You can shape the simulator.
X-Plane may have the most realistic flight model on the market, but what is that worth if you can’t fly the planes that you want to fly?
X-Plane can be extended in nearly any way you can imagine. You can add aircraft (such as those downloadable from X-Plane.org) or custom scenery (again, check out X-Plane.org), or you can download plug-ins (XSquawkBox, used to connect to the virtual air traffic control network, is a popular one) that can radically alter the functionality of the simulator. For instructions on installing these, see Chapter 4 of the X-Plane 10 manual.
If you don’t find the aircraft, scenery, or plug-ins you’re looking for, you can create you’re own. A good place to start is the X-Plane Wiki, managed by X-Plane developer Ben Supnik. There, you’ll find links to the plug-in and scenery development kits. Of course, the Plane Maker software (found in your X-Plane 9 installation directory) can be used to create aircraft–for more information, see the Plane Maker manual.
Using the USB keys available from the X-Plane.com Store, the simulator can also be upgraded for commercial use, as well as for FAA certification. These keys will also unlock EFIS App, used to accurately simulate the electronic flight instrument system found in Cirrus and Eclipse jets.
Other Destinations for Expanding X-Plane
- X-Plane Scenery Development, the main page for creating scenery
- The X-Plane.org Downloads page, one of the biggest hosts for free third-party aircraft, scenery, and plug-ins
- The Plane Maker manual
- The X-Plane Plug-In HQ, which hosts the plug-in SDK (software development kit)
- The EFIS App page, here at X-Plane.com
- The EFIS App for iPad page, here at X-Plane.com
- The X-World page, here at X-Plane.com, featuring links to many more destinations