• Freeware Focus On Yohann Baptiste

    Yohann Baptiste

    An Interview (22 September 2010)

    Recently FlightSim.Com interviewed Yohann Baptiste, a long time AI traffic developer and now an active member of the Alpha India Group team. Yohann also works in the airline industry.

    The Team

    When did you start developing add-ons?

    Back in 2002 with FS2002 new AI traffic feature, I felt that I could take advantage of working in the industry to produce AI flight plans for the community. I still have some of my first releases archived in my HDD: Copa, Lacsa, Tarom or LAB Bolivia flight plans from September 2002. I remember working then with a printed OAG book that we had at our ticketing office.

    Later - I think it was in 2004 - I tried something else developing mesh add-ons for FS2004: the public release of the SRTM data - a worldwide topographic mission performed by the NASA space shuttle - made producing LOD9 meshes for FS easier and those meshes quickly became popular.

    Is there a team?

    Definitely, and not only interactions between beta-testers and authors. At the flight planning department ('AIG Dispatch') we all share a 'task manager' to coordinate our efforts, so that nobody else will lose time on what you are already working on. We share sources (airline timetables), resources (aircraft census, airport files, etc.), and never hesitate to ask for help or advice when one finds himself in trouble with an airline.

    Have you ever considered doing full-time development?

    I must admit that I have thought of it, but not on a full-time basis... I might have been interested of working on a freelance basis, but honestly I don't see it coming sooner or later since I'm not what I believe is most needed: scenery developers.

    Do you have any experience (or lust?) for real aviation?

    Apart from my work where I spend every day a few minutes in a jetliner cockpit, I'd like to pass my PPL. But I'm currently holding it since I have other expensive plans - like buying a house.

    Any memorable flights in real life?

    Many... The most thrilling was circling over Leh (VILH) looking for a break in cloud cover then diving into it. The return flight Leh-Delhi was a great too, this time clear skies gave awesome views of the Himalayas. Some other memorable visual approaches: around Easter Island (SCIP), jumpsitting over Toulon bay in a stormy summer at dusk (LFTH), overflying La Paz approaching El Alto (SLLP) runway 28 in an Aerosur B727... And any crossing of the Andes mountains to/from Santiago (SCEL) is a excitement shared with all other fellow passengers.

    More on that "real life" of yours?

    I work at Lyon St Exupery airport (LFLL), being gate agent & lost luggage agent. Of course I benefit staff travel facilities that I try to honour at least once a year going on trip far away from home.

    Development

    How many add-ons have you done?

    I've lost track of counting AI flight plans, I would say between 120 and 150. And maybe 30 FS2004 meshes (mainly Europe & Central Asia), many of them not being available anymore due to the Avsim hack.

    What's your most popular work?

    My SRTM Europe mesh was very popular before the Avsim hack. As of flight planning, 38 of my flight plans are included in WOAI releases, many of them with 10000+ downloads.

    What about your favorite projects?

    Producing AI flight plans is a repetitive task, so I like to change and take airlines I never did before. Some project are much more challenging than others, so far the most difficult airlines I managed to do were: Saudi Arabian Airlines, Pakistan Int'l Airlines, LAN Grupo, Travel Service & Hainan Airlines.

    How about your goals in choosing a project?

    First, I try to a have few majors done at the beginning of the IATA season: Air France, then LH and/or BA, and maybe an American or Asian major. Then I'd rather work on something which is either very outdated (at least in my sim) or new to me. And if a request (via AIG forums) raises my interest I may fulfill it with great pleasure.

    Are you developing for FS2004 or FSX or both?

    Both, since FS2004 flight plans can easily be converted for FSX.

    What software packages do you use?

    Excel & Access to handle timetables data, MRAICompiler to produce flight plans, Notepad/Wordpad to edit flight plan text files, MRAIGen to generate a MRAI Installer formatted file, WinRAR for packing the release.

    For flight plan testing we use several tools, as AITM, Ttools Companion, AIFP, the MRAI Installer and of course Ttools.

    When I did SRTM meshes I used srtm2bgl to easily setup the terrain SDK source files, and Blackart to view and fix voids in SRTM data.

    Future

    Have you any future projects?

    With each passing IATA season, AI flight planning is an endless start-over. For me, majors & new or rapidly growing players will always be the priority.

    What can sites like FlightSim.Com do to support the hobby?

    I primarily use FlightSim.Com and alike for their file library. As long as the libraries stay free those sites are doing most of their job. I find the review section useful too, particularly for payware products.

    What about the future of flight simulation, even beyond FSX?

    I really hope that MS 'Flight' will still be a simulator, but at the moment we can't really tell where Microsoft are heading. I have great expectations on the Aerosoft simulator project as they really seem to care about the community and its wishes.

    Yohann Baptiste
    View Yohann Baptiste related add-ons in the FlightSim.Com file library


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