FAQ The FAQ below are actual questions & answers from my mailbox or the Simviation forum

Does this look familiar?

How about this?

Looks serious but these error messages are in fact quite common. Read this first before reinstalling.

Q I keep getting error messages when I either try to load free flight or mission editor. The problem usually is solved by trying again in freeflight, and the thing loads right. I'm probably going to have to reinstall.
A You may not realise that CFS2 has a "100" plane limit. I think this limit is set by the Mission Builder but it also affects the sim itself. I supect you're over or near the limit. The easiest way to fix it is to create a Hangar sub-folder in the CFS2 Aircraft folder & drag some of your aircraft into it. You could also delete anything you don't wish to keep. Make sure you don't move any default aircraft or 3rd party aircraft used in missions. That should stop those error messages. You can reinstall planes from the Hangar as you wish, providing you drag a corresponding number back into it.

IMPORTANT: A common fix for any problems with CFS1 was to Uninstall then Install to the original path.
I used to do this regularly. Please DON'T try it with CFS2.....................!
Uninstalling CFS2 deletes ALL CFG files. This will completely destroy imported aircraft.
If you use the Uninstall option in CFS2 you might just as well dump all your add-on aircraft & start again.

If reducing the amount of installed aircraft doesn't fix those error messages some default files or the Mission Builder database might be corrupt.
Before you think of Uninstalling CFS2 try the Reinstall option first. This might well do the trick.
Imported files & campaign records will be safe but you will need to reactivate imported scenery.

  • Select Add/Remove from the CD.
  • Then select Reinstall & check the Recopy existing files from media? button.

If all else fails a complete Uninstall should definitely fix it. This is a drastic solution so back up any valuable imported aircraft, gauges & scenery first. Select Uninstall from the CD. When uninstall is finished, exit the set-up program. Delete the complete CFS2 directory folder & reboot before doing a fresh install.

One of your original imported aircraft possibly caused the problem so be careful when reinstalling them.
I suggest doing this one aircraft at a time. Then check each one out in Free Flight for bugs & error messages before installing another.

Q I've had CFS1 for some time & got used to the key commands. I just bought CFS2 & find it uses completely different ones. This is very confusing so is there a way to use the same key commands in CFS1 & CFS2?

A CFS2 installs the new Combat Keyboard settings by default. I agree this is confusing & can't think of one good reason for it. Personally I can see no advantage to the new layout & suspect it was just another gimmick.
All the other MS sims including FS2002 use the standard FS/CFS1 keyboard layout.
If, like me, you prefer the old familiar keyboard layout it can be easily changed.
From CFS2 Settings/Controller Assignments click the Reset Defaults button to bring up this screen.

Key Commands

People are always asking how to open the canopy & fold the wings in CFS2. I find CFS2 Help particularly frustrating & difficult to navigate. Some new CFS2 functions don't even appear to be listed. If they are I can't find them.

The 2 completely different keyboard layout options confuse things even more.
This list of the more obscure CFS2 key functions in both CFS2 keyboard layouts might be some help.

FS/CFS1 Command
Combat Keyboard Command
Open/Close canopy
Ctrl + E
Shift + C
Fold/Unfold wings (Naval aircraft only)
Shift + F
Shift + W
Extend/Retract Tailhook
Shift + G
Shift + H
War Emergency Power (WEP) Toggle
Spoilers/Dive Brakes Toggle
/ (Fwd Slash)
Brakes (Both)
. (Period)
Parking Brake On
Ctrl + . (Period)
Shift + B
Left Brake
, (Comma)
Right Brake
. (Period)

Q I cannot release a bomb from the Wildcat I'm flying. I elected the CSF1 controls. Pressing 3 doesn't do it, nor does the joystick button I programmed for bomb release that works in CSF1.

A CFS2 is different from CFS1 & has extra keyboard commands. Some aircraft have mixed loadouts & you must select a particular weapon before dropping or firing it. I also use the CFS1 keyboard. Toggle the weapons from Shift + 3 & the selected weapon should appear in the on-screen text. Hit 3 to fire it. Droptanks are released in the same way. I have 2 separate buttons configured for selecting & firing external weapons on my joystick.

Q How do I take screenshots in CFS2?

A There are various utilities for taking multiple screenshots. These are mostly Shareware programs & difficult to set up properly. I find the old-fashioned Windows Clipboard method less trouble with equally good results. This works with any MS sim from Full Screen or Windows mode, the only drawback being that you must take one shot at a time. Once you get used to the idea, any number of shots can be taken very quickly. They can be taken on the fly but this is how I do it.

  • First pause the sim & pose the shot. Zoom in/out & pan with the keyboard or HAT.
  • Then hit the Print Screen key. This saves the image to the Windows Clipboard.
  • Minimise the sim & open your favourite paint program. MS Paint will do but I find IrfanView more convenient.
  • Hit Ctrl + V to retrieve the shot from the Clipboard. Resize or crop the image as necessary.
  • Click File/Save As to save the image in a suitable format. JPEG (JPG) format is ideal for most purposes.
  • You can now maximise the sim ready for another shot.

PS. Martin Wright released his excellent free MultiGrab after this reply was written.
If you prefer automatic multi-shot
screen grab utilities try it

Q1 I hope you can help. I am running CFS on WinXP and I have a problem with the model showing up in QC. The plane is listed but there is no picture in the box. When you hit OK it says unable to display visual model. I've used them before without problem in Win98. Any suggestions? Thank You for your time.
CFS and CFS2 see the planes as options to select, however they do not appear when selected in the window. When using them for a mission you get an error that visual files not loaded. I have read the briefs and tutorials but I am stumped. Do you have any advice? (Windows 2000 Pro user)

A Try patching the MDL of offending aircraft with the FS2000 MDL Repair Utility Here
Don't let the name put you off trying it. This utility was released before CFS2 & the author might not have CFS anyway.
People with Win2000 & WinXP have tried it for me with 100% success so far in all MS sims including CFS1 & FS2002.

If the offending planes work OK as flyable aircraft be sure to patch the correct MDL.
Some CFS aircraft have special AI versions (drones) which might cause the problem in QC.

The fix posted on the Abacus website has been tested & also works for CFS1 & CFS2. (
NOTE: Both utilities are for Windows 2000 or Windows XP ONLY

© Grumpy's Lair 2002