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Aerotow

Discussion in 'Showroom' started by Paavo, 29/8/07.

  1. Paavo

    Paavo

    Joined:
    20/5/06
    Messages:
    140
    Country:
    estonia
    Aerotow is a small, but nevertheless important extension to Flight Simulator X. It allows more complex air towing operations. At the moment it is rather primitive and unreliable and thus is more like a proof of concept application.

    Please do read readme file as it contains some crucial information about interface of the program and installation/uninstallation.

    Your feedback is very welcome.


    Screenshot:
    [​IMG]

    Download link:
    http://lennundus.orgkaos.org/failid/workinprogress/aerotow.zip (file size ~380KB)
  2. JT8D-9A

    JT8D-9A

    Joined:
    25/8/07
    Messages:
    7
    Country:
    germany
    Thank you very much!
    Indeed, this is a very important tool for gliders.
    Unfortunately, the program won't work for me:

    http://img509.imageshack.us/img509/6292/40137248xk0.jpg

    I use FSX+SP1 with Windows XP. FSX is installed on drive E.
    I have a lot of addon aircraft and one custom simobject entry in the fsx.cfg
    for my ai-traffic.
    I have also a few shared folders in the airplane folder with panel and sound
    files. Many possible sources of error..
    I hope you can help me.
    Thank you!

    Nils
  3. JT8D-9A

    JT8D-9A

    Joined:
    25/8/07
    Messages:
    7
    Country:
    germany
    Paavo,
    i think that your Installer is the Problem.
    I tested your other scenery files for Estonia and none of them worked for me.
    I used and enjoyed them successful in my early FSX installations but now your installer didn't find or can't open files which are in the FSX Folder.
    Strangely, it finds the FSX main folder automatically...
    I tested Ruhnu, Viljandi and the updates for Estonian airspace.
    My registry entries for FSX are ok and i have no problems with other installers.
    What is your Installer searching for or what can cause this strange behavior?
    I noticed that after i run the deinstaller, your deinstaller creates a folder named "Microsoft Flight Simulator" ("E:\Programme\Microsoft Games\Microsoft Flight Simulator"). :confused:
    "E:\Programme\Microsoft Games\Microsoft Flight Simulator X" would be the right place...

    Thank you!

    Nils
  4. Paavo

    Paavo

    Joined:
    20/5/06
    Messages:
    140
    Country:
    estonia
    Hi,

    I've been away from flightsimming due to my studies. For the past few weeks I've been rewriting everything to add functionality to Aerotow.
    Here's an brief overview.


    BACKGROUND

    Aerotow now consists of two parts:

    1) Configure.exe

    [​IMG]

    This is an configuration utility.
    Settings:
    Aerotow state - enables you to turn custom towing functionality on or off without the need to install or uninstall Aerotow. Changes take effect next time you activate towing.

    Towing aircraft - lists all aircraft found in FSX\SimObjects\Airplanes folder. Note that not all of them are suitable for towing. Changes take effect after FS is restarted.

    Pitch of towing aircraft - the pitch towing plane tries to keep while towing you. Default is 8 degrees up. Changes take effect after FS is restarted.

    Minimum turning altitude - altitude AGL to reach before doing any turns when flying non-straight route. Default is 500 feet AGL. Changes take effect next time you activate towing.

    Time between pattern turns - time between two turns when flying left-hand or right-hand climbing patterns. Default is 30 seconds. Changes take effect next time you activate towing.

    Delay between turning altitude and first pattern turn - delay between reaching turning altitude and making the first turn when flying patterns. Enables you to direct pattern away from airport. Default is 0 seconds, which means that the towing plane starts making patterns after reaching minimum turning altitude. Please note that the towplane does not correct it's heading for wind, so the pattern may end up "drifting" with the wind. (Patterns will be developed further in the future to remove stated limitations.) Changes take effect next time you activate towing.

    Save changes - saves changes!​


    2) Aerotow.exe

    This is SimConnect client that communicates with FS and makes complex towing operations available. The following entry should be added to EXE.xml in Application Data\Microsoft\FSX, so Aerotow.exe is started automatically when flight simulator starts.

    Code:
      <Launch.Addon>
        <Disabled>False</Disabled>
        <ManualLoad>False</ManualLoad>
        <Name>Aerotow</Name>
        <Path>Aerotow\Aerotow.exe</Path>
        <CommandLine></CommandLine>
        <NewConsole>True</NewConsole>
      </Launch.Addon>

    USAGE

    Aerotow is easy to use if everything works as it should (I'm not very sure, I've not tested Aerotow much). Fire up flight simulator and press ctrl+shift+y or whatever you have mapped to towing. If Aerotow is activated, the following menu appears:

    [​IMG]

    Fly straight out - towplane will tow you straight out of the runway just as the default towing.

    Fly left-hand circles - towplane will climb to minimum turning altitude, then it will wait number of seconds specified in delay between turning altitude and first pattern turn and make a 180-degree turn left. After the turn the towplane flies straight for a number of seconds specified in time between pattern turns and will then make another turn to the left. Then another straight leg, then another turn - until terminated by the user by releasing the tow rope.

    Fly right-hand circles - same as above, but the turns are to the right.

    Fly active flightplan - towplane will climb to minimum turning altitude and then it will make a turn to the first waypoint in the flightplan on the GPS. After reaching the first waypoint, the towplane will fly to another one. If towplane reaches the last wayoint, a message is displayed on the screen (a green bar will appear) and the towplane will keep flying the heading it flew prior to reaching the waypoint. Please note that it actually does not have to be a flightplan, but it can be a "direct to" waypoint on the GPS, too. I don't know why, but "direct to" waypoint can not be activated on the GPS while being on the ground and not further from the waypoint than 3-4 miles.

    (To cancel towing and remove the menu, press tow rope release combination (default is shift+y). The tow plane will immidiately take off and fly away. Please allow it to take off before activating the towing again.)

    After choosing the towing path, the menu disappears and towing will start. When you feel you're high enough, press shift+y to release tow rope. The towplane will make a left turn and fly away.


    INSTALLATION

    Aerotow is currently under development and has been tested only under WinXP SP2 + English version of FSX SP2. It is by no means something you can rely on. Although the maximum damage it can make is messing up your fsx.cfg (be sure to back it up!), use it at your own risk.

    Since it's not finished, it does not have an installer yet. You'll have to install it manually. First, download the latest version of Aerotow from the following location:

    http://lennundus.orgkaos.org/failid/workinprogress/aerotow/?M=D

    Unzip the files to [FSX]\Aerotow. So Aerotow.exe, Aerotow.ini and Configure.exe would be in folder called Aerotow right in the main folder of FSX like in the following picture:

    [​IMG]

    Now locate or create EXE.xml (use Google if you don't know what it is and where it is) and add the following entry to that file:

    Code:
      <Launch.Addon>
        <Disabled>False</Disabled>
        <ManualLoad>False</ManualLoad>
        <Name>Aerotow</Name>
        <Path>Aerotow\Aerotow.exe</Path>
        <CommandLine></CommandLine>
        <NewConsole>True</NewConsole>
      </Launch.Addon>
    Close and save it. Run flight simulator. During the first startup FSX will ask you if you trust Aerotow.exe enough to let FSX run it. Press yes if you are willing to try out what Aerotow is. Use Configure.exe found in FSX\Aerotow folder to change settings of towing operations.


    EXAMPLE

    Here I used Halifax bomber and Waco glider by Paul Clawson to offer eyecandy to WWII buffs. With Aerotow and it's "Fly active flightplan", you can even make the towplane to tow you from your airfield in Britain to the coast of Normandy to recreate the invasion! (Don't forget that you can add custom waypoints in flight planner, so you don't have to fly along jetways.)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    ISSUES

    1) Towplane does not raise it's gear/flaps after takeoff - solution available, will fix soon.
    2) Towplane tends to bank violently during turns - solution available, will fix soon.
    3) Towplane keeps climbing until user releases tow rope. Needs "maximum altitude" feature at which towplane would stop climbing - solution theoretically available, needs verifying.
    Last edited: 26/2/08
  5. Timmo

    Timmo

    Joined:
    10/1/07
    Messages:
    550
    Country:
    newzealand
    Looks really good! I did some gliding last night and was surprised by how addictive it was (and also how 'stupid' the default tow plane was!)
    Pics here:
    http://arnz.invisionplus.net/index.php?mforum=arnz&showtopic=1828&st=0&#entry12531

    I also downloaded an tried your addon- It works well for the quick test I gave it: Well done!

    A couple of points which may help new users:

    There is an old link to the download in your first post- I accidently downloaded this before I realised there was the updated version. It may pay to remove this link to avoid confusion.

    For those who dont have the FSX SDK, it may be hard to find the required format for exe.xml. Ive pasted the whole code below BUT only use this if exe.xml doesnt already exist.
    Code:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="Windows-1252"?>
    
    <SimBase.Document Type="Launch" version="1,0">
    <Descr>Launch</Descr>
    <Filename>dll.xml</Filename>
    <Disabled>False</Disabled>
    <Launch.ManualLoad>False</Launch.ManualLoad>
    
      <Launch.Addon>
        <Disabled>False</Disabled>
        <ManualLoad>False</ManualLoad>
        <Name>Aerotow</Name>
        <Path>Aerotow\Aerotow.exe</Path>
        <CommandLine></CommandLine>
        <NewConsole>True</NewConsole>
      </Launch.Addon>
    
    </SimBase.Document>
    
    Paste that into a new txt document then save it and rename it to exe.xml in the directory stated above

    It would also be good to update the readme.txt to reflect the new changes from the old version.

    Any further developments on it?
    Last edited: 2/4/08
  6. Horst18519

    Horst18519 Moderator Staff Member Resource contributor

    Joined:
    7/4/05
    Messages:
    2,183
    Country:
    germany
    Paavo, this is great stuff, really! Fantastic work. Gonna have to try it right now. :)
  7. Florian Meißner

    Florian Meißner

    Joined:
    21/12/07
    Messages:
    4
    Country:
    germany
    Hello,

    if I wrote it right, this tool is for directing the the towing aircraft which is flown by the computer. But is it able to use it online? So an other friend could fly it from his PC. This were the way to do an aerotow on IVAO.

    Thank you very well!
  8. Horst18519

    Horst18519 Moderator Staff Member Resource contributor

    Joined:
    7/4/05
    Messages:
    2,183
    Country:
    germany
    Unfortunately it's not possible with FSX to use tow connections in multiplayer. As long as there's no genius out there who does it we'll have to wait for FS11 or FS12 for real multiplayer towing. :(
  9. bruin

    bruin

    Joined:
    23/10/04
    Messages:
    55
    Paavo,
    I downloaded your aerotow (version 2008-02-26 23-53) today and it looks very promising.
    But with the options "Fly left hand circles" and "Fly right hand circles" the TowPlane makes only one 180degree turn. After that it keeps on flying straight on.

    I tried changing delay-times between turns etc, but no more than one turn is made all the time

    Any chance that can be fixed in a next update?

    Bert
  10. Orbit365

    Orbit365

    Joined:
    7/4/12
    Messages:
    1
    Country:
    england
    Problems

    Hi guys, I'm having problems with Aerotow. SimConnect won't load Aerotow.exe, and FSX doesn't ask me for permission to run Aerotow. I'm running Vista with fsx+sp1. Before i installed sp1, fsx did ask me for permission, but SimConnect still didn't load exe file. Any ideas?

    p.s Images for fsx+sp1 install attached (sorry, print screened so couldn't save as images)

    Attached Files:

  11. matteo

    matteo

    Joined:
    9/8/14
    Messages:
    1
    Country:
    italy
    hello, I discovered this expansion, however, I would be very helpful, but there is a problem when launching the download does not make me open the page. could you give me an alternative download?
  12. rhb

    rhb

    Joined:
    25/7/10
    Messages:
    35
    Country:
    us-newyork
    Realizing this is an old thread, I am interested in the original readme file for this defunct Beta program. I have it on my computer from years ago. it works flawlessly on both my XP 32 bit system, and my Windows 7 64 bit system. I was trying to share with an associate, but he has difficulty implementing it. If anyone still has the readme.txt, I would be eternally grateful for a copy.
    jon Davidson

    IE:MATEO: the links are all dead now, They were removed some time ago I think.

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