Microsoft Flight Simulator
This page is designed to help you get started in your collection of Microsoft Flight Simulator files and information.
I assembled these links back when I was into Flight Simulator 98 and 2000.
Most of it should still be applicable to later versions (FS2002, FS2004, FSX).
The links were last checked on 2008-03-26.
1. General Sites
- The emphasis seems to be on news. I usually jump straight to the download library.
- You have to login to download files, but it's worth it! There's a huge library of files on this site, and plenty of info as well, including reviews. I love the search engine. There's also a forum. I use the main menu as my starting point.
- This is Microsoft's "blog site" about FS. It's pretty easy to navigate and has lots of introductory info and news.
- Microsoft FSX home page
- The FSX home page is simple, attractive, and focused on marketing.
- Search and you will find lots of tips, reviews, etc.
- SimTakeoff (was Cranenburgh)
- The design is a little chaotic and the content is mostly out of date, but the writing is friendly and enthusiastic. There are usually descriptions of each category at the top of each page.
- AVSim - FSX Aircraft
- Login Required. Thousands of aircraft, most with at least one picture.
- FlightSim - Aircraft
- Login required. Use search. Tons of aircraft, nice pictures.
- Fly Away - FSX Aircraft
- The links are for prop planes. You can use the drop-down to find commercial jets, military aircraft, helicopters, vintage, etc.
- Simviation - Downloads
- Organized by FS version and aircraft type: Civilian Jets, Props, Military, Helicopters, Vintage.
- SimTakeoff - FS2000 Aircraft
- Some pictures.
These were useful for FS98, but not needed for FS2000 or later, which has built-in weather generation and downloading.
- Real Weather for FS Pilots
- By Curt Olson. Contains METAR and SAO data. I used to download my METAR data from here (saving it as metar.txt). This site also contains links to the RealWeather software.
- NOAA Metar FTP Site (times out as of 2008-03-26)
- METAR data for the previous day. There are 24 files here. I think 21Z.TXT = 9PM-10PM. I haven't tried any of these yet.
As a test, I searched the following sites for "Bellingham" (WA) and "Charlottesville" (VA), two cities where I've lived. Here I report the number of hits, some of which aren't actually scenery.
- AVSim - Search
- Test results: Bellingham 5, Charlottesville 4. Select "Microsoft Flight Simulator" category to eliminate non-FS results.
- FlightSim - Search
- Test results: Bellingham 4, Charlottesville 8. Login required. Nice search engine.
- simFlight - Search
- Test results: Bellingham 1, Charlottesville 0.
- Fly Away
- Test results: Bellingham 0, Charlottesville 0.
- Simviation - Search
- Test results: Bellingham 1, Charlottesville 2.
- SimTakeoff - FS2004 Files
- Test results: Bellingham 0, Charlottesville 0. Search is at bottom of page.
14. Other Stuff
- Trav's FS98 Screen Grabs
- Comparison of hardware versus software rendering of the same view, as seen on the ATI Xpert98 graphics card.