Installing aircraft, panels or sounds:
of aircraft has changed with each new version of
Microsoft FlightSim as the complexity and accuracy of the
program has increased. This page will demonstrate how to
identify the different formats you may come across and
how to add the aircraft to FlightSim.
- Downloading & Un-Ziping files:
download an aircraft it will be in a compressed format
called a 'Zip' file, and will have the extension '.ZIP'
at the end of the filename. The download is initiated by
clicking on the link to the aircraft file and you will be
asked where you want to save the file on your computer's
hard-disk (in which directory). Depending on the size of
the file and the speed of your internet connection,
downloading may take anything from a few seconds to
hours, although most aircraft can be obtained within a
few minutes. When the download is complete, you will need
to uncompress the Zip file to access the vital files
inside. For this you will need a program such as WinZip
or PKZip. When either of these programmes are installed
you can just click on the downloaded aircraft file and
its contents will be saved into a directory of your
- What the Files do:
Zip file there are a number of other files, which will
include some OR all of the following:
- the flight model (defines physical characteristics of
- the visual model (draws the aircraft in the flight
- Aircraft Animator file (adds moving parts to aircraft)
- Aircraft Animator file (adds moving parts to aircraft)
- defines alternate visual models and colours (FS98 file)
- defines panel to be used, or defines layout of panel (FS98
- defines sound files to be used (FS98 file)
> texture files used to 'paint' the visual model
" . " /
there is a maximum of ten texture files per aircraft,
although not all may be used: the number depends upon the
accuracy and detail of the aircraft model.
- Identifying the Formats:
note the main differences between formats. Many of the
problems people experience when adding new aircraft stem
from not correctly identifying the format, and then
trying to install it using the wrong method.
files will contain the following.....
2000/98 FlightSim 95 FlightSim 5.x
FlightSim 2000 and FlightSim 98 aircraft formats are the
files included in a ZIP file may include a text file (
example.TXT ), a graphics file showing an image of the
aircraft, and files for a panel or new sounds. However,
these are not vital for the installation, although
storing the text file is a wise plan since it will
contain very relevant information.
- The Microsoft Converter:
can be converted from one format to another using the
free Microsoft Flight Shop Converter. However, files can
only be changed to a newer format. There are three
Converters: one for FS2000, one for FS98 and one for FS95.
attemting to install aircraft you should download and
install the Converter appropriate to your version of
install the Converter for FS98, a collection of panels
are added to the FlightSim in a new sub-direcrory for
converted aircraft to use. This is why you need the
Converter even for aircraft that are already in the
correct format: otherwise you would not get a panel!
Technically, you can get around this by changing the
panel, but that's another story.
- BAO's Flight Shop:
have FS5.x you need BAO's Flight Shop program. This is a
commercial utility which is used to design custom built
aircraft, and most of the aircraft you can install today
were made using it. It is the equivalent of the Flight
Shop Converter for FS2000, FS98 and FS95, in that without
it aircraft will not work in FS5.x. Some aircraft will
work in FS5.x WITHOUT needing BAO Flight Shop. However,
there are only a few of these and their different format
will be indicated on the page that you download them from.
There are no aircraft of this type on these pages. BAO
stands for Bruce Artwick Organisation, and it was this
company which originally made FlightSim, which was then
brought by Microsoft.
directory to store downloaded files, and another to un-zip
them into. On my computer I have set up one called: C:\Arrivals\Unzip
(All downloaded files are saved to the 'Arrivals'
directory, and are then unZiped into the 'Unzip' sub-directory)
Read the designers' 'Readme' files! They should contain
all the information you need to install the aircraft, and
may suggest how to change or improve them to your
specification. Download and install an aircraft manager
such as JAB2000 (available from the 'Utilities for FS'
download page). This particular program will allow you to
assign a panel to an aircraft with just a few clicks of
the mouse, as well as doing 100 other useful things.
in FS2000 or FS98 formats: ***
FS98 aircraft you do not need to use the Converter that
comes with FS2000 to install. The FS2000 and FS98
aircraft formats are the same. 1) Locate your FlightSim
Files\Flight Sim 2000
directory path may be different on your computer) 2)
Locate your 'Aircraft' sub-directory:
Files\Flight Sim 2000\Aircraft
NOTE: Within the 'Aircraft' sub-directory there will be a
number of directories (e.g. 'B737_400' and 'Extra300' )
which contain the details of the original FlightSim
aircraft, as well as a directory called 'FSFSConv' which
contains additional panels for new aircraft that you add.
a new directory and name it after the aircraft you are
Files\Flight Sim 2000\Aircraft\example
'example' is the name of the aircraft) NOTE: it is best
to name the directory after the Zip file: (e.g. if the
Zip file is called 'BA747.ZIP' name the directory 'BA747').
it, create four new sub-directories called 'model',
'panel', 'sound' and 'texture'.
Files\Flight Sim 2000\Aircraft\example\model
the aircraft file into a temporary directory, and move
the files to the following sub-directories:
- example.AIR / example.TXT
...\example\model - MODEL.CFG / example.MDL / example.MDL.mpi
...\example\panel - PANEL.CFG
...\example\sound - SOUND.CFG
...\example\texture - example.0AF / example.1AF / example.2AF
Italics might not be included in the files you have
unZiped. If you have any files remaining that are not
listed above, first look in the text files that come with
the aircraft to check if it mentions what to do with them.
If not, move them to the '...\example' directory.
aircraft is now installed and will appear in the list of
available aircraft when you next run FS2000. NOTE: Most
aircraft designed in the last year or so have Zip files
that, when 'unZiped', will recreate the file structure
listed above in Step 4, and place the correct files in
the correct directories. If this is the case with an
aircraft you have downloaded you can move the files
direct to the FlightSim 'Aircraft' directory by moving a
single directory (e.g. 'ba747') containing all the files.
sometimes the unZiping process does not place all the
directories and files in a main directory (e.g. 'ba747'),
or it may create a 'FlightSim 2000' or 'Aircraft'
be obvious whether you need to create further directories
or only move some of the recreated directories. Whatever
happens when you unZip, the final directory structure of
the installed aircraft should end up looking like that in