• Tips & Tricks

This is a list of AviationPro's tips for your flight simulator. Many tips are included regarding what addons to install, what PC to buy and more!

Choose one of the following categories:

 Tips regarding your system

Many people ask me what kind of system I have to run Flight Simulator on. Here are my current specs since THIS video:

  • Windows 10® Pro 64-Bit
  • Intel® Core™ i7-6700K CPU @ 4.00 GHz
  • 8 GB DDR4 RAM
  • AMD R9 380, 4 GB GDDR5

My OLD specs:

– Intel® Core™ i7-2600 processor @ 3,40 GHz
– Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit
– NVIDIA® GeForce GTX460, 1 GB DDR5 memory
– 8 GB DDR3 RAM

NOTE, THE INFORMATION HERE IS BASED ON MY OLD SPECS. NEW INFORMATION WILL BE ADDED HERE SOON!

This system allowed me to run FS2004 very smoothly. I am hesitant to switch to FSX or Prepar3D though, as that would require an even stronger processor to run it the same way as I am running FS2004 now. It also depends on the future of the development in flight simulators like FSX and Prepar3D, which is now kind of on a hold.

So what should you look for when buying a new PC?

There is no single answer to this question, as there are many factors which influence the performance of your flight simulator. However, it is safe to say that FS2004, but especially FSX and new simulators like Prepar3D require a strong processor. So when you buy your PC, make sure you have a processor with high clock rates and preferably one which can be overclocked.

Another important factor is the speed at which Flight Simulator can load the textures it needs. Using Solid State Drives is perfect for Flight Simulator, as SSDs are able to load textures much more quickly compared to a hard disk, so you might want to consider to have a SSD in your PC on which you run Windows and Flight Simulator for example.

These are the two most important items, but there are many other factors. In general, these are the things to look for when buying a FlightSim PC:

  • A processor with high clocking speeds (3.4 GHz or higher, preferably Intel)
  • A Solid State Drive which runs Windows and Flight Simulator
  • Preferably 8 GB of memory
  • A good videocard (1 GB of memory, high speeds, NVidia GTX series)
  • IMPORTANT: 64-bit version of Windows. This is especially recommended for products like PMDG or iFly!
  • Preferably Windows 7, as a lot of developers do not officially support Windows 8 yet.

Tips regarding flight simulator addons

Many people ask me what kind of addons I am using for Flight Simulator 2004. I do not want to publish a full list, but I can give you the most important addons I use and some general tips when buying addons.

Addons I use

Some people do not even realize it, but I am still using Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 2004. This is quite an old simulator, but it is still being used by many people and has a great market around it. Many developers have created addons for this flight simulator for many years (and some still do), so there is a wide variety of choice!

HERE you can find out why I am still using FS2004. Because FS2004 is quite old does not mean that is looks ugly. In fact, by installing some addons this old flightsim can look pretty good, while running very smooth, which is one of the major advantages of running FS2004. By running smooth I mean two things: I always have high framerates (even with pretty heavy addons) and FS2004 does not crash randomly. With FSX I see many people have Out Of Memory problems and stuff like that, but with FS2004 99,9% of my flights are completed without any fatal error.

So what are the addons which can make FS2004 better?

  • Real Environment Xtreme

Real Environment Xtreme enhances Flight Simulator 2004’s environment greatly. It adds beautiful sky textures, HD cloud textures and default airport ground textures. This product really transforms your Flight Simulator 2004 and makes it look like the sky of the real world. Now you can fly during a beautiful and colorful sunrise and sunset. There are many different theme options which can be adjusted to the real world weather. I’d say REX is a musthave for every FS2004 user, as it is the best addon for improving the look of the environment and in particular the sky.

  • Active Sky Evolution

You might wonder why I am using another weather addon. Well, that’s because in my opinion Active Sky is better at importing the actual weather into FS2004. The weather engine of REX is not as advanced as the one of Active Sky. On the other hand, the environment textures of Active Sky are not as beatiful as REX’s textures. That means you kind of have to use both of them in order to get a great experience. I am very happy with it though. Active Sky give a very realistic portrayal of the real world weather with smooth wind and visibility changes, nice cloud transitions and accurate weather depiction.

  • Ultimate Terrain Europe

Ultimate Terrain reorganizes the whole ground texture layout of Flight Simulator. I only have Ultimate Terrain Europe, because I usually fly in Europe only. UT greatly enhances the look of the ground textures in flightsim, as it adds many roads, villages and also beautiful street lightning.  Without UT, flying over Europe is kind of boring as it looks quite empty, however with UT installed you can actually see many villages, roads, forests and also accurate depictions of lakes and other water areas. Flying at night with UT is incredible. There are many lights on the ground, which slowly appear when descending through the clouds. The textures themselves are not incredibly detailed, but since I am flying commercial flights most of the time this does not matter that much and it also doesn’t eat away any framerates.

  • FSUIPC

The last addon I am going to mention is FSUIPC. This is the famous module which allows you to configure your flight simulator the way you want it. Having the payware version of FSUIPC is kind of essential when flying with a yoke, throttle quadrant and rudder as it allows you to configure it more professionally and more accurately.

Apart from these general addons I of course have other scenery, aircraft and tool addons. I will not mention all of them here, but the main aircraft I use are the iFly Boeing 737NG, the Level-D Boeing 767-300ER and the Wilco/Feelthere ERJ-135/145.

Buying addons

Doing the Flight Simulator hobby can be enormously fun and very rewarding, however it does come at a price. If you want to make Flight Simulator look good and if you want to fly highly realistic airplanes you will have to buy addons from payware developers. Here are some tips for buying new addons:

  • Choose what you really want and need. Are you going to fly this aircraft often? Are you going to fly to this airport often? Ask yourself these questions.
  • I do recommend to buy payware aircraft addons, because that is the main part of your flight simulator, but you should consider to give FREEWARE sceneries a try. There are many great freeware sceneries out there and as long as the airport lay-out is quite up-to-date you are fine!
  • Look for the popular flight simulator addon websites like Aerosoft, Flight1 and Simmarket and make sure you check the prices of your product on each of these websites. All of them might offer the same product, but some might have reduced prices or a sale going on.
  • Some companies allow you to get a refund after x days after buying the product. Make use of this if you are starting to get doubts about the product or if the support team does not give any answers to you.
  • Look up the developer, make sure it’s a renowned one.
  • Watch reviews of the product you want to buy. This helps you take make up your mind and to remove any doubts that you may have!

These tips will help you to buy your addons better and to make a proper decision. One final note: make sure that when you buy addons you keep the product keys on a safe place. You will need them if you install Flight Simulator on a new computer. Make sure you make a backup of them in case your computer crashes!

Tips regarding improving performance

By default, FS2004 does not use all of your cores or threads when running, instead it only runs on one. This little trick will help you to let FS2004 run on more threads than just one.

More will be added to this last section soon!