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ianbeggs

New Product Idea

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Could or would you guys ever consider developing a product like this. I found myself on Vatsim the other day and recieved a long set of taxi instructions, even with the charts infront of me I still manage to muff it up pretty good, and I naturally don't have a good sense of direction :lol: But this would be a product that could scan your afcad files, the main feature of the program would be that you could MANUALLY enter in a set of taxi instructions and it would draw a progressive taxi to your departure runway, or from the runway to parking. That way I just write down the ATC instructions and then put them in this new product and bam!!! It draws that route to my dep Runway. I think it would be a very popular tool among the online community, you could call it taxi buddy or call for taxi, something like that. I would get it for sure. Maby even at a discount :lol: But I'm sure if you could create a program like FSC surely you could tackle this.

Ian

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Hi Ian,

I don't have experience with VATSIM but I can certainly relate to your statement regarding the receipt of a "long set of taxi instructions' and then the challenge faced to follow such instructions.

However, I feel that your question begs an acknowledgement of at least the existing tools that I’m aware of that can aid in manoeuvring aircraft around airports and which may help in determining whether a new or improved tool is required.

1st — FSC

When one is privileged to have more than one monitor thereby permitting a continuous display of FSC's map and for taxiing purposes, zoomed at an appropriate level, then taxiways, including turnoffs, parking spots, gates, etc., can be fairly easily identified for the purpose of following a given route. This of course requires that the colour scheme of taxiways be adjusted so as to enhance the legibility of taxiway identifiers. If FSC lacks anything in this area, then the possibility of adjusting the display characteristics of taxiway identifiers (making them larger or appear in bold characters or in a different color) would be an improvement. However, most important I think are precise AFCADs. There are excellent AFCADs which reflect true-to-life identification of all taxiways and then there are mediocre AFCADs which lack in this area, some even including fictitious layouts! So the quality of AFCADs will always influence the usability of a given tool.

2nd — MSFS (in my case, FS9)

FS's own ATC instructions can sometimes be just as intimidating. However, FS offers two types of aids in this area: path display and Kneeboard. If following the pink path to a given location at an airport is considered unrealistic, the other option which is available is the Kneeboard. FS copies all radio communications including taxiing instructions to the Kneeboard which, when displayed, can be followed. Not having FSC’s map available for reference will again present varying degrees of challenges which will be connected to the quality of the AFCAD and from a visual point of view, the quality of the scenery file (taxiway signs, parking identifiers, etc).

3rd — Radar Contact (RC)

I use RC and know that the tool does not help in this area. However, based on a post I read on RC’s user forum, version 5 of RC will/should include help with taxiing to and from runways including, I hope, instructions to ‘HOLD’ when other aircraft have priority, a feature which is already offered by FS.

4th — ProFlight 2000 Emulator (PFE)

I don’t use PFE and know very little about the product, but PFE does offer aid in this area. Here’s an extract from PFE’s features list which appears on OnCourse Software’s web site: “. . . Full taxi instructions to/from the runway. i.e. ATC instructs you to.... "taxi to gate 27 via taxiway delta, bravo two, alpha one, charlie three". . . Taxi Guidance System (TGS) which includes a new (optional) panel gauge. The new gauge points to the next taxi waypoint, displays a series of LED's to indicate the distance to the next taxi waypoint. TGS also includes AUDIBLE instructions from your VCP telling you... "next left into delta.... bear right into bravo two... straight on... gate 27 on the right"

Food for thought.

Regards, Jean-Jacques

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Hi Ian, hi Jean-Jacques,

We've been thinking about this idea for quite some time, and at first glance it seems relatively easy to implement. Since we have all taxiway segments in our database, it seems to be easy to e.g. draw those segments red which are part of the ATC instruction. So, e.g. if ATC tells to taxi to parking position XXX via A, B, and C, we could draw all segments of A, B, and C red. Upon closer inspection, however, this is not what ATC means. What they mean is actually, taxi only those segments of taxiway B that connecti with A and C. So if we highlighted ALL segments of B, then this might be still helpful, but definitely not elegant and in fact esthetically ugly.

As a next step, we could go through our database looking for that segment of B that connects on one side with A and on the other side with C. But there might be none, because there may be an indefinite number of segments B between A and C which we would have to check.

The bottomline is this. Of course, but the algorithm to implement this is relatively complex. Conceptually, it's like making an airway route flight plan with certain routes being marked. We originally discarded the idea, because given the complexity of the problem we thought that people wouldn't really need that (apparently our "select parking" feature is not too widely used).

However, if it turns out that there is a real need for such a feature, we'll give it a second try.

Thanks for the suggestion.

Regards

Sascha

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Hi Sascha,

Many thanks for your substantive feedback. And for the record, I do use and find the "select parking" feature of FSC very practical.

Regards, Jean-Jacques

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Hi again,

I should have mentioned that the color of the taxiway identifiers are the same as for the airport. So if the current color doesn't suit you, go to the Options Window and change the "airport" color.

I guess we should have mentioned that in the manual.

Regards

Sascha

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Hi Sascha,

Thank you for the clarification. It never occured to me that the colors were the same!

Regards, Jean-Jacques

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