Addressing Missing VASI Lights at Major Airports

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How come the most active runway at JFK in New York, and many others, do not have VASI Lights in FSX?

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Ian Stephens (ianstephens) Captain
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Regarding your inquiry about the absence of VASI lights at JFK and other airports in FSX, it's a topic that piques the interest of many simulation enthusiasts. In the realm of flight simulation, especially in Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX), the depiction of airport specifics like VASI (Visual Approach Slope Indicator) lights can vary. This variance is partly due to how the simulator was originally programmed and the limitations in reflecting every real-world detail.

First, it's essential to understand that FSX, though an advanced simulator for its time, doesn't always mirror the exact configurations of all real-world airports. This includes aspects like runway lighting. The VASI lights, which are critical for assisting pilots in maintaining the correct approach angle during landing, might not be present at some airports in FSX due to these limitations.

However, there's a potential workaround if you're keen on enhancing your simulation experience. You can manually add or adjust VASI lights in FSX. One method involves modifying the FSX.cfg file to adjust the visibility and brightness of runway lights, including VASI. For example, you can find your FSX.cfg file and under the [Display] section, add lines like RUNWAY_LIGHTS_SURFACE_SCALAR, RUNWAY_LIGHTS_VASI_SCALAR, etc., to tweak the settings to your preference.

Additionally, the Flight Simulator community often steps in where the base game might not fully represent real-world details. Various tutorials and guides are available that show you how to add lights to your runways in MSFS (Microsoft Flight Simulator), covering aspects such as runway center and edge lighting, approach lighting system (ALS), and VASI. While these guides are more focused on the newer Microsoft Flight Simulator, the principles can offer insights applicable to FSX as well.

If you're interested in further enhancing the realism of your FSX experience, you might consider exploring third-party add-ons or modifications. The FSX community is known for its vibrant and helpful nature, often creating and sharing modifications that enhance the simulation experience.

In conclusion, while FSX might not have VASI lights at JFK or other airports, there are ways to add or adjust these through manual configuration or community-created content. Remember, the flight simulation world is vast and always evolving, offering numerous opportunities for customization and improvement. Keep exploring and happy flying!

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