Starting with X-Plane 10.50 and WED 1.5, ramp starts can be customized with a lot of data to help specify their use. Ramps starts should be designed based on their use in the real world and should never have aircraft scenery objects placed on them as this would interfere with the “Draw Parked Aircraft” and “AI Aircraft” functions in X-plane 10.50 and newer.

Ramp start type

The majority of ramp starts should be either Gate or Tie-down spots. Static aircraft will show up only at these ramp types.

Misc and hangar type ramp starts should only be used for human player starts.  X-Plane will ignore Misc type and will not spawn static aircraft there. When Hangar is set, X-Plane assumes the aircraft is in a building (and therefore not visible) and won’t spend resources placing aircraft there. AI aircraft will use the Misc and Hangar types as a last resort, if no tie down or gate spots are open.

Set only one type from the drop down here.

Equipment Type

This field determines what type of aircraft should use this parking spot. Set at least one type from the drop down here, but multiple types are supported on the same spot. The differentiation between “Heavy Jets” and “Jets” is historic – all aircraft size E or larger are usually classified as “Heavy” in X-Plane, while those of size D and below as “Jets”. It is recommended to always include both “Heavy Jets” and “Jets” as equipment types for all ramp starts of size D and larger to avoid creating unintended restrictions.

Size

This field determines what size (wingspan) aircraft can be drawn as parked aircraft at that spot. X-Plane will place aircraft that are marked in X-Plane’s scenery library as the specified size & one lower (i.e., size C will be used by size C & B aircraft).

The classification of these sizes follows ICAO Aircraft Size Standards and is as follows:

LetterWingspanExample
A<15mC-172, Baron 58
B15-24mKing Air C90
C24-36mB737, A320, MD80
D36-52mB767, A310, MD10
E52-65mB777, B747, A340
F65-80mA380

Ramp Operation Type

To further limit what type of aircraft can be shown as parked aircraft at that ramp, set an operation type. When set to “none,” no parked aircraft will be placed, but AI aircraft of a suitable size can still use this ramp start. Pick only one type from the drop down here.

Airlines

Case insensitive in WED, three letter ICAO codes as per the  Airline Codes Wiki Page separated by spaces.

If you have included more than one airline code in this spot, X-Plane will randomly pick one before the available liveries in the library are checked. If the airline code X-Plane selected is not found in the user’s library, a random result will be placed instead. So limit your definitions to airlines code most people actually have static aircraft installed for, otherwise most people will only see completely random liveries at those starts. X-Plane by default includes liveries for only a small number of major airlines, but these will always work. See the category lib/airport/aircraft/airliners/ for available liveries on ramp starts marked as Operation Type=’Airline’. Or the equivalent categories corresponding to the other operation types, if selected.

Designing sceneries with Ramp Starts

All ramp starts of types “Tiedown” or “Gate” must be placed to allow aircraft taxing along ATC taxi routes to safely pass any aircraft parked there. To check for interference, switch to the “Taxi+Flow” view mode in WED and verify the yellow aircraft shapes are completely clear of the ATC taxi routes depicted in any color, with preferably 10-20 feet of clearance to spare.

Debugging Ramp Starts & AI Aircraft

If AI don’t seem to be using your airport or ramp starts, there are a couple art controls that you can turn on to help debug the situation. (Note you will need to set the art control then make sure the airport reloads by leaving entirely and coming back.):

  • atc/debug/log_spawn=1  (Prints log info on AI aircraft arrival & departure logic. Use developer console to see this in-sim)
  • airp/debug_ramp_starts=1 (Leaves on screen a bunch of visual debug markers telling you about the ramp starts, so if a static airplane is missing or wrong you can SEE the data.)

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