w6kd

So where ya gonna PARK that thing??!

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A subject I think that is rapidly coming into the forefront along with the PMDG B747-8 release, is where on a virtual airfield do we park a massively outsized jet like the B748, and how do you make that work in the many places where there is currently no suitable parking spot already defined for such a behemoth?

The B747-8 is not just a B747-400 with better engines and newer electronics.  It's also sporting a new wing (a larger version of the B787 wing), and the fuselage has been extended another 18.3 ft (5.6m) in length as well, so the airplane has grown from an already large wingspan of 200 ft (61m) to 225 ft (68.6m), and the length is now a whopping 250 ft (76.2m)--11 ft longer than an already super-sized A380. 

So in P3D, you'll need a parking spot with a radius of at least 38.3m to park it.  And you'll quickly discover that there often aren't a lot of--or ANY--parking options of that size on many add-on airports, including at some major cargo hubs.  And some parking spots that the ADE defines as large enough, on closer examination are positioned so that your wing is in the fence, or through a building, or there's literally no room for a pushback without hitting something. 

To deal with this (I've been systematically attacking this problem for the B777F and B744F for some time now), I keep a spreadsheet on my side computer with all my addons listed, and any time I get ready to fly a leg with a large jet, I check to see if I've already got a spot identified and set up that's suitable for the flight (pax/cargo, carrier-specific if needed etc).  If so...I use that, if not, then I fire up Jon Masterson's (Scruffyduck) ADE program and check for suitable parking spots large enough for the airplane in use (32.5 m for the B744F/B772F and now 38.5m for the B748).  I then start the sim with the largest intended acft, which as of yesterday became the B748, and then fine-tune positioning on the spot with the customizations available in GSX, which allows you to locate exactly where on the spot the jet should park and where the ground support equipment is positioned.  Once that's saved, I annotate that in the spreadsheet for next time I'm there, to avoid having to do this every time.

If there are no suitably-sized options in the ADE, and you use GSX for parking and ground services as I do, it allows you to easily redefine the parking spot radius in the customizations, so using that there's no requirement to modify and recompile the airport file (aka ADE or AFCAD)...and GSX customizations can be done in real time if you forgot to prep for it or just don't want to be that organized about it.  It's better to have it set up beforehand so that the block-in crew is ready and waiting as you taxi in.  As a more complicated alternative, you can also use ADE to modify the airport file by increasing the parking spot size.  Of course in all cases you'll need to put the jet on the spot and look around to make sure that the jet would be clear of acft and equipment on adjacent parking spots, buildings, taxiing acft, etc...it's not always just as simple as setting a new size on any given spot you want to use.  At airports that get a lot of use (KMEM and KSDF, for example), I'll consider removing parking spots around the preferred spot from the ADE so that I don't get wing overlap or my service vehicles driving through the adjacent acft...and another technique is to set the spot up in GSX and then dramatically reduce the size of your preferred spot in the airport file so that AI acft will never be occupying "your spot" when you arrive.

All that said, some airfields, it turns out, just aren't suitable.  It takes a really big ramp to park a jet that's 40% wider than a football field and nearly as long, and some airports--even some fairly large busy ones--just don't have that kind of open space.  Better to know before you go, however.  Maybe one day we'll be able to get back to those fields with a mid-sized cargo option for P3Dv4, like a B757F or an A300.

Regards

 

 

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YES! Finally someone who thinks we need an A300 as well! Big fan of those. Have never been considered by any of the larger developer houses. It would be so cool to fly those short and full routes around europe with an a310 for example.

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