Resources - how do I learn about

How to fly an airplane? How to navigate?

There are a couple of excellent tutorials on basic flying, instrument navigation, etc. See the X-World page for a comprehensive set of links.
Hal Stoen maintains a page with an extensive set of stories and tutorials.

Charles Wood has put together a comprehensive web site on flight sim navigation. has a ground school web site with basic information on flying.

The complete user's guide from the FLY!2 flight simulator is available online. While a lot of this manual is specific to using FLY!2, there's a lot of material on flying in general that applies to X-Plane.

To learn about IFR flying, Don Nyveen recommends The Pilot's Manual, Instrument Flying by Trevor Thom, Aviation Supplies & Academics Inc.

The Airplane Flying Handbook is published by the FAA and is available from their web site.

AOPA maintains a web page with free online courses. - a web site with a huge, if somewhat rambling, collection of articles on all aspects of flying.

Read the books and web pages and still aren't clear on how a VOR works? Here's a link to a neat VOR trainer applet.

Where can I find handbooks for specific aircraft?

eFlightManuals sells PDFs of the actual operating handbooks for a large number of commercal and military aircraft, current and historic. also sells PDFs of a number of aircraft operation and training handbooks. has online operating handbooks of many of the major airliners.

A 747 procedures handbook is available from Precision Manuals: select "downloads", then "other downloads", "Documentation". Then "747 Queen of the  skies" or "737 NG". Download the manual.

Where can I find the user's manual?

      In the Instructions folder, in HTML. (Version 6 onwards.)

The manual is out of date

In fairness, it's seriously out of date. It's from like version 6 or thereabouts. I thought there was a new manual in development, but it hasn't been heard from for some time. However...

Live with it. X-Plane is a fast-moving work in progress. Any documentation you find will always be out of date. The X-Plane web site describes what's new in the current version; check these FAQ pages for topics, especially the Flying and Navigation page and the Detailed History pages.

How about aviation data in general?

Here's the FAA Aeronautical Information Manual.

Also see the FAA home page and the FAA Handbooks and Manuals page. (There's a huge amount of information here. I've previously tried to give more specific links, but they keep reorganizing the material.)

Jason Chandler provides the following set of links. Let's see how long they last...

How to build aircraft?

Tracy Walker has created a good tutorial at

There is an older one (from approximately V5) at

What airfoils an aircraft uses?

The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage at lists the wing airfoils of a large selection of aircraft.

Where to find performance data for airfoils?

Theory of Wing Sections (below) has performance charts of many of the common airfoils. NASA also published these charts as a PDF, available from (Membership is required to download.)

Where can I find jet engine performance data?

Tony Gondola recommands a page at

Jason Chandler recommends this page at Elsevier Publications.

How do the airport and navaid files work?

See Robin Peel's Airport and Nav File Definition page.

Where can I find airport charts?

I've collected from various tech list postings the following list of links for airport charts and approach and departure procedures:

VATSIM's Pilot Resource Centre has probably the most comprehensive list of links to charts available. When in doubt, start here.

Sectional charts of the US with a nice Google map type interface:

The EAD home page is a centralized resource for all European airport data, run by Eurocontrol.

This is the links page on the Eurocontrol website:

Bosnia -

Canada -

Germany (Military) -
(German civil AIP seems not to be available online)

Slovenia -

Spain -
(Click on "AD" on top of page then "AD2 - Aerodromos")

USA - - airport diagrams, standard arrival and departure procedures and more.


USA - (airport charts)

(has many from rest of world too but this requires membership)

USA - - home page of the National Aeronautical Charting Ofice.

More from Massimo Marino: AIS United Kingdom AIP  France - Charts for France and the DOM-TOMs vACC-SAG - Charts for Germany/ Switzerland/ Austria IVAO Canada - Charts for Canada FAA NACO - Charts for the USA (Click on Online Products, then digital-TPP on the left hand side - that will lead you to a search page AIP Spain - Charts for Spain AIP  Denmark - Chart for Denamrk, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands AIP Sweden - Charts for Sweden AIS ASECNA - Charts for select African countries AIP New Zealand - Charts for New Zealand Airservices  Australia - Charts for Australia

How to communicate with X-Plane with my own software?

You can communicate directly with X-Plane's UDP (networking protocol). Roy Coates maintains a web site with a lot of reference material and several useful utilities.

You can write plug-ins, which are loadable pieces of software that run as part of the X-Plane application. Ben Supnik maintains a web site for plug-in development. A good place to start is this page for the complete beginner.

Warning: The content and format of X-Plane's UDP messages tends to change from version to version. The X-Plane developer community recommends for most applications that you build a plug-in and handle your own network communications. The plug-in interface is stable and does not require you to track version to version changes (unless you want to take advantage of new features).

Where can I learn more about aircraft and aerodynamics?

John Denker has written an online book called See How It Flies that covers many different theoretical aspects of flight, ranging from basic math and physics to flying technique.

Here's a couple of books I found very useful and informative:
An excellent treatment of basic aerodynamics, supersonic flight, and jet engines. Lots of detail, illustrations, and graphs, but stops short of hairy math.
Detailed, down and dirty treatment of how jet engines work. Lots of photos, charts, and math. Covers everything from theory to details of construction.
The definitive textbook on how airfoils work. Tons of math and tables. Better brush up on your calculus before you try to make it through the theory section. Perhaps more important for X-Plane aircraft designers, this book includes performance charts of all the standard airfoils. (If the charts are all you're after, you can get them for free in NACA TR-824 above.)

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