Airport Codes

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joefremont
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Airport Codes

Post by joefremont » Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:06 pm

Hi Flyers,

Last year I tried to update the database with new codes but I don't feel I made anybody happy. There were many new airports that were not there and many airport codes that had changed. I used data from ourairports.com, which is the best open source airport database around as the source of truth but it has errors also. So here a proposal on how to fix it.

First from the data in FSX/P3D (they are essentially the same). If an airport exists there we will use its code, as is, no exceptions.
Then add to that the data from ourairports.com, if that data has an airport that has a code that conflicts with an FSX airport the airport will be added with a '-N' on the end of the code.

Example: Hatfield Aerodrome in England exists in FSX with ICAO code EGTH. It has since been closed and a new airport, Old Warden Aerodrome, has been opened using the same code, our airports has that. So in the new proposal Hatfield Aerodrome would be EGTH and Old warren would be EGTH-N.

Similarly if we import older data (say from FS9) and a similar conflict exists the older one would have the following suffixes.
-P for P3d
-N for ourairports/wikipedia
-9 for FS9/2004
-X for X-Plane

You can view what the codes are going to be come from the 'Airports' page from the options on your airline overview page. On the information page for each airport will also see the code its going to change to and the location the airport is moving to, if its moving that is.
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Bigdog2995
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Re: Airport Codes

Post by Bigdog2995 » Sat Apr 01, 2017 1:17 am

I think this is a great idea!
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magoo043
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Re: Airport Codes

Post by magoo043 » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:50 am

For me, it's a great idea
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Nutlang
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Re: Airport Codes

Post by Nutlang » Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:53 am

Great idea Joe 8)
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Cat
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Re: Airport Codes

Post by Cat » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:08 pm

Very good idea, we have to have a whole "conversion table" in our Alaska Bush Challenge series due to so many code differences between FSA and FSX.

Question though: if/when re-coding, will all existing routes be auto changed? I would hope so. :)

For some Alaska new airports that we have created with Airport Design Editor (that don't exist in FSX), we have taken the 3 letter code and used it if the old one had a 4 letter code in FSX. Conversely if the old airport had the 4 letter code, our new one created would have the 3 letter code, thus allowing FSX to accept both locations. In most cases, both of those airports already exist in FSAirlines database but due to conflicting codes we came up with the 3 / 4 letter code idea to "trick" FSX into accepting the new airport data.

But I really like the -N (aka NEW) idea. Takes away all confusion on what is the new one and what is the old one.
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Cat
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Re: Airport Codes

Post by Cat » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:27 pm

OH, unrelated but sorta kinda:

while you are in the airport database is there any way to change the sort field to location (nearest town) and not airport name?
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Re: Airport Codes

Post by VegasTim » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:09 pm

I think it's a good idea Joe! :)

A lot of pilots have a similar problem when they update their payware plane's Navigraph data .... the FSX airport data never updates so they are flying current up to date charts/databases into 12 year old airports. Now this may work to practice a particular approach procedure for real world flying in which case the pilot probably has an add on airport with current nav data. But the rule of thumb in general is if a "current" ILS frequency has changed in the Navigraph update, FSX could care less. Tune to the old one or you can't fly the approach without an add on update to the airport in question.

"Current" is not always better with FSX, especially when the base database in FSX will never change.
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joefremont
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Re: Airport Codes

Post by joefremont » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:58 pm

Cat wrote: Question though: if/when re-coding, will all existing routes be auto changed? I would hope so. :)
Yes existing routes, pilot and aircraft locations will be auto updated. Only problem that could be caused is if airlines have exported routes as backups, these exports will then have out of date codes.
Cat wrote: For some Alaska new airports that we have created with Airport Design Editor (that don't exist in FSX), we have taken the 3 letter code and used it if the old one had a 4 letter code in FSX. Conversely if the old airport had the 4 letter code, our new one created would have the 3 letter code, thus allowing FSX to accept both locations. In most cases, both of those airports already exist in FSAirlines database but due to conflicting codes we came up with the 3 / 4 letter code idea to "trick" FSX into accepting the new airport data.

But I really like the -N (aka NEW) idea. Takes away all confusion on what is the new one and what is the old one.
When you say ' letter codes are you referring to FAA or IATA codes?

We probably have some duplicates in the database because when I imported from ourairports last time the script I used tried to compare the location for all airports that had the same codes, but if they were more than 12nm apart it assumed they were the different airports and added both.
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joefremont
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Re: Airport Codes

Post by joefremont » Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:59 pm

Cat wrote:OH, unrelated but sorta kinda:

while you are in the airport database is there any way to change the sort field to location (nearest town) and not airport name?
That should not be difficult
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VegasTim
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Re: Airport Codes

Post by VegasTim » Mon Apr 03, 2017 2:51 pm

For some Alaska new airports that we have created with Airport Design Editor (that don't exist in FSX), we have taken the 3 letter code and used it if the old one had a 4 letter code in FSX. Conversely if the old airport had the 4 letter code, our new one created would have the 3 letter code, thus allowing FSX to accept both locations. In most cases, both of those airports already exist in FSAirlines database but due to conflicting codes we came up with the 3 / 4 letter code idea to "trick" FSX into accepting the new airport data.
In most cases the IATA and FAA codes are the same 3 letter code (at least in USA).

A classic example of this issue we have stumbled across with Fly Vegas is St. George, Utah. I got "busted" for landing at the wrong airport KSGU. FSX has KSGU at the old location and FSA has KSGU at the new location which does not exist in FSX. So we made a new airport with Airport Design Editor to match the lat/long of KSGU in FSA and named it SGU in FSX so FSX would accept it. Then we posted a company NOTAM that KSGU in FSX was "closed' and to use the 'SGU' airport we created in order to avoid a "wrong airport" landing.

So under the new proposed code system, FSX KSGU would now be listed in FSA at the old location and KSGU-N would also be listed at the new (current) lat/long? I think that system is easily understood and we can work with that well. FYI the old KSGU in the real world is closed.
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joefremont
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Re: Airport Codes

Post by joefremont » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:31 pm

I took a look at KSGU and noticed that there the problem is the script I used to try to figure out which airport was what identified the new KSGU and the old KSGU as the same airport as they are less than 12 nm apart. The other airport appears to be UT52 which is a downtown hospital heliport. So I see I am going to have to do some work to undo those problems.
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VegasTim
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Re: Airport Codes

Post by VegasTim » Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:23 pm

UT52 is indeed the downtown hospital heliport but the old KSGU lies within range of it in ADE which is why my flight tripped the wrong airport landing at the old KSGU. UT52 is much closer to the lat/long of the old KSGU than the new KSGU lat/long. FSA is all about lat/long and when someone entered an "airport edit" to make the KSGU location "current", then the old KSGU lat/long in FSA was deleted. When they moved the real airport to the edge of town and used the exact same code it really threw a monkey wrench into the works for all of us. :?

A simple fix would be to re-enter the old KSGU with lat/long from FSX and give it the KSGU code and give the current KSGU (in FSA) your suggested KSGU-N code. Unless someone has an add-on scenery program or has created the new KSGU from scratch, they will be landing at the old one as FSX calls it KSGU and the new location simply does not exist in the stock FSX database. One thing we found out the hard way with FSX "fatal errors" is that it is very difficult to change the "stock" airport codes in FSX and have it perform reliably. It is much easier to just create the new airport at it's correct lat/long and give it a code not currently used in FSX which is why we chose SGU.

A lot of Alaska airports have done the same thing, building a newer more modern strip just outside of villages well within 12 nm of the old one. But most of them used different codes than the old strips.

St. Michael, AK is a good example. Both are in FSX and FSA.

SMK & PAMK are in FSA with SMK being the old one in town.

In FSX they are SMK and 5S8 respectively. 5S8 is the old old code for the old strip in town but that is what FSX used to name the newer one that is actually PAMK today.

I really see this as a "no win" situation for you at FSA administrative offices. Trying to marry current airport data to a 12 year old FSX database will just plain old fashion suck at certain points.

No matter how you do it, there will be issues that will require a "conversion chart" by individual operators to match FSX/FSA codes up with current data from such websites as airnav.com. As long as individual airline operators pay attention to the lat/long data in creating their conversion charts, then the actual codes used by FSA really don't matter as long as pilots are flying to the correct lat/long and using the airport codes in FSX and FSA that match that lat/long location. The fact that we fly to 5S8 in FSX which is PAMK in FSA is a non-event due to our conversion chart system at Fly Vegas.

Be advised this is neither whining nor complaining, I am attempting to give you "field data" from actual issues we have experienced setting up our flight operations. 8)
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joefremont
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Re: Airport Codes

Post by joefremont » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:41 am

Yeah, its going to suck. FSX has 24500 airports in it, our airports has 49000 when I imported it last year (probably has more now). Trying to find out which airport has moved compared to which one has incorrect coordinates is not going to be fun.

I have started experimenting with changing the codes back, first is to set the FSX airports back to their original codes and locations, then try to figure which of the airports from ourairports has moved just where the fsx/ourairports data is incorrect. I will definitely go to a shorter distance to identify an airport as the same.

I wish more sites like airnav or worldaerodata.com/ would allow a full download of their database, but I understand why not, it is the key to their business after all.

Yes we will add the old one back the old KSGU and create a new KSGU-N.

I have been experimenting with different suffixes based on the source of the data.

-P for P3d
-N for ourairports/wikipedia
-9 for FS9/2004
-X for X-Plane
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Cat
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Re: Airport Codes

Post by Cat » Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:41 pm

I think this is where members should not sit idly by and make you do all the work. There will be many unknown airports that no one will ever fly to with code issues. On the other hand there are some that one or more airlines fly to on a regular basis that are not in FSX but they have created from scratch (like our KSGU) and need to be in FSA. I think we should all pitch in and send you our "known missing airports from FSX" lists. It may not seem much but it will show you which ones really count and take higher priority over some unknown strips in the middle of nowhere that will never see a plane from FSA.

FS9, P3D & X-plane pilots should do the same.... everyone pitch in and let Joe know that his work is important and how much we appreciate him since taking over the website admin/maintenance duties. :)

So if you or anyone in your airline has ever put in a "new airport request" because it did not exist in FSA, you should list it for him along with any known missing airports from your simulator stock database.

I'll start today by going through all our VA custom scenery files and pull out a list of airports we had to make from scratch and post it in this thread.

Don't forget to list "known duplicate airports" in FSA. An example is Hydaburg Alaska. FSA has PAHY and HYG 0.0nm from each other...
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joefremont
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Re: Airport Codes

Post by joefremont » Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:22 pm

I was doing some work on this today, there are about 450 airport where the FSX location and the Ourairports location is between 1-10 nm of each other. KSGU is in that list at 5.15 nm. If others are willing to help I could create a google doc with those airports in it and whoever is willing can go through the list and determine if its a new airport or the same airport.
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