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martinlest2

Possible to Reduce General Aviation AI Traffic?

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Hi,

 

I am expecting a resounding no, but I wondered if there is any way in FS9 of reducing the amount of Genral Aviation at airports whilst keeping the IFR traffic the same. As far as I can see, the options in the fs9.cfg file under [TrafficManager] are either enable or disable Airline traffic and enable or disable GA traffic. If I reduce % traffic, both are affected. But maybe someone knows of some clever utility?

 

Martin


Martin Stebbing, EGLF (UK)

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Hi Martin,

 

do you have all your AI traffic in one traffic.bgl file, or do you have one file for GA-traffic and one (or more) for commercial traffic?

 

I do have two single files for each of these kinds of traffic (plus one more for military traffic), so I could

- reduce % AI traffic via FS2004 menue and

- define lower % values within the traffic.bgl file(s) only for airline traffic via TrafficTools. Anyway, in the most packages by WOAI, RATS or UTT which I used to compile my commercial traffic.bgl file, rather low % values - 1% or 10% - had yet been defined by their creators.

 

I'm not sure how switching AI traffic via fs9.cfg works. I could imagine that these values in the [TrafficManager] section correspond to entries in aircraft.cfg files, possibly the atc_airline= entry. That would be a little tricky for my because I have many airlines without known ICAO code (for instance in Africa or some CIS countries) and thus without atc_airline definition. I think these were affected then, too.

 

Regards,


   Harald Geyer
   Gründer der Messerschmitt Freunde Dresden v. V.

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Are you familiar with Traffic Tools? These allow you to manipulate your traffic files. There's no simple way to do what you want, but I can suggest a reasonably quick workaround.

 

Make a copy of your original traffic file first, in case you want to go back to it.

 

The Traffic Tools documentation is pretty good, so I won't go into those details here. First, you'll need to de-compile the traffic file. Next, open the resulting Flight Plans text file in Microsoft Excel or some similar freeware program if you don't have Excel. You'll need to specify that it's a comma-delimited file, and that will put each field in separate columns. (I think Excel will handle a file this large, but I'm not totally sure.)

 

Next, select either the IFR/VFR column or the Flight Number / Registration Number column and sort on that. The first will make the changes based on whether the flight is IFR, while the second will be "airline" traffic vs. GA. Then, go to the percentage column and change all of those to a high number, like 90, for the section of the spreadsheet that's appropriate. (This should be the bottom group, based on the alphabetic sort.)

 

Save the file with the same name (FlightPlansxxxxxx.txt) as a comma-delimited values file, or CSV. Recompile with TTools. When you restart FS9, it will give you a message about updating files. Set the traffic level below the percentage you set and the unwanted traffic will go away.

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Thanks very much for the replies. Unfortunately I have a lot of traffic.bgl files - twenty or so, but most of them are airport-specific, installed by 3rd. party addons, so can be ignored if necessary. I am familiar with TTools so can have a go at editing the files as you suggest - the are only one or two global traffic files and I guess they account for at least 95% of my AI traffic.

 

I am a bit preoccupied with other, non-FS things at the moment, but will post back with any results when I can manage to do as you suggest.

 

Thanks again,

 

Martin


Martin Stebbing, EGLF (UK)

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Martin, good luck.

 

And thanks to Captain_Barfbag for his advice to open the .txt files via Excel. I'm an excessive user of TTools but edited these files with the text editor so far. Excel is so much more comfortable for tasks like this.


   Harald Geyer
   Gründer der Messerschmitt Freunde Dresden v. V.

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Thanks for the post. When I decompile my main traffic.bgl file (it's a 3rd. party one, 90MBs) and open the txt file with a text editor or MS Excel, there is only one entry in the whole sheet marked 'VFR'. Is that normal? I have changed the 49% to 10% and I'll see what happens.

 

Otherwise, I have found one other traffic file (30MBs) which has many VFR entries, so I guess that is the relevant one, and have gone through your procedure (yes, very practical with Excel): the only problem is that, not being an Excel expert, I cannot now get the csv file to save back to a txt format without the columns being copied too - like this:

 

AC#10 4R-JUH 90% WEEK IFR 2/02:52:48 2/08:21:20 540 R 0 OETF 2/09:26:33 2/14:55:05 180 R 0 VCBI

 

TTools won't compile the file in this format. How do I get a txt file so that the lines appear like this:

 

AC#10,4R-JUH,90%,WEEK,IFR,2/02:52:48,2/08:21:20,540,R,0000,OETF,2/09:26:33,2/14:55:05,180,R,0000,VCBI

 

I've tried just about every option in the drop-down box, including tab-delimited txt file and unicode txt. My Excel file has a csv extension, but the information is all in separate columns, rather than all in column A as it is if I simply open my decompliled traffic.txt file in Excel. I am afraid I don't see what you mean by "Save the file with the same name (FlightPlansxxxxxx.txt) as a comma-delimited values file, or CSV" - how can I save a txt file as a csv file? This is Excel 2002, though I do have Excel 2007 on another PC, if I need to use that instead. Sorry if I am being dense.

 

Thanks,

 

Martin


Martin Stebbing, EGLF (UK)

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I did some testing with Excel 2007 and had no success in saving a comma-delimited .txt-file. So I can only recommend you my old and boring method by editing the .txt-file itself.

 

Search for (for instance) "1%,WEEK,VFR"

and "replace all" with "90%,WEEK,VFR"

 

This example is appropriate if your VFR flights are mostly on a weekly base. To find this out, Excel should be a good tool nevertheless. Now you have to repeat this step for all % values which are to low for your purposes and for all repeat periods (24hr, 12hr... as AI traffic add on which I used years ago used mostly 24hr periods for AI traffic) that are used in your traffic bgl-files...

 

When I decompile my main traffic.bgl file (it's a 3rd. party one, 90MBs) and open the txt file with a text editor or MS Excel, there is only one entry in the whole sheet marked 'VFR'. Is that normal?

 

Where did you get this file? It's up to the creator's thoughts to define just one flightplan as VFR. By the way, I have a 95 MB file, too, but it's completely made by me, mostly from WOAI- and RATS-packages, but partially directly from airlines' schedules, and so it really contains only commercial air traffic, both IFR and VFR (VFR almost only for helicopters and for An-2 flights in CIS countries). It needed almost four years so far to build it up, but I always know what the "creator" had in his mind. :Nerd: GA traffic only is compiled in another file (23 MB), military has it's own file, and finally SBAI Mi-8 heli traffic (worth a post of its own...) has a fourth file so that I can easily make my changes to one kind of traffic without harming the other.


   Harald Geyer
   Gründer der Messerschmitt Freunde Dresden v. V.

lYI9iQV.jpg

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I know what the file is, but can't recall where I got it - I will have a look.. I changed all VFR to 90% by the way - but why a high number - what does that 90% represent?

 

Meanwhile, when you have the csv file, just change the extension to txt! It's that low- tech! You get a lot of ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, but a simple text editor changes the whole lot to a single comma in one go.

 

I had some syntax problems when recompiling with TTools however, so maybe the text option is indeed better: I would strongly suggest your installing (Google it) InfoRapid Search & Replace - it's freeware and will find text within almost any file you specify, including FS bgl files. It has a replace function, so you can select ..%,WEEK,VFR (two wildcards), for example, and replace all instances ('Replace All') of this (in as many files as you wish, all in one go) with, here, 90%,WEEK,VFR. A really great tool which I use very often.

 

Thanks for the suggestions - I will fly around ASAP and see if I notice any difference ...

 

Martin


Martin Stebbing, EGLF (UK)

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The 90% value correspondends with the entry

 

TrafficDensity=

 

in the [TrafficManager] section of fs9.cfg. You can set this value by the traffic density slider (I don't know the exact description in the English menue as I have a German version of FS2004) within FS2004's AI traffic settings or by editing fs9.cfg directly (what I prefer). It means, that an AI aircraft, which flightplan in flightplans.txt is set to 90% will only show up with the slider at 90% or more. It disappears, when the slider is set to a value below 90%

 

If you, for instance, have the % value for AI VFR flights set to 90% and for AI IFR flights to 80%, then

- with the slider at 70 % you will see no AI traffic

- with the slider at 80 % you will see only IFR traffic

- with the slider at 90 % you will see all kind of traffic.

 

Once - that means before I began to compile my own real and semi-real flightplans for AI traffic - I used Just Flight's Traffic 2004. In their flightplan.txt every flightplan was set to a randomly choosen % value from 1% till 100%, so that if you increased the TrafficDensity= value in fs9.cfg, AI traffic increased proportionally. I kept this method for my GA AI traffic (which I generally took over from this add on), but my commercial AI flights are all set to 1%. Having TrafficDensity set to 70, I have 70 % GA traffic and 100% commercial traffic.

 

By the way, in my experience, GA TNG flights are much more annoying than normal GA flights. If I realize a not acceptable amount of GA TNGs letting me wait for T/O clearance half an hour or more, I just delete them from flightplans.txt.


   Harald Geyer
   Gründer der Messerschmitt Freunde Dresden v. V.

lYI9iQV.jpg

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Oh, I see. I have traffic at 90% normally. That means there will be no change.. if I set traffic density to 85% then, I won't see any AI traffic at all? That means I need to edit each line individually, selecting just the traffic I want to see - a mammoth task


Martin Stebbing, EGLF (UK)

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You are right.

 

But if you edit your flightplans.txt with Excel and you want to have not very special AI traffic but a randomly increasing amount of AI traffic by increasing the traffic density, you could insert 1% and 2% in the first and the second line, and then pull the black "+" at the edge of the cell down to make a descending order from 1% to 100% (i believe so, an Excel expert surely can explain it better, especially in English). So you have the intensive work only every 100 lines...

 

a mammoth task

 

Isn't getting a well working FS2004 which meets our preferences and keeping it some kind of actual a mammoth task at all, eating up our nights? But I like it sooo much!


   Harald Geyer
   Gründer der Messerschmitt Freunde Dresden v. V.

lYI9iQV.jpg

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I already spend hours and hours and hours tweaking FS9 every week - it is a labour of love of course, I agree.

I'll experiment a bit more and see what I get in FS.. but it seems that you cannot reduce the frequency of AI traffic at any one place - it is either on or off, depending upon the % settings in the traffic file and then in FS9 itself. So at Heathrow, for instance, if I set VFR traffic to 89%, I'll see nothing. At 90% I get it all. Is that right?

 

M


Martin Stebbing, EGLF (UK)

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My original suggestion of 90% was only a guess at the appropriate number. There's no reason to make them all the same.

 

Now that you've got the idea of using Excel and generating CSVs working, try playing with sort a bit more. It sounds like most of your GA traffic is IFR, so instead of using VFR/IFR for your sort, use the F/R (Flight number or Registration number) instead. Flight number is used for airline traffic. I think there's a F/R in each segment, but any one will do.

 

The vast majority of flight plans I've seen have only two segments. Each segment has a destination airport. Instead of a single sort, use Excel's ability to sort first on one column, then another, and then a third. Sort on the destination columns and you can cluster all the Heathrow entries in two groups. This makes it easier to change just the Heathrow percentage entries. Set a few to 90, a few to 80, a few to 70 and so on. This will preserve your ability to change the percentage with the slider, but if you clump them at the top, say 60-100%, then you can greatly reduce the traffic by setting your slider lower.

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Yes, I will experiment, though as I say, saving the csv file by changing the extension to txt caused some formatting errors when recompiling with TTools, so I ended up using InfoRapid and EditPad on the txt file itself.

 

Will let you know how I get on,

 

M


Martin Stebbing, EGLF (UK)

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