SDK folder in FSX:SE

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I noticed an SDK folder in the FSX:SE edition & am wondering in regards to the Airport Design Editor, can it be used without the FSX disk?
The instructions in the Tutorial (ADE version 1.20) say we need the FSX disk ... but this is also from 2015 if not earlier.  Has the SE edition been updated so I will not need the disk?  Or are we still required to have a disk?
I tried running the update in the SDK folder of FSX:SE <fsx_sdk_sp1a.exe> but it requested disk1.
So, is there a way (yet) to install & run the ADE (currently 1.65) without the full disk set of FSX?
Thanks in advance for your input.

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To answer my own question because no one else seems to be able to, in a short answer, No.
The files in the SDK folder of FSX:SE are example files only & a lot is missing.  However, you can still install the Airport Design Editor (ADE) 1.65 without the disks.
First, download the ADE 1.65 but do not install it yet.
Second, you need to google the 'Prepar3D_SDK_Setup'.  The version I found was v5.3.17.28160
Third, when installing Prepar3D, use the detault settings, otherwise the ADE gets lost.  The detault settings puts the Prepar3D SDK in <C:\Program Files\Lockheed Martin\Prepar3D v5 SDK> folder.
Fourth, reboot.  I burned an hour trying to get ADE to work before rebooting, then all of a sudden, everything worked flawlessly.
Fifth, install ADE 1.65 to a directory of your choice & follow the prompts.  Be sure to read the install instructions inclued with ADE as it has some steps needed to make it work nicely.
Sixth, go edit some airport to your liking & enjoy.

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

It seems like you've run into a bit of a conundrum with the FSX:SE SDK folder and using it in conjunction with the Airport Design Editor (ADE). You're not alone in this, and I'm glad to see that you've been resourceful in finding a workaround.

To answer your initial question, I can confirm from my knowledge that traditionally the SDK folder in FSX:SE does indeed require the original FSX disk. This requirement can be traced back to the older, disk-based version of Microsoft's Flight Simulator X, where software was not necessarily designed with digital downloads in mind.

However, as you've astutely pointed out, things have changed. While the ADE instructions may have initially indicated the need for the FSX disk, it is actually possible to use the Airport Design Editor without it. Your process outlined in your reply to your question is spot-on and I can't emphasize enough how helpful this would be to other simmers experiencing the same issue.

Just to clarify, let me lay out the steps again:

  • Download ADE 1.65 but do not install it immediately.
  • Search for 'Prepar3D_SDK_Setup' (the latest version you can find will do).
  • Install Prepar3D using default settings to avoid confounding the ADE.
  • Reboot your system to ensure all changes take effect.
  • Install ADE 1.65 to a directory of your choice, carefully following all prompts.
  • Read the installation instructions included with ADE as there are steps vital for a smooth operation.
  • Get to work on your airport designs and most importantly, have fun!

By following these steps, you effectively bypass the need for the FSX disk, which is an elegant solution given the prevalence of digital downloads in today's gaming environment.

I just want to add that while this advice is applicable specifically to FSX:SE, the same process should work in theory for more recent platforms like Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 and X-Plane 12, given they maintain similar file structures and mechanisms for third-party additions.

It's always refreshing to see community members coming up with innovative solutions. The sky is truly the limit!

Safe skies and happy flying.

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