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Best Scenery Add-Ons For Flight Simulator X

Scenery quality in Microsoft’s Flight Simulator franchise has improved drastically over the years. Even so, the default textures seem to always leave room for improvement.

Take your flight simming experience to the next level with one of these highly acclaimed scenery add-ons for FSX.

1. Photoreal America — Sim Savvy

Sim-Savvy’s „Massive Scenery Collection“ makes its debut with Photoreal America. And it’s definitely massive! The program includes photo-realistic textures to cover all of the U.S. mainland–a gigantic 400 gigabytes worth of textures.

The photo data comes directly from the USDA’s National Agriculture Imagery Program NAIP, which takes 1 meter/pixel aerial photos every 2 years of continental U.S.

Don’t have a 400 GB hard drive? Fear not, your Photoreal America purchase includes a 1 TB external hard drive that comes preloaded with the software. The program runs from the external hard drive directly, so there is no need to copy files onto your computer.

The software does come with a hefty price: $199 USD. Despite the significant price tag, this is still a worthwhile investment in the long run; you are entitled to free updates whenever they become available.

2. Ground Environment X USA & Canada — Flight1

At $34.95, this program is an affordable alternative to Photoreal America. GEX replaces the default FSX scenery with striking 1024×1024 pixel images that have a 1 meter/pixel resolution.

One advantage of GEX over Photoreal America is that GEX includes night textures while Sim Savvy’s product does not.

Customers report that GEX’s effect is subtle but noticeable. Bland white road lines are transformed into major expressways and interchanges humming with traffic.

You will also see a more realistic „blending of seasons,“ compared to the default FSX scenery. Fall and spring textures mark a much more natural transition to winter and summer.

Despite the enhanced details, simmers say that frame rates aren’t affected much.

3. Megascenery Bundle: Hawaii, Las Vegas, Reno — PC Aviator

This $20 bundle, gives you great scenery for three popular flight sim cities.

Unlike Ground Environment X and Photoreal America, which do not include any Hawaii data, Megascenery Bundle provides stunning photorealistic scenery textures for Ohau. View a few screenshots on the website and see for yourself. Ground textures look exactly like what you’d see from above in real life.

Over 2,100 square miles of city landscape, rocky mountains, hilltops are included with the Las Vegas textures. The only drawback with this program is that it doesn’t add or enhance any of the 3D buildings on the Vegas Strip.

4. Megascenery X: Southern California — PC Aviator

I live in Los Angeles, so I’m always excited to get my hands on the newest SoCal add-ons as soon as they come out. I was delighted by the quality of the scenery in Megascenery X. The level of detail is incredible. I was able to find where I went to high school, my neighborhood, and even my house!

As with the Megascenery Bundle, this program does not add any 3D objects to are, but there are several other features that make up for this. The add-on scenery loads with better frame rates than the default scenery. Another cool feature:, you get night textures with this program. Most scenery add-ons do not have night textures.

5. Manhattan X — Aerosoft

Creating an elaborate virtual Manhattan is a daunting task. Even so, Aerosoft did a great job with this product.

The entire Manhattan Island is recreated in stunning detail. Not only is there tons of 3D automobile traffic with everything from limosines to public busses, you’ll also see the regularly scheduled Staten Island Ferry and something else that’s typically absent from flight sims–people!

Manhattan X comes with a „sightseeing mission“ where you tour the city in a helicopter. Beginning at the Wall Street heliport, you fly around the city with a co-pilot who doubles as a tour guide. With a heavy New Yorker accent, your co-pilot points out areas of interest and provides brief historical footnotes for many of the landmarks you encounter.

Users say they get frame rates between 15 and 35 FPS on an Intel Quad Core machine with 2 GB of RAM. In the user’s manual, Aerosoft explains exactly how to tweak the FSX display settings to maximize performance.

It goes without saying that Having a powerful computer is necessary to get the most out of these scenery add-ons. An excellent gaming laptop is the ASUS G73JW with a 4 quad Intel i7 processor and 8 GB of RAM standard. Be sure to look through the detailed ASUS G73review provided by

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