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Discussion about airport lights (PAPI, RWY, TWY)

Discussion in 'Airport Design General' started by Thunderbolt, 15 Apr 2012.

  1. Thunderbolt


    21 Dec 2008

    I read several threads here on the forums concerning airports lights
    and I gotta admit that I'm quite confused:

    On the one hand, there is a tutorial and some posts dealing with PAPI creation using BGL_Lights, on the other there are threads and post that say: No BGL_Lights for PAPI and RWY light creation because they have a limited visibility range!

    So I watched some Pilotseye videos to get a better idea of how PAPIs and airport lights look like in real life.
    I was quite surprised that the FSX-lights and most of the lights other developers use aren't very realistic.
    They look more like a huge christmas tree but not like a real airport where PAPIs can't be seen that easily from farer distances.

    Furthermore I remember a night flight from Anchorage to Seattle last year and we crossed Vancouver airport at an altitude of 15.000ft.
    I looked out of the window all the time and couldn't find the damn airport!

    That moment I realised: Guys, we go overboard with airport lights in flight simulator.

    I think I'm gonna stick to BGL_Lights when creating PAPIs as they look most realistic to me.

    What do you think?
    Last edited: 15 Apr 2012
  2. ollyau

    ollyau Resource contributor

    5 Jan 2008
    I haven't flown at night yet, but I agree that the PAPI/VASI lights really are not the giant blobs they appear to be in the sim.
  3. amahran


    12 Apr 2011
    I've also noticed a lot of issues with night-time flying:
    1) The sky, although very dark, is still visible is a dark blue color. IRL, it's so pitch black you wouldn't be able to see your hand in front of your face out over the pacific.
    2) The ground is illuminated too brightly. Once again, it's almost pitch black at night from the sky IRL and the only thing you'd see is city lights and oil tankers firing up their exhausts.
    3) The cities are generally lit up. It should be specific dense points surrounded by a faint illumination
    4) Taxi and landing lights blot everything out into a pale white sheet of what-in-the-world-is-in-front-of-me?
    5) Terminal aprons are too dark, I can't see what I'm taxiing up to.
    6) PAPI/VASI lights are easily visible and the airport is too easy to spot (both during the day and at night)
    The list goes on, but my tired mind can't come up with anything else for now.

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