Hello, I bought the game few days ago and I love it.
I made a previous post on Steam but it is seriously outdated from my newest idea and now I have finished the tutorial and I know the gameplay.
Here is the link of the Steam post : https://steamcommunity.com/app/673610/discussions/0/1643168364668389957/
So here are my suggestions :
Note that I’ll use “Airport” for commercial airfields and “Aerodrome” for general aviation ones.
Aerodrome and Aeroclub (GA/private dedicated airfields)
- What it is about
Early game aircraft and infrastructures :
- Type of aircraft.
- Grass runway.
- Grass parking area.
- Landing distances.
- Visible GA peoples.
- Early fuel limitations.
- Goal of those features.
- Water, sewage, bathroom.
- Grass car parking.
- Night limitations.
- Hangars and their use.
- Profits balance.
- Early fuel service.
- Owning aircraft.
- Employees (volunteers/low salary).
- Employees (workers, regular salary).
- Fuel service station.
- Aerotow & gliders.
- Dirt runway and other infrastructures.
- Freely available/renting car/bicycle.
- Early restaurant.
- Parachute contract.
- Airshow (not hosting).
- Paved runway advantages.
- Next step (commercial flight/bigger GA airfield).
Non aeroclub/general ideas :
- Gameplay mechanic of unlocking bigger aircraft
- Aircraft landing length.
- Runway damage/wear.
- Concrete vs Asphalt.
- Runway upgrades.
- Runway safety area.
- Night and bad weather arrival.
- Accidents and incidents & Reputation.
- Workers shift.
- Additional workers.
- Visible commercial flight crew.
- Runway care operations (repair and other maintenance).
- Additional service vehicles.
- FOD removal and vehicle type.
- Additional upgrades.
(All following will be written in a comment as I reached character limit)
- More runway and taxiway building freedom.
- Airport attendance based on location.
- Additional flight type, classes system and airline specialization/requirements.
- Accidents and incidents.
- Runway care and maintenance/fuel schedule.
- Tower control, ATC chatterer, radar.
- Information windows/popup.
- Multiple object and taxiway selection, copy and paste.
- Aerodrome and Aeroclub (GA/private dedicated airfields)
Early game aircraft and infrastructures :
What it is about
First is about different available infrastructures and mechanics allowing for early game to be more diverse and enjoyable.
The issue with early game is that there isn’t much to do, and with harder difficulty settings, we just wait and build aircraft stands one at the time and wait for having enough money for the fuel.
All the following small airfield idea are based on real life and I searched real aerodromes information to make sure of that.
Also keep in mind that aeroclub for GA are part of many airports and don’t replace traditional smaller aerodromes, so this isn’t only an idea for early game, but this is applicable to late game too.
Type of aircraft
Firstly what about adding Ultralights and Helicopters ? There can be fixed wings, trikes and autogyro (would be awesome to have one or two of them as autogyro are neat) and of course helicopters and even gliders.
We should first have a grass runway which should be low construction price and almost 0 maintenance, the only cost should be the terrain taxes and cutting the grass.
This runway should only allow for ultralights and some small general aviation aircraft, like the J3 Cub for example.
Though the Baron and the 182 can land on grass, other heavier GA aircraft which can be potentially added should not land on that, like the Beechcraft Super King Air or Pilatus PC-12 for example.
Though technically they can and Pilatus have a video of their PC-24 taking off and landing on grass, and technically the Boeing 737–100 can operate on grass runways too.
So for gameplay mechanics lets say only lightest of the light aircraft can land on grass, all those bush flying aircraft, ultralights, autogyro, helicopters and gliders for sure and maybe other light aircraft.
Grass parking area
Then there is grass parking area (which should be constructed the same way taxiways are, with automated parking placed based on the length), yes area not stands, a lot of small Aerodromes have grass parking area and/or grass runway and no taxiways, there is also no towers on those small often uncontrolled aerodromes, the aircraft just land and go to the parking without any taxiways, the parking area here should work like the service vehicle parking lot in game allowing many small aircraft to park next to each others.
Also note that the initial 600m runway should only accommodate the lightest of light GA aircraft and ultralights, I’ve read pilots saying that for max takeoff weight they recommend 900m for the Baron 58.
To be realistic, the lightest could land on 600m but some other who have a max TO weight runway length exceeding our runway length, could land only when they land their current weight allow for our runway length.
Visible GA peoples
Also note that it would be awesome if GA aircraft’s pilots and potential passengers could be visible, they could either wander around for sometime and takeoff again or a car (if we have a car parking) could pick them up, they leave for some time and comeback later and takeoff, potentially with more/less passengers but still respecting max takeoff weight for our runway length.
Early fuel limitations
Another thing to note, at this point since we have no fuel, we should only be able to receive either (depending on how you implement it) aircraft with at least 50% fuel remaining, or aircraft whose next destination is close enough for their remaining fuel + the obligatory margin, meaning before having fuel, we can’t expect many aircraft to come.
We should also be able to pay for a webmaster (not hired) to make a website about our aerodrome, which increase how many aircraft will come, new things to our airport won’t be updated on the website and we need to pay a webmaster (the same or another) for the update as new features written on the website should increase even more the airfield attendance.
Goal of those features
All that could allow for an even harder difficulty level (at least less money) when starting, as it will be cheap to have and there is a lot of small steps after that, its not micromanaging but it keep busy enough to be interesting.
Water, sewage, bathroom
The next step will be to have water and sewage (in procurement, unlocking it mean the cost to bring water pipes to the terrain) which allow for a small bathroom to be build, which would be something that will increase GA pilots satisfaction, though we pay for water and we can’t yet make payable bathroom, the added satisfaction giving us more satisfaction rating from GA pilots increase our attendance which give us more money through fees.
Grass car parking
Having a small grass parking lot between the road and the aircraft parking area (the closer it is between the public road and the parking area, the better the satisfaction, within a margin so players aren’t tempted to put it ultra close) is technically the next step.
Note that at this point aircraft don’t stay during the night (small GA aircraft usually don’t stay parked outside during the night, aircraft thievery happen more than peoples think) or if bad weather approach as the aircraft is exposed to the elements, even if we don’t have the weather station, they can still know when bad weather will come from TV/Internet weather report and simply by observing.
Hangars and their use
Then aircraft hangar, first a small and open one which only allow for a single aircraft parked under it to stay when bad weather arrive as it is protected, then a bigger one allowing for 2 or 3 aircraft under it.
Then a closed hangar, a small one, allowing an aircraft to stay during bad weather and overnight, then a medium one allowing for multiple aircraft, then the big GA hangar.
Note that those hangars often contain a lot of aircraft parked in Tetris level of place saving, and rather than having a certain aircraft number, it should be counted as total available area in the hangar minus combined area of all aircraft inside, as it depend more on the aircraft size than a particular number of aircraft slots.
At this point there is more maintenance cost but more fee (hangar cost more than parking) to compensate for the additional costs and we get those fees more often (overnight and during bad weather) and more GA pilots satisfaction from hangar which increase the attendance.
Early fuel service
The final step at this stage of early airfield is to have fuel, we should have a small fuel depot and a cheap contract where we can provide fuel, but we don’t make money from that, pilots literally only pay the price we bought it, aircraft are refueled manually.
The next step will be to create an aeroclub, it require of course a runway and a parking area minimum, but also water and bathroom, electricity (we should have to pay electricity bill depending on the consumption), car parking area/lots, medium/big closed hangar (or enough small ones), fuel depot/contract and also an aeroclub building with some minimum commodities like an office room and desk, seats, at least 1 table.
Aeroclub allow for members to register (they pay a membership fee) which increase the number of GA flights as it goes from irregular flights for commute/hobby to members with more or less regular flights.
This also allow us to buy our own aircraft, and there is two type of members, those who own their aircraft (pay the fees) and those without aircraft (the more common, pay fees and for flying our aircraft).
Note that until now we had a contract for maintaining the runway and aircraft fueling was mainly done by hand with Jerrycans by the aircraft’s pilot.
Employees (volunteers/low salary)
Having an aeroclub mean we can now have employees :
- A secretary required to have members and other employees.
- A treasurer unlocking more contracts and lowering some expenses.
- Safety/flights safety “agent” who get better reputation (more traffic) to the aerodrome.
- Flight information service agent (AFISO) who also increase the number of flight and the satisfaction of * GA pilots (work in ATC tower or in a dedicated room in the aeroclub building, unlock weather station which greatly increase number of flights and satisfaction).
- Aircraft mechanics who both maintain our own aircraft and can make little profits maintaining or fixing visiting aircraff.
- Chief pilot who allow for first flight experience and other GA flights with passengers which make profits.
- Webmaster who allow for having a website constantly up to date which increase numbers of incoming flights and visitors who want to pay for a flight experience.
Note that on most aeroclub, those jobs are occupied by volunteers who does it for low to no pay at all.
Employees (workers, regular salary)
Now for the “pro only” jobs.
- ATC who increase the GA pilots satisfaction and traffics from non aeroclub members, it also help increase the number of members and attract more IFR flights.
- Flight instructor allowing for initiation flight (a flight where the passenger can take the controls) and of course to get a pilot licence, both generate revenues.
After that this is more a matter of improving the aerodrome, which increase the number of flights and aeroclub members.
Fuel service station
Having a treasurer allow to unlock better fuel contract and a self service station which increase the pilots satisfaction and generate profits.
Aerotow & gliders
Buying an aerotow aircraft and/or a winch will allow for gliders, basically they come by road in a trailer, get towed, fly off and possibly (as they can land elsewhere, including fields) comeback a set amount of time latter, we could also buy our own and make profits from passengers who pay for the flight or club member who use them, they can land back or return inside a trailer after some time, though we will need to buy service car and glider trailer for that glider size.
Dirt runway and other infrastructures
The runway can be upgraded to dirt runway, it cost some money to make but have only a slightly higher maintenance cost than grass, but it help reduce landing and takeoff distance (less slippery for landing/braking and less draggy/bumpy on the wheels for takeoff) and popularity (both pilots and members), also transitioning from dirt to Asphalt or Concrete should be cheaper than from grass to Asphalt or Concrete as the terrain have been somewhat prepared, it could also potentially unlock other light aircraft than ultralights and bush flying aircraft.
Parking, taxiway, service road, car parking can also become dirt, though dirt is only a short transition phase which allow to slightly boost the number of aircraft to get enough found for the paved infrastructures latter on.
Freely available/renting car/bicycle
Some services like buying cars, or bicycles and making them available to non aeroclub members pilots (as members will anyway have their own already) or even rent them, which will increase GA pilots satisfaction.
Possibility to set an area for a restaurant, not the same way as those in the terminal, but rather we designate an area and some restaurant are free to build here, we get little revenue from their clients (GA pilots and passengers) but not nearly as much as those in terminals, and it also increase our reputation.
When getting a paved infrastructures (runway, taxiway and aircraft parking) and a designated LZ, we can get contracts for a parachute company who will increase our revenue through fees as they could potentially have multiples flights a day.
Airshow (not hosting)
Also at this point our aerodrome is upgraded enough so if there is an airshow near, some of the aircraft could park at our aerodrome which temporarily greatly increase attendance for few days, through this would require multiple exotic aircraft to be modeled.
Paved runway advantages
Having a paved runway can allow for bigger GA aircraft, like private jets, turboprops and other.
Paved runway give possibility to put runway lights, which are required for night operations, it also allow for PAPI which increase satisfaction and ILS which increase number of IFR flights and number of bigger aircraft.
Having a second, grass runway should still be profitable as many aerodromes do have both a paved and a grass runway, useful for gliders, ultralights or when there is a bit of traffic.
Next step (commercial flight/bigger GA airfield)
At this point we have a complete aeroclub and we earn enough money to build a small airport.
Here there are two possibilities, either build an airport out of the aerodrome and have the aeroclub and GA/private use the main runway as commercial flights do, or build the airport next to the aerodrome and restrict aeroclub activities to it, I don’t know which one is more common, but they both exist for sure.
Paris-Le Bourget is an example of the mix of the two as its big runways are used for general aviation, while Palm Beach International airport is a good example of an airport with dedicated general aviation runways.
Of course we can also scrap the aeroclub/aerodrome and just build an airport for commercial flights only if we want.
Non aeroclub/general ideas :
Gameplay mechanic of unlocking bigger aircraft
As mentioned before, the type of aircraft we can host should depend on the runway length and aircraft weight (rather than model) because an aircraft with low amount of passengers, cargo and fuel require less runway length, but what should also really matter is runway width.
Also taxiway width and clearance and parking stand size and clearance should also be used to unlock bigger aircraft.
Here are some official information about aircraft size categories.
Aircraft landing length
The landing length should be determined by the aircraft weight, it should, based on the aircraft model and its weight, not be a fixed number, but rather a random value within a minimum and maximum range (because landing aren’t perfectly identical, use of thrust reverse and brake can vary, thrust reverse vary from aircraft to aircraft, pilots to pilots, but they are mostly dictated by companies SOP, each company should have its own thrust reverse percentage), also depending on runway surface (grass should have longest takeoff and landing distance as it is draggy for takeoff but also slippery and don’t allow to brake as much during landing, dirt should come next and asphalt/concrete should be almost identical), on runway state (the more it require repair and/or rubber buildup removal, the less effective it should be) and on weather condition (landing on snow or rain conditions should be longer, and ice is the extreme scenario).
Smartly placed taxiway should allow for earlier exist (if most aircraft we host land on 1200m on our 1800m runway, a taxiway a little after 1200m should allow for most aircraft to taxi out), which should help increasing the traffic density, also the angled taxiway which are called high speed exit taxiway should too allow for earlier exit as they can be entered at higher speed than regular taxiway speed and don’t require the aircraft to get to slow 90° turning speed.
Also note that on longer runway, pilot often use less thrust reverse and brakes to reduce operational cost, so longer runways should increase aircraft landing distance, at least for medium/big aircraft.
PAPI and ILS should also reduce landing distance as they taking an approach which help aiming properly at the beginning of the runway, therefor wasting less of it.
This should be a no brainer, but runway damages/wear should be based on aircraft weight, not only that but also within a certain range, because some will land at higher or slower speed than normal depending on how the pilot handle that, but also, some will butter the bread with a beautiful kiss landing while other will just drop the thing Ryanair style.
Also aircraft taking off should too damage the runway, but of course less than those landing.
Concrete vs Asphalt
This is a complicated topic, but apparently there is a big cost difference between concrete and asphalt runways, usually concrete taxiway and stands are used, for the runways asphalt is used more often, but it depend on a lot of things, from traffic density to typical weight of aircraft landing.
Also from what I read, asphalt require maintenance more often but cost less (and is easier) to maintain than concrete who need less often to be maintain but require heavier and more expensive maintenance. Also there is some who use both combined.
Here are two nice links about that :
Talking about runway, adding stuff, like PAPI (already in the game) and ILS equipment, lighting system should be nice upgrade along upgrading type, length and width, we should also be able to add some additional area, such as :
- Displaced thresholds, which should allow for longer takeoff and landing distance (depending on which end of the runway it is compared to the runway orientation, at runway “entry” it increase takeoff distance and at runway “end” it increase landing distance).
- Blast pad, which should allow to lesser the runway damages/wear (as it does in real life) but also it should be/upgradable to an EMAS “engineered materials arresting system”, providing more airlines satisfaction.
- Taxiway to the runway can either be combined with the displaced threshold or before it (but usually when it is before it, there isn’t a blast pad) but if before the displaced threshold it can’t count as usable runway length for takeoff (our side) or landing (opposite side).
- A specially designated area (on the ground, with no objects on it and with construction cost but no maintenance) used as “overrun areas”.
Note that displaced threshold (with or without taxiway) and blast pad should be upgradable in length as runways are, or build like taxiway.
Runway safety area
All that accumulated, constitute the runway safety area, it should be used for several purposes, from improving airline satisfaction, airport safety ratting, unlocking some high end company (who only use airport with high level of safety) and if accidents are made into the game, it should help in case of an undershoot, overshoot and rejected takeoff.
Here are some nice official documentation showing interesting things about runways and taxiways :
Also the “Threshold Approach Category” (runway markings) should be upgradable and add cost to runway maintenance.
Also, “approach lighting system” should be an available upgrade unlocked after the basic runway light upgrade.
Taxiway light should also be an available upgrade and mandatory for night operation.
Night and bad weather arrival
General Aviation aircraft do land at night, some even in VFR, so once the runway have night capabilities (technically aircraft can land on unlit runway at night, this is legal and have been done), GA should have a little traffic at night, a reduced one, but slightly more if we have an ILS.
The same way ILS enable additional aircraft to come at night, during bad weather, past a certain point of bad weather ILS should be mandatory for additional landings, the lesser flights should arrive as the more severe the weather is, at the point where all flights are basically rerouted to another airport, should do the same for takeoff, though delay and cancellation caused by weather shouldn’t lower companies rating.
Accidents and incidents & Reputation
Talking about delay, other than weather, an airplane malfunction/accident or a company technical issue should also cause delay which won’t lower reputation, they should happen from time to time and help make the game more interesting and less repetitive, but any traffic, missing or not enough staff related delay should be completely our fault as this mean our infrastructure/worker number isn’t enough to deal with the density of flights we choose.
Talking about staff, an option for higher difficulty level could be shifts, where our staff members work only through a certain period of time and we should make sure we have enough workers to cover those different schedules, an additional “worker shift” panel is needed to see when we miss workers, but the salary don’t need to change as they get paid only when they work.
Also, it would be nice to see more workers, more diverse ramp agents, mechanics, bus/service vehicles driver, tower personal, even cooks for the catering and marshallers to guide aircraft.
Those additional persons can be part of higher difficulty level as there is more salaries to pay and more staff to manage.
Visible commercial flight crew
As for General Aviation pilot and passengers, what about seeing crew ? Pilot, copilot and flight attendants should be visible as passengers and employees currently are and use airport service too.
Runway care operations (repair and other maintenance)
Runway maintenance shouldn’t be only repaired, based on the “Guide for maintaining
runways in accordance to Annex 14 of ICAO” here are the things to do (relevant for the game) :
- Runway inspection
- Runway’s rubber buildup removal (A regular task depending on the traffic, require equipment)
- Runway markings maintenance
- Runway’s Non-paved areas (STRIPS) maintenance.
- Runway’s – Taxiways – Apron - Obstacles, lighting, Signs and Electrical Systems (which is the repair option, can be done scheduled when runway is used or unscheduled when a big damage occur) it should be different methods depending on the composition (asphalt, concrete or mix of both)).
And those tasks should take time to accomplish and tasks like rubber buildup removal is often done at night on big airports where there is less traffic, workers should be required, but here are two possibles options, either the contractors which are specialized in airport stuff, or another form of contract for those workers who are dispatched when needed when maintenance/repair is started (manually or by COO).
Note that while apparently aircraft deicing is planned to be in the game, there is also runway, taxiway and aprons deicing.
Note that one additional task is the cleaning of the runway, FOD (Foreign Objects Debris) removal which can be done manually or with vehicles.
The FAA and ICAO require a daily, daylight inspection of aircraft operating areas.
Operational areas must be inspected at least once each day, with additional inspections being
made in construction areas and immediately after any aircraft or ground vehicle accident or
incident or any spill of material which may cause slippery conditions.
Additional service vehicles
Apparently a lot of vehicles are planned, but what about sanitary service sewage vehicle and water service vehicle (I don’t know if they are already planned or not), having to buy Air Start Unit and Ground Power Unit, firefighter force and trucks and other emergency vehicles.
Also as a gameplay mechanic, when the taxiway layout become complex enough, random aircraft (reflecting new pilots who haven’t landed here yet and don’t know the layout) should be slow to taxi and avoid high speed exit taxiway except if we have a follow me car.
Airport bird control car (and workers) would be nice too, especially if they really statistically reduce chances of birdstrike and improve airport safety ratting and companies satisfaction.
Talking about service vehicles I think this document can be useful !
FOD removal and vehicle type
Also the FOD removal vehicles, runway sweepers can be :
- Magnetic bar/tow bar, (quite uncommon) only pick magnetically attracted objects, no maintenance cost, can be mounted on any vehicle (trucks, car, quadbike or even forklift) making them low cost to get and operate, slow, work on wet runway.
- Mechanical sweepers, good at picking big objects, bad at picking smaller one and dust, fast, can turn smaller objects into dust, brush can create small FODs of its own, require lots of maintenance and don’t work well on wet runway.
- Vacuum sweepers, pickup basically everything, excellent at picking dust, slow and require regular maintenance, heavy enough to damage the pavement, don’t work well on wet runway, additional brush can be fitted (or for higher end models are included) to improve efficiency.
- Air blower sweepers, remove everything with basically 100% cleaning efficiency, removes snow, ice, water, dust, FODs and grass clipping, clean lights and signs, fast, normal maintenance, require more knowledge to operate than others.
- Friction mat sweepers, remove almost all FODs, sand, dirt and broken pavement with 99¨efficiency, fast, can be towed by service car, work on wet runways, no maintenance cost, low cost, grind pavement therefor damaging it.
While they all exist as tow behind option, mechanical, vacuum and air blower also have specialized vehicles, note that most vehicles (including specialized) can be fitted (upgraded for the game) with magnetic bar.
Here is some nice document about that :
Also stands should be upgradable to have built in electric outlet, fuel from underground pipes, underground air conditioning (PCA) and wet service (potable water and sewage).
Here is a good example of all those underground services.
Stands upgradable to have stand guidance system.
Stands upgradable with multiples/additional (working) jetways for compatible aircraft.
We know that most stands can still take a variety of aircraft size, but for the largest, having an upgrade for the ability to host either one big or two smaller aircraft would be great !
Here are two examples of this :
First one is the MARS concept and the second one from Cavotec.
Possibility to build airport bird control system like the solar speakers…
An airport upgrade for fuel could be to be linked directly to underground pipelines as some big airports are.