Flight Sim Tips - Changing Your Views

I’m sure most of you know that you can rotate your view in the virtual cockpit in FSX and FS2004 using the HAT switch on your yoke or joystick. Did you know that you can move the camera around in the virtual cockpit view as well as most plane views in FSX as well?

Here is a normal virtual cockpit view of the Cessna 172 from FSX.

Pressing the A key one time will jump you to the right seat and pressing it again will position the camera on the center console giving an up-close view of the panel. But what about the backseat?

I can use the HAT switch and rotate the camera so I can look in the backseat…

But what if I want to sit in the backseat? The HAT switch will simply not get me into the backseat. The answer is using combinations of keys on the keyboard to move the camera. The keys to use involve combinations of the CTRL and SHIFT keys with the ENTER and BACKSPACE keys.

If I press and hold the CTRL key or the SHIFT key, then tap either the ENTER or BACKSPACE keys, the camera will move. The key is to hold one, then tap the other to move the camera in increments. Here’s a guide to moving the camera:

Keys to Hold Keys to Tap Result (looking forward)
CTRL BACKSPACE Camera Moves Backward
CTRL ENTER Camera Moves Forward
SHIFT ENTER Camera Moves Up
CTRL & SHIFT ENTER Camera Moves Right

So now I can sit in the backseat:

Get creative and take some interesting screen shots like these:

Different Panel Angle

Another Panel Angle

A view from the Rudder Pedals:


You are not limited to only the virtual cockpit either. Default FSX planes have additional camera views including typically Right Wing, Left Wing and Tail, sometimes more.

You can change the camera position in these views as well usually in the same way. Press the S key until you get into an Aircraft View, then use the key combinations noted above to move the camera into new and exciting views like these:

Did you know the pilot of the C172 actually blinks? He does!

Nose view

Landing Gear


Note that when moving the camera around, you move the camera into positions it was not designed to be! When the camera goes inside a part, you will get strange results:

Have no fear; it’s not a video problem. You are just seeing the backside of parts and inside parts. Parts are made of single sided polygons. That means they are visible from one side and not the other.

These new camera positions are not permanent, however you can save the flight and when you load that flight again, the camera position will be saved with that flight. Making the camera view is possible by adding an entry to the aircraft.cfg file but I’ll save that for another tip…


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