X-Plane, UDP, and Visual Basic

Startup ScreenshotIf you don't know what any part of this page's title means, you might not be in the right place. But don't worry, I'll explain it all. X-Plane is a popular computer flight simulator. It has a very accurate flight model, making it very powerful not only for entertainment, but also as an engineering tool. It comes packaged with additional programs that allow you to design your own aircraft and fly it in X-Plane. Besides its accurate flight model, X-Plane has another feature which makes it very powerful- it outputs flight data over a network, and allows certain parameters, such as control positions, to be sent back to it. The protocol that X-Plane uses to send/receive the data is UDP, hence the UDP in the title above. As for the Visual Basic, well, to be able to make use of the data you have to have a program to do something with it, and Visual Basic is the programming language I use. If you still don't understand any of that, go check out the X-Plane website. From there, you can download a demo version of the simulator, and see what makes it so great.

There are three versions of this tutorial, as it has been updated for newer versions of X-Plane. Please choose the appropriate tutorial from below (if you're still using 7, check to see which one works, and then please send me an e-mail so that I can update this page).