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Methos

A thought for the next version of Tower

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I didn't see a place for this so figured I'd just drop it in here.  So, I was thinking of something that would be (I think) a nice feature to have in the next Tower version.  Certainly not something that could be patched into the current version as it deals restructuring commands and pathfinding.  So, instead of setting the destination of each aircraft and then directing how to get there .. I'm thinking the aircraft will know where it's going (gate or runway) but will not be restricted to the most direct route.  Further, have commands issued in stages (if desired).  For example, I'm sure we all know how complicated things can get at KJFK.  They have to sometimes send planes all over before getting where they're going.  Having the ability to just direct an aircraft along PART of the path at a time, I think would be a great feature.

 

Quick example, again taking from KJFK.  Say you have an aircraft coming off 31R at W.  It's a DL heading for terminal 4.  Well maybe you've got a mess going on down there and rather than clear it all the way to the ramp, you just want it to go so far and then wait for you.  By 3D Pro you would issue one command to taxi to ramp via blah blah blah and then could issue a second to hold short of somewhere.  So how about combine those and do something like this: "Delta 175 left on alpha hold short of echo."

 

Another example, say you have jetBlue coming off 31R also at W and heading into terminal 6 but there's no free gate and aircraft are pushing back.  And, you have aircraft coming in on 31R.  Also figure this arrival is going into the ramp at W.  Since there's no gate and you can't leave him there, do something like this:

 

jetBlue 652 left on alpha short of echo

When things clear up - jetBlue 652 left on echo to bravo short of whiskey

And when gate is clear - jetBlue 652 taxi to ramp

 

For taxi to runway it could be the same, just issue clearance for the section of the route you want them on at that time:

American 75 pushback approved expect runway 31L

American 75 left on Bravo hold short of Mike Charlie

American 75 continue on Bravo hold short of Kilo

American 75 continue on Bravo, cross 4L, hold short of yankee, monitor tower 123.9

Which brings me to another thought that I'll put in the next post.  :)

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Okay so next thought: since in single player you're basically running ground control as well as tower, why not simulate the 2 frequencies?  I think it would just add another touch of realism.  So there would be 2 buttons to key the mic: one for ground control and one for tower.  Along with standard commands, you will have "contact tower on" and "contact ground on" as well.  This means when an aircraft calls you will need to respond on their frequency.  There should be some indicator as to which frequency is being used when an aircraft calls .. maybe an indicator will illuminate to display green for ground or red for tower?  Obviously anything on the DBRITE will be tower and on the ADIRS aircraft on the runways also.  Maybe the flight strips could be an indicator .. have them change color OR maybe a red or green dot on each to indicate which frequency it's on.  We could even have 2 sets of flight strips, one for ground and one for tower.  Each frequency would be restricted to which commands it can issue.  For example, tower cannot issue taxi commands .. only ground commands would be lineup and wait, cleared for takeoff and exit runway.  Ground would have to handoff to tower when at or near the runway but could still issue taxi commands if there's a runway change or something.  So handoff would be MONITOR tower so you can still give commands via ground, until you send a tower command to taxi onto the active.  Tower handoff on arrivals would be simply, "United 3687 ground on 121.9"

 

Only real issue I see here would be, could aircraft on different frequencies potential call at the same time and step on each other?  Need to have something in place to prevent that.  Again, just tossing out a few thoughts.  :)

 

~ John

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The ability to give abbreviated (not "full route") taxi instructions would be great.  I was at IAD the other day while they would let us taxi in very short movements (as well as changing freqs between Ground, Ramp, Ground, Tower).  Really helps keep everything manageable and keep planes in order.  That would be a really nice feature!

I'd love an "Expedite" command, and the ability to give taxi instructions that would allow crossing an un-used runway without stopping.

Redrawing some hold short lines would be nice as well...actually, probably just needs to be rewritten so that planes will taxi clear of a runway and onto the taxiway (LAX 24R exit Z, for example).   Seems like they are stopping at the hold short lines that are meant for the opposite direction of movement.

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For that matter, what about some kind of AI system to handle some aspects of controlling with you?  Maybe you want to just be ground controller - so you check the box, "AI controlled tower" and all tower operations are handled for you.  Reverse for being tower controller.  Or maybe a combobox where you select your desired position: Tower, Ground or both.

 

And, how about splitting the ground and tower audio between the speakers so for example, all ground comms are heard on the left, tower is on the right.  And I agree that adding ramp in there would be awesome because then you don't have to worry about what gate an aircraft will get, you would assign it yourself!  :)

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