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FS2004 IFR vs. VFR selection in FP editor

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unitedstates
Hi,

I made a flight plan of my own in VFR (and I presume that the VFR/IFR setting is a "global" setting within a flight plan-- meaning that all the legs have to be the same? Am I right?).

I have legs going to various test destinations both large and small in the state of California and one in Reno, Nevada. When I turn on those AI labels in the simulator (that blink in red to give various data) the part that gives "ORIGIN --> DESTINATION (VFR or IFR)" data... some of the legs will confirm that I set the flight plan as a VFR plan, yet other legs will show an IFR insignia... despite the fact that I had told the flight plan editor to make the whole flight plan VFR! Why is this?

I ask because I think one of the legs being forced IFR (even though I don't want it to be), is forcing the AI plane to land on a tailwind runway-- only because that's the only runway there with an ILS system. I'm guessing the fact that the leg is an IFR flight, is forcing it to make an ILS runway a priority over wind direction. And I want wind direction to win out.

So I thought if I went back and tried to make every leg VFR, it would turn out that way, (thus allowing the above mentioned AI leg to land on the headwind runway instead); but apparently not. Some are one, some are the other. This doesn't make sense.

If I go into the FP editor and resave the FP as an IFR flightplan, and go back into the sim to have a look-- all the legs will indicate IFR. So why can't that same unanimous agreement take place when I want them to all be VFR? Seems kind of inconsistent.

Here in a nut shell were the airports I was working with, and what the legs wound up being. Can anyone who knows these airports make heads or tails of why this is happening? I'm not sure the plane has anything to do with it. First I was doing this with a B737. But then I used a smaller plane (a Cessna 402) to see if using a lighter more reasonable plane for GA airports would make a difference, and it didn't.

When I set the flight plan to be a VFR plan this is what each leg indicated:

KOAK --> KRNO = VFR
KRNO --> KSMF = VFR
KSMF --> KCCR = VFR
KCCR --> KSMX = IFR
KSMX --> KSBD = VFR
KSBD --> KPSP = VFR
KPSP --> KLAX = IFR
KLAX --> KOAK = IFR


Thank you,

-- John
 
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unitedstates
I think I got too wordy in my question yesterday. Let me simply ask this instead...
If I set a flight plan to be VFR, why are some legs still turning up as IFR?
 

gadgets

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How are you determining that the legs are IFR or VFR? Is it, perhaps, just a mislabelling in whatever data you are observing? Do the IFR legs actually fly the defined approach routing?

As you have observed, IFR/VFR is a global setting for each flight plan. How each leg actually get's handled is internal to FlightSim. if legs are being mishandled in this way, it would not be the first time someone discovered an issue in FlightSim.

Jim Vile, if you are "listening", any thoughts?

Don
 
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8,893
Don

I'm listening but thinking.

Like you already said a IFR or VFR is global for the entire flightplan regardless of the legs that follow after the header

I would like to know also where John is seeing this data

When I set the flight plan to be a VFR plan this is what each leg indicated:

KOAK --> KRNO = VFR
KRNO --> KSMF = VFR
KSMF --> KCCR = VFR
KCCR --> KSMX = IFR
KSMX --> KSBD = VFR
KSBD --> KPSP = VFR
KPSP --> KLAX = IFR
KLAX --> KOAK = IFR

EDIT--------------

OK I see where John says he sees the VFR vs IFR so I will have a look at some flightplans and see if I can replicate.
 
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unitedstates
Jim V.,

Ah just got home from a weekend away, so wasnt at my full computer and couldnt reply earlier-- could only monitor replies via phone. Pardon my delay.

Was going to make a screenshot to show u, but I'm glad that now wont b necessary. Yes the data was from the red AI aircraft labels, that blink thru their sequence every second or so in the sim.

It would be interesting to see if I use ADE to remove the only ILS system at KSMX (on rwy 12); if that will change the KCCR --> KSMX leg to a VFR leg, and allow the plane to land on rwy 30 instead of always landing on rwy 12 (w/ winds=calm 360°)? Since in that situation, 300 is closer to due north than 120, and what I was trying to make happen in the first place.

Though it would have seemed that if I had written the entire flight plan to be VFR, all legs should've been treated as VFR-- Including KCCR-->KSMX; where it should've made a headwind apprch into KSMX on either rwy 30 (or the smaller rwy 2)-- regardless of the presence of ILS systems at the airport.

Wouldn't a VFR flight plan remove ILS, as a criteria for runway selection, or not necessarily so?
 
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8,893
I looked at all the aircraft in the LAX area (333). I set the route to display the IFR vs VFR tag and all displayed properly. I am not sure how much of that label in brackets I would take to the bank.

fsscr019.jpg


If I suspect that the label is incorrect for that leg of the FP I would look at the Traffic Explorer IFR/VFR column and see what it says.

fsscr020.jpg



It would be interesting to see if I use ADE to remove the only ILS system at KSMX (on rwy 12); if that will change the KCCR --> KSMX leg to a VFR leg,

The Runway ILS system has nothing to do with any type of a FP. The ILS is for the User plane to activate a localizer and glide slope needle in a gauge. ATC uses the Approach code ILS data and that is for both VFR (VMC) weather and IFR (IMC) weather.

All AI and User Airplanes on a IFR FP enroute to a airport that has no type approach code and zero visibility will NOT be denied a landing. That includes a B747 enroute to a airport with only a 2000 ft runway. It is going to use a hard code approach and land as per ATC because it is IFR. Of course common sense says I would not make a FP like that but ALL IFR FP planes will always land.

VFR FP planes will be denied a landing if the airport is IMC regardless of what type runway approaches are available.
 
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167
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unitedstates
Jim,

Thank you for your insight. So in your first picture, it would appear that all your IFR AI's were indeed indicated as IFR, but as you said you're not sure you would necessarily trust those bracket indicators to always be accurate. So maybe I relied on them too much.

As for Traffic Explorer, it would not appear. I have a close substitute in Traffic 2005 Explorer, but it can't quite do the same thing:
Traffic_2005_not_traffic_explorer.jpg


I get a lot of similar information, but not a column for IFR/VFR. I checked the Microsoft ESP SDK page, and looked under 'traffic toolbox'. There were instructions to open up the library of features by accessing the C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\ESP folder. And from there I was to go into this dll.xml file to activate the features... but I don't have an ESP folder in my flight sim. Is that an FSX feature? I'm an FS2004 user, so that may be a dead end there.

So in your last 3 paragraphs, what you're getting at is the presence of an ILS at an airport won't have any influence on the runway choice of an AI plane, regardless of whether it's on an IFR or VFR FP? It's looking more like the ILS label in my VFR FP is an error that can't be explained. But I thank you for your time and your insight.

-- John
 
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8,893
In the column headings of Traffic 2005 right click and see if there is a list that you can add the IFR VFR column. Make sure your mouse arrow is on a column heading word like Airline before you right click. Now checkmark what you want to show as a column.

fsscr024.jpg
 
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8,893
So in your last 3 paragraphs, what you're getting at is the presence of an ILS at an airport won't have any influence on the runway choice of an AI plane, regardless of whether it's on an IFR or VFR FP?

That is correct. ATC does not care what type FP the plane is on when setting up and calculating the score for runway selection meaning what runway will be the active is because it has the highest score. The runway ILS is not a factor in the score but the approach code is a factor. The ILS approach code carries the highest score out of all 11 types of approaches and is the only one that is a clear weather approach.

For runways that are parallel or using my Crosswind technique the Empty Weight of the plane will have a factor in what runway it gets assigned. There is a weight ratio to runway length when a plane has a choice of 2 or more runways that ATC can assign. Smaller the plane in weight the shorter the runway it may be assigned to use by ATC.
 
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167
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unitedstates
In the column headings of Traffic 2005 right click and see if there is a list that you can add the IFR VFR column. Make sure your mouse arrow is on a column heading word like Airline before you right click. Now checkmark what you want to show as a column.
No dice. Didn't work. But it was worth the try. Is your table an FSX only table? Per my description of the steps above, that SDK tool is not available on FS9?
 
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unitedstates
The ILS approach code carries the highest score out of all 11 types of approaches and is the only one that is a clear weather approach.
Very interesting! So it is completely possible that if rwy 12 is the only rwy at KSMX (Santa Maria, Calif.) that's ILS, that that is the reason why arrivals always want to land on that rwy, even if there's a strong wind at 316-deg (the complete opposite direction).

I should point out, I also tried eliminating the ILS altogether on rwy 12, but it is a stock item and cannot be deleted. Even after I made my KSMX.ad4 copy of the airport and then compiled it into my own KSMX.bgl. The AI plane still wanted to land only on rwy12.
Now what would be interesting to see is 2 things:
1) If I add my own ILS to rwy 30, and the "ILS approach playing field" is evened, will it now pick rwy 30 over rwy 12 in a north or northwest wind, instead of always picking rwy 12?
2) Not adding my own ILS on rwy 30, (i.e.- just keeping it as is), would a flight from south to north KLAX --> KSMX force a landing on rwy 30 over 12, since that's the end of the runway the plane is coming from? Or should that make no difference at all? I was thinking maybe the reason the plane was landing from NW to SE (on rwy 12) (with a KCCR->KSMX flight) was because it was coming from Northern California, and it was "too lazy" to pass the airport, make a big loop, and come around again from the SE and land on rwy 30. But I've seen other planes make the loop to land on the correct runway, so that idea seems really silly and far fetched. Right now, I'm grasping at any straws for an explanation.

For runways that are parallel or using my Crosswind technique the Empty Weight of the plane will have a factor in what runway it gets assigned. There is a weight ratio to runway length when a plane has a choice of 2 or more runways that ATC can assign. Smaller the plane in weight the shorter the runway it may be assigned to use by ATC.
This is very good to know. KSMX, the crosswind issues might apply with the two runways at about right angles to each other. But there's nothing parallel to one another over there.

But again, thank you for all your insight.
 
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8,893
No dice. Didn't work. But it was worth the try. Is your table an FSX only table? Per my description of the steps above, that SDK tool is not available on FS9?

Not sure what you mean.

FS9 has Traffic Explorer the same as FSX. It is in the FS9 Traffic Toolbox SDK

The Traffic Tool you are using is misleading. It is giving you information which is accurate but titled wrong. AI Planes do not fly Navaid Waypoints that the User FP flys. AI Planes when in your visual AI zone fly check points out in front of them. These check points are part of the AI Engine based on where the plane should be at a certain time, speed, heading, altitude,

Attached is a Zip that I put in the .dll and the .doc. (if you want all the files get the FS9 Traffic Toolbox SDK)
Remove the Traffic 2005 Explorer .dll
Place the TrafficToolbox.dll in your FS9 Modules Folder
A new menu will now be available at the top of FS9 called Tools
 

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I should point out, I also tried eliminating the ILS altogether on rwy 12, but it is a stock item and cannot be deleted.

Are you using ADE for FS9? :confused:

NO Runway ILS can be deleted in FS. It is hard coded by design. If you are using ADE it tells you the ILS cannot be deleted but it will orphan. If you are using AFCAD or AFX they do not use the SDK Compiler and the rules in the FS engine .dll's coding may not be fully implemented.

fsscr025.jpg


I don't think we are communicating. I keep saying the ILS for a runway DOES NOTHING for runway selection. You DO NOT need to delete it if you are trying to get AI Planes and ATC to stop using that runway. The runway ILS is only for the User Airplane Gauge that shows you are flying the ILS. You MUST USE the Approach Mode Editor and delete all the approaches for runway 12 so ATC will stop saying fly the ILS even in clear weather.

This post started out about Flightplans. However it is moving in a different direction and may be better suited to continue this in the Living World and AI forum.
 
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unitedstates
Not sure what you mean.
Sorry, I was confused. I was trying to follow instructions for the FSX SDK online, and that was incorrect.

FS9 has Traffic Explorer the same as FSX. It is in the FS9 Traffic Toolbox SDK
Yes indeed, I did find that. Jeez... if it was a snake, it'd bit me! Again sorry for my absent-mindedness. I haven't looked for those items for quite awhile.

The Traffic Tool you are using is misleading. It is giving you information which is accurate but titled wrong.
I now see what you mean. The Explorer 2005 page is labeling the travel aircraft at cruise altitude as "waypoint/enroute", when they should really only be called "enroute". And this ties in with your next quote below.

AI Planes do not fly Navaid Waypoints that the User FP flys. AI Planes when in your visual AI zone fly check points out in front of them.
Which further exemplifies why Explorer 2005 is misleading as you said. Okay, I finally understand.

Attached is a Zip that I put in the .dll and the .doc. (if you want all the files get the FS9 Traffic Toolbox SDK)
Remove the Traffic 2005 Explorer .dll
Place the TrafficToolbox.dll in your FS9 Modules Folder
A new menu will now be available at the top of FS9 called Tools
Will do and got it! It's in there. Though I must say the pure Explorer flight map is enough to make me go blind. Those data characters are so tiny! I think I'll keep the Flight map for 2005 just in case I still want to use that one. At least I now have the flexibility and choice of using both if I want.

Thanks again.
 
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unitedstates
Are you using ADE for FS9? :confused:
Yes indeed. I stopped using AFCAD back in 2011.

NO Runway ILS can be deleted in FS. It is hard coded by design.
Yeah, I did find that out myself by trial and error last night while attempting to remove it.

If you are using ADE it tells you the ILS cannot be deleted but it will orphan.
View attachment 20781
Hmm... I never got that warning in so many words... just when I right mouse clicked on the ILS (long green triangle), there was no delete choice in the pull down menu; so I figured that to be the case.

I don't think we are communicating.
Well we are, but it got confusing because I brought two totally different issues into the same post-- which is my fault, and I shouldn't have done that. Sorry again. The only reason I did was when the issue of the inbound AI plane not choosing the runway I wanted it to came up, I thought changing the flight plan from IFR to VFR would make a difference in the plane's approach behavior. While it didn't on that topic, an unintended side-consequence that I also noticed was the variation in IFR/VFR labeling... even though the whole flightplan was supposed to be VFR. That was the crux of the original post, and how it started. Yes I agree, the topics should have been kept separate, though there was some connection in my confusion.

At the very least this picture shot I've put together best illustrates what I was trying to say at the beginning (regarding the IFR/VFR part of my post). The flight plan up top clearly was set for all VFR legs, yet you can see while the flight from KCCR to KSMX was enroute, even the proper Explorer table (that you asked me to download) with the IFR/VFR column, shows the plane as flying in IFR. Which is in agreement with the red bracketed [IFR] notation above the plane in the simulator.

FPEditor_KCCR_KSMX.jpg


So this is where the mystery continues, and I'm not sure there is any logical explanation. I believe this is one of those things I'm going to have to just accept.

I keep saying the ILS for a runway DOES NOTHING for runway selection. You DO NOT need to delete it if you are trying to get AI Planes and ATC to stop using that runway. The runway ILS is only for the User Airplane Gauge that shows you are flying the ILS.
Okay, you're right. I think I keep confusing the ILS transmitter system on the ground, with the ILS Approach.

You MUST USE the Approach Mode Editor and delete all the approaches for runway 12 so ATC will stop saying fly the ILS even in clear weather.
Okay, that's what I was missing! When you say Approach Mode Editor, do you mean the feature on ADE that turns the screen black and it almost looks like a negative image, that shows the airport real tiny with all the waypoints and beacons all around it? I've looked at that thing before, but it's pretty confusing and a tad out of my league. But only way to learn is to dive in and start messing with stuff... (and I suppose reading the manual once in awhile wouldn't kill me either). So yeah, if I can find the rwy 12 ILS approach beacon (or whatever the item's exact name is), then that may allow the plane to swing around and make a rwy 2 or 30 approach for a change.

This post started out about Flightplans. However it is moving in a different direction and may be better suited to continue this in the Living World and AI forum.
Agreed, but hopefully it is solved here. Thank you again for your patience.

-- John
 

scruffyduck

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Okay, that's what I was missing! When you say Approach Mode Editor, do you mean the feature on ADE that turns the screen black and it almost looks like a negative image, that shows the airport real tiny with all the waypoints and beacons all around it?

That is what Jim means. This allows users to add, modify or delete approaches at an airport.
 
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8,893
At the very least this picture shot I've put together best illustrates what I was trying to say at the beginning (regarding the IFR/VFR part of my post). The flight plan up top clearly was set for all VFR legs, yet you can see while the flight from KCCR to KSMX was enroute, even the proper Explorer table (that you asked me to download) with the IFR/VFR column, shows the plane as flying in IFR. Which is in agreement with the red bracketed [IFR] notation above the plane in the simulator.

FPEditor_KCCR_KSMX.jpg


-- John

John

Glad we are all in agreement and on the same page.

Don will have to comment on why each individual leg can have a IFR/VFR setting. I am sure Don will tell you that FS does not honor seperate leg IFR/VFR settings.
 

gadgets

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As far as I know, IFR/VFR selection in FSX is (and was in FS9) on a per flight plan basis.

I can think of only three plausible explanations for what you are seeing:
  1. the monitoring programs (Traffic 2005/Traffic Explorer) are reporting the status erroneously
  2. the monitoring programs are correct but AI engine is not properly initializing its leg data, or
  3. FSX traffic file legs have a dedicated IFR/VFR status bit that we don't know about and that, therefore, is not being properly initialized in the traffic file. If that were the case, however, I'd expect a certain randomness to the issue. For example. I'd expect different results if you re-compiled the same flight plan under different conditions - perhaps immediately after startup of the computer and again after some other programs have been run.
I can't do anything about the first two. If someone can shed some light on the last one and it turns out that AIFP is deficient, I'll be happy to fix it.

That being said, at this point I don't think we know whether it's simply an erroneous indication or if AI performance is somehow being affected. It's been demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt that the monitors report certain legs in a VFR flight plan as IFR. So, if someone wants to pursue this, lets focus on performance.

Of course, this is not the first time an idiosyncrasy has been discovered in FSX - and we've learned to view with the others.

Don
 
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unitedstates
Thank you all. I know chasing after ghosts in the machine can be maddening at times, but I appreciate everyone's contribution and I hope others can benefit from my questions as well-- even if my questions didn't yield definitive answers.
 
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