Using Views and Windows
Get a better look at all there is to see in Flight Simulator
In a real airplane, you can look around by moving your head. In Flight Simulator, though, you'll need to use views. And the best part is that unlike in the real world, you can move your head outside the airplane!
Flight Simulator can run in either Windowed mode or Full-Screen mode. In Windowed mode, Flight Simulator runs in a window, just like other Windows applications. You can have Flight Simulator visible alongside other applications, and resize, drag, or minimize the window.
To take full advantage of your 3-D video card, though, you should run Flight Simulator in Full-Screen mode. In Full-Screen mode, Flight Simulator will fill the entire screen, at the resolution you specify on the Hardware tab of the Display Options dialog box. To learn more about setting resolution, see Changing Display Settings.
To switch to Full-Screen mode
To return to windowed mode, press ALT+ENTER again, or on the Views menu, deselect Full Screen.
Note: To display the menu in Full-Screen mode, press ALT.
To change views
You can also access these views using Button 2 on your joystick, or by using the Views menu as explained in the sections below.
Whenever you change views, text in the upper right corner of the screen momentarily reminds you which view you've selected.
In Cockpit, Virtual Cockpit, and Spot plane views, you can look around using the hat switch on your joystick. by pressing keys on the numeric keypad (see the Key Commands page of the Kneeboard for the full list of commands), or by using the View Options dialog box.
In any view, it's easy to look around.
To use the hat switch on your joystick
To use key commands
To look around using the View Options dialog box
Zooming In and Out
You can use zoom controls to magnify or reduce any view (Cockpit, Tower, Spot Plane, or Top-down). Zoom in close enough to see the rivets on your aircraft, or zoom out to get a bird's-eye view of the airport below. Press the EQUAL SIGN (=) to zoom in, or HYPHEN (-) to zoom out. Text in the upper right corner of the screen reminds you if the zoom factor is anything other than 1x.
To zoom in and out in Cockpit, Tower, Spot Plane, or Top-down view
Moving the Eyepoint
Having trouble seeing over the instrument panel? In a real airplane you'd just lean forward a bit or sit on a phone book. In Flight Simulator you can move the eyepoint, the point where your virtual eyes look out from. It's a particularly useful ability when taxiing taildraggers in Cockpit or Virtual Cockpit views.
To move the eyepoint
|Move Eyepoint Back*||CTRL+ENTER|
|Move Eyepoint Down||SHIFT+BACKSPACE|
|Move Eyepoint Forward*||CTRL+BACKSPACE|
|Move Eyepoint Left*||CTRL+SHIFT+BACKSPACE|
|Move Eyepoint Right*||CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER|
|Move Eyepoint Up||SHIFT+ENTER|
* Virtual Cockpit view only
Cockpit view is the default view, and is the view to use if you want to pay close attention to the instruments. You'll be able to see both the 3-D world outside your windscreen and the detailed 2D instrument panels, and you can use the mouse to manipulate the controls.
Cockpit view puts you in the cockpit in front
of a detailed 2D panel.
To switch to Cockpit view
For better forward visibility when flying in Cockpit view, you can display just the primary flight instruments by pressing W. Press W again to remove the instrument panel entirely.
In Cockpit view, press W once to display just
the primary instruments.
Virtual Cockpit View
Virtual Cockpit view puts you inside a 3-dimensional aircraft. Use the hat switch on your joystick or the numeric keypad keys to look around, press the EQUAL SIGN (=) and HYPHEN (-) to zoom in and out, and use your mouse to manipulate the controls.
Virtual Cockpit view puts you inside a 3-D cockpit.
To switch to Virtual Cockpit view
Use Tower View if you want to see your aircraft as it looks from the closest air traffic control tower. You can't change where you're looking in Tower view, because you're always looking at your aircraft. For information about positioning the virtual control tower exactly where you want it, see Using The Map View.
In Tower view, you can see your aircraft from the
perspective of an air traffic controller.
To switch to Tower view
Spot Plane View
Use Spot Plane View if you want to see your aircraft from the outside, as you would from another aircraft. In Spot Plane View, you can watch your aircraft and see how you're doing. You can also reposition the spot plane, so you can analyze yourself in flight from any angle you want.
In Spot Plane view, you can do something you
can't do in a real aircraft: see your aircraft from
To switch to Spot Plane view
To set options for Spot Plane view
Use Top-down view if you want a bird's eye view of your aircraft. Top-down view puts you, literally, above it all. You can access Top-down view by pressing CTRL+S, or by using the Views menu. In the View Options dialog, you can set the map orientation and altitude. You can also press the EQUAL SIGN (=) to zoom in or HYPHEN (-) to zoom out.
In Top-down view you can get a bird's eye view
of your aircraft.
To switch to Top-down view
To set options for Top-down view
The Flight Simulator screen is composed of windows. In Cockpit view, the instrument panel is displayed in one window, and the outside world in another. You can open additional windows, and put any view in them. For example, you can fly in Cockpit view and open an additional window that displays Top-down view for some extra situational awareness in the traffic pattern.
It's easy to add new windows for extra situational
To open a new view window
Making a Window Active
You can have several different windows open at once. Flight Simulator adds new windows to the bottom of the Views menu, and numbers them in the order that you opened them. The active view window has a check mark next to it. Once a window is active, all keyboard and joystick view commands apply to it.
To activate a window
Other Flight Simulator Windows Tricks
Flight Simulator offers many keyboard shortcuts to help you work with views and windows. For the complete list, see the Key Commands page of the Kneeboard (press F10 to display). Here are some other tricks you can do with windows. The best way to learn about these is to experiment with them.
To display or hide view titles
To close a view window
To make a view window fill the entire Flight Simulator window
To resize a window
To "undock" a Flight Simulator window and move it outside the Flight Simulator application window
To dock an undocked window and move it back inside the Flight Simulator application window
To see the flight instruments more easily, several aircraft have separate windows or subpanels for their radio stacks, compass, engine controls, and other cockpit controls. Use SHIFT+1-7 to display the various subpanels (see the list of key commands for each aircraft on the kneeboard in the cockpit).
The View Options dialog box lets you change views, set the zoom level for a view, and change the view direction. (You can also perform these tasks using key commands, as explained in the sections above.)
The View Options dialog box
The View Options dialog box is also the place to go to:
To open the View Options dialog box
Using the Axis indicator drop-down list, you can choose to display one of three different types of axis indicators on the windscreen of your aircraft:
An axis indicator makes it easy to determine pitch and bank angles relative to the horizon without having to look at the attitude indicator; real-world pilots often use a smudge on the windscreen for the same purpose. The axis indicators in Flight Simulator are a great tool when you're learning basic flying maneuvers.
In the View Options dialog box, you can choose to
display one of three axis indicators.