Airport Labels – An Undocumented Feature

By Hal Bryan – 1 May 2008

(Update: The previously published version of this article suggested a key combination that conflicts with a default assignment in FSX: Acceleration. Please note the revised instructions below. Thanks to Paul Donnelly for catching this so quickly! Now, if anyone knows the key combination to remove egg from one’s face … )

Sometimes, the best insider information comes from outside. A dedicated FS user named Lamont Clark posted in his FS wiki instructions for enabling an undocumented feature in Flight Simulator X that displays airport names above airports  while you’re flying around. A great “cheat” for navigation!

Here’s how to enable the feature. Try this only if you’re comfortable finding and editing configuration files!

  1. Locate the user version of the file named Standard.xml. Here are the default locations in Windows XP and Windows Vista:

Windows XP:
C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\application data\microsoft\fsx\controls

If you don’t see the Application Data folder, you need to turn on Show Hidden Files and Folders (see below).

Windows Vista:
C:\Users\<user>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\FSX\Controls

If you don’t see the AppData folder, you need to turn on Show Hidden Files and Folders (see below).

  1. Make a backup copy of this file and put it in a safe place in case you ever want to revert to the original file.
  1. Open Standard.xml with Notepad or another text editor.
  1. Add an Entry block in the Keyboard_Main area of the simcontrols.map section (at the beginning of the file), by inserting the following text as shown (note that CTRL+SHIFT+P is the suggested key combination, but you can assign it to anything you like – just verify that it isn’t already in use):

<Entry>
<Key>CTRL+SHIFT+P</Key>
<Down>TOGGLE_AIRPORT_NAME_DISPLAY</Down>
</Entry>

  1. Save the file.
  1. Start Flight Simulator X, fly, and press Ctrl+Shift+P (or whatever you assigned it to) to toggle airport name display on and off.

You might be surprised at how many airports you come across that you’ve never noticed before! Oh, and if you were so devil-may-care as to ignore step two, and then find that you want to undo your changes, just delete Standard.xml, and FSXwill replace it with a clean copy the next time it starts.

Displaying Hidden Files and Folders

Windows XP:

  1. In the C:\Documents and Settings\<user> folder, click the Tools menu , and then click Folder Options.
  2. Click the View 
  3. Under Hidden files and folders, click Show hidden files and folders.
  4. Click OK.

Windows Vista:

  1. In the C:\Users\<user> folder, click Organize and then click Folder and Search Options.
  2. In the Folder Options dialog box, click the View 
  3. In the Advanced Settings area, click the Show hidden files and folders radio button.
  4. Click OK.

FSX Admin

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