Aircraft Development Documentation

Plane Maker Manuals

Plane Maker 11

Read the latest version of the manual online.

Plane Maker 10

Read the latest version of the manual online.
Download the PDF manual or read it online.

Airfoil Maker Manual

Airfoil Maker 11


Title Date Description
Exterior Aircraft Lighting in X-Plane 9 2015-12-16 14:47:54 This example plane demonstrates some of the airplane exterior lighting features that are possible in X-Plane 9.
Creating Photo-Real Paint Textures 2014-12-17 12:33:39 This tutorial will walk through overlaying a photo onto an aircraft fuselage in Plane Maker.
Creating Basic Paint Textures 2014-12-16 17:02:30 A tutorial on how to create a basic paint job and second livery for the Beechcraft Bonanza A36 created in the "Creating a Basic Aircraft in Plane Maker" tutorial.
Creating a Panel in Plane Maker 2014-12-16 15:35:35 This tutorial will walk through the creation of an aircraft panel for the basic plane built in the "Creating a Basic Aircraft in Plane Maker" tutorial.
Creating a Basic Aircraft in Plane Maker 2014-12-16 13:51:19 A step-by-step tutorial on making a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza in Plane Maker.


Title Date Description
Modelling remote HSIs and slaved gyros in X-Plane 11.10 2017-09-18 09:13:04 This article covers the three gyro systems available in X-Plane: vacuum, electric and AHRS, and how to use them in your aircraft and panel setup. The new remote gyro system with the option to slave the gyro to the fluxgate is explained, along with all the datarefs and commands that you will need.
Track to intercept - Making sense of LNAV and LOC/APP modes in 11.10 2017-09-18 09:12:27 This guide explains how to use the new GPSS mode of the X-Plane autopilot to achieve dual-mode intercepts from a GPS flightplan to radio navigation, for example for an ILS approach.
Using FMOD with X-Plane 2017-05-05 20:11:28 This guide explains how to use the commercial FMOD sound engine to add custom sounds to aircraft in X-Plane 11.
Checklist for Updating Aircraft for X-Plane 11 2017-03-15 11:55:15 This article covers the major areas aircraft developers should review when updating aircraft to be compatible with X-Plane 11.
Aircraft Metadata 2016-12-07 11:50:25 How to specify aircraft metadata in Plane Maker's Author window for use in X-Plane 11.
Generating Icons for Aircraft 2016-12-07 11:41:37
Custom Prop Discs 2015-12-16 14:07:29 An explanation of how to customize prop discs with datarefs.
2D Panel Lighting 2015-09-23 14:11:49 Here are a few tips for 2-d panel lighting.
Creating Color-Correct Textures 2015-05-27 12:33:33 How to ensure texture colors display correctly in X-Plane.
How To Programmatically Locate X-Plane 9 or 10 2014-12-19 10:07:46 Instructions for locating X-Plane installs for developers.
Using Object-Kill Datarefs to Improve Framerate 2013-11-10 12:57:41 Describes how to use datarefs to disable features in a custom aircraft model. This is useful for improving performance in large, complex aircraft.
Dynamic Exposure in X-Plane 10 2013-05-09 15:21:08 Describes X-Plane's method of altering _LIT textures to simulate the way human eyes adjust the brightness of an individual light depending on the surrounding lighting environment.
Billboard and Spill Lights for OBJs 2013-04-07 17:08:51 This article explains the concepts behind billboards and spill lights for X-Plane OBJs.
Airplane Parameterized Light Guide 2013-04-03 12:26:15 This document provides a detailed description of the parameterized lights available in OBJ files for the use on aircraft.
A Checklist for Updating Aircraft to X-Plane 10 2012-09-16 15:25:34 This document lists changes that you may need to make to update an aircraft from X-Plane 9.70 to X-Plane 10.10.
Best Practices for Creating 3-d Virtual Cockpits in X-Plane 10 2012-04-01 15:46:09 This article describes how to create a 3-d cockpit using all of the most modern techniques, while ignoring older legacy features that are only in the sim for backward compatibility.
Understanding Cockpit Prefill 2012-01-27 19:17:55 An explanation of why using cockpit pre-fill benefits framerate.

Tips & Tricks

Title Date Description
Upgrading navigation instruments from v10 aircraft 2016-11-25 15:51:44
Instrument Alignment 2015-12-16 15:41:11 This article discusses how to position instruments for visual quality.
Creating Generic Instruments 2015-12-16 15:08:59 Tips for creating generic instruments.
Upgrades to Aircraft for X-Plane 10.40 2015-10-09 09:39:34 This guide is a check-list of updates to make when you re-save your aircraft in Plane-Maker 10.40 or newer.
Propeller Beta & Reverse Models 2015-09-02 14:43:53 An explanation of PT-6 propeller beta & reverse modes in real planes, and how to set it up correctly in Plane Maker.
Art Controls for Aircraft Performance Tuning 2013-11-10 14:24:13 Discusses performance optimization when developing aircraft for X-Plane, including how to use datarefs to turn features on and off.
Guidelines for Working with Text-Based .acf File Formats 2012-12-13 14:45:22 X-Plane 10 switched to a text-based .acf file. This article describes what kinds of operations on the aircraft text file are safe and what are not.
How To Create a Preview Texture for the Panel in a 3-d Cockpit 2012-03-13 21:29:00 This article describes how to use a screenshot to make a 3-D panel.


Title Date Description
X-Plane 11 Material Model 2016-11-25 14:27:11 Detailed explanation of how the new Physically Based Rendering (PBR) lighting and material model works in X-Plane 11.
Panels For MSFS Developers 2015-12-22 14:27:02 The X-Plane panel system and virtual cockpit provide similar capabilities to MSFS; this guide explains some of the differences in authoring for authors who are experienced with MSFS.
Non-Monotone Key Frames 2015-12-17 16:46:06 This article explains how to use non-monotone key frames in Plane Maker.
Manipulators 2015-12-17 12:24:35 How to set up the six types of manipulators available in X-Plane.
8.33 kHz radios for users and authors 2014-08-27 06:23:14 Describes the behavior of radios that are aware of 8.33kHz channel spacing. Explains the different behavior of the new datarefs for 8.33kHz radios.
Old vs. new style FMS/GPS in Plane Maker, screen-only units and pilot vs. copilot side 2014-04-22 17:38:36 Describes the changes to the FMS and GPS made in Plane Maker v10.30 and X-Plane 10.25, including their use in the panel editor.
NAV/GPS Source Selectors, CDIs, HSIs and the New GPS Navigator 2014-04-12 12:42:39 Discusses changes to the source selector in X-Plane v10.30 and beyond.
Autopilot Sources 2014-04-12 12:36:27 Describes where the aircraft's autopilot gets its input data from. Selecting the correct data source is important for a realistic autopilot simulation.
Attached Object Properties in Plane-Maker 2012-01-23 12:26:40 Describes the properties available to designers when attaching an object (a .obj file) to an aircraft model. Includes info on lighting effects, shadow mode, level of detail (LOD), and more.

File Formats

Title Date Description