Attention Users Who Edit .Air Files
By Mike McCarthy (4 September 2008)
This article is an advisory to those FS users who edit .air files. It's based on analysis done by Holger Sandmann followed by verification tests of various kinds done by me. The issue is error messages arising from the Adobe AIR application platform, a piece of software that is being encountered increasingly frequently, and that might get auto-installed on your system without your being aware of it. Let me give you the recommendations first, then the research conclusions underlying the recommendations, then the research data supporting the conclusions.
- Do not manually associate .air files with any application, not even with AirEd.
- For purposes of editing FS .air files, always simply launch AirEd and then navigate to the file of interest.
If both recommendations are adhered to, no error messages of the kind discussed below will ever be seen.
- There is never a problem running FS.
- If a newbie were to both use FS and allow Adobe Reader 9 to install Adobe AIR, he would not get any error messages from either FS2004 or the Adobe AIR installer, nor would the Adobe Reader 9 application produce any error messages.
- If an experienced user were to associate .air files with AirEd and then double click on an FS .air file, the file would open normally in AirEd, and Adobe Reader 9 would continue to run normally, however ...
- Any further attempt to install an Adobe AIR application, whether requested explicitly by the user or implicitly as a result of running some application (for example by requesting installation of a third party AIR application via the Adobe AIR subsite) ... Ahem ... Any such attempt will generate an AIR installer error message because the .air file that the installer will see will be an FS .air file rather than an Adobe AIR .air file.
- All of the foregoing is consistent with the assertions of Holger Sandmann, and with some experiment results reported by Jim Skorna.
- There is no need to inform newbies about anything. However, there is a definite need to inform old hands who are accustomed to editing .air files. Otherwise they will get error messages that they will not understand, leading to the confusion seen in the long threads on FlightSim.Com and Avsim, and on the Adobe AIR forum.
How to tell whether Adobe AIR has been installed on your system ...
For FS2004: Using Windows Explorer, navigate to
My Computer C: Program Files Microsoft Games Flight Simulator 9 Aircraft
The corresponding path for FSX is
My Computer C: Program Files Microsoft Games Flight Simulator X SimObjects Airplanes
Then, within the target folder, open any of the named subfolders. Within that subfolder you will find a .air file. Right click on its name, choose Open With, and then Choose Program.
If you then see "Adobe AIR Application Installer" you'll know that Adobe AIR has been installed. If you don't see that then Adobe AIR has not been installed.
The testing is documented in the following thread on FlightSim.Com:
Background Information Caution And Warning
Just for context, some very misleading background information (including bad information from me) will be found below. Do not rely on this information for any purpose other than to understand what the brouhaha has been about. The information is here ...
and here ...