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Thread: Jim Vile's approaches for AIs

  1. #1
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    Default Jim Vile's approaches for AIs

    Hi Guys,

    The late Jim Vile, may his soul rest in peace, has made some excellent approaches to FS9 airfields/airports so that AI aircraft do not visibly fly through mountains in their immediate areas, e.g. Innsbruck (LOWI), where such AIs approach very realisticly through a winding valley.

    I've been busting my brains in trying to find out what the basics of Jim's methods were but even after disassembling some of his BGL files, I still have no idea how to even begin.

    My interest in the above is for the small picturesque addon Ambrolauri airfield (UGAM) in a very mountainous area in the state of Georgia and which was not included in the default FS9. In the meantime I've edited the included "normal" approach BGLs for flyable (light) aircraft and ATC now vectors me in such a way that further visible and extremely spectacular approaches through the winding valleys, have become possible. However, AI aircraft sometimes beat me to it because they have "straight in" approaches through the mountains.

    Advice anyone ?

    Thanks in advance.

    Hans

  2. #2

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    Hi,

    I have only used ADE to create such approaches, and will describe this using ADE.

    First, AI aircraft will only follow a simple approach to the runway - complex approaches with transitions will not be followed.

    They will use an ILS approach to the runway, but only the part of the approach on the main ADE page of an ILS approach - no legs, no missed approach, and no transitions.

    The AI will:

    1. Head to the waypoint displayed on the main page of the ADE ILS approach. It's listed as Fix Ident. It doesn't matter what direction it is coming from, it will head directly there.
    2. Descend to the altitude in the Appr Alt Feet line, crossing the above waypoint at that altitude.
    3. Depart that waypoint at the heading in the Heading Deg. line, descending constantly from now until it arrives at the runway.
    4. When the plane crosses the extended centerline of the runway, it will turn to the runway heading and land.

    So step 4 is how you get the "curved approach". In step 1 and 2 you set the location of the waypoint so you are at the starting point of your approach and at a reasonable alititude. You then set the heading in step 3 so the plane heads down the valley. Then in step 4 the plane turns from that heading to the runway heading and lands.

    You cannot create more complicated approaches with more than two turns (turn 1 is the turn at the waypoint, turn 2 is the turn to the runway heading).

    Hope this helps,
    Tom Gibson

    CalClassic Propliner Page: http://www.calclassic.com

  3. #3
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    When I set an AI flight plan in hills and mountains I make it an IFR, even if the AC is flying low ATC will tell it to flyhigher to avoid the obstacles.
    If you set it VFR ATC will let it fly it's own route and it will fly through hills etc.

    I purposely set an AI aircraft to fly low in a hilly area and sure enough ATC told it climb, then when free of the hill it got told to fly low again.

    This works for me anyhow.


    Col.

  4. #4

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    Here is Jim's tutorial:

    https://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/th...roaches.14074/

    @Hans : which scenery did you use?
    Last edited by hgschnell; 06-14-2021 at 11:55 AM.

  5. #5
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    hgschnell,

    The downloaded file name is: ugam_ambrolauri_georgia.zip and can be found at AVSIM and possibly elswhere as well.

    This very light airfield did not exist within the basic FS9 but for that reason the author has included two approach BGL files, one for UGAM's RWY 11 and the other for RWY 29. However, these are good for user aircraft in which the pilot can dodge the mountains during the final part of his approach, but according to Jim's tutorial, these can also work for AI aircraft. Unfortunately though, AI aircraft do not dodge mountains during their approaches but fly straight through them and for that very specific reason Jim has made completely separate AI approach routes for some airports/airfields in mountainous areas, so that approaching AIs now visibly dodge the mountains in their very own AI way. It's this very specific Jim Vile AI approach technology on which I'm now busting my brains.

    Hans

  6. #6

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    Hans, I was involved in this project and we achieved AI approaches without flying through mountains.

    It depends on the FDE of the AI aircraft.
    UGAM is served in real by a LET L-410 of Vanilla Sky and this workk in FS9 (Do228 too).

    The readme says:
    "...
    Known problems
    --------------
    Due to the mountainous area, FS9's AI traffic will have a somewhat erratic behaviour in spite of customized approaches by Hans-Günther Schnell.
    Our tests have shown that it depends of every specific AI model, if it can use the approach and will land safely or if it flies through
    mountains or even crashes at its way. It seems that the AI traffic engine of FS9 shows its limitations in this kind of environment.
    ..."

    If you tell us what AI aircraft you used, we could have a look at the behaviour.

  7. #7
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    Hans-Gunther,

    Yes, my AI aircraft, which flies IFR between UGGG and UGAM, is a LET-410 but to my great surprise, the FDE (= Air file) specifies the Beechcraft KingAir 350 in it's description field and is therefore not the original AI LET-410 FDE. My AI LET-410 itself seems to fly quite normally.

    However, I have 6 other seemingly very well working and non AI aircraft specific (I think Jim Vile's) AI approach files for the following airports/airfields: (Positioned in my Generic/scenery folder).

    LOWI Innsbruck in Austria. 7Kb
    LSGS Sion in Switzerland. 4Kb
    LSZA Lugano in Switzerland. 3Kb
    LSZL Locarno in Switzerland. 2Kb
    LSZS Samedan in Switzerland. 1Kb
    VHHX Kai Tak, in Hong Kong, which us still active in my FS9. 6Kb

    I assume that the different file sizes represent their different degrees of difficulty.

    These all seem to work correctly for AI approaches/landings by non-specific AI aircraft and I have tested the process at each airport/airfield by following different (test) AI aircraft from their take offs, then flying in formation with them and finally down to their correct landings. However, I must also admit that some of my heavier AIs could not exactly follow the sharper turns, e.g. to final at VHHX (Kai Tak) and would then land either next to the runway or in the adjacent bay. However, I was able to fix these problems by decreasing their empty weights and/or fuel loads.

    Hans-Gunther, are you telling me that the two approach files supplied with the UGAM's download, should have the same function as the six I already mentioned above ? And if so, could the AI Beechcraft KingAir 350 FDE be the culprit ?

    In the meantime I will search for a LET-410 base file and will do some testing with it's FDE file ...... if found.

    Thanks for your help and stay healthy.

    Hans

  8. #8
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    Just out of interest one of the best air files in the default Boeing 737-400, I've used it many times for ai aircraft, if you look at CalClassics it used a lot on their aircraft.

    I've had some flyable aircraft that work well as AI and some that don't and I've had to tweak them.


    Col.

  9. #9
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    Hans, your list could be completed with

    LICR Reggio di Calabria, Italy and
    KDCA Washington, DC.

    These curved approachs allow a more or less intelligent landings. But they don't avoid that AI fly through montains some serveral miles before reaching landing paths. That especially happens at Innsbuck. Furthermore normal taking off from valley airports will remain very tricky or almost impossible. Even from LSGS Sion airport. In fact, creating AI flights to and from such airports doesn't make great sense.

    Bernard

  10. #10
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    Thinking back I remember setting an ai to take off and the climb out was too high for the ai to handle, I got round it by changing the wind direction so it took off the other way.

    Col.

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