Airports and Airplanes: Leveraging the Flight Simulation Field

Before re-inventing ways of modelling airports and airplanes, it is very important to first look at how they have been done in the field of consumer Flight Simulation.  Much of the early work in virtual terrain was done in Flight Sims, and there continues to be a large and active hobbyist community working on creating amazingly detailed models.  There must be some way to leverage all that work, outside the context of specific flight sim software.

Microsoft® Flight Simulator™ (MSFS)


Older Flight Sims

Free Airplane Models

Atif Zafar contributed the following list of sites worth looking into, in 2002, which i have annotated with additional information.

  1. Abacus Software
  2. 3D Studio GMAX (2000-2005) from Discreet
  3. "Low-cost" software for scenery building:
  4. Free tools:
  5. Silent Wings has written Converter software to import "Flight Shop" aircraft visual models into their own software
  6. Book: The Ultimate Flight Simulator Pilot's Guidebook, 2nd Edition
  7. Many popular sites cater to the Flight-Sim community:

Abacus and other companies were then aggressively promoting a new format called "Dynamic Object Libraries", with tools such FS Action Scenery to convert older models.

Airports and Runways

Curtis Olson of the Flight GearTerraGear project is working on code to generate runways with proper markings based on a world wide database (roughly 20,000 runways)

Serious Flight Data