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Varmint007

Air Refueling - is it possible?

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I'm exploring the possibility of using FS2004 to demonstrate air refueling concepts. I know that Lago has an AR module but it's really nothing more than a novelty that is unrealistic.I want to simulate a KC-135 passing gas to another heavy. Unlike Lago's probe and drouge system, we would need the boom system. An important part of this is the director light system which tells you your X,Y,Z position relative to a position envelope. As you get out of certain ranges, the lights change. We would need this emulated to exacting precision. Additionally we would need a way to emulate the additional drag and turbulence caused by AR. For a big airplane refueling another big airplane, this is a definite factor, unlike for fighter aircraft. So, we'ld need a way to increase drag before reaching the boom envelope, to require the pilot to increase thrust.Lastly, I'd need a programmatic way to control the tanker and boom. I need to have a way to make the tanker start a turn from a control panel or something similar. Likewise, the boom should be controlled by code. Is any of this possible?Thanks,Enrique==========================Frequency change approved,Good day.

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Just some thoughts on how I would approach at least part of the problem:Since I haven't done any AI stuff, I don't know what the limitations of having AI aircraft perform actions such as dropping a boom. I'd have to leave input on that to folks who've done AI aircraft.As far as finding and identifying a tanker from panel code perspective:TCAS information for AI range and bearing would have to be used to determine your position relative to the tanker. This could be done with enough precision for AA refueling. An ATC ID code could be used to determine if the object is in fact an AI tanker, and would also be accessible from TCAS info.Emulating the drag could be done, but the receiving aircraft would have to be specifically designed with either extra flap positions which do not generate lift, or a speedbrake function which does not cause a pitching moment. The flaps or speedbrake could be kept isolated and hidden from the user and activated under proximity conditions. While that in itself is not a problem, creating a smooth increase in drag as opposed to an "instant-on" would probably be more difficult, but not impossible. Modulation could be used I'd think.Again, controlling the AI aircraft is a realm I have not explored, and I don't know if it's possible for a user aircraft to communicate with an AI aircraft though even the most limited means. I don't even know what sort of scripting, if any, is available. This would be the show stopper. If I knew more (anything) about AI aircraft I could be more help.--Jon

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OK, so I've had a look at the ABL SDK, and it looks like it would be possible to communicate with an AI plane to the extent necessary to get it to follow commands. You can then have the AI plane follow autopilot commands which would vector it to your location and then, based on proximity, have it follow a holding pattern.Just based on a cursory look at the scripting language, communication could take place through the com standby frequencies or transponder codes, since only those can be both read and set via a script. You'd have to tune to a specified frequency which could be pre-determined and that could be used to command the AI plane to rendezvous.Reading the lat/lon/alt of the AI plane, compare it to current location, correct for wind drift and great circle error, and set an autopilot heading (constantly updated).All this would probably work, but you would have to run an ABL script every time. I could also see this working for things like wingmen.--Jon

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Wow that's amazing. Thanks for looking this up!Can you explain how the ABL script comes into play? I've never controlled AI traffic before. I know that you can use ABL to control the autopilot of your own aircraft, but I had no idea you could mess with others.Thanks,Enrique==========================Frequency change approved,Good day.

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From what I saw, controlling your own aircraft is just a matter of referencing your own aircraft ID(0), other aircraft can be controlled just as easily as your own, but the level of control is limited. In other words, I can't tell it to go to a specific lat/lon, I'd have to figure out what lat/lon it needs to be at, then calculate the required heading, and finally set the autopilot heading hold mode and continually update it.Also, it looks like you could script the aircraft to "radio" messages back based on its current state (or at least information you can extrapolate based on available flight information). You can play .wav files from the code.I'm curious enough to try it myself, but I've got quite a bit on my plate right now, so I wouldn't be able to mess with it for some time.--Jon

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