Add-ons and customization

Flight Simulator benefits from a structure that allows users to modify almost every aspect of the game's content. File types are of several categories, allowing the modders to edit specific features with great flexibility. The game's aircraft, for example, are made up of five parts:

  • The model, which is a 3D CAD-style model of the aircraft's exterior and virtual cockpit, if applicable.
  • The textures, bitmap images which the game layers onto the model. These can be easily edited (known as repainting), so that a model can adopt any paint scheme imaginable, fictional or real.
  • The sounds, literally, what the aircraft sounds like. This is determined by defining which WAV files the aircraft uses as its sound set.
  • The panel, a representation of the aircraft's cockpit. This includes one or more bitmap images of the panel, instrument gauge files, and sometimes its own sounds.
  • The FDE, or Flight Dynamics Engine. This consists of the airfile, a *.air file, which contains hundreds of parameters which define the aircraft's flight characteristics, and the aircraft.cfg, which contains more, easier-to-edit parameters.

A great place to download add-on aircraft/scenery/etc. is


The cockpit of an add-on Hughes OH-6