pinpoint your location on a sectional chart. Only that you are in front of or behind a station and what radial you’re on. or whatever. Take a look at this instrument. Pretty simple.the pilot was not flying along the radial or he was and the wind blew the airplane slightly off of course. respectively) arrow that will be on the right side of the CDI. the VOR sends a series of 360 discrete little carrier tones on a main frequency. Thus. The solution is to use two VOR radios so that you can plot your location from two different VORs. Impressive! Pilots finally had a means to tell exactly where they were in relation to a fixed spot on earth and this system ‘automatically’ adjusted for any winds aloft as the system would quickly display any error in track that the plane was making. either above or below the white horizontal glide slope indicator. With only one VOR you really don’t know where you are along a given radial. Although nearly abandoned in the US. Of course. navaid. Each of these carriers is oriented each along a different radial from the station. So. This type of navigation is modeled in X-Plane. HDG: HEADING HOLD. HOLD: This will hold the current or pre-selected ALTITUDE by pitching the nose up or down. a full scale left deflection of the vertical reference indicates that the aircraft is 10 degrees right of the desired radial if the station is in front of you. GPS Navigation Global Positioning Systems were first invented for the US military and introduced to the public in the early 1990’s. it’s located immediately to the left of the throttle. An ADF is located in the instrument panel for the Cessna 172S that comes in X-Plane. I have even been on AIRLINER where the plane was jerking abruptly left and light for 5 minutes or so as the flight crew was clearly trying to figure out how to properly program and engage their autopilot. one of 360 just like a compass rose. how do you use the VOR? Look on the sectional or low-enroute map to find a VOR station that is fairly close to the location of the aircraft. If the reference line is on your left that means that your target radial is on your left. below the dual VOR’ CDI’s (discussed below). or the name of any waypoint or fix you’d like to go to. here are the autopilot functions available: (all of these can be chosen for your panel in the Panel-Editor in Plane-Maker... V/S: This will hold a constant VERTICAL SPEED by pitching the aircraft nose up or down. it is a simple matter of arithmetic to determine how far from each satellite the receiver is. VORs are modeled in X-Plane. Note that the vertical reference line indicates how far you are from your desired radial.. While the intricate workings of the various GPS radios are difficult to grasp the basic principals are pretty consistent. Each of these dots indicates that you are two degrees off course. as shown by the little white up or down (to or from. Tune this into your VOR radio and the little red ‘nav1’ or ‘nav2’ flags on your CDI (Course Deviation Indicator) should disappear. SPD: This is now identical to FLCH.The trick was to fly as straightly as possible from one station to another. unless you are hovering in a helicopter. as pilots don’t know how to work their own autopilots all the time. There are several types of GPS radios available. (Keep in mind that you may have to hit the flip-flop switch to bring the frequency you just tuned into the active window. LOC: Localizer. Just remember that as long as you are flying towards the VOR then the line on the CDI indicates the location of the desired course. Now fly that exact heading and you will be flying directly towards or away from the station. for X-Plane. Triangulation is than used to determine exactly where the receiver is with respect to the surface of the Earth and this information is compared with the onboard data base to determine how far it is to your next airport.) Now rotate the OBS (Omni Bearing Selector) knob so that the vertical white indicator is perfectly centered in the little white circle in the middle of the instrument. and about 11 or so of these have been modeled in X-Plane. from left to right) and enter the airport ID you’d like to navigate to. This will simply follow the heading bug on the HSI or Direction Gyro. waypoint. This system consists of a series of fixed-position satellites that ‘hover’ above set locations on Earth. Thus. You can enter the IDs for any VOR or NDB station you’d like. If you want to navigate from one location to another just launch X-Plane.

000 feet more or less quickly.. the plane climbs. turning the Flight Director ON turns on the BRAINS of the autopilot. AUTO-THROTTLE: Just hit them and they will hold whatever values are entered into the selectors. Let’s say you are flying along at 5.000 feet into the altitude window because you want to climb. when you first turn the Flight Director to ON or AUTO. In other words.000 feet. The flight director is. FDIR. then the autopilot will not physically move the airplane controls. You dial 9. BUT WHAT IF YOU WANT THE PLANE TO CLIMB TO A NEW ALTITUDE YOU HAVE NOT REACHED YET? Well. and up you go! . When you get to 9. now you know what the various options are. the autopilot will automatically DIS-ENGAGE the vertical speed mode and drop right back into altitude mode at your new altitude.. Now that you have set the flight director to the right mode. EVEN AFTER PASSING OVER AND BEYOND THE RUNWAY. and level the wings for you). HEADING. which has modes OFF.000 feet. even though you are the one actually flying. THIS IS USED FOR THE MISSED APPROACH.000 into the altitude window. with most values auto-set to your current speed or altitude at the moment they are hit for smooth transitions. VNAV: Vertical Navigation: This will fly automatically load altitudes from the FMS (Flight Management System) into the autopilot for you. and you are following the flight director as you fly the plane. but it will move little target wings on your artificial horizon that you can try to mimic as you fly. To save money. BC: Every ILS on the planet has a LITTLE-KNOWN SECOND LOCALIZER THAT GOES IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION AS THE INBOUND LOCALIZER.000 feet in altitude-hold. SPD and FLCH are currently identical functions in X-Plane: They both pitch the nose up or down to maintain a desired aircraft speed. you need to turn the autopilot ON! The autopilot power is disguised as a ‘Flight Director Mode’ switch. this makes perfect sense at first: Simply hit the VVI button and the autopilot will grab and hold your current VVI. AUTO. Now let’s say you want to climb to 9.. first of all. If the Flight Director is ON. flight-director only. thus reversing the reversal!) (NOTE: The glide-slope is NOT available on the back-course. but instead let you fly this second localizer BACKWARDS to come into the runway from the opposite direction of the regular ILS! This is called a BACK COURSE ILS. ALTITUDE . G/S: Glideslope: This will fly the glideslope portion of the ILS. some airports will NOT bother to install a new ILS at the airport to land on the same runway going the other direction. That grabs your CURRENT altitude of 5. the thing will automatically engage in PITCH HOLD and WING-LEVELER ROLL MODE. then the autopilot servos will actually fly the airplane according to the autopilot mode you have selected. Commonly used to just hold the nose somewhere until the pilot decides what to do next. while the airplane pitches the nose to hold the most efficient Airspeed. you have to ask yourself: Do you want the airplane to hold a constant VERTICAL speed to that new altitude. so adding or taking away power results in climbs or descents. It causes the autopilot to realize that the needle deflection is BACKWARDS. Note that the plane does NOT go there yet! The NEXT step is to decide HOW you want to get to 9. FLIGHT-LEVEL-CHANGE. then make sure it is in the right mode for the type of autopilot guidance you want! (None. ALLOWING YOU TO CONTINUE FLYING ALONG THE EXTENDED CENTERLINE OF THE RUNWAY. so the plane follows the little magenta wings FOR you. Same with altitude. at that point.. and still fly the approach. If he takes it away. In other words. Turning the Flight Director to AUTO turns on the SERVOS of the autopilot. Now.letting the pilot add or take away power. then the system will assume you want the wings LEVEL. If the Flight Director is set to AUTO. displaying the commands from the modes above on the horizon as some little magenta wings you can follow. or a constant AIRSPEED to that new altitude? Since airplanes are most efficient at some more-or-less constant indicated AIRSPEED. following whatever autopilot modes you have selected. (explained soon). let’s look at the various modes you can use to command that flight director and possibly autopilot servos! WING-LEVELER AND PITCH SYNC: Just hit them and they hold wings at the current bank (or wings level if you engage it with less than 7 degrees of bank) and pitch-attitude at the current pitch. if you have a flight director switch. Using the SAME ILS in BOTH directions has it’s advantage (it’s cheaper) but a drawback: The needle deflection on your instruments is BACKWARDS when going the WRONG WAY ON THE ILS! Hit the BC (back course) autopilot button if you are doing this. then NOTHING will happen when you try to use the autopilot. without you touching the stick. dial 9. SPEED-HOLD.000 feet and you hit ALT. simply add a dose of power if needed and the nose of the plane will raise up to keep the speed from increasing. (Note: HSI’s do NOT reverse the visible needle deflection in the back-course because you turn the housing that the deflection needle is mounted on around 180 degrees to fly the opposite direction. What this means is: If the Flight Director is OFF. to follow route altitudes. so you have to use the localizer part of the procedure only) OK. then you will be following the guidance that the autopilot is giving you. First. Now. or actual servos driving the controls). Same with airspeed. climbing by holding a constant AIRSPEED is usually most efficient. VERTICAL SPEED. If the pilot adds power. If you do this. You hit FLCH or SPD! These make the plane pitch the nose up or down to maintain your current indicated SPEED! Now. Let’s start with the vertical speed case though.000 feet. at that point. how do you use them? Well. PTCH: Pitch-Sync: Use this to hold the plane’s nose at a constant pitch attitude.000 feet! Hit the VVI button and the plane will capture your current VVI (maybe 0) and simply dial the VVI up or down to get to 9. flying at a constant speed. which will simply hold your current pitch and roll until some other mode is selected (NOTE: If you turn the system on with less than 7 degrees of bank. the plane descends. Now let’s do this the way airliners do: You are at 5.

Your current pitch and roll are grabbed. that will try to hold a constant speed by adjusting the POWER.. and partially because they WILL NOT DO A THING until they CAPTURE the approach path they are looking for. and you can get where you are going. Do this. the autopilot holding 3. -You take off.000 feet into the ALTITUDE window. you will grab your current altitude that you are at right NOW. which is the HSI source selector. and then hit VVI or FLCH or SPD to let the plane zoom to the new altitude. The same applies to bank angle: If if you are in wing-level or heading mode when you hit pitch-sync. UNTIL THEY GET TO THE ALTITUDE YOU HAVE DIALED IN. (NOTE: ATR stands for Auto-Throttle..000 feet. This is NOT the way a smart pilot flies.. PITCH SYNC WITH PITCH-SYNC JOYSTICK BUTTON: You can assign a joystick button to be ‘Pitch Sync’. glideslope.000 feet for you. You hit the PITCH SYNC joystick button. so they must obviously be able to fly either NAV-1. If you put this button to Nav-2. and the plane flies the SPEED until it gets to 3. A WHICH POINT THEY WILL ABANDON THAT MODE AND GRAB ALTITUDE HOLD MODE. or vertical speed that you had at the moment you released the pitch-sync joystick button. then the plane will just level the wings. and the plane flies the VVI until it gets to 3.. assuming that you want nose-level).. and heading mode are all modes that command the plane the moment they are engaged. then the the HSI will show deflections from the Nav-1 radio. altitude. but when you RELEASE the button. NAV-2.500 ft (autopilot still in altitude mode!) and let go of the PITCH SYNC joystick button. and dial the new altitude into it’s window. and the autopilot will fly VOR or ILS signals from the Nav-1 radio if you hit the LOC or G/S buttons. though. and sit there in standby (armed) until one of the modes above intercepts the altitude. you set the flight director to AUTO.000 feet. short of the runway. -You hit the HEADING button. runway heading. LOC and G/S: These are the ones nobody can figure out. unlike FLCH and SPD. or GPS course. -In the initial climb. and you are in ALTITUDE mode. runway heading (say 290) into the HEADING window. you set your HSI source to GPS (the autopilot follows the HSI!). for Flight Management Computer. then the plane will try to maintain the bank-angle you had at the moment you released the button one you release it. and the autopilot will fly VOR or ILS signals from the Nav-2 radio if you hit the LOC or G/S buttons. here is how these modes work: These modes capture an ILS or VOR or GPS course. -You hit the FLCH or SPD buttons. partially because the right frequencies and HSI mode must be selected to use them. Your current VVI is auto-grabbed. Now let’s say you are in VVI mode. Nav-2. . when you RELEASE the pitch-sync joystick button. .000. localizer. so you need to decide what you want the HSI to show: Nav-1. in which case the autopilot will match the autopilot settings to whatever you are doing as you fly the plane. the thing to realize is that vertical speed. the servos take hold and try to maintain the speed. At that point. The same thing will happen with the LOCALIZER! If the Localizer is armed (lit up because you pushed the button!) then the autopilot will abandon your HEADING mode when the LOCALIZER engages! This is called ‘CAPTURING’ the localizer or glideslope. or GPS. where it levels off. holding 9. since you were in altitude mode at 3.. where it levels off. Here is why: The AUTOPILOT will fly whatever is THE HSI IS SHOWING (if you have one). then the autopilot will try to maintain the airspeed (by pitching nose up or down!) the airspeed that you had at the moment you released the pitch-sync button. the autopilot will try to hold 3. around maybe 500 feet. cleared for takeoff. -You simply dial the new heading into the window. then. the autopilot turns OFF the servos and lets you fly. told to maintain 3. and you hit the LOC button. holding the plane steady for you. when you HIT the pitch-sync joystick button. or GPS (labeled FMC/CDU.500 ft. as you see. -You enter 3... then the autopilot will try to maintain the vertical speed that you had at the moment you released the pitch-sync button.. altitude. -You hit the VVI button. that is what the autopilot will fly.500 feet at the moment you let go of the pitch-sync button.. the speed and vertical speed modes will be held just fine. If you put this button to Nav-1. and the plane follows the initial runway heading. the autopilot will GRAB HOLD of the yoke (engage servos) and maintain the vertical speed.000 feet.. A smart pilot with a good airplane and autopilot and planning will dial in the ASSIGNED ALTITUDE long BEFORE he gets there (including the INITIAL altitude BEFORE HE TAKES OFF!) and then use vertical speed or flight-level-change or even pitch sync to GET to that altitude! So.000 feet until further notice. The same thing will happen with GLIDESLOPE! If the glideslope is armed (lit up because you pushed the button!) then the autopilot will abandon your vertical mode when the glideslope engages. Altitude and glideslope and Localizer are ALL ARMED. the autopilot servos turn the yoke loose and let you fly. Your current SPEED is auto-grabbed. Now let’s say you are in SPEED or LEVEL-CHANGE mode. you fly to 3. here is how you use the system in the real plane: -You are on the ground. which will try to hold a constant speed by raising or lowering the nose). Once you decide what you want the HSI to display with this button.. the autopilot will LEAVE speed-hold mode and go into altitude-hold mode.. and some OTHER MODE (any of the ones discussed above) must be engaged to do that. So. You enter it into your GPS. So.000. then the the HSI will show deflections from the Nav-2 radio. which gets it’s signal from the GPS).IF you hit the ALTITUDE button. So. -You are cleared to your destination or some other fix. (with filename “but_HSI_12GPS” in the HSI folder). So. But how do these know which of those 3 signals to use? The answer is the button labelled “NAV-1 NAV-2 FMC/CDU”. or pitch that you were just flying! How does this work? Here is an example: Let’s say you are at 3. When you do this. airspeed. The autopilot will follow the HSI needle deflection laterally as it climbs to the new altitude. (Note: if the bank angle is less than 6 degrees. flight-level change. An exception is ALTITUDE.When you approach 9. -You are given a new heading and altitude by ATC.

So now that you know how to send the right signal (Nav-1. the next question a lot of people ask is: HOW DO I USE THE FMS???????? Well. it will only track a VOR radial or ILS localizer AFTER THE NEEDLE HAS COME OFF OF FULL-SCALE DEFLECTION! This means that if you have a full-scale ILS needle deflection (simply because you have not yet gotten to the localizer) the LOC mode will simply go into ARMED (yellow) mode. Nav-2.. There is a back-arrow to erase mistakes. with no autopilot mode on at all.. this is much the same as the altitude modes! Just as the localizer is ARMED by hitting the LOC button. the autopilot will not be able to manuever the airplane for landing. assuming. abandoning the ALTITUDE HOLD mode and fliying the glidelsope. and start actually flying the plane for you. G/S: Just like the lateral nav. which can be set manually or by the FMS. and NOT DO ANYTHING AT ALL WITH THE PLANE! Your current HEADING or WING-LEVEL mode (if engaged) will remain in force (or you can hand-fly) UNTIL THE LOCALIZER NEEDLE STARTS TO MOVE IN TO THE CENTER.. as soon as you intercept the CENTER of the glideslope: ->the G/S will go from yellow to green. so the servos are running. and the plane will follow any FMS plan. abandoning the HEADING mode and fliying the localizer. as I have found out many times in X-Plane. the LOC will suddenly go from ARMED (yellow) to ACTIVE. and you can do anything until the localizer arms and then takes over lateral control. intercepting the localizer at less than a 30-degree angle. and enter the altitude you want to fly at with the keypad again. though unlike with the localizer. and BELOW glideslope: ->Hit the altitude ALTITUDE button to hold current ALTITUDE. The autopilot will then track you right down to the runway. VOR. indicating you are entering the localizer. they will automatically feed into the GPS. ->Hit the HEADING button to hold it. Now. the autopilot will fly whatever it sees on the HSI!) -you must have the LOC button selected ON since that button makes the autopilot follow the localizer (or whatever is on the HSI) -the FLIGHT DIR button must be set to AUTO. and as soon as the localizer needle comes in. the plane you are flying HAS all this equipment.. FIX. and automatically) and you can fly any vertical speed or airspeed or pitch (manually or on autopilot) until the altitude is reached. A few things must happen: -You must enter all your flight plan into the FMS -you have to have the HSI set to GPS. you want the autopilot to forget about heading and start flying the localizer down to the runway. as soon as you intercept the localizer: ->the LOC will go from yellow to green. and even flare at the end. the G/S mode will automatically go from ARMED to ACTIVE once the plane hits the CENTER of the glideslope. which of course some do not. ->Enter an HEADING in the HEADING window to follow until you intercept the ILS. and the autopilot will fly to the GPS destination if you hit the LOC button. and LAT/LON buttons to enter those types of . how do you USE those modes? Here is the answer: LOC: Lateral navigation will immediately start going to a GPS destination once engaged. But. cutting power if autothrottle is engaged. and holding altitude when you intercept the glideslope. Or you simply hand-fly the plane to the localizer. Now let’s see how you can fly an FMS PLAN. Just as in a real airplane. NOT nav 1 or nav 2 (because remember. OK. if you like. If you are above the glideslope. it’s pretty darn easy! Here’s how: Open of the Boeing 777 for this one. Why? Because you typically have the airplane on ALTITUDE HOLD until you intercept the glideslope.. and you want the autopilot to take over once the ILS needle starts to come in. disengaging any previous modes. the G/S mode won’t do anything until the glidelsope needle goes ALL THE WAY THRU THE CENTER POSITION. So how do you USE these systems to fly an ILS? While still far away from the ILS. ->Hit the LOC button. -the VNAV button should be hit IF you want the FMS to also load ALTITUDES into the altitude window Do all these things. Now. Interestingly. or crossing the localizer at a wide angle. at which point the plane should stop holding altitude altitude and start flying down to the runway. then the the HSI will show deflections from the GPS. Rememebr that if you enter destinations into the FMS. NDB. Now. In other words. so the autopilot will follow them if you select LOC. or intercept the localizer too close in to the airport. of course. and several times in my Cirrus. hit the line-select button on the left side of the FMS next to the text “FLY AT ______ FT”. these things only work well if you intercept the loclalizer far away (OUTSIDE the Outer Marker) and BELOW the glideslope. the altitude is also ARMED (always. you should know how to fly with the autopilot now. Now hit the AIRP button: this tells the FMS that you are about to go to an AIRPORT. if you want to do more than just fly to an airport. Now. or GPS) to the autopilot for LOC and G/S (lateral and vertical navigation). hit the INIT button on the FMS: this gets the FMS inited to receive a flight plan. hit the NEXT button on the FMS and repeat the steps above for the next waypoint. It will ARM (yellow) Now. Now enter the ID of whatever airport you want to by hitting the keypad keys with the mouse. Once that happens. Why is this? Because you will typically fly HEADING mode until you GET TO THE LOCALIZER.If you put this button to FMC/CDU. It will ARM (yellow) ->Hit the G/S button. at which point the autopilot will go into altitude-hold mode.. the vertical nav WILL NOT DO ANYTHING UNTIL THE GLIDELSOP NEEDLE starts to move.

Now it is common place for even relatively inexperienced pilots to be flying across long distances in clouds.. close your eyes and than have someone spin you at a constant rate. if you like. take off and set the “SOURCE” button for the HSI to “GPS” so the HSI is getting data from the GPS (not the nav-1 or nav-2 radios) and move the “FLIGHT DIR” button to “AUTO” so the autopilot servos are actually running. Now. hit the NEXT button on the FMS and repeat the steps above for the next waypoint. Now enter the ID of whatever airport you want to by hitting the keypad keys with the mouse. To put it bluntly. so the flight director is NOT OFF. Before long. if you bothered to enter an altitude into the FMS. once you have entered the plan into the FMS.. Flying on Instruments History Long considered an impossibility in aviation circles. It’s not that the principals behind flying on instruments are so very difficult or that interpreting what the instruments are telling you is that difficult. Your body has developed a system of balance and equilibrium that has evolved in humans over millions of years and forcing your brain to ignore these signals and to believe what the instruments are telling you is very difficult. but actualy DRIVIGN THER AUTOPILOT. as well as a LD and SA button load and save flight plans if you want to use them again. Standing stationary on the ground your ears tell you that your head is arranged vertically and not moving. it is pretty easy once you just get the basics. and hit the “LOC” autopilot button to follow the HSI lateral guidance.. hit the INIT button on the FMS: this gets the FMS inited to receive a flight plan.although it would certainly not be wise for a 130 or 140 hour pilot to attempt an instrument approach in a 200 ft overcast with 1/2 mile visibility or to take off on a foggy day. On the playground at my son’s school there is a post that stands vertically in the sand and a seat is affixed to it about 2 feet from the surface. the next question a lot of people ask is: HOW DO I USE THE FMS???????? Well. Now hit the AIRP button: this tells the FMS that you are about to go to an AIRPORT. take off and set the “SOURCE” button for the HSI to “GPS” so the HSI is getting data from the GPS (not the nav-1 or nav-2 radios) and move the “FLIGHT DIR” button to “AUTO” so the autopilot servos are actually running. Your Inner Ear and sense of balance To begin a discussion on instrument flight we must first discuss why it is so difficult.. the root of each is connected to your nervous system. a few things must happen: You must enter all your flight plan into the FMS. (And. So. This information is continually updated and corrected by what your eyes are sending your brain as well as your sense of touch. (And. the fluid in your ears will stop moving. Now. They are positioned in your head in different planes and each is lined with thousands of small hairs. the next level is to use the FMS! (flight management system). your eyes tell you that the ground is stationary beneath your feet and the skin on the bottom of your feet tells you that it is. which you just set to get data from the GPS. Now. AND you have to have the HSI set to GPS. So. then hit the VNAV autopilot button to track the entered altitude”). your eyes and your sense of feel and even sound. one final question: How do you turn OFF an autopilot mode? EASY! Hit that mode button AGAIN! Next question: What does the autopilot do when that ode is turned OFF? Easy! It reverts to the default modes it had when first turned on! Pitch and Roll hold mode! Next question: How do you turn OFF the autopilot altogether? Easy! Hit the “!” key or assign a joystick button to turn it off in the “Joystick” screen in X-Plane.destinations. indeed. One of the limitations in your sense of balance is if you are accelerating very slowly. Why is this so difficult? Your sense of balance comes from 3 sources with in your body. Do all these things. AND the FLIGHT DIR button must be set to AUTO. An instrument rating only requires 125 hours total time . so you must get the HSI to show you what is being generated by the GPS. which of course most do not. hit the line-select button on the left side of the FMS next to the text “FLY AT ______ FT”.. Before that point.. and LAT/LON buttons to enter those types of destinations. once you have entered the plan into the FMS. it is pretty easy once you just get the basics. with the servos on to actively command the plane. It doesn’t matter if you’re being spun to the left or the right. You should remember form high school that your inner ear is a series of semi-circular canals that are filled with a fluid. NOT just ON.. smoldering in some field. the capability of flying an aircraft through a large cloud or fog bank relying completely on the instruments within the aircraft was impossible until about 1920 or so. and the plane will follow any FMS plan. and enter the altitude you want to fly at with the keypad again. your life depends on ignoring your feelings and senses and flying solely based on the information in front of you. so you have to set the HSI to GPS) AND you must have the LOC and VNAV buttons selected ON.. with the servos on to actively command the plane. in order of prerogative.. which is totally optional. what is critical is that you are quickly accelerated and than kept at a constant angular velocity. which is totally optional. and PREV/NEXT buttons to cycle thru the various waypoints in your plan. I know from experience that it can be extremely disorienting. As you are first spun your inner ear will detect that you are accelerating and spinning. and PREV/NEXT buttons to cycle thru the various waypoints in your plan. These are. assuming.. FIX. and hit the “LOC” autopilot button to follow the HSI lateral guidance. Do that and the plane will fly you anywhere. then hit the VNAV autopilot button to track the entered altitude”).that you’re standing on the ground. however. To do this. since you are no . the plane you are flying HAS all this equipment.. Now. As your body changes position in space the fluid is moved due to momentum and the resulting bending of these hairs feeds your brain signals that indicate the orientation of your head in space. as well as a LD and SA button load and save flight plans if you want to use them again. it’s pretty darn easy! Here’s how: Open of the Boeing 777 for this one. NOT nav 1 or nav 2 (because remember. All of these inputs align to say the same thing . Now.. Modern gyroscope based instrumentation and continual training make it possible to safely fly with reference to only the instrument panel. if you sit on the seat. pretty much anyone that attempted this was soon just another part of the wreckage. There is a back-arrow to erase mistakes. Now. Now. VOR. using the autopilot is only one basic step. of course. your inner ear. standing on the ground. if you want to do more than just fly to an airport. if you bothered to enter an altitude into the FMS. NDB. Rather it is in believing what the instruments are saying. or if the acceleration was brief and is now zero. the autopilot will fly whatever it sees on the HSI. which you just set to get data from the GPS.

The faster the airplane is moving the stronger the air pressure is that acts to oppose the spring and the larger the deflection of the needle. In the simplest sense. contained in a set of airtight bellows. if he is not careful. you fly through the other end of the cloud and BAM they’re in a right hand turn. non-pressurized airplanes will climb comfortably at about 700 fpm (if they can) and descend at about 500 fpm. but they will probably suspect you’re banked to the left. these have been arranged in a certain. This is accomplished by fixing the case of the instrument to the aircraft and measuring the displacement of the case with reference to a fixed gyroscope inside. you can get to a substantially different attitude. The unsuspecting passengers may feel the very beginning of the change in bank. Stay like this for a few seconds and it will fell like you’re just sitting stationary. resulting in a turn radius that is larger than that commanded by the driver. since the early 1970’s. the Turn Coordinator (typically electronically driven) and the Directional Gyro (typically vacuum powered. since the cabin altitude is not related to the ambient altitude unless the pressurization system fails. the Attitude Indicator (AI) and the Altimeter (Alt). Open your eyes and they will tell your brain that you are stationary but the feeling within your head (a primal. acting on some springs. To correct the slip all the pilot has to do is increase back pressure on the yoke to pull the airplane ‘up’ into a tighter turn. . The bottom row contains the Turn Coordinator (TC) the Directional Gyro (DG) and the Vertical Speed Indicator (VSI).longer accelerating but rather just spinning. The trick is to do this slowly and smoothly enough that no one on board notices. say. but their tremendous implication on flying was not realized until the mid to late 1920’s. Gyroscopes and their Application to Flight The gyroscope was invented many decades before aircraft. Hopefully. The top row. but this sensation is commonly referred to as being dizzy. They are laid out in two rows of 3 instruments each. The gyroscope is physically attached to an indicator of some sort and these indicators than relay critical information to the pilot concerning the aircraft’s attitude.that is how steep or shallow your bank is in relation to a standard 2 minute turn rate and the DG is nothing more than a gyroscopically driven compass that is more stable and accurate than the old standby. Pressurized airplanes can climb and descend much more rapidly and still maintain the cabin rate of change at about these levels. that is that the airplane is not skidding or slipping through the turn. from which the pilot reads his speed. perhaps banked 30 degrees right) before you come out of the cloud. like you are being spun wildly in the other way. Instantly. The Turn Coordinator (TC) The TC relays the rate of turn for the aircraft. you will feel an incredible sense of angular acceleration in the opposite direction. A quick summary of these instruments follows: The Airspeed Indicator (ASI) The ASI indicates your airspeed. I used to do this many times in college. Now have the person suddenly stop you. The Vertical Speed Indicator (VSI) The VSI reports your climb or descent rate in feet per minute. it’s quite a bit more complicated than this as the pressure exerted by the stream of air varies with the local air density (which continually changes as the airplane climbs or descends) and the ASI must account for this. after entering the cloud very slowly and very smoothly start to bank the aircraft to the right. This exact same thing can happen in a cockpit pretty quickly. The AI indicates what attitude the aircraft is flying at. the AI informs the pilot of his or her attitude in space. This was fun and harmless to do to unsuspecting friends in college. the Attitude Indicator (AI . This results from an aircraft that is banked too steeply for the rate of turn selected. how far the nose is above or below the horizon and simultaneously how far the wings are banked and in which direction. With a few passengers on board you can enter the cloud in a left bank of. or the speed at which the aircraft is traveling through the air. where the front wheels do not have enough traction to overcome the car’s momentum and the front of the car is thus plowing through the turn. This is fun. Flight Instruments . standard layout referred to as the ‘six pack’. A slip is a bit more difficult for you to imagine unless you’re a pilot already.The Six Pack There are six primary instruments that have become standard in any instrument panel and. measured by the expansion or contraction of a fixed amount of air. this is called Vertigo. Descent rates faster than this cause discomfort on the occupants which can be felt in your ears. In scientific circles. The instrument is only accurate when the turn is coordinated. You can then mount this stable. The Altimeter (ALT) The altimeter looks somewhat like the face of a clock and relays to the pilot her altitude. As the airplane climbs or descends the relative air pressure outside the aircraft changes and the altimeter reports the difference between the outside air pressure and a reference.normally driven by a vacuum pump on the engine). left to right. could be electric). Then. There are three primary gyroscopic instruments in the panel. The Attitude Indicator (AI) As discussed earlier. the Magnetic (or Whisky) Compass. For a skid. Typically. The basic principal is that if you take relatively heavy object and rotate it at a high rotational velocity it will hold its position in space. For a more through explanation on ASIs. contains the Airspeed Indicator (ASI). The Directional Gyro (DG) The DG is a simple instrument that points north and thus allows the pilot to tell which way he’s flying. it is nothing more than a spring which opposes the force of the air blowing in the front of a tube attached under the wing or to the nose of the aircraft. but it underlines the difficulty an unsuspecting pilot can find himself in. 20 degrees or so. imagine a car that is understeering. such that the turn rate is in equilibrium with the bank angle. Obviously. Imagine for a moment that there is a large bank of cloud in front of you on a calm day. Suddenly. driving sensation) is that you have just started to spin. do a Google search on the internet. The TC indicates the rate of turn . rigid gyroscope in an instrument that is fixed to your aircraft and use the relative motion of the instrument case (and thus the airplane) about the fixed gyro. You may still feel a breeze on your face or hear sounds ‘spinning’ about you but your inner ear will be telling your brain that you’re sitting stationary and your brain will believe it.

or any others. Check out scenery. Now. run little tugs around to push your airplane on the ground. So. do the aileron. This will be a non-linear response.X-Plane. 100% stick deflection in your hand will give 100% control-deflection in the sim. then the control response is linear.X-Plane. and select the ‘Joystick ail-elv-rud’. then drag the sliders all the way to the right. 50% stick deflection in your hand will give 50% control-deflection in the sim. and all the files should be stored in a folder that is the name of the aircraft. If you have PFC hardware. On Windows.org. now you have the ability to set the center position of each axis. and other stuff like that. If it is. In other words. If not. ‘Data Input and Output’ window. if your hardware is perfect.org. what about MAKING your own custom scenery? Well. When you download a custom plane. you can use Terrain-Edit to make your own scenery. perhaps you think the plane feels too responsive in the simulator. you will typically get a compressed file that contains the airplane and all its various paint jobs and airfoils and custom sounds and instrument panels. Does it handle ok? No? OK. you will be able to see the various stick deflections at the top-left of the screen. and rudder input from your joystick to the cockpit text display. Perfectly linear. 0% stick deflection will still give 0% control deflection. the FIRST thing to do is be sure your stick is calibrated properly. and go to the ‘Control Response’ sliders on the left.X-Plane. I place no copyright restrictions of any sort on any plane that you make with PlaneMaker. if you are still not happy with flight-handling. ‘Joystick and Equipment’ window. then your hardware works decently and you set the center-point successfully. then read on! OK.X-Plane. Of course you can also upload your planes to www. Since no hardware on earth really IS perfect. Typically. then your joystick is NOT calibrated! No wonder the plane is not flying right!!!! So. ZIP is the normal format that we use for compression these days. Once you download the ZIP file. do they read around -1.000 when the controls are centered? If so. CONTROL-CLICK on the aircraft folder in the finder. org is a good place to go to find various plug-ins and stuff you can use to tweak your copy of X-Plane.com for full documentation for now. or any other place on the net.com and look for the plug-ins link near the top of the page. get WinZip for this. custom scenery packages will go in the ‘resources:custom scenery’ folder. No? OK. Move the stick around. so you should be able to download a ZIP file of the aircraft from www. then your joystick is calibrated. This folder should then be compressed into an archive. but now with a difference: 50% stick deflection in your hand might only give 15% control deflection in the sim.0? If so. Go to the ‘Settings’ menu. Installing Plug-Ins Plug-ins are little programs that let you modify X-Plane. or Linux boxes. do they read around 1. When you center the stick and pedals. you should look at the CENTER of that window.org. while the HARD-OVER ROLL RATE in the sim will remain UN-CHANGED no matter what these sliders are set to. How? First make your personal custom airplane with all its various custom sounds and panels and paint and stuff. then your hardware is not too good or you did not properly set the center point.7: Expanding X-Plane Adding Third-Party Airplanes You can get tons of aircraft from www. you ought to be able to double-click on it to expand it on Macintosh. simply CENTER your hardware and hit the ‘Center the Yoke and Pedals and Hit This Button’ button. See the setup chapters of this manual for instructions on this. at will. You may download and install them. then see if the plane flies the way you like it. Now. Select ‘File:Open Aircraft’ in X-Plane same as always to load the plane.000 when the controls are centered. but it seems to be too sensitive in pitch or pulls to one side. elevator. Adding Third-Party Scenery You can find plenty of custom scenery packages at www. ‘Joystick and Equipment’ window. Once you do this. and if you center the stick. On the Mac. ‘Center’ tab. once you have the stick calibrated and can prove it with the data output as indicate above. This will mark the hardware as centered. Is the data output around 0. and choose “Create Archive” from the resulting popup menu to make a compressed ZIP archive of that plane. you will be able to get fine control for smaller. Did you do it right? Quit guessing and out! Close the joystick window and move your flight controls to the centered position and see if the data output is around 0.X-Plane. Go to the ‘Settings’ menu. right-most check-box. and rudder joystick inputs read around 0. If the left-most 3 sliders are fully left. draw interesting terrain-visualization systems. If not. www. You now need to compress this aircraft folder so you can upload it to the net. So. 100% stick deflection will still give 100% control deflection in the sim. Do you want to make your own plug-in? Great! (if you said yes) Go to www. then look at the ‘Settings’ menu. then the rectangles should go to zero size. Moving the stick and pedals around should move little rectangles around. 8: Expert Essays Tuning the Handling in X-Plane OK so you have X-Plane set up and flying. and all you need to do is drag that folder into the “X-System” folder (the folder that has X-Plane inside it) and then launch X-Plane. Windows. then read on while we go to the next level. and the plane is still not flying like you want. Upload and share at will. This will send the aileron. since the flight controls will move LESS for the small-to-moderate stick .org. though.X-Plane.0? When you go full aft and right. OK. This package requires a passel of files. now fly the plane. elevator. This ZIP file should expand out to a folder that is the name of the aircraft you just downloaded. partial deflections. How do you tune this? OK first let’s get the obvious out of the way: You should have your joystick calibration done. People write plug-ins to do all sorts of interesting things like hang weights on the dashboard that move around accurately. then let’s look at the first level of control-response tuning.X-Plane.0? When you go full left and forward. If so. There. Want to see if you really are properly calibrated or not? OK. you will have little buttons across the bottom of the window that you can hit to set the center position of each axis.

and there can be MORE than a 10x difference between them in speed. we have done everything we can in the sim. coming up short in EITHER category will slow you down. Top is elevator. and check the right-hand box in front of “FRAME-RATE”. SCATTERED OR BROKEN OR OVERCAST take a TON of CPU time to run. SET WEATHER screen. Bottom is Rudder. in the “freq /sec” output on the far left. Now. Tune as needed to get the plane to fly as straight as you want. Ditto that with rudder if you want the plane to pull RIGHT a bit more. So. Well. which WAY do you bend it? Positive or negative? Well. Go to the ‘Trim and Speed’ tab. What frame-rate are you seeing on YOUR computer? Not high enough? OK. Now you can see how fast you are running. the way to get maximum speed is to have: -Enough VIDEO RAM to keep all the textures and geometry on the video card (the more you have. How do you do it? Still pretty easy. if you want the plane to roll RIGHT a bit more (or STOP rolling left!). Exit X-Plane.. then you are GOING TO RUN SUPER-SLOW. Open Plane-Maker. then you will of course get low performance. since the RAM speed and quantity. If the REAL plane is pulling to one side or the other. Go to the very RIGHT-HAND column of numbers in the top box of the screen: ‘Trim Tab Adjust’. you want to bend the trim tab A LITTLE BIT. This will give you nice fine pitch control. how can you get the most from X-Plane? That is the question to ask. then read on: OK. 30 fps looks fine. and ditto that with elevator if you want the plane to pull UP a bit more. Now. it is like always having an autopilot on that smooths things out for you. What will happen? Now. This would correspond to being enough to deflect the controls 5% or 10% due to the trim tab. given whatever machine YOU have. video card and bus speed & many other things cause performance differences between computers. Basically. and roll. X-Plane will automatically counter-act any stick input you give to some degree. if you do not have enough VIDEO RAM on your video card to handle X-Plane at the Rendering Options you have set. 100 fps is insanely high. you can do exactly the same thing in X-Plane: Bend a trim tab a bit one way or the other to make the plane fly true. positive is up and right. go flying.. A value of 1. while others run dual-processor 3. It’s fake and stupid. but full-LEFT should be most realistic: No artificial stability added. NO MATTER HOW MUCH CPU YOU HAVE. if you do not have enough SYSTEM RAM to handle X-Plane at the Rendering Options you have set. but in the absence of a perfect flight-control system and g-load and peripheral-vision feedback. then drag those sliders all the way to the right. Run X-Plane and go to the SETTINGS menu. and video card. then enter a POSITIVE number for the aileron. NO MATTER HOW MUCH CPU YOU HAVE. exit Plane-Maker. try flying with those sliders at various different places.deflections in your hand. and thinks you are flying. Go to the ENVIRONMENT menu.05 or at most 0. detailed. A value of 0. rolled control.000 mhz machines with 256 meg of VRAM and 4 GIG of RAM. but if your computer CPU is slow or your video card speed is low. So. then you are GOING TO RUN SUPER-SLOW. and BUS!) Which of these matters to you? Well. now it’s time to tweak the airplane. Go to the ‘File’ menu and open the plane that is pulling left or right. Maybe 0. Tweak the trim tabs. So. resisting rapid or large deflections in pitch. this can help smooth the airplane out for you. Is it OK now? No? OK. you bend the little trim tab on the aileron one way or another. Studies show that at 60 fps or above. hat is sort of cheating: Let’s set the WEATHER to an easy condition to render. and you should notice the plane pulls one way or another based on how you bent the trim tabs. So. and here are the answers: First the basics: YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO TELL HOW FAST X-PLANE IS RUNNING. This is simply how much the trim tabs are bent on each axis. then DATA INPUT & OUTPUT window. If you still think the plane is too squirrely or over-sensitive. 15 fps is poor. or HIGH CIRRUS or LOW STRATUS for good speed. Tuning the Frame-Rate in X-Plane Two of the emails I often get are as follows: “WOW! X-Plane is so fast! I get 100 fps on my computer! Amazing! This is so much smoother than other flight sims!” and “WOW! X-Plane is so slow on my computer! What should I do?” Why does this happen? Well. even though it is fundamental to understanding computer performance: ONE limit is how much RAM you have (video.00 means the trim tab is not bent at all. your SUB-CONCIOUS MIND forgets that you are looking at a simulator. of course many people today run 1-ghz Pentiums with 512 meg of RAM and 64 meg of VRAM. heading. So. and system!) the other limit is how much SPEED you have (CPU. So. the higher rendering options you can select) -Enough SYSTEM RAM to hold X-Plane (1 gig is OK. lets see how to make it faster! First the easy one. Set the cloud types to CLEAR LAYER for max speed. . here is what so many people seem to NOT know. the next level is Stability Augmentation.00 means the tab is bent so far that the control is FULLY-DEFLECTED by the trim tab (!) way too much I am sure. motherboard speed. does it fly just right now? Still pulling to one side or the other? OK. Go to the ‘Standard’ menu and then to the ‘Control Geometry’ screen. so I don’t like it. set those sliders and see how it feels. Middle is aileron. if you have all the RAM in the world.10. run X-Plane. thus sending the frame-rate to the screen in flight. This bending of the aileron trim tab counter-acts any imperfections in the shape of the airplane or dynamics of the propwash or mass-distribution inside the plane. So. and nice slow. So. Conversely. 2 gig is better) -All the speed you can afford. save the plane. (look on the left side of the screen). This is called “frames per second” or “fps”. So.

but the texture res is set such that you need 256 meg of VRAM. Keep doing this until the frame-rate decreases. Dialing any of these things up will take BIG hits on performance. NOTE: After you change the texture resolution. but of course this is totally cheating because you might want the sim to run faster WITH clouds and good visibility. and X-Plane will still run fast. exit the sim. Use Google as needed if you don’t already know how to find the VRAM available on your particular computer. Most of these do NOT make too much of a difference in speed. but not too much.. and therefore much VIDEO RAM you will use. and Linux OS’s out there. then the computer will constantly be moving RAM on and off the video card (between the video card RAM and the system RAM) to draw each frame of scenery. because the fog is computed every pixel. Look at your TEXTURE RESOLUTION. because you see more stuff! Nothing else in the weather screen will affect frame-rate. UN-CHECK the cars/birds/hi-res-planet textures/hi-detail-runway-environment for speed. and of course this will be a bit different for all the various Mac. and the water-reflections require the whole world to be rendered TWICE! So use these option with care. or overcast clouds. but not much. not too much more NOTE! X-Plane can use MORE VRAM for the buildings and roads and forests! So you should really set the texture resolution so that the VRAM report at the bottom of the screen is a bit LOWER than your actual VRAM! NOTE! You can. all at once! . How to Set Up Advanced Networks Let’s say that you want to have 2 computers running X-Plane. (we call this an external visual) Or maybe a multiplayer session to fly formation with your friends. Or maybe an Instructor Operator’s Station to control weather and time and failures. Or maybe all of the above. Set these to NONE for speed. The higher you set your reflective-water level. because your video card might not be new enough to really handle this well. THIS IS VERY VERY SLOW. As long as you have plenty of VIDEO RAM. the more detailed the reflections. (we call this an IOS) Or maybe a separate computer for an out-the-window view. So. These have a HUGE impact on frame-rate. Windows. because they draw thousands of objects. below that. and one with a panel on the copilot’s side. if no desert sand is visible to you because you are not flying over the desert! But. It uses up some VRAM. So there you have it. You should turn this down to NONE. Or maybe 2 panels. Set the resolution as you see fit. as you should. Now look at the all-important “forest density”. This setting determines how detailed all the thousands of textures in X-Plane are. Forests and objects just draw SOOOOOOOO many objects at their maximum level. because that is when flying is most fun! So now let’s get to the GOOD stuff: Go to the SETTINGS menu. It uses up some video card processing power as well. This is sort of a last-ditch effort to save CPU. setting NO clouds and NO precipitation and LOW visibility will make the sim run faster. broken. you have the ‘volumetric fog’ and ‘reflective water’. Follow all the instructions above and you can get good frame-rate with X-Plane even on a slower. if you are not happy with your frame-rate. older computer. re-start it. We will work this windows from top to bottom. one with the instrument panel on the pilot’s side. Now look at the screen resolution in the rendering options screen. in some cases. Once you know the VRAM on your computer. Though it will cause objects to ‘pop’ into place in front of you.Set the visibility to about 5 miles or so. if you have only 128 meg of VRAM on your vide card. Now. since your video card just does not have the power to handle the new graphics technologies very well. but as soon as you set the texture resolution to require more VRAM than you have. Look at the BOTTOM of the rendering options screen and X-Plane tells you how much VRAM is required at it’s current settings. but you already know to avoid those if you are not getting good frame-rate! The other settings in this window don’t really effect speed too much. Then raise the texture detail up one level and repeat. you can set this as high as you want with NO LOSS IN FRAME-RATE. This is the point where you are using up all your VRAM! Back the texture resolution off to one level lower than that and restart to fly. but clouds and visibility affect it a LOT. Now for some big ones: USE PIXEL SHADERS. and “number of roads” settings. If this number is greater than the RAM on your video card. If you turn this on. that you really will want a TOP-end machine to handle these settings at their maximum. RENDERING OPTIONS screen. for example. These options can have HUGE impact on frame-rate. Thus. How much RAM is on your video card? You need to go to your operating system to find out. you have a center radio-panel as well. check your framerate after closing the RENDERING OPTIONS window. and the slower the sim will run! “Number of cloud puffs” has a HUGE impact on frame-rate when you have scattered. Higher visibility takes MORE CPU to run. so you can turn them off. YOUR FRAME-RATE WILL DIE! How do you tell how much VRAM X-Plane uses? Easy. as long as you leave the EXPERT RENDERING OPTIONS alone. Dial down the ‘world detail distance’ if you want. (we call this a master machine and a copilot’s machine setup). Probably 1024x768 or whatever it takes to fill your monitor. “number of objects”. it is OK to have the texture of desert sand cached away off the video card. and gobble RAM and CPU in the process. It might be hurt! A new video card is called for in that case. as long as you have proper OpenGL drivers installed on it! See the web page of your vide card manufacturer for instructions on that. then you are asking to get slow performance. you must set the texture res LOW ENOUGH TO AVOID THIS. This one can really hurt your frame-rate. because a lot of the RAM can be “cached away” in the system with no speed penalty if it is not often accessed by the computer! For example. you should re-start X-Plane for all the changes to take effect! NOTE: Just put the texture resolution on it’s lowest setting. Now look at the anti-alias level: This can make things VERY slow since it draws the scenery many times to average the result. but they make a little difference. and note the frame-rate. use MORE VRAM than your video card has. lower the texture resolution in X-Plane until X-Plane uses about what you have. which is not very nice to look at! So I never move that setting away from it’s default.

having one monitor per computer will give the highest frame-rate. (Scenery and everything!) Now.4 external visual. Check the IP ADDRESS OF EXTRA VISUAL/COCKPIT #1 (THIS IS MASTER) button on that computer. . Open the “coolplane_copilot.168. and then to the DATA INPUT OUTPUT window on each computer. for example: 192. and select INET 2 tab. right beside each other. or a pair of Ethernet cables and an Ethernet hub. Install X-Plane on each computer. go to the SETTINGS menu. multiple monitors and Many computers. on the lower left. because you have the most power behind each bit of display. left view 192. How to Set Up Multiple Monitors Another commonly-asked question is: How do I get 3 (or more) monitors with external views to all line up? Well. Connect the computers to form a simple LAN.1. your computers may be set up something like this. Now simply fire up X-Plane on each computer. each with its own instrument panel.1 master machine (joysticks plugged in here) 192. Save that copilot’s-side airplane in the same folder as the pilot’s-side plane. On the COPILOT’S machine. A plane that has a copilot’s instrument panel.acf”. the copilots machine will get the message (because you checked the “ip address of master. check the IP ADDRESS OF MASTER MACHINE (THIS IS EXTRA COCKPIT). Notice you just added the “_copilot.6 external visual. simply check the box describing the job of each computer. and if you draw this out on a piece of paper. with the PILOTS SIDE INSTRUMENT PANEL just the way you like it. and 45 degrees for the offset of the right screen. go to the ‘Data Input and Output’ window in the ‘Settings’ menu. then letting one video card or computer drive many monitors should be possible. one monitor per computer. a unique number for the last quadrant of the IP address. center view 192. on each of these computers. That means that NO MATTER WHAT PLANE YOU OPEN ON THE PILOTS MACHINE. Let’s say you have 4 computers and monitors: 1 cockpit and 3 external visuals (a common setup).168. Now simply copy that whole aircraft folder from one of your computers over to the other. This tab allows you to configure a multi-computer X-Plane system. right view Of course. on the PILOTS machine. Go there and go to the fourth tab over: ‘Inet 2’. as the case may be. if you set everything up right.” box) and the copilot’s machine will apply the name “_copilot” to the aircraft name (because of the name suffix you entered).acf” when you are done. this computer will add “_copilot” to the name of the plane that it tries to open! Now.acf”.” box). On each computer. move the plane. and the names “coolplane. set weather...1. Lets start off with the better of the two options: One computer per monitor.168.acf files are in the same folder.168. open the “coolplane. and name the copy “coolplane_copilot. as you always would in Mac or Windows. then the pilots machine will send all the appropriate data to the copilot’s machine (because you checked the “ip address of external. etc.1. putting the aircraft folder in the same place in the second (copilots) copy of X-Plane. if you have multiple computers. you will see that the 45 degree offsets on the left and right screens will cause them to just perfectly sync up with the center screen.1. click on the ‘aircraft name reading suffix’ and enter (can you guess it? if you are smart. Go to the “Rendering Options” screen in each of the 3 external-view computers in X-Plane.1. but if you have a strong enough video card with a really high fill-rate. if you did your job in Plane-Maker. and enter the IP address of the pilot’s machine. The .1. with the computers networked as explained above. Install X-Plane on each computer.acf”.acf” on the end.. and enter the IP address of the copilot’s machine. simply make a copy of the airplane. 0 vertical offset on all screens. Save it with a name like: “coolplane..255. and open the copilot’s plane on the copilot’s machine. and you should be ready to fly! Now. acf” and “coolplane_copilot. Now. Obviously.2 Copilot’s machine (acf with copilots instrument panel used here) 192. Once each of your computers has an IP address that meets this requirement... Enter a lateral offset of -45 degrees for the left screen. and a subnet mask of 255. This will simply give you 45+45+45 degrees field of view. Make a cool airplane.5 external visual. 0 for the center screen.255. Enter a field of view of 45 degrees for each of them. simply assign each of them an IP address that has the first 3 numbers the same. There are two ways to do this: One computer. and a single crossover Ethernet cable. a commonly-asked question by people that are really pushing for a thorough simulation is: “How do I set up a co-pilots instrument panel in X-Plane?” It’s easy. this is pretty darn easy.168. and tweak the instrument panel all out to be perfect for the co-pilots side. Here’s how: Get 2 computers and 2 copies of X-Plane. and enter the IP address of whatever OTHER computers are called for by the text description.0. you should) “_copilot”.acf” in Plane-Maker.How do you do it? Well. GREAT for training!) 192.3 IOS (instructor station to initiate failures.168. get your LAN set up so that the computers can talk to each other and you have a network that is ready for an X-Plane multi-computer setup. Now you have 2 copies of the same plane.

Twist the ROTOR one way. you should not have vertical offsets on some machines but not others.0 then the lateral offset for that copy of X-Plane (in linear distance) will be an amount equal to the distance between you and the monitor. All 3 monitors simply seem like one really wide monitor to Windows. so it is very easy to move them through the air. so they start to slow down. and the pitch of the blades of the rotor is about ZERO. They are geared together.. since they have a positive pitch. OR FARTHEST FROM YOU. As soon as you start doing that. On Windows. Since you are on the ground. but instead. This increases the blade pitch on the main rotor and therefore increases the lift. so at that point any modern heilo will AUTOMATICALLY increase the throttle however much it has to. the power required to turn the rotor at its operational RPM is pretty minimal. then tail rotor loses 10% rpm. There are plenty of other ways to have multiple monitors on both Mac and Windows computers.0. You do this by pulling UP on a handle in the cockpit called the “collective”. Just set the pixel resolution and field of view in the Rendering Options screen in X-Plane to match whatever monitor real-estate you’ve got. Now. You do this by RAISING THE COLLECTIVE UP BY PULLING IT UP FROM THE FLOOR OF THE HELO. Incidentally. you know you are messing everything up. then the horizon will SEEM to not be straight as you pitch and roll. If you do not. Why? Fish-eye-lense effect! If you describe 135 degrees field of view in a FLAT plane or arc of monitors that describe less than 135 degrees of arc. they are putting out a lot of lift now.Now. the answer is: ANTI-TORQUE PEDALS. This means the rotor pitch is flat. So how does the tail rotor adjust its thrust if it cannot change its speed? Same as the main rotor: by adjusting its pitch. to maintain the desired 400 rotor rpm. if you enter 1. So. to summarize. the main rotor provide the lift needed to lift the heilo. there is little drag on the blades. Of course. adjusting the throttle as needed to hold exactly 400 rpm. In X-Plane.. How does it do this? Well. Well. the tail rotor is geared to the main rotor SO THEY ALWAYS TURN IN UNISON. The main rotor is of course putting a lot of torque on the heilo. OK. let’s say that the one-and-only operational rpm of a heilo is 400 . 2: The automatic throttle in the heilo is obsessively watching that rpm. This means that the rotor is putting out about ZERO lift! Because the blades have zero pitch. with minimum drag and zero lift. which is apparent as a horizon that seems to bend and distort between monitors. but also increases the DRAG on the rotor a LOT! The rotor RPM begins to fall below 400 rpm (OOPS!). since they are doing a lot more work! Of course. In that event. the helicopter ALWAYS MAINTAINS THE SAME ROTOR RPM for the entire flight! The lift from the main rotor is only varied by ADJUSTING THE BLADE PITCH OF THE MAIN ROTOR BLADES.. When the plane is sitting on the ground. so now we are in the air. you need to actually move the monitors around you in a semi-circle describing a 135-degree field of view for this to look right. The Matrox card will distribute this automatically across all 3 monitors. to keep that rotor rpm at exactly 400 rpm. you simply specify in the Rendering Options screen that you have a really wide display and wide field of view. since it is a lot harder to turn the blades now. Now. you may also decide that you do NOT want the monitors to wrap AROUND you. This will let you get wrap-around visuals from ONE computer. and the collective pitch is flat. and you enter an offset ratio of 1. When you do this. the blades on the rotor go UP TO A POSITIVE PITCH.. which is a video card that can drive 3 monitors. the offset RATIO. then the center of that monitor should be 6 feet off to the right to line up. how can you delay this inevitability for a few moments? Well. they are harder to drag through the air now. FLAT COLLECTIVE CORRESPONDS TO THE THROTTLE BEING FULL FORWARD. then they can form one big window in X-Plane with the wide resolution and wide field of view that results. So. the rotor is turning 400 rpm. let’s start by addressing how we fly them in the real world. THIS MEANS YOU START EASING THE THROTTLE ON YOUR JOYSTICK BACK DOWN TOWARDS YOU. the collective handle is FLAT ON THE GROUND. “collectively”). IN X-PLANE. In that case. this is the sequence for getting a heilo in the air. but the auto-throttle senses this and loads in however much engine power it has to. sometimes people sit on the ground and see the horizon does not line up AND THEN THEY ENTER VERTICAL OFFSETS ON SOME MACHINES ONLY TO GET THE HORIZONS TO LINE UP. causing it to spin in the opposite direction (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. and the rule of using them in X-Plane is simple: If the monitors can appear to be one big desktop in your operating system. 3: You decide to start crashing. You can find all manner of different helicopter layouts in reality. and then become confused when everything breaks down when they pitch and especially roll. equally obviously. But. Just push the left or right rudder pedal on your CH-Products Prop Pedals that you hopefully bought to get more or less thrust from the tail rotor. then fish-eye distortion will result. If this is happening. rpm. Now. but instead simply all be one beside the other IN A FLAT PLANE (like stacking a bunch of monitors against a flat wall). if you are 6 feet from the monitor.. If your stick does not twist for yaw-control. and then move to how we do that in X-Plane. Here’s how it works: First. so the power required to hold this 400 rpm is pretty low. you need to set the viewpoint center in Plane-Maker for whatever airplane you are flying to the center of the monitor: 384 pixels as of this writing or halfway up the 768 pixel height. then X-Plane will do a decent job of adjusting the tail-rotor lift to counter the main-rotor torque in flight. So. In the case of using offset RATIO. THIS WOULD BE CATASTROPHIC SINCE YOU CAN’T FLY WHEN YOUR ROTOR IS NOT TURNING. they have very little drag. you might have a Matrox Perihelion card. then twist your joystick for anti-torque control. then it is probably because you are flying with a cockpit in the center screen (center of screen for scenery is probably about 3/4 of the way up the monitor to leave room for the instruments) and external visuals on the lateral displays (center of screen for scenery is right in the center of the monitor). the heilo will twist the other way). If you don’t have rudder pedals. 4: You keep pulling in MORE collective until the blades are creating enough lift to raise the heilo from the ground! The auto-throttle keeps adding power to keep the rotor turning at 400 rpm no matter how much you raise or lower the collective in your attempts to fly the heilo. IN X-PANE. This rotational torque on the heilo is countered with thrust from the tail rotor. Now let’s say you are ready to go flying. you do NOT want to use the offset in DEGREES. let’s say that you want ONE computer to drive multiple monitors. but let’s talk about the standard configuration here: A single overhead rotor with a tail rotor in the back. (all the blades on the main rotor do this together at once. If the main rotor loses 10% rpm. which will be an important first step in your crash: 1: You are on the ground. and your first crash is beginning. and it Flying Helicopters An oft-wondered question is: How do I fly helicopters? Well. In other words.

you can input longitudinal. and translate up/down. Often called RCS (or Reaction Control System) rockets. you can hit the gas. . then enter 4. The lift from the rotor acting above the center of gravity of the heilo will lower the nose of the heilo. push the nose down to tilt the rotor forwards. and find yourself in space quickly. This is the same as saying that the rockets are EQUIVALENT to putting the entire weight of the ship on a 1-foot lever arm. now that you are using this information to hover perfectly. how is that possible? The answer is: Maneuvering rockets. Now. Notice that you see spaces for PUFFERS. The moment is equal to the force times the distance from the center of gravity. lateral. so you are in the air and adjusting the COLLECTIVE PITCH of the main rotor (with your joystick throttle) to hold 10 feet in the air and adjusting the tail-rotor pitch with anti-torque pedals (with your rudder pedals or twisty stick) to keep the nose pointed right down the runway. dragging the top of the heilo underneath it in that direction. yaw. the fact that moving the stick sends the blade pitch through one CYCLE every rotation of the rotor blades means we call the control stick the CYCLIC stick. and aft) to the body of the heilo. This is really exactly the same thing as the RCS on space-ships. so it is what we use in X-Plane to maneuver craft in space as well. When you move the stick to the right. while it SEEMS that the right name for this might be the “helicopter-destroyer”. Can you maneuver in space now? One problem you may still have is that it is simply pretty hard to maneuver the craft in space because there is no damping of any sort. and aft to steer the heilo around. So. you now need to wiggle the joystick left.000 foot-pounds. Now. and vertical rockets. In other words.000 foot-pounds. and yaw to get the RCS system for your spacecraft simulated. So. and roll. and if you are good. So. In that case. roll. With these rockets. it will of course drag the heilo off to the right as long as it is producing lift. fore. No. then that rocket provides a MOMENT of 200 x 10 = 2. how do you ADD such rockets to some spacecraft of your OWN design? Pretty easy! Go into Plane-Maker and open the craft you want to put in space. roll. right. close the window and save the craft and exit Plane-maker and try it out in X-Plane. and the forwards component of lift from the rotor will drag the heilo forwards as you fly along. This will cause the rotor disc to TILT to the RIGHT. (Of course. So here is the fascinating thing: the rotor on many heilos is totally free-teetering. So that’s how you fly heilos. below the attitude indicator. Now. pull up. the Japanese Anime has such rockets. let’s talk about the cyclic a bit more. fore. Now what? Well. the RCS is driven by the combination of volatile fluids or gases. left and right. and aft. If you have TWO such rockets to maneuver the craft in pitch. and anti-torque controls. I don’t know how it does this without flying to pieces either. under “How to Design an Artificial Stability System”. The plane may tend to tumble out of control.is that tail-rotor pitch that you are controlling with your rudder pedals or twisty joystick. these puffers are driven by air pulled off the compressor of the jet engine. you can maneuver in space. Maneuvering is only achieved by the rotor tilting left. you simply tumble. of course. In other words. once you have entered all these stats on the rockets to get the craft to pitch. but the end result is the same (little jets of gas that spurt one way or another to rotate the craft about each axis). the AV-8B Harrier has little hair-dryers at it’s extremities that puff air in one direction or another to maneuver the plane while in hover. you need a fly-by-wire system! Full instructions for designing fly-by-wire systems are included in this chapter as well. which are used to push the craft fore and aft. How does this work? Well. right. Flying the Space Shuttle Read this chapter before attempting Space Shuttle landings in X-Plane if you want to live! What do you think the first rule of flying a glider is? Think about it. it changes it’s pitch from one extreme to the other 400 times per minute (7 times per second) if the rotor is turning at 400 rpm.000 feet at 15. these are small rockets placed at the extremities of the spacecraft that fire in opposition to each other to rotate the craft about all axis. Flying in Space OK we have covered how to go low and slow. in the Harrier. or 1/20 th the weight of the ship on a 20-foot lever arm an amount that should be just fine for maneuvering! As well. and DECREASE its pitch when it is BEHIND the heilo. try entering an amount equal to the WEIGHT of your vehicle. if the rocket puts out 200 pounds of force. So you have your collective. What are Puffers? Well. in green. enter the maximum pitch-moment that your RCS system can generate in pitch. cyclic. and many other planes do not. (remember: gyroscopic forces are applied 90 degrees along the direction of rotation of the gyroscope). Pray that nothing breaks. So the METHOD by which puffers work is radically different between a Harrier and spacecraft. the rotor increases pitch when it is in the part of its travel that is in FRONT of the heilo. It has a completely “loose and floppy” connection to the heilo. fore. if you want to live. and up and down. and in spacecraft. left/right. Now that the rotor is tilted to the RIGHT. then the rotor blade will INCREASE its pitch when it is in the FRONT of the heilo. Now.186 knots orbit! The speed is labeled as ‘V’. right. OK. If you hop in the ‘Japanese Anime’ in the ‘Science Fiction’ folder. and without them. the rotor blade will change it’s pitch trough a full cycle every time it runs around the heilo once. Obviously. The first rule of flying a glider is: “Never come up short”. So. you may notice that you ARE able to control the plane in pitch. Now go to the ‘VTOL or Helo Controls’ window in the ‘Expert’ menu. It can conduct ZERO TORQUE (left. if you move the stick to the RIGHT. given that there is no air over the flight control surfaces. you will be able to level off at 500. heading. Why? Well. because that will increase the lift on the FRONT of the rotor disc. Look in the lower-left corner of the window for the ‘Extra Inputs for Jets’ section. and fore/aft. Now. and is located 10 feet from the center of the spaceship. Now let’s go high and fast. So the heilo body is dragged along under the rotor like livestock by a nose-ring. blindly following wherever the rotor leads. If you do not know how much to enter.

there will be some air for the flight controls to get a grip on and you will actually start to be able to fly the thing. by an ex-marine pilot. you would break up into a million tiny pieces in a microsecond. The astronauts COULD fly the entire re-entry by hand. so when setting up your landing. if you think you are not quite going to make it to the runway. Remember. a well? I have not gotten around to writing an autopilot for the Space Shuttle in X-Plane yet. You must NEVER be low on speed or altitude. won’t it glide right past Edwards? No. to be exact. (The exception is thermals. and you are still more or less coasting in the thin upper atmosphere where the air is too thin to do much for you. With the final bit of fuel that is left after the mission. SO THE AIRSPEED INDICATOR WORKS VERY WELL TO TELL YOU HOW MUCH LIFT YOU CAN GET OUT OF THE WINGS. Following this rule. you are landing in the Mojave Desert and you are starting your landing approach West of Hawaii). because if you EVER are. who was ready for the ultimate risk and challenge. The reason is obvious. Gliders play by a different set of rules. and if it ever looks like the orbiter might not quite be able to make it to the landing zone. The airspeed indicator works just like the wings of the orbiter: based on HOW MUCH AIR IS HITTING IT! And in space.000 MILES PER HOUR) and begins its descent into the atmosphere. After de-orbit burn. So as the airspeed indicator on the HUD gradually starts to indicate a value (as you descend into thicker air). so the airspeed indicator is really measuring how much force the WINGS can put out for you. The orbiter then glides better.000 miles per hour (I love saying that!! SLOWING DOWN TO A BIT OVER 15. the autopilot flies the entire 30-minute re-entry. huh? Not really. Anyway. Not a bad pattern entry. and all of this carries over perfectly to the shuttle landing in X-Plane. huh? In reality. which you will fly after reading this chapter. The problem is FUEL. did I mention you will be hand-flying the entire mission in X-Plane. but it will be so thin it will have almost no effect at all. (To put this in perspective. Aim LONG since you can always dissipate the extra speed and altitude with turns or speedbrakes if you wind up being too HIGH. Three liquid-fuel rockets putting out 375.000 mph in the thick air of sea level.000 pounds of thrust EACH. that is not much! It will build gradually as you descend. your wings can have plenty of lift to carry you. you have NO WAY of getting it back: a crash is assured. and the astronauts do not take over the controls of the shuttle until the final 2 minutes of the glide. but you are SCREWED if you come up SHORT. Now we have to remember the cardinal rule of gliding: ALWAYS AIM LONG (PAST your landing point. And here is why: For most of the re-entry. the real space shuttle has been hand-flown for the entire re-entry only ONCE. 17. though. not short). I will have to do that some day. The extra speed and altitude is the ace up their sleeve. because if you guess low by even one foot. BECAUSE IF YOU EVER AIM SHORT YOU ARE DEAD SINCE YOU CAN NEVER MAKE UP LOST SPEED OR ALTITUDE WITH NO ENGINES. a fully-loaded Boeing 737 tips that scales around 130. or rising currents of air. and they can stretch the glide to Edwards for sure. You will first hit air at about 400. and 5. since the air is also putting more pressure on the WINGS. then the wings do not have enough air hitting them to lift you. and there is nothing left for the trip down: Thus the ship is a glider all the way from orbit to touch-down on Earth. The nose-up attitude and steep turns are very inefficient.000. Oh yes. the shuttle flies with the nose WWWAAYYY up for EXTRA drag. they simply lower the nose to be more efficient and level it out in roll to quit flying the steep turns. so EACH ENGINE of the orbiter could punch the Boeing straight up at 3 G’s indefinitely and that is not even considering the solid rocket boosters attached to the Shuttle’s fuel tank that provide MILLIONS of pounds of thrust!) I think this safely establishes that the Space Shuttle has engines. set up as “Puffers” in Plane-Maker). But there is one problem: If the orbiter flies its entire approach too high. Your control will be limited in space (you are operating off of small reaction jets on the Orbiter. SO IT INDICATES LOWER IN THIN AIR. The only reason you can survive 15. but once the shuttle hits atmosphere. coming down to eat air like a bag of bricks at Mach-20. If the airspeed indicator is indicating LESS than about 250 knots.000 feet. In the history of Shuttle missions (the 100th mission has just come to a close as I write this).When you are bringing a powered plane in for landing. A word to the wise: If the airspeed indicator is putting out MORE than about 250 knots. Your airspeed indicator will read around ZERO. if you were going 15. so our ability to “handfly” these approaches is next to nil. BUT THE WINGS PUT OUT LESS LIFT IN THIN AIR AS WELL. causing the shuttle to slow down and come down to earth in a steeper glide-angle. the shuttle heads for the atmosphere at 400. (Yes. Kind of odd since you are actually doing over 17.000 mph up here is the air is so thin it has almost no impact on the . the orbiter fires its smaller de-orbit engines to slow it down to a bit over 15.300 miles away from Edwards. you know it means you are starting to ease down into the atmosphere at 15. which is really what you are interested in! Bottom line: THE AIRSPEED INDICATOR INDICATES YOUR TRUE AIRSPEED TIMES THE SQUARE ROOT OF THE AIR DENSITY. maybe after I sort my sock drawer. you must always have enough altitude and speed to be able to coast to the airport. though: There is no engine to provide power. as it is done in the real shuttle. The odd thing is that even though you are actually SLOWING DOWN. not enough to even keep a lightweight Cessna in the air!) Now with the Space Shuttle.000 mph like a sunburned baby trying to ease into a boiling-hot Jacuzzi: VERY CAREFULLY AND SLOWLY. but thermals will typically provide less than 500 feet per minute of vertical speed. The orbiter exhausts everything it’s got getting up INTO orbit. crashing. as I understand it. but the drawback is they have to constantly bleed the energy off through steep turns (up to 70 degrees bank angle!) and drag the nose up (up to 40 degrees!) to keep from overshooting the field!!! OK. it is no big deal just add a bit of power to cover the extra distance! Need a little more speed maybe? Again no problem: Just add power. you will hit the ground short of the runway. These speeds and altitudes are way outside of normal human conception. which can give efficient gliders enough boost to get the job done. the orbiter intentionally flies its glide from orbit EXTRA HIGH TO BE ON THE SAFE SIDE. and making steep turns to intentionally dissipate the extra energy. you start in X-Plane around 400.000 feet.000 pounds or so. but it is officially discouraged by NASA. I will now walk you through the re-entry process from the beginning.000+ feet. it is certainly true beyond doubt that it has engines. the airspeed indicator will RISE as you descend into thicker air that puts more pressure on the airspeed indicator! You LIKE this oddity of the airspeed indicator.000 miles per hour. in space.

pull that nose up and hang on! The REAL orbiter will be about 40 degrees nose up. Get that nose up. so if you stay on the line. you are too low. (“g”-key or mouse) Get the nose up for a flare as you approach. hurtling through the upper atmosphere on autopilot leaving a 10-mile long trail of ionized gas behind it while the astronauts just watch.. The following is an email sent by Austin Meyer. but keep that nose up for sure to keep you in the upper atmosphere and fly STEEP BANKS to dissipate the extra speed and altitude. As some of you may know.ship. Caps lock off! Caps lock off! As you approach Edwards. you will notice there is sort of a circle or something out past Edwards. You see yourself and the path down to Edwards. Now hit the parachute and even the brakes if you want and let it roll out. You will wind up swimming in the Pacific somewhere around Hawaii. Fast enough for you? Hit the “w” key to get back in the cockpit. 250 is a “comfortable” amount). though. are exactly the same on Earth as on Mars. 3 degrees descent angle. Not too shabby.nasa. Look at the little pointer up top on the horizontal scale.gov/tharsis/ mola. You are slalom-skiing through the upper atmosphere at Mach-20. going 14. coming down at about 15. So how was YOUR day? Anyway. X-Plane needs atmospheric pressure. You might be tempted to just push the nose down if you are high. (And again. or H. And be at Edwards Air Force Base. I have for the last 6 hours. and topography for X-Plane from various NASA sites (http://ltpwww. you are right on your glide slope. you only descend into the thicker air once you have lost some speed in the thinner air up higher.000 feet per minute or so. actually). Switch your turn direction from time to time to stay on course: turn left a while. . Do I really need to tell you what will happen if you hit the ground with that 125 miles per hour descent rate? Do not aim for the runway or you will wind up smeared along it in a thin buttery paste. The laws of physics. February 24. If they are all red. X-Plane can simulate Mars.000 mph by the time you get down to the thick air of sea level. gravity.gsfc. and then after you come around you will be pointed right at Edwards. looking at half red. author of X-Plane.. And if you are on the green line still. The whole thing is a smooth process where you never ram the ship into thick heavy air at too high a speed. You will fly PAST Edwards at about 80. temperature. Your goal is to stay on the center path. and then you will never make it to Edwards. about 125 miles per hour of descent rate.C. This is usually where they turn off the autopilot and hand-fly the real Shuttle. We use 250 knots. Watch Edwards on your center EFIS display. Hit the “@” key to see yourself on a flyby. Now do it 100 times in a row without a single hitch and you are as good as NASA. Now. lined up with the runway. and the ALTITUDE for the final phase of the re-entry. Now you are doing about 250 or 300 knots. you are too slow or too low: You might not make it! (Remember . NASA has very exact data on the gravity of Mars. and temperature on Mars. And that is what the re-entry is for. Don’t blame me.the line is drawn with a large margin for error. you will notice a slight ability to fly the ship as you get some air over the wings and speed on the HUD. (OK. Now lower the nose. you will be pulled gradually off course. density. This is your Heading Alignment Cylinder. you might overshoot! If you get below it. your altitude will be just right for landing as well. I have been gathering data on Martian atmosphere.C. Follow the computer’s recommendation or your own intuition for how much bank to fly. glowing red hot. key “6” or use the mouse).. 2000: “I DID POSSIBLY THE MOST EXCITING THING I HAVE EVER DONE TONIGHT. PS: Special thanks to Sandy Padilla for most Shuttle re-entry information! Flying on Mars NASA has very exact data on the atmospheric pressure. The pointers just to the right indicate the desired and current deceleration. (oops) If they are all white. That is the computer’s estimation of how much bank angle you probably need to stay on the center green line.000 feet or so. Now as you begin to feel the out tinges of the earth’s atmosphere. (Could I be the first human to fly a real-time flight simulation of Mars? I have seen “movies” of “flying” over Mars terrain. AND IT IS EXTREMELY FASCINATING. You want to go there. You will drop down into the thick air and come to an abrupt stop from the tremendous drag. half white glide slope lights with the flashing strobes by them. which are programmed into X-Plane. airliners fly their approach at 125 knots. gravity. Aim for the flashing glide slope lights 2 miles SHORT of the runway that I (and NASA) have thoughtfully provided for you.A. (about 20 degrees. The green pointer is where the nose is now. for example) I do NOT yet have the TOPOGRAPHY for Mars. then right. getting BELOW the line a LITTLE will only tap into your speed/altitude reserve. then level the descent and get your gear down. If the lights are half red and half white. Look at the little blue pointer on the far left-hand side of that right-hand display. you are too high (hit your speed brakes. and touch down smoothly.html. Astronauts could use it for familiarization for sure).. dissipating speed as you descend so that you are never going too fast for the thickness of the air that you are in. If you get above it.. NASA has rough topographic maps for the entire planet of Mars. The Atlantis already has this display retrofitted over it’s old steam gauges (the EFISs from the Atlantis are modeled very accurately in X-Plane. and have been experimenting with design and flight on Mars for the last 6 hours or so. as you make your steep turns. you are too fast or too high. That indicates how high the nose is supposed to be.. you have plenty of extra energy. The trick is for you to be going a lot slower than 15. Has NASA done a REAL-TIME simulation of Mars flight in a PILOTED aircraft? Has ANYONE?) Well. and topographic maps to deliver an engineering-accurate flight simulation. then back to the left again. You will not fly those. the airspeed indicator tells you how much the air is really impacting the Orbiter. in a 70 degree bank to try to lose energy. 20 degrees descent angle. right on your center green line on the right-hand display. not too unusual when you consider pattern-entry started West of Hawaii. getting BELOW the line a LOT will keep you from making it to Edwards) You must stay right near the center green line. The green line represents the desired SPEED for the early part of the re-entry. you will do steep turns to dissipate energy as needed to keep the orbiter from going above the center green line. to the X-Plane community. If you are too FAST OR HIGH (above the center line) then it is time to dissipate some energy: put the thing in a steep bank. but I DO have everything else. surface “texture”.000 mph. but NONE have been hooked to an actual realistic FLIGHT MODEL. on the green line. That is what they do in the real Orbiter. like you are running around a diningroom table or something. and I have gotten it all entered into X-Plane and designed two planes to fly on Mars as well. and very detailed data for some areas. Enter a new level of flight simulation. at 4:35 AM. that’s the way NASA set it up. Don’t.A. fly AROUND THE OUTSIDE OF THE H. Now look at the picture of the orbiter on the right-hand EFIS display. density. Hold that approach configuration until you are pretty close to the ground (3-degree glide slope to the runway). OK so you are at 250 knots. the desired TOTAL ENERGY for the middle part of the re-entry. technically I finished it THIS MORNING).

with a few meteor impacts here and there? NOT EVEN CLOSE! Let me give you some examples: Even though Mars is one half the radius of Earth (one quarter the surface area) it has canyons that make our grand canyon look like a fish-pond (30. your plane will tumble across the plains for MILES!) CRUISING ALONG OVER MARS is SPECTACULAR. you do have the (sort of) advantage of only about ONE THIRD the GRAVITY. that Mars scenery was generated from raw data from the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter. SINCE THE AIR IS SO THIN! Bottom line: All airplanes on Mars are AIRBORNE TITANICS: Ripping blissfully along.. jet or prop engines can put out basically no thrust. but watch out for the canyon or crater wall as you approach and depart. but you must climb out of them to go far! This is Mars from orbit as seen in X-Plane: mars orbit sm. none of those on Mars now I admit). (though I used a 10. and another with a smaller rocket engine in the tail. you DON’T HAVE THAT KIND OF LIFT. NO TRACTION! ->Reverse thrust? NOPE!!!! With only 1% atmosphere. It has a volcano 65. Now how do you stop? ->PARACHUTE? NOPE!!!! 400 mph is only 40 mph worth of drag due to the thin air. I know of no other way to avoid blasting off the end of the runway at 200 knots with the chute uselessly deployed and brakes uselessly locked. The JET plane can fly for hours! My designs are realistic (again. While this image was generated from actual X-Plane Mars scenery. Bottom line. like the X-15. .First of all. Below. I now know it IS possible to build and fly a piloted plane on Mars and I now know what it would be like. unaware of their impending doom due to their inability to TURN against their tremendous inertia. The rocket plane has a lower-thrust engine. I have recently gridded all of this scenery for X-Plane. indicating all of 40 knots on the airspeed indicator! Sound easy? IT ISN’T. Speaking of which. the atmosphere is ONE PERCENT as thick on Mars as it is on earth. though. Taking off and landing is interesting. with reduced weight for the lower structural needs (lower gravity) and modern (composite) materials).. A Cessna or Boeing will just sit there on the ground without even moving. Both of my Mars-plane concepts are much like the U-2 Spy plane (designed to operate at around 100. so it is three times easier to get airborne! Result? A take-off in a well-designed airplane can occur at a “mere” 400 knots or so. Mach-1 takeoffs are quite a thing to behold. YOUR ==>INERTIA<== IS STILL THERE IN FULL FORCE! So you are flying with only 1/3 the total lift of what you are used to having to stay in the air. While there is almost no AIR for you.000 feet tall. Landings are impossible without arresting gear. which seems fine UNTIL IT COMES TIME TO TRY TO TURN OR FLARE!!!!! THEN you see that while the lift for STAYING airborne is only 1/3 of Earth’s. You are tempted to pick a nice hi-spot to make your airport so you have no obstructions on your landing approach. Just barely enough to keep the airplane in flight at mach-0. based on the U-2. or impact the crater wall at the speed of sound! (The speed of sound is around the minimum speed needed to fly on Mars). Put them in the air and they drop like beveled bricks with no wings. we now have planet-wide elevation data for Mars. INDICATED airspeed is proportional the square root of the air density. and have been flying over various parts of the planet in the Mars-Planes that come with X-Plane (download X-Plane 6. when the plane will barely leave the runway at that speed. in similar density air) one with a HUGE high-bypass jet engine built AROUND THE FUSELAGE. so if you climb the volcano you are about halfway to SPACE! Mars has FAR MORE topographic variety than Earth. and little gravity to drag them to a stop against the ground! Crashes look like “the Agony of Defeat” from the Olympics where the guy on the downhill ski-jump bites it near the top of the ramp and tumbles on and on and on. The atmosphere is gone to basically pure vacuum at 155. you feel like you are flying in soupy water! Yuk! So what sort of planes can fly on Mars? Not anything from Earth.jpg X-Plane has a “demo area” of Mars included (just like Earth) with the rest of the planet available with your X-Plane purchase. you really can tell you are halfway between air and space! Returning to Earth. (My Mars jet-plane has twice the average fuel-consumption. No air drag to slow the tumbling planes down.. the sight-seeing by air is INTENSE. If you can work the flare out right (it IS possible with advance planning) then you will touch down doing about 400 mph. You will run off the end of the runway going 100 mph with the chute only “seeing” 10 mph: USELESS for slowing down. so the INDICATED airspeed is ONE TENTH the true airspeed. new Martian rocky-red terrain textures. The rocket-plane is pretty much guaranteed feasible (known technology across the board).. and thus the lift needed to CHANGE DIRECTION (this includes the landing flare!) IS STILL THERE IN FULL FORCE! The problem is.000 feet. ->BRAKES? NOPE!!! You only have one-third gravity. but the air is so thin up there you can hardly fly! So maybe you want an airport at the bottom of a canyon or meteor crater where the air is thicker? OK. but the jet-powered one I am not sure about since Mars has so little OXYGEN in the atmosphere it may be impossible to keep a turbofan engine running.30 to fly the Mars-Planes on Mars if you have not already). The result? If you take off with 60 knots on the airspeed indicator. Not enough lift or thrust. The jet plane needs a JATO to take off! So how do you stop? I finally went with ARRESTING GEAR. with plenty of fuel. Look around and find your favorite place on the planet to fly. BECAUSE WHILE YOUR GRAVITY (WEIGHT) IS ONLY ONE-THIRD OF EARTH’S. low spots provide thicker air.800 ENV files that X-Plane uses for scenery on Mars. modified fog in OpenGL. at 400 mph. It is amazing! Is Mars flat.000 ft runway with arresting wires.” AND HERE IS INFO ON TOURING THE MARTIN TERRAIN. and visibility of stars). VISIBLY thinner air(!) (due to modified lighting in OpenGL. your REAL speed is SIX HUNDRED KNOTS! (about Mach 1) Take it from me. with the scary red-orange Martian sky. So.. on a planet with only 1/4 the surface area. see the elevation map of Mars that was generated by plotting all 64. for about 30 minutes of flight or so. ALL OF WHICH IS AVAILABLE WITH XPLANE NOW: Thanks to newly-released PLANET-WIDE Mars elevation data from NASA’s Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter (or MOLA a satellite orbiting Mars that recently gathered terrain elevation data on the entire planet).000 feet deep!).000 ft. that’s for sure.85. CRASHES are interesting. to simulate injection of liquid oxygen or nitrous oxide). I have raised the max allowable visibility of X-Plane to 60 miles when on Mars so you can take in the grand vistas. so only 1/3 of your weight on the wheels. powerless to stop an accident that started hundreds of yards earlier! (though on mars. the INERTIA.

you can probably neglect any change in performance with Reynolds number. The green line is the coefficient of lift.Use this to save an airfoil that you have created or modified. at which point the coefficient of lift falls abruptly. and without generating two airfoil files for each airfoil. Experiments have shown that the coefficients of lift. rather than sharply. Notice that at zero degrees angle of attack (center of screen) the coefficient of lift is fairly low. What you see on the Screen: You’ll see a big black box dominating the screen with green. Save As . and assign them both to your wing in Plane-Maker! X-Plane will figure out the Reynolds number on each piece of the plane at least 10 times per second and interpolate between the two airfoil files to give the most realistic coefficients for that flight Reynolds number. (It is close to the thin white line. For highest realism you can generate 2 DIFFERENT airfoil files for the SAME airfoil in Airfoil-Maker. It is the angle at which the wing hits (or “attacks”) the air). too. Airfoil-Maker: Now let’s talk about Airfoil-Maker. and a nice high coefficient of lift (maybe 1. The number entered in the Reynolds number box may have some impact however on the simulation. So. so you can just ignore this setting altogether. In other words. You can ignore the above paragraph and the “Reynolds number” slot in the airfoil generation screen without sacrificing a good simulation. the airfoil stalls then. . red.Use this to open an existing airfoil for viewing or modification. every airfoil ever designed has its own characteristics. drag and moment of wings vary somewhat with Reynolds number. You create. New . You will see a number labeled “Reynolds number” on the upper left. The “Reynolds number” is simply the air density times the speed of the airplane times the chord of the wing divided by the viscosity of air (Wow!). which represents zero). load. until you get to around 16 degrees angle of attack.Use this to save an airfoil that you have created or modified. (Remember the angle of attack is the angle of the wing to the air. A safe airfoil will also have a stall that is not too abrupt. and the right edge corresponds to an angle of attack of +20 degrees. (how much the airfoil wants to lift up) drag. If you go to a large enough negative angle of attack. The yellow line is the coefficient of moment. The red line is the coefficient of drag.lift. The left edge of the chart corresponds to an angle of attack of -20 degrees. Save . each file at a different Reynolds number. you see that the coefficient of lift actually gets negative.Exit Airfoil-Maker. which are its coefficients of: What the coefficients are: Coefficient of lift Look at the green line. The menus of Airfoil-Maker are very simple: File Menu The file menu works just like the file menu of any word processor or spreadsheet you have used. We’ll look at the behavior of each of these lines. As the angle of attack increases. The center of the chart represents an angle of attack of zero degrees. and save your files just like you do with a word processor. (how much the airfoil wants to pull back).Use this to generate a new airfoil Open . but under a different name. and yellow lines on it. how do you design airfoils in Airfoil-Maker? Well. and moment (how much the airfoil wants to pitch up). It is the coefficient of lift. It is possible to stall upside down! A good wing will have a decent coefficient of lift (maybe 0. For recreational purposes. Exit .6) at the maximum angle of attack.4) at angles of attack close to zero. the coefficient of lift will fall off gradually at the stall. The only difference is that you are opening and saving files that represent airfoils rather than word processing documents. Pilots should realize: very good accuracy can be obtained without messing with the Reynolds number at all. That is the stall! If you go to negative angles of attack. the coefficient of lift increases right along with it.

25” and twice below the “5” in “0. Typically the moment will be negative for all normally-encountered angles of attack. and are not expected to produce much drag. you need to find what airfoil your aircraft uses. we recommend: Theory of Wing Sections Abbott and Von Doenhoff McGraw-Hill. and look at the exact coefficients in the coefficient display box! Easy! One question you might be asking yourself is: How do I find what the coefficients are for the airfoils on my airplane? First. at which point the moment heads back to zero. To get you started. The top number (white) is “alpha” or the angle of attack of the wing. and other possible groupings of airfoils exist. So-called “normal general aviation airfoils”. They do not produce very much lift or drag. thick highly cambered. The coefficient display box is giving the angle of attack and coefficients of the airfoil at the angle of attack to which the mouse is currently pointing. just click right above the numbers that you want to increase.G. X-Plane will figure this drag out automatically). If you are flying a Cessna 182. probably from the manufacturer. The moment varies a bit with angle of attack. Airfoil generation buttons Now let’s actually generate an airfoil. and are good candidates for the wing of a general aviation aircraft. getting especially large in the negative direction as the angle of attack is increased. and “normal general aviation” airfoils will be discussed. For example. laminar-flow. drag. It is the coefficient of drag. because you will be looking for the best possible combination lift. thick and highly cambered. drag. and below the ones that you want to decrease. Look at the little box in the upper left-hand corner of the airfoil generation screen. and moment plots of many airfoils in it. It is the coefficient of moment. like the NACA 2412. Easy! Now what exactly is a coefficient of lift intercept. Just point the mouse at the part of the curve you are interested in. A good airfoil will obviously have the lowest drag possible.25”. if the lift intercept on the screen is 0. The first button to click on is the coefficient of lift intercept button. but for the purposes of our discussion we will concentrate on the thin symmetrical. and “normal general aviation” airfoils just outlined. often in ways that are a little bit surprising. (Notice that this drag coefficient does NOT include the drag due to the production of lift. that aircraft uses the NACA 2412 airfoil. and you want to change it to 0. General Info Once you understand the basics of airfoil theory and nomenclature. If you will be experimenting with your own airplane designs. easy to understand. One thing that you have probably noticed is that the axis are not labeled. then just leave them as the defaults of Plane-Maker. These are three types of airfoils that are good for discussion purposes. That is not surprising. and don’t have numerical values to tell you exactly what the coefficients are. for example. The drag gets higher and higher as the wing goes to larger and larger angles of attack. New York (1949) an oldie but goodie! This books has the lift. A desirable characteristic of an airfoil is usually to have a low coefficient of moment. and all of the principles apply to full-scale aircraft. are compromises between the two. Use thick. Coefficient of moment Look at the yellow line. the greater the drag! It doesn’t matter much whether you are going to positive or negative angles of attack (aiming the wing up or down). anyway? Read on to find out! General Info Coefficient display box. They typically are used for vertical stabilizers and often horizontal stabilizers as well because they are not called upon to produce a lot of lift. Then you need to see if that airfoil is included with our program. Supercritical. or other applications where you want a LARGE amount of lift from a SMALL wing area. we highly recommend: R/C Model Airplane Design . and moment characteristics for your particular airplane. These foils are known for providing a large amount of drag as the penalty for providing a large amount of lift. either. Wiggle the mouse back and forth all the way across the monitor. To increase this number. The coefficient of moment is the tendency of the wing to pitch up about its axis. If you do not know what foil to use. thin symmetrical. highly-cambered airfoils in the foreplanes of canards. because they are so different. drag. so you do NOT need to generate your own airfoil for that wing. You change all of your data that way for the entire design and simulation system. Notice that the coefficient of drag is lowest close to zero degrees angle of attack. The next numbers are the coefficients of lift. Airfoil selection is a fun and interesting process. and moment at that angle of attack.25. and notice that the angle of attack display changes. the green one labeled “intercept” in the upper left hand corner. is it? The higher the angle you offset the wing from the airflow. Moving the wing away from it’s most streamlined position increases its drag. and are new to the matters discussed in this manual.33 to model your airfoil. until the stall. A. and the coefficients with it. but is very straightforward. Inc. so you can choose your favorite airfoil for your design and then enter it into the computer using the technique that is about to be explained.Coefficient of drag Look at the red line. which is included. The book is intended for radio control designs. In the following discussion. Lennon Motorbooks International Publishers and Wholesalers. so the coefficient of moment is usually negative. Most wings actually want to pitch down. Thin symmetrical airfoils are thin and have the same shape on both the top and bottom surfaces. just click right above the “2” in “0. or rotate upwards about the spar.

Laminar drag bucket depth “DEPTH” This is the all-important variable: how much do you reduce your drag by going to laminar flow? Answer: 0. Symmetrical airfoils are sometimes used for horizontal stabilizers. For skinny. This value is probably very close to the coefficient of lift at zero degrees angle of attack.4. this will always be zero. coefficient of lift. Laminar drag bucket location “CL LOCTN” Some airfoils. For many airfoils. the moment curve is usually a straight line. this value might be around 0. This minimum coefficient of drag also should not include the “low- .4 is a decent guess.0. “POWER” As the angle of attack gets close to stall. though.015. A very thin. A thick. skinny wings with low camber might have a lift intercept of 0. A typical airfoil like the NACA-2412 (commonly used in general aviation) has a value of about 0. a typical older general-aviation airfoil such as the NACA-2412 has a value of about 0. then gradually levels off to the stall.6. For fat airfoils (which usually have more gentle stalling characteristics) this number may be closer to 2. Just play with the power button until you find a power curve that connects the linear and stalling regions smoothly.).6.8. Coefficient of drag at angle of attack of 10 degrees “D ALPH=10” For a thin. the center of the drag bucket occurs at some coefficient of lift of the airfoil. This might happen at a coefficient of lift of around 0. low-drag flow can only happen at fairly small angles of attack. This is because an airfoil usually has the least drag at an angle of attack of about zero degrees or just a hair lower.0. “SLOPE” This is the increase in coefficient of lift per degree increase in angle of attack. That might turn a cd of 0. the minimum coefficient of drag occurs at a coefficient of lift a little lower than the lift intercept coefficient of lift.6 for a thinner one.Coefficient of lift intercept. This number might be in the 0. Laminar flow airfoils can approach values of 0. A really fat airfoil has a value of about 0. Coefficient of moment low-alpha change point “ALPHA 1” The coefficient of moment is usually linear across the non-stalled angle of attack range.1.006 to 0.1). Sleek. which is determined automatically by the simulator “X-Plane”). Coefficient of drag curvature “POWER” The power curve is simply the curvature of the drag curve as it changes with angle of attack. a flow pattern called “laminar flow” (Where did you think this company got the name “Laminar Research”?). Fatter airfoils have slightly lower lift slopes.005 value. The drag bucket location is usually thought of in terms of the coefficient of lift. For a symmetrical airfoil. and a really thin.004. or area in a small angle of attack range. however. Chances are a power of around 1. symmetrical airfoil has a value of around 1. drag bucket” of a laminar flow wing. symmetrical airfoil.004. but that number should not be entered here.025. You will have to fiddle with the curvature until the curve looks like the experimental data. perhaps around 1. called “natural laminar flow” or “NLF” airfoils. The NACA-2412 has a value of about 0. A typical general aviation foil might have a value of around 1. because it will be addressed in the laminar drag bucket buttons soon to come. that lift slopes are almost always very close to 0.5 will work pretty well.08. In most cases. NACA-2412 comes in with a surprisingly good 0. there is no immediate drop. which tend to stall sharply.2 as the angle of attack goes from around 16 to 20 degrees). or stalling. and are almost always used for vertical stabilizers. The very first number you entered! If anything. but instead a more gradual one as the angle of attack is further increased. Coefficient of lift curvature after stall “POWER” Different airfoils have different lift slopes after the stall. (But that is actually quite a bit. the moment Coefficient of drag minimum “DMIN” This is the minimum coefficient of drag of the airfoil. This super-smooth. highly cambered airfoil has a value of around 1. not including induced drag. You will have to fiddle with the curvature until the curve looks like the experimental data. or the coefficient of lift right before the stall. highly cambered foils have a value around 0. since the air is doing exactly the same thing on the top and bottom of the wing for a symmetrical airfoil at zero degrees angle of attack. Quite a large percentage difference. Coefficient of lift drop from stall to 20 degrees “DROP” This is the decrease in coefficient of lift from the stall to an angle of 20 degrees. “INTERCPT” This is the coefficient of lift at an angle of attack of 0 degrees. (You will find. have perfectly smooth airflow across a large part of the wing. Laminar drag bucket width “WIDTH” This refers to how “wide” the bucket is. “MAXIMUM” This is the maximum coefficient of lift.4 range for a thicker airfoil. Fat. In other words. (The coefficient of lift goes from around 1. sharply-stalling airfoils the power should be fairly low. Just play with it until the lift comes up smoothly. 0.6. Coefficient of lift slope. Coefficient of lift at which minimum drag occurs “MIN D CL” Enter the coefficient of lift at which the minimum drag occurs. Coefficient of lift maximum. (Again. which is the “lift intercept”. this number will be zero or very close to zero. but chances are this number will be around 3 to 5. since that is what happens with a real airfoil. A thick or highly cambered airfoil has a value of about 0. In other words.2.012. After the stall.6 to 1. but gradually “levels off” as it approaches the maximum. Laminar drag bucket curvature “POWER” The power curve is simply the curvature of this low drag bucket. symmetrical airfoil has about a 0. that has lower-than-normal drag. this value might be 0. however. Coefficient of lift immediate drop at stall. “DROP” This is the drop that immediately follows the stall. Coefficient of lift curvature near the stall.4 . A thin airfoil has a value of about 0. though. if the airfoil is not stalled. For thin airfoils. or what range of coefficient of lift the drag bucket covers. the lift slope is no longer linear. but theoretically this number will be around 2. so there is a “lowdrag bucket”.002 if you’re lucky. A really highly-cambered airfoil might be around 0.01. however.2.006. Just play with the power button until the data looks like the data you are trying to model from the airfoil chart in whatever book you are getting your airfoil data from. 0.1.

This means that if the airfoil is at a clear negative angle of attack.acf file on your web-site for customers or potential customers to download! Anyone that has X-Plane will be able grab the virtual version of your airplane and fly it in X-Plane! This is great because it will teach more people to fly your airplane (new customers?) and improve the currency of those that already fly it (safer customers?).org is currently a good place to upload and download these planes. if your COMPANY has an exciting airplane. A wing with a higher camber will have a value of around 0. this number is about -0. Coefficient of moment at 20 degrees “CM 1” For the NACA 2412. the moment coefficient has its low angle of attack moment-change at 10 degrees. Finishing Up Change all of the parameters we just discussed around a bit. Coefficient of moment at low-alpha change point “CM 2” For the NACA 2412.0 should be entered for that type of airfoil. Of course.0 should be entered for that type of airfoil. be sure it flies properly in X-Plane. enter it into Plane-Maker. or download planes that others have made as well. so 0.X-Plane. which is a very light pitch-down. Coefficient of moment at high-alpha change point “CM 3” For the NACA 2412. Plane-Maker: What Plane-Maker Does: A program called Plane-Maker comes with X-Plane that lets you enter your own aircraft design. This is a moderate pitch-down.. www. this number is about 0. Coefficient of moment at 20 degrees “CM 4” This is the coefficient of moment well into the stall. For the NACA 2412. Now type in an airfoil name and hit return. and select “Save As” from the “File” menu. perhaps even 0.13. any design you can imagine! Then. airfoil sections. this number is about 0. and then put the .05. because the airfoil tends to try and recover from the stall automatically. A wing with a higher camber will have a value of around -0..10.075. simply for the purpose of keeping up your and stick-n-rudder and instrument skills. it is about -0.10. This is a nice effect. you can also just use Plane-Maker to enter some plane that you already have and fly every day. which is desirable because this pitch-down will help recover from the stall. Notice that this is a positive number. A symmetrical airfoil will have no pitch tendency at all here. . Coefficient of moment high-alpha change point “ALPHA 2” The NACA-2412 airfoil has its high angle of attack moment-change right at the positive stalling angle of 16 degrees. wing span. once you have entered all the physical specs of the airplane (weight. the works) X-Plane will predict how that plane will fly! Simply save the airplane in Plane-Maker like you would save a word-processing file and then open it in X-Plane to fly it! You can compress the airplane package and distribute it on the net for others to fly.025. which is a light pitch-down. engine power. A symmetrical airfoil will have no pitch tendency at all here. For the NACA-2412. Congratulations! You have just generated your own airfoil! Drop it in the “Airfoils” folder in your X-System folder (to be usable by ALL planes) or a folder that you make called “Airfoils” in the same folder as your airplane designs to be used only by that airplane. and then upload it to the net for others to fly! Or. perhaps even 0.13.coefficient tends to change direction. so 0. It starts: “You can use X-Plane for anything you want!” One excellent use of Plane-Maker is to make the airplane of your dreams. control deflections. What You Can Do With Planes You Make: ANYTHING YOU WANT! The EULA of X-Plane is pretty simple. fly it in X-Plane. a point corresponding to roughly +4 degrees before the stall. it will stall and try to pitch back up to an angle of attack closer to zero.10.

go to the FILE menu and select SAVE AIRCRAFT. which is enough to get you started and working on your own. Enter the voltage of the LAST battery. . because while X-Plane does NOT use these speeds for PERFORMANCE prediction. but here are the basics. You DO need to enter a valid Vne (Never Exceed speed). and then releasing it on the net (either www. If you are actually to do the airplane right. The reference point can be anything you like. NOTE: The plane will have one battery for every battery BUTTON you drag onto the panel. and the bus they each live on. and one of them has a 3-D cockpit which is harder to customize but gives you a 3-D virtual cockpit if you decide to make one). Enter the “fuselage body coefficient of drag” here. cross-tie off. lat arm is feet right of reference. drag. no APU running for that bus) then you will lose that system. at some point. battery and generator voltages and amperages. This is where you will design the 2-D panel for X-Plane. the better. launch X-Plane and select FILE:OPEN AIRCRAFT. and moment of the flaps. NOT determining performance. and only a 24-V battery on the right (essentials) bus. if any (flight controls. Go to the STANDARD menu. OK now got to the SYSTEMS item.00. it is time to save the plane and fly it. VIEWPOINT item. and vide-versa. Common Points Where help Is Needed: OK let’s say you just opened an airplane and you want to check it for accuracy or modify it to be YOUR plane. for others to enjoy. and vert arm is feet above reference. Change any of these parameters that you like. Don’t get it? Try 0. just make sure you use that one point to measure ALL the locations on the plane.08). Now go to the FUSELAGE screen. the last battery might have a different voltage than the others. etc. (Increase Flap Cd from maybe 0. and then click on the instrument to select it. with a good explanations on the common sticking-points. Again: Choose any reference-point you like. Huh? Well. Drag in buttons appropriately. (No plane that draggy has ever been made. possibly for the purpose of marketing your companies’ design. pressures.07 to 0. Enter all these numbers carefully. Make the number bigger. ram-air-turbines) and what systems are powered by those systems. These instruments will drive on the second electrical bus.025 starting-point). This lists a bunch of electrical systems. the results of wind-tunnel testing or CFD. If you enter 0. These speeds are only used for marking up the airspeed indicator. SECTION tab. X-Plane will make a decent guess at the coefficient of lift.Anyway. thus the 0. Once it is running. Drag in buttons appropriately.. then your fuselage has ZERO drag. This could be the case if you have a 28-V battery on the left bus. (One of them has a 2-D instrument panel which is easiest to customize. Now go to the LIMITS-1 tab and LIMITS-2 tab. (Want to try flying with twice the power? Twice the weight? Half the wing-area? Try it!) Once you have changed a few parameters. run Plane-Maker by double-clicking on it. write the 200-page book needed to explain every detail of entering your own design in Plane-Maker. If the bus that powers any of these guys goes down in X-Plane (battery and generator for that bus off. noting the hundreds of parameters of the airplane that you can change. If you enter 1. and the amperage you get it to draw. flaps. Run down all the speed on the left and check them all against the POH (Pilot’s Operating Handbook). Check the little box called ‘COPILOT-SIDE SELECTION’ for any instrument that you want to apply to the copilot panel. simply go to every menu item in Plane-Maker. it may use them for niceties like the STARTING speed for you when you select approaches and the like. To do this. Check all those chord ratios (fraction of the total chord of the wing taken up by the control-surface) and deflections (how much do the controls deflect in the real plane?) Once you enter your flap chord in fraction of total (what fraction of the total wing chord is taken up by the flaps) and type of flap. which is all you will use until you are really expert.. Now. Long arm is feet aft of reference. go to the FILE menu and select OPEN AIRCRAFT. and the bus that each system lives on. and the more you enter accurately. and be given information by the second pitot-static system as well.. to add drag. gear.X-Plane. Note that you can set a hanful of different hydraulic-pressure sources (engine-driven pumps. and check them all against the POH. electric pump.org or your own web site). if you are matching a known plane and find that your model is going too fast. Select the INSTRUCTIONS folder and then select one of the EXAMPLE PLANE airplanes. etc).025 for a decently-sleek plane. The Viewpoint location in the upper sort-of-left is the location of the pilot’s viewpoint with respect to the reference-point on the craft. Go to the PANEL-2D menu item.00. this chapter will give you the basics of entering an airplane in Plane-Maker. your generator loads will be effected by the bus you attach each system to. then you will need to research the current draw on each system in your plane. Once you have opened an airplane in Plane-Maker. This is where you enter the operational and limiting oil temperatures.. as long as you use it to reference EVERYTHING on the plane. As well. NOTE: The plane will have one generator for every generator BUTTON you drag onto the panel. Using Plane-Maker to Make a Plane: We may. and the amperage they each draw. then your fuselage has the same drag as a theoretical big flat piece of plywood of the exact same frontal area as the frontal area of your plane. First. This lets you have pilot-side-only or copilot-side-only failures. Now go to the CONTROLS window. customizing it. then maybe you need to increase the flap drag coefficient a bit. What do you enter? Ideally. If you find that the REAL plane slows down more than X-Plane predicts when flaps are lowered. Select the airplane you just saved in Plane-Maker and voila! You are flying your newly-modified airplane! This is the process for creating your own aircraft and flying them in X-Plane. powered by the second battery and generator. this is what will make the plane be accurate in X-Plane! Now go to the BUS tab. Drag any instrument in that you want.

4 to 0. Read the chapter in this manual on Airfoil-Maker. or not pitch up as much. How could ONE wing have FOUR airfoils? Easy! You could have one type of wing at the tip. with linear interpolation in between! You could also have one airfoil file for LO Reynolds numbers. This is. Here. TANKS tab. Just hold the mouse over the gray box to the left of each airfoil name to get a reminder of this if needed. If the elevator goes up and down 30 degrees. you enter how fast the trim moves. X-Plane is NOT a computational fluid dynamics program. with X-Plane interpolating in between! So that is FOUR airfoil files: Two Reynolds numbers at the ROOT (on the left) and two Reynolds numbers at the TIP (at the right). let’s say that you have just create TWO foils in Airfoil-Maker. afl”.33 here. if your wing uses a NACA 2412 at it’s root. For “trim speed-ratio”. Note the ‘Flap Def Time. and how to adjust them! First. specify the ratio of fuel that each tank contains.1 to -0. and “NACA 2412-Re9.00 if the additional drag from the gear doors opening is equivalent to putting a 1-square foot piece of plywood out there blocking the wind. For “trim tab adjust”. X-Plane does =>NOT<= look at the =>SHAPE<= of the wing and then decide how much lift. launch Plane-Maker and open your airplane. then maybe you need to increase the flap lift coefficient a bit. load an airplane in Plane-Maker you want to adjust..00 if the gear doors close up once the gear is extended. But X-Plane does not really know how much drag to add from the gear doors opening and disrupting the airflow over the nolonger-streamlied aircraft body.afl” for the lower left. GEAR DATA tab. Once in that window. Look at the SECOND screen down. drag. but one question that comes up a lot is: How do I attach various AIRFOILS to my aircraft? Particularly at various DIFFERENT Reynolds numbers? Well. How do you do this? Read on! First. Now once you have done this. in fraction of maximum. Now. then maybe you need to increase or decrease the coefficient of moment. you enter the controls deflection. let’s say that the autopilot in X-Plane is just not really doing exactly what you want. and moment of any given airfoil at any given Reynolds numbers. and also X-Plane considers the inertial properties of slinging around fuel at various moment-arms from the CG. When you do this. with linear interpolation in between.2 to pitch down more.afl” for the upper left. and another for HIGH Reynolds numbers. of course. Check the button called ‘USE CUSTOM AUTOPILOT CONSTANTS’. then you would enter 0. The lower Reynolds numbers go at the TOP of the box. this is pretty easy once you get the basics. (Change Flap Cm from maybe -0. and 1. and you want X-Plane to give you accurate performance at Reynolds numbers of 3 and 9 million. and trim can run the elevator up and down 10 degrees. (Increase Flap Cl from maybe 0. X-Plane uses predefined airfoils that list the PERFORMANCE of any airfoil (lift. This is critical to getting proper pitch-characteristics when the flaps are lowered. the higher Reynolds numbers go at the BOTTOM. for the wing TIP. seconds’. The Airfoil-Maker manual explains how to do this. Now go to the Weight and Balance screen. or wandering around in pitch when you want it to hold altitude. relative to full elevator deflection’. tab over to the area containing the various different wings that your particular airplane has. all the buttons are clearly labeled. How to Tune the Autopilot OK. X-Plane already looks at the frontal area of the struts and tires when the landing gear is extended and adds drag appropriately. Then go to the “Expert” menu and then to the “Airfoils” item. a set of numbers come up that specify the autopilot constants for your airplane. for an example of your hypothetical plane. Go to the EXPERT menu. ROLL ERROR FOR FULL AILERON: When you fly a REAL plane. for example. so be sure to get the fuel tank locations correct so that the airplane handles correctly! Now.If you find that the REAL plane gives a lower stall speed than X-Plane predicts when flaps are lowered. or perhaps flickering it’s wings left and right madly as it tries TOO HARD to hold heading. Go to the AUTOPILOT tab. when the yoke is centered. drag. let’s talk about HEADING. how do you enter that performance? Pretty easy. So. Maybe it is sort of wandering down the localizer. as it shows you how to enter the lift. you will see something called “additional gear flat-plate area”. and all the other foils on the plane. Go to the LANDING GEAR item. You will notice that there are 4 airfoils listed for the “Wing 1” box. How do you do this? By adjusting the autopilot constants in Plane-Maker. If you find that the REAL plane does not pitch up or down like X-Plane does when the flaps are lowered. one for a NACA-2412 at Re=3 million. you should be able to adjust the autopilot constants to get the plane to hold it’s desired path more tightly. drag. Let’s take the “Wings” tab. You might save the foils with names like “NACA 2412-Re3. Enter that number here. like everything in X-Plane. Measure off the real plane to get it right in the sim. ARTIFICIAL STABILITY screen. yes? You then decide to deflect the Adding Airfoils to Your Plane in Plane-Maker: OK it should be pretty self-explanitory how to enter all the data into Plane-Maker. The ‘trim up and down. Whatever the problem. and it’s physical location. Instead. Here is what they mean. the built-in twist of the wing. You better get the physical location of the tank right. or trim-tab on the airplane to get it to not roll or yaw in cruise. another at the root. and one at Re=9 million. moment) to predict how the plane will fly with that foil. Enter 0.. . However many tanks you have. Ditto that. effectively. etc the foil will put out.5). you decide on a roll angle to make a turn. Now go to the TRIM SPEED tab. Maybe it is wandering around in heading. and here they are: First of all. you would select (by clicking on the little gray box to the left of the airfoil names) “NACA 2412-Re3.afl” and “NACA 2412-Re9. as the case may be). because X-Plane needs to know who is on the left and right sides to get the fuel-tank-selection right when you twiddle the fuel-tank-selection to left or right.

adjust the localizer values while flying ILS’s to get the localizer down. the number of seconds required to trim out the load in the ROLL TUNE TIME. Let’s say that you are ONE DEGREE off the localizer as you fly an ILS. LOCALIZER CDI GAIN: OK this should seem familiar. and will AUTOMATICALLY back OFF of the controls as the airplane speeds up.. I would say I really enter my controls based on WHERE THE PLANE WILL BE IN ONE SECOND. the airplane starts flopping back and forth hysterically every frame. When pilots fly so lamely as that. So what you are really entering here is how aggressive the ailerons are. then you will just be flying right towards the airport. then the autopilot will put in FULL aileron for even the TINIEST of roll errors! This is no good! This will cause the plane to over-control and flutter madly left and right like an over-caffineted pilot! On the other hand. Tweak the ROLL ERROR FOR FULL AILERON to give as strong a response as you like. since it is shying away to avoid an over-shoot. just like you would. if you let the autopilot wait TOO long to trim out the loads. FIRST. THAT is the number you should enter in the ‘roll error for full aileron’ button. after all. If you put in a really SMALL number. Now. How long do you take to run the trim? Probably more than just a few seconds! But. I am only a LITTLE off of my desired bank angle. FORGET ABOUT THE ILS AND JUST SEE IF YOU CAN GET THE THING TO PERFECTLY HOLD HEADING. like 100 degrees. ROLL PREDICTION: When YOU fly. then you have clearly told it to anticipate TOO much! You need to enter a SMALLER roll prediction! 1 second is a decent roll prediction. because you are telling the autopilot: “You should only require a SMALLER deflection to really crank in the ailerons!” Conversely. How far into the future should the autopilot anticipate? If the plane is wandering left and right slowly. But realize that the autopilot WILL be limited to about 50% travel or so. In that case. and you WANT 30 degrees of roll. 30 degrees might be a decent number to enter here. you look INTO THE FUTURE to decide when to add. the number of degrees of heading change per degree localizer error in the LOCALIZER CDI GAIN.ailerons a certain amount to ACHIVE the bank angle you want. so the autopilot waits for a LARGER error to develop before responding with so much force. then you probably need a SMALLER number here. It says that if the roll angle is off by 10 degrees. ROLL TUNE TIME: In the real plane. you need to INCREASE the the roll prediction. you need MORE localizer prediction. so that the autopilot ANTICIPATES more. If you are any GOOD. they wander around in S-turns all the way down the localizer! We see it all the time. any smart pilot might say: “I WOULD NEVER ENTER FULL AILERON. if the plane flutters left and right like a plastic bag in a 50-knot wind. then the plane might NEVER JOIN THE LOCALIZER. then you need to tell the autopilot to NOT crank in so much aileron! To do that. and the ROLL PREDICTION to give the anticipation that you want. Do you put in ALMOST NO AILERON AT ALL? NO WAY! You put in a GOOD HEALTHY DOSE of aileron! Why? Because you are a big fat 45 degrees away from your desired roll angle! Conversely. then the autopilot will hardly put in any aileron input at all! In that case. and back off. enter a number here that is the number of degrees of heading change that you want the autopilot to pull for each degree of error on the localizer (which is the same as saying for each dot of CDI deflection). if you enter TOO big a number. If you find the plane really does NOT steer aggressively to the command bars. if you enter a really HUGE number here. because it will never care enough to GET BACK ON COURSE. If the thing never even grabs the localizer. so you only need ONE MORE DEGREE OF ROLL. how many degrees off of your desired bank angle do you have to be to put in FULL aileron? 1? 10? 100? However many degrees you must be off from your DESIRED roll angle to put in FULL aileron. snapping your heading bug left and right and tweaking those constants until the plane follows the heading bug PERFECTLY. So. THEN. the BIGGER the number you enter here. right? Question: Let’s say that you WANT 45 degrees of bank. If you get S-turns across the localizer. then it is often kind of slow and late to give you what you want. one dot on the CDI?). So. and the plane is currently at 0 degrees of bank. Not a bad idea. then I would enter about 10 degrees of heading correction to go ahead and nail that HSI NOW. and the number of seconds of anticipation of HSI CDI deflection in the localizer CDI prediction. then you fly the plane based on where the HSI CDI WILL BE IN THE NEAR FUTURE! How far in the future? Well. you do NOT fly an ILS based on where the CDI IS. I think that 10 works fine. Fair enough. because it is anticipating SO FAR AHEAD that it turns away from the localizer AS SOON AS THE NEEDLES COME ALIVE. so I will only put in a LITTLE BIT of aileron. of the flight controls. when I fly a plane. not where it is right now. the plane will apply one-third aileron to correct when at low speed. Enter maybe 5 seconds here. EVER”.. enter a LARGER number here. that is TOO MUCH ANTICIPATION! About 2 or 4 seconds should be reasonable numbers here. If. you TRIM OUT any loads with trim if you have it. since this is the CDI anticipation.. do you put in FULL AILERON to get to 30 degrees? NO WAY! YOU WOULD OVERSHOOT FOR SURE! You look at the controls and say ‘gee. in summary. always S-turning. always behind the game. the plane will always wander along off course a bit. never intercepting the localizer until you get to the transmitter on the ground! If you see a ONE DEGREE error in your localize (what is that. however. enter the number of degrees of bank error that should give very strong aileron response in the ROLL ERROR FOR FULL AILERON. AFTER THE HEADING MODE IS PERFECT. overshooting and then wandering slowly off in the wrong direction like a tired drunk driver. then clearly it is NOT anticipating enough. Enter the number of seconds the system should anticipate in the ROLL PREDICTION. The MORE you want the autopilot to ANTICIPATE. LOCALIZER CDI PREDICTION: If you are a good pilot. a few seconds at least. If your plane is wandering back and forth slowly across the localizer. always turning . if you are at 29 degrees of roll. This is simply anticipation. Fly the plane around IN HEADING MODE. Now. then I bet that you need to enter a bigger number here! More anticipation to prevent endless S-turning from always being behind the game! But. How many degrees of HEADING CORRECTION are called for to correct for that? If you correct only ONE degree.

prediction) And remember that there is one number that controls how HARD we try to GET to our target (CDI gain. but the AIRPLANE JUST ISN’T TRACKING THE BARS. PITCH DEGREES PER KNOT: In flight level change mode. roll and pitch prediction.. you can guess what this is. I use 0. 8 seconds might be a decent prediction.. like 5 or 10 seconds. then you need to enter a SMALLER ‘pitch error for full elevator’.. SUMMARY: OK here is the summary. with nice. because it will always be TOO QUICK TO HIT THAT TRIM! In the real plane. always resisting motion towards the desired pitch. correct with this much change in pitch. if the plane starts flapping about madly. so the plane will be more aggressive with the elevator.. then it is probably anticipating TOO much. really. If you do NOT anticipate enough. But. if you see that the COMMAND BARS are just fine. The greater the number you enter here. then more anticipation is clearly called for. Just remember that there are 2 steps: Step 1: Decide how to move the bars (CDI gain. if you see the COMMAND BARS are not being too smart. glideslope CDI gain AMOUNT TO ANTICIPATE THE COMMAND BARS ON THE ILS: localizer CDI prediction. on the other hand. if your plane is 1 knot slow. if you are a good pilot.away from it. Maybe 1 second of anticipation is good. then the plane will constantly be wandering up and down as it plays with the trim. OK Now let’s talk about PITCH. If the plane is really sloppy about getting the nose up to track a new vertical speed and just takes too long to get there. the more the command bars will move to grab that glideslope! GLIDESLOPE CDI PREDICTION: If you are a good pilot. You should put the autopilot in PITCH SYNC MODE and then hold the CWS button down and quickly pitch the nose and then let go of the CWS button. This is how much error between desired and actual pitch is required for full elevator deflection. So enter a pretty large number here. 5 seconds may be fine. PITCH TUNE TIME: This is the time require to trim. CDI prediction) Step 2: Decide how to move the controls (pitch & roll error. OK here is the little table: AMOUNT TO MOVE THE COMMAND BARS ON THE ILS: localizer CDI gain. (a larger number) and if the plane is always afraid to GET where it needs to be. to get them all perfect. One second might be an OK value to enter here. then you will never GET to the glideslope. PITCH PREDICTION: Now. or maybe heading and vertical speed modes.2. precise autopilot response. so you do not need to worry about the system REALLY going to FULL deflection. then you will always be going up and down all the way down the glideslope. and will limit to maybe 50% control deflection. and the reverse is true as well. and the amount you MOVE THE CONTROLS TO CAPTURE THOSE COMMAND BARS. If you enter too SMALL a number here. Now. glideslope CDI prediction AMOUNT TO MOVE THE CONTROLS TO GRAB THE BARS: roll error for full aileron. then you need LESS localizer prediction. If you anticipate TOO much. BEFORE you take the thing down the ILS. So. roll and pitch error for full deflection. then you need to enter a smaller number here to make the thing more aggressive. remember that the autopilot will automatically reduce the control deflections as the plane speeds up. think of it as a SPRING CONSTANT) and one number that controls our ANTICIPATION (CDI prediction. because you will always be shying away from it as soon as the needle starts to close in. How quickly does the autopilot work to hold that new pitch? If it is slow and sloppy. But. Try that. think of it as a damping constant). Remember that there are 2 distinct things here: The amount you MOVE THE COMMANDS BARS. The thing is clearly over-anticipating. clearly. If the plane is always wandering up and down when trying to hold a given vertical speed. Now. GLIDESLOPE CDI GAIN: For each degree of glideslope error. of course. pitch error for full aileron . then you need to set the variables listed below to grab the bars. then you anticipate where the glideslope WILL BE IN THE NEAR FUTURE as you make your pitch commands. then you need to enter a LARGER ‘pitch error for full elevator’. This discussion will be exactly the same as roll. PITCH ERROR FOR FULL ELEVATOR: Well. you can see what variables to set below. you wait until you are SURE before you roll in the trim. FORGET ABOUT THE ILS FOR A MINUTE and JUST FLY VERTICAL SPEED OR PITCH-SYNC MODE. snappy. always a few steps behind the game. If you enter 5 here (a reasonable value) then the autopilot will pitch up 5 degrees for each degree it is low on the glideslope. how much will you pitch down to get that knot back? Enter that number here. and a smaller number is called for! You really need to tune these numbers in pitch and roll modes. so you are telling the plane ‘do NOT deflect the elevator so much unless you have a LARGER error between the actual and desired pitch’. then you will PREDICT where the plane WILL BE SOON and enter flight control accordingly.

if you want full rudder at 90 degrees per second yaw rate. But here is the problem: As soon as you start flying with a LOW FRAME RATE. the pilot stepping on the rudder. very aggressive autopilot that may SEEM to work perfectly. (10 degrees per second times 0. So how do we decide how much rudder to put in? Well. Put another way. SO I GUARANTEE YOU WILL SEE =>FULL<= RUDDER DEFLECTION FIRST ONE WAY. First. the control system would put in as much as about 35% rudder deflection to oppose tail-wagging and yaw-stabilize the plane.. save the plane in Plane-Maker. The goal is to add some rudder deflection to whatever the pilot hammers in with his feet to stop aircraft rotation. This is especially common in fighter jets and helicopters.1 in the “fraction deflection per degree per second”. or. How much rudder does it add? Well. but the yaw-damper system ADDS SOME ADDITIONAL RUDDER DEFLECTION FOR YOU TO DMAP OUT THE ROATION RATES OF THE PLANE. You can design a simple such system in Plane-Maker pretty easily. it isn’t. the rudder will move fully to oppose it.. That means that if the plane is rotating at 90 degrees per second. which is FULL DEFLECTION.1. You will notice that a window comes up with (you guessed it) all the numbers we just talked about! Now here is where it gets really fun: You can change these numbers AS YOU FLY to get the autopilot constants just right for each individual plane. for the “heading: target sideslip” you might just enter “0” (the plane always tries to stabilize at 0 sideslip) and for “fraction deflection per degree difference” simply enter “0” (the system is not trying to achieve a desired sideslip. However. even this SLOW rotation rate will be opposed by FULL rudder. Now. because IF YOU TAKE THIS THING INTO TURBULENCE I GUARANTEE THE AIR WILL KICK YOU AROUND AT WELL OVER 10 DEGREES PER SECOND ROATION RATES. launch X-Plane. THINK about what that means. These control systems typically do this by ADDING SOME INPUT IN ADDITION TO YOUR STICK INPUT to make the plane do what you want. the plane will start shaking violently on autopilot because that autopilot is not running FAST ENOUGH to see the very-rapid RESULTS of it’s overly-strong inputs! SO.AMOUNT TO ANTICIPATE THE ATTITUDE TO GRAB THE BARS: roll prediction. there’s no doubt about that. Now open your plane. How? Read on! Load an airplane in Plane-Maker.. in reality. WHATEVER) at 90 degrees per second. we want to put in FULL rudder to oppose that motion. you only want to add a LITTLE rudder to stop it. as would a real one if such a yaw damper were installed in reality. A common case of this in the civilian world is the yaw damper. fighters are most maneuverable if unstable. if the plane is only wagging its little booty a LITTLE BIT. (Now let’s THINK about that for a second!!!!! HOLD YOUR HAND IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE AND PRETEND IT IS AN AIRPLANE.0111 and multiply it by 90 (the rotation rate that we would apply FULL rudder at) and you get 1. Just be ware: These numbers will be LOST the second you exit X-Plane or open some different plane! These numbers are for experimentation only! Once you have the numbers you want.011.. (Kicking the rudders a bit in a Cessna 172. maybe you want even MORE stabilization. you better write them down on a piece of paper and enter them into Plane-Maker where you can actually SAVE them! Another note: You might enter a really aggressive autopilot system that has HUGE anticipation and HUGE gains and TINY maximum pitch and roll errors for full deflections. Try entering it for the 172. this is seen in high-end Mooneys and most jets. 90 degrees per second of tail-wagging will feel like a LOT. decision made be the controls-system engineer. This means it should take 9 seconds to move your hand thru 90 degrees. Why 0. This is a reasonable yaw-damper constant. That would be a very strong. How to Design an Artificial Stability System Let’s say you are doing a VTOL or fighter that needs an artificial stability system. THAT IS 90 DEGREES PER SECOND. So.. Yes. This does not sound like an unreasonable constant. Go to the EXPERT menu. when you are in the real airplane. NOW ROTATE YOUR HAND THRU 90 DEGREES OF HEADING CHANGE IN 1 SECOND. in this case known as: “YOU”. So ask yourself this: How much rudder do you WANT to add to stop rotation? FULL rudder? Just 1/10 of the max rudder deflection? Obviously. let’s show you how to set these things up quickly. we say that we enter some fraction of the rudder input PER DEGREE PER SECOND OF ROTATION RATE. but in X-Plane. that is a . pitch prediction TIME TO TRIM THE FORCES: pitch tune time. if you want the autopilot to actually work ALL THE TIME.. This is where you can enter control-system constants to make your plane feel stable even though. your feet still move the rudders.0/max yaw rate and you will get 1/90 or 0. and pop the rudders left and right: you should see the plane damps out faster. let’s say that 90 degrees per second is so much rotation rate that we are willing for the control-system to put in FULL RUDDER to oppose it. ARTIFICIAL STABILITY screen. varying crosswind. But. Now go to the SET AUTOPILOT CONSTANTS menu item. for example. imagine the plane is wagging its little tail (from turbulence. At the 35 degree-per-second tail-wag of a 172. take that 0.0111”.00.0111? Well. roll tune time OK. and heilos just have nothing to naturally MAKE them stable! So we design control systems to MAKE THEM SEEM STABLE. YIKES!!!!!!!!! If you just BREATHE on this airplane now it will kick FULL rudder to oppose it! Yikes! This is scary. translated: “FULL rudder deflection”. there are plenty of ways.00. So.. That means that if the plane is rotating thru 10 degrees per second.. Move your hand at a rotation rate of 10 degrees per second.. I recommend just setting 3 broken layers of clouds and plenty of buildings in the rendering options screen to get a low frame-rate. but not a really huge rotation rate. if the plane is shaking at a high rate.. you need to load up the scenery or weather to really slow the machine down to it’s minimum frame-rate while you tune the autopilot! Only then can you enter constants that will ALWAYS work. and at 45 degrees per second we want to put in HALF rudder to oppose that motion. only DAMP OUT the tailwagging by opposing ROTATION RATES) and for “fraction deflection per degree per second” enter “0. so now that you see what each number DOES. That is a SLOW rotation rate. it is a moderate rotation rate. simply take 1. try entering 0. Now. As you see. with a constant of 0. because the EXTRA frame-rate people may get later could never hurt. then you better put in a LOT of rudder to put a stop to it NOW. will shake its little booty at about 35 degrees per second).. Now go to the SPECIAL menu. So what do you enter in Plane-Maker to make it happen? Well. and at a measly 9 degrees per second we want to only put in 1/10 rudder to oppose that motion. Let’s imagine a yaw damper. load it again in X-Plane.1 control per degree per second = 1.

you will notice that the instruments are all X-Plane standard.. Fore and aft. X-Plane will automatically REDUCE THE CONSTANTS as you speed up. Now get into X-Plane and load up this little bird (it starts off with thrust vector at 90 degrees. Custom Paint for Your Plane: But now let’s take it to the next level: Look at the various _paint. Now. and Sounds: OK. and 45 degrees PER SECOND ROATION RATE in yaw. THE RUDDER SLAMS HARD OVER TO THE STOP TO COUNTER IT. the effect will be a lot greater than in yaw where only the vertical stab is offset. a very aggressive but not insane constant) and enter 0. and this must be EXPECTED and anticipated in the design much like with a BOAT. VIVA LA DIFFERENCE! (for a more extreme case.1 is really pretty high. This simply engages a system that I designed for you to help stabilize the plane). enter maybe 20 degrees for the target angles of attack (enough to stall the plane) enter 0. Notice that I have only LOW-SPEED constants here.1 for the fraction deflection per degree difference (if the angle of attack is 10 degrees off. slowest-imaginable HINT of rotation in a given direction. perturbations. then the WHOLE WING AND HORIZONTAL STAB is shown to the air. “Austin’s Designs : Austin’s Personal VTOL” and look in the “Expert” menu : “Artificial Stability” screen. there is another reason we can enter higher constants than you think: 2: I cheat. AS THE PLANE WAY OVER-REACTS TO EACH ANGULAR ROTATION INDUCED BY THE TURBULENCE BY KICKING FULL RUDDER TRYING TO OPPOSE THAT ROTATION! So. then the plane applies full elevator to capture the desired angle of attack. but really design your own to mimic the one actually installed in the real plane! Well. The plane is constantly barraged by all manner of imperfections.. straight up). which is being broadcast to the air.01 do as well.. You can email this file to friends or whatever for them to try flying your design. The results won’t be pretty. What do you do to take your plane to the net level of customization. and sounds? Well. upload. You . so we enter HIGHER constants in pitch than yaw to really work hard to counter those pitch rates. Do it with small control deflections. the rudder would slam from one stop to the other in a wildly exaggerated effort to counter the turbulence. and download airplanes for X-Plane. Why? Because if you yaw a plane a bit. with custom paint. so we need lower pitch rates than yaw rates to keep within comfortable (safe) G-loads.05 for the “fraction deflection per degree per second” (if the nose is coming up at 20 degrees per second. Add power and rise up off the ground and work on your hovering. that is the actual aircraft file that contains all the data that defines the airplane. THIRTY TIMES HIGHER than this hypothetical case.. try turning off the art stab in my “Death Trap” at 300 knots) Finishing the Plane: Custom Cockpits. Up and down. These are the paint-jobs for the plane. Ugh! If you must kill a fly buzzing around you in a china-shop. Also. and external winds and forces. because it knows that at high speed it is better to enter smaller control deflections to keep from busting anything! So the constants you enter here are only fully applied down near the stall where control authority is mushy. Paint. to give you an idea of how bad it can get. if you PITCH the plane a bit. are you ready to see this scheme in practice? Open up my VTOL in Plane-Maker (“File” menu. the system would put in FULL OPPOSITE RUDDER! HOLY COW! That means that the plane has even the tiniest. as you can see.ACF. ANYTHING. Now. in your operating system. a bumpy landing. but once you make an airplane in Plane-Maker. First you see the EXAMPLE. and the airplane is simply grey. designed to phase out rotation rates to make the thing easy to fly. Look at the rotations I shoot for with full-scale stick deflections in hover: Max of 30 degrees pitch. I have actually seen a plane where someone entered a constant of 3.5 minutes) to move thru 90 degrees of heading. Now let’s apply what we have learned to PITCH stability: Say your plane is not very stable in pitch and you want to lock it down a bit. The controls relax and phase out as the indicated airspeed (air pressure on the controls) builds up.bmp files.. see that little switch on the panel called “ART STAB”? Turn it OFF to fly WITHOUT stability augmentation. instruments. This is what you save in Plane-Maker. any time this plane entered even the slightest hint of turbulence. This particular plane handled OK if there was no turbulence: Since nothing ever came along to ROTATE the plane. not that much will change: the vertical stabilizer. though it could easily be the pilot kicking a flight control. flying into changing winds. the sounds are all X-Plane standard. “Open Aircraft”. Needless to say. Think about what this means: For a rotation rate of 1/3 degree per second (in other words. then the system will apply full elevator to stop it). Open the ‘Example plane 3-D’ folder.. the flight controls never had to move to OPPOSE THAT ROTATION.02 and 0. These are some pretty aggressive constants (a lot of elevator is brought in to counteract a small amount of motion) but I have my reasons: 1: The plane needs to have lower rates in pitch than in yaw. it takes 270 seconds (4. you now know that you can create. But let’s say you DON’T want to use my system to stabilize the plane. Now.30 RC-2 and later you can slide the “control addition” sliders in the “Joystick” screen second tab to the right a bit to add some artificial stability to help stabilize the plane a bit. it’s pretty easy! Exit X-Plane. in X-Plane 8. One thing that you can ONLY learn by actually getting your pilots license and getting your butt in the sky is that it is a VERY IMPERFECT WORLD UP THERE. an engine-failure. modify. don’t go after it with a chainsaw. because the wing is so much bigger!!!! So. a bird-strike. 45 degrees roll. And now you know what the 0. but as soon as the slightest imperfection came along to move the plane (in this case turbulence. Simply paint them any way you like in Photoshop to make them perfect for your particular design.AND THEN THE OTHER. an EXTREMELY LOW ROTATION RATE. Now.0. a constant of 0. we got a lot more effect for each degree of angle of attack than we do of sideslip. go into the INSTRUCTIONS folder and find the EXAMPLE PLANE folders. is small! But. We will look in there to see what sorts of things you can customize on your custom plane. (First of all. Slide left and right.

simply follow the naming convention you see here in the instructions folder: name your paint-jobs xxxx_paint. that is the custom texture for any slung load you might carry.png” and “console_filled_GA-1. Look at EXAMPLE PLANE 3D:EXAMPLE_COCKPIT. So. non-standard instruments.ac3d. if you like the autopilot annunciator of some OTHER aircraft you have. OBJ files are 3-d objects that X-Plane can draw. Look at EXAMPLE PLANE 3D:EXAMPLE_COCKPIT_TEXTURE. copy the files “console_filled_GA. or maybe you have an aircraft with an older annunciator panel that does not look the way you want. You can have a good handful of weapons on your plane.may save the files as either BMP or PNG. Those are the autopilot annunciator consoles. the RESOURCES:SOUNDS folder contains a list of all the SOUNDS you can customize by putting them in your aircraft folder! Follow these simple conventions and you can have all the custom sounds you like. and copy the “console_filled_GA. Look at Example_ slung_load. AC3D is such an editor. This is the 3-D virtual cockpit.bmp and xxxx_paint2. Maybe it is too small. Do you see what you are doing? X-Plane will now see these files in the aircraft folder.OBJ. if you want your plane to have one.. go to the EXPERT menu in Plane-Maker. and copy modified instruments around between airplanes.. Notice the_prop. All bitmaps must be powers of 2 in size..wpn file that should go in the WEAPONS folder. Custom 3-D Cockpits and Bodies for Your Plane: OK now we kick it up to the top level: Making custom 3-D cockpit and bodies for your airplane with a 3-D editor. the . This is where you can save your own weapons. Now look in the EXAMPLE PLANE 3D:WEAPONS folder. then of course you can simply copy the autopilot annunciator folders and images from the airplane you LIKE into the one that you would LIKE to have the custom annunciators. This takes us beyond the basic 2-D cockpits and simple shapes of the standard airplanes and up into the level of total customization and accuracy. 8. This is an object that can be selected as a slung payload in the SETTINGS:WEIGHT AND BALANCE window in X-Plane. that is just to make it obvious at a glance they are custom. In this case. Now.png”. and then voila! You have the new autopilot annunciators in the KingAir. these particular custom files are just the tip of the iceberg. . Hit control-O in X-Plane (or whatever key you have decided to use in the INSTRUCTIONS:KEYS folder) to go into virtual-3-D-cockpit mode in X-Plane. and use the a-s-d-w-r-f-arrow keys and mouse to move around in the 3-D cockpit. and you can get that at www.wav” for the left engine. you must start off by copying the instrument you want to modify from the X-Plane default instruments over to your aircraft. Needless to say. 64. As well. all you need to do is make your own WAV file and name it as the airplane name plus “ engn1. These objects can be saved in the 3-D editor AC3D. simply follow the model you see here. TEXTURE REGION SELECTOR window. Now. As such. 128. now you see how you can easily modify and any instrument for any airplane in X-Plane. just like we did for the Example airplane in the instructions folder. and KingAir that has one that you don’t. which is specified in the OBJ file.org. 1024).. you can copy custom instru- ments from one plane to another easily.bmp file is simply the paint that goes on the weapon. (2.png” and “console_filled_GA-1. Each bitmap may currently be up to 1024x1024 in size.png” from “resources:bitmaps:cockpit:autopilot:” to “cockpit:autopilot:” in the aircraft folder. 512.. Custom Sounds for Your Plane: Look in the EXAMPLE PLANE 3D:SOUNDS folder to see some custom SOUNDS this plane has. 256. You should be able to guess what that is when you open it up and look at it..png file. You can do the same for slung loads (a Jeep carried by a Black-Hawk.PNG. then simply look inside the “cockpit:autopilot:” folder in each aircraft. 32. or does not have quite the right look and feel. For any plane you make. Now. In other words. Custom Panels and Instruments for Your Plane: Now look in the EXAMPLE PLANE 3D:COCKPIT folder. for example. drop it into the SOUNDS:ENGINE folder and you are ready to fly with a custom engine sound! Do you want to see a complete list of ALL the sounds your can customize? OK! Look in the RESOURCES:SOUNDS folder. Of course you can modify that as well. but using the instrument names and folders in RESOURCES:BITMAPS:COCKPIT. you need an editor that can create 3-D objects and save them in the OBJ format.obj. You will be saving a . make a folder called “cockpit:autopilot:” in your own aircraft folder. To control what part of the plane lives in what bitmap 9siunce you have up to 2 bitmaps). different for each plane! Custom Weapons and Slung Loads for Your Plane: Want to make your own missiles and bombs for your plane? No problem! Run Plane-Maker and go the WEAPONS window in the EXPERT menu and make and save a weapon. Look in the RESOURCES:BITMAPS:COCKPIT folder to see the approx 750 instruments you can customize for your airplane. In there you have just a few custom panel and altimeter files. you will see the instrument panel and altimeter are stunningly ugly. So.png” and “resources:bitmaps:cockpit:autopilot:console_filled_GA-1. Just like the RESOURCES:BITMAPS:COCKPIT folder is a list of all the INSTRUMENTS you can customize. Each of the instruments you see there may be copied to your aircraft folder and customized just like the few sample cases you see in the EXAMPLE PLANE 3D folder! If you fly X-Plane and open this aircraft. if you select that instrument for somewhere in the panel of the KingAir. for example). you can simply modify these files in photoshop (the ones in the “cockpit:autopilot:” in the aircraft folder!) to make the autopilot annunciator look however you like. if you have a BARON that has an autopilot annunciator that you like. if you decide to make one.. You can open the PNG files in Photoshop to look at them. To do this. let’s do an example. and use THEM INSTEAD of the default instruments whenever it tries to draw an autopilot annunciator panel for general aviation airplanes. Using this technique. The next question is: How do you create OBJ files? Well. This is the texture that will be used in the (totally optional) 3-D virtual cockpit.PNG. Let’s say you have a plane and you are not happy with the autopilot annunciator on your airplane. where ‘xxxx’ is clearly the name of your aircraft. Now look at the EXAMPLE_SLUNG_LOAD.png” files from the baron to the KingAir. 16. 4. and you can customize ALL of X-Plane’s instruments for your plane! Easy! Now. As you can see.bmp. look for the following files in the following folders: “resources:bitmaps:cockpit:autopilot:conso le_filled_GA..

World Editor Instructions for WED (World Editor) can be found within the application under the ‘Help’ menu. X-Plane uses only ONE texture per object!) and LightWave can NOT save in the OBJ format... This is a little bit of a problem. Now.So. or the like. Then.. Distribution: OK. so you can simply make your objects in AC3D. But never fear! You can do all your work on the OBJ in LightWave. you now see how to make. then save the file in 3ds format.org) There is a plug-in that saves AC3D files in the OBJ format. check out scenery. You know how to customize the paint. upload. how do you do this? Well. because LightWave can use MORE than one texture per object (for speed. make a single folder that holds your airplane. sounds.. So. miscellaneous object. and even 3-D cockpits in X-Plane. especially for commercial purposes. like letting the world test-fly your companies plane virtually. but here it is in brief: X-Plane uses the OBJ file-format. at zero cost to you! Summary: OK. be sure to configure the acf file inside a folder with a recognizable name. which can be saved in AC3D. it takes 5 seconds. NOW GET TO WORK!!!!!! WED . let’s say that you want to use LightWave rather than AC3D. IT DOESN’T WORK. slung-loads. object for scenery. mac users can option-click on the folder and chose “Create Archive” and the job is done. then save them as X-Plane object files and they will be ready to fly! Now. which lives inside the main folder for the airplane.x-plane.. once you do that. Now. People often upload airplanes BUT FORGET TO UPLOAD THEIR AIRFOILS. and a folder within that folder that holds any custom airfoils you may have made. open the 3ds file in AC3D and apply the (SINGLE!) texture to the object. and download custom airplanes to fly in X-Plane. now that you have your airplane done. just upload your plane! Cool! This is a great way to let others see your design. Windows users can use WinZip.com for full documentation.ac3d. . simply save the file as an OBJ and that file is ready to be read as a custom cockpit object. DON’T DO THAT.org and create a free account. weapons. instruments.X-Plane. it’s time to get it out there! Go to www. (www.. and zip the whole thing in a zip file. if you have not already. put any custom airfoils you made inside a folder called ‘airfoils’. modify.

The plane is in a 5 degree right side-slip so the effective sweep on the left wing is only 40 degrees. because it is in front of the center of gravity and the changes in angle of attack cause increase in induced drag on the horizontal stab reduction in induced drag on the forward wing. and blade element theory figures out the forces on each little bit of the airplane. and finite-wing moment reduction appropriate to the aspect ratio. These forces are then converted into accelerations which are then integrated to velocities and positions. Downwash. Aren’t computers great? This method of computing the forces on the airplane is much more detailed. finite-wing CLmax reduction. vertical stabilizer and propeller blade to really build a model of what the airplane is doing. used in X-Plane.1 degrees angle of attack on the main wing. and sweep of the wing. flexible. but is far too simplistic to use across the flight envelope of the airplane.” but only Blade Element Theory will say “OK. which adds 1. and dynamic pressures (determined separately for each element based on aircraft speed. Of course. propwash and wing sweep). and induced angle of attack from lift-augmentation devices are all considered when finding the velocity vector of each element. such as spiraling slipstream. The aircraft’s linear and angular velocities.5 degrees of angle of attack to the tail and takes away 0. and advanced than the flight model that is used by most other flight sims. these simplifications can not easily consider such effects as transonic drag rise and compressibility which effect different parts of the airplane in different ways at different speeds. This is a perfectly nice rule of thumb. propwash. In supersonic flight. lateral. X-Plane breaks the wing(s). vertical stabilizer. Propwash is found by looking at the area of each propeller disk. all of this technical theory is completely transparent to you. and translational lift.” which involves breaking the aircraft down into many small elements and then finding the forces on each little element many times per second. As well.Appendix A: How X-Plane Works How it Works: X-Plane Blade Element Simulation Explained X-Plane assimilates the geometric shape of any aircraft and then figures out how that aircraft will fly. Forces are then divided by the aircraft mass for linear accelerations. Downwash is found by looking at the aspect ratio. ONLY blade element theory can accurately PREDICT what an airplane of a given geometry will do! In other words. X-Plane will FIGURE OUT how a plane of that shape and weight and power should fly! . 2: Velocity Determination This is done twice per cycle. Compressible flow effects are considered using Prandtl-Glauert. and the thrust of each propeller. and can give more accuracy in a much wider variety of flight conditions. Stability derivatives will not normally take into proper account the asymmetric affects of engine failures. the nose should return to center with a certain acceleration. angles of attack. Most other simulators use something called “stability derivatives” to compute how an airplane flies. Blade element theory is much more robust. This technique involves simply forcing the nose to return to a centered position along the flight path with a certain acceleration for each degree of offset from straightahead flight of the airplane: For every degree of angle of attack the nose is raised. or propeller blade in question. altitude. Stability derivatives will typically say “OK. the retreating wingtip has 10 knots less speed due to this rotation and the roll rate is 30 degrees per second to the right. 4: Force Build-Up Using the coefficients just determined in step 3. the chaotic effects of turbulence. 3: Coefficient Determination The airfoil data entered in Air-Foil Maker is two dimensional. and vertical arms of each element. so we add 5% to our drag due to compressibility. because really the simulator does this for each PIECE of the wing. but the wings are swept at 45 degrees. the commonly-used “stability derivatives” are gross over-simplifications of how an airplane flies. stalls. Go back to step 2 and do the whole thing over again at least 15 times per second. Who ever entered the airplane design has to tell the simulator how the airplane should fly. Microsoft Flight Simulator can NOT predict how an airplane will fly for you. sideslips. along with the longitudinal. taper ratio. I am only explaining the gross approximation here. stability derivatives can NOT PREDICT HOW AN AIRPLANE WILL FLY! You have to figure out how the plane will fly and then use the stability derivative to mindlessly spit that performance right back out at you. horizontal stabilizer. are considered to find the velocity vector of each element. horizontal stabilizer. P-factor. Nobody actually learns anything. 5: Get Back to Work. temperature. and then going to an empirical look-up table to get the degrees of downwash generated per coefficient of lift. However. and the horizontal and vertical distance of the “washed surface” (normally the horizontal stabilizer) from the “washing surface” (normally the wing). But with blade element theory. horizontal stabilizer. and studies have shown that this provides roll rates and accelerations that are very close to the values that would be found with a much larger number of elements.8. and propeller(s) (if equipped) down into a finite number of elements. and spins. The number of elements is decided by the user in Plane-Maker. You just fly! It’s fun! X-Plane goes through the following steps to propagate the flight: 1: Element Break-Down Done only once during initialization.8. and the myriad of dynamic effects that are generated by the props of planes and the rotors of helicopters. and the simulator then spits that information right back to you.” In other words. we are flying at Mach 0. As well. vertical stabilizer(s). but the effective sweep on the right wing is 50 degrees and the plane is rotating at 10 degrees per second to the right so the advancing wing has an extra 10 knots of speed at the wingtip due to this rotation. Pressures behind the shock waves are found on each of the plates in the diamond-shaped airfoil and summed to give the total pressures on the foil element. and sweep of the wing. It does this by an engineering process called “blade element theory. the airfoil is considered to be a diamond shape with the appropriate thickness ratio. Ten elements per side per wing or stabilizer is the maximum. Furthermore. we are flying at Mach 0. but transonic effects are not simulated other than an empirical mach-divergent drag increase. and moments of inertia for angular accelerations. finite-wing induced drag. taper ratio. which increases the angle of attack from nothing at the center of the plane and to 2 degrees at the right wingtip and also negative 2 degrees at the left wingtip and the plane is pitching up at 10 degrees per second. you can enter the SHAPE of an airplane and then fly that plane in the sim. so X-Plane applies finite wing lift-slope reduction. and rotation rates. Using local air density. X-Plane determines the propwash required for momentum to be conserved. the forces are found and summed for the entire aircraft. areas determined during step 1.

umm. not a zig-zaggy one like we would achieve flying from one navigation transmitter to another. because it is not named after the center of an egg. This is the old-style navigation device that just points a needle at a transmitter on the ground. In other words. you will sound a lot smarter and save a ton of time if you know the right terminology! DOWNLOAD: To DOWNLOAD something means to get files from some remote computer called a server on the internet and receive those files on your computer. Read all about it in the navigation and autopilot description in this manual. When you get a DVD with X-Plane on it and run the INSTALLER to INSTALL the program from the DVD.XPlane. Now let’s say you are at sea level on this hot. Less air for the engines. We don’t use them too much any more because modern navigation involves staying on a pre-defined COURSE (a LINE).com. and gives you height above sea-level. ATC: Air Traffic Control. not just taking any old random routing to get to a pre-defined point. The difference between the true and magnetic north poles is called the magnetic variation. The ASI is driven by the pressure of the air impacting a little tube on the nose or wing of the plane. since the magnetic north pole is separated from the geographic north pole by a bit. Now let’s go through some aviation terms to bring you up to speed if you are not a pilot. low-pressure day. Altitude is typically displayed on the altimeter. umm.. See the navigation and autopilot section of the manual. so it measures the altitude above SEA LEVEL (MSL). You can DOWNLOAD lots of airplanes and scenery packages for X-Plane from the internet. and now here are a few terms you should know on that front: YOKE : The YOKE.. something a hair different than true north. HDG: Heading. not a TBM. It is NOT the same as INSTALLING!!! INSTALL: To INSTALL something means to move a copy of something onto your computer so that it can be run. You already know what this is. Less air for the wings. This is a 10. UPDATE: To UPDATE a piece of software is to convert it to a newer version. This lets you stay at a constant level while flying. which is driven by air pressure. There is a well-covered navigation and autopilot description of CDI in this manual. (YET!) ADF: Automatic Direction-Finder. BC: Back Course. since they are not named after the fragile leaves of a flower! OK. it is time to fly. Less air for the prop. so you can be sure that your elevation is. And let’s say it’s so hot and low-pressure than the density of the air is the same as standard air density at 10. GA: General Aviation (light planes) and Go Around (autopilot mode that raises the nose in a wings level attitude and calls for gobs of power to get the heck OUT OF THERE after a botched landing approach). This means the air is LESS dense. and is used to steer the plane in flight by rocking the wings left and right and pulling the nose up and pushing it down. the GPS will take us all the way where we want to go in a straight line. and more and more planes have moving maps that clearly show the terrain elevation. so awareness of minimum allowable altitudes in your region is ALWAYS needed so you can stay at least that high. They are NOT spelled “PETALS. enough brow-beating on commonly miss-used terms. you would DOWNLOAD and then INSTALL a newer version. DOWNLOADING is receiving files from the internet. CDI: Course Deflection Indicator. because in theory you can follow the enroute and approach charts. (Though once you DOWNLOADED those files.com) does both of these things for you very easily. Remember magnetic heading is heading to the magnetic north pole. More pressure means. typically MAGNETIC.. with GPS. then you will hold an altitude MSL (above Mean Sea Level). INSTALLED. RUDDER PEDALS: The pedals are used to steer the plane down the runway and wag its tail left and right in flight. install. This is the part of the ILS (Instrument Landing System) that goes BEYOND the touchdown zone. Density Altitude: Let’s say that it is really HOT. you are NOT downloading the program.” as many people keep spelling it. Once you have DOWNLOADED. if you ever have to call us or anyone else on the phone asking for tech support. You can buy yokes from the “Order X-Plane” section of www. If you want to avoid a horrific and instant death. which comes in useful when starting turns and counter-acting crosswinds. GPS: Global Positioning System. as well! The altimeter in your plane works on air pressure.. update. which is a geographic heading that will take you to the true geographic North Pole. If you want to hold an altitude requested by Air Traffic Control.Appendix B: Terminology Here is some basic terminology that I see people misuse every day. The RADIO ALTIMETER measures the height above the ground (AGL).. or UPDATED X-Plane.” as many people keep spelling them. You are INSTALLING it.000 foot density altitude. Let’s say we have a low barometric pressure one day. You would only be DOWNLOADING it if you were getting files from the net. however. which is named after a wooden device draped across oxen to tow things. Above Ground level. Our UPDATER program (available for free at www. you should be aware of your altitude AGL. (Tunnel Boring Machine) ALT: Short for Altitude.000 feet up in the air! (Can happen if it is hot enough). and fly X-Plane to increase your knowledge of aviation! Also. The YOKE is NOT a “YOLK. Get this basic stuff right first and then we can use this knowledge as building-blocks to download. This is typically a mode in the autopilot that lets you hold a pre-defined heading. which list safe MSL altitudes. like an ADF typically provides. GS: Glide-Slope. as long as you are piloting an airplane. it will take you longer to get off the ground. wasting fuel with an indirect routing simply because of the locations people chose to plant navigation transmitters 50 years ago! AGL: Above Ground Level. true and magnetic heading are NOT typically the same! They may be off by 5 or 10 degrees in the medium latitudes. is the “steering wheel” of the airplane. To do this in X-Plane. HIGHER. but most planes do NOT have them! This is increasingly OK. Remember. That also makes the air thinner.XPlane. . you would INSTALL them to have them ready for use). FASTER. As well.. ASI: Air Speed Indicator. the whole idea of going to pre-defined points like picking up bread-crumbs on your way home is thankfully evaporating.

you need to fly by Instrument Flight Rules. This is not a coincidence. You can manage your flight according to visual rules if you are always able to see out the window well enough to avoid collisions with terrain and other aircraft visually. can see out the front of the plane or not. you can safely be sure to FLY TO THE VOR ALONG THE 090 RADIAL (from the east) guaranteeing your location to be along an airway for the entire trip to the VOR. or you are high in the air? The air is thinner. It means ‘navigate’. please. and that thin air means we actually need to go 120 mph to get the same pressure on the pitot tube to indicate 100 mph on the airspeed indicator. Maybe one day we are at high altitude or high temperature. typically. This is what you see on the airspeed indicator when flying. In bad weather or above 18. umm. Vector Airways: Vector Airways are the pre-charted airways that are defined by a series of VORs. then there is less pressure PUSHING ON THE WINGS AS WELL! So. As well. See the Navigation and Autopilot chapter for full info. NAV: Autopilot mode that follows an ILS or Localizer or VOR or GPS path. This is nice because once the airway is charted. the VSI deduces how quickly you must be climbing or descending. or ILS) that is plopped onto the ground. By looking at how fast the air pressure is changing. you can scatter them BETWEEN airports to use as the node-points of an AIRWAY. So we pilots LIKE this error in the system because it means that if the airplane likes to approach the runway at 100 mph. you are in IMC. ILS: Instrument Landing System. VMC: Visual Meteorological Conditions. I hope you are on an instrument flight plan. This is a type of NAVAID that sends out signals that you can follow to get to or from the transmitter. since you are on a carefully-mapped procedure to keep you on a safe course. Going faster than Vne can result in ‘structural damage’. VVI: Vertical Speed Indicator. you will be over mapped terrain height for the entire trip. the VOR actually lets you fly to the station ALONG A PROGRAMMED RADIAL. Why? Because if there is less pressure pushing on the airspeed indicator. obtained by measuring pressure acting on the aircraft by having a little tube pointing into the wind. because the pitot tube and the wings both need the same thing: dynamic pressure. following your instruments and air traffic control instructions carefully to avoid hitting the ground. If you are flying VFR (look it up right above!) then you better be in VMC! Vne: Velocity Never Exceed. or going off course and messing up the carefully-laid plans of the air traffic controller. or you are flying illegally! LOC: Localizer. NDB. IMC: Instrument Meteorological Conditions. Aeii! ERROR! But. So. You need about 3 miles visibility and to stay about 1000 feet from the clouds. Well. When you are in clouds or rain and cannot see out the window. . See the ADF note above. Don’t go faster than this in your airplane unless the air is SMOOOOOOOTH! And even then. or other planes. we LIKE this error. ‘with extreme caution’. rather than just ‘flying to the VOR’. thereby staying on a vector airway. it really makes no difference whether you are in cloud or not. This is the maximum speed at which you can deploy your flaps without damaging or breaking them. so you will go through a handful of them on a long flight. What is cool about the VOR compared to the NDB is that while an NDB simply lets your ADF needle point right to it. BECAUSE of this error that varies with the pressure! So think of it this way: If you are going 120 mph in thin air. But here is the trick: What if you are flying in thin air because it is a hot day. marked on a chart. as they always say in the operating handbooks. Whatever. or inertia of air smacking into them to function. Seeing out of the window is an un-needed luxury. there will clearly be less pressure on the little tube (the pitot tube) so there will be a lower indication on the airspeed indicator. NAVAID: Navigation Aid transmitter (typically a VOR. Some call it a VSI. Like the autopilot Altitude Hold mode. NDB: Non Directional Beacon. Please be very aware that ‘structural damage’ is an insanely conservative language for ‘ripping your wings off so you plunge to a horrible death’. Each segment of the Vector Airway thoughtfully lists the minimum altitude you can fly that airway segment to avoid. then you quickly see it due to a deflected needle and can cock the nose into the wind to stay on the desired radial. VSI: Vertical Speed Indicator. Fly from NAVAID to NAVAID until you get where you are going! A VOR might be useable from 50 miles away. really. VFR: Visual Flight Rules. for example. Vno: Velocity Normal Operating. IFR: Instrument Flight Rules. The lateral portion of the ILS. if we really want to measure the air pressure available for the props and wings (which is what we really care about since more pressure gives more lift and drag) then what we really want is a measure of the pressure acting on the airplane: which is what the airspeed indicator really is. IAS: Indicated Airspeed.000 feet. so there is less pressure. and used as a reference to fly to. then that means the aerodynamic pressure on the WINGS is only 100 mph worth of pressure! And it is this pressure that determines how much lift and drag the wings can put out. This keeps you safely over mapped terrain. then we should fly the plane at 100 mph on the airspeed indicator. VOR: VHF Omni-Range. See the chapter on navigation and autopilot to see how to use a VOR. When flying IFR.HLD: Hold. You fly from VOR to VOR until you get where you are going. This is the maximum speed you can ever take a given airplane. CRASHING. You may have one near an airport or on an airport. Vfe: Velocity Flap Extension. but the pressure is only strong enough to measure 100 mph on the airspeed indicator. but that also means we must go 120 mph to get 100 mph worth of pressure on the wings! So the error in the airspeed indicator exactly counter-acts the speed change we need to make the plane fly properly. and if the wind starts to blow you off course. please.

select the folder that you extracted all the drivers into. if you get a bit confused as to exactly what drivers are installed. This will remove your old drivers. That would be any modern ATI or NVIDIA video card.DLL” You have not yet installed Direct-X 8 or later. Then. Yes. I went there. but NOT an integrated Intel graphics chip.. Go to the DEVICE MANAGER tab inside of that.EXE OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT IN THE DRIVERS FOLDER. When the system is running XPlane. You can’t use Windows NT due to problems with Microsoft’s joystick manipulation in Windows NT. Sometimes people ignore my advice to remove the OLD drivers before installing new ones. DESPITE THE FACT THAT THEY NEVER NOTICE WHERE THEY ARE EXTRACTING THE FILES. then you need to add some additional cooling.. remove the cover and aim a fan into the case. That would be one that supports acceleration of OpenGL. and let’s look at some common problems and their solutions. and then when asked by windows to choose a location. They will come in an executable that you will double-click on to activate. which are. for Windows.4 or better for Mac. (NOTE: THIS IS ASSUMING YOU HAVE ENOUGH RAM! RUNNING OUT OF RAM WILL CAUSE CRASHES AS WELL! YOU SHOULD HAVE 1 GIG OR BETTER FOR CURRENT VERSIONS OF X-PLANE! THIS ALSO ASSUMES YOU ARE NOT OVER-CLOCKING YOUR CPU!) I GET AN ERROR: “MISSING DSOUD. This causes the temperature to rise inside the case. THUS RUINING ANY CHANCE OF FINDING THEM LATER! Anyway.Appendix C: Trouble shooting Sometimes. then I HIGHLY recommend any Nvidia GeForce card (www. FIRST. I have seen this many times in the past.com/~bobruck/download. This is almost always HEAT related. and you get some sort of crash when you try to run X-Plane (or EXIT X-Plane!) then you need to correctly install the latest drivers for your video card.html This program seems to help you sort those types of issues out pretty well. assuming you have Windows XP or better and a 3-D accelerator card capable of running OpenGL. as of this writing. which basically always involve working around Apple’s and Microsoft’s oversights. This is a driver problem. So. and are not sure if you have multiple partial installations. but this time click “update driver” or similar.com).Nvidia. or finishing the Operating System and driver installations on your computer: X-PLANE DOES NOT WORK ON A WINDOWS MACHINE. X-Plane crashes when they try to EXIT X-Plane! You have to remember to follow the instructions I gave above to REMOVE the OLD drivers! Now. you need Windows XP or greater for Windows. if your video card manufacturer gives you instructions that are different than mine. Getting the latest driver correctly installed is frequently needed by X-Plane. too cheap and weak to run X-Plane. then go back to the device manager like you did to remove the drivers (open up the video adapter section again). if you are using Linux. If you think you messed up and want to install the new drivers again. IF THE MACHINE SAYS IT DETECTS NEW HARDWARE AND ALLOWS YOU TO SELECT THE LOCATION OF THE NEW DRIVERS. people cannot get X-Plane to work properly on their computers. What is a useable operating system and video card and RAM? Well. it has been someone else’s fault. and you probably know more about Linux than I do. after downloading and extracting and remembering where you extracted the files to. go to the web page of your video card manufacturer and download the latest drivers. assuming you have a useable operating system and video card and RAM. If it does. To eliminate HEAT as an issue. MY PC SYSTEM FREEZES AFTER RUNNING X-PLANE FOR A WHILE. PS: If your card does not support OpenGL. go to your MY COMPUTER icon. being sure that they include OPENGL drivers. Go to the video adapters and click on it to expand it. REMEMBER WHERE YOU EXTRACT THE FOLDER TO! CREATE A FOLDER CALLED ‘DRIVERS’ OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT AND EXTRACT THE FILES TO THAT FOLDER! PEOPLE EXTRACT FILES ALL THE TIME AND EXPECT EVERYTHING TO MAGICALLY WORK OUT LATER. In just about every case I have ever seen. THEN YOU CAN RUN THAT FILE AND IT MAY INSTALL DRIVERS FOR YOU.btinternet. Now. I said it. then go here: http://www. Go to the SYSTEM icon inside of that. OR CRASHES ON EXIT FROM THE SIM. Mac OS X. THEN SELECT THE LOCATION OF THE NEW DRIVERS YOURSELF BY SELECTING THE FOLDER YOU JUST EXTRACTED THE DRIVERS TO! You will have to re-start and you should be in business! NOTE: IF THERE IS A FILE CALLED SETUP.microsoft. the video card and processor get very hot because they are running at 100% utilization. Get it at www. enough argumentative defensiveness (even though I am right!). and is a common necessity in Microsoft Windows. (you want to do this before installing new ones) Now restart the machine. Run X-Plane for a while and see if the problem goes away.com/directx . You need at least 1 gig of RAM. How? Well. You need an acceptable 3-D card. Getting the latest drivers this way will hopefully get you in business. Anyway. This will cause windows to actually use the new drivers that you have extracted. and at least 32 meg or so of VRAM on your video card. Download the exe file and double-click on it to blow it up into a folder. Now REMOVE the adapters inside there by highlighting them and hitting the REMOVE button. then just follow their instructions. Install Direct x 8.

system alert sounds still work. Mostly the SoundBlaster PCI128. You will see various things appear on the windshield for you to choose.mov because a software component needed by the movie could not be opened. Also. Contact the manufacturer of the application for more information. hit the ENTER key while flying. of course many people today run 500 MHz Pentiums with 128 meg of RAM and 8 meg of VRAM. Change the Audio Output setting to 44100. you will HAVE to “tell” the OS to use the ME driver. We are still working with Microsoft. Quit Audio MIDI Setup. In the box at the bottom. 64 and Turtle Beach Montego. Make sure you pay attention to the location that the files extract to! When you double-click on SpeechSDK5. then you have not completed the install. and so does iTunes. then I think this may be a compatibility problem between multiple technologies.exe and all of the files extract. Observe changes by watching the settings in Audio MIDI Setup before and after running a third-party application you suspect might be causing the issue. I bet you get no speech! As soon as you STOP the WAV file. We tested this by compiling X-Plane with the sound effects disabled and the speech started working. Otherwise. it will make no sound. it will “carry-over” the old driver when you upgrade from 98 to ME. you should see the message “Speech Synthesis for air traffic control voice output is installed on this machine. if you play an Internet movie in Safari. such as Safari and QuickTime Player. but other applications may have no sound (audio output). 3. while others run dual-processor 3.AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SPEECH DOES NOT WORK ON WINDOWS! First. this problem seems to be isolated to people running some SoundBlaster and Turtle Beach sound cards AND Windows 98. The file that you download is called SpeechSDK5. be sure to install SPEECH SYNTHESIS FROM WWW. Hopefully with our help they can fix the problem with the speech with Windows 98 and some sound cards and get an updated version of the Speech 5 out there to download. the issue might occur again. In this situation.COM. After upgrading to ME. THERE IS NO SOUND ON MY MAC! Mac OS X: No audio from certain multimedia content Some audio applications may change your computer’s audio settings to a sample rate that is too high for other applications to use. you must BROWSE to the location of the extracted files and run SETUP.3 or later and applications that use QuickTime 6 or later for audio. If you still don’t believe me. This can happen on Macs that support high sample rates (higher than 48000 Hz): • iMac G5 • Mac mini (all models) • Power Mac G5 models that support sample rates higher than 48000 Hz • PowerBook G4 support sample rates higher than 48000 Hz • MacBook • MacBook Pro • iMac (Early 2006) and later • Mac Pro For example. try to play some speech using the Dictation Pad that comes with SDK5. In fact. We have determined that X-Plane is NOT the culprit. To complete the install. that DOES NOT complete the installation. start a WAV file playing and have it loop over and over. and there is . These same sound cards SHOULD work fine. if the system is upgraded to Windows ME. After SPEECH 5 is installed. if you open a QuickTime movie on your computer. The problem is that the sound card cannot play a WAV file (sound effect) at the SAME TIME that it is playing SPEECH. Open Audio MIDI Setup (/Applications/Utilities/). When you run it. HOW DO I MAKE MY SIM RUN FASTER? Two of the emails I often get are as follows: “WOW! X-Plane is so fast! I get 100 fps on my computer! Amazing! This is so much smoother than other flight sims!” and “WOW! X-Plane is really slow on my computer! What should I do?” Why does this happen? Well. Once the setup is complete.” If you do not see this. if you use the third-party application again after applying the above solution. I bet speech starts working.. WHILE THIS IS PLAYING.exe.” Solution 1. If you do that and you still get no audio ATC in X-Plane.0 Hz.000 MHz machines with 256 meg of VRAM and a GIG of RAM. I suggest you delete the extracted files so they do not continue to take up hard drive space.MICROSOFT. Now. 2.EXE. To hear the speech. then check the Audio Output setting. This document applies to Mac OS X 10.. We have been working extensively with Microsoft on this. Why does this happen? Some third-party audio applications may change your computer’s audio output setting. it extracts all of the files to your hard drive that you need to install MICROSOFT SPEECH. This file is a self-extracting file. go into X-Plane and click SETTINGS and SOUND. QuickTime Player reports the following error (and the movie will have no audio): “You may experience problems playing a sound track in (Movie Name).

even on a slower. What are you seeing on YOUR computer? Not high enough? OK. The TEXTURE RESOLUTION AND SCREEN RESOLUTION require video RAM. This is the point where you are using up all your VRAM! Back the texture res off to one level lower than that and restart to fly. 1 gig of RAM or more. The other limit is how much CPU-speed you have. if your computer CPU is slow. you can set it as high as you want with NO LOSS IN FRAME-RATE. given whatever machine YOU have. So there you have it. since the RAM speed. even though it is fundamental to understanding computer performance: One limit is how much RAM you have. So. Follow all the instructions above and you can get good frame-rate with X-Plane. motherboard speed. how can you get the most from X-Plane? First the basics: YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO TELL HOW FAST X-PLANE IS RUNNING. This setting determines how much VIDEO RAM you use. coming up short in EITHER category will mess you up. not too much more. then DATA INPUT & OUTPUT window. Windows XP or later. lower the texture res in X-Plane until X-Plane uses about what you have. If this number is greater than the RAM on your video card. for example. Look at the BOTTOM of the rendering options screen and X-Plane tells you how much VRAM is required at its current settings. 100 fps is insanely high. but the texture res is set such that you need 128 meg of VRM. you must set the texture res LOW ENOUGH TO AVOID THIS. if you have all the RAM in the world and are running at a low-texture-res and low-screen-res then you will not have any RAM problems. as long as you have proper OpenGL drivers installed on it! See the web page of your video card manufacturer for instructions on that.. NOTE: After you change the texture resolution. Once you know the VRAM on your computer. your SUB-CONCIOUS MIND forgets that you are looking at a simulator. or your video card speed is low. though you could maybe get by with less. in the “freq /sec” output on the far left . How much RAM is on your video card? You need to go to your operating system to find out. Use Google as needed if you don’t already know how to find the VRAM available on your particular computer. because a lot of the RAM can be “cached away” in the system with no speed penalty. Set the resolution as you see fit.. Thus. then you will of course get low performance. for example. if you have only 64 meg of VRAM on your video card. YOUR FRAME-RATE WILL DIE! How do you tell how much VRAM XPlane uses? Easy. broken. and X-Plane will still run fast. or HIGH CIRRUS or LOW STRATUS for good speed. UN-CHECK all the little boxes to the right of the world/object/road boxes for speed. Now you can see how fast you are running. Higher visibility takes MORE CPU to run. and note the frame-rate.. BROKEN. and many other things cause performance differences in the computer. NOTE! You can in some cases use MORE VRAM than you have. let’s see how to make it faster! Go to the SETTINGS menu. because you see more stuff! Nothing else in the weather screen will affect frame-rate. but not much. Better? Good. video card speed. exit the sim..this is called “frames per second” or “fps. Set these to NONE for speed. Most of these do NOT make too much of a difference. then you are asking to get slow performance. but clouds and visibility affect it a LOT. Probably 1024x768 on a marginally-powerful computer. But. Now look at the all-important “number of object” and “number of roads” settings. SCATTERED. It uses up some video card CPU. RENDERING OPTIONS screen. But.” 15 fps is poor. Then raise the texture detail up one level and repeat . re-start it. Set the cloud types to HAZE LAYER for max speed. Now. but “Draw textured lights” is very CPU-intensive at night-time. though you could probably get by with half that. Run X-Plane and go to the SETTINGS menu. OK. Studies show that at 60 fps or above. As long as you have plenty of VIDEO RAM. SET WEATHER screen. but as soon as you set the texture res to require more VRAM than you have. or overcast clouds. and thinks you are flying. so if you do not have enough video ram on your video card to handle X-Plane’s texture resolution and screen resolution. NO MATTER HOW MUCH CPU CAPACITY YOU HAVE. Now look at the screen resolution in the rendering options screen.. but no desert sand is visible to you because you are not flying over the desert. AND THEN RESTART X-PLANE FOR THE CHANGES TO TAKE EFFECT. VERY SLOW. Set the visibility to about 5 miles or so. though the sim will not run too fast in that case! . Linux OS’s out there. Conversely. but not too much. THIS IS VERY. You want about 2 GHz of speed. WHAT HARDWARE DO I GET? The system requirement of X-Plane is pretty simple: Mac OS-X. then the computer will constantly be moving RAM on and off the video card (between the video card RAM and the system RAM) to draw each frame of scenery. Look at your TEXTURE RESOLUTION.MORE than a 6x difference between them in speed. These have a HUGE impact on frame-rate. you must re-start X-Plane for the change to take effect! NOTE: Just put the texture resolution on its lowest setting. It uses up some VRAM. Keep doing this until the frame-rate decreases . Which of these matters to you? Well. OR OVERCAST take a ton of CPU time to run. Now go to the SETTINGS menu. close that screen and check your frame-rate now. but we’re not done yet. and check the right-hand box in front of “FRAME-RATE” thus sending the frame-rate to the screen in flight. 30 fps looks fine. and 64 Meg of VRAM is nice. if it is not often accessed by the computer. if it is the texture of desert sand. Windows. then you are GOING TO RUN SUPER-SLOW. but you already know to avoid those if you are not getting good frame-rate! The other settings in this window don’t really affect speed too much. “Number of cloud puffs” has a HUGE impact on frame-rate when you have scattered. here is what so many people seem to NOT know. older computer. and of course this will be a bit different for all the various Mac.

. depending on the brand of nVidia (the reseller) the bus bandwidth for the lower end 6200 might be 64 or 128 bit!! This makes a HUGE difference in performance. the second core is useful because X-Plane will use that second core to load scenery as you fly. the faster the graphics card can draw things. Your computer loses this VRAM. the x300 is 64 bit. . The bottom line is the scam works like this: 1. but not much. Today’s most powerful high end cards have 256. Big wings give HIGH ACCELERATIONS because they put out lots of force. You do NOT want hyper-threaded chips. for the flight model to work.. 3 GHz or more. So. or having a dual-core chip. This is called “TurboCache” by nVidia and “HyperMemory” by ATI (or do I have that backward? doesn’t matter).. . In fact. there can only be a certain amount of velocity changes per frame of the simulation. So you get an AGPTek GeForce or an XFX GeForce. And if the accelerations are high. This lets one chip run X-Plane full-speed. Now. this is the cheapest of the low-end. that’s what I have). a typical frame rate of 20 fps or more is just fine. Get the real thing: Dual chips or a Dual-Core chip. their integrated video cards are just unspeakably AWFUL with X-Plane! As far as I know. Basically the wider this is. Where we have to be careful here is that a machine with a hypermemory or turbocache card and the MINIMAL system RAM requirements is NOT going to work well. because there are high forces under all that air pressure. hardly accelerating at all! ONE FRAME PER SECOND could easily track that flight accurately! Now imagine holding a PAPER AIRPLANE OUT THE WINDOW OF YOUR CAR AT 80 MPH AND LETTING GO! Does the plane smoothly. Do NOT get a hyper-threaded chip just because the name SOUNDS fast: It is marketing BS. most medium cards are 128. High speeds give HIGH ACCELERATIONS. gradually. It simply does not work nearly as well as actually having two chips. Here is why: X-Plane finds the accelerations of the craft each frame. Those are the BS “gamers’” names the company came up with to fool people into buying a cheap card with a stupid name that SOUNDS fancy. imagine a Boeing 747 at approach speed. right? And you can only fly a certain speed in X-Plane at a given frame-rate. thus reducing (somewhat) the pause to load more scenery as you fly into new areas. 128 or 256) indicates how many bits of data it reads at once each time it reads data. 2. it slowly lumbers along. Now about video card RAM-speed: The “memory bus width” of a graphics card (a number that will be 64. so little inertia.. Widely-spaced landing gear gives HIGH ACCELERATIONS because it has a huge lever-arm on the center of gravity. The card has some VRAM. a few notes on hardware: A car can only go a certain speed with a given horsepower. .Optimally. NVidia has companies bundle their cards. In particular. while a 64 bit card will NOT perform well.. and a few cheap-o cards are 64. but the x300 SE is 32 bit! “SE” on ATI hardware means “special edition” but really it means “something else . you would have 256 Meg of VRAM or more. so they grab RAM from system memory instead. but from our experience. A light aircraft gives HIGH ACCELERATIONS because there is little mass. This works fine if the frame rate is reasonably high.. 3. The problem is. for any reasonably normal aircraft that has reasonably normal accelerations. The manufacturer then gets to put a bigger number on the card. The problem happens when you have very light aircraft with very large wings going very fast.. because the user’s system RAM will have been brought below minimums by the card stealing system memory! Intel makes an OK CPU.e. accelerate up and then ease down? HECK NO! THE WHOLE THING DISINTEGRATES IN A THOUSANDTH OF A SECOND! This is a KNOWN LIMITATION. or sitting on the ground with landing gear spread very far out from the center of gravity. A user can live with a 128-bit card these days (heck. Can X-Plane HANDLE these HIGH ACCELERATIONS? SURE! BUT YOU NEED A HIGH FRAMERATE TO DO IT! Why? Because.. 1 gig of RAM or more. and the accelerations are reasonably low. acceleration) per frame! Next question: How high is high enough a frame-rate to handle an acceleration? The answer is easy: WHATEVER IT TAKES TO AVOID THE FLUTTER FROM HIGH ACCELERATIONS AND LOW FRAME-RATE! And how much should you expect that to be? Well.. The card uses system memory as if it were VRAM. For nVidia it’s a lot worse. Now about video card RAM: Cheap video cards don’t have enough video RAM. then the frame-rate better also be high to have a reasonable velocity change (i.. WHY? Each frame. All of these things add up to the same result: HIGH ACCELERATIONS. MY AIRPLANE FLUTTERS (AND CRASHES). Why? Because they are only ONE chip PRETENDING to be TWO. the devil is in the details with these cheap-o cards and that $54 6200 might be a great deal or a piece of junk. they are the only cards we outright don’t support.. while the other loads scenery in the background and messes with miscellaneous system tasks. X-Plane then adds up the accelerations to move the plane. and at least one dual-core Intel.

we have found that a simple 20 frames per second works just fine for most any plane flying. or anything else!) in a 3-D object editor. as you get to small. Plane-Maker is really oriented around making aerodynamic shapes for X-Plane’s flight-model.. landing gear.net/ .” you will need to turn down the rendering options and visibility. and set the cloud types to HAZE LAYER (some cloud types. because the landing gear has more leverage on the airplane. scattered. X-Plane has decent airplanes that are made with Plane-Maker. Turn everything OFF. big-winged. how do you tell what frame-rate you are getting. especially OBSTACLE DENSITY AND ROAD DENSITY. you can even hook up parts of the object to move according to various variables in X-Plane. you must simply EXPORT the object into the X-Plane OBJ format. in the X-Plane world). if you are getting this “computational flutter. because they get more lift and the plane reacts faster! This is more of a problem when planes have widely spaced landing gear. now you need a computer that reacts just as fast to SIMULATE it. BUT. you may use any 3-D editor you like to make X-Plane objects (which.. You do this by building a 3-D object in an object editor and placing that object (an airport terminal or your house. So here we go. but that does not really give you enough detail to model some planes fully. ENOUGH TO GET A HIGHER FRAME-RATE ON THE COMPUTER THAT YOU HAVE NOW. how do you make it higher? Go to the RENDERING OPTIONS SCREEN in the settings menu. like broken. but it would always be nice to have more. or get a faster machine. so that you can get flight controls. So. You have an airplane that reacts EXTREMELY QUICKLY to the environment. we need ONE texture per object. BOTH of these things are certainly possible. and how do you change rendering options? Go to the data output screen in the settings menu and select FRAMERATE. so it torques the plane faster! So. and you should get a higher frame rate! Appendix D: Making Scenery and Aircraft Objects For X-Plane X-Plane has decent scenery. Well. are very slow for older computers) Do this. and overcast. (NOTE: THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS THE ALIAS OBJ FORMAT!) So. In fact. what editors can export into the X-Plane OBJ format? Read on! In all cases.OR YOU JUST NEED TO REDUCE THE RENDERING OPTIONS AND VISIBLITY IN X-PLANE. an airplane. Then go the cockpit display (right-most button in the first column) Close that window and you will see the frame rate in the upper-left of the screen. widely-spaced landing gear designs flying fast. Now. may be buildings or aircraft). and other parts of the aircraft object to move in the right way at the right times. Other airplanes take graphics and CPU and RAM! Go to the SET WEATHER SCREEN and turn the visibility down to 5 miles.. because they do stuff lots faster than big planes! This is more of a problem when planes are light because they have less inertia. light. Set it to ‘1’ for maximum speed. Many people would like to make more accurate 3-D airplanes with an object editor to really make the planes look REAL. the accelerations come up enough that 100 fps could perhaps be needed in some extreme cases that you could probably dream up! This is more of a problem when planes are small. and they are BOTH done the same way: By making OBJECTS in a 3-D editor in a format that X-Plane can use. you can import that object into X-Plane to see that super-realisti building or airplane. for example. Those should be set to NONE for maximum speed! Go to the ‘Other Aircraft and Situations’ window in the ‘Settings’ menu to set the number of aircraft. so the plane reacts faster!This is more of a problem when planes have big wings.xsquawkbox. This helps frame-rate a LOT! You can use the following editors: 3DS | Autocad/DXF and then use ObjConverter. Once you have made the 3-D object (be it a building. and people will always want to make their own scenery. again. in your case. but we could always use to have more detail. a standalone converter that we offer here (somewhere): http://www.To simulate that may require a simulator to run at ONE THOUSAND frames per second! So what do YOU need for YOUR case? Well. So now your questions are obvious: 1: How do I make these 3-D objects? 2: How do I import them into X-Plane scenery to act as buildings? 3: How do I import them into X-Plane to act as aircraft? And the answers are of course to follow. so they react faster! This is more of a problem when planes have long wings because they have more leverage on the center of gravity. First let’s talk about question number 1: How do you make 3-D objects for the X-Plane world? First. Once you have made the objects in your own personal 3-D editor of choice.

lwo (lightwave object) . it can probably export one of these formats like 3ds. Then.00 or greater. you probably want to GET RID OF some. As you can imagine. this work is priced accordingly and is not inexpensive. . and you can hit control-o to look around in it. . This is easy to do: In Plane-Maker version 9. Now all you need to do is learn how to load them into the X-Plane world! First. (alias waverfront) obj. if you want a super-realistic visual aircraft model. This process includes custom one-off a kind engineering and design graphics work and we have.wrl (VRML) . you can hook any part of your object to move with any variable in X-Plane. Then they will not conflict visually with the object you built. and export them into the X-Plane OBJ format. let’s talk about loading them into the scenery engine as buildings. read in files in any of the formats above.DXF/autocad has no texturing info. powers. Bottom line is: there are a LOT of ways to get into x-plane OBJs from just about any 3d editor you can imagine.com for more information. This work can duplicate an owner’s airplane. I will NOT try to go into detail in this manual since our World-Editor is evolving so rapidly right now. including the proper placement of controls and switches.ac (ac3d files) OBJ (Alias Wavefront) 3DS Autocad/DXF .com and find and download the latest Terrain-Edit application to edit scenery in X-Plane. that X-Plane needs to know about. You will ALWAYS use Plane-Maker to make the aircraft file itself. If it isn’t on this list. instruments.txt (milkshape) And then grab AC3D. current contact information can be found at x-plane. and simply check off any parts you want to be invisible. First. That’s just from the list of export formats in the program. As well. Clearly one of the object files we discussed above.obj” appended to it and use that as the 3-D cockpit). here is the secret: The 3-D COCKPIT could easily be the ENTIRE AIRPLANE! Simply make a 3-D object that is the entire airplane. avionics and instrument panel. Now. typically about $3. Please contact Customer Service at 913-269-0976 or email at info@x-plane. even certified a few of these aircraft for use with the FAA Certified version of X-Plane.3DS doesn’t feature lines. Ok now let’s talk about using these objects as AIRPLANES. (But those parts will still have aerodynamic effect). and you have a custom 3-D aircraft model to any level of detail that you can handle! Now. A 3-D cockpit is a cockpit in X-Plane that is a 3-D object.obj”.md2 (Quake model) . landing gear. They are free! Then use “Direct export” from 3-D editors by Jonathan Harris. so that you can look simply at your amazing 3-D object without the X-Plane model getting in the way.acf file itself. you could just MAKE your objects in AC3D and then save them in the XPlane OBJ format. This will NEVER happen. no tricks.500 per file. One more note: You can NOT import some object into the X-Plane . there is one last detail: Once you have te 3-D aircraft OBJECT. OK. and then save the files in X-Plane Object format. . and even 3-D cockpit in X-Plane! (That would be the file “Example_cokpit. and then. historically. you will simply open up your 3DS or Autocad/DXF file and save it as an XPlane Object file. you can use these editors that save as these formats: . and then inside the EXAMPLE AIRPLANE folder. For pure “meshes” made with one texture. engine limits. of the DEFAULT X-Plane model. tail number. use Google Sketchup or Blender. etc.Lightwave’s texturing model doesn’t correspond to ours well. If either of these has become out-dated. now you know how to MAKE the 3-D objects. if you have installed our Export Plugin into AC3D. and other stuff to move.com. . once you have saved the object in the X-Plane OBJ format.obj” appended.I haven’t tried any of the ac3d exports except for the first 3. and then use any editor you like to make the 3-D object overlay. in AC3D with our plugin. Or. PLEASE NOTE: all of these exports are limited by file format issues: . as described above. but go to www. rig up the flight controls and any other parts to the appropriate variables in AC3D. and the arrow keys to move around inside it. using AC3D. just meshes.Using our own ObjConverter. or something. Or. down to the paint. save the object file as the aircraft-name_cockpit. Invisible Parts item. since AC3D is an editor. There is NO 3-D editor out there that knows all the weights. named as the airplane name with the words “_cockpit. This application will let you place X-Plane objects that you make wherever you like.VRML conversion between programs doesn’t usually work well. 3DS seems to be the most reliable conversion format for simple work. This shows how to customize the various textures. go to the Expert menu. Appendix E: Custom Aircraft Files Laminar Research now offers the capability to custom-create real aircraft for X-Plane on a contract basis.obj. and then grab our EXPORT PLUGIN for AC3D that lets AC3D save files in the X-Plane Object format. . X-Plane will look for any object it can find that has the aircraft name with “_cockpit. or all. and the 3-d editor is decent. You will NEVER import a 3-D object into Plane-Maker or X-Plane to be an aircraft file itself. This is how you will get flight controls. take a look in the INSTRUCTIONS folder.XSquawkBox.

This is usually not important. renderer. For example. a 6800GT and 6800 will both be listed as a “6800. CPU is 2. Also my file system is NOT case sensitive. This log file is generated automatically by Laminar Research applications and contains diagnostics about your graphics hardware.60 Beta-1 X-Plane build 86000 compiled on Nov 29 2006 11:23:04. I have 2 GB of RAM.” But this info will tell you GENERALLY what kind of card they have.40 This is the most important stuff: the OpenGL vendor.0 ATI-1. X-System folder=/code/design++/ case sensitive=0 Install location of my x-system folder. This is a “Pentium” Mac so we know it’s a new Intel Mac. and any error conditions. OpenGL Extensions:GL_ARB_transpose_matrix GL_ARB_vertex_program GL_ARB_vertex_blend GL_ARB_window_pos GL_ARB_shader_objects GL_ARB_vertex_shader GL_EXT_multi_draw_arrays GL_EXT_clip_volume_hint GL_EXT_rescale_normal GL_EXT_draw_range_elements GL_EXT_fog_coord GL_APPLE_client_storage GL_APPLE_specular_vector GL_APPLE_transform_hint GL_APPLE_packed_ pixels GL_APPLE_fence GL_APPLE_vertex_array_object GL_APPLE_vertex_program_evaluators GL_ APPLE_element_array GL_APPLE_flush_render GL_NV_texgen_reflection GL_NV_light_max_exponent GL_IBM_rasterpos_clip GL_SGIS_generate_mipmap GL_ARB_shading_language_100 GL_ARB_imaging GL_ARB_point_parameters GL_ARB_texture_env_crossbar GL_ARB_texture_border_clamp GL_ ARB_multitexture GL_ARB_texture_env_add GL_ARB_texture_cube_map GL_ARB_texture_env_dot3 GL_ARB_multisample GL_ARB_texture_env_combine GL_ARB_texture_compression GL_ARB_texture_mirrored_repeat GL_ARB_shadow GL_ARB_depth_texture GL_ARB_shadow_ambient GL_ARB_ fragment_program GL_ARB_fragment_program_shadow GL_ARB_fragment_shader GL_ARB_occlusion_query GL_ARB_point_sprite GL_ARB_texture_non_power_of_two GL_ARB_vertex_buffer_object GL_ARB_pixel_buffer_object GL_ARB_draw_buffers GL_ARB_shader_texture_lod GL_EXT_compiled_ vertex_array GL_EXT_framebuffer_object GL_EXT_texture_rectangle GL_ARB_texture_rectangle GL_ EXT_texture_env_add GL_EXT_blend_color GL_EXT_blend_minmax GL_EXT_blend_subtract GL_EXT_ texture_lod_bias GL_EXT_abgr GL_EXT_bgra GL_EXT_stencil_wrap GL_EXT_texture_filter_anisotropic GL_EXT_separate_specular_color GL_EXT_secondary_color GL_EXT_blend_func_separate GL_EXT_ shadow_funcs GL_EXT_stencil_two_side GL_EXT_texture_compression_s3tc GL_EXT_texture_compression_dxt1 GL_EXT_blend_equation_separate GL_EXT_texture_mirror_clamp GL_EXT_packed_ depth_stencil GL_EXT_gpu_program_parameters GL_APPLE_flush_buffer_range GL_APPLE_ycbcr_422 GL_APPLE_vertex_array_range GL_APPLE_texture_range GL_APPLE_float_pixels GL_ATI_texture_float GL_ARB_texture_float GL_APPLE_pixel_buffer GL_NV_blend_square GL_NV_fog_distance GL_ATI_texture_mirror_once GL_ATI_text_fragment_shader GL_ATI_blend_equation_separate GL_ATI_blend_weighted_minmax GL_ATI_texture_env_combine3 GL_ATI_separate_stencil GL_ATI_texture_compression_3dc GL_SGIS_texture_edge_clamp GL_SGIS_texture_lod GL_SGI_color_matrix This huge list is all the “opengl tricks” the card supports .32-bit color. If you need to contact tech support or file a bug. OpenGL Situation : OpenGL Vendor :ATI Technologies Inc.4. but old drivers have old OpenGL versions. please send us this file.this tells us their screen resolution . it gives you the exact app name and the date it was built.8. OpenGL Render :ATI Radeon X1600 OpenGL Engine OpenGL Version :2.Austin and I print this so that we can see what the card does for debugging .that’s not usually important.Appendix F: Log File Explained log. so you can be SURE the user is using the same build you are. so from this we can tell if they have old drivers. but doesn’t tell you exactly. tex_clamp_avail=1 add_env_avail =1 combine_avail =1 dis_fog_avail =1 tex_comp_avail =1 vbo_avail =1 vprog_avail =1 (256) fprog_avail =1 (1024/512/512/4) automini_avail =1 aniso_avail =1 fsaa_avail =1 sprites_avail =1 depth_tex_avail=1 occlude_avail =1 shad_objs_avail=1 vshader_avail =1 (16/4096/32/16/0/4096) fshader_avail =1 (4096) . Among other things. Here we have the OS version. The renderer will give you a hint about what card they have. NOTE: this file is rewritten every time you start ANY of your X-System applications. because cards come in families! The OpenGL version is not quite the same as the driver version.4. installation. Bus speed is 664 MHz . CPU type: 1765095478 (Pentium) CPU speed (mhz): 2160Bus speed (mhz): 664RAM (MB): 2048 System info .varies by machine.16 GHz. This preamble is written by all the apps. Mac OS X 10. which is what matters.you guys won’t need this. AGL_RGBA :1 AGL_DOUBLEBUFFER :1 AGL_RED_SIZE :8 AGL_GREEN_SIZE :8 AGL_BLUE_SIZE :8 AGL_ALPHA_SIZE :8 AGL_DEPTH_SIZE :32 Mac specific .txt file for X-Plane 8. CPU count = 2 This is a dual-processor machine. and version.

the error message is here. not a DLL or could not be loaded due to another missing DLL.xpl.xpl. For example. Loaded: Macintosh HD:code:design++:Resources:plugins:XPushBack. if we detect a card with a bug.xpl. Found stats plugin: 2 Found remote plugin: 4 Plugin discovery .1 OpenAL hardware : OpenAL extensions: ALC_EXT_CAPTURE ALC_ENUMERATION_EXT ALC_EXT_MAC_OSX ALC_EXT_ ASA Mac and Linux: sound info.xpl.usually this can be ignored! We don’t seem to have a lot of sound bugs on Mac. PluginAdminLin. Trying to find CFM at: Macintosh HD:code:design++:Resources:plugins:XPLM.if it fails..xpl.xpl. you may see some warning messages like “not using XXX for Intel graphics card” or something. Generally only needed by Austin and me. which can’t support Mac OS-9 style plugins. 9): no suitable image found.. Ooops! OpenAL version : 1.000000 More OpenGL diagnostics.on this machine. first eight bytes: 0x7F 0x45 0x4C 0x46 0x01 0x01 0x01 0x00 Failed: Macintosh HD:code:design++:Resources:plugins:PluginAdminLin. dlerror:dlopen(/code/design++/Resources/plugins/PluginAdminLin. plugins may insert their own message and warnings .10) framebuf_avail =1 max tex units :8 (16/8) max iso filtering:16.shlb failed CFM . (This file is missing.000000 max texture size :4096 max point size :64. Each of these “flags” will be 0 if we don’t find the driver has a trick.xpl. From this section you can figure out (1) what plugins the user has and (2) are they working? For example in this case. This means that old OS 9 plugin can’t load.xpl didn’t launch .ignore it! WARNING: command sim/autopilot/airspeed in keys file unknown. but sometimes we can tell you how to detect bugs.it’s not a real Mac plugin. Also. Did find: /code/design++/Resources/plugins/PluginAdminWin. lowest free text index=82 Austin noting to himself the next “slot” for internationalized strings .glsl_avail =1 (1.frag load failed.. (That’s because it’s for Linux) If a user has problems and a lot of plugins. the sim won’t launch.each plugin is loaded. first eight bytes: 0x4D 0x5A 0x90 0x00 0x03 0x00 0x00 0x00 Failed: Macintosh HD:code:design++:Resources:plugins:PluginAdminWin. not a DLL or could not be loaded due to another missing DLL.. Fetching for Macintosh HD:code:design++:Resources:plugins Loaded: Macintosh HD:code:design++:Resources:plugins:PluginAdminMac.xpl. or 1 if it does. XPluginReceiveMessage): symbol not found Loaded: Macintosh HD:code:design++:Resources:plugins:Position. 9): no suitable image found. ask them to try again without the plugins. Loaded: Macintosh HD:code:design++:Resources:plugins:DataRefEditorMac. Did find: /code/design++/Resources/plugins/PluginAdminLin. my card DOES support GLSL (GLSL_avail = 1).perhaps it’s not our bug! I found the following scenery packages (prioritized in this order): 0 Custom Scenery/a ksbd ground overlay/ 1 Custom Scenery/a_fac_test/ 2 Custom Scenery/beaches/ 3 Custom Scenery/EDDT light/ 4 Custom Scenery/EDTC/ 5 Custom Scenery/forests/ 6 Custom Scenery/KLIO Pursuit Field/ 7 Custom Scenery/KSBD Demo Area/ 8 Custom Scenery/Loire&LFOQ_FS2XP/ 9 Custom Scenery/LSMD/ 10 Custom Scenery/MakeItSo/ 11 Custom Scenery/PARIS_Base/ 12 Custom Scenery/roads/ 13 Custom Scenery/Test1000m/ 14 Custom Scenery/toulous/ 15 Custom Scenery/us patch/ 16 Custom Scenery/whacko_german_apt/ 17 Resources/default scenery/700 roads/ 18 Resources/default scenery/800 objects/ 19 Resources/default scenery/800 roads/ .. So you can tell if a user is getting pixel shaders this way. and on Linux if sound drivers are bad. If it does load.xpl.xpl: unknown file type.. That means I have pixel shaders both on my card and drivers that understand them. I have a key bound to an unknown command and two mappings for shift-ctrl-T.xpl: unknown file type. Loaded: Macintosh HD:code:design++:Resources:plugins:PrivateCommands. (This file is missing. WARNING: the binding T/SHIFT+CTRL is bound to two commands: sim/operation/ground_speed_change and sim/engines/ignition_down_5 Warning from the keyboard shortcuts file -.) dlerror:dlsym(0x910f9a0. This happens on any Intel Mac.) dlerror:dlopen(/code/design++/Resources/plugins/PluginAdminWin.

with 20. 32/14 at airport 4B2 We found a duplicate runway 14/32 vs. 36/18 at airport 6IL9 We found a duplicate runway 18/36 vs. this message is printed at the log.dat file. 36/18 at airport 6IL9 Warnings about apt. ask them to remove it. 18/36 at airport 30F We found a duplicate runway 36/18 vs. If they exit the sim.sandboxinfo/ 28 Resources/default scenery/DSF 820 Earth Europe/ 29 Resources/default scenery/DSF 820 Earth US/ 30 Resources/default scenery/sim objects/ 31 Resources/default scenery/x-plane terrain/ Scenery package list! This is all of the scenery we found. (2) the user emailed you the log file before quitting!! . Clean exit from threads. if a user has a crash and custom scenery. DSF load time: 365428 for file Resources/default scenery/DSF 820 Earth US/Earth nav data:+30-120/+32-119. 32/14 at airport 4B2 We found a duplicate runway 18/36 vs. first ones listed are highest priority. Preload time: 126272. dsf DSF load time: 949741 for file Resources/default scenery/DSF 820 Earth US/Earth nav data:+30-120/+32-117. 05/23 at airport EHLE We found a duplicate runway 14/32 vs. please make sure to get a bug report to ME! WARNING: Runway must have a 3-letter name. it means one of two things: (1) the user crashed. In this way we can see what scenery they were last viewing and where they were flying.. dsf DSF load time: 741874 for file Resources/default scenery/DSF 820 Earth US/Earth nav data:+30-120/+32-118.. BUT if the custom scenery causes the crash AND the custom scenery USED to work. but we have Zx at College Park WARNING: Runway has a bad number string Zx at College Park We found a duplicate runway 36/18 vs.20 Resources/default scenery/820 beaches/ 21 Resources/default scenery/820 roads/ 22 Resources/default scenery/820 us objects/ 23 Resources/default scenery/820 us objects placeholder/ 24 Resources/default scenery/820 world objects/ 25 Resources/default scenery/820 world objects placeholder/ 26 Resources/default scenery/820 world terrain/ 27 Resources/default scenery/CVS. dsf DSF load time: 741496 for file Resources/default scenery/DSF 820 Earth US/Earth nav data:+30-120/+33-119. Preload time: 719346. dsf DSF load time: 1441793 for file Resources/default scenery/DSF 820 Earth US/Earth nav data:+30-120/+33-117. 18/36 at airport 30F WARNING: Runway has a bad suffix 05u at Lelystad We found a duplicate runway 05u/23 vs. :-( Robin tries to fix these things. dsf DSF load time: 1766254 for file Resources/default scenery/DSF 820 Earth US/Earth nav data:+30-120/+33-118. dsf Preload time: 12134629. some logging info goes out.000 entries there are still some screwed up ones. If you don’t see this. Starting scenery shift at 0 DSF rotate time: 7 for 0 DSFs. Preload time: 207516. Whenever we load scenery.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful