Giving X-Plane More Info About Aircraft

One of the new features in Plane Maker 10.40 is a variety of classification information available for aircraft files, found in the Standard > Author window.

These fields are not currently in use in the X-Plane user interface, but we do plan to use them in the future—we want to do away with clunky folder-based browsing of aircraft. Instead, we want to allow users to browse & search through their aircraft in a much more flexible way: by aircraft name, manufacturer, category (general aviation, airliner, glider, etc.), and design studio.

So, for instance, you might want to see just the planes that were developed by Carenado, so you would select Carenado from the aircraft studio dropdown. Or, you might want to see just the general aviation planes built by Cessna, so you’d select General Aviation from the category dropdown and Cessna from the manufacturer dropdown. Or, you might want to search for all the aircraft with “747” in their name, and see your 747-100, 747-400, etc.

We think this will be a serious improvement over folders, which allow you to organize your aircraft in only a single, fixed way.

But, before that happens, we’d like to get as many aircraft authors on board as possible—we can’t know, for instance, which design studio created an aircraft unless you add this info to your ACF files.

So, grab 10.40, open Plane Maker, and add this classification information to the aircraft you develop!

(As an aside, you might be wondering… what’s the difference between the aircraft’s “author” and “studio”? The idea here is that the “studio” is the group producing the aircraft—you want your “studio” to stay consistent for all the aircraft your group produces, while the “author” field credits the actual people involved in the plane. Your studio might be “Amazing Sim Planes,” while your “author” field might be something like “Jane Doe, flight model; John Doe, 3-D modeling; Jack Jones, texturing.”)

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About Tyler Young

Tyler is a software developer for X-Plane. Among other projects, he was in charge of the new X-Plane 11 user interface.
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24 Responses to Giving X-Plane More Info About Aircraft

  1. Kirill says:

    Здравствуйте Ben моему другу как давно летающим в X-Plane 10 не устаивает тот факт что нет глобального трафика а ещё нет какой-то живности аэропортов, как это в Flight Simulator 2015 [Ultra Realism]

    • Ben Supnik says:

      This is not on topic for the post, and this is an English speaking blog.

      Perhaps better would be to arrange a question and answer sessino for a Russian flight simulation website – the questions can be in Russian, we’ll get the answers translated in Russian, an the subject matter can be wide-ranging.

  2. Andrew Cook says:

    Hi Ben

    To bad it now only excepts 5 digit tail numbers. And always shows #1 even if numbers where in from a previous plane maker. Log book still shows right number from previous, so it is still stored someplace.

    • Tyler Young says:

      Hi Andrew!

      We’re aware of this issue, and we’re looking into it now. Should be fixed in the next beta. 🙂

      Edit: Doh! Looks like you already filed a bug report. Sorry for the duplicate response from me!

  3. Chris R. says:

    I would love to see one day to have the ability to go into my hanger/field and actually see my aircraft and be able to walk right up to it and get in. It doesn’t have to be all of my aircraft, but if I have a few favorites, I could select those to be used.

  4. AJ says:

    Excellent idea and improvement, Ben. 🙂

    I am very happy and excited seeing all these recent improvements.

    Quick questions to understand better the idea.

    1. Are there any limits on where the aircraft folder is to be located?
    2. Are there any advantages of placing the aircraft folder in a specific location including outside of the main X-Plane folder?
    3. I guess it might be a silly question but I understand that the idea having sub folders in Objects directory is still valid, correct?

    Thank you for all your hard work.

    • Ben Supnik says:

      1. There are no changes to where you can place aircraft yet.
      2. There are no advantages – in fact, the fact that (as of now) it is allowed is a DISADVANTAGE – it means X-Plane has to search a huge number of files like the scenery folders to FIND aircraft. So I think in the future we may require ACF in the aircraft folder only.
      3. Yes – it’s an authoring improvement to make it easier to organize very complex aircraft.

  5. Carsten says:

    The air traffic controllers call me just “1” instead of “ZK-CEF”? Is this because of a missing information in the acf-file? I would like to tell the developers if so.

    Thank you very much.

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Where did you enter ZK-CEF? In your filed flight plan?

      • Andrew Cook says:

        I think this may be tied to what I posted earlier.

        The Tail number field defaults to 1, instead of carrying over the 6 digit numbers from previous versions of planemaker. And when you try and enter a 6 digit number in the “New” tail# field it will not let you, when you hit the sixth number/letter it kicks back to 1.

        Since I believe that is where ATC gets your call sign number, could be the issue.

        Bug report filed.

  6. elios says:

    a way to change tail numbers in the sim would be nice for VATSIM and Pilotedge

    • It would also be nice if tail-number and callsign could be customised for every aircraft livery option. The current format which supports only one tail-number and callsign per acf file requires users to modify the aircraft file (possibly messing it up) or duplicating the whole aircraft folder which defeats the liveries sub-folders.
      It might be the perfect time to think about a solution to that issue while you’re at it. 🙂

      cheers
      peter

      • Ben Supnik says:

        Hi Peter,

        There’s an RFC for that from about 6 million years ago…I think the idea was to have an .ini file that let liveries over-ride key meta-data items. It wouldn’t be hard to do this for any of the key-value pairs that drive the aircraft meta-data screen.

        • I think I remember that RFC + the initial discussion which file types commonly encountered in an aircraft folder are suitable for a livery folder. It sometimes does feel like 6 million years.

          What about a text file with a few lines like:
          P acf/_callsign speedbird
          P acf/_tailnum G-ABCD

          I could imagine a few other useful airline specific overrides as well 🙂

          cheers
          peter

          • Ben Supnik says:

            Remember though, liveries are supposed to be aesthetic – it’s not a general purpose ACF templating system and they’re not supposed to mess with systems or performance!

  7. paolozamp says:

    I belive that is necessary a flag for Ultra Light aircrafts…….

  8. Chris R. says:

    I am wondering if the file arrangement would have any effect on Multi-User flights. Right now, we have to have the same aircraft doubled and labeled differently but exactly the same as each other machine for this to work. So if 3 of us typically fly together, we all three would need an exact copy of the aircraft in the same fourfold/directory structure. This is killing drive space and right now we need to remain with custom folder structure to make sure we have the same as each other. If this sounds confusing, it is but I can try to make it clearer.

    • Ben Supnik says:

      My view is that the current “match the file system” rule is extremely unfriendly; better would be to find the matching plane by meta-data, or even by file signature.

Comments are closed.