Airport Parking & Logic

Hello, 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.

Hello, 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. Regards, Boris

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

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. Thanks, Ryan - FSimstudios

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 Regards, Boris

thanks Boris for the answer. Can you confirm that a spot is blocked as soon as
the 6m extra radius is overlapping.

I made some tests with 3 overlapping spots (Ramp Ga Medium). I was able to
spawn and I called the ground services for each one without any issue. I then
spawned on the left parking (with traffic at 100%). There was only 1 AI
aircraft at the far right parking, none at the middle.

ok, thanks for testing. Then we will plan that each second spot will be used
when they overlap. Not tthe best solution but for now the only one.

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. Thanks, Ryan

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.

With 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.

The 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.
Now, 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)
I 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 Xavier