Changing Locations

Placing your aircraft at the starting line

Many Flight Simulator pilots get a kick out of flying out of their home airport, or flying out of a famous airport on the other side of the world. With more than 23,000 airports to choose from, it's surprisingly easy to place your airplane at any one of them without flying a single mile.

Selecting And Going to an Airport:


To use the Go to Airport dialog box

  1. On the main screen, click Create a Flight.
  2. Under Selected Airport click Change.
  1. On the main screen, click Create a Flight.
  2. Click Flight Planner.
  3. On the Flight Planner Create tab, click one of the Select buttons.
    On the World menu, click Go to Airport.

The Go to Airport Dialog Box

Searching for an Airport

Finding one airport in a list of 23,000 could be difficult; the Go to Airport dialog box includes tools to help you. You can search for an airport by name, ID, or city. You may not know the name or ID of the airport you're looking for, but you probably know the city. Even if you don't know the city, the dialog box includes filters to limit the number of names displayed.


To search for an airport

  1. Type the airport name in the Airport Name text box.
    Type the airport ID in the Airport ID text box.
    Type the city name in the Airport City text box.
  2. View the Search results list.


Let's find John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, New York, in the United States.

If you know that the exact name of the airport (as it's listed in Flight Simulator) is Kennedy Intl, you can type "Kennedy" or "Kennedy Intl" in the Airport Name text box.

If you don't know the exact airport name, but you know that the airport identifier is KJFK, you can type the ID into the Airport ID text box.

The Airport City text box limits the list of airports to those in the city you're searching. If you don't know either the airport name or the ID, but you know the airport is in New York City, you can type the city name in the Airport City text box, and then look for Kennedy in the resulting list.

Filtering the Airport List

Sometimes you may want to fly from an airport in a particular country, region, state, or province but you don't know any airport names, IDs, or city names. In this case, it would be easier to filter the airport list. A filter also helps in cases where you're not sure of the spelling of an airport or city name.


To filter the airport list by city

  1. In the Country/Region list, select a country or region.
  2. In the City list select a city name.
    The search results will list all airports in that city.

Let's say you want to fly in a specific area of France but you don't know the airport name or the full city name. All you remember is that the city has "Saunier" in the name.

You can find an airport in a city that has Saunier in the name, somewhere in France. This is a typical example of trying to find a name for which you are uncertain of the spelling or you don't know the full name.


To filter the airport list by partial city name

  1. In the Country/Region list, select France.
  2. In the City list, select Lons-Le-Saunier.
    The search results list one airport, Courlaoux.

You can easily clear the filter and return to searching the entire airport list.


To clear the filter

  • Click the Clear Filter button.

Selecting a Runway or Starting Position

Once you've selected an airport to fly from, you can select where on the airport you want the simulator to begin. In the real world a flight begins by taxiing from a gate or parking area to the runway. If you want to begin immediately on the active runway without having to taxi there, you can accept the default selection in the Runway/Starting Position list. Runways are listed by their runway number.


To select a runway or airport starting position

  1. Select an airport.
  2. In the Runway/Starting Position list, select a runway, ramp, gate, or parking area.

Searching for Add-On Scenery

There are third-party developers who create custom detailed scenery that is compatible with Flight Simulator. (For more information, see Expanding Your Hobby.) If you have add-on scenery, you can limit your searches to airports with such scenery.


To limit airport searches to those with add-on scenery

  • Select the Search add-on scenery radio button.

Using "Time-Compression" to cross long distances quickly:

Part of the magic of Flight Simulator lies in your ability to control how quickly time passes while you are flying. By changing the simulation rate, you can cross an entire continent or ocean in a few minutes, or slow time down to practice barrel rolls or hammerhead stalls.

Flying at the normal simulation rate (known as 1), of course, gives you the most accurate feel for what the true experience of flying a specific aircraft is like. Flying at half simulation rate is helpful for practicing landings and other flight maneuvers, such as aerobatics. Using a fast simulation rate is an awesome way to experience Flight Simulator's dynamic weather: Clouds and daylight sweep across the earth as you fly. At a fast simulation rate, it feels as though you are flying in a time-lapse film.

Remember that everything in Flight Simulator speeds up or slows down when you change the simulation rate: Your engine, the aerodynamics of the wing, the weather, your movement through the sky, the radio ... everything. If you're flying an IFR flight plan, remember to answer radio calls or your IFR flight plan will eventually be cancelled.

Choosing a lower rate in the Simulation Rate menu slows the simulation; choosing a higher rate speeds up the simulation. Simulation rates range from Slowest (1/4) to Fastest (128).


To Change the Simulation Rate

  • On the Options menu, choose Simulation Rate, and then choose the simulation rate.

If you choose a simulation rate other than Normal, Flight Simulator will display a message the upper-right corner of the screen indicating your simulation rate.

NOTE: The Autopilot will not work for simulation rates more than 16.


Changing Your Aircraft's Position by "Slewing":

Flight Simulator departs from real-world flying in a very significant way: Flying isn't the only way to move your aircraft in Flight Simulator. You can go directly to an airport of your choice. You can move your aircraft manually by dragging the aircraft's icon on Map View (see the related links to the right). Or you can activate slewing, a method of rapidly changing your aircraft's position, direction, location, or altitude without flying. Slewing is a nice way to check out a route's terrain before flying it, or to realign your aircraft with the runway for another landing attempt.


To change your aircraft's position by slewing

  • On the Aircraft menu, select Slew Mode.
  • Press Y.

Your current latitude, longitude, and altitude are displayed in the upper-left corner of the view window, and the word "Slew" appears in the status indicator. A check mark next to the Slew command on the menu indicates that you're flying in Slew mode. Use the mouse, keyboard, or joystick to change your position.

Tip: If your aircraft is on the ground and you slew up, you may drop like a rock when you switch back to normal flight. Once you gain airspeed, however, you can pull out of the dive.

Slew Commands

Action Command
Enable or disable Slew mode Y
Set heading north and attitude straight-and-level SPACEBAR
Switch between coordinates and frame rate SHIFT+Z
Move forward Num Pad 8
Move backward Num Pad 2
Move left Num Pad 4
Move right Num Pad 6
Freeze movement Num Pad 5
Move up slowly Q or F3
Move up quickly F4
Move down slowly A
Move down quickly F1
Rotate left Num Pad 1
Rotate right Num Pad 3
Freeze rotation Num Pad 5
Move nose up slowly 9
Move nose up quickly F5
Move nose down slowly F7
Move nose down quickly F8
Bank left Num Pad 7
Bank right Num Pad 9
Pan view down SHIFT+ENTER
Pan view right CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER

Note: Be sure Num Lock is turned off for all numeric keypad commands.