New X-Plane Essentials?

Hi team,

I know this is slightly off-topic, but being new to X-Plane (got X-Plane 11 from the Steam sale a couple of weeks ago) I’m finding it a bit confusing to get a good understanding of what add-ons to get and what are the best resources to use for your due diligence etc.

Some of the beautiful screenies posted in the xmas thread make my default landscapes / weather / planes seem rather bleak - also, being used to DCS-level systems modelling the default planes seem, well, just a bit undercooked, I guess?

Our flying preferences & priorities obviously vary, but are there any absolute go-to modules / add-ons that one should pretty much 100% get for X-plane 11 before even worrying about other modules?

I’m sad that the Air Hauler isn’t available for X-Plane 11: that would be an immediate buy for me.

1 Like

Hi @Bearhedge - I split this off the big ol X-Plane topic as that has 500+ posts. We’re encouraging people to start new topics a bit more, so hope you don’t mind as it makes stuff easier to find for others.

For landscape/scenery have you see the X-Plane Ortho stuff?

For aircraft, what sort of thing are is your preference, i.e. small bush planes or large 737 tubeliners etc?

1 Like

I’d say essentials are HD and/or UHD mesh:

Other than that - if you are new to X-Plane, some of the default aircraft are very good…so you may want to explore those a bit first before branching out. The default MD-80 is really nice looking…


No trouble at all re thread split.

I feel a bit cautious to post a question that I’ve seen asked around the interwebs many times before but the reality is that the quality of responses in different forums varies so much (and may contain outdated info) that I’d rather ask here - the general tone on these forums is really helpful and informative. :slight_smile:

Thank you for the Ortho guide - I’ll have a good read; even the term ‘ortho’ is new to me but reading the guide should help!

In terms of aircraft, I am quite flexible but my real life schedules do fit relatively short sessions well, so that probably sets the scene a little bit.

Purely in terms of aircraft preference, probably more bush-type stuff - I don’t have a huge desire for tubeliners in general, although I’m sure I could get excited over a good module. I like stick and rudder but it’s nice to have a system or two to learn as well so the tiniest, slowest most basic bush plane might get a bit old.

Recently I’ve spent a lot of time flying the UH-1H Huey and Mi-8 in DCS - being low amongst the hills and landing on challenging hillsides to plant SAM teams under the enemy’s nose has been some of the most fun I’ve had in sims.

A study-level twin-engine with short-field capability and a few systems to get one’s head around would probably be right up my alley! (not asking for much I’m sure).

Really keen to hear people’s thoughts and thank you in advance.


Glad you found us.

One thing I’d caution you on is that XP11 just technically left beta…so we are sort of close to where a bunch of XP10 users have moved to XP11. Therefore, a lot of developers still haven’t updated their XP10 aircraft to XP11 (but a lot have too). So whenever you are buying something - do some research and make sure you are getting an XP11 compatible aircraft.

For twin engine short-field - it’d be hard to beat the Twin Otter:


HD (or UHD mesh) is free and a must. Otherwise there are some amazing free and payware airports out there. I’m on my phone and searching is cumbersome but look up Jamestown, VA (USA) on It has loads of animation and vegetation and is almost a game unto itself. (And free). Do just those two things and you will snag screenshots that will approach (but oddly never quite achieve) the quality stuff produced by @BeachAV8R


Nice thread! In terms of plugins …

I get a kick out of this guy’s voice as he sounds like the IKEA guy. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Hi Bearhedge!
For a STOL twin engine Carenado’s Dornier Do 228 is also a very nice plane. It is very comparable to the Twin Otter, get whichever one you prefer. There is also a very good freeware Let L-410 which should be upgraded to X-Plane 11 or maybe has been already. (Am on the phone, will look up links later). The Let has a Soviet feel to its cockpit, more like an Mi-8.

As others have said, there are 2 options: the AlPilotX HD Mesh, which can be downloaded and simply dropped into your X-Plane.
Or the slightly more difficult, but also better looking and more sizeable in terms of bytes Ortho4XP.

If you want to download airports, you also need to download a lot of libraries from the master list of libraries on which is why I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Also, be aware they may not play well with Orthos in mountainous areas.

1 Like

Sooo, I am going to buy XP11 this weekend. At least thats the plan :slight_smile:

And I would like to fly over nice looking Europe scenery = photo scenery with corectly placed buildings, roads, trees and forests.

What I will need to achieve this?

  1. ortho4xp - for photo scenery build according to great guide from @fearlessfrog

Point 1 is clear to me but what next is not exactly. Could it be like this?:

  1. hd mesh scenery v4 - for beter mesh data according to great guide from @fearlessfrog

  2. simheaven x-europe2 for the OSM data

Is this enough for scenery looking as real as it gets? Or is there anything else to use instead? thx in advance for the suggestions

1 Like

I’ve got some suggestions…but I’m running out the door in a minute so I’ll get back with you.

No prob, I have planty of time… first I need to pay, download… :slight_smile:

You can definitely build your own ortho as @fearlessfrog has done - but you can also find some good pre-built ortho from others who have done some of that work for you. Here is a sight that has a large portion of western Europe done already (they’ve also done Florida and some of the Caribbean too):

For mesh - yes, hard to do better than the stuff that alpilotx puts out:

And I may be wrong - but I think the X-Plane 11 demo only limits you to X minutes, but I don’t know that it is necessarily limited to a scenery demo area. I think that if you install mesh + ortho, you can still go fly there during your demo. At least, that’s the way it was in the past. The demo just doesn’t include the Laminar Research scenery/mesh…but if you put in your own, the airports (I think) will be in the database and be drawn on your 3rd party add-ons. So you can still try the demo, install that stuff above, and check it out prior to purchase.

I’m having good results with SkyMax Pro and Real Weather Connector lately. Others like X-Enviro.

1 Like

Same. It has a FPS penalty…and it does still have that thing where it feels like it is drawing a large circle of weather around your airplane at high altitude, but since almost all of my flying in X-Plane has been low to mid-altitude stuff, I almost ever notice it. I do hate that they are separate products though…I would really prefer a one-solution product.

Yes…I see some pics of X-Enivro that look great…and others that make it look rather flat and 2D. I haven’t dipped into that product yet because I’m pretty satisfied with SkyMaxx.

But all of it just begs the question why Laminar can’t just make something great for their base product. ??? Guess their focus is elsewhere…

this sounds worth a try. Let me see… :slight_smile:

thx also for the other sugestions guys, keep em comin.

Edit: no luck yet. I have instaled zonephoto and HD mesh v4 for particular part of EU. I have the corect order in the scenery_packs.ini but I see nothing in that particular area. Just airport surounded by water. hmm…

They may have, through some programming-fu, made it not possible to use add-on stuff during the demo perhaps. It used to be the way I described for XP10, but 11 might have prohibited that…

I believe that XP11 demo has been changed to be limited to just the KSEA area.

1 Like

They are on top of it. Bet their certificates don’t expire. :thinking:

… before XP-12 is released :blush: