16. Options#

This window lets you adjust your options settings that will be used every time you start FS One. There are 9 main categories built into the FS One menu windows.

To reach this window from the Main Menu, at bottom click on Options as shown below.

Image of the options button on main menu.

From most other windows, at top right click on Options.

From the Options window, you can adjust:

  • General - Intro and startup menu behavior, views, crash settings (indestructibility), etc.

  • Video - Window placement, split-screen, full-screen, etc.

  • Graphics 1 - What to show, in how much detail.

  • Graphics 2 - Detail and quality (polygons and textures/skins).

  • Sound/Music - Volume settings, including sailplane variometer beeps and GUI click sounds.

  • Smoke/Exhaust - Appearance.

  • Towlines - Towline, hi-start, and winch selections.

  • Physics - Breakable parts, collisions, sim rate multiplier, etc.

  • Messages - On-screen messages, e.g. airplane motor messages, camera selected, etc.

16.1. General#

To reach this window, click on Options, and then at left on General. If you were in one of the Options windows before, it will conveniently take you back to that prior window.

Image of the general options.

Skip Intro Screens

Skips the logos normally shown on startup.

Confirm Quit Commands

Prompts user to confirm quitting.

Flight Session at Startup

Starts Single Pilot Freestyle flying immediately on startup (a Flight Session). Skips the Main Menu and Fly Screen. Using this option is not recommended because you will have no way to initially change the startup settings, e.g. the airplane selection or controller selection.

Rotating 3-D views

Rotates aircraft in the Aircraft Selection pane. Otherwise, it uses a static picture of the aircraft and loads faster.

Advanced Gear Dynamics

Uses advanced gear dynamics if the airplane includes the effects – airplane can grip and bounce when sliding wideways. This setting is a “hint”, i.e. it will only affect airplanes that include parameters for the advanced gear dynamics. In other words, “you are hinting” to the airplane to take this setting but only some airplanes will be affected because only some airplanes have the “advanced gear dynamics” data. Current airplanes are: Yak 54, Sundower+variants, and Extra 260.

Allow Air Tank Depletion

Depletes retract landing gear air pressure tank with gear cycles.

Auto-Load Radio/Controller

With this box checked, the transmitter is automatically selected when you select an airplane. This behavior is discussed more here: Transmitter Selection. You can turn off this behavior (uncheck the box), but it is not recommended. If you uncheck this box, the transmitter will always have to be manually selected much like in real life at the flying field – always have to select your current “model” in the transmitter before you fly.

Use Mode 2 Configuration

Uses Mode 2 transmitter stick configuration (throttle on left stick) for the Transmitter Display widget which is turned on/off by pressing the E during a flight session. If not checked, then it will use Mode 1. There are no other Modes implemented for the Transmitter Display widget.

Transmitter Flight Modes 1 and 2

Mode 2 has the aileron and elevator on the right stick, and throttle and rudder on the left. Mode 2 is more common in North America. Mode 1 has aileron and throttle on the right stick, and elevator and rudder on the left stick.

Primary and Secondary Views

To change your default startup “camera” view:

  • Click on the Primary and Secondary dropdowns for the default F1 and F2 camera views.

  • Flying always begins with the primary F1 view.

  • While flying, press F1 for the primary view, or F2 for the secondary. See Camera Views for more details about how cameras work in FS One.

  • For smoother views, use a “lagged” view selection. For instance, pick the view labeled “Lagged/Autozoom-1.” This view simulates the motion of a very smooth handheld camcorder. The “perfect” views track the aircraft precisely and without lag motion.

Additionally, depending on the current camera selected during a flight session, some camera controls are:

  • Hold down Z to zoom in, or X to zoom out.

  • If that is not automatically enabled for the camera, press A to turn off Autozoom, and try Z and X again.

  • Press D to restore the Default zoom for the current camera selection.

  • If using a “3D ONLY” camera view at a 3D flying site ( F5 through F12 ), to move the camera closer or farther from the aircraft, hold down B or N . This simulates moving the camera along a trolley to/from the aircraft.

  • Some cameras also let you walk or fly around the camera target, using the arrow keys, numeric keypad ( * to move up , 3 to move down ) and the mouse to move around.

Note: Some cameras may not have all of these additional controls.

Pilot Images

  • To change the pilot image standing by the runway, click on the dropdown Pilot 1 and choose one of the options.

  • To change the second pilot’s image (when using Two Pilots), click on the dropdown Pilot 2.

  • To see a pilot image when using a 3D flying site, use the arrow keys to move away from the pilot position or press F5 at start. Note that for Pano flying fields, the pilot is never visible.

Image of the Pilot image.

FS One Modding Tip

The pilot image could be replaced with one that you create. The pilot image files are in the FS One install folder ~/Graphics/Pilots. A transparency mask (alpha channel) is used so that only the outline of the pilot is visible at runtime during a flight session.

Crash Settings

  • Check Indestructible Aircraft to prevent parts from breaking off the aircraft in a hard landing:

  • Check Indestructible Propeller to prevent ground strikes from damaging the propellers.

  • Check Auto-Reset After Crash to move the aircraft back to where it was when you first clicked Fly, i.e. the home position. Type a duration in seconds into Crash Reset Time.

16.2. Video#

This window lets you change how FS One appears on your computer display. These settings will be used every time you start FS One.

To reach this window, click on Options, then at left on Video.

Image of the options video settings.

Video Mode

  • Auto Fullscreen makes FS One fill the screen, and pick the necessary resolution.

  • Manual Fullscreen uses the full screen, but with a custom resolution and refresh rate. Select your choice from the dropdown menu that will show the allowable settings for your computer.

  • Windowed mode allows you to use only part of the screen, i.e. set a custom FS One window size. Set Width and Height in pixels, including whether you want to have it Auto Centering or Manual Placement using your offsets dx and dy (pixels from the top left corner of your monitor screen).

    Note 1: The FS One window is only sized and positioned by your settings on this page. You cannot freely mouse click to resize the window or click to move the window.

    Note 2: When you change the FS One window settings, it may ask for you to confirm your settings in order for them to take effect. Further, if your changes do not immediately take effect, shutdown and then restart FS One.

Split Screen Format

  • To split the screen horizontally or vertically for Two Pilots flying, click on Horizontal or Vertical.

  • In two pilot flying mode, on-screen widgets, such as, the wind compass, magnetic compass, heads-up display, radar gun, inset view, map overlays, etc, only apply to the first aircraft, i.e. the first pilot aircraft. Those widgets can be mouse-moved anywhere on-screen as is the case with single pilot mode.


You should be able to improved the visuals if you run FS One with a some degree of graphics card anti-aliasing. Check your video card graphics settings to see what adjustments you can make, such as, anti-aliasing. In your graphics settings, it is usually necessary to indicate that you want your settings to take effect while running FS One. [Note that FS One itself has no controls (no options) to change your video card settings automatically. You must do it manually in your graphics card settings.]

16.3. Graphics 1#

This window lets you choose what to see when flying, to trade off detail for frame rate (“frames per second”). If you want smoother display, try unchecking some of these checkboxes. These settings will be used every time you start FS One. Changes take immediate effect.

To reach this window, click on Options, then at left on Graphics 1.

Image of the options graphics 1 settings.

Magnetic Compass and Wind Compass

Check to show these compasses. It is advisable to show the wind compass to have awareness of whether or not the wind is blowing and its direction. The particular wind used is set from the Wind Selection window. Press C to toggle on/off the magnetic compass. Press W to toggle on/off the wind compass.

Show Trees, Etc

To show trees, buildings/tents, fences, vehicles, or RC pilots, check the corresponding box.

Reflections on Aircraft and Other Graphics Effects

Check the corresponding box to see:

  • Realistic reflections of the sun, sky, and field on your aircraft (Reflections on Aircraft).

  • More detail on the ground (Detail Ground Textures).

  • More ground detail far from the runway (Region Ground Textures).

  • Camera-lens flare from the sun (Lens Flare Effects).

  • Haze at the horizon (Horizon Fade Effects).

  • All shadows on or off (Enable Shadows).

  • Shadows from the aircraft (Aircraft Shadows). This setting should be used.

  • Shadows from trees (Tree Shadows).

  • Other shadows from buildings, etc (Other Shadows).

Fog and Haze Effects

Check the box (Fog/Haze Effects) to include the visual effects of fog and haze. The settings are:

  • To change the closest distance where haze appears:

    • Check Fog/Haze Effects.

    • Check Fog Distance Override.

    • Into the box for the Start Fog/Haze Distance, type the distance in feet.

      Note: The start haze distance must be between 4,000 and 40,000 feet.

  • To change the distance at which haze becomes opaque:

    • Check Fog/Haze Effects.

    • Check Fog Distance Override.

    • Into the box for the Full Fog/Haze Distance, type the distance in feet.

      Note: The full distance is between 6,000 and 60,000 feet. Also, the start distance must be less than the full distance.

16.4. Graphics 2#

This window lets you adjust the detail and quality of what you see when flying. For best visuals, move all sliders to the right. For slower computers, experiment by moving the sliders to the left. These settings will be used every time you start FS One.

To reach this window, click on Options, then at left on Graphics 2.

Image of the options graphics 2 settings.

Detail (Polygons)

You can adjust the Detail of:

  • Pilot Aircraft (My Aircraft)

  • Other Aircraft

Quality (Textures)

You can adjust the Quality of:

  • Pilot Aircraft (My Aircraft)

  • Other Aircraft

  • Skyscape (sky at a 3D Flying Site)

  • Pano (full 360 deg pano at a Pano Flying Site)

  • 3D Terrain (ground at a 3D Flying Site)

Detail Distance Multiplier

A higher Detail Distance Multiplier will increase the detail of distant aircraft. A value of 1 is recommended.

Detail and Quality Terms Defined

Detail is seen in things like servo horns, towhooks, or wing hold-down bolts, technically, more polygons in the graphics model. When flying, an aircraft might be displayed with low, medium, or high detail, in order of increasing polygons.

Quality is like sharper focus: grass becomes realistically coarser and rougher, and paint lines on airplanes become crisper. Technically speaking, higher quality means higher resolution textures used to “paint” the graphics model.

Definition - “Hint” Settings

These slider setting should be considered as “hints” to FS One. That is, FS One may or may not take your hint to, say, use lower quality. You might have the sliders all the way to the left, yet see no change. It means that FS One is not able to use your settings. In the case of graphics models, some only have high quality/detail, e.g. the SIG Four-Star 60. In fact, all new airplanes for FS One will probably ignore these detail/quality settings.

16.5. Sound/Music#

To reach this window, click on Options, then at left on Sound/Music.

Image of the options sound settings.

Music Settings

Most people use their own music apps these days. This menu feature is slated for being removed. Nevertheless, you can add your own wma-format files into the FS One Music folder and select that music for playback. FS One will not play mp3-format music files. Use the checkbox to Play Music While Loading. The checkbox for Sync Music to Start will begin the music at the start of the flight session (or restart the music if it was already playing while loading). Use the dropdown Music Filename to select the music file. The default file is simply wind noise and it will play for only approximately 3 min. Use the slider to adjust the volume.

Sound Settings

In this section, you can use the check boxes to toggle on/off variometer sounds while flying and GUI sounds (mouse click sounds) while navigating through the menus.

Adjust the volume sliders to your liking. The Sound Effects volume slider applies to crash sounds. The Instructor Voice volume slider applies when using the Flight Training feature.

Note that the variometer is mainly for use while flying sailplanes (faster and higher pitched beeping indicates more lift). If you are flying a powered aircraft, uncheck Use Vario Sound to avoid hearing the vario when you climb and descend.

Total Energy Variometer

A variometer is meant to indicate to the pilot when the aircraft is climbing or descending. Sailplanes use variometers to help find thermals - rising air currents. The variometer in FS One indicates the rate of change in the aircraft total energy (potential energy plus kinetic energy). This type of variometer will not give false thermal indications as a result of the pilot creating “stick thermals,” i.e. applying up elevator to “balloon up” when there is no thermal lift. The variometer sound in FS One is tuned to give a low pitch and slow beep tone (unenthusiastically) when descending at a normal rate. Lower/slower and higher/faster pitch-beep tones indicate losing/gaining energy respectively.

16.6. Smoke/Exhaust#

To reach this window, click on Options, then at left on Smoke/Exhaust.

Image of the options smoke and exhaust setting.

Both smoke (“airshow” smoke) and engine exhaust are made up of individual puffs. You can change how long puffs last, how big they are, how opaque they are, and what color they are.

Each of these attributes - lifetime, radius, opacity, color (RGB) - has an average (or initial) value and a variance. Zero variance makes all puffs identical. A small variance lets puffs look more realistic. A large variance produces a comical (unrealistic) look.

These settings will be used every time you start FS One, and they will apply to all aircraft equally.

Electric aircraft and unpowered aircraft will not emit smoke or exhaust, in which case these settings are ignored.

Airshow Smoke Settings

To turn smoke off entirely while flying, check the box to Disable Smoke. If smoke is not disabled here, then while flying, press S to toggle smoke on/off.

To change how long each puff lasts, enter values for:

  • Puff Lifetime (sec) (default value is 1.00). Using a value of 3 to 6 sec is more realistic but puts additional load on the graphics.

  • Puff Life Variance (sec) (default 3).

To change the size of the puffs, enter values for:

  • Puff Initial Radius (ft) (default 0.15).

  • Radius Variance (ft) (default 0.2). As each puff ages, it gets larger to look more real.

To change how opaque each puff is (0 is transparent, 1 is fully opaque), enter values for:

  • Initial Opacity (default 0.2).

  • Initial Opacity Variance (default 0.2). As each puff ages, it becomes more transparent.

To color the smoke a particular mixture of red-green-blue (RGB), enter values for:

  • Initial RGB (defaults 0.8). Each number ranges from 0 (no color) to 1 (full color). Same example RGB colors are shown below:

Natural Smoke

0.8, 0.8, 0.8


0, 0, 0

Dark Gray

0.1, 0.1, 0.1


1, 1, 1

Bright Red

1, 0, 0

Dark Blue

0, 0, 0.1

Bluish Gray

0.5, 0.5, 0.6

To change the rate at which the color varies, enter values for:

  • RGB Rate (defaults 0.1).

  • Color Variance and Rate Variance (defaults 0.10 and 0.05).

Engine Exhaust Settings

Aircraft with internal combustion engines emit visible exhaust.

To turn off exhaust puffs:

  • At top right, check Disable Exhaust.

To change the puff lifetime, radius, opacity, and color:

  • Do the same thing as you would with smoke. Exhaust puffs default to different numbers than smoke, though:

    • Lifetime / Variance is 0.03 / 0.30

    • Radius / Variance / Rate Variance is 0.08 / 0.1 / 0.8

    • Opacity / Variance is 0.02 / 0.08

    • RGB Color / Rate / Variance / Rate Variance is (0.7, 0.7, 0.8) / (0.1, 0.1, 0.1) / 0.08 / 0.05

16.7. Towlines#

To reach this window, click on Options, then at left on Towlines.

Image of the options towline settings.

Towline Settings

To change how long a towplane towline is:

  • Click on the dropdown Towline Settings (Aerotowing).

  • Click on one of the choices in the list that appears. Typically, you should select a towline with a weight recommendation that brackets the lighter of the towplane or the towed airplane. In the list, each choice mentions its weight rating.

Hi-Start Settings

To change how long the hi-start is (all numbers are in feet):

  • Click on the dropdown Hi-Start Settings.

  • Click on the choice that seems most appropriate. The recommended launch length is provided in the description.

  • Into the box for the Hi-Start Launch Length (ft), type how far to stretch the hi-start before launching. The length should be at least the length of the sum: rubber + string. Otherwise, there will be no stretch. If the user defined length is still too short, the value will be corrected when the aircraft is first launched with that hi-start. If the user stretch length is too long, it will probably blow the wings off on launch. No correction is made if the stretch is too long.

Winch Settings

To change how long the winch is:

  • Click on the dropdown Winch Settings, to set the cable length.

  • Click on one of the choices in the list that appears.

  • Into the box for the Winch Stretch Ratio, type how much the cable is pre-stretched at launch (from 1.0 to 2.0). For instance, a value of 1 is no stretch, and a value of 1.1 would be 10% stretch.

Captive Towhook Release

If you have unchecked the box for Open towhook (launch line is free to disconnect), then the towline will stay attached until you disconnect it manually. Press the Insert key to disconnect the line at any time. For aerotowing, the towline is always captive and Insert must be used to release the towline.

Line Stake (Anchor Point)

The towline is staked in the direction that the airplane is pointing at the start of your flight session.

What If the Towline Falls Off the Towhook?

If your towline falls off before launch, see the tips in the Takeoff Options chapter.

Rope Line Does Not Break

Towlines (hi-starts and winches too) do not break in FS One. But you can apply so much line tension that the airplane wind loads break apart the airplane.

The towline might appear to break. There can be instances where sometimes the math … “just does not add up”. Hit Esc , make a different towline selection, and try again. A towline with less tension is more safe in real life and in simulation.

16.8. Physics#

This window lets you make physics selections, but all boxes should be checked. To reach this window, click on Options, then at left on Physics.

Image of the options physics settings.

In strong pull ups, the aerodynamic loads can cause structural failure. To allow that to happen, check the box Allow Aerodynamic Forces to Break Parts. To strengthen the wings (increase the force needed to break them), type a number greater than 1 into Wing Strength Factor. To strengthen the rudder and elevator, type a number greater than 1 into Tail Strength Factor. Smaller numbers will weaken the part.

To change the runway elevation above sea level, click on the dropdown Field Elevation (ft) and set the elevation.

For fun, setting the Top of Atmosphere (ft) allows you to artificially sets an upper edge of the atmosphere, above which there is no air (zero air density). If you fly higher than that, you tumble freely until you fall back into the atmosphere, rather like a fish jumping out of a lake. In other words, aerodynamic forces have no effect up there. To enable this effect while in a flight session, press 1 on the numeric keypad (with Num Lock turned on). An on-screen message will appear to indicate that it is active: “Zero air density height xxx ft AGL.” Press 1 again to turn it off and use a normal atmosphere.

To change the speed of simulation (to speed up or slow down time), click on the dropdown Physics Speed and set the value.


For normal realtime speed, use a value of 1 for Physics Speed.

For realistic collisions between your aircraft and the buildings, trees, etc.:

  • Check Use Collisions.

For realistic collisions with, and taxiing on, uneven terrain:

  • Check Use Ground Elevation.

To increase aerodynamic accuracy when flying two aircraft:

  • Check Use High-Accuracy Physics for Two-Pilot Mode.

16.9. Messages#

To reach this window in FS One, click on Options, then at left on Messages.

This window lets you turn on/off some informational messages that can appear on-screen. These messages when triggered appear at top left and fades after a period of time (duration) that you define. The menu lets you turn on/off five types of messages. FS One, however, has over 40 categories of on-screen messages, yet this page only allows you to control 5.

Image of the options messages settings.

To see when the motor turns on or off, or is killed by pressing K :

  • Check the checkbox Show Airplane Motor Messages.

To see the flight mode (3D, High rates, Low rates, etc.):

  • Check Show Tx Flight Mode Messages.

To see messages from the Scaling Wizard at start, or when you press / on the numeric keypad:

  • Check Show Scaling Wizard Messages.

To see which camera is being used when you change cameras:

  • Check Show Camera Selector Messages.

    To see the name of the current camera view (without changing cameras), press ; .
    See Camera Views chapter for the list of over 70 camera views (your view on-screen).

To show Transmitter Overdrive messages (when you press the Transmitter Overdrive keys):

  • Check Show Tx Overdrive Messages.

To change the Scaling Wizard reporting speed:

  • Type a number into Scaling Wizard Report Rate. The normal value is 100.

To set how long each message appears before fading:

  • Type in a value for the Message Duration (sec). The normal value is 15 seconds.

To reset all choices to factory defaults in all options windows (General, Video, Graphics 1/2, Sound/Music, Smoke/Exhaust, Towlines, Physics, and Messages):

  • Check Use Default Options Upon Shutdown.

  • Exit FS One and then restart FS One.

    Note: This checkbox itself is not “sticky” like other checkboxes. In other words, after restarting, it reverts to being unchecked.

16.10. Validating Your Input#

To quickly check if the numbers that you type in are valid (i.e., inside the allowable range), click on a different Options menu and then back on the one you were on, e.g., from Physics, click on Towlines and then back to Physics. Toggling between two Options tabs is faster than clicking out with Ok and then clicking back into Options to check your values.