X-Plane question

So I’ve been reading all the love @BeachAV8R has been giving X-Plane over the year, and my interest is peaked.

However my biggest hang up is in my experience (admittedly, confined entirely to the MSFS Series), civilian sims never offered the same level of flight model, systems model, or just general feeling of being in the aircraft that the modern combat sims like DCS or CloD have.

So my question is how does X-Plane compare? Does it feel like you’re flying, or does it feel on rails like FSX? Are the cockpits clickable? How well does it convey the experience of flight?

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My experience is with FSX, but I think the comparison between FSX/Xplane and DCS/Falcon is similar:

The core civilian sim is typically very light on systems and generally has good flight models. My understanding is that FSX lags behind Xplane in that regard, for default planes, but that’s probably a whole flame war waiting to happen.

Terrain is a huge difference between the two - civ sims generally have the entire world modeled to about the same or better quality than default DCS/Falcon terrain - meshes, airport graphics, etc. In fact, a quip I heard once is that “DCS is an aircraft simluator, FSX is an airport simulator”, and I think that sums it up.

The power of these two civilian sims, however, is the immense library of 3rd party addons and tools. Most (if not all?) of the products @BeachAV8R has referred to in his Xplane articles are additional purchases that have their own varying level of flight model and system quality, and equally varying value. Just the types of add-ons out there is staggering: lighting mods, terrain mods, cloud mods, weather mods, camera control mods, flight planning mods, etc.

As an example, I fell in love with the idea of a super complex aircraft like the PMDG 737NGX and Flight Sim Labs’ Concorde X. I ended up pulling the trigger on Concorde, but soon realized I needed a good weather update (REX & ActiveSky) and airport upgrades (UK2000 Heathrow) to really enjoy the scene out the window. I am very pleased with all my purchases (even though the FSL Concorde X still has some bugs in it).

That said, if you’re looking to get the feeling of flying an aircraft and managing realistically complex systems in flight, do your homework on the quality of the different products out there and be prepared to spend some good money on a single aircraft. Don’t forget to check to see if you’ll need/want to spend additional money for support tools that will further improve your experience - flight planning tools, passenger/cargo utilities, AI aircraft, AI air traffic control, etc. will all cost additional money.

tl;dr You will probably not be very excited about what you get out of the box with either X-plane or FSX, but with a few additional products, you’ll easily find another way to spend all that extra free time you have laying around. :wink:


I am interested in this as well. I have MSFS but I don’t tend to dip into it as the default flight models feel too much like flying on rails and I already spend a lot of disposable income on DCS modules. I have been considering X-Plane because I hear/read/feel that it has a better ‘feeling of flight’ but I am hesitant to pull the trigger on it and add another game to my current lineup - watering down my time and spreading it too thin among too many products. Also … the add-on financial pit of dispair :slight_smile:

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So building on the X-plane questions, I’ve only played around with is a little bit, but I like what I’ve seen so far. Having said that, how do you all look around? Are you using TrackIR, because I can’t seem to get it to work right- even playing around a bit with Pilot View.

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X plane has a great flight model. Cockpits are clickable. However. X plane is heavily depend on 3rd party. Be it freeware or payware.

Alot of airports are barren. Just runways and ramps. No buildings. However with a little bit of time you can modify them yourself or search the internet and get one to download. X plane also allows you to build a plane from scratch. I ve never done it but the have a plane editor. There is some very good freeware out there for X plane in the form of planes, But if you want a study level you will have to pay for one.

I fly DCS, FSX, Falcon, and X plane. I always loved combat sims and never saw the appeal of flying a 767. THat all changed when I got X plane 10. I bought the excellent 777 by FlightFactor. Its a button pusher just like the DCS A-10C. All buttons are there. X Plane also forced me to learn about flight planning. The limited ATC made me learn a lot about SID/STARS and just flight planning in general.

Once I learned more about the civilian flight stuff. I got more interested. Flying a 777 isnt as intense as flying a A-10C in combat but it still has its moments.

I will say this there is something satisfying about landing a fully loaded 777 that is awesome.

I hope this makes sense and helps. If you do get X plane there is a bunch of stuff we can help with. Also I do believe you can down load the demo and do a test flight.

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After letting it sit in my Steam shopping cart and then forgetting about it till after the sale expired (calendars - how do they work?) I’m going to jump in at the Xmas sales I think.

I’ll miss ATC though - are there any good FSX-like ATC 3rd party things for X Plane 10?

I’ll knock out some replies to this later tonight - getting ready to go fly circles in our G1000 King Air…

A few quick comments though. Absolutely, the X-Plane demo is free from what I can recall. It has a limited demo flying area…and I’m not sure if it still limits you for time…but it would be a good indicator before you buy. I would NOT buy a disc version (I have that) and it sucks that you can’t covert it to a digital version…so I’ll probably end up rebuying it on Steam at some point. It is continuously upgraded by the developer…which is really nice.

Some good names have been working on third party stuff (Carenado, Aerosoft, Level-D) but really there are already some really high quality payware devs out there. And some of the free stuff is really good too.

The scenery isn’t up to Orbx type quality or quantity yet - but I’ve found the default stuff to be adequate…but I’m not really much of a VFR guy except for the bush flying. The terrain can be upgraded by downloading and installing (quite easy) free HD and UHD meshes that really make the scenery pop:


Regarding performance - X-Plane can bring your system to its knees if you max out everything…so be realistic and play with the settings…

I’ll be back after some circles…


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I tried the demo. Here’s the summary in-case it helps others:

  • It downloads a 5mb web installer. The install download speeds aren’t great, so took a while to go grab the other 4.65 GB for the demo.

  • The ‘out of the box’ experience is a little rough. As @BeachAV8R has said, it takes some fiddling to get nicer, so I did the following:

    • Use the ‘View / Render’ menu and ticked ‘full screen’. It defaults to a small window.

    • Set up my stick/throttle by wiggling an axis at a time, but was pretty easy to do.

    • Ticked the ‘Equipment / TrackIR’ option.

  • To get off the 2D panel then I ticked the ‘3D control’ under ‘View’ I think. Here’s how it looks:

  • The problems are with the main MFD is all stripey and corrupted. Not sure if the demo is an old build, but it’s v10.42.

  • The TrackIR works but I keep putting my view behind the headrest, as in it’s not limited in any way. In fact in this aircraft I just sat in the back and drank a scotch and looked out the side window. :smile:

  • The demo is timed to only last 15 minutes and will turn off joystick inputs after that. Just as I came into land at Kings County…

  • I couldn’t really work out ATC. I ticked ‘Flight → AI Control’ and it did start speaking to the now in-charge AI, so there looks like voice sounds back and forth for sure. It looks like you need to work out and file a flight plan rather than just VFR it though.

  • It ran very well on my [email protected], 16GB, R9290-4GB, SSD although I just left everything on defaults.

All in all, pretty interesting.


I think that MFD bug is just aircraft specific. Took up some heavy metal and it looks better now, especially at night…


Take a look as this 747 freeware. It was the last release before SSG made it Payware.

NOTE: You might have to register at the .org to download it.

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Nice - thanks!

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So I downloaded the demo and gave it a spin, and my impressions are mostly positive. I’m having a bit of an issue where using trackIR I can forcibly stick my head through the fuselage and extend my neck about 10 feet, which is… interesting to say the least. It’s definitely not as pretty as my REX’d up FSX install, but that’s not really a fair comparison to make in the first place.

But really matters is I’m enjoying even the vanilla flight models in the demo. I think I’m going to have to keep an eye out for the next time it’s on sale.

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Yep, me too. I can feel the wind in my hair… :smile:

Anyone have any ATC tips or add-ons?

For on sale, I’m fairly sure it’ll be the 50% off it usually is at Steam Xmas Sale time, so that’s when I plan to pick it up.

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X plane ATC is weak. 9 times out of ten I fly without it. Or I will use it to take off. Then I will cancel my ifr in flight and then refile once I get close to my destination.

Even with ATC on its vastly different then FSX. There are fewer hand offs. If your flying anywhere but the USA. The top cover channel is always 195.95. So once you take off you get handed off to that channel and then pretty much wont hear a thing until you get your landing assignment. They juat recently added an ATC function where it will bring up a drop down menu and show you the nearest airports.

So ATC is a work in progress but it is definitely getting better.

As for FSX and REX I have had some X plane moments that made me go wow! There is a couple of mods that are freeware that really enhance the sky.

One other thing I would like to point out to the technical folks. X plane its 64 bit as well.

Also forgot to mention. If you want to do a VFR flight. Just dont file a flight plan. X plane doesnt do VFR. As ATC improves it might but currently it doesnt.


Apologies for the necro post. I picked X-Plane up during the steam sale, and I’m certainly feeling the potential. I’m also feeling somewhat adrift.

  • Does X-Plane have any training documentation? If not is there a recommended site? Less so much aircraft fundamentals, more how to file a flight plan, how to navigate via VOR/NDB, how to interact with the ATC. Turns out these civilian planes don’t come with the $10,000,000 GPS aided laser-gyroscope INS system I’m used to in my normal rides.
  • Is there some sort of site or program that will generate missions? Like take n amount of cargo from airport y to airport x. Brief research uncovered a moderately shocking amount of derogatory talk regarding FSX’s mission system, and while that’s not exactly what I’m looking for, something along those lines wouldn’t hurt either.
  • Is there a site that is the site for third party freeware scenery and aircraft? for payware?
  • I’ve noticed that the autogen is quite liberal with it’s placement of roads. I’m not trying to slight the Oregon Department of Transportation, but I’m dubious that this stretch of coast…

Has this built up an infrastructure…

Is there anyway to tone that down?

The following link will probably help. http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?showforum=33

Not that I know of. However maybe finding a Virtual Airline might help in that regard.

YES!!! http://www.x-plane.org/

Org Store is payware, Be forewarned your wallet will cry. Also the files section is were all the downloads are. TONS and TONS of stuff.

Best thing I can tell you is adjust your roads in the rendering options.

Also If you need any hints on flight planning I can give you a few. Not sure what you are looking for in that area.

Also if you have the CPU/GPU you may want to try this site http://www.alpilotx.net/downloads/x-plane-10-hd-mesh-scenery-v3/

Its freeware HD scenery.

Also I did an AAR in the 777 for X plane a while back, Not sure if it will help you but here is the link Flying the Boeing 777 In X-Plane---AAR

And as always any questions ask!


So I picked up X-Plane on sale, but hadn’t looked at it till today.

@BeachAV8R was correct, I am now fiddling the hell out of it. I’m up to about 50GB of custom content in the last hour, and haven’t really got to downloading the aircraft yet. I may have a problem… lol


Welcome to the madness. I see you’ve already found the HD Global Scenery. There is also Ultra High Def mesh for your neck of the woods too…even more resolution than the HD mesh.




Nice - thanks, will try that next.

I’ve got my full local airport all customized and configured - it’s running surprisingly nicely so far. XTraffic, Live ATC - it’s a whole new world! :wink:

Eyefinity set-up, with PilotView limiting the TrackIR:

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Huh, those grey boxes around Sacramento look like they might cover where I got my PPL - Redding, CA…

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