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Hi Richard.  I'll take a stab at it, just for fun, but keep in mind that it is a pretty tricky question because of the varying factors that make an airport more or less difficult.  I'm assuming that you are talking about Tower3D(Pro), and not Tower2011.  All things beings equal (which they are not), the most obvious answer would be that the airports with crossing runways, such as KBOS, KJFK, KLAS, and KLGA would be the toughest.  Likewise, KSAN, which only has one runway, should be the easiest of the bunch.  In between, would be the big parallel setups like KATL, and KPHX. 

However, the truth is that all things are not equal:  First off, it depends how you decide to use the airport in a given session.  Obviously, the traffic level can be regulated  by the time of day/night, using the traffic the slider in the main menu, and or by installing a harder or easier custom schedule.   Any airport can be made relatively easy or hard by doing this; believe me, even KSAN can be a real bear at high traffic levels.  Beyond that, you have a choice of which runways to use.  For example, just because KJFK has crossing runways does not mean that you have to use them that way, depending upon the weather scenario your are simulating.  Nothing is stopping you from using just runways 31/13 R/L, turning your airport into a relatively tame two-runway parallel setup.  Sill another factor, which you cannot control, is the taxiway and terminal layout.  This is unique at every airport; each has its own peculiarities, that introduce complications into the game.  For example, KLGA has one of its passenger terminals on the opposite side of the runway from the others, which adds a considerable amount of work to an already busy cross-runway environment, since you have to pay close attention to which side of the runway that arrivals need to turn off of.  Similarly, many airports have cargo and GA terminals that are far separate from the terminals.  KATL, for example has two separate cargo terminals on opposite sides of the airport, both of which are across different runways from the terminals; although the game will mostly route approaching traffic to the most appropriate side of the airport, it still throws curve balls once in a while (by design), and you must either notice it early enough to change runway assignments, or deal with the complicated logistics of routing the plane where it needs to go on the ground.  KBOS, on the other hand, which has a very complex runway layout, has all the terminals, pax, GA and cargo, together in one area of the apron, greatly simplifying taxiing ops.  KSAN, only has one runway, but it also has only one main taxiway paralleling the runway making it tricky to keep departures and arrivals out of each other's way.  Finally, some airports (KJFK, KATL, KLAS) are much more widely spread out than others, making it harder to visually keep track of where everyone is.  Yes the ground radar helps with this, but it is no substitute for your own eyes. 

To me its more a matter of trading one set of challenges for another.  If you want my personal perspective, I really like KLGA.  It combines a tricky runway/terminal layout that never gets boring with a compact physical area, which for the most part makes it easier to see everything that is going on.  I hope this helps put things in perspective.

 

Andrew

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Great summary @Avwriter! I want to add my opinion to the difficulty as well.I cant say anything about KPHX since I don't own it! I would rate them in this order (from hardest to easiest) if I´d have to put them in a order:

1.KATL - The amount of traffic at Atlanta is just insane, in the real traffic schedule you get almost 200 flights in the hour from 9 am to 10 am, that's the most flights compared to the other DLC Airports and for me it is almost impossible to manage that alone, even in multiplayer it gets very very challenging!

2. KJFK - JFK can get challenging as well if you pick the right hour and get some flights, but it can be quite boring when there is not much going on, since the routing around this airport with the clockwise and anticlockwise taxiways ``a´´ and ´´b´´ is very handy. JFK can be challenging when you play with crossing runways or make yourself a challenge and use only one departure runway which crosses an arriving one. There are a lot of nice setups for JFK which make this airport a challenging but very fun experience!

3.KLGA - LaGuardia can be very challenging, just because of the crossing runways. Depending on which runways you use, you´ll always need to cross a runway in order to get planes from the terminal to the takeoff runway or to get arriving planes off the ground without getting runway alerts for landing aircraft. Another challenging part is, that you have a lot of traffic at LaGuardia with it being such a small airport. It´s quite interesting in busy hours.

4. KBOS - It is pretty much the same with Boston as it is with JFK when you have an interesting runway configuration and a lot of traffic, there are some bottlenecks on KBOS who make this airport a lot of fun to manage. I personally like Boston a lot, because you have a lot of traffic at certain hours and you have the possibility to play with a lot of different configurations!

4. KSAN - San Diego is hard to put on this list. It can be challenging around hours where you get a lot of GA Traffic, which is very slow, so you have to manage and separate the arrivals on your own and you´ll need to issue go-arounds if a small Cessna followed by an Airbus a 330 is not fast enough to get off the runway in time. Also, the single taxiway is a challenge, because as Avwriter said, you have to separate arriving and departing traffic so they don't get nose to nose (especially when you use runway 27 instead of runway 9)

5.KLAS: I find this one the least challenging airport, you have a lot of runways, enough space to taxi planes all over your airport and in case a small and slow GA plane wants to arrive, you can just send it to another runway that is not so busy at the moment, and you´ll always have an empty runway at Las Vegas, at least my experience showed it. 

Yeah, that's pretty much my summary. But sure, everything changes depending on the challenge and amount of traffic. If you have just one runway opened, KLAS can be very hard as well. But in normal operations, i would sort them like this^^

And when you want me to put them in an order regarding how much fun these airports are, it would be like this: 1.KBOS 2.KLGA 3.KJFK 4.KSAN 5. KLAS 6.KATL (at least with playing it alone)

I hope this helps you a little! :) 

 

Edited by jonas243
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Thank you both for taking the time to reply. Your experience and advice is appreciated.

I am currently cutting my teeth on KLAX (throttled back to 50%). Once I am a bit more (a lot more) capable with more traffic and stop taxiway standoffs I shall up the ante.

 

Thanks again

Richard 

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On 6.3.2018 at 7:23 PM, jonas243 said:

And when you want me to put them in an order regarding how much fun these airports are, it would be like this: 1.KBOS 2.KLGA 3.KJFK 4.KSAN 5. KLAS 6.KATL (at least with playing it alone)

 

I don't have much to add to your summary.

KLGA is indeed challenging. I took a 19:00 session yesterday with a 22 approach and 13 departure using @ATControl -- Joe's custom schedule. Problem: There were so many flights incoming on 22 that I barely managed to get flights cleared for takeoff. At the worst moment, they were lining up on P and B back behind M, about 30 planes waiting just for takeoff with an almost 1 hour delay. I should have delayed arrivals by letting them turn to 040 at the 15-mile mark and transferring them to departure just to get little breaks for takeoffs, but I just didn't think of this. (Well, at least at this point KLGA was very realistic... krch-krch)

In KATL what bothers me the most is lagging. There's just so much traffic and the vast scenery that I feel 30 minutes are like 5 hours elsewhere. That's why I don't play it much.

KPHX bothers me for the bugs like planes being pushed into the dirt, getting off of runway 26 at B7 and rolling over B so far that they almost stand on C while turning through the dirt, cargo planes rolling parallel to H through the nothingness and so on. Other than that, it's fun, as long as I use one runway for departures (25R) and one for landings (26), even when the Americans go to 25R via R and the others lining up on E. That configuration is quite simple and relaxed.

The most fun for me are KJFK and KBOS. For the same reasons as you said: lots of different configurations. I especially love JFK for it. One of my favorite configs is landings on 13L, departures from and selected landings on 13R, departures on 22R at the threshold at F. Another one is using 22L for arrivals, 22R at C for departures, 31L shortened at K for smaller aircraft departures (that are issued a left turn to 223 for the Breezy Point climb immediately after takeoff).
But I also love KBOS. My favorite config there is arrivals on 22L, selected arrivals on 22R, departures on 9, 15R (bigger jets), and 14 (for the Cape Air). But I also like a late schedule that includes a challenging runway change to night operations, like switching from 4L+4R departures/arrivals to 33L arrivals, 15R takeoffs, 9 takeoffs. Unfortunately, KBOS is not favorable for shortened operations, but the variety of simultaneous takeoffs and landings on the several runways makes up for that.

KSAN is probably the most challenging to me. The airport layout is... phew. One mistake, and you really f-- mess it up.

Added 03/16/2018: ... that is until KSFO came out. I really start to hate it. So little space, so many planes to handle around the terminals. What bothers me most there is area around intersections A/F, A/J, A/E. Around that area I've had no session so far where I could avoid wingtip deadlocks. Even with 80% density my taxiways A and B are jammed, blocking outgoing traffic, and what drives me crazy is certain VRDs and SKWs exiting at L when landing on 28L effectively locking the 1L/1R crossing for outgoing aircraft. Oh, and of course incoming traffic on the 28s is so dense that I can't get planes out on the 1s. If I didn't collapse before I totally jammed the complete airport, I'd say it's worse than KLGA...

So, my order of favorite add-on airports is: 1) KJFK, 2) KBOS, 3) KLAS, 4) KPHX, 5) KLGA, 6) KSAN, 7) KATL, 8) KSFO.

Edited by DeltaVII
KSFO included.
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I tend to favor KGLA most of the time. RWY 4 Dep, 31 Arr What I have done is culled ATC joes schedule as follows:-

1. Allow the first 3 departures of each operator in each hour. i.e. if RPA has 8 departures in an hour, the first 3 is allowed into the schedule. The rest of the RPA departures get //on their schedule line. If an operator has 3 or less departures in each hour they are not touched. By allowing the early departures it tends to clear the gates for arrivals.

2. Allow the last 3 arrivals of each operator as above. Same criteria.

This might seem to slow things down but as each session starts, it starts about 15 mins prior to the start time selected. This means that the previous hours arrivals spawn when they can &  the departures commence.  This gives the effect of having about 60-65 movements per hour. To me a comfortable amount to allow the sim to be enjoyed. Some hrs have small lulls in the middle but they are only for a couple of minutes. There is never a time when there is no movements on the A/P.

If I want to increase the traffic flow, I just remove the // on the schedule line. Flight reinstated.

Kev M

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5 hours ago, 707FAN said:

I tend to favor KGLA most of the time. RWY 4 Dep, 31 Arr What I have done is culled ATC joes schedule as follows:-

1. Allow the first 3 departures of each operator in each hour. i.e. if RPA has 8 departures in an hour, the first 3 is allowed into the schedule. The rest of the RPA departures get //on their schedule line. If an operator has 3 or less departures in each hour they are not touched. By allowing the early departures it tends to clear the gates for arrivals.

2. Allow the last 3 arrivals of each operator as above. Same criteria.

This might seem to slow things down but as each session starts, it starts about 15 mins prior to the start time selected. This means that the previous hours arrivals spawn when they can &  the departures commence.  This gives the effect of having about 60-65 movements per hour. To me a comfortable amount to allow the sim to be enjoyed. Some hrs have small lulls in the middle but they are only for a couple of minutes. There is never a time when there is no movements on the A/P.

If I want to increase the traffic flow, I just remove the // on the schedule line. Flight reinstated.

Kev M

That actually sounds like a pretty good recipe, Kev.  I will have to give it a try.

Andrew

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I'd probably rank them, roughly:

  1. Atlanta -- It's just so damn busy, there are some nice ways of managing it, depending on the configuration but even still you just have tons of planes moving around and it's really easy to screw up. 
  2. LaGuardia -- It's smaller but I struggle quite a bit with LGA compared to some of the bigger places, the crossing runways and pretty heavy traffic (despite being smaller and only 2 runways) makes for a good challenge. Add having to watch the taxi routes with the terminal layouts and yeah. 
  3. Boston -- Another I feel I never get a good hold on, no matter how hard I try =p. The crossing runways and some of the setups can make it tough to keep pushing tin . I have less issues moving traffic around on the ground here, just getting everyone out in a timely matter usually becomes the challenge.
  4. JFK -- With a good schedule, JFK can jump up a bit but generally I find it easy to manage the ground traffic, a bit more difficult getting people out but not as bad as Boston. Pushbacks, for me, is where it usually gets the messiest and trying to not keep arrivals waiting a week to get to their gate =p. 
  5. Phoenix -- PHX I've at least been pissed at a couple times, a lot of it is some bugs though. Most part it isn't too bad, the layout is very LAX like, minus a runway, but also with less traffic so it isn't too bad to manage. 
  6. San Diego -- It was between SAN and LAS, SAN ends up slightly tougher since you have to remember your exit at commands, and have to be on the ball with getting departures out in a tight window when it's busy. When it isn't busy though, it can be a snore. If you get in a good flow it can be pretty easy, it's mostly just staying on the ball and making sure to make use of exit at. 
  7. Las Vegas -- Vegas can be fun, I haven't ran into the traffic jams like I did in 2011 at Vegas, but for the most part it isn't too complicated. watch your crossings and your main taxiway drags and you should be fine.

 

I didn't include SFO just because I've only played a bit of it, but it'd probably be 2nd right now if I did. Just in my experience with it (a whole hour granted) it is hell to get anything leaving that place during the rush. 

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  • 8 months later...

Time for an update to my favorability list...

1) Still JFK. There's enough space to get planes in order when the sheer volume of departures messes up my field. But I have no problems working through a 1-hour backlog. I'm currently working on a real schedule from today that even includes Kape Air, Eurowings, Norwegian Air UK (callsign "Rednose"), XL Airways, although the planes stay blank. But working on my tool to create it takes up too much time, unfortunately...
2) Still BOS.
3) LGA. Once I figured out how to close the gaps it's not as dramatic as it was in March. But still a challenge.
4) LAS. More interesting after the update.
5) PHX. Challenging, but playable now. Even when I up the ante by using a 2-runway config.
6) PHL. Improving my strategy helped.
7) MEM. Yeah, the boring part is it being departure-only at some times and arrival-only at other times. But the interesting part is getting into or out of the "parking lot".
8) LAX. Rather boring when I take traffic from the southern gates to 25R and from the northern gates to 24L, and too complicated when I use the runways according to the SIDs.
9) SFO. I try to manage arrivals on the 28s and departures mainly from the 1s. I fail too often and jam up A and B. Not even works when I pile arrivals up on B short of B4 to make a turn onto A... The aircraft creeping across the 1s is a turn-off.
10) SAN. Still challenging the same way as in March.
11) MCO. Too many polygons to play without stuttering on my machine.
12) ATL. I'd need six eyes and three brains for the full volume.
13) MUC. My own schedule did the trick, but it's time to update it. And the tug issue really bothers me.
14) STT. Boring.
15) STR. Too many flaws, too boring.

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