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Inside X-Plane

The File Structure and the Important Parts

X-Plane can be installed initially in any location on a PC that the user chooses, either on an internal or external drive or SSD, or even on the desktop. It can be installed more than once on the PC, e.g. one for fixed wing aircraft and another for Helicopters. It does not install into the Windows\Program Files, or indeed the Windows registry, and is independent of your Operating System files. This means it can be safely copied, pasted, moved or deleted, without effecting any part of the OS.

X-Plane Structure

Aircraft This contains two further sub folders Laminar Research Aircraft Most aircarft, including all the default models and many downloaded aircraft are placed in this folder.
    Extra Aircraft Sometimes, downloaded aircraft are placed in this folder rather than the Laminar Research Aircraft folder. Instructions with the download should advise.
Airfoils This is of no interest to newcomers
Custom Data This is of no interest to newcomers
Custom Scenery This is where you place additional scenery, Libraries, mesh and photo scenery etc. X-Plane automatically places everything at the top of the scenery_packs.ini file, which is also in here. This is similar to the Library in Microsoft Flight Simulator and does the same job. It does need to be organised in a particular structure, or you will not see your addons.
See below
Global Scenery There are some changes that can be made, via downloads from Detailed instructions in the downloads will tell you how to add to, or exchange with the existing file(s), but take care when doing so, and back up first. Otherwise, leave this folder well alone!
Instructions No one ever reads instructions - but maybe you should have a quick look in the X-Plane Manual to see what is in there, although it's a very long document.
Output There are a number of folders here of interest to newcomers. You can ignore crash reports and shadercache until you gain more experience. FMS Plans The place to file your flight plans for the Flight Management System in aircraft fitted with the Garmin FMS
    logbooks X-Plane 11 logs your every flight, normally in a file called X-Plane Pilot.txt You can Rename this file if you want to start a new one, or delete it. XP will create a new one automatically if it does not find that file, or if it does, it will add the next flight to it.
    preferences This contains a number of generated .PRF settings files, particularly your joystick settings. If you have problems, you can delete this folder, and it will be regenerated, the next time you start X-Plane
    replays X-plane automatically generates a replay video of your session. Pressing CTRL+R brings up a video replay bar, and you can then review your session/flight. You can save the replay for later review by going to the menu/file/save, check it is set to replay and save. Otherwise it is lost when closing X-Plane.
    situations Any start or finish airport or other location and aircraft may be saved as a situation, These are filed in here, and may be loaded at startup the next time you want to return to that location.
Resources Most sub folders in this group can be ignored. The main one of interest is 'Plugins'. Plugins This is where you put all "plugin" files, such as Xsquawkbox, XUIPC etc.
Weapons A list of weapons that X-Plane uses for military aircraft. This is of no interest to CIX VFR Club.

Files of Interest


This is a textual record of the X-Plane startup. If there are any problems, you can then see what it is, and where. This file is freshly generated at every startup.


If you are feeling brave, you can change the behaviour of your aircraft here.

XP11 Installer.exe

Running this will bring up the installer menu, where you can install another copy, or update the current copy. However, when updates are available, you are asked at startup whether you want to update at that time or later, so running the installer.exe is rarely necessary.


This starts X-Plane - but you already knew that!


Scenery_packs.ini explained

All addons to the Custom Scenery folder, are automatically loaded in the top of the scenery_packs.ini file on the next restart. You then need to exit X-Plane, navigate to the Custom Scenery folder, open the scenery_packs.ini file, and reorder the files if needed. There is an addon called Xorganiser, which can be run outside X-Plane, which will automatically sort it for you, but some users prefer to reorganise this file manually.

The structure should be from the top: -
Addon Airfields.
Aerosoft airfields
Global airports
Photo scenery
Mesh scenery
Libraries contain elements used in all the scenery layers. They are not in themselves scenery files, so they are best left at the bottom out of the way.