Airport Design Editor HelpSetting ADE UpHow do I Setup ADE for the First Time? (1.65)

How do I Setup ADE for the First Time? (1.65)

The New User Wizard appears, when you start ADE for a specific version for the first time.  ADE does not share settings between different versions.  So, for example, if you have FSX and P3D v1 installed then you will see the New User Wizard the first time you run each of these versions. The New User Wizard will configure Airport Design Editor to work properly on your computer. It starts automatically if it does not find any setting file.

We strongly recommend that you run through the New User Wizard to the end. You can cancel at any time, but ADE9X will not have all the information it needs to work correctly. If you do decide to cancel the wizard before finishing, you can access the wizard any time afterwards by selecting Tools => New User Wizard.

If you need to run the wizard and it does not appear when you start ADE then please open it via Tools > New User Wizard (See Run the Wizard Again at the bottom of this article)


The Welcome Page

The Welcome Page

This screen reminds you that it is important to completely configure ADE. Move to the General Options Screen by clicking Next. You can go back at any time and change or check settings by clicking Back.

Import existing settings

Import existing settings

If you have an existing version of ADE then you can import the existing settings.  You need to do this for each version of ADE that you set up.  This article explains how to import your existing settings  

NOTE  If you do import the existing settings then you will still need to work through the New User Wizard.  Please check that the entries make sense as you go through in case something is not imported or is not what you want.

General Settings

General Settings
  1. Enter your initials.  These are used as part of the file naming system and also are included when you need to send us a log.  You don't have to enter them but it is helpful if you do and also makes it easier to identify you files later
  2. ADE shows some messages for a short period (such as saved a file or compiled an airport)  You do not need to dismiss these yourself but you can decide how long you want them to display for here
  3. Autosave is one way that ADE provides recovery for your work if ADE crashes.  The autosave file will be created at regular intervals.  You can se how often you want the autosave to be triggered here
  4. This does not apply to FS9 but does apply to FSX and P3D.  We advise leaving this checked since it saves having to worry about setting surfaces.  Only un-check this if you are sure you want to handle all surfaces on aprons yourself.



Settings folders correctly is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you need to do.  Failure to set these will cause all sorts of problems and ADE will  start to warn you if the paths to the simulator and compilers cannot be found.  ADE will not work if these paths are not correctly set

  1. This is the path to the flight simulator version that you are running ADE for
  2. Shp2Vec is the compiler used for FSX and P3D to compile terrain.  This box is not shown for FS9.  ADE has limited terrain capabilities for FS9 and the compiler needed is shipped with ADE
  3. BglComp is the compiler used for FSX and P3D to compile airport and scenery objects.  This box is not shown for FS9.  The BglComp for FS9 is shipped with ADE
  4. To set the paths click the Find button.  ADE will search through the registry and try to find the entries for the required paths.  If it finds them then it will automatically enter the correct paths in the boxes.
  5. If the text entered into one or more of these boxes by the Find button shows the path to ADE then something has gone wrong and a registry entry has not been found.  The best solution in this case is to fix the registry issues.  As an alternative you can click these small buttons to set the relevant paths yourself.

These paths are correctly set



It is now time to set the different units that you will use with ADE

  1. Distances:  These are for long distances and it is recommended to leave this as Nautical Miles (NM)
  2. Dimensions:  Choose between feet or meters.  Dimensions are used for shorter distances around the airport like runway length
  3. Parking Radius:  These are usually set to meters but you can use feet if you wish
  4. Altitude:  Set feet or meters
  5. Coordinates: You can use either decimal or degrees and decimal minutes.

NOTE about coordinates.  ADE stores all  coordinates internally as decimal.  It will display them as either decimal or degrees and decimal minutes based on your choice above.  However when you are entering coordinates ADE will accept most recognized formats.  It should warn you if you enter something it does not recognize.  So generally you don't need to convert coordinates to decimal or degrees and decimal minutes before entering them.

Project Settings

Project Settings

The page covers some basic information about how you want ADE to work with your airport projects.  If you are not sure what to do then you can leave these settings as provided by ADE and it will work fine.  You can always change these at a later date either by running the new user wizard again or via the main options dialog.  These settings apply to all projects that you create.  However it is possible to set them differently for a specific project.

(1) ADE saves your work in special project files .This section lets you set where you want to save them.

(2) Click this button to set the folder

(3) This area is used to  set where the bgl file(s) that are created when you compile are saved.  Note that if you choose an option other than Addon Scenery then you may need to copy your compiled bgl files into an active scenery folder in the sim.

  • With the project file.  This will save the compiled bgl files in the folder that you have assigned to save your project files
  • To Addon Scenery.  This is probably the simplest location to make sure that your airport changes and updates are recognized by the sim.  If you are not sure what to choose then this is probably the best one
  • To a specific folder.  You tell ADE specifically where you want to save the compiled files

(4) If you choose to save them to a specific folder then this button becomes active and you can use it to find the folder you want to save your bgl file to

(5) This box shows the actual folder where your bgl files will be saved

(6) ADE creates XML source code that is used to compile your work.  This area is used to tell ADE whether you would like to save this and if so where.  It is not usually necessary to save the XML source unless you have problems with the compiler.  

  • Don't save.  Don't save the XML - unless you have problems with your compiling or you are asked for it then this is probably the best option
  • With the project file.  Save the xml source in the same folder as the project file.  This is quite a useful place to have it
  • With the bgl file.  Save tne XML source with the Bgl file.  This puts the XML file in the same folder as the bgl file.  If you are compiling to the sim then this may clutter up the sim folders with files that the sim will not understand
  • To a specfic folder.  Save your XML source to a specific folder.  So all XML source will go into one folder and be kept together.

(7) if you choose to save the xml to a specific folder then this button becomes active and you can use it to find the folder you want to save the xml to

(8) This box shows the actual folder where your xml source file will be saved

(9) This gives you the option to compile the airport and scenery together,  Sometimes it is useful to be able to compile the airport and the scenery objects to different files.  If you want to do this then check this box.  Generally it is fine to leave it unchecked.



You are now finished.  ADE should work straight away with the settings you provide but if you experience any difficulties then close and restart ADE.

Run the Wizard Again

Run the Wizard Again

You can change these settings any time via the Settings > Options menu.  However if you just want to run the New User Wizard then you can do that from the Tools Menu



i have installed ade, but when i open it, it just loads. there is a green bar around 70% filled and with text "stock navaids". ade 9 v01.50.18. nothing is happening after that.

Jon Masterson

ADE 1.50 is very old now and no longer supported - you should download the latest version from

Larry Mills

The basic size of the ADE screen is 1366 x 780. If your screen resolution is less than that then stuff on the right hand side of the display will be lost.
I am running Window XP and require a resolution of 1024 x this possible?

Jon Masterson

I think that the minimum screen size for ADE is less that you suggest (I am not able to check it right now) However it is certainly greater than 1024 for the width. There is a limit below which controls in the tool bar will draw over each other. So you can certainly start ADE on that screen resolution but you will lost some controls to the right of the screen


I read somewhere that in order to install SHP2VEC and BGLCOMP, I must install them from the FSX disc (disc 2 for the Acceleration version). However, when I try to do this, nothing happens. I did find these two files in an ADE folder, but the image here shows these files are located in a Flight Simulator X SDK folder which I do not have. Will not the files in the ADE folder work? I am using ADE 01.70.6042.17483 (the latest, according to ADE itself). Thanks.

Jon Masterson

You need to install the FSX SDK from your Acceleration Disk 2) The best place to get help with this is on the Airport Design Editor support forum at Someone there will be able to help

ScruffyDuck Software

Rasmus Lindholm

Does it work with steam edition?

Jon Masterson

Yes. For more information about how to set it up please ask on the support forum at

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