I have been flying flightsims for about two years now. Ever since my beginning Ive had a yearning to add planes and get more out of my Sim. When FS2002 shipped I went out that weekend and purchased it having anticipated the contents of that little box for months! I had even played it at last years annual EAA Oshkosh and the FS2002 designers became rather sick of seeing me loiter around.
It was kind of like the old Cheers series, whenever Norm entered the bar everybody would go Norm! Well, whenever I got in line for a computer I half expected everybody to yell Jeff!
Anyway, I was switching to different airports and hopping all around the world and not only noticed that the AI planes looked better than the default FS2000 planes. I tried opening the .air files of the AI planes looking for a way in but my Air Editor would not allow me to do so. Well, drat, fizzled. But I was not going to give up that easy so copied the AI file to another folder temporarily so I could edit it all I want without affecting the games AI plane.
I copied all three (MD-80, Dash 8, Piper Cherokee) to a temp folder and gave each a corresponding panel. For example, I gave the MD-80 a Boeing 737 panel and I gave the Dash 8 a King Air panel and I gave the wonderful little Cherokee a Cessna 172 panel. Part one is done.
Now comes the confusing part. These planes wont fly on panels alone, they have to have a corresponding .air file also. So with my backed up files I copied an .air file to each of the default planes in accordance with their panels, so the MD-80 got a Boeing 737 .air file and the Piper got the Cessna 172 .air file and the Dash 8 got a King Air .air file.
Well, now you have three planes with two .air files in each, I will use the Dash 8 for example; it has one default .air file that says dh_dash8_100.air and one that says Beech_ King_Air_350. Well, good Jeff, but when I open FS2002 I still dont see a Dash 8 under my aircraft library. The reason for this is because you have to DELETE, yes DELETE the dh_dash8_100.air file and rename (this is important that you get the spelling exact) Beech_King_Air_300 to dh_dash8_100. Then once youre done rename the whole file (with your new panel, new .air file) dh_dash8_100 _COPY then click and drag it to the aircraft file. Now it wont replace your original game settings so both airplanes can function in unison in FS2002. You have one that the AI uses and one that you use.
Repeat the steps with the MD-80 and Piper Cherokee and after about 10 minutes of careful work you will have three new planes in your library! Enjoy! Happy flying!
I do not hold responsibility for any errors this may cause in FS2002. I have done it and it works perfectly. If for some reason this operation shuts down FS2002, lights your cat on fire then destroys your Thanksgiving dinner then blows up your house, its not my fault. Just be careful as editing your sims internal files (if done improperly) may cause errors and might force you to reinstall, but if done properly will fill you with joy beyond belief!
By Jeff Tucker