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Ryanosaurus13 avatar image
Ryanosaurus13 asked xavios answered

Airport Parking & Logic


Currently in development for some airports and I am having issues grasping the logic of airport parking as compared to the real world.

Basically, it seems that there is an issue with the maximum radius ruling. The maximum radius does not seem to correspond to the radius set when building the airport. For example, I set the radius at a parking=32m. However, when looking at the debug, it shows closer to 36m in radius with the dashed lines. However, I cannot park an airplane with a wingspan larger than a 32m radius at that parking spot. Does this mean that the maximum radius is actually the "minimum area" as defined in the "Aircraft Parking Spots" section of the SDK document under the "Airports" tab?

In general from what I understand from the Airport behaviour tests I have been doing and using the airport debug feature:

  • Inner circle minimum area = Is a circle whose radius is the maximum permissible aircraft wingspan defined by the 1/2 wingspan from the aircraft.cfg, that can park in that spot.
  • Outer circle maximum wingspan permitted = Is a circle whose radius cannot impede any other outer circle or else parking spots are not usable.

If that is the case then this creates a bit of an issue when trying to determine gate sizes for operations at airports with ICAO type E gates. This behaviour certainly does not align with any of my real-world airport and flying experiences. For example, if a user wants to operate the default 747-8, I must choose a parking spot radius equal to or greater than 34m. If I set the radius=28m (In this case the maximum wingspan permitted as defined under the SDK documentation is around 34m) the parking spot will not activate when you request a gate from ATC. On the other hand, if I set the parking radius as 34m, then effectively, the spot radius is effectively 38-39m and the parking spots beside them cannot be used. That is, two gates are rendered useless, which is a huge waste of space and counterintuitive/inaccurate to real-world airport design.

So the question becomes, is there a way to disable the "outer circle maximum wingspan permitted" and just use the "inner circle minimum area" when the sim determines which airplanes can fit into parking spots? Since it seems more like the "inner circle minimum area" is what is determining which airplanes can park at a given parking spot and the outer circle does not seem to have any use.


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Boris_ avatar image
Boris_ answered Ryanosaurus13 commented


This is the desired behavior.
Therefore, the only way to proceed is to reduce the radius of the left and right parking.
There is no solution at this time to avoid this.


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Kaiii3 avatar image Kaiii3 commented ·
I hope this will be rethinked, in the end with the current solution it is not possible to design realistic airports, since no realworld-airport has this extra 6m space around each spot.

The designer has to decide:

- smaller spots but all with airplanes -> maybe not all big airplanes can spawn when needed

- big spots, but only each second will be used -> not every airplane will get a spot.

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Ryanosaurus13 avatar image Ryanosaurus13 commented ·

Hi Boris,

Thank you for the reply I really do appreciate it.

However, could you tell me why exactly this is expected behaviour? I have real-world experience in airport design and this is not how it's done in real life. It would be very limiting for space-constricted airports such as Manila Airport, Toronto Pearson, and especially Dubai, (where with this logic, it is impossible to recreate the A380 sized terminal as every other gate would intersect if you set the radius=40m which is the 1/2 wingspan of the A380). With the release of the FBW A380, we would like to ensure full support for all aircraft to and gate sizes its real-world counterpart.

Here are a few diagrams to illustrate my point above:

Toronto Airport - Int'l Terminal 1 (Where all gates support 747-400 operations, and some are sized for A380)


  • 7 Gates are essentially disabled

Manila Ninoy Aquino Airport - Int'l Terminal 2 (All gates South gates support A321 operations, All east side gates support 777 ops)


  • Now essentially only half of this terminal is usable

Finally, the famous Dubai Terminal 3 which fully supports A380 Operations:


  • Again, like in Manila, only half of the whole Terminal is usable.

Again thank you for your reply Boris, but I am very much curious as to why this is desired behaviour, this was not something needed to take into account in P3D and FSX. Like Kaii knows for sure, Real Live AI traffic and Offline AI traffic would be highly affected by this issue and it's generally not analogous to real-world behaviour.


Ryan - FSimstudios

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Boris_ avatar image Boris_ ♦♦ Ryanosaurus13 commented ·

Hello @Ryanosaurus13

My apologies, I should have given you the reason !

The behavior is defined this way because the ground services need a certain amount of space to populate properly each parking (travel path included).

We understand the limitations of this system but I'm afraid there is nothing we can do right now since it would force us to redesign all ground services / parkings / path ...

The only workarround is to make a smaller radius every 2 parking spot


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Ryanosaurus13 avatar image Ryanosaurus13 Boris_ ♦♦ commented ·
Thank you again for the explanation, Boris. Again much appreciated.

I'm no expert at the internal code that you guys use but wouldn't an extra definition on the flight_model.cfg be a simple enough fix? Something that will allow an airplane with a wingspan of 36m to spawn at a gate with a wingspan of 32m?

i.e: "minimum_gate_span=197" while "wing_span=210"

This would allow an airplane with a wingspan of 210 (32m gate size) to spawn at a gate that is 30m.

This would really help with designing airports compatible with all airplanes and traffic solutions.



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xavios avatar image
xavios answered

Hello there.
I'm glad to see this discussion and would like to contribute with my own experience of airport creator.
I do concur with Ryan's exposé about his concerns related to the new aircraft radius philosophy in MSFS.
IMHO the introduction of this double radius is really a problem.
I would like to insist on this darn dashed circle that render almost impossible a proper parking creation if you want to stick to the real world reality.
In the former FSX (and before) world, the radius was the reflect of the Half-Wing Span and the airport designers were able to handle this, regarding the constraints of each aprons, according to the adjacent environment ie other aircraft, buildings, taxiways or jetways
This is not anymore the case and this double radius prevents to create a viable and realistic airport.
Ryan uploaded some examples of the reduction of capacity that it implies and I join some screenshots of parking and aprons that I am working on.
I show here the real life Terminal 2E. As we can see this part of Terminal is mainly dedicated to long-haul, heavy aircraft. I have measured the centrelines and some wingtip distances. In FSX, radii are 36 meters and that is exaggerated because the real wingspan for the majority of these aircraft is 33 meters but has the advantage to include the security distance around the planes. So 6 meters apart.

term-2e.pngWith MSFS, I've lost 50% of capacity. There is no way to downgrade to smaller radii here simply because no smalls will park here in the real life.
Another example for the same Terminal E but dedicated to small categories aircraft :
I show here parking like in the reality and the resulting in MSFS. 50% of capacity is lost.

e1-e29-msfs.pngThe dashed radii are also unrealistic for a simple reason that it is a...whole circle constraint. In the real life adjacent parking in some situations do not have the same heading/orientation simply because otherwise it would be a problem. So airports designers, according to the structure of the Terminals and jetways, create parking to avoid security hazard. Even in this situation MSFS will not allow a cohabitation and it leads -again- in a lack of capacity.
term-2f.pngNow, if I may, the cherry on the cake :If you put the Sim at x4 speed and...wait. Then you will see that even the MSFS engine is depressed by the situation and...fills all the gaps and counteracts it's own rules in case of need!
(I'm using FSLTL traffic Injector)

term-2e-full.pngI served for about 20 years, with my colleagues, allocating aircraft parking in a major French airport and the above is also resulting of my experience in this domain. I sincerely hope that this feature will be removed in a (near?) future.
Best regards

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