Utilities and instructions for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 (=fs9)

Table of contents:

  1. How to CONNECT to a multiplayer session
  2. How to HOST your own multiplayer game
  3. Optional and additional PROGRAMS for fs9:
  4. Airbus A320 panel with RealCRT gauges!

1. How to CONNECT to a multiplayer session

This is the easiest part. When you have found a server with the program FSHostspy, you'll have to write down the IP number of the host computer and the port number flight simulator must use to connect to the game. The port number is usually the default port 23456. Check your in-game flight simulator learning center to learn how to enter these data and connect to a session!

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2. How to HOST your own multiplayer game

This is a little more complicated, especially if you're using a firewall or a router. You will have to open the port through which other players can join your session. Normally a firewall blocks all internet traffic attempting to enter your computer except for programs which need to accept internet traffic in order to work such as e-mail, internet browser, program updates,... Opening ports for gaming sessions is also called port forwarding and the procedure depends on the protection system you're using. It is NOT RECOMMENDED TO SHUT DOWN YOUR FIREWALL SINCE THIS WILL MAKE YOUR SYSTEM VULNERABLE TO ATTACKS!!

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If you do not want to use FSHost and host a session directly from flightsim

Easy, in flightsim use 23456 as the default host port as well as the default connect port and then click host. In ATCRadarScreen, use 23456 as host port and 23455 as connect port to connect to flightsim. You won't have below mentioned options to manage your server such as with FSHost (see next topic).

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If you want to use FSHost

FSHost is a Windows-based server program for FS2002 and FS2004 multiplayer games that can be used in place of the built-in hosting options in fs9. FSHost adds lots of new features, and is perfect for public servers as well as individuals hosting a game from their own computer. When you are hosting, you can join your own flightsim session too.

Make sure your firewall is configured to accept connections to this program!

FSHost Options and settings

Enter a session name of your choice (May be the same as server name)

Add comments or welcome message

Set host port 23456

 

FSHost Options and settings

Other users on the internet will connect to your FSHost via this port, but you will have to connect your flightsim via a different port (see the 5th picture).

FSHost Options and settings

Give your server a name. My server is called A321Ignition's server since A321Ignition is my flightsim multiplayer name. However, I do change these names from time to time and I do not host a lot.

FSHost

This is how FSHost looks like when properly configured but no connections yet.

Flightsim multiplayer settings

In FS9 go to menu Flights-Multiplayer-Connect and set these settings. Remember, other players will connect to your default FSHost 23456 port but YOUR flightsim will have to connect via a different port to your FSHost such as 23455.

Flightsim multiplayer settings

Enter your name and IP address (also found in the FSHost dialog or by typing ipconfig after the MSDOS-prompt). Then click join. You are now connected to FSHost.

 

ATCRadar connection settings

To connect ATC radar screen (see below for this program):

Again, port 23456 is used by other players to connect to your FSHost, port 23455 is the one that we used above to connect your own flightsim, so now use a different one for ATC, such as 23454. Then click search. Your session will appear in the list. Click Join.

FSHost display

Here you can see the final result:
A321Ignition joined with the B747 and also filed a flightplan from KPAE-KBFI that still has to be accepted.
ATC controller joined as well
On the right you can see chat messages

FSHostSpy screen

This is where you can see other people's sessions and find their IP and port to connect to. Note that you can use this program also to test if your session is working or not (A321Ignition's server is my server and it's up!)

So to summarise, FSHost is a powerful but simple flightsim multiplayer server managing tool that enables you to see WHO joined your session, if they filed a flightplan or not, you can accept and then OPEN and CLOSE their FLIGHTPLANS, CHAT with them in a textbox, make HOPLISTS or short flights,...

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3. Optional and additional PROGRAMS for fs9:

ATC Radar Screen

ATC Radar screenshot 1 ATC Radar screenshot 2

ATC Radar Screen is a program compatible with fs2002 as well as fs2004 that may be used during multiplayer sessions. The program enables you to see radar blips of other players together with speed, altitude and heading info. The program is mainly used on servers where a radar controller issues clearances to other players.

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How to connect(join) to a multiplayer session in ATC Radar Screen

  1. Start the program and select the option "control a towered airport".
  2. In the same window type in the ICAO identifier of the airport, e.g. EBOS for Ostend.
  3. Click on "next step". The program will now load data from the simulator in it's memory.
  4. Select if you want to connect to an fs2002 or an fs2004 session.
  5. Enter the IP address of the pc that is hosting the session. If you are hosting a sim session and you want to join your own game with ATCRadar, then insert your own pc's IP number.
  6. Enter the host port number the flight simulator program on the host computer is using. Usually this is port number 23456 (see above in the hosting topic).
  7. Enter the connect port ATCRadar has to use to connect to the session. Usually this is also 23456. However, if this doesn't work or if you want to join your own session, then you'll have to connect to a different port such as 23455.
  8. Now click "search" . When the session appears in the list, select it and click "join session".

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Teamspeak

Teamspeak is one of the utilities that may be used to talk to other players on the internet by means of a headset that is connected to your pc. It's a separate program that has nothing to do with flightsimulator but it may be used in conjunction with it. Installation and use is easy and IT'S FREE! Just look for flight simulator game servers (with the help of FSHostspy, for instance) that have a teamspeak IP address that you can connect to (and password).

It's a popular tool that is used on multiplayer game servers. I use it not only in flight simulator but also used it in call of duty, battelfield 2, delta force games and joint operations typhoon rising. Handy if you want to give or receive team orders without having to type a text message to other players.

It comes in 2 versions: the client and the server version. The first is used when you want to connect to a session and the latter is used when you want to start hosting a session. Click this link if you want to go directly to the download page of the teamspeak site.

Click images to enlarge.

Teamspeak client Teamspeak server

This is the teamspeak client which you use to connect to an existing teamspeak session

and this is the teamspeak server which you use to host or start a teamspeak session

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FSNavigator

FSNavigator is a plug-in module for flight simulator that may be activated or opened in flight with the F9 key. All flight simulator functions continue to operate with this screen opened. FSNavigator gives you a moveable map view of the terrain and displays all navigational data. It also has a built-in FMS that gives you the possibility to couple your aircraft's autopilot (yes, even the default microsoft aircraft!) to your flight plan's lateral as well as it's vertical profile.

FSNavigator screenshot

I made this screenshot while making an approach to Innsbruck (LOWI). LOCDME EAST APP for Runway 26. FSNavigator is in fullscreen mode here but you can also undock it so that it doesn't cover your entire screen such as here.

You can view more screenshots on the official site

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Jeppesen Simcharts v3.0

Jeppesen simcharts is a software program that allows you to view and print instrument charts (SID's/SD's as well as STAR's and also noise charts (aka chart 10-4), airport diagrams (aka chart 10-9), and approach charts for non-precision as well as precision approaches). The program may be used as a standalone program OR implemented into microsoft flight simulator where it is better known as SimTrack in the menu and where it can plot your aircraft's track line onto the chart!

Note: Although these charts are the same as the real world instrument charts, the SimCharts are not updated and ARE FOR FLIGHT SIMULATION USE ONLY!!

Jeppesen simtrack in fs2004

Top left: Jeppesen SimTrack (note the red track line that shows the track I've flown during this instrument approach towards Innsbruck)

Top right: FSNavigator in undocked window mode (entered by pressing CTRL+F9 and then press F9 only to toggle the window on and off. To return to full view mode, press CTRL+F9 again)

Jeppesen simtrack in fs9 SimTrack in maximized screen mode
jeppesen simtrack When you right-click the SimTrack window you may toggle between view modes. Here only plan view in SimTrack is visible to save space on your screen.

 

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TTools

When you fly in microsoft flight simulator you will notice that there is other ground and air traffic around you. This traffic is called AI traffic because it's computer generated. Other traffic in flightsim will takeoff and fly to a destination according to a pre-programmmed flightplan. Microsoft developers put hundreds of these flightplans into flightsim. The flightplans may be read with a text editor such as notepad but before you can do this you must decompile a traffic file which is located in your flightsim directory under the filepath fs9\Scenery\World\scenery\ where fs9 is your main installation directory of flight simulator 2004. The file is called traffic030528.bgl and you can use TTools to decompile it (see screenshot). This will give you a set of three text files:

aircraft.txt: a list of aircraft installed in your flight simulator that may be used for AI traffic. This may be non-flyable aircraft (not by player) or textures only to improve performance.
Example:
AC#1,200,"Beech Baron 58"
airports.txt: an airport database that is used to get airport data when used in a flightplan.
Example:
LTBJ,N38* 17.21',E27* 9.27',410
flightplans.txt: these are the actual flightplans that will be loaded at the appropriate time in the simulator to generate traffic around you.
Example:
AC#1,N29056,8%,8Hr,VFR,03:44:39,06:33:20,085,F,2639,LTBJ,07:44:32,10:33:17,095,F,2638,UKOO

You can then edit these files manually if you like and then use the reverse process which is called compiling to turn those 3 text files into a traffic file again that can be read by flightsim (if you didn't make any mistakes in the code). I used this method to make a flightplan for a DC-3 aircraft and then entered flight simulator 10 minutes before the scheduled departure time of the AI traffic so I could do a formation flight with the DC-3 in my own DC-3. Complicated? Need an aspirin?

Do you have to know all this? Not necessarily but it gives you an insight of what automated installer programs will do such as Project AI (read next topic)

Screenshot:

TTools screenshot

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Project AI or PAI

Now comes the fun part! You can download realworld airline flightplans, including the aircraft that are used by those airlines that are designed for microsoft flight simulator. Search for Project AI, this is a very easy to use automatic installer and it will do all the coding for you and this for almost any airline you want. This way you can install as much major or even regional airlines as you want and then in the simulator you will see them as other traffic!

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My Traffic 2006

No need for TTools or Project AI with this program!
This is an all-inclusive program for your flight simulator 2004. An addon with AI traffic (all the other planes that appear arround you in the sim to throw in some realism on the condition that you have set the traffic slider to the right in the options). So if you're looking for an easy to install, fast way to get the airports crowded with realistic real world airlines and military aircraft, this is the thing to get (there are other programs of course but I have this one and I'm very happy with it). The nice thing about it is not only that you have real world civil, military and general aviation aircraft around you but you can also go back in time and see planes that used to fly around in, for instance, 1965. The addon also comes with a few other tools such as a map that shows airline callsigns, type of aircraft etc that are around you and another program that can be considered as a traffic explorer because it's a long list of AI traffic of planes in the air as well as on the ground. Don't miss the screenshots on the original site: http://mytraffic2004.com/version4/

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Cabin crew and pushback sounds

This is a great and easy to use utility to make your flight simulator experience more realistic and enjoyable. It appears as a small gauge in the top left corner of your flightsim screen (you can move it though) and it has a very smart internal logic that detects the configuration of your aircraft so that it can play certain sound files such as cabin crew speaking to the passengers and pushback communications. For instance, if your parking brake is set and the engines are not running the software will assume you are at the gate and an in-flight music will be audible with cabin crew messages in between to welcome the passengers.

You can download it here

Click here to hear an example in wav format of a cabin attendant welcoming the passengers.
Click here to hear an example in wav format of ground staff that has completed pushback.

Screenshot from the website mentioned here above:

pushback gauge for fs9
pushback gauge for fs2004

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Ultimate Terrain Europe scenery addon

I have this expansion for my flight simulator 2004 and I must say it is very realistic since you can actually fly VFR in flightsim with real world maps of Europe! I'm not going to spend much words on this, just take a look at the screenshots here below. On the left are screenshots from flight simulator that I took when in look-down view mode (press CTRL+S) and on the right are screenshots from the program Google Earth that uses real world satellite images. If you compare them you will be surprised about the level of detail in terrain textures! Look at rivers, lakes, woods, building concentrations, airports and roads.

You can visit their website here: http://www.flight1.com/products.asp?product=uteurope

Click pictures to enlarge

Compare Ultimate Terrain Europe for FS9...

...with Google Earth

Bern Switzerland in fs2004
Bern Switzerland in google earth

Bern, Switzerland (LSZB) in FS9

...in Google Earth

   
Zurich in fs2004
Zurich in Google Earth

Zurich, Switzerland (LSZH) in FS9

...and in Google Earth

Amazing isn't it?

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4. Airbus A320 panel with RealCRT gauges! 100%Freeware!

Here's something for the fly-by-wire pilots out there.

This is a pretty realistic model of the A320 for MS Flight Simulator, although it's rather simplistic. But hey, it's FREE so if you want a better one, then get a commercial one! Good point is that it shows navaids on the navigation display with help of an external database program which is called navdata (read further) AND that it shows flightplan trackline on the ND as well so that you can couple the autopilot to it and fly the entire route automatically.

Originally it was designed for fs2002 but it took me quite a while to figure out how to make it work in fs9/fs2004. Plenty of patches and editing, reading, reading and reading, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz... At first the plane just didn't want to work properly in my flight simulator version 2004 but I finaly figured out how to make it work. EDIT: I deleted the downloadable zip file to save website account space. Sorry, but leave a message in my guestbook if you are interested in it and if you're friendly, maybe I'll send it to you.

Personally, since I discovered the PMDG software, I don't fly this thing anymore. You can read about PMDG on my site here.

Screenshots (click images to enlarge):

A320 Main panel Overhead panelVirtual cockpitPFD and ND in virtual cockpitEWD and SDCenter pedestalShutdown night

Properties:

  • The ND includes Rose, Arc and Plan displays, with VOR, ADF and ILS, Handling of the flight plan loaded into the GPS and display of flight plan track line, display of airports and navdata

  • The MCDU, including FMGC, provides basic functions for flight management

  • Full Autoland

  • FCU, with selected and managed modes

  • Realistic PFD

  • Keyboard shortcuts

  • Vapor trails

  • GPWS callouts

ND ILS mode

ND VOR mode

ND ILS mode ND VOR mode

ND NAV mode

ND ARC mode

ND NAV mode ND ARC mode

ND PLAN mode

ND PLAN mode

 

PFD, ND and MCDU

What the panel needs in order to work

  1. Modules FSSound.dll and FSUIPC. dll which you can download on any flightsim site. You can find links to those sites here on my links page and then just perform a search function. Lots of third party addons and utilities need this in order to work. Put the files in your fs9\modules directory.
  2. You will have to install NavData separately ! This is an external program that has a navaid database for the flightsim (click screenshot below) and uses this data to display navdata such as VOR's, NDB's, airports, etc on what they call RealCRT navigation displays for MS Flightsim (see screenshots above). If you do not install Navdata, the navaid info will not appear on the ND!! Navdata may be used for fs2002 as well as fs2004.
    NavData screenshot
    Screenshot

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