Updated: January 7, 2017

  • Supports both 32-bit and 64-bit Mac and Windows builds of X-Plane (v10.2 or later required).
  • Works flawlessly in v9, v10, and v11.
  • Sensitivity factors for each control axis can be adjusted to suit your preference.

Why is this plugin necessary?

As of X-Plane v9, it is no longer possible to map basic flight controls to keyboard keys. As a private pilot and software engineer, I was disappointed to see this happen. My use of X-Plane is purely for enjoyment and I'm not terribly interested in the additional accuracy that a good joystick and/or pedals can offer.

Austin Meyer (the creator of X-Plane) is a brilliant guy and I can only assume that removing the ability to fly via keyboard was carefully considered. As such, there is little chance of seeing this feature replaced in a later version of X-Plane.

Update: With the release of X-Plane v10, keyboard flight controls have still not been restored so it is highly unlikely they ever will without a third-party plugin like this one.

What does this plugin do?

This plugin allows the following commands to be mapped to the keyboard

 Aileron  Elevator  Rudder
 left  up  left
 right  down  right
 center  center  center

In addition to the above 9 commands, there are also commands to center elevator and ailerons simultaneously or center all three axes simultaneously.

Installing the Plugin

Installing the plugin is a simple matter of copying a few files to your hard drive. Detailed instructions are provided within the download. Once the files have been moved into the correct locations, the next time you launch X-Plane, navigate to Plugins | Plugin Admin | Enable/Disable and make sure the box to the right of the KeyboardFlightControls item is checked.

Configuring the Plugin

Although the plugin is installed, it is still necessary to map keyboard keys to the new flight control commands that this plugin exposes. The simplest way to do this is to use a text editor to edit the X-Plane Keys.prf file located in Output/preferences. Simply copy/paste the following lines to the end of this file and save it:

Numpad-2 <none> cwsoft/flight_controls/elevator_up
Numpad-8 <none> cwsoft/flight_controls/elevator_down
Numpad-4 <none> cwsoft/flight_controls/aileron_left
Numpad-6 <none> cwsoft/flight_controls/aileron_right
Numpad-5 <none> cwsoft/flight_controls/aileron_center
Numpad-1 <none> cwsoft/flight_controls/rudder_left
Numpad-3 <none> cwsoft/flight_controls/rudder_right
Numpad-0 <none> cwsoft/flight_controls/rudder_center

However, if you prefer, you can always use X-Plane to map the new commands in the Keys tab of the Joystick & Equipment dialog the next time you run X-Plane. Just keep in mind that you will need to check the box at the top of the dialog labelled "custom cmnds from plugins" to access the new flight control commands.

Shortly after using the plugin, I noticed that my nose wheel was being controlled by aileron deflection rather than rudder. Apparently, this is the case when you do not have a joystick connected. "cafeine" (a fellow member of the X-Plane forum) pointed out that enabling PFC serial port rudder pedals causes rudder deflections (rather than the ailerons) to correctly control the nose wheel.

To do this, go to Settings | Joystick & Equipment and click on the Equipment tab. On the right side of the dialog, check the box labeled PFC serial port rudder pedals.

Supported Platforms

The X-Plane Keyboard Flight Controls plugin will run on all versions of Windows that X-Plane supports. It will also run on Mac OS X.

Sorry, I have no current plans to support Linux.

Download it Today

For $10, you can be flying X-Plane with a keyboard. Payment is made via PayPal. You do not need a PayPal account to make this payment. Once you have submitted your payment to PayPal, you will receive an email containing a link to download the plugin. IMPORTANT: Please be sure to check your spam folder after completing payment as a number of Gmail users have reported their payment confirmation email being automatically filed as spam.

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Thanks for your interest in this plugin.

Best regards,

Clint Weisbrod