X-Plane 11.20 introduces a new object-type for the construction of jetways. Technically this is a facade, and therefore in WED appears as an unclosed chain of segments. This approach allows the artist to customize jetway shape and position for almost any real world situation. Moreover, it is very easy to use, and you can build a custom jetway literally with just a few steps.
The jetway system can handle an unlimited number of extension bridges in a single chain, and telescopic bridges in a range of 11 to 40 meters. By design, jetways are always horizontal.
Jetway objects can be found in the WED library hierarchy at “lib/airport/Ramp_Equipment/Jetways“. Currently, four jetway-types are available:
Basic steps for the creation of jetways
1 – Pick the jetway facade and place the chain of nodes
2 – Set the “Pick Walls” checkbox
3 – Select the desired vertex (wall-type) for each segment
In a typical use case, the artist would place a chain with three segments (four nodes). Order of placement is important – always start at the terminal wall. (Note: Ctrl+Shift+R may be used to reverse the chain-order.) The artist must always set the vertex (wall type) manually. X-Plane can’t guess which segment is a telescopic tunnel and which is an extension or a cabin, for example.
A typical jetway is always made of three parts. The first segment, rotunda, represents the connection between the terminal building and pivot point of the jetway bridge. The second segment represents the main body – a telescopic tunnel. The last segment must be the cabin.
Diagram illustrating the basic concept:
The parts of a jetway in detail
Segment 1 – Rotunda
The first segment (Rotunda) may be as long as required. However, the visual representation depends on its length. If it is very short (such as 1 meter), only a rotunda without a column appears on the wall of the terminal. If its length is between 1.5 and 2.5 meters, it shows the usual short neck and rotunda with a column, which is most common in the real world. With a length of more than 2.5 meters, and up to a maximum of 60 meters, it forms an extension bridge, ending with the rotunda and the column.
You may place multiple extension bridges in one chain to build very complex structures.
Rotunda segments have two vertex (wall-type) options – “Rotunda_extension” and “Rotunda_jetway“. Both behave exactly the same way, and the difference is merely visual. “Rotunda_jetway” has some electrical installation and is intended for use with telescopic tunnels, while “Rotunda_extension” is intended for additional extension segments.
Segment 2 – Tunnel
This segment must be at least 11 meters long and there are two options here. Artists may select the “Tunnel_parked” vertex (wall type) which is probably best solution for most situations. This automatically ensures proper selection of the telescopic bridge in retracted, or parked, positions. “Tunnel_parked” has some advantages for potential replacement with dynamic jetways at some point in future.
However you may also pick a specific length of tunnel, and construct it in an extended position. In this situation, the vertex name itself controls the extension range. For example, vertex “Tunnel_17-27.5m” would be suitable for lengths in the range of 17 to 27.5 meters.
Segment 3 – Cabin
This is the final segment in a jetway chain. There is only one option for this segment – “Cabin“. The segment length isn’t important, but keep it in a reasonable range. The cabin object is always displayed at the beginning of the segment. The angle of rotation of the cabin should be approximately in the range illustrated below.
Special Segment – Connection
There is a special vertex (wall-type) named “Connection“. It works the same way as “Rotunda_..” but without the rotunda object itself. You can use this for connections between existing rotundas, or simply between buildings.
– Artists may combine different facades (white, gray, solid, and glass) to achieve, for example, a glass bridge with solid jetway tunnels.
– Glass versions of extension bridges sometimes have issues with transparency. Please DO NOT file a bug, as this is a known limitation of the rendering engine. There is no guarantee the correct draw order will be achieved from all view angles with all objects. Typically you may not see a neighboring extension bridge through a transparent extension. You will also not see a user-aircraft, or dynamic shadows.