All the airports in FSEconomy are based on data originally from Microsoft Flightsimulator. These data do not always match with the X-Plane data. Moreover, there are a lot of (small) FSE airports that are not included in the X-Plane database. You can imagine that it is difficult to complete your FSE assignment if you can’t find the right airport.
Basically the Prefab Airports Package for FSEconomy fixes this by adding the missing airports. It’s actually a bit more complicated than that: if you want to know more, see the explanation here.
Prefab scenery for FSE airports (X-Plane 11 and 10)
Starting with version 6 all you have to do is add the x_Prefab_FSE_Airports package and the x_Prefab_Library to your Custom Scenery Folder.
You can use this package stand-alone but also as addition to the other Prefab Airports packages for X-Plane. In the past there were separate packages for the X-Plane airports in combination with the FSE airports: this is no longer the case. Just use any combination you like.
X-Plane knows some airports in FSE under a different ICAO / name. The ICAO/name that FSE uses is added to X-Plane but with transparent (invisible) runways, so you can use the X-Plane version of that airport.
So, in the example to fly from 00AL in FSE you need to select 3M4 in X-Plane.
It is also possible that X-Plane knows the same ICAO, but at a totally wrong location for FSE (sometimes even more than 100 miles away). The right version for FSE is included in the package with an extra X or XX in the ICAO code. Example for LECH -> LECHX + a list of some other examples:
Logic used for comparison and adding: Fse data versus X-Plane
When starting or ending a flight the Fse plugin reports the coordinates of the position to the Fse server. Based on this position the server decides, based on the MSFS database (!), what airport (ICAO) is the nearest by. This is the ICAO where you are, according to the Fse server. NB: you can place your airplane at the ground miles away from this airport, but as long as that ICAO is still the nearest you can start or end your flight there!
Combination X-Plane and FSE
When we want to be at airport XXXX (because we have an assignment there), and we pick this airport in X-Plane we have to make sure that the Fse server actually recognizes it as XXXX. This seems straightforward, but the Fse/MSFS data differ a lot from X-Plane. Some airports are placed more than 100km away, other airports are displaced just a kilometer but with the result that another airport is nearer, etc.
First loop through all Fse ICAO’s
- If the ICAO is not found in the X-Plane database => ADD it. NB: we don’t know yet if this is a duplicate or not (checked later)
- If the ICAO is found in X-Plane, the distance is calculated between the two:
- Distance < 500m. The difference is so small it will not give problems => SKIP
- Distance > 100km. Location all wrong => ADD the Fse ICAO (= overwrite)
- Distance >500m but < 100km. The Fse data is searched for the nearest ICAO based on the X-Plane position:
– If the nearest ICAO found (this is what the Fse server will look for as well) is the ICAO we are busy with: distance no problem => SKIP
– If there is another ICAO nearer => ADD the Fse ICAO (this means it will overwrite the X-Plane ICAO when loading, as all custom scenery does
Second find out what are duplicate ICAO’s: X-Plane knows these ICAO’s but with a different ID. We loop through all Fse ICAO’s just added in step 1 (= not matched already with a X-Plane ICAO, all the others were matched and cannot be a duplicate!) => for each we search for the nearest X-Plane ICAO*):
- If there is a X-Plane ICAO in the list within 2000m => this is a DUPLICATE (transparent runway). DUP will be added to the name of the Fse ICAO + the ICAO of the X-Plane airport you should use => if you want to start or end a flight at this airport: select the ICAO mentioned after DUP.
- No X-Plane ICAO within 2000m => do nothing. This means that an ICAO with a (non-transparent) runway will be visible at that location, which can be used to start or end a flight
*) As there are no heliports in the Fse data we could skip these. This prevents heliports being marked as duplicates for normal Fse runways. BUT: some heliports have runways, so we double check the size of the heliport to be sure (> 100m).
Some X-Plane ICAO’s are ‘overwritten” by the Fse version, because another Fse ICAO is nearer => if we would stick to the X-Plane version the Fse server would report a wrong ICAO.
Translation of the Microsoft Flightsimulator data
I had to make several choices when translating the data. There was for instance no data on runway width. Furthermore I had to correct several items becauses of wrong or missing data.