An ecclectic mix of airports, applications, utilities and other freeware "stuff" for MS Flight Simulator
Airfield Lights Toolbox
A GUI-based utility for creating and editing and custom airfield lights for use in Microsoft Flight Simulator (FS9 onwards) and Prepar 3D.

Airfield Lights Toolbox

GUI-Based AFLT Version 4 Now Available (P3Dv5-Compatible)

Making your Airport Look More Like the Real Thing

Airfield Lights Toolbox (or AFLT for short) is a comprehensive utility for the creation and placement of airfield lights for Microsoft Flight Simulator and Prepare3D airports. AFLT includes 3D models for:

  • runway/taxiway edge and centerline lights,
  • runway threshold/end split lights,
  • PAPI/VASIs and wigwags, and
  • obstruction lights and beacons,
and customizable templates for most FAA and ICAO (Calvert) approach light configurations. If you don't like the 3D models provided (typical at Canadian airports), you can replace them with your own. As well, pilot-control of airfield lighting (PCL) is fully implemented. Every type of light available in Flightsim is supported by AFLT - and more. As well, unlike Flightsim, stock light parameters are adjustable.

AFLT's Main Panel and WYSWYG Graphical Interface

When you create an AFLT project, you specify the path to a .xml or .bgl file containing the airport of interest. AFLT then draws a faithful representation of its runways, taxiways and aprons. When your mouse hovers over a runway or taxiway, that surface turns orange. Click on a surface to select it (turns red). Now right-click anywhere on the drawing surface and you are presented with a context menu showing the lighting arrangements applicable to the selected surface. A dialog box showing the "normal" characteristics for each lighting arrangement is associated with each menu item. Each characteristic may be customized. If you have already specified an arrangement for the selected surface, the dialog instead will show the previously selected characteristics. When you are finished, representative symbols colored as specified appears on the drawing surface. Depending on the surface, individual lights having a similar function, e.g. runway centerline, taxiway left edge, approach light strobes, will be collected into groups with the members of each group connected by a line. Thereafter, these lights may be edited individually, as a line (i.e., all connected lights collectively), or as a surface component as noted above. Lighting arrangements not otherwise available in Flightsim may be created.

To save time, AFLT will import specified elements from, or all of, the stock lighting from the referenced airport definition file (which you may then customize). Note, however, runway and taxiway edge lights may not appear exactly where Flightsim places them. That's because AFLT places runway lights using FAA and ICAO standards (i.e., the "normal" characteristics used in the dialog boxes) and taxiway lights from intersection to intersection with special treatment for curves. Otherwise, AFLT uses the characteristics specified in the airport definition file.

AFLT Version 4 will also import lighting data from projects implemented with earlier versions of AFLT. Shown above is the imported AFLT3 lighting for the author's CYYJ.

Starting "from scratch", if you are happy with the "normal" lighting characteristics, the specification of AFLT lighting requires but a few mouse clicks. Below is CYYJ with "normal":

  • AFLS-2 approach lighting on Runway 27,
  • ODALS with REIL on Runway 14,
  • edge lighting on Taxiways E, M, N and S, and
  • centerline lighting on a portion of fictitious Taxiway "Z".

Partially-completed CYYJ

All this required only about 20 mouse clicks and only a couple keyboard entries

In addition to specifying lighting arrangements to be applied to airport surfaces, you may place a single light or a line of lights (particularly useful for apron-edge lighting) anywhere on the drawing surface by right-clicking with no surface selected. Lines start at the right-click position and the end or "corners" are placed with a "hot cursor" following specification of the lights. When the line is completed (by a double- or right-click), any intermediate lights required by the specified spacing of lights within the line are placed automatically. You may also insert a light into a line - creating a "corner" if the line is not associated with an runway or taxiway.

As for surface arrangements, you may edit the (common) characteristics of the lights in a line or the individual characteristics of the light(s) themselves. Individual lights or whole lines of lights may be moved by selecting them and "dragging" them with the mouse. The lights at the ends of a line or "corners" within a line of lights may be dragged in any direction, the intermediate lights being automatically moved into a straight line between the ends and corners. Lights in other types of lines, e.g., edge or centerline lights, may only be moved in the direction of the line.

For clarity, the display of closed or very-narrow taxiways and/or taxi-paths may be suppressed. This is why certain taxiways near the main terminal apron are missing from the above images, such links being used in my CYYJ to accomplish drive-through parking for certain parking spots. As well, you may choose to display the lights on a dark background and to display only those lights that are subject to PCL.

Depending on the version of Flightsim with which the lights are to be used, you may specify the light source as any one of:

  • brightly-textured, LOD-variable-sized 3-plane objects,
  • inverse-mipmapped effects,
  • standard effects, or
  • BGL_LIGHTs.
With inverse-mipmapped effects or the 3-plane objects, the size of the light source increases with distance, thus providing visible ranges far greater than would otherwise be possible.

When you're done, if the reference airport file contains any stock lighting of the type specified, at your direction AFLT will "strip" those stock lights from the reference airport file. You may then replace the airport definition file in your Flightsim "\scenery" folder with the "stripped" .bgl, or load the "stripped" .xml file into your airport editor and regenerate your airport.

Generating and placing airfield lights in FlightSim has never been easier!

The current release of Airfield Lights Toolbox is 4.4.3.9. Please check the Status & Known Issues page for known issues, patches and update information.

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