X-Plane 10.50 Beta 7 and Airports with Static Aircraft

X-Plane 10.50 beta 7 is out. There are a few fixes that I hope make this finally a “solid beta”: no more flashing airport lights during the day, normal maps back on aircraft, and liveries should work correctly.

We have a fix in the works for tall buildings blocking the approach path at KLAX; I’m hoping to get that into beta 8 some time next week.

Creating New Apt.Dat Layouts

WED 1.5 beta 1 is out; please do not upload revised airports with WED 1.5 yet. If there are still bugs in X-Plane’s handling of the new apt.dat data, then you have no way of knowing what your airport will look like after we fix those bugs.

X-Plane 10.50 adds a new rule: AI aircraft will not be born or land at airports where there isn’t a parking spot wide enough for the aircraft to park. So if you have an airport with a 11,000 foot runway and no size-E or F parking spots, the 747 would have landed in 10.45 but will not land in 10.50.

AI aircraft will land even if the parking spots don’t match the needed aircraft type – in other words, if you have a size E parking spot for helicopters only, the 747 will still land (and try to park there). Here’s why I didn’t stop this case: without static aircraft, the equipment codes on parking spots is likely to have errors; it’s hard to know you get everything right. So if we start requiring equipment code matches to land an aircraft, we may end up with no AI aircraft at lots of airports.

Once static aircraft have been deployed and authors update their airports to use them, the equipment codes should become much more accurate, and at that point we can prevent the AI from landing if it can’t find an equipment code match on a parking spot.

We also do not limit landing by taxi route width; the assumption is that if you have a width-E parking spot, you have a width-E route to the active runway somewhere on your layout.

Starting with beta 7, you can now debug ATC AI placement decisions by setting the art control atc/debug/log_spawn to 1. After it is set, future spawning decisions will be heavily logged under the “ATC” log tag. If an AI isn’t placed at an airport, you’ll see exactly why.

Note that currently the takeoff/landing requirements for the aircraft tend to be inaccurate. (They are computed from some properties of the aircraft, not flight testing.)

Flow Problems

From my examination of the small set of airports that I run across while debugging (with something like 3000 airports, I am at best “sampling” the gateway airports), it appears that authors don’t understand how ATC flows work. We’re working on new documentation to try to explain this, and I’m thinking that some very basic flow errors could be caught by WED. For example, I saw one airport that had this in WED:

Airport XXXX
   Flow "east/west"
     Runway Use: 9 (arrivals, departures)
     Runway use: 27 (arrivals, departures)

This is almost certainly a mistake. This is a single flow for the airport that says “when this airport is in east/west mode, aircraft may take off or depart from either runway 9 or 27!”  In other words, airplanes can use the runway from either direction at the same time.

I know of no real-world example where this actually happens, and if there is one, it has to be super-rare. The author probably meant to do this:

Airport XXXX
  Flow "east"
    Wind rule: wind must be coming from the east
    Runway rule: 9 (arrivals, departures)
  Flow "west"
    Wind rule: wind must becoming from the west
    Runway rule: 27 (arrivals, departures)

In this case, the airport is using either 9 or 27, but not both at the same time. A few things to remember about flows:

  • Only one flow is ever in use at a single time. That’s why a flow can have more than one runway.
  • All of the runways within a flow are in use at the same time when that flow is in use. So never put conflicting runways in a flow!
  • X-Plane picks the flow by looking at your flows in the order you put in WED. It takes the first flow where all of the restriction rules (time, wind, visibility) can be met. So put the ‘preferred’ operations for your airport first in the list.
  • If you have more than one rule of a type, only one must be passed. So for example, you can have a “rush hour” flow with two time rules, and it will be picked if either is picked. So you can make morning and evening. Similarly, you can make a wind rule for “strong from the east” and “calm wind” and if either is picked, the flow is picked.
  • If you provide no rule for a category, the flow is never disqualified by that rule. So if you have no time rule, the flow can be picked at any time.

Here’s two more art controls:  atc/debug/rwy_flow debugs how X-Plane picks its flow – turn it on and then go to your airport and you can see in the Log why the flow was picked. atc/debug/rwy_selection shows how a runway was picked for an airplane given an existing flow.

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About Ben Supnik

Ben is a software engineer who works on X-Plane; he spends most of his days drinking coffee and swearing at the computer -- sometimes at the same time.
This entry was posted in Air Traffic Control, Development, News. Bookmark the permalink.

58 Responses to X-Plane 10.50 Beta 7 and Airports with Static Aircraft

  1. Wycliffe Barrett says:

    I have a question Ben, its probably been answered somewhere but regarding autogen in Europe. Will that be given the same treatment as the US autogen at some time.

    Wycliffe Barrett

  2. Tom Knudsen says:

    Hi Ben

    Just wanted to know when “airport flattening” will be included in WED? I have 1.50 b1 and cannot seem to find any in that, so hense my question.

    I might have mistaken this feature, is it a new “button” that will draw an rectangle to flatten airports individually? Or is it something else?

    Scott Adams said
    “If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions? ”

    So I ask, will we see any of the “next gen” features in 10x or will this be introduced in the “next gen” version of X-Plane….

    • Ben Supnik says:

      There’s a check-box item on the airport in WED when you select it to flatten – it’s already in there.

      Nothing after the “breaking bad” slide from the presentation in Hartford is going into X-Plane 10.

      • Tom Knudsen says:

        Thanks Ben, did find the tickbox?

        Not sure why this is added as I would imagine the RFT tick box overides this one?

        I do however love the new runway smooth feature, I think this do an excellent job and have fixed many of the most problamatic runways in Norway. But I do miss an “polygonal flatten” feature in WED where we can select the area that are to be flatten, not the entire airport. Example just the apron etc.

        • Ben Supnik says:

          Our goal is to eliminate the rendering setting for flattening in the future and have X-plane always run “sloped unless the airport says flat”.

          • Ben Liebhart says:

            But this could be an issue for all pilots flying online?!

          • CT says:

            Hi Ben, surely this will create problens for online flyers if the tickbox from the rendering settings?
            Regards x

          • Ben Supnik says:

            Possibly…but online flying is _already_ a total mess. I think the only sane way forward with online flying is to have the data be as -accurate- to the real world as possible…”real life” is the only reasonable reference across multiple sims, multiple scenery packs, etc.

  3. Nathan says:

    Aha, clearly I need to get home and fix my gateway airport’s flows!

    “AI Aircraft won’t land or be created at airports that don’t have gates big enough to accommodate them (XPD-4408).”
    – is this a chicken and egg situation? How will planes use existing airports with 10.50 before they’re updated (after a wed 1.5 release)?

    • Ben Supnik says:

      If the airport is 1.4.1 or earlier, we assume every gate is size C (if no heavies are allowed) or E (if heavies are allowed) as a backward compatibility measure.

  4. Hey,

    Is it normal to clip through the scenery? This is the biggest culture shock for me here.

  5. DreamKeys says:

    How does X-Plane determines the size of an aircraft?

    I’m debugging the AI traffic on my WIP gateway version of CYEG and can’t figure out how to get anything other than GA aircraft to spawn or land, and there are big enough ramps available. The GA rampspots are working as expected but not the other operation types (Airline, Cargo).

    • Ben Supnik says:

      It looks at the wings and wheels – that should be a very accurate test, as X-Plane knows their exact locations to get the physics right.

      If the aircraft won’t go to your airport, it’s much more likely that it’s a runway length issue; use the debugging art controls to see what’s up.

      • DreamKeys says:

        CYEG, Edmonton Intl. has two runways that are both over 10000 feet long, almost every plane should be able to land there. I’ll try to look in the datarefs you mentioned for additional clues, thanks.

        • Brendan Keith says:

          I have the same issue with OPKC. Was working on it and poof, only one Cessna roaming around and no one wants to land. The runways are 3200 meters long so should be no issue

      • DreamKeys says:

        I just filed a report regarding this behavior, hopefully that can help to figure it out. Thanks Ben for the awesome work on X-Plane and WED.

  6. carrotroot says:

    I’ve been playing with the new static aircraft options, and I like how WED will show a silhouette for the aircraft sizes based on the class size you select. My only question is what is the purpose of the Ramp Start Type? You are given “Misc, Gate, Tie-down, and Hanger” but wouldn’t the location of where you place the Ramp Start basically determine this, for example if you place the Ramp Start at a gate … then by the nature of it being at a gate would make it a gate start? Anyways, I’m just curious what effect this has on the sim such as AI, or static airplane selection.

    • Ben Supnik says:

      The legacy “type” field has -no- effect on AI behavior. Since that setting was never carefully spec’d for behavior we use the “operations type” to do our spawning.

      However, if the airport is in the gateway with old data, we -do- use the type to make some auto-upgrade judgments; these auto-upgrades are only for exports from the gateway that have NOT been upgraded by the user, so when users update them, they’ll get exactly what they author.

  7. Shawn says:

    [quote]This is a single flow for the airport that says “when this airport is in east/west mode, aircraft may take off or depart from either runway 9 or 27!” In other words, airplanes can use the runway from either direction at the same time.

    I know of no real-world example where this actually happens, and if there is one, it has to be super-rare.[/quote]

    KSAN is an example where this happens. Normal ops is runway 27, however it has a LOC approach only. When the ceiling there drops below 300 feet they go into a 9/27 config. Landing 9, departing 27. It’s rare yes but you’ll see it early morning when it’s foggy on the coast.

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Hi Shawn,

      First, to be clear, in my example, both directions were used for BOTH operations – that is, four different things on at once! This does not match your KSAN example. The KSAN example has opposite direction operations, but it doesn’t have the same _kind_ of operation in opposite directions. E.g. KSAN never lands 9 and lands 27 at the same time.

      Opposite direction operations as you describe do happen – my understanding is that overnight at KLAX they’ll depart west, arrive east for noise abatement; Telluride departs and arrives opposite directions to avoid terrain.

      For KSAN: I lived in San Diego for two years and flew to Oakland twice a month for work and -never- saw opposite direction operations…so…yeah, rare! But I know of the fog you are referring to…on one flight we were arriving and it looked like we might be below minima for the 27 Localizer approach, but with the wrong wind for the 9 ILS. I asked the Stewardess where our alternate was (thinking I was going to have to get a very expensive shuttle ride from KLAX) and she said … Oakland! Fortunately the fog didn’t get too low. 🙂

  8. Pepel81 says:

    Where can we find the rules of flow airport (syntax) ? Tank you

  9. Kirk33 says:

    Regarding flows… is it possible for the ATIS to report the arrival runway and departure runway separately when necessary?

    For example, KMKE has a time (1600-0000Z) flow that has landings on 01L and departures on 19R but when you listen to the ATIS report it states “Arrivals and Departures on 01L, 19R.” It should state “Arrivals 01L, Departures 19R” and I don’t see a way a way to create a flow that will work since it seems to be based off the pattern runway.

  10. Carsten says:

    I just want to ask – is this (see still on the work list for X-Plane 10 – it looks so great, when flying through X-Plane clouds, but I see this white out still in 10.50 beta 7. It would be so great not to have this anymore. I spent money on SkyMaxx Pro, Real Weather Connector – tried Sky Tools by Aerosoft, but your standard X-Plane Clouds can gave me the best immersion.

    Thank you very much!

    Gal Cohen says:
    March 28, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Does this include fixing the abrupt visibilty change when entering a cloud layer? or just the the fog?

    Ben Supnik says:
    March 28, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    No – this post is ONLY about -long range- visibility. Short-vis fog is a separate area, and cloud white-out is a separate area. We have been working on clouds – I’ll write that up in a separate post.

  11. Brendan Keith says:

    Oh I am sure some of that Flow info was directed at me. Regardless, thanks for the info. I was getting stuck on the fact only 1 flow will run at once. I wrote mine on the thinking it will use all the ones that work.

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Not specifically – I have received a -lot- of questions about flows, etc! I wrote up some notes that Jennifer is going to turn in to real docs.

      • Jan Vogel says:

        I guess the number one thing that is needed for realistic flows is the ability to specifiy a maximum tailwind component for runways. This is what real airports have as the most governing factor when it comes to alteration of the basic “always land into the wind” rule.
        With the current set of wind rules, it is not possible to create a set that will limit a runway to 5kts tailwind, for example, because you can only specify a direction range and magnitude. But a straight wind from the back with 6kts is out of limits – when it shifts 20 degrees its suddently within limits again… you would have to create maybe 20 rules with each specifying a 10 degree arc max wind… not feasible.

        • Ben Supnik says:

          You can approximate this by layering wind rules on top of each other.

          • mroe says:

            IMO,some misunderstanding .
            Wind rules act by logical OR .
            I can not see how the order can help here then.

          • Ben Supnik says:

            If the max tail-wind component is, say, 10 knots, you could, for example, say that runway 36 is usable:
            wind 270 -> 090, max wind 999 (this is head winds, so it’s okay) OR
            wind 240 -> 270, max wind 20 knots OR
            wind 090 -> 120, max wind 20 knots OR
            wind 210 -> 240, max wind 12 knots OR
            wind 120 -> 150, max wind 12 knots OR
            wind 150 -> 210, max wind 10 knots

            In all of those cases, the tail-wind component is “no worse” than 10 knots.

            I’m not saying this is elegant or awesome or that we shouldn’t someday have additional wind rule capabilities…but I am saying that you can divide up the compass into chunks and set wind rules for each one based on acceptable tail or cross-wind components.

  12. Morgan says:

    and STILL no seasonal textures……..

  13. John Rogers says:

    Any thoughts as to when the cutoff for airports to be included in the 10.50 update will be? I’m working on PHNL and it’s shaping up really well. Would love to know how much time I have left to finish it.

  14. Our plugin crashes still from the load as soon as you choose 8 different types of ACF Models and simply when calling standard XPlane SDK functions. With X-Plane 10.45 runs still quite normal, as in previous versions. That’s why I wanted to ask, is there an SDK Preview for Developers to adjust the plugins in the running beta?

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Please, please, please: FILE A BUG!!!


      There should be no need to adjust plugins.
      There are no SDK changes.

      If something crashes, it is a bug in 10.50, and you need to report it about a week ago so we can fix it before we go final! The purpose of these open public betas is specifically so third party developers can tell us that we have introduced an add-on compatibility problem.

      You don’t need to adjust your plugin for each free upgrade of X-plane. But you absolutely do need to tell us if there’s a bug that affects your add-on, because we might not be able to see it in any other test case!

  15. CS says:

    Hi Ben!

    Microsoft updated it’s Xbox One controller drivers on Windows by creating two SEPERATE axis for the left and right trigger.

    This means we can no longer use triggers as rudder pedal axis in X-Plane as a combined yaw axis.

    Currently theres no way around this in X-Plane.

    I know some people will say “buy rudder pedals,” but I am paralysed chest down, so the Xbox One controller used to help get around my disability.

    There is no way to revert back to old drivers as it’s managed through windows update.

    Microsoft’s answer is that this will be the way moving forward (impression I got from reading various articles.) They have broken compatability with all games that use the combined axis system…

    Please help us disabled simmers Ben! Is there a fix that can be implemented in the near future?

    Warmest Regards

  16. John Rogers says:

    I recall reading that parallel runway operations in calm weather were supposed to be implemented in 10.50. Is there anything special that we have to do in WED to implement this or is it a setting in the sim? I haven’t seen any sign of parallel runway operations from the testing that I’ve done so far.

    • Ben Supnik says:

      Well, you have to have two parallel runways in your flow and good weather.

      • Dylan says:

        I’m also having some trouble with parallel flows at KBJC to be executed. What’s an easy way to induce 2nd runway use in the sim after I’ve added two runways to the active flow? Park my plane on the main runway and then spawn a few more aircraft?

  17. Florian says:

    Evening together …

    to me there after two years time still on there are no contrails .. Will there be times even sometime ?? Beautiful greetings Flo

  18. Bob Marsh says:

    It would appear that the Aircraft Catorization for XP usage should be rather widely different from the FAA published categories, because they define the parking room available. The lowest category based on wingspan is 49 feet (15 meters) in the FAA ratings. In assigning parking locations for GA small aircraft, this lower end should have several lower category designations. Is your category C at this level with 2 lower ones, and 3 higher ones? How about publishing this categorization for XPlane in your reply.

  19. EliYas says:

    Hi there,
    10.5 has some very nice improvements to many areas of the sim BUT will we see a further development of the 430/530 devices at some point. SID/STAR support and some possibility to get the screen on an external display for us cockpit builders would be great!

    Many greetings

  20. John Hamilton says:

    Good morning,
    I just loaded up X-Plane v10.50b7 and it seems to work within my parameters so far, with one exception. In v10.40xxx, ‘my’ aircraft would start at the first Ramp Start position from listing in WED. Now it starts on the end of a runway for takeoff even if the wind is not correct for that runway. Inconvenient, to say the least.
    Happy flying to all.

  21. FS Steven says:

    Dear Ben,

    Dear X-Plane development team,

    If you look closely to open waters, especially open lakes and open seas, you see streamlines in the water. It seems like X-Plane 10 has no algorithm for features like these. This is a miss, since current X-Plane 10 water effects and lightning reflections are great but makes the water effects still incomplete. It looks too flat and too monotonous, especially at high altitudes.

    Next to the Physical Based Rendering (PBR) feature for X-Plane 11, I hope these streamlines in water effect can be added to the X-Plane 11 feature list and will make the X-Plane 11 more superB.

    Looking forward to your response.

Comments are closed.