Flight Simulator X for Windows is required; the model has been tested using the ‘Deluxe’
edition with and without the Acceleration package. It also works
with the free trial version of FSX,
The model runs quite well on a laptop (Intel Core 2 1.87 GHz) with
built-in graphics, but a machine with a separate graphics card will
usually give better results.
Unzip the flylighttrike.zip file to a temporary folder, then
move or copy the folder ‘Flylight MotorFloater’ to the SimObjects\Airplanes
folder under the FSX main folder (this is where you installed FSX).
Alternatively you can unzip the flylighttrike.zip file directly
to the SimObjects\Airplanes folder in FSX.
In either case, if FSX was installed on the C: drive you may need
to run the unzip program as an administrator on Windows Vista or
The aircraft ‘Flylight MotorFloater’ should now available in FSX.
If you have problems, try an internet search for ‘fsx aircraft
installation’ – there are numerous detailed tutorials, etc.
‘Flying’ the aircraft
MotorFloater sim over Broadway [select
FSX models can be flown using just keyboard and mouse, but (as
for all FSX aircraft) a joystick of some kind is recommended. Rudder
pedals are not really needed (a flexwing aircraft has no rudder)
but if you have them they can be used for steering on the ground
and the ‘toe brakes’ can be set to act as brake and foot throttle
Reminder: to start the engine, use Ctrl-E.
If you have difficulty taking off, ensure that you are using full
throttle and (if using a throttle slider control) ensure throttle
sensitivity is set to maximum.
The controls on a flexwing aircraft work in the opposite sense
to fixed-wing aircraft. For example, pushing forward on the control
bar raises the nose, whereas in a fixed-wing aircraft pushing forward
on the joystick or yoke lowers the nose.
However, in FSX you can fly the trike using the controls in the same
way as for fixed wing aircraft, and if you have only flown fixed
wing aircraft (in FSX or for real) then it is recommended that at
first you fly the model trike in that way. You will see the model
respond in its ‘correct’ sense; for example, if you pull your joystick
back to round out when landing the control bar of the model will
Instruments are not really necessary when flying a slow light aircraft
like this (the real aircraft has a variometer/altimeter with engine
rpm and CHT indications only). If you are interested in your heading,
altitude, etc. use Shift-Z in FSX – this will add an information
line at the top of the screen. Alternatively, if you select the
‘2D’ panel (F10) the FSX Air Creation 582-SL Trike panel will be
For more information on flexwing aircraft and how to fly them a
good place to start is the FAA Weight-Shift Control Aircraft Flying
Handbook. This is available for free download at www.faa.gov/library/manuals/aircraft/
(at the bottom of the list).
This is a work-in-progress; there are limitations:
A ‘real’ MotorFloater has fabric fairings and an instrument binacle;
these have yet to be added to the model (I am also considering adding
‘Dragonfly’ composite fairings as an alternative).
The sounds you currently hear are those of the FSX Air Creation
582-SL Trike; this means that you do hear wind effects, but the engine
There are no instruments yet; use Shift-Z in FSX to view your heading,
Tuning of the flight model is still in progress – please let me
know what you think needs changing.
The engine idle speed is lower than the real aircraft so the propeller
animation looks better.
No pilot yet.
Some graphics cards allow three-dimensional (3D) display either using
special monitors or on ordinary colour monitors. For the latter,
anaglyphic» display is used. Here are some examples.
The model as shipped includes retractable main gear, as found on
the Flylight Dragonfly. By default this is not enabled as the trike
models a fixed-gear MotorFloater. If you want to experiment with
the retractable gear, there are two lines in the Aircraft.cfg
file (in the Flylight MotorFloater directory) which start: