FS2000 - Installing aircraft, panels or sounds:

1 - Background:

The format of aircraft has changed with each new version of Microsoft FlightSim as the complexity and accuracy of the program has increased. This page will demonstrate how to identify the different formats you may come across and how to add the aircraft to FlightSim.

2 - Downloading & Un-Ziping files:

When you download an aircraft it will be in a compressed format called a 'Zip' file, and will have the extension '.ZIP' at the end of the filename. The download is initiated by clicking on the link to the aircraft file and you will be asked where you want to save the file on your computer's hard-disk (in which directory). Depending on the size of the file and the speed of your internet connection, downloading may take anything from a few seconds to hours, although most aircraft can be obtained within a few minutes. When the download is complete, you will need to uncompress the Zip file to access the vital files inside. For this you will need a program such as WinZip or PKZip. When either of these programmes are installed you can just click on the downloaded aircraft file and its contents will be saved into a directory of your choice.

3 - What the Files do:

Within a Zip file there are a number of other files, which will include some OR all of the following:

example.AIR - the flight model (defines physical characteristics of aircraft)

example.MDL - the visual model (draws the aircraft in the flight simulator)

example.MDL.mpi - Aircraft Animator file (adds moving parts to aircraft)

example.MDL.nmp - Aircraft Animator file (adds moving parts to aircraft)

MODEL.CFG - defines alternate visual models and colours (FS98 file)

PANEL.CFG - defines panel to be used, or defines layout of panel (FS98 file)

SOUND.CFG - defines sound files to be used (FS98 file)

example.0AF -\

example.1AF \

example.2AF > texture files used to 'paint' the visual model

" " . " /

example.9AF -/

NOTE: there is a maximum of ten texture files per aircraft, although not all may be used: the number depends upon the accuracy and detail of the aircraft model.

4 - Identifying the Formats:

Please note the main differences between formats. Many of the problems people experience when adding new aircraft stem from not correctly identifying the format, and then trying to install it using the wrong method.

The un-Ziped files will contain the following.....

FlightSim 2000/98 FlightSim 95 FlightSim 5.x







" " "





" " "




" " "


NOTE: the FlightSim 2000 and FlightSim 98 aircraft formats are the same

Other files included in a ZIP file may include a text file ( example.TXT ), a graphics file showing an image of the aircraft, and files for a panel or new sounds. However, these are not vital for the installation, although storing the text file is a wise plan since it will contain very relevant information.

5 - The Microsoft Converter:

Aircraft can be converted from one format to another using the free Microsoft Flight Shop Converter. However, files can only be changed to a newer format. There are three Converters: one for FS2000, one for FS98 and one for FS95.

Before attemting to install aircraft you should download and install the Converter appropriate to your version of FlightSim:

When you install the Converter for FS98, a collection of panels are added to the FlightSim in a new sub-direcrory for converted aircraft to use. This is why you need the Converter even for aircraft that are already in the correct format: otherwise you would not get a panel! Technically, you can get around this by changing the panel, but that's another story.

6 - BAO's Flight Shop:

If you have FS5.x you need BAO's Flight Shop program. This is a commercial utility which is used to design custom built aircraft, and most of the aircraft you can install today were made using it. It is the equivalent of the Flight Shop Converter for FS2000, FS98 and FS95, in that without it aircraft will not work in FS5.x. Some aircraft will work in FS5.x WITHOUT needing BAO Flight Shop. However, there are only a few of these and their different format will be indicated on the page that you download them from. There are no aircraft of this type on these pages. BAO stands for Bruce Artwick Organisation, and it was this company which originally made FlightSim, which was then brought by Microsoft.

7 - Tips:

Create a directory to store downloaded files, and another to un-zip them into. On my computer I have set up one called: C:\Arrivals\Unzip (All downloaded files are saved to the 'Arrivals' directory, and are then unZiped into the 'Unzip' sub-directory) Read the designers' 'Readme' files! They should contain all the information you need to install the aircraft, and may suggest how to change or improve them to your specification. Download and install an aircraft manager such as JAB2000 (available from the 'Utilities for FS' download page). This particular program will allow you to assign a panel to an aircraft with just a few clicks of the mouse, as well as doing 100 other useful things.

Aircraft in FS2000 or FS98 formats: ***

NOTE: for FS98 aircraft you do not need to use the Converter that comes with FS2000 to install. The FS2000 and FS98 aircraft formats are the same. 1) Locate your FlightSim directory:

e.g. C:\Program Files\Flight Sim 2000

(Actual directory path may be different on your computer) 2) Locate your 'Aircraft' sub-directory:

e.g. C:\Program Files\Flight Sim 2000\Aircraft
NOTE: Within the 'Aircraft' sub-directory there will be a number of directories (e.g. 'B737_400' and 'Extra300' ) which contain the details of the original FlightSim aircraft, as well as a directory called 'FSFSConv' which contains additional panels for new aircraft that you add.

3) Create a new directory and name it after the aircraft you are installing.

e.g. C:\Program Files\Flight Sim 2000\Aircraft\example

(Where 'example' is the name of the aircraft) NOTE: it is best to name the directory after the Zip file: (e.g. if the Zip file is called 'BA747.ZIP' name the directory 'BA747').

4) Within it, create four new sub-directories called 'model', 'panel', 'sound' and 'texture'.

e.g. C:\Program Files\Flight Sim 2000\Aircraft\example\model

5) Un-Zip the aircraft file into a temporary directory, and move the files to the following sub-directories:

...\example - example.AIR / example.TXT
...\example\model - MODEL.CFG / example.MDL / example.MDL.mpi / example.MDL.nmp
...\example\panel - PANEL.CFG
...\example\sound - SOUND.CFG
...\example\texture - example.0AF / example.1AF / example.2AF / etc.

Names in Italics might not be included in the files you have unZiped. If you have any files remaining that are not listed above, first look in the text files that come with the aircraft to check if it mentions what to do with them. If not, move them to the '...\example' directory.

The aircraft is now installed and will appear in the list of available aircraft when you next run FS2000. NOTE: Most aircraft designed in the last year or so have Zip files that, when 'unZiped', will recreate the file structure listed above in Step 4, and place the correct files in the correct directories. If this is the case with an aircraft you have downloaded you can move the files direct to the FlightSim 'Aircraft' directory by moving a single directory (e.g. 'ba747') containing all the files.

However, sometimes the unZiping process does not place all the directories and files in a main directory (e.g. 'ba747'), or it may create a 'FlightSim 2000' or 'Aircraft' directory too!

It should be obvious whether you need to create further directories or only move some of the recreated directories. Whatever happens when you unZip, the final directory structure of the installed aircraft should end up looking like that in Step 4.


Partner Sites

Copyright 2001-2014
by FSDome.com
Privacy | Disclaimer