X-Plane 10 loads custom scenery in a priority order based on a configuration file. This article explains how to change the load order of scenery to resolve conflicts between custom scenery packs.

Understanding Scenery Packs

X-Plane custom scenery packs come in two varieties:

  • Overlays add 3-d detail to an existing area.  For example, most airport custom scenery packs are overlays – they add airport detail to an existing scenery region.
  • Base Meshes provide the ground terrain  on top of which overlays sit.  The global scenery that ships with X-Plane is a set of base meshes.

Scenery packs are loaded in priority order: higher priority overlays can exclude the 3-d detail of an overlay that is lower priority order in the same area.

Base meshes exclude everything below them – there can therefore be only one base mesh, and any overlays that are lower priority than the base mesh are not loaded at all.


X-Plane maintains a single text file (scenery_packs.ini) in the Custom Scenery folder with the load order for all custom scenery.  The file has the following rules:

  • Packs are loaded in order of the file – the first pack in the file is the highest priority.
  • When X-Plane runs, it removes from the file any packs that are missing.  (If you delete a pack, the list is auto-updated.)
  • When X-Plane runs, it adds to the top of the file any new packs it discovers that are not listed (in alphabetical order).  So if you install new scenery, it is installed at highest priority.
  • If you delete the file, the file is completely rebuilt, as if all packs are new.  You should probably never do this.
  • You can change a line from SCENERY_PACK to SCENERY_PACK_DISABLED to disable the loading of a pack entirely.

Global scenery base meshes that ship with X-Plane are not included in scenery_packs.ini – X-Plane keeps them in lowest priority order.

Setting up scenery priorities

The priority of your scenery packs should be (from highest to lowest):

  • Custom overlay scenery (e.g. airports) that you have purchased or downloaded, highest priority first.
  • Overlays that Laminar Research ships with the sim.  This includes the Aerosoft airports (for X-Plane Global users) and the “Global Airports” pack, which contains the shared lego brick airports contributed by users.
  • Base meshes should come last, again in priority order. This would include third party orthophoto scenery and the KSEA Demo Terrain.

You can change priority by quitting X-Plane and then re-ordering the file in a text editor.

When you install a new custom airport you can typically just quit X-Plane, drag the airport into the Custom Scenery folder and restart – it will become highest priority.

When you install a new mesh scenery you will probably have to lower its priority.

  1. Copy the scenery into the Custom Scenery Folder.
  2. Start X-Plane.
  3. Quit.
  4. Open scenery_packs.ini and locate the new entry at the top of the file for the mesh scenery.
  5. Move the line down in the text file below all overlays.
  6. Restart X-Plane.


Return Back to Knowledge Base


The world’s most advanced flight simulator.