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Why are airports so small


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There is one thing I have thought about for some time. This regards almost all airports (perhaps all) in fs9 (I do not fly FSX so I don't know whether it is the same there). I do not know where to address my question, but as the problem is easily seen in Mega Airport Stockholm Arlanda, I put my question here.

When taxying to let us say gate 15 after landing at ESSA, the whole area between the terminal "fingers" (gates 11-24 and gates 1-10) feels very small. You feel that you are rather close to the aircrafts parked at the terminal "finger" on the other side of the apron area between the fingers (gates 1-10).

The last time I landed at Arlanda in real life we parked in this area (an Airbus 319) and I looked out to closely observe how it looked in real life. Compared to the simulation the real life area (between the terminal fingers) seems to be much, much larger (perhaps 3 times or even more). The parked aircrafts at the opposite terminal "finger" are very, very far away and you have no feeling at all of being close to them. The disctance to the opposite finger seems to be at least twice compared to the simulation airport (relative to the aircraft size).

This goes for most (if not all airports) in fs9. Last year I landed (in real life) at Alta airport in northern Norway and compared this to the fs9 scenery of that aiport (not the default scenery but the scenery called Norway Airports). In fs9 the apron is tiny, tiny, tiny (it hardly has space for a B736 -- which is a daily guest there), but in real life the apron is very large (many times the relative size in the fs9 world).

I know this is not a specific Aerosoft problem (although it affects Aerosoft sceneries). Has anybody else observed this? And what is the explanation? If everything is scaled down it should look the same, shouldn't it? Reynolds numbers and similar stuff can't apply here. If the distance between the terminal "fingers" is 30 B736 wingspans in real life, it should be 30 B736 wingspans in fs9. Otherwise something is wrong. Of course If the disctances are doubled, the area will be four times larger, as the area scale is the square of the distance scale. But that can't have any bearing on what I discuss here.

I don't think this could be related to my computer or graphic card etc.

Best regards

Krister R

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Yeah, that is a relevant question. Are the airports too small or are the aircrafts too big? I forgot the second alternative. Touching, or almost touching, wingtips is very common, when you have another aircraft parked at the next gate.

But whatever is the case, I can see no reason why it should be so. In the simworld you can construct aircraft that travel 10 times the speed of light, airplanes that are larger than the planet earth etc. Then it must be possible to make aircraft and airports in fs9, that have the same relative sizes as in real life.

Krister R

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Guest cptawsom

There is a simple way to find out, for any airport:

1. Position your plane at active runway. This will put it aligned with a runway, at its exact centerline.

2. Go to FSX top-down view. With this, you avoid image distortion from lenses (eg. wide lenses), and you have everything to scale as your geometrical plane of view (plane perpendicular to your line of sight) is parallel to the ground, so again distances and dimensions are as they should be, and are to scale.

3. Zoom out enough so that you can see at least one full runway length of the runway you positioned your plane.

4. Take a screen shot capture (key V).

5. Open the image with any imaging software (ie GIMP, Paint-NET) and rotate it so that the runway you captured is either horizontal or vertical.

6. Count the runway's dimensions in pixels (length-width).

7. Compute the length/width ratio.

8. Go to your charts (whatever you use -> eg Navigraph, Jeppesen, other), and see the dimensions for this runway - most runways have widths of 45m - and let;s say for easy calculations that our runway has a length of 2,700m. That gives us a ratio of 2,700/45 -> 60:1.

9. Compare the two length/width ratios you computed in steps 6 and 7. If they are very close (within a small margin of error), then FSX has no distortion problems in X and Y axes (the ground) in 3D space -> relative X/Y dimensions are preserved.

10. From your image at 6, count your aircraft's wingspan in pixels.

11. From any reliable source, find your aircraft's wingspan in meters.

12. Compute the (runway-width-pixels)/(aircraft-wingspan-pixels) ratio.

13. Compute the (runway-width-meters)/(aircraft-wingspan-meters) ratio.

14. Compare the 12 and 13 ratios. Again, if they are very close (within some small margin or error), your aircraft is correctly proportioned to the airport, and vice versa.

PS: The above assume, that the dimensions of the plane are correct. If not, there is no solution to the problem, as you must have a concrete (accurate) base of comparison, to compare/measure all other dimensions/distances in relation to that.

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