One of my pet peeves with FS9 and the
earlier versions of Flight Simulator is the default instrument
panels. The developers have done a great job on the panels and
they are suitable for the aircraft being flown and work just
fine for what they are.
I find the panels huge when being used
with today's modern large screen LCD monitors, especially the
wide screen monitors. Even with the huge panel size you still
have to click on icons to bring up, engines controls, radios and
other auxiliary panels, this is very distracting when flying.
Although virtual cockpit (VC) panels have solved much of the
problem the 2D panels are still required for most of the
controls on the default aircraft.
Some great panel replacement add-ons have
come to the rescue. These panels give the correct perspective of
what the pilot sees in the real aircraft and most of the
controls are available on the instrument panel with little need
for pop up screens. many are more realistic than the stock
panels are very easy to install. The give a whole new
perspective to what you see in front of you.
I chosen a few of favorites here for the
C172. These panels
Panel by Frank Elfort
Night view of panel
For download search web C172 Panel add-on by Frank Elfort
give you a much broader view of the interior and clicking
on the controls work which is much better than clicking on an
icon to bring up a pop up window. The images below
Cloudy C172 Cessna Panel
Download from web search Cloudy Cessna C172
show the difference between the default
IFR 172 and an IFR 172 add-on panel. You will notice much more
scenery is viewable. Basically these add-ons perspectives remove
the feeling of sitting on the floor of the aircraft trying to
see above the instrument panel.
One fantastic free add-on is the RealAir Cessna 172 which flies
very realistically as opposed to the default aircraft and
includes wind sounds and is able to spin for realistic spin
aircraft is available from
and also may be downloaded from various
aircraft uses the stock C172 panel but there is a custom add-on
panel for this aircraft that makes it perfect. These additions
will give you a new C172 selection in the menu, add the custom
panel and you'll be flying it more than the default C172.
Alternative Main Panel for RealAir Cessna 172 SP Skyhawk
Downlaod search RealAir Panel by Horst Paetzold
There's also tons of scenery libraries to
take advantage of as well. There's thousands of airports, you
can probably find one in your hometown to fly out of. There's
ships, aircraft carriers, buildings, automobiles, just about any
add-on you can think of.
There are also several freeware and
payware that greatly improve the default scenery in FS9. This is
one of the biggest improvements that can bring FS9 up to date
and nearly rival FSX. One example of freeware is Real
Environment Pro for Fs 2004. Here is a edited list of some
of it's enhancements.
sunglow and sun effect, new aircraft spotlights, new airport
lights that simulate a glow onto the surface, wave animation and
environment effects that also simulate cloud reflections in the
water, new runway textures, new asphalt textures, new concrete
textures, new tarmac textures, taxiway markings, sky and
environment textures, and 3D Environment Bitmap. Click on
the link to see it in action. Just do a search for it on the web
to download, it's free.
There is another package which is payware
that is called REX which stands for Real Environment Extreme.
The website is located at
another package that replaces many of the textures in FS9 in
their package the link is
These add-ons represent some of
the fantastic enhancements available for FS9. Search the web and
locate what you need, most likely there's an add-on that can do
it. FS9 is still a viable alternative to FSX for all who are not
ready to make that jump just yet. Enjoy!
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-The answer to your
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For more information or to purchase got
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