This is meant to be a step by step guide to make you understand how to bring/convert AI traffic - flightplans and aircraft - from FS2004/FS9 into FSX.

how to convert ai traffic from fs2004 to fsx

This is meant to be a step by step guide to make you understand how to bring/convert AI traffic - flightplans and aircraft - from FS2004/FS9 into FSX.

* Foreword
This is meant to be a step by step guide to make you understand how to bring/convert AI traffic - flightplans and aircraft - from FS2004/FS9 into FSX.
AI traffic files in TTools (Traffic Tools by Lee Swordy) format made for FS2004/FS9 (Flight Simulator 2004) - Aircraft.txt, Airports.txt, Flightplans.txt - if compiled with TTools and then the output Traffic.bgl placed in FSX (Flight Simulator X) it won't work correctly. As a matter of fact, if you then go spotting your AI traffic planes in FSX, you will notice that there will be lots of departures but no arrivals/landings at all or only very few. Since it ain't available a TTools version for FSX offering backwards compatibility it means that all your currently Flight Simulator 2004 AI traffic must be converted into Flight Simulator X's Traffic Database Builder format and then compiled with FSX Traffic Database Builder.

* Prior needed utilities and things to successfully convert your AI traffic flightplans
Flight Simulator X Professional Edition, FSX Decompiler v1.2 by Peter Van Der Veen, FSX Flightplan Converter by Jens Rabmund, a smart brain which I suppose you have since you are a proffessional flight simmer, lots of patience and few hours of time.

* What you have and what is needed by FSX Traffic Database Builder
You have Traffic Tools files Aircraft.txt, Airports.txt, Flightplans.txt and the compiled file Traffic.bgl. What is needed by FSX Traffic Database Builder to make a successful compilation is Aircraft.csv, Airports.dat, Flightplans.dat and Countries_Regions.csv.

* How to convert Aircraft.txt into Aircraft.csv
Compared to Aircraft.txt, the new Aircraft.csv contains more strings like this, each of them representing an airplane:


To fully understand the meaning of these strings and some other functions, I invite you to have a deep look at "Traffic Toolbox.html" which you find in the SDK I believe you already intalled from one of the two Flight Simulator X Professional Edition DVDs. I also invite you to download and install the SDK Service Packs from FSInsider.
Actually, the old strings in Aircraft.txt must be changed in the new format and the file saved with *.csv extension. By now you may be thinking that you will become insane manually editing 1000 strings or more that you may have in Aircraft.txt. Well, you are right; that is why we won't do it and have an utility do it for us with lots of less effort. Here comes into play FSX Decompiler.
Fire up FSX Decompiler, input the location of TTools compiled Traffic.bgl and the output path where the decompiled files will be placed; check "Create FSX TDB files" and click "Decompile". The application should provide you with five files. Delete all but "flightplans_Traffic.dat" and "aircraft_Traffic.dat"; open "aircraft_Traffic.dat" with Wordpad. Now we'll convert the strings making them compatible with FSX Traffic Database Builder.
Note: In this file the only parameter that must be very accurate is the aircraft's speed, which is represented by the first number after the airplane's title. My speeds were already correct in aircraft.txt used by TTools so I do not need to change those too, so I'll suppose yours are aswell. In case they're not, you will have to change them because when compiling with TDB (Traffic Database Builder) speed will influence the arrival times and in Flight Simulator you will see the planes flying at unrealistic too slow/fast speeds.
Here's a list of aircraft speeds you can use for Airbus' and Boeing's most common aircraft types:
* Airbus
318, 319, 320, 321 series - 455 kts;
330 - 465 kts;
340 - 480 kts;
380 - 495 kts.
* Boeing
737 classic - 415 kts;
737 next generation - 445 kts;
747 - 485 kts;
757 - 460 kts;
767 - 465 kts;
777 - 490 kts.
Press "Ctrl + H" and you will see a window pop up; in the "Find" text field put the string ",minAlt,maxAlt,minRange,maxRange,minRwyLen,runwayTypes,radius,parkingTypes,IFR%,no,no" and in the "Replace" text field of the window put ",50,380,15,9000,2000,HARD,13,GATE,100,no,yes" then click "Replace All". When it has finished processing click "Ok" then save the file. For the cargo airlines you may have to find them manually and change only the ",GATE," parameter into ",CARGO,". I guess Traffic Database Builder does not know the symbol "#" so we'll remove that too doing the same steps - press "Ctrl + H", in the "Find" text field put "#" and leave blank the "Replace" text field then click "Replace All". When finished click "Ok", save the file then exit. This file is ready so rename it into Aircraft.csv.

* How to fix Airports file
For this file we will not try to convert the old Airports.txt at all, because since a new one is suplied with FSX TDB - fs10.Airports.dat - its not worth converting the old one. Instead, what we'll do is just to fix it a bit. When compiling, concerning fs10.Airports.dat, it is convenient to have more copies of it, for example one for airlines, one for general aviation and one for military. You may call them Airports_A.dat, Airports_GA.dat, Airports_Mil.dat.
Open Airports_A.dat, the one which will be used for airlines. What we need to change here is the number that stands after "PARKING", which is the radius, to make it match the parking radius we have in Aircraft.csv, and change RAMPs into GATEs.
I noticed that Flight Simulator X has a different system on allocating gates to AI aircraft; basicly, an AI aircraft can occupy a gate or ramp only if its radius is not more than 10 meters less then the parking radius. For example, if an aircraft has a radius of 24 meters and in fs10.Airports.dat there are available only parkings of 36 meters than all flightplans of that aircraft will not be taken into consideration by TDB when compiling because the parking spaces available are more than 10 meters bigger than the aircraft's parking radius - 12 meters bigger.

So fire up Wordpad and open the file, press "Ctrl + H", type ",10.0,RAMP" into the Find text field and ",18.0,GATE" in the Replace text field then click Replace All. Do this process for all the numbers after PARKING to have them changed into 18.0, and for all RAMPs to have them changed into GATEs. In the end, in the Airports_A.dat you should have only parkings of radius 18.0 and no RAMPs - only GATEs & CARGOs. When you done, the file is ready so save it.
Concerning the Airports_GA.dat, since it is a pure copy of the original fs10.Airports.dat, you only have to remove some RAMPs from the airports you want less general aviation. For the Airports_Mil.dat, just create a new file with that name and copy and paste from fs10.Airports.dat the airports that are air force bases.

* How to fix AI traffic flightplans
Basicly, the file decompiled with FSX Decompiler, flightplans_Traffic.dat, it is ready for FSX TDB, but since we removed the "#" symbol from Aircraft.csv we must also remove it from this file. So just as before, open the file with Wordpad and press "Ctrl + H"; put "#" in the Find text field and leave blank the Replace text field then click Replace All. When it is done, save the file.

* Having the conversion done
Now you should have all you need to import your AI traffic from FS2004/FS9 into FSX. Put the files Aircraft.csv, Airports_A.dat, flightplans_Traffic.dat and countries_regions.csv in the folder of FSX SDK Traffic Database Builder and run TrafficDatabaseBuilder.exe with the following parameters "/Airports=Airports_A.dat
/Countries=countries_regions.csv /AircraftTypes=Aircraft.csv /Schedules=flightplans_Traffic.dat
/Autoschedule=no /Output=Traffic_Airlines.bgl /log=stats.txt".

* Solving the problems
It is likely that you will get some errors - all errors are logged in stats.txt, so to find them you should check this file. I encountered three types of errors:
1. there are not enough parking spaces for the required airports - in this case all you have to do is to open Airports_A.dat and copy and paste parking spaces at the required aerodromes;
2. an aircraft requires more time for a flight than it is written in its flightplans - in stats.txt you will be informed about the specific text line that must be edited, being indicated with a number between () after flightplans_Traffic.dat - example "flightplans_Traffic.dat (123456)"; copy that number from stats.txt, open flightplans_Traffic.dat with Notepad, press "Ctrl + G" and in the text field paste the number copied. You will be taken to the specific line which you will have to edit accordingly;
3. an airport does not exist - this is because some ICAO codes have changed. You have to edit flightplans_Traffic.dat replacing the old codes with the new ones.
Once you solve one or more problems, you have to run again the converter with the same parameters written in the section above and check again the stats.txt for more problems to solve. You will have to repeat this "solving problems" process until in stats.txt there will be no more problems logged. To me it took about a week, so be patient.

* The AI traffic is ready
When you will have no more errors logged in stats.txt it means that all your old FS9 flightplans have been successfully converted and compiled. Now you can put the compiled Traffic_Airlines.bgl file into Scenery\World\Scenery of FSX and remove the default air traffic file. Move all your aircraft folders from FS2004\Aircraft into FSX\SimObjects\Airplanes and enjoy.

* How to add/replace flightplans
Lets say you want to replace the flightplans of an airline because they are outdated. I'll presume you have downloaded the new flight plans of the airline in TTools format. I suggest the following steps:
1st: find and remove the old flightplans from flightplans_Traffic.dat;
2nd: compare Aircraft.csv with Aircraft.txt and edit/add/remove AI traffic aircraft;
3rd: edit Flightplans.txt to match the aircraft from Aircraft.csv and remove the "@" symbol;
4th: rename Flightplans.txt into fp_fs9.txt, put it in the same folder with FSX Flightplan Converter and have the program convert the flightplans into FSX format;
5th: copy and paste the flightplans from the converted file fp_fsx.txt into flightplans_Traffic.dat;
6th: have the file compiled with the parameters written in the section above and solve eventual problems that may be logged into stats.txt;
7th: move and overwrite the new compiled Traffic_Airlines.bgl into FSX\Scenery\World\Scenery.

By Claudio Adriano Dobre, © 2008

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