SPAD / AandO users...Do you fly fewer planes because you use them?

I’d imagine most folks who enjoy 2D cockpit flying use either SPAD, Axis&Ohs, or some other software to program their flight instruments.

I enjoy figuring out the intricacies involved in programming with SPAD (with no end in sight, as there’s still so much to learn…) But I spend so much time doing it that I ignore many of the planes in my hanger, if for no other reason that it seems criminal to not fly the ones I’ve invested ‘SPAD time’ in.

Granted, online snippets and shared profiles make the process easier - and I’m grateful for them. But I often find myself using them more to learn tips and tricks, rather than relying on them to set up a plane the way I like it. Doing it right takes time.

There are so many cool planes to choose from in this sim. On the one hand it’s really gratifying to have my modest cockpit set up and working well. On the other hand I know I’m missing out on many cool planes because I just don’t have the time to deep dive into setting them all up properly in SPAD and fly them too.

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Not at all. I have a “default” SPAD profile, which I use as a basis for any plane. It was originally built for the 172, so has a few standard features:

Holding the radio transfer button down switches channel spacing between 25KHh, and 8.33KHz.
When enabling OBS mode, the CRS knob now correctly adjusts the OBS course.
The autothrottle switch decides if I am controlling VOR1, or VOR2.
Autothrottle also controls whether I am setting MAGs, or starting the left or right engine for twins.
I have some code set for the prop levers so that when brought full aft, and the axis reads 0, it sets the prop to feather. It’s on all planes, it just doesn’t do anything if the plane cannot feather.

A lot of this carries across from plane to plane. Once I have that cloned to the new plane, I then fill in the gaps pertinent to that plane. Usually takes 30 minutes to an hour, quicker if the plane comes with a list of LVAR’s to use.

Once I have it set up so that the most often used controls are set up I most never likely revisit it.


I usually just program my favorites and just use default profiles for the rest. It also takes me time to program them but once it is done its done.


Unless it happens to be a dev who loves to give everyone the run around by changing things. Generally though it becomes set and forget.

How many planes do you program and fly?

I’ve probably got a dozen or so I expect. I can send you my list of SPAD profiles if you like, once I get home.


If you have one for the JF Hawk T1, I’d appreciate a copy. I’ve got a few problems with mine and I’m struggling with it. I posted in the main Hawk thread.

To the topic in hand, I love spad for what it allows us to do, but I find it quite difficult to understand for more complex bindings. Because of that, I end up using a mixture of bound hardware and the mouse for those planes.

I do appreciate it when people make their profiles available, it’s very helpful for those of us that only have limited time and would prefer to fly than work out the problems, although I can see the challenge and satisfaction involved.

I’ll send you a DM with my email address. Thanks!

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Like most have already said, we create standard profiles for the general use of most planes (throttle, prop, mixture, battery, avionics, lights, magnetos, etc).
Since many planes are referencing the standard variables for each element, these standard profiles will usually work with most planes, apart from the more complex planes with custom LVARs for each cockpit element.

Personally, i use SPAD as a way to get the most of my Honeycomb alpha/bravo for the planes i want. Its like specializing for the planes you want the most, while enjoying the other ones in a more basic way. The mouse is always close if i need to flip a switch. But as humans, we tend to stay around a few favorite planes anyways, so it makes sense to invest more time in better setups for these, than the average plane you fly a few times a year.

So i dont see it as flying fewer planes to get well set up profiles, but as having in-depth profiles for the planes that matter the most to me.


I probably have 25-30 fully programmed and about another 5-6 in various stages of completion. Mine take way longer than a day or two to complete because I’m not only setting up controls I’m reading data for an external cockpit and creating graphics. I therefore totally understand the time commitment vs flying time thing. I do it because I enjoy it and because when done it gives me what I want and it’s the only way I’ll fly. Having to use a mouse and views in the vc is not my thing.

I can safely say that no two aircraft are ever the same and the disregard of existing events/vars by devs makes it much harder than it should be. Yes some of them share stuff as the others have said but as a total package each one is bespoke. Bespoke equals lots of time.


Well said. I’m waiting for the UPS Santa to deliver a Stream Deck XL. I’m looking forward to diving down the data feedback rabbit hole. My goal is also to eliminate as many mouse clicks as possible.


I have some sympathy here - I definitely have a bit of reluctance to flying a new aircraft as I know there is going to be some significant investment of time setting up the externals with SPAD. It’s gotten easier now I have standard snippets for the avionics. But yes, quite an investment in time.

But on the other hand it’s not such a huge problem for me as I’m very picky about what I fly and prefer to master a few types rather than dabble in lots (which is better for my wallet too).

The problem gets even worse once you start doing scenery development. I can spend way more time on that than flying!
(And don’t get me started on coding steam gauges in AirManager


Another long-time SPAD.neXt user here. Add the fact you need specific gauges for aircraft-specific profiles (if you don’t want the generic Saitek/Logi ones which are meh). I have 9 FIP gauges which I’ll have to stuff with gauges for every new plane.

There are two sources, mainly, FSXTimes and fipgauges with the first ones very close to the specific original plane while the latter ones are more generic, but highly configurable.

While most of these gauges are excellent, they come at a cost, the set being often more expensive than an average payware GA plane (albeit you can sometimes reuse some of them like the VORs).

Plus, there are no specific gauges available for some of the recently released planes.

I use FSUIPC. Depending on the aircraft it takes me either no time at all (like Carenados C195) up to some hours if standard bindings don’t work or I want to do some special things by use of scripting.

It never took me more than a day and that’s ok. I have too many aircraft anyway and will try to only get selected ones from now on.

I understand why folks use the FIPs if they’ve had them for some time. They’ve been around for along time now but there are better and cheaper options these days. I use Air Manager which is so much more versatile than a collection of FIPs. It’s customise heaven if you want that, pre-made if you don’t or a mix of the 2.


Most of the time, I use VR those days. However, if I am in the mood for “real” hardware or I’m flying with guests/grandchildren, I use the hardware panel.

But I agree, inflexibility is the Archilles heel of this setup. It’s a perfect Cessna (it even has Cessna logos on the gear) - but nothing else.


I don’t use AxisandOhs or SPAD, just no need (at current time).

That said, I won’t fly any aircraft that doesn’t have an Air Manager cockpit available from my usual sources.

Air Manager direct
Experimental Sim Avionics

I just can’t bring myself to have to use a mouse or keyboard when flying.

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I use default profiles for my saitek panels, and only have a few different profiles for my Class Echo. I find changing profiles to be unnecessary with most aircraft.

I used the settings within MSFS to create a few profiles for my Alpha, Bravo, and MFG. The Bravo and Class Echo are the only two profiles that occasionally need changed, but remain the same between aircraft most of the time.

Great question and great answers!

I have a homemade button box for controlling nav/com and/or GPS. I also use a Logitech switch panel and multi panel for most “standard” switches and autopilot control.

I have four throttle systems - one is a dual Logitech/Saitek quadrant (6 axes) for most T-bar or quadrant-type work, including multi engine. Under that is a vernier (push-pull) Cessna-style TPM. On the left side is a single Logitech/Saitek for Piper Cub-type or right-seat single work, then an old CH HOTAS also on the left side, which I rarely use anymore.

Lastly, I have a stream deck plus that handles ancillary aircraft systems - ADF, fuel system, hydraulics, electric system, pneumatics, water rudders, etc.

To juggle all that, I use SPAD. Like many others here, I have overarching profiles for different aircraft types:

Single engine prop
Multi engine prop
Single turbine
Multi turbine
Left-hand throttle

Then each of those will have at least two entries - one for steam gauge and the other for Garmin glass.

Then any aircraft with custom LVARs or whatever will get their own entry based on one of the above.

I also have several sticks and yokes, but I haven’t been comfortable making the switch to SPAD on those (I prefer the in-game sensitivity control), so they remain the only in-game control holdovers.


I just got into SPAD six months ago and oh boy, what a vortex that sucked me in.

My setup has 10 FIP’s, two Logitech radio stacks, switch panel, autopilot panel, a StreamDeck XL, and a PCPanel I use for plugin volume control. X56 HOTAS bolted to end tables snug against my chair, ButtKicker Gamer Pro, TurtleBeach pedals. Once I am cold and dark on the tarmac I power off my wireless keyboard and put it on a shelf next to my chair. I wish I could do the same with the mouse but I always end up needing it at least once during a flight.

I now cannot stand using the keyboard or mouse for ANYTHING. I feel like a failure if I do. If there is a button I need, it must be mapped to my hardware. I have extensive 8-step processes mapped with delays to press one button to unlock the upper door handle, unlock the lower door handle, open the door, turn the StreamDeck button RED. Press the button again and it does the opposite in reverse sequence.

Plane doesn’t have a master avionics switch and everything turns on as soon as you flip the battery switch to “on”? (JustFlight Piper Arrow…) I’ll fix that by adding a breaker pull action or something to the master battery on switch, so the radios won’t roar to life until I turn my physical master avionics switch on. And that sets the KN62 power button on, sets the KT76 mode knob to 3, the KR85 mode to 1, COM1 and COM2 volume to 100% etc…

I have a Logitech Harmony remote for my home theater where all I have to do is press one button and 5 pieces of stereo equipment turn on and to the correct channels, why should my cockpit not function the same?

On the subject of the cost of FIP gauges, they average, what, $7 USD each? I now have 34 of them. Given that my ten FIP units cost me $170 a pop, spending an additional $238 is peanuts to make those gauges actually work.

So to answer the OP’s question, I am VERY selective in which planes I fly. JustFlight Warriors/Arrows extensively, Blackbird 310R, WB 172, JPL 152, now dabbling in the BlackSquare Baron. Developers make hardware configuration stupidly difficult. Come on, SMOKE_ON events to control wheel chocks? But like the OCD sucker I am, I see it as a challenge that must be fixed.

According to MSFS I have 110 flight hours though I have spent easily over a thousand between building the PC, drilling holes in walls, running wiring, hooking up hardware, programming graphics, setting up SPAD SPAD SPAD, reverse-engineering what the heck the devs were doing, ugh.

New plane? Great, let me spend 3 hours a night for two weeks configuring the hardware (and installing a livery I like) before I even taxi to the runway.