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Aircraft design; Am I on the right track?


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I have dived into building and aircraft and I would kike to know that I am on the right track,


First, looking at the file structure for an aircraft, they all contain the basic sic Aircraft.cfg, and XXX.air file and 4 subfolder; Model, Panel, Sound and texture. The model folder has the XXX.mdl file and the model.cfg file. The panel folder has BMP files, the panel.cfg and a cab file. Then the sound folder contains xxx.wav and the sound.cfg, and last, the texture folder has xxx.dds and texture,cfg.

From the research that I have done to date, and I know I have a lot more to go, the xxx.mdl file is the actual 3d rendition of the aircraft, which can be built using Gmax ( or FSDS) then converted to the mdl file. As for the panel, I have played around in panel modification, so I think that I will be able to, at least, do the ground work to start on this. Sound and texture, still need to do research but that will come later.

I also know that in the main folder, the aircraft.cfg gives all the information as to how the aircraft will handle and camera definition and more. Also need to do more research on that subject.


The one thing that I have not yet determined is what is the xxx.air file, and what does it do?


Michel E Paquette

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The .air file is the most rewarding bit after making the visual model, but it can also be the make & break bit - especially when you read comments on how the model flies (or doesn't)!

An .air file can make a visual brick fly like a Spitfire, or like a flying brick....There is a Jerry Beckwith program out there either as freeware (limited use & older) or a payware version. I have only used the freeware, but I still have to tweak it's results. There does not seem to be any really hard instruction on how to do it - it comes from lots of experience & I'm still learning!

Good luck, hope you have lots of time & patience, but the end result can be rewarding.


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  • 2 weeks later...

It is as mention above the airfile that's important. The .mdl is the physical visual model. The airfile is an invisible electronic computer model that is what the programme is controlling.

The config is the file that matches the visual model to the computer model. It links the functions and is adjustable to the extent that the airfile determines what it does but how much and at what rate can in many cases be adjusted by the CFG. The CFG is a sort of interface.

It works both ways in as much as you can add figures to it to make the aeroplane do things it couldn't in real life. It's your way of talking to the computer model as well.


So many thing can be changed in the CFG but the .air has to be well matched and working well in the firstplace. It's a simple case of it setting a good base for the CFG to link to and make fine adjustments if neccesary on many items.


Unless the .airfile is set up properly especially in such things as CofG the model will not fly properly.


To start with just copy a similar type models folder and rename and change the basic model name etc details on the .cfg, then add your own .mdl to replace the one you have copied and take it from there. At least to can get it into FS once it is an .mdl and pick the rest up afterwards.


At that stage you will have a model in the air or buried into the ground that flies like a brick, has no textures and the wrong panel and sound, but get that in first then sort the rest out one by one. At the end of the day the only really important strage is to get it into FS, the rest is detail, but once you see it..and it can be just a shape, in FS reacting to inputs you know the ultimate goal of a good finished model is at least a strong possibilty. Start simple, build from there.

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