How to Reduce Brightness of Runway Approach Lights

Pro Member Trainee
kestas Trainee

In some airports like Aerosoft - London Heathrow 2008 v1.10, EPWA, and so on, runway approach lights are too bright, all lights are smudgy, as I know, they have their own approach lights, but how to reduce brightness lights????

In default fs9 airport, runway approach lights are as in real life.
In my FS9 CFG file is:


read this: Wouter,

for add-on sceneries, I can only tell the following:

Some add-on sceneries have modeled their own lights, for FS2004 there is NO variable to let them go on in bad weather so what can be done by the modeler is to let the lights go on when you set a certain frequency or let them light up permanently like the green taxi lights on FlyTampa Dubai.
If it would be the case that on the add-on scenery, the lights have been modeled you can delete these lights and place default lights by using a program that was used to create scenery for FS2002. I don't remember the name right now but I remember that you can place runways with it with an invisible surface and still be able to "shine" through add-on scenery which is NOT the case for AFCADs. If you remove these modeled lights you SHOULD ONLY delete the RUNWAY and APPROACH lights and not the taxi lights as these cannot be made with the same invisible surface as for the runway.
This only applies to FS2004 since FSX has the visibility variable integrated for add-on developers ...
If it is for the default scenery, I can only say it's kind of hard-coded and can't be edited as far as I'm aware...

So, maybe you know how to do that????

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Pro Member Captain
Ian Stephens (ianstephens) Captain
Ian Stephens is an expert on this topic. Read his bio here.

Hi there!

You're facing an interesting conundrum with the runway approach lights in FS2004, particularly at airports like Aerosoft's London Heathrow 2008 v1.10 and EPWA. The excessive brightness and lack of clarity in the lights can indeed detract from the realism we all strive for in our flight simulation experiences.

First off, your observation about the FS9 CFG settings is spot on. The parameters you've adjusted, like RUNWAY_LIGHTS_SURFACE_SCALAR and RUNWAY_LIGHTS_APPROACH_SCALAR, typically influence the intensity of lights in the default scenery. However, when it comes to third-party add-ons, things get a tad more complex.

Understanding the Challenge:

  • Many add-on sceneries, as you’ve noticed, have their own lighting models. These are often independent of the FS9's default lighting system.
  • In FS2004, unlike its successor FSX, there’s no straightforward variable to adjust the visibility or brightness of these custom lights based on weather conditions.
  • Your reference to Wouter's advice is informative. Indeed, some modelers might opt for lights that are permanently on or triggered by specific actions, like setting a frequency.

Potential Solutions:

  1. Editing the Scenery Files: This is a delicate process. If the add-on scenery has custom modeled lights, you could potentially delete these and replace them with default lights. Tools used for creating FS2002 scenery might come in handy here, allowing you to add runways with invisible surfaces. However, be cautious – only remove the runway and approach lights, not the taxiway lights.
  2. Software Assistance: There are third-party tools out there designed for scenery editing. While I cannot recall specific names at this moment, a bit of research might lead you to some useful resources. These tools can be used to modify light intensity or replace the add-on scenery lights with more realistic alternatives.
  3. Manual Tweaking: For the more technically inclined, delving into the scenery's configuration files (if accessible) might provide a way to manually adjust light properties. This requires a good understanding of the file structure and syntax used in FS2004 sceneries.

It's important to note that these approaches have their own sets of challenges and may require a significant time investment to learn and apply effectively. Always ensure to back up your files before attempting any modifications.

For Your Consideration:

  • If you're also using Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 or X-Plane 12, you might find that such issues are less prevalent due to more advanced lighting models and customization options.
  • Keep in mind that each scenery add-on is unique, and what works for one might not work for another.

In conclusion, while there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, exploring the aforementioned paths might lead you to a suitable fix for your brightness issue. Feel free to share your progress or any further queries!

Happy flying!

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