Military AI Works • When writing FSX AI flying programs
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When writing FSX AI flying programs

Posted: 09 May 2019, 14:53
by hobby
I use FSX and AIFP v3.

Do any forum members have any tips on writing AI programs to ensure that such programs run smoothly?

For example: Has experience taught an author that it is better to leave a gap of 'x' minutes between an aircraft landing and another aircraft taking off from the same runway. I have found that if these events are quite close together the landing aircraft can take some time to clear the runway resulting in a line of aircraft waiting to take off. Realistic until waiting becomes too much and one or more AI aircraft go "pop."

Any time gap does have to take into account the distance an aircraft is parked from the runway being used, and if one uses a weather program, that distance will change according to which runway is the "duty" runway for that weather. Should one use a blanket ten minutes prior to an intended take off time?

Re: When writing FSX AI flying programs

Posted: 10 May 2019, 09:14
by Firebird
I can only speak in general terms here.

What you are saying is correct in that if you get a large number of aircraft landing whilst aircraft are waiting for take off then you can and will get aircraft that timeout waiting for permission to take off.
The thing here is that it is a period of not moving that causes the timeout, so if you had 8 aircraft on the taxiway waiting for take off and the first one timed out then the other 7 would all move close to the hold short line which would reset the timer on each of the others.

The problem is going to be worse at some airfields than others. The worse ones are the ones with no turn offs. I have lost count of the number of problems at Coningsby and Marham due to the long runways. I have also increased the sims default taxi speed to help clear the runway quicker. It does help but it does not cure it.
The next problem associated with the same venues are the fact that if you get multiples arriving at the same time they are quite often forced to overshoot and then you start getting a backlog in the air which causes a backlog on the ground.
I do wish that airfields could be set to operate Civil or Military rules for operations. It would be a godsend for AI planning.

In an ideal would you would have take offs only between 0-14 and 30-44 minutes past the hour and landings between 15-30 and 45-59 minutes past the hour.
There are two things that cause this to go wrong. Firstly, when you start up a sim you have now idea where the system is going to spawn arriving aircraft, which means that they arrival times can shift. Also flights will also depart even if you miss their departure time by up to 10 mins.
Secondly, no matter how you plan your flight plans, it can all be screwed up by some other plans sending you visitors or doing TNGs at a base.

Two things that you can do is avoid lengthy TNGs, especially at home base. In the real world training bases often have a satellite airfield that students go and do circuits out to remove traffic from the home base, e.g. RAF Valley has RAF Mona.
The second thing is to avoid overdoing the movements at a base. Their is no need to program constant movements just to make a base look busy when you randomly drop in there.
To give you an idea of what I am talking about, when I was in Wing Ops and Squadron Ops on RAF fast jet bases we rarely programmed more than roughly 1.5x the number of aircraft on the Sqn strength. Occasionally it would happen but rarely.
It goes without saying that Cargo aircraft would be less because of the distances involved in a flight and training aircraft more due to the shorter flight times.

I guess that the bottom line here is not that you shouldn't try what you suggest but that you whilst you can improve a situation at an airfield the chances are that you will never avoid disappearances.

Re: When writing FSX AI flying programs

Posted: 10 May 2019, 20:02
by hobby

Your reply is most informative. Regarding TNGs at base I had programmed four Canberras to each have four TNG flights a day spaced throughout the day, the last flight of the day for each aircraft taking place at night. The initial radio call being timed not to interfere with x-country day or night flights of the other 12 Canberras. Allowing ten minutes for an aircraft to taxy from its parking spot to the duty runway the stop time for TNGs is seventy minutes on from the initial radio call to commence the TNG flight.

I have an Argosy calling on Tuesday and Thursday and intend to have a PR9 & T17 call and depart once a week.

I think sixteen aircraft operating out of one airfield may be about as much as AIFPv3 and FSX can manage. I might have to re-time some flights after I have had a bit more time to assess how my AI Canberra program is running.