Key Framed Animation
 

Many of the animation you will be building require what are called Key Frames. A key frame is a marker for a selected parts pivot point in our virtual space and at a particular time over a set number of frames. This marker has position and/or rotation values. When a model is compiled, the values of the key frames are used to build what is called an animation interpolation matrix. Do you remember interpolating values in high school math class? Basically, the compiler is doing all the math and you are just giving the starting and ending values. Don't confuse the total number of frames with the number of key frames. Also it is not necessary to add unnecessary intermediate key frames, use only what is needed to get the job done.

 
To set the total number of frames, right click on the icon.
 
For aircraft animations, in either FS2002 or FS2004, you need to set the total number of frames to 200. In the case of landing gear, the extension movements take place between 0 and 100 while suspension motion is from 101 to 200. Pretty much all of the other key framed anmations happen between 0 and 100.
 
 
For scenery animations, using the tick18_ prefix, you can have up 1024 frames but it gets pretty jerky when you go past 300 for reasons I have yet to understand but I surmize that the animation interpolation matrix just gets way too big and the sim can't handle it ALL at once.
 
 
Another factor in creating a good animation is the controller that is assigned to a part. The Linear Position and Linear Rotation controllers are preferred for FS. Why Linear? Because then interpolation is done evenly throughout the matrix.
 

To set these, select the object, then on the Command Panel click on the Motion Tab. Next click on the Parameters button. Select either Position or Rotation, then click on the Assign Controller button.

 
 

In the Assign Controller window, select Linear then click OK.

As you can see, I have set mine to Linear as the default so I don't have to do this all the time.

 
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