Airport Design Editor HelpThe AirportHow do I Remove a Stock Airport from the Sim?

How do I Remove a Stock Airport from the Sim?

Sometimes an airport is removed from service or closed and we want to remove it from the sim.  Unfortunately we can't do that completely unless we modify stock airport files directly.  This is a bad idea and we do not recommend doing this.  We can get rid of everything however except for the IDENT in the scenery list which is not so bad.

NOTE that this needs to be done with a pure stock airport without any modifications

Load the stock airport

Load the stock airport

I am going to remove KHUT which is Hutchinson Municipal in Kansas.  This is still an active airport but this method of removing the airport is not destructive (like it would be if we modified the stock airport file) so I can get it back any time I wish.

Remove the airport background (FSX and later)

Remove the airport background (FSX and later)

If you are getting rid of the airport entirely then you will not want the airport background polygon showing up.

  1. Select the Terrain Polygon Tool
  2. Draw the polygon so that it cuts the edge of the airport background.  Note that we can't currently display the stock airport background in ADE (although this is planned for a later version).  If the airport has a fence then generally that follows the bavkground poly and is a good indicator.  If it is a runway only airport then try making a poly across the center of the runway and extending some way out to one side or the other.
  3. When the Property Grid opens select Exclude Specific as the Type and
  4. Airport Background Flatten MaskClassMap Autogen ans the Tag
  5. Click OK


Remove airport background (FS9)

If you are doing this for FS9 then ADE is not able to remove the background so you will need to use SBuider to do this.

Check that the background poly is gone

Check that the background poly is gone

It is pretty obvious that the airport background poly is gone since the under lying land class is showing up under and around the airport


If the airport has ILS then you will need to decide how to handle them.  This depends on what your goal is in removing the airport.  There are probably two:

  1. Remove the airport as far as possible from the sim since it no longer exists or is no longer operational
  2. Remove the airport as part of the process of changing the ICAO.  You may want to do this if the ICAO as shown in FS has been changed since the sim was created

We will now look at each in turn

Removing the airport because it no longer exists

Removing the airport because it no longer exists

You will need to do this for each runway that has ILS

  1. Select the runway and press the Delete Key
  2. This dialog will open warning you that this runway has a stock localizer (ILS) and that it cannot be removed permanently but can be orphaned.  It also reminds you to remove and approach code but we will deal with that later in any case
  3. Click Yes.  The runway will be gone and the ILS will be orphaned north of the airport on the safe move limit for ILS.  It is important not to try and change this since if you do it might result in the original ILS appearing along with the orphaned one

Do not be tempted to use this method if you are changing the airport ICAO (for example if you don't have a ProKey).  You will end up with two ILS with the same identifier and that would not be a good thing.

Removing the airport so that you can change the ICAO

Removing the airport so that you can change the ICAO

IMPORTANT.  You will need a ProKey to complete this process.  If you do not have one then you can download a trial version.  Please also note that it you are changing an ICAO you will need the ProKey also to do that.  You will need version 1.66 or later to be able to edit the runway in the Raw Data View.  If you have an earlier version then please update.


Repeat this for each runway with an ILS

  1. Select the runway and press Alt+Enter.  This opens the RDV dialog for the runway
  2. The runway tree will be closed so click the little expand arrow to list everything
  3. Select the ILS
  4. Click the Delete Button
  5. Close the RDV

The ILS feather should be deleted but you may find some left over bits like the Glide Slope.  This is just a drawing issue and is a result of using the direct access provided by the RDV.  You could save and reload the file to get rid of this but it really is not that important.  The ILS is gone.

Remove the airport visual and other elements

You will need to use several techniques to be sure of removing everything.  You must not forget things like comms frequencies and approach code.  I am going to

  1. Remove any remaining runways. This needs to be done one by one - make sure you have dealt with the ILS first
  2. Do a wide rubber band selection to remove anything left in the visible display
  3. Use the List View and remove as much as I can from those.
  4. Go to the Approach Mode and use Lists to remove the approaches and as many navaids and way points as possible

Remove runways

Remove runways

Select each runway in turn and use the delete key to remove them.  If by chance you get the message about an ILS then go back to that step and deal with it

Remove from the visual display

Remove from the visual display
  1. Go to the view menu and un-check Terrain Exclusions.  This is a very important step.  If you forget then the next step will remove your exclusion that gets rid of the airport background polygon.  NOTE that this applies to FSX and later.  For FS9 you should have created the bgl to remove the background in SBuilder so it will not be in the ADE project

Draw a rubber band around the whole airport.  This will select all the visible elements.  Use the  delete key to remove them. Finally use the View menu to re-show terrain exclusions.  You should now have an airport that looks a bit like this

Remove from lists

Remove from lists
  • Now go the Lists and work through each list in turn.  If there is anything left over then delete it from the list.  
  • Some lists:  Comms, Navaids and taxi designators will still have stuff in them.  In comms and navaids you will probably find some entries that can't be deleted.  These are informational.  In the screenshot above I am deleting the comms so I will select and delete those that I can (1) and leave the rest (2)

I found when I got to Scenery Objects that my rubber band was not set wide enough so I will delete these from the list

I probably don't need to delete taxi designators but I will to be sure that everything is gone.  Note that you can't remove the blank one

Don't get tempted to delete this terrain poly!  It the the exclusion rectangle that we have in place to remove the airport background polygon  (FSX and later only)

Remove approaches and fixes

Remove approaches and fixes

Switch to Approach Mode

In Approach Mode open List > Approaches and delete them.  You will need to do this one at a time since ADE currently does not allow multiple delete of approaches.

Now open the Navaid  and Way Point List in turn and delete as much as you can.

Change the airport name

Change the airport name

We can't remove the entry in the FS airport list but we can change the details so that it is clear that the airport is not in use.  Select Change Airport Reference Data from the Tools Menu

Change all the entries to 'Not in Use' or something similar which will remind you not to use this airport and click Change

Check the result

Check the result
  • Save the project now with a name that makes it clear this is a remove airport bgl file
  • Compile it
  • Run FS and go to the airport list.  It should show your changed descriptions.  NOTE if these have not changed then please check that you are compiling the Pre-Load Bgl file that is needed to make these changes and also that the bgl file is in Scenery\World\scenery

Now load that airport to make sure that nothing is left showing.  You can also check your GPS and so on to be sure that the approach code etc is also gone.  Check ATC to be sure no comms frequencies are left also


If you are removing the airport then your job is done.  Note that

  • Any ILS will be orphaned and will show up in the GPS
  • The airport will still be listed in the FS Airport list (we can't get rid of that)
  • But otherwise the airport should now be gone for all intents and purposes

If you are doing this to change the ICAO then it is now time to create your new airport



Can I retrieve the original stock airport after I orphan the ILS approaches (i.e. after removing the airport)?

Jon Masterson

Just remove all bgl files that ADE created and you should get your stock airport back.


Hello! When trying to Remove the airport background in P3D V4, some water parts of the square are colored by ground. How can I solve that?

Jon Masterson

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

Mariano Bonaccorso

Great tutorial, came in really helpful for closing SPIM and changing the ICAO to SPJC.

One minor note, I think a small error in this section:

Repeat this for each runway with an ILS

Select the runway and press Alt+Enter. This opens the RDV dialog for the runway

I think yo mean CTRL+ENTER.

Thanks again!

Peter Ziegler ( ZZIP )

Thanks Jon for all .
Realy a great program !


Peter Ziegler (ZZIP)

Hi Jon,
I have as type : Exclude Specific.
I have the tag : Airport Backgrounds Flatten MaskClassMap Autogen
Then I click OK.
So Far So Good
In P3Dv4 my background is still present.

Do I have to save the changes somewhere? Where ? and how ?

Jon Masterson

Peter. 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

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