phxmkeflyer
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Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 9:11 am

CPU For FS9/FSX

Fri Nov 06, 2009 2:28 am

What should I look for when buying a cpu that I plan on using for FS9. For example, type of processor, hard drive, graphics card, etc. etc. Keep in mind, I don't want to go overkill or anything (stay under $800) but would like a smooth running flight sim.

Thanks in advance for your comments/thoughts!
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:31 am

Get dual video cards, preferably Nvidia (this coming from an ATI fan)
Any SATA hard drive should do, as long as it will fit all your addons.

Some guys will tell you that for FS9, a fast single core CPU is best, but I don't agree. While FS9 can only handle one core at a time, your other cores (in a dual/quad core CPU) will be able to run other background processes on their own thus significantly reducing stutters.

For FSX, get as many cores as possible, the Core i7 is great and relatively cheap for this.

Anyways, this is my setup (definitely overkill Big grin )

Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz, overclocked to 3.67 (i took it up to 4.2Ghz once, stable)
ASUS P6T LGA 1366 Intel X58 ATX Intel Motherboard
2X SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 4870 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 in X-fire mode
G.SKILL 6GB (3 x 2GB) 240-Pin SDRAM DDR3 1600
CORSAIR CMPSU-750TX 750W Power Supply
2X Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb in RAID 0, total 1.3TB
Acer X223Wbd Black 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD Monito
Windows 7 Pro 64bit

You can get all this nowadays for $800. I get over 400FPS with the limiter turned of in FS9.

FSX though is much slower, averaged about 15FPS (admittedly I had all the sliders maxed out, running 1680x1050 resolution) but this is due to FSXs crappy graphics engine which ATI video cards don't like. So for FSX definitely got Nvidia cards.

Otherwise this setup runs all my other games (HAWX, Mirrors Edge, Crysis, etc) I throw at it fully maxed out no stutters whatsoever.
 
phxmkeflyer
Posts: 187
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2003 9:11 am

RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:23 pm

Thanks for the response FLY2HMO. Couple of questions, would u stray from the "Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100" graphics card?

Also, I found a Dell cpu; Studio XPS w/ Intel Core i7, 8GB DDR 3 memory, 1TB ATA hard drive, and NVIDIA GTS240 for $1019 at best buy....i'm thinking this would be more than sufficient but can't really find much for anything less than $1000? Any suggestions??

Thanks!

PHXMKEflyer
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Sat Nov 07, 2009 2:34 am



Quoting PHXMKEflyer (Reply 2):
would u stray from the "Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100" graphics card?

Yes, definitely. That is not a real graphics card, it is integrated with the motherboard. You want a dedicated video card. Any of the upscale cards from Nvidia or ATI should suffice. Also, the more video cards, the better.

Quoting PHXMKEflyer (Reply 2):
Also, I found a Dell cpu; Studio XPS w/ Intel Core i7, 8GB DDR 3 memory, 1TB ATA hard drive, and NVIDIA GTS240 for $1019 at best buy....i'm thinking this would be more than sufficient but can't really find much for anything less than $1000?

Doesn't sound like a bad deal. The Core i7 is the best CPU to ever grace this planet.  yes 

Quoting PHXMKEflyer (Reply 2):
Any suggestions??

Do what I did, build your own  Wink

When I built my rig earlier this year it cost me $1600. Had I configured a system with similar (and sometimes inferior) specifications with Dell, Alienware, et al, they would give me a price of $3000 or more. Ridiculous if you ask me, and they don't always use brand name parts!
 
Burkhard
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:22 pm



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 3):
Yes, definitely. That is not a real graphics card, it is integrated with the motherboard. You want a dedicated video card. Any of the upscale cards from Nvidia or ATI should suffice. Also, the more video cards, the better.

Take a 9600/260 for FS9, and a 9800/280 for FSX. A second card neither helps with FS9 nor with FSX.

For FS9, the best choice is a fast dual core. Since it runs on one care only, this should have 3 or more GHz, Intel E8400 is a good CPU. For FSX, Quad cores help, but again a 3 GHz dual core is better than a 2 GHz Quad - of yourse a 3 GHz Quad is fine.
 
David L
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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 2:26 am

RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:52 pm



Quoting Burkhard (Reply 4):
A second card neither helps with FS9 nor with FSX

That's what I keep reading, that FSX doesn't take advantage of dual-cards so I don't see how it could help. On the other hand, though FSX isn't optimised for multi-core processors, it has to help that many of the other background tasks will be divided between the cores.
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:57 pm



Quoting Burkhard (Reply 4):
but again a 3 GHz dual core is better than a 2 GHz Quad

Not necessarily. A quad core can still outperform a dual and single core even if it has a slower clock. Remember, you're basically packing 4 CPUs in one die and splitting the work between all of them. Even if FS9 won't use all the cores, a quad has much more bandwidth/cache, specially if you're talking 64bit.

Quoting David L (Reply 5):
That's what I keep reading, that FSX doesn't take advantage of dual-cards so I don't see how it could help.

May I ask where you read that? I saw a MASSIVE jump in frame rates when I went to two video cards. I'm not peaking at 400FPS just because of witchcraft...
 
Burkhard
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Fri Nov 13, 2009 1:43 pm



Quoting David L (Reply 5):
That's what I keep reading, that FSX doesn't take advantage of dual-cards so I don't see how it could help. On the other hand, though FSX isn't optimised for multi-core processors, it has to help that many of the other background tasks will be divided between the cores.

FSX since SP1 is highly optimized for multi core, and with SP2 you even gain going from 4 to 6 cores. Not 50%, but around 20%, which is a typical gain. All the other process in your computer should not use more than 10% of one core together. So yes, FS9 runs better on a dual core than on a single core, but a quad doesn't help any further.

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 6):
Not necessarily. A quad core can still outperform a dual and single core even if it has a slower clock. Remember, you're basically packing 4 CPUs in one die and splitting the work between all of them. Even if FS9 won't use all the cores, a quad has much more bandwidth/cache, specially if you're talking 64bit.

Cache as well as memory speed has marginal effects compared to raw CPU speed. Yes, a Quad Core i7 with 2.13 GHz may well be as fast as a core 2 Duo with 2.66 GHz, but that is the basic architecture.
 
David L
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:54 pm



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 6):
May I ask where you read that?

Nowhere official or from the horse's mouth. Just various websites and forums indirectly "quoting MS insiders" about how they hoped to deal with it in the next version (ha!). I've never seen any official confirmation one way or the other apart from anecdotal evidence.

Quoting Burkhard (Reply 7):
FSX since SP1 is highly optimized for multi core

Are you it wasn't just some of the code that was optimised in the SPs? I did a search to try to find some of the articles I'd read but, apart from the fact that I can't find any I recognise, they all seem pretty old so you might be right. I should probably have read the release notes for SP2.  Smile
 
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cpd
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:29 am



Quoting David L (Reply 8):
Are you it wasn't just some of the code that was optimised in the SPs? I did a search to try to find some of the articles I'd read but, apart from the fact that I can't find any I recognise, they all seem pretty old so you might be right. I should probably have read the release notes for SP2. Smile

They did do a lot of work to optimise it for multi-core architecture, well, as far as they could. I can't speak about the details since that was all under NDA. But the performance benefit with powerful multi-core processors is evident. We tested it through the various betas.

Raw clock-speed helps, but multi-core processors are good too.

Now, my system - when it gets back is:

Intel Core i7 920 2.66ghz
Intel Desktop Board DX58SO
6gb DDR3 RAM
Corsair HX1000W PSU
2x ASUS EN-GTX295 1792mb video cards (quad-SLI)
Creative XFI sound-card
Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
1TB 7200rpm Seagate HDD
Apple A1081 Cinema Display 20" 1680x1050px

One of the GTX-295 video cards is with the computer, the other one is here with me. The desktop board was faulty.
 
Burkhard
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Mon Nov 16, 2009 2:13 pm

Not every first idea how to seperate different parts of the program indeed works out. A simple proposal that come to mind is that one core could calculate the scenery, and another one track AI aircraft. Reality is far more complex. Since AI aircraft can crash with terrain, there needs to be a communication between these two processes - and it turned out that opening a communication, ask the scenery for the terrain altitude, get the answer causes more load on the scenery CPU than just putting the AI tracking onto it. There are more such examples that parallel execution is by far not trivial.
 
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cpd
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:26 pm

I've tried out FSX Deluxe with Acceleration Pack on my new computer. Using the settings of FSX ultra high, with all the graphics sliders maxed out - I noticed the frame rate was over 55fps at OMDB.

That was in DX10 preview mode. If I added all the traffic, it was only then that the frame rates dropped to around 20fps. And this is before I added the second video card in the computer (have to do some case mods to make it fit more easily).
 
Burkhard
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:23 am

I now have an I860 I7 quad with a ATI 5770.

In a test I made at LIMA with all maxed, I get

FS9 35 fps
FSX DX9 20 fps
FSX DX10 90 fps

Sinc eit is fair to comare FS9 all maxed with FSX all at normal ( same object density)
FSX DX10 all mormal I get around 170 fps. So on a modern hardware FSX is 5 times faster than FS9. This goes down rapidly as soon as you force FSX to emulate FS8 code, though.
 
sean377
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:03 pm

Those of you with high end PC's, what kind of noise do they make, cooling fans, etc?
Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man... Landing is the first!
 
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cpd
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Joined: Sat Jun 28, 2008 4:46 am

RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:23 am



Quoting Sean377 (Reply 13):
Those of you with high end PC's, what kind of noise do they make, cooling fans, etc?

Quite loud, unless you use big (120mm) slow running fans. Those run slowly and are quiet, but because of their large size, move a lot of air.

Quoting Burkhard (Reply 12):
I now have an I860 I7 quad with a ATI 5770.

In a test I made at LIMA with all maxed, I get

I retested mine. I'm getting at some points over 120fps in FSX on Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit in DX10 preview mode. I don't know why my system went so slow before, but it is quick now.
 
Burkhard
Posts: 1916
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:45 am

did you have any addons using FS8 code there?
 
Delboy
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:14 pm

... from a previous poster Also, the more video cards, the better.

What a load of crap this statement is. If you don't know what you are talking about, don't bother answering!

The most important thing for a flight sim is a smooth and stutter free performance. Why are all simmers here so anal about how many fps they get? So you get 120/170 fps, big deal; you can't tell the difference once you reach about 30 anyway.
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:09 pm



Quoting Sean377 (Reply 13):
Those of you with high end PC's, what kind of noise do they make, cooling fans, etc?

I have 6 fans in my case but it's dead quiet. They are all big but very slow spinning. One of the largest fans is about 7" dia.

This is my case:



Quoting Delboy (Reply 16):
If you don't know what you are talking about, don't bother answering!

OK Einstein. Do you realize that by having excess GPU power and then capping the FPS you get even LESS stutters? Sure, I get peaks of 400 FPS at times with the limiter off when I'm checking for performance, but I have it locked to 60FPS otherwise.
 
sean377
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Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2001 1:18 am

RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:31 pm



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 17):
I have 6 fans in my case but it's dead quiet.

That's good to know, thanks.
Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man... Landing is the first!
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Fri Dec 04, 2009 10:31 pm



Quoting Sean377 (Reply 18):
That's good to know, thanks.

Disregard. I actually have 8 fans. (4 case, 1 cpu, 2 VGA, 1 PSU)
 
sean377
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:26 am



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 19):
Disregard. I actually have 8 fans

LOL! As long as they're quiet.

It's reassuring that it's possible to quiten down todays powerful machines. I haven't delved into dual core processors and super video cards yet, but will be soon. Although I'm wanting a powerful machine, noise (or lack of it) is more important to me than performance. If I can get both, then that's great.

My ageing Dell P4 is barely audible. I put a passively cooled Gigabyte 8600GT in a few year back, but passively cooled cards are rare.

I have a couple of Acer Veritons running in the background and they are absolutley quiet.

I'm always amazed by the noise put out of friends PC's and they are happy to live with it. Maybe I'm just being picky!
Flying is the second greatest thrill known to man... Landing is the first!
 
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cpd
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:55 pm

Mine is a bit noisier than before, but I'm using the stock intel cooler for the Core i7 920.

Those cases like the Antec shown above are great for cool running computers. If you can set up some big fans to vent air through the entire front of the computer and out the back, that will keep it very cool and you can keep the fan speed low.

The other trick is neat cable installation. Some cases allow the large MB power connector to be routed from the power supply (bottom mounted) around the back of the case, so it won't impede air-flow.
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Sat Dec 05, 2009 5:17 pm



Quoting Cpd (Reply 21):

The other trick is neat cable installation

Like this? Big grin

http://images.ncix.com/forumimages/C868DFE1-11F6-FF9E-955E14339225E723.JPG

(Here's the same case with proper cable management)



My case is somewhere in between those two.
 
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cpd
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Sun Dec 06, 2009 12:36 pm



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 22):

Like this? Big grin

Note to others - see that image, don't do that!  Wink

That second one is very well done. Mine isn't quite as good as that - the Antec P180 doesn't afford so much flexibility as that.
 
MaverickM11
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:34 am



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 1):
Intel Core i7 920 Nehalem 2.66GHz, overclocked to 3.67 (i took it up to 4.2Ghz once, stable)

If I get this type of system, plus the upgraded graphics card, is it worth going for the upgraded i7 at 3.33GHz? Either for FS9 or FSX with all the bells/whistles....
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
David L
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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 2:26 am

RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:05 pm



Quoting Delboy (Reply 16):
... from a previous poster Also, the more video cards, the better.

What a load of crap this statement is.

I wish you'd elaborate, instead of just letting off steam. With reference to my earlier posts, I have found some more detailed articles about SLI and multi-core but they all refer to SP1.

Quoting Cpd (Reply 9):
They did do a lot of work to optimise it for multi-core architecture, well, as far as they could.

In my defence, I wasn't suggesting FSX would not take any advantage of multi-core processors but there's a difference between taking "some advantage of" and "being optimised" (i.e. "getting the most out of").  Smile
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:13 pm



Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 24):

If I get this type of system, plus the upgraded graphics card, is it worth going for the upgraded i7 at 3.33GHz?

I'd say no. The faster i7s cost upwards of $500 and you really wont see that much of a difference, besides, the slower i7s can be overclocked to speeds exceeding those of the faster versions.
 
usairways787
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:23 am

Tip of advice I build computers for fun, I am an enthusiast. I recommend for a processor, the Intel i7 920, there is absolutely no need in getting anything bigger unless you use photo shop, and video rendering. I'm surprised nobody mentioned memory, or maybe they did and I just didn't see it. I recommend at least 6GB why you ask? I have 4 and it uses damn near every bit, you want extra leeway. You want stutter free, you gotta pay for it. I recommend DDR3, as it is the fastest on the market for motherboards. Since we are on the subject of motherboards. Get one that is extremely overclockable, I recommend, EVGA, or ASUS, they are extremely well known for quality, overclockability, and guess what they even made it easy for you with manuals, and software.

Video cards? I was an NVidia fan now switched to ATI, yes ATI is dealing with some issues with FSX drivers, but they are in the final stages of working that out with patches. I recommend, a 5870 "minimum" Reason I say that is it has the new feature of Eyefinity, "supports dual monitors, and higher resolutions" has 1GB of DDR5 memory DX11 compatible which I read on a forum both NVidia, and ATI said it won't be that big of a dramatic difference between DX10, and it out preforms any of NVidia's video cards, you don't believe check the benchmarks, hell it'll even run Crysis at max with the specs I just listed for you. the GTX 295 is NVidia's most preforming and most priced card. Last time I checked it was around $520.00USD. The ATI 5870 card I listed for you is around 300.00. You get twice the performance for $220.00USD less.

Get yourself a descent Harddrive too. I wouldn't recommend a SSD "solid state drive" just yet as they are still new to the market, are extremely high, and haven't matured enough. Like I said this is all advice take it as you please. I built my computer for hardcore gaming. Last but not least a 64Bit processor is a must. You will see why if you go that route. Twice the transfer and rendering between Windows. Let me know if I can be of any assistance.


USAirways787

[Edited 2010-01-29 16:28:12]
"Pre departure walk around complete, all doors closed, ready for pushback"
 
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cpd
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:20 am



Quoting Delboy (Reply 16):
The most important thing for a flight sim is a smooth and stutter free performance. Why are all simmers here so anal about how many fps they get? So you get 120/170 fps, big deal; you can't tell the difference once you reach about 30 anyway.

You can notice the difference between 30fps and 100fps or higher. Movement appears extremely fluid, and seems very responsive. The sense of immersion is much better.
 
N1641
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Joined: Thu May 18, 2000 2:10 pm

RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:38 pm

you can have both cores run fs9. right click on taskbar, click task mgr, processes, right click fs9.exe, set affinity. uncheck CPU 0 click ok, go back to affinity put the check back onto CPU 0 click ok. Is is true dual core? I dont know but you will see the load split between both cores.

FS9 is 6 years old, you dont need SLI or some uber CPU to run it at max. Mine is maxed with a core 2 duo at about 3.3ghz and a nvidia GTS250. You also dont need a ton of frames per second in fs9 like you do a first person shooter. Write ups on any of the FS websites will tell you to set it to max at 30fps, most suggest 25fps.
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:57 am



Quoting Cpd (Reply 28):

You can notice the difference between 30fps and 100fps or higher. Movement appears extremely fluid, and seems very responsive. The sense of immersion is much better.

This is true BUT in some screens, LCDs specifically, the refresh rate is very low. Which is why I limit my FPS to 60, since the max refresh rate in my LCD is 60Hz. Any more frames than that are just a waste, since your graphics card is drawing stuff faster than what your screen can show them.

Quoting N1641 (Reply 29):
you can have both cores run fs9. right click on taskbar, click task mgr, processes, right click fs9.exe, set affinity. uncheck CPU 0 click ok, go back to affinity put the check back onto CPU 0 click ok. Is is true dual core? I dont know but you will see the load split between both cores.

Not quite. Start Flight Simulator, load your flight in windowed mode, then press Ctrl+Alt+Del to open the Windows Task Manager. Click the "Performance Tab" and observe that FS9 is only using one processor. Unless you have tons of other programs running, the left window will show a heavy load, the right graph a very low load. Click on "Processes" and look for "fs9.exe" (if you click on "Mem Usage" it should be the first or last item). Right-click "fs9.exe" and select "Set Affinity". Remove the check mark from one CPU. Close the window, then repeat the process and select both CPUs again.

The effectiveness of this is debatable though. Regardless if the load is being split up, FS9 is still only capable of running a single thread.
 
Burkhard
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RE: CPU For FS9/FSX

Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:25 am

While FS9 itself only can utilize 1 core, it sends demands to the I/O system and into DX9 routines and device drivers - all these can run on a second core - so while FS9 cannot run on more than 1 core, the above trick allows to have FS9 to allocate one core for itself and not to share with other processes.

I personally set my frame rate delimiter to 27 even when I know I can get 70 or 80 throughout, I ( no longer ) see any improve by going higher ( this value goes down with age ) - but get extreme smoothness when the CPU has a lot of time to prefetch everything and precalculate what it can do...

I agree the i7 920 and the ATI 5870 is the best recommendation currently, but I'm very happy with my i7 860 and the ATI 5770 - that is enough for FSX if you do not try to emulate too much FS8/9 code.

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