SelectorThis is certainly the most important feature of the
Before using it, it is important to understand
the way it is meant to be used. The basic concept is that you must
first create a database of the aircrafts you want to select through the
selector, using the Aircraft Database Builder. Then you can use the fs9
Toolbox aircraft selector within FS2004 to select any aircraft of the
database. This much faster than the standard aircraft selection process.
covered on this page: Aircraft
Database Creation / Managing
Aircraft Thumbnails / Aircraft Selection
within FS2004 / Quick Switch
CreationThe idea behind the aircraft database is the
In order to be as efficient as possible, the
aircraft selector will only let you select your aircraft within a
subset of your global FS aircraft collection that will be organized
through categories. Unlike in the FS aircraft selection system, only 1
category level is available (no manufacturer, no variation, ...). You
may think this is not enough, but it IS enough because the same
aircraft can belong to several categories !!
For example, the
Boeing 737-400 can be placed in a "Boeing" category, next to the
747-400 and other Boeing aircrafts. It can also be placed in the
"LIners" category with all the other liners of your collection, and it
can be placed in the "FS Stock" category if you want to group all the
aircrafts that come with the standard edition of FS2004. Easy, isn't it?
Database BuilderRun the Aircraft Database Builder
application using the shortcut
created by the installer in the Windows Start menu. Do not worry if the
application takes some time to appear, it is just because it parses
your aircraft collection before showing any window.
an Aircraft of the FS2004 CollectionThe upper part
of the window shows the FS aircraft collection exactly like in the FS
aircraft selection system: organized by manufacturer, model and
variation. It works like in FS2004: when you select a manufacturer, the
available models appear below and when you select a model, the
available variations appear in the variation list.
aircraft in your collection. If a thumbnail is available in this
aircraft texture directory, it appears in the space dedicated to the
thumbnail display, as shown on the image below. More information about
the thumbnails are available here.
"Refresh" button is to be used if the FS aircraft selection has changed
and you want to update it.
Adding the Selected
Aircraft in the DatabaseNow that an aircraft is selected,
you want to add it in the aircraft database, within a category.
order to do this, you must define a display name. This is the name that
will appear later in the aircraft selector within FS2004. If you press
the "Auto-Fill" button, a display name will be automatically generated
by concatenation of the manufacturer, the model and the variation name.
you need to select the category in which you want to add this aircraft.
If the category exists, you can select it with the "Category" pull-down
list, and then click the "Add" button to add the selected aircraft. If
the category does not exist, click the "Add in new" button. This will
ask you the name of the new category you want to create, and add the
selected aircraft in it.
You can repeat the same operation
with the same aircraft if you want to add it in several categories.
Repeat this operation for all the aircraft you want to
add in the database. The idea here is not to add ALL the aircrafts you
have in your FS collection, but only the ones you fly most. Unless you
have the time to do it...
Displaying all the
Aircrafts of a CategoryYou just have to select a category
using the "Category" pull-down list. All the aircrafts of this category
are then displayed in the list below.
If you select
an aircraft in the category list, its display name is shown and its
thumnail is displayed in the image window, as shown on this image.
an Aircraft from a CategoryJust select the aircraft you want
to remove and press the "Remove" button. This will just remove the
aircraft from the category list, it will not destroy any file.
- If you know the FS
aircraft system, you certainly know that some aircrafts that are
installed in FS2004 do not appear in the FS aircraft selection system.
This is because an aircraft internal variable (aircraft type) defines
if an aircraft is a flyable or an AI aircraft (AI aircrafts are
ignored). In order to be faster, the Aircraft Database Builder does not
filter out the AI aircrafts. This means you can make an AI aircraft
flyable by adding it in a category.
- For experts only:
you intentionally want to have some aircrafts ignored by the Aircraft
Database Creator, you can do it in a simple and efficient way. The
Database Creator ignores all the aircrafts if their folder is defined
as Archive. If you want to define a folder as Archive, right-click the
folder in the Explorer and display its properties, then click the
"Advanced" button and check the box labeled "Folder is ready for
archiving" (see the image here if necessary).
is useful to ignore the aircrafts you know you will never wnat
to include in the fs9 Toolbox database, but it is not mandatory.
Aircraft Database Builder offers you the opportunity to define a
thumnail for each aircraft variant.
The thumbnail must be a
bitmap image in BMP
format with a maximum size of 320 by 225,
and the file
name must be
the image is placed in the texture folder of the aircraft, it will be
automatically detected by the AIrcraft Database Builder and it will be
displayed in the fs9 Toolbox aircraft selector window within FS2004.
Example of a thumbnail BMP image
that an aircraft can have several textures, in which case it
has several texture folders. In this case, you may want to have a
thumnail image in each texture folder.
Selection within FS2004As soon as an aircraft database is
ready, you can run FS2004. Select the "Aircraft Selector" in the
Toolbox pull-down menu and the Aircraft Selector window appears.
(click to enlarge)
you just have to select a category and an aircraft in this category. If
a thumbnail is available for this aircraft, it will be displayed as on
the image above. You just have to click "OK" to have your aircraft
loaded in FS2004.
happens if you select an aircraft that
does not exist any more in the FS collection?
Don't worry, you
aircraft selection will just be ignored and FS2004 will keep running.
can happen if you remove an aircraft from your collection (by deleting
the aircraft folder) and you forget to update the aircraft database
accordingly, but it is not a problem, FS2004 and fs9 Toolbox handle it
Quick SwitchBased on the Aircraft Selector, this feature has been developed for gauge/panel developers.
know that when you develop XML or C/C++ gauges, a modified gauge can
not be saved/compiled if it is currently in use within FS2004. So when
you develop a gauge, you load the aircraft that uses it in FS to test
it, but when you want to modify it, you have to load another aircraft
in FS, generate the new gauge, and reload the original aircraft to test
again. What a pain...
The Quick Switch feature does not solve
the problem, but it helps. It lets the developer switch to another
aircraft through a single key press (F11 by default) and come back to
the original aircraft with the same key press. You can alos use the "Quick Switch" option in the Toolbox pull-down menu.
In order to use
this feature, you must create a specific category
named QuickSwitch. This category must contain 2 aircrafts (if it
contains more, they will be ignored). Each time you press the Quick
Switch key (F11 by default), the other aircraft of the QuickSwitch
category will be loaded in FS. Easy, and very efficient !!