Microsoft Flight Simulator X

10+ Best Add-ons to Make FSX Look & Feel More Realistic

Realism, consideration to element, and absolute authenticity are at the heart of any top-notch flight simulation experience. Whether it is how genuine the planes themselves look, or the eye to element on the various well-known airports which might be themselves household names around the globe, it is debatable that the actual journey of flight simulation begins once one begins to discover the abundance of extra decisions obtainable.

Fighters flying over water in FSX demonstrating the realistic sky and water textures available to download.

Indeed, whereas Microsoft Flight Simulator X is probably the platform that exhibits the gateways to the digital world, it is the add-ons that hold the keys to opening them and really exploring what lays beyond every one. Such is the great thing about flight simulation and the small print and knowledge these add-ons present, that the experiences are probably countless and depart the pilot with a plethora of opportunities to select from.

The add-ons and mods featured under are primarily (principally) freeware.  Nevertheless, to make things clear, all payware choices have been marked in the header with, “(Payware)”.

Compatibility with Steam Edition and P3D(v4).

Also value noting, we now have ensured that all the mods featured under are suitable with the Steam Edition of FSX.  Lastly, a few of the add-ons may also work with Prepar3D and even P3Dv4 – it’s just a case of making an attempt them out.

As this article is sort of prolonged, you’ll be able to bounce to individual sections utilizing the links under;

With that in thoughts, then, here a number of the greatest add-ons obtainable for FSX that contribute tremendously to attaining such realism, sensible graphics and surroundings and naturally authenticity.

AI Visitors

While there’s a lot focus – and rightly so – on the specifics of the planes themselves and even the airports upon strategy and landing, a number of the most necessary features of flight simulation for that all-around authentic feel is AI visitors. Principally, the correct and lifelike exercise happening all around you as you go about your missions.

This background exercise takes locations utterly independently of your actions, a lot as it might in real life, which means not solely is it enthralling to watch but you, because the pilot of your personal aircraft, have to be utterly conscious and prepared to react accordingly to any given state of affairs.


As you may think, such points of flight simulation as AI visitors might be topic to constant change and updates. As occasions goes on, usually speaking, the small print enhance and, in flip, the overall experiences grow to be ever-more lifelike.

World of AI airline traffic logos.

With that in mind, then, it is going to be properly value exploring – and putting in – the World of AI Installer – which you will want for any such World of AI releases sooner or later. Upon getting this installer in place in your system, it can provide an avalanche of freeware AI visitors that may contribute to making your simulated flight expertise all the more real.

What’s more, this add-on installer is suitable with both FSX and FS2004. Primarily, in case you are wanting to spend a long time within the virtual skies, then ultimately – if it is authenticity you seek – you’re going to have to add the World of AI Installer.

View/download over in the file library right here.  You’ll additionally want the AI visitors packages that go together with the installer, which may be downloaded right here.

Visitors 360 (Payware)

OK, so after you have the WOAI installer (above) and you’ve got played round with it, it’s your decision one thing more superior. And Visitors 360 is probably the most effective options for AI visitors out there. With over 2,000 new aircraft variants and a whopping half one million flight plans, this Visitors 360 model makes use of authentic real-life flight schedules which span the complete planet.

United Airlines aircraft at gates using Traffic 360 in FSX.

Briefly, by incorporating Visitors 360 into your flight simulation arsenal, the simulation instantly becomes as shut to the actual factor as one can get with out truly setting foot inside a real aircraft. In reality, it’s the realism that makes it stand out so much from comparable add-ons which have come earlier than it.

All features of flight simulation have been catered for, both within the air and on the bottom at your chosen airport with a few of the greatest animations relating to the finer elements of aviation obtainable for the virtual pilot. Even the 29 new sounds and audio options – which once more contribute significantly to the general realism – make Visitors 360 properly well worth the small cost for its use.

As well as several business airliners included in the program – civilian and cargo – there’s also a large array of army aircraft (including helicopters), in addition to other basic aviation aircraft. Moreover, the supply of the Visitors Control Centre really helps the digital aviator expertise by providing an insight into such a world by means of the eyes of these guiding and touchdown the relentless tide of plane coming in from everywhere in the world.

This can be a paid-for product and could be purchased over at SimShack here (with fast obtain after purchase).

Mesh Scenery

In fact, once you take a peek outdoors of your virtual cockpit, what you see there goes just as a lot in the direction of the overall expertise as what’s inside. Certainly, a lot as you’d from an actual aircraft, as soon as you’re up within the air, as much as going from A to B is the objective, the beautiful views such travel gives is, at the least for some, as a lot part of the rationale why aviation and flight – virtual or otherwise – is so enthralling within the first place as anything.

With that stated, then, what is on supply to the attention wants to be match for visual consumption. And with improvements occurring all the time, the following add-ons are maybe essential for virtual pilots who want to respect the great thing about travel from the air when it comes to the element outdoors the cockpit as much as in.

FreeMeshX International Terrain Mesh Surroundings

So, with that in mind, it’s perhaps very much value considering the FreeMeshX which, once put in, will exchange and update the terrain inventory for FSX, FSX: SE and P3D packages.

FreeMeshX realism add-on in FSX

This program additionally options meshing that’s LOD10 (38m) for the vast majority of the planet, which is a large improvement on the earlier variations which ranged between LOD6 to LOD9. This consists of the rest of the North American continent (the US is already at LOD10), all of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, in addition to Oceania.

We should always word, that whereas there could also be some minimal modifications and improvements to Antarctica, Greenland and the areas of Russia which lay past the 60N latitude line, most of these three areas should be at LOD9, no less than for the foreseeable future.

Download from the file library here.

FreeMeshX USA LOD-12 Mesh Scenery Add-On

While america is already at the highest potential terrain degree of detail out of the field (and the identical degree as the standard FreeMeshX package deal above), the FreeMeshX USA LOD-12 shall be of specific curiosity to anyone who likes to discover the USA from the virtual skies because it brings the USA terrain up to LOD-12 degree of detail.

LOD-12 scenery being used in FSX.

There’s much improved and finer detailed terrain over most areas of America. Nevertheless, whereas such intriguing and delightful areas as Hawaii and the mysterious and brutal landscapes of Alaska are still awaiting vital improvements, we might think about it will certainly solely be a matter of time.

It is nonetheless very a lot value installing for many who wish to traverse over the majestic landscapes of the USA. And what’s more, it is suitable with all versions of FSX, including the Steam Edition, in addition to all versions of Prepar3D. Furthermore, there isn’t any need to download the N40W085.bgl fix as that is additionally included inside the program.

View/download over in the file library.

Airport Enhancements

As aviation fans and specialists might be more than aware, every airport – notably a number of the smaller ones – have their quirks, seems to be, and uniqueness that makes them stand out from one another. Whether or not it’s the composition or distinct colour of the tarmac on the runway, or the best way lush greenery separates the landing strips, or even how the lights seem upon strategy, the finer details out there in a few of the airport enhancement packages make all of the difference.

Airport Floor Texture Upgrade

As the title suggests, this specific add on focuses on the looks and texture of the bottom and runways of the world’s airports. Whereas this may sound trivial, such element typically makes the distinction between an “OK” flight simulation experience and a genuinely genuine one.

Ground texture upgrade package in use.

So, whether you’re approaching one of many world’s largest and state-of-the-art airports, or a single runway out-of-the-way place in the midst of the nation, what you see on your pc display can be as shut as dammit to what you’d see in the event you peered out of a real cockpit window as you introduced your aircraft into land.

Adding a fair further degree of authenticity is the “weathering effects” and basic wear-and-tear on the runways themselves, proper down to the person cracks within the tarmac.

Seize the file in the library here.

High Definition Airport Parking &#zero38; Jetways

Suitable with the FSX, including Steam Version and Prepar3D, the HD add-on of airport parking and jetways is one other typically missed little additional that packs a punch far above its weight when it comes to element and that eternal search for sensible views from the cockpit.

HD Airport ramps and jetways add-on.

Certainly, with this add-on, each once you prepare to depart out of your chosen location to whenever you arrive at your vacation spot, it’ll look to you in the digital world very much as it might in the actual one. It’s the general readability that the add-on supplies that makes this a necessity for many who want to wrangle out each final drop of realism from their digital flying experience.

View/obtain within the file library here.

Photoreal Surroundings

Relying on what sort of aircraft you’re flying and, in flip, at what altitude you’re operating at, determines how a lot of the terrain under you possibly can see. What is for positive, nevertheless, with the varied photoreal surroundings add-ons – lots of which are utterly free, for example – will probably be detailed and genuine in the extreme.

Our article about FSX photoreal scenery.

So whether or not you’re ferrying business civilian airways throughout the metropolis-splashed landscapes of america or most of “modern” Europe, or whether or not you taking smaller, single-engine planes to take a look at the wonders of the ancient worlds in modern-day Asia or the Center East, it maybe goes with out saying that whatever you’re looking down upon from your virtual cockpit, wants to be as real looking as attainable.

Useless to say, the Photoreal Scenery add-ons is probably nearly as good a spot as any to start once you would like to begin fleshing out your environments, and will for sure, make the world you’re about to discover from the comfort of your pc chair as close to the actual factor as is at present attainable.

This matter deserves an entire article to itself – you’ll be able to read our whole article masking the newest photoreal surroundings for FSX right here.

Surroundings Enhancements

OK, so there’s a lot obtainable when it comes to additional and more genuine detail for the airports, the runways, the format of the a number of the most iconic and historic cities everywhere in the planet, not to point out such details because the mountains, vast landscapes, fields, and natural formations, nevertheless, what about such additional features.

Options such because the moon, for instance, or certainly the further format of the night time sky, and the celebs and planets, in addition to more terrestrial details resembling vastly totally different terrains of the planet under. From the jagged mountains to the open seas, a number of the surroundings enhancement add-ons simply go that little bit additional in turning up the realism another notch and making your chosen flight all of the extra authentic.


Many people want flight simulator to be as close as attainable to real life, for this reason PC Pilots are looking for shifting seats, vibrating joysticks and different enhancements, nevertheless individuals tend to overlook concerning the business aspect of real life.

On one hand, individuals need to expertise not solely “the real deal”, however then again, the business cannot be absolutely simulated without the business finish. That is why I would really like to share my experience with FsPassengers X (for Flight Simulator X).

Passengers list in FSPassengers
Passengers listing in FSPassengers

Normally, FsPassengers/FsPassengers X is built as a device that permits the PC Pilot to create his own airline and expertise – the dream mixture between management and piloting.

Just after creating your airline there’s a selection between enjoying from scratch which means the PC aviator has to work his approach up the aviation ladder and getting airtime on the clock (very close to real life). The second choice is skipping the sort scores and permitting the PC pilot to fly any aircraft he needs with the option to choose the sum of money the corporate begins off with.

Aircraft load screen
Plane load display

The financial selection is a crucial one because it influences drastically the purchasing and sustaining of your fleet. After you will have completed selecting your organization state of affairs you possibly can select the truth settings and regulate them to your wants: mechanical failures, the harshness of the varied Penalties, the foreign money for monetary info and lots of more.

After finishing the initial setup of your organization it’s time to hit the sky. Before starting a flight the pilot needs to buy the selected plane for the airline. The aircraft market provides the pilot/manager the choices of selecting a used aircraft for a cheaper worth however with the danger of buying a poorly maintained aircraft from the previous consumer (with the danger of costly long-term permanent maintenance) or the option of buying a totally new aircraft for a high worth, your selection what to do, however assume properly, that’s my tip of the day.

The second and in addition essential a part of being a profitable airline is the ticket and onboard service worth towards the service high quality. When you begin off your airline may have a decrease fame which suggests lower load factor (my tip: lower your ticket worth a bit bit to appeal to clients). The status will rise with on-time schedule performance and an excellent after flight report in your pilot logbook.

Company manager screen in FS Passengers
Firm supervisor display in FS Passengers

I used FS Passengers with Flight Simulator 2004 and FSX and I can inform you that the logbook and all the other add-on options made me experience the simulator extra intensively. The logbook made me fly extra rigorously because the logbook screens all flight phases and it consists of them in your report, which means you actually have to fly disciplined and comply with all air visitors guidelines and laws, another trace, don’t overlook to make a pleasant protected landing at the end.

FsPassengers works with all variations of FSX together with the Steam Edition and all variations of Prepar3D (together with P3Dv4).  This add-on is great enjoyable and may add that additional degree of realism not often present in a flight simulation package deal alone.  You’ll be able to grab the software over on the FsPassengers website right here.

HD Moon Texture V3.0

For many who like night time flying, a big part of the experience is how the moon may seem like a permanent companion on such flights. With V3 of the moon texture add-on, it should routinely update and exchange the features of its previous variations.

HD moon textures being used in FSX.

What this means, then, is that every facet of the lunar service, its positioning, what’s seen and when, is introduced to you in larger element than ever before. And the probabilities are, if you are interested in the upgrading how the texture of nearest cosmic neighbor appears, then you will very doubtless be thinking about our subsequent add-on.

Download from the file library here.

AutoStar X

Probably the most fashionable current add-ons is the AutoStar X which not only adds new and higher details to the night time skies for night time flyers, however the placements of the planets and star techniques is astronomically accurate, no matter any “date” you choose to fly. Whereas it’d appear to be a trivial add-on when the actual focus is the car and the flight itself, the AutoStar X adds so much that it will be to the consumer’s detriment to not set up it.

Night stars in FSX.

Indeed, quite than simply flying into and thru a perpetual blackness, this add-on actually brings your digital night time skies to life with splashes of correct star formations and planets, all of which aren’t only right within the positioning/dates, but in addition will shine and glow in sympathy with their real versions making your nighttime flights as authentic as potential.

Even more superb and bringing much more life to this add-on is the truth that you just may witness the odd meteor move by your digital cockpit and even an eclipse. Whether it is realism you need – and most virtual flyers do – then this simply missed add-on will convey it, albeit discreetly, in absolute abundance.

Grab the add-on over in the file library here.

HDE Sky Textures

Even in case you are flying through the daylight, whether or not it’s early morning, in the midst of the afternoon or within the early night, you need to get the identical out of your virtual surroundings as whenever you take to the star-splashed night time skies.

HD Sky textures and clouds being used.

With that in mind, then, you may wish to take a look at V2 of the HDE Sky Textures add-on, which assists significantly in bringing the skies to life, wherever you’re and at no matter time of day you would like to journey.

And that amount of detail is probably greatest reflected within the information that the consumer will achieve access to 140 totally different sky textures, each of which comes with further decisions and particulars.

Grab the mod from our downloads part here.

Street Textures Surroundings

In the same approach that the above add-ons all add that additional little little bit of element to the virtual flying experience, so does the Street Textures Scenery add-on, which brings alive already accurate depictions of a few of the world’s most well-known cities, by adding in shifting visitors, or indeed having none, as well as numerous lighting effects.

Better road textures add-on for FSX.

For many who like to partake in lower altitude flying, as well as for anybody who enjoys taking within the scenery when coming into land, this add-on supplies a strong amount of element and is something any virtual pilot ought to look to put to good use.

Obtain the mod over in the file library page right here.

Flight Simulator Water Configurator

Provided that, roughly, two-thirds of the Earth is roofed by water, with numerous oceans and seas separating land mass, as well as lots of of great lakes and rivers slicing their means inland, it might make sense for many who are wanting to get as much realism as potential out of their virtual flights to additionally take a look at including as a lot element and realism to the water methods of the world beneath them as the varied terrains of the land.

Flight Sim Water Configurator cover artwork.

What’s more, not only does the water configurator change the shading and look of the water under – right down to the glare of the sun of the waves – however it also accounts and adjusts accordingly for small areas of water on the runway, or certainly complete saturation if flying in the midst of a rain storm, for instance.

Because of the power for this shading of the water – which any consumer can now manipulate to their own ends in actual time without having to restart or reinstall – the looks of such wet surfaces, in addition to flights over vast oceans, signifies that digital flight takes one other step ahead when it comes to realism and authenticity.

Obtain the installer/mod in our file library right here.

Alternative Water Textures

With all the above in mind, virtual flyers may want to take a look at the FGSX Alternative Water Textures add-on, which offers that little bit of extra detail to the waters under. That is an add-on perhaps especially to digital flyers who conduct lots of their flights in or around coastal areas of the world.

New water textures being used in FSX.

This add-on brings into focus far more sharply the various water ranges and “roughness” of the waters under. For example, as you near the coast and the waters develop into a lot shallower, the element and texture under will clearly mirror that and so adding yet one more layer of element that contributes to a extra lifelike experience.

Provided that this specific add-on is free to use and obtain, and like all the others mentioned above conforms to and is suitable with FSX, Steam Version and Prepar3D, it might be a disgrace to depart it out of your flight simulation software bag.

Download the file from our library right here.

Payware Add-ons

Whereas a lot of the above add-ons are free, or of minimal cost, there are, in fact, numerous different such payware add-ons, every of which brings their own specific twists and additions to digital flying. And what’s more, and nearly as good as the free add-ons undoubtedly are, due to the entry these “professional” packages often have to genuine flight info – every now and then including army data – as well as direct involvement with aviation professionals, including using genuine pilot coaching packages, the payware add-ons are very often a number of the slickest and most detailed packages to be found.

Falcon 50EX on ramp.

In reality, it’s due to the good high quality of the hundreds of freeware add-ons obtainable that makes the vast majority of those charge-for packages even better, with business specialists absolutely conscious of having to justify such a cost in comparison to such freeware. And that isn’t a nasty thing, for either aspect, or certainly, you, the pilot and shopper.

What’s extra, in the unlikely event that you simply run into hassle with any of the paid-for add-ons, there’s often access to on-line help, which means you gained’t be stuck on the virtual runway for lengthy when you make it recognized you want help.

And perhaps above all else, the sheer selection of automobiles, airports, terrain, even boats from which to launch your mission from, principally something related to aviation you’ll be able to shake a digital windsock at could be very possible to be obtainable – for a small charge, in fact.

We’ve a devoted payware retailer referred to as SimShack which shares hundreds of pay-for add-ons for FSX, P3D, and X-Aircraft.  Go to and browse our SimShack website right here.

Use of Freeware Expansions

Whatever model of Microsoft Flight Simulator X you start with, it will be important to utilize and (actually) benefit from the FSX add-ons, which are freeware extras that improve the general flying expertise dramatically.

The free ANA 787 available from the Fly Away Simulation downloads library.

Moreover, for probably the most part, these add-ons give the digital pilot the facility to personalize and control much of their surroundings as attainable. So, should you choose to add-on climate circumstances and surroundings modifications, you’ll be able to perhaps work flying while at the mercy of the elements or flying through the day or night time.

Or maybe you would like to go for more specific plane, perhaps even helicopters or a basic, small, single-engine aircraft from the early years of aviation? Perhaps you would like to attempt your hand with army aircraft? Maybe launch from one of the US Navy aircraft carriers in the midst of the Pacific Ocean, for example?

No matter you would like to do upon getting mastered the basics of flight simulation, the utilization of freeware add-ons is among the first points of order on each of your virtual pilot’s to-do listing.

Leap over to our freeware FSX expansions library right here (over 22,000 information).

Your Ideas Please…

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments sections under.  What makes your FSX experience more practical?  What do you employ to improve your simulation experience?  Have we missed any realism enhancements?  Please remark under!