Installing X-Plane Aircraft in MSFS 2020: Compatibility and Solutions

Carl Thomas Guest

I'm puzzled trying to find out why some 3rd party add-on aircraft don't show up. I see them in the content folder after installing them but nothing in the aircraft hanger. Recently I attempted to add this MD 11
and it's not showing up?... I read some of the comments of others who have recently downloaded the MD 11 and didn't see where anyone had any problems. Now I do have add-ons that work well with no issues.  I'm placing them into my community folder as instructed.  Thank you for any help 

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

Firstly, let me shed some light on the crux of the issue. The fundamental reason behind the challenges you're facing is the difference in codebases, architecture, and coding practices between X-Plane and MSFS 2020.

  • Codebase Difference: Every flight sim, be it X-Plane, MSFS 2020, or Prepar3D, is developed on unique codebases. This means the programming language, structures, and foundational components differ drastically.
  • Architecture Disparity: Each sim's underlying architecture—how the sim's parts intercommunicate, and how they process external files—varies. It's like trying to play a Blu-ray disc on a DVD player.
  • Divergent Coding Practices: Even if two aircraft look similar visually, the way their behaviors, physics, and systems are coded can be worlds apart between platforms.

Given these differences, direct imports of X-Plane aircraft (or assets from other sims) into MSFS 2020 won't be straightforward. It's not just about the 3D model; there are flight dynamics, systems programming, textures, and more that need to be compatible with the simulator's engine. Thus, just placing them into the Community folder won't suffice.

However, all is not lost. If you're keen on using specific aircraft from X-Plane in MSFS, there's a potential path:

Conversion Software: There are third-party tools that can convert aircraft models from one sim format to another. From my knowledge, there's a tool named 'MSFS Legacy Importer' that might assist with this (though I'd recommend checking its compatibility and reading user reviews before diving in).
Developer Versions: Some popular aircraft from X-Plane or other sims might have MSFS 2020 dedicated versions developed either by the original developer or third parties. It's always a good idea to check on sites that specialize in MSFS add-ons or directly with the aircraft developer.
Community Help: Seek assistance from the vast and knowledgeable MSFS community. There might be forum threads or groups that have tackled similar issues and can offer guidance or solutions.
However, remember that while conversions might bring the aircraft model into MSFS, achieving a 1:1 representation in terms of flight behavior, systems functionality, and overall fidelity can be a challenge.

Lastly, always ensure that you have the rights and permissions to modify or convert any third-party add-ons, especially if they're paid.

I hope this clears things up a bit! If you have further questions, don't hesitate to ask. Safe flying!

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