Xplane model import

Hi all,

I’m an aeronautical engineering student and today i started my internship. I do this internship at a student team that is converting the viking dragonfly to be fully electric. My assignment is to model the dragonfly in a simulator. There has been made a version in xplane but that is not up to the standard that is required, is there a way to import it to msfs2020 and tweak it?

I am also pretty new to modelling aircraft, do you guys have any tips for me? At the moment I am writing a project plan for the assignment, what is important for me to take in to account when I start comparing xplane with mfsf 2020? And what are the biggest differences between modeling it in xplane or in mfsf 2020?

Tnx for reading, and I look forward to the advice of some of you guys! O7

The modelling itself is the same for every simulator/game/etc… its more about the specific exporting format.
You can find all info related to that in the MSFS SDK.


Take time to learn plane maker in Xplane. They use that to model real-world aircraft before flying them.

Don’t bother with FS, it’s not good enough for serious work.


Why isn’t it good enough?


Good question, lets see with what he comes up.
However, just do the work for the platform you want and feel most comfortable enough, you can pretty much ignore what he said IMHO. :slight_smile:

However, we should focus on what you exactly want to do and what you can do. What you are describing is no simple task, especially if you do not know anything about the easiest part, probably, the modelling.
You`ll have a lot to learn. It doesnt really matter what platform you choose for that.

1 Like

Because with FS you have to write bespoke code to simulate what happens in the real world. XPL has all this built in. It makes sense to learn the actual aerodynamics of what you’re trying to model.

In FS you can model a brick nicely and stick a propeller on it and it will “fly” beautifully but is it air-worthy? Hmm that’s an interesting branch on this topic, I wonder how prop-wash affects the flying surfaces of a brick?

Perhaps start with that and report back!


I’m sorry to say but this has nothing to do at all with any of this.

I won’t try to tell what it is here because it is a little OT and there are plenty of posts in this forum explaining this better already.

I wouldn’t dare pretending I’m in any capacity to judging the intentions of the OP. This topic is about importing/translating X-Plane aircraft models into a suitable FS2020 format. WASM is off topic but you’re describing it in a way which is not what it is about. As for links, really just click on the “FS” logo to the top left of this page, and follow the trail to the developer support website for the SDK docs which are explaining exactly what WASM is.

Hello! I would like to know more about the work you are doing. Could you tell me more ?

@creativeslime Yeah of course! I’m doing my internship at the University of applied sciences Inholland Composites in Delft, the Netherlands. One of the projects they do is making making a viking dragonfly fully electric and in the process help obtain the knowledge needed for the aviation market to move over to electric flight. If you want to read more of it, here is the website: https://projectdragonfly.nl/

Thank you guys for the response so far! I am aware that it is no simple task, luckely i have half a year of fulltime work to work on it :slight_smile: Another group of students have already gathered the flight data from the aircraft. I am now in the really early stage of writing a project plan on how I am going to realize this. And am now trying mostly to get a grasp on the biggest differences between modeling an flight model in xplane vs msfs2020, so I can get an idea how much time I will need to make a decision between the two.
We already have a visual model, so I ‘only’ need to make the flightmodel. The idea now is also to verify the accuracy of the model by comparing the values that will be given by the sim in certain flight conditions with calculations made by me.

This is very interesting, I would love to know what others who have modelled in both think of the accuracy considering the Xplane was designed to essentially be an airfoil simulator on some level and MSFS was a commercial simulator for most of it’s life.

1 Like

would xplane not be the wisest choice due to the maturity of the product and its general stability?

msfs is visually superior if enough work is put into the model/textures and the FM can be up to standard from what I’ve “read” but I’m not sure I’d want to invest valuable time for a real world project in such a fledgling product.

as a mod or for fun, I’d definitely choose msfs but for “serious” stuff? I’m leaning towards xplane.

or am I wildly off the mark?


interesting project…but i say xplane migth be more suitable for this.


X-Plane would be easier to design such a flight model since you start with the airfoil data and physical dimensions and the sim derives the aerodynamic parameters vs. MSFS where you supply the pre-computed coefficients. Plus, the telemetry data in X-Plane is very comprehensive, so you will be able to monitor everything you need during your test flights to make any needed adjustments.

The X-Plane dev community is helpful to learn more and you can study a vast array of free planes to see how others have done it.

MSFS 2020 would be a better choice if graphical fidelity was your main goal, but otherwise, the older sims will serve you better for this project, I think.

Edit to add that X-Plane’s Plane Maker supports all kinds of propulsion including electric motors, which can get you to your goal in a shorter time.


I’m not sure. All I will say is that X-Plane is drastically different in terms of flight dynamics. It is far superior to MSFS and practically any desktop flight simulator. If you’re trying to use a simulator for extreme realism in procedures and flight dynamics, then MSFS is not for you. If you don’t mind some unrealistic factors and want beautiful graphics, then MSFS is for you. Personally speaking I use both simulators, MSFS for VFR and around 30% of my IFR flights, with 70% of my IFR flights on X-Plane.

1 Like

For a scientific project, go with X-Plane.

1 Like

in what way is msfs less realistic than xplane? what does it different aerodynamicly that make it less realistic?

msfs does things differently to xplane in terms of modelling the flight model and afaik xplane models some aspects more in depth/detail (I’m a layman btw)

but, for the average Joe/Josephine etc msfs will emulate “enough” for most purposes, it depends on exactly what aspects one needs to show off to be able to choose which platform will suit.

just because msfs is pretty, doesn’t mean it’s arcade in its simulation it just might not be deep enough when compared to a passion project like xplane.

YouTube has many vids by Austin, the creator(?) of xplane in which he explains the stuff that’s in his sim compared to others.

it’s hugely impressive but many aspects may not affect those who are casual flyers like me and not “rivet counters”

I’d also look at xplane due to the maturity of the product in regards to modding and adding a new aircraft as the pipeline is solid and a well trodden, documented path compared to msfs.

I don’t think there’s any best sim to show off this project but it’s worth taking a long look at both sims before diving in.

my “job” is all about presentation, so whilst there are likely roadbumps (turbulence?) in the msfs path, the simplicity of getting nice visuals would make it worth the hassle, whereas getting an accurate model out of xplane would be “easier” I’d then have to tweak and mod xplane to get it to standard.

just my 2 pence, not hard advice etc!

1 Like

Austin Meyer, the creator of X-Plane, is a aeronautics engineer as well, and back then he started X-Plane as a project to test and simulate flight designs. It uses standard engineering models like Blade Element Theory to simulate flight. This is why I would expect that you benefit more from using X-Plane for your professional education, besides all the other aspects. Look at a couple of videos about X-Plane development to see what I mean.