Pro Member First Officer
Steve (megafoot) First Officer


I have had FS2004 for about a week now and i am wanting to expand my horizons with the sim.

I am not new to Microsoft Flight Simulator though the last version i dabbled with was Microsoft Flight Simulator II (the one that Lindburg used i think)

I have a very powerful machine (P4, 3.8ghz, hyperthread, SATA Raid array x2 with 500GB, Nvidia 6600 256MB, 2 GB dual channel ram) and i can run FS 2004 with all video options maxed out and its smooth as cream.I also have a good force feedback flightstick. (it freaked me out when i took my hand off it during a lesson and the thing started moving by itself... ITS POSESSED!)

What I have been doing is the flight lessons and tooling around with different planes, I can fly VFR pretty much anywhere i want to go (though poorly) in all the planes up-to the Beechcraft King air. I also understand the concepts of IFR and can seat-of-my pants use it but im still very early and low on the learning curve, in fact, i would consider myself an inept sim pilot all the way around. What i mean is i can take off and land and get from point a-to-b but im not very good at any of it. and I know very little of the protocols that pilots use to get around and communicate, though i am learning.

I am one of those people who likes to delve completely into something until i master it and i will eventually be able to IFR a Boeing 777-300 from LA to Tokyo with maximum realism and no in-sim aids.

I also have been tooling around on the web and i see lots of add-on software available (you may hate Microsoft but their open arcitecture cant be beat, as for me, I Love 'em) I was thinking of adding one of those store-bought scenery packs to my sim. I dont know if its worth it or not (perhaps one of you nice folks can recommend what i should do) are the scenery add-ons worth it? do they really enhance the experience of the simulator? though i am primarily interested in the dynamics of modern flying it really helps when things look as nice and as surrealistic as possible. (it ads to the pucker-factor when landing)

I am also trying to figure out how to use the GPS system. Is the GPS a torture device? it might as well be a Kurdish to Chinese translator for all i can understand from the thing. Where would a total N00B (my tail numbers) find out basic, and i mean BASIC use of the electronic Kurdish to Chinese translator (or KCT, I know how you pilots love acronyms (though GPS works too in a pinch))

The Flight lessons that come out of the box are very cool though brief and there is no way that i have found yet to legnthen the lesson or to leave it going so i can repeat the lesson without restarting it.. are there add-on lesson modules out there? or perhaps just learning aids in a different format that i can aquire?

Also the map, though very good is a pain in the arse to manipulate as it is, I run 1600x1200 resolution and the thing is very small and barely readable, is there any way to tweak that to a larger size?(and i dont mean zooming it, i mean the window is too small, i want to be able to se a large chunk of land when i look at my charts) There are several other interface windows that are too small IMHO.

I also see a ton of other planes that others have designed. are these accurate to the original designed aircraft they represent? are the dashboards and views more or less accurate, interactive and functional? I know theres some silly ones out there (a flyable la-z-boy for example) but i would really like to know all i can do. Are they difficult to install and tweak?

Are planes (even the out of the box ones) repaintable? i notice that there is alot of .bmp files in the sub folders, Is there a utility that allows me to change/save my own paint schemes?

Like i said, I am very new to FS2004 and know next to nothing about how to do things the right (or is it Wright) way. any aids or links or add ons or learning tools or utilities that you all can suggest to enhance the already superb fun-factor and intellectual stimulation of FS2004 would be greatly appreciated.

In Summary:

I think that FS2004 is one of the better software packages i have seen in my 25 (geeze im getting old) years of computer experience. Flying it is just the sort of thing i can really sink my teeth into and hang on. It challenges my intellect and the fun factor is about 9,9 on the scale. I understand that these questions have been asked and probably answered somewhere in these forums and I apologise for being repetitive and also apologise for the legnth of this post, but i also think its better for me to ask planely and honestly what you more experienced digital pilots have done, are doing, what works and what dosnt work for maximum fun-factor.

Thank You,
Megafoot (Bigfoot's big brother)

Answers 9 Answers

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Rick Lee Guest

Hi MEGAfoot,

...what was the question again?

Gee man, at your ripe old age you shouldn't be smoking whatever it is that your smoking 😳

Seriously now, once the regulars and the old hands here have read your post you'll be getting plenty of good advice. You wouldn't dispute that it might take a while to do that? Reminiscent of Tolstoy's War and Peace.
But, it seems you've come to the right place ❗

In the meantime I wish you all the best and admit that now, after having taken my medication and reread your opus - it all makes complete sense.

I for one am looking forward to hearing more of your trials and tribulations 😀

Best regards, Rick

Pro Member Chief Captain
tomthetank Chief Captain

😀 Hi megafoot and welcome to the wonderful world of flightsim, and flyaway 👍

WOW where to begin Ermm...

Scenery addons

Well you have a mighty fine pc,so any scenery addon should cause no problems
1st up is what do you want?,and where do you fly?

You want the "pucker feeling when landing" 😂
Payware scenery is normally better than freeware,but do they do payware for whereyou want to fly?
A good place to start your search for freeware is ➡

More here, including payware sites (2 pages)➡

To enhance the feeling start looking for some terrain mesh for where you want to be.This will lift any mountains (hills in std fs9) to lofty peaks

I would always check out freeware before payware(cause I'm mean with the cash 😂 )

Addon aircraft

Plenty of very good freeware available
Have a look in our d/load section
My opinion good ones to look for are
Mel jet
Plenty more will come from our members. More here ➡

Addon aircraft payware are normally much more complex in that they will have some form of FMC (flight management computer) which must be mastered before you get off the ground(most payware aircraft will have some form of addon program for repaints,and the flightsim community is awash with repaints 😛 )
Links to some of them will be found on the above site

As for the GPS Fear Stick with it it gets easier (Ill find that tutorial in a min 🙄 )

The map 😕 Not sure which you are on about,the GPS map or the main map from the top of the screen
GPS unit can be resized bigger or smaller by dragging from the sides

Some of the fs panels are not the best,again plenty of better free one available,search avsim or the like for whatever you want

A couple of panels to start you off for the bigger aircraft are
Greg737 ----for the 737 or any thing you want really Adds cabin crew calls and altitude call outs

tungv1 and tungv1a again for the 737

I see you started off with the smaller aircraft,but the two above will see you right when you get to them

Add on flight lessons Dont Know Someone may

Search out Dougherty's Dangerous and Difficult approaches(100s of them in d/loads of about 10) for some fun and testing approaches (light and heavies)

When you move to flying the heavies there are plenty of simulator d/loads free and pay
Here is one such site offering both ➡

A good training page here(most of it relates to fs2002 but its more or less the same ➡

Right I'm off to find that GPS tutorial (if I can).

Good luck, and enjoy 😉

Rick Lee Guest

okay Megafoot Iwill try to address some of your issues as good as I can - it'll all be in random order but you being the tenacious kind I trust you'll manage to make sense of it.

Unless you're already confident with downloading and installing third party add-ons i.e. aircraft scenery etc. I suggest this to be your first priority.
WARNING: avoid Using self-installers whenever possible. You can still install add-ons that come with only a self installer, but it is advisable to use a workaround instead, which is a quit simple procedure. I'm trying to avoid getting into the detailed instructions in order to save time and space.
Should you require more detailed instructions about ANYTHING , keep coming back and don't be shy to ask!

Re: The flight lessons that come out of the box: Here is my admission: I have ALWAYS struggled with those lessons, in short, I've almost given up. Too many supposedly funny remarks, to many bells and whistles and clumsy videos, inferior indexing and an all over patronizing attitude. This is my opinion. I am expecting the flak soon. But this is what it's all about:
Disagree with an entrenched opinion, provoke a new thought and the least you'll get is feedback and possibly a brand new approach to the issue. I regard this to be a positive result.

Re: 3rd party free add-ons. Statistically aircraft top the list; understandably so.
Are planes (even the out of the box ones) repaint-able? i notice that there is a lot of .bmp files in the sub folders, Is there a utility that allows me to change/save my own paint schemes? You my recognize your own words here. Okay, one by one. "(even out of the box ones)". I assume you refer to the default aircraft out of the FS2004 box. If so, one of the members here, an aircraft painter by the way, seems to be of the opinion that default aircraft are not worth the effort. This is my understanding anyway.
As you so aptly point out, the open architecture allows for a lot of experimenting and that's what we'll do also with new textures or repainting, same thing.

Let's relax and look at a couple of sites:

Both sites design excellent aircraft (all civilian jets Boeings and Airbus mainly) and both sites provide paintkits for their models, which as I understand, is a tremendous help for those who learn to do their own repaints.

The projectopensky link above has the extra bonus of a forum called:
Painters Learning Center. Definitely worth a visit.

Regarding Payware you'll have to approach those members who use it, there are a view real specialists in these forums.

I hope this is helping a little at least 😀

Regards, Rick

Pro Member Trainee
Skymuncher Trainee

Hi megafoot,

I am going to tell you about some add-ons that would greatly enhance the experience of FS2004. First I am not a fan of scenery add-ons because I don't think they're worth it.

First: You need a nav planning software. In payware you got FSNav, FSbuild, and Flight Sim Commander 7. I would recommend FS Commander 7, that I just ordered:

Then you might want a Nav Plates software. I strongly recommend SimPlates 2004:

You get the approach plates, airport diagrams etc of virtually every airport in America and a lot of airports worldwide. There are 18,000 plates on the two CDs. Then you can download free of charge lots of countries PlatePacks on the website.

An add-on that looks really nice to me but that I don't have is FDC Live Cockpit, that gives you cabin announcements and an active co-pilot.
Then if you want the best of the best you can order payware airplanes. In the GA range the Dreamfleet A36 Bonanza looks awesome, but I don't have it. The Carenado C210 Centurion is very nice also.

In the short-haul airliner range you can get the Flight1 ATR-72 for example.
The best picks in the mid-range airliners are the Wilco Publishing A230 PIC and the PMDG 737 so far.

But the best of the best in my opinion is the Level-D 767... This airplane is truly awesome. I don't have it personally but I have flown it at a friend's house.

If you want great IA Traffic you can go to: in freeware, and in payware you can get Ultimate Traffic:

Here are my advices to make FS2004 even better than it is 😀


Pro Member Trainee
Skymuncher Trainee

Oops I just forgot Active Camera 2004 🙂

Pro Member First Officer
Greg (FL050) First Officer

Geez, TTT is such a pimp 🍻

Pro Member Trainee
jaapverduijn Trainee

For a rather spectacular collection of free add-ons give a try. And say hello to Heather from me!

Jaap Verduijn.

Pro Member First Officer
Steve (megafoot) First Officer

I want to thank everyone for all the great advice. I will be following through on much of it. I had forgotten to mention about getting better camera angles and ways to view replays of what i did right and what i did wrong. active camera 2004 seems to be what i need to start off.

I primarily fly the western USA but have been all over the country so it looks as if i will get MegaScenery Vol 4: Pacific Northwest - Full Kit Version, and MegaScenery Vol 3: Northern California - Full Kit Version and will get the Southern Cal version later. I live in Northern Cal and love the pacific northwest so i opted for that one too, I hope it looks as good as they advertise.

SkyMuncher..I downloaded active camera 2004 and will pay for the upgrade when im sure its what i really want. .I am going to hold off on FS commander 7 for now though cause i dont want to get too far ahead of myself. I was reading about it and noticed that it has the capability of running on a network so that its screen can be seen and monitored from another computer. Well right next to my REALLY nice machine is a nice machine (pIV 2.8Ghz) on my personal network (i have my laptop next to me too on a wireless node of my personal network.... That would be really REALLY cool to be able to run nav aids on the other comp. I wonder if any folks in these forums are dabbling with network interfacing. I dont know enough about it to even try to put my gps/maps/flight aids on the other screen via network though but i am sure it would be possible. Though my Vid card does have 2nd screen support thru another wierd looking plug thingy (the WLPT) on the back. does FS2004 support multi screens (for other than looking out the window) ?

tomthetank... Geoff Butler's Flight School is EXACTLY what i was looking for for training. though i have only scanned some of it thus far I can see that that is the training aid I will most likely use in my continuing adventures as N00B takes to the air! I really want to thank you tomthetank for that bit of valuable info!

Rick Lee... Projectopensky ( )is awesome! thank you for that amazing link. I thought it was a bunch of photographs at first! seriously! if this is the level of reality that i will eventually be able to achieve then i will be very very satisfied! I also just orderd simplates 2004 as well. i will be installing it as soon as it arrives. I cant wait!
jaapverduijn I did what you asked and dropped Heather a line 🙂 and then i visited her site! WOW... i am going to be busy tweaking this progrram!!

once again to all of you thanks much! i have 10x more than i ever hoped for! i will continue to post my progress and my pratfalls in my virtual adventure!


Get in, sit down, shut up and hang on!

Rick Lee Guest

There you go Megafoot,

good to hear about the things you're discovering and I think it's only appropriate here to point out that others, including yours truly, learn a lot from the topic you've started.
I wholeheartedly agree with you praising Geoff Butler's Flight School. Those tutorials are exactly what I've been looking for. Thanks to TomTheTank for that link. Boy, T_T_T sure can keep you busy. Incidentally it is Tom who knows all about making videos and no, it's not a secret.

Keep it up Megafoot, I trust we'll be soon watching the videos you've made 😀

Regards, Rick

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