Flightsim Software Enhancements
Home To get the most out of your flightsim software, there are lots of add-on programs available, many of them freeware. For my cockpit use I have installed and modified some flightsim settings that are described in this chapter.

I started off with Flight Unlimited 3 which (still) has some distinct merits compared to FS2004:   Photorealistic Scenery, very realistic flight, weather and wind modeling and nice ATC. Soaring is a joy with slope lift and thermals. There are lots of add-on airplanes and sceneries to be found in the library at The FU3 forum at  is still very much alive, and the people are very helpful.

FS2004 has more features that are great for the cockpit builder: Better interfacing of multiple joysticks, multi monitor support, and possibility for parameter extraction.
There are also loads of add-on programs, utilities and tricks that I have only started to discover. Below a list of my favorites:    

bullet On Soar website you can download Cross Country Soaring 2004 that will enable you to make use of lift generated on mountain slopes. Also random Thermals will be generated. It needs to load lift files for specific areas, that you can generate yourself, but there are ready-made lift files in the scenery download section at
Some of the lift files are generated using the high resolution mesh for New Zealand, that can be downloaded at
bulletSome of the best Gliders for FS can be found at Many of them are VET equipped, which simulates a winch start. Also vario sound is included.
Most of these gliders also have proportional spoiler function, so that the  proportionally controlled speed brake cockpit control works in a very realistic way. 
bulletOne of my favorite GA planes is the 1947 Beechcraft Bonanza A35 by John Recker. It handles very realistic, has great sounds, and with some modifications, it's panel fits nicely in my new visuals setup. The file used to be in AVsim library, but is hard to find. Therefore you can find a copy here. You also need the panel mod by John Percy, which is here. I made some modifications on the panel and sound files, see my modifications here.
bulletBuilding your own scenery in FS2004 can be done easily with RWY12 Object placer.
This great tool can be found in the AVsim library in the flightsimulator 2004 scenery design section.
bulletFor building / modifying your own airport, AFCAD2.12  (search for can be used.
bulletFor clearing a space in the bush (to remove autogen trees etc) you can use the "exclude" command, as described in the scenery sdk  fs2004_downloads_sdk.asp What you have to do is measure out the coordinates of your required clear space  and add the "exclude N-W-S-E" coordinates (in this sequence) to the scenery.cfg file as shown here.
bulletFor optimizing the FS config settings with Matrox Parhelia card, check  Recommended FS2004 settings - UPDATE OCT 2004 (oops, link no longer valid, no idea where that info went)
bulletWhen flying with dual or triple monitor setup, the cockpit view can be undocked and moved to a separate display. Outside view can then be switched to virtual cockpit for easy panning. But since you already have a cockpit view on the extra monitor, the virtual cocpit can be a bit too much, so you may want to remove it. Check Very easy way to remove a virtual cockpit how to do this.
bulletFor answering ATC in a more realistic way, you can use voice recognition. This will enable you to "talk back" commands that are converted to keystrokes to ATC,  I use Shoot 1.6.4 : (do a search on google) : It works very well, and you can have a "push to talk" option: I use the trigger button on my flightstick, that will activate the speech recognition, and also inserts a squelch pop sound: start and stop. My Shoot1.6.4 config file can be seen here. Note: You need a headset with microphone for the speech recognition to work well.
bulletFor enhancing Force Feedback, there is a (payware) utility FS-force at  that improves the MSFS force feedback  considerably.     
bulletIn some airplanes, the undocked cockpit leaves a big black space at the top: (the area where the scenery was coming through). Moving this to the second monitor leaves you with that empty black space. You can remove the empty area by editing the panel in the airplane panel folder:
Panel before and after
To shift the dials to the right place again, you also need to modify the panel.cfg file as shown here (before) and here (after)
bulletFSUIPC is a great utility when you want to connect lots of switches and rotary encoders to your cockpit. It also has very powerful analog axis calibration functions. You need the payware version this.


Some screenshots:

This great FUIII Screenshot has been provided by John Lewis, the expert in FUIII soaring.

This is a combined screenshot in FS2004 with the Parhelia card, showing ridge soaring in NZ.

I made a small bush airstrip for the ridge soaring area

Here a screen shot of Dash on Seattle approach, showing the advantage of having a wide scenery view and full cockpit view on a separate monitor. 

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