feint

Aerial Refueling

56 posts in this topic

ARF_modLogo.png

I was asked by VectorX96 to put something together to allow aerial refueling (aka tanking or mid-air refueling) chatter between a pilot and tanker. So I figured I would just throw together some various dialog that could go back and forth between the tanker and the low-fuel aircraft.

But after doing some testing, I decided to create something to actually enable mid-air refueling for any aircraft.

So far it's working pretty well. One of the nice things about this is that it is an alternative to people who don't use ACE2.

FEATURES:

  • Able to use both BIS C-130 aircraft as well as KC-767 from JSDF mod
  • Chatter back and forth between tanker and player
  • Vector to tanker from player aircraft, heading of tanker, altitude of tanker, speed of tanker, distance from tanker (when greater than 100 meters from tanker)
  • Distance from port fuel drogue or from boom arm (as you get within 100 meters of tanker)
  • attachTo locks aircraft to tanker during refueling (when within 2 meters of fuel drogue or boom arm)
  • customized placement of different aircraft types during tanking (including many addon aircraft)
  • accurate fuel loads for different aircraft in lbs

So far, I don't have a hose model so I'm just using a wall lamp as the refueling drogue (as a placeholder). Once you get within 2 meters of that, the refueling takes place. Watch this video for the beta version demonstration.

V3PIET_EmUA

BUGS:

  • On Chernarus, there's something wrong with the map because BIS_fnc_dirTo doesn't work correctly there. I read somewhere that the compass was reversed or something. But now I can't find where I read that. - FIXED (I think)
    Is there a command which tells a script which map you are on?

EDIT:

MEMORY POINTS:

If you are making a plane or helicopter and want it to be compatible with this module out of the box, please name your memory point like this:

  • "refuel_probe" for compatibility with the drogue like on an F-18, AV-8B Harrier or most helicopters

  • "refuel_socket" for the receptacle like on the F-16 and F-22

Edited by Feint

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Yay! Hahaha. Thanks man. Of course, I searched on every term except "world".

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Can you set it so the refuelling plane will just fly straigh when refuelling? Sharp turns whilst refuelling looks a bit dodgy to me...

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Can you set it so the refuelling plane will just fly straigh when refuelling? Sharp turns whilst refuelling looks a bit dodgy to me...

Tankers allmost always fly a orbit... but not sharp ones ;)

anchor%20pattern.PNG

Further information about refueling anchors, take as example the ones in germany.

MIL-AIP Germany

Edited by VXR

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Surely no whilst doing the actual refuelling? I mean I realise they fly circuits....... But surely they dont take tight turns midway through?

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Surely no whilst doing the actual refuelling? I mean I realise they fly circuits....... But surely they dont take tight turns midway through?

Yes they do:

7xR_3H0qaTE

Its a slow turn but they do it.

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@wolfbite, the AI are a bit dodgy when trying to hook up. But I've gotten the best results by setting just two waypoints over water far apart for the AI tanker to fly toward. In the above video in the first post, I cut out my first two tries and misses at hooking up before the tanker started their turn. But I was able to hook up on the third try.

It definitely takes some practice and some flying skill to get right up in the right spot. Using just the two waypoints seems to give me at least 30 seconds to try and hook up when the tanker is traveling at "normal" speed. If I slowed it down to "limited" in the waypoints, I'm sure I'd get more time. I just have to do some testing. With the waypoints far enough apart and the altitude low enough and there not being any major terrain features underneath, the tanker flys straight and level at least until the turn. Setting the "completion radius" in the waypoint to like 1500 meters helps a lot.

I thought about just recording myself using UnitCapture or whatever it's called. I've done that before and it works great. But it would require a lot more coding on my end and the file sizes and loading times would be extremely long which would suck for slower computers.

Edited by Feint

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UPDATE:

I replaced the wall lamp with the 25mm and 10mm red helper spheres as the refueling drogues and hose. Much easier to see now at different times of day.

I've also made this into a module so all you have to do is place a C130, name it "USAF_Heavy", add the Functions Module, add the Aerial Refueling Module and then sync it with any plane or helicopter you want. I've set custom refueling positions for different aircraft and helicopters as well as a "default" position for any new aircraft that will come along in the future.

aerial_refueling_box_cover_LR.jpg

Edited by Feint

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Lovely!

Would it be easy to do a script version as well, for those that want to run without other addons?

This looks great for dropping into missions.

Sometimes the 'Heavy' has a CAP guard. Is it possible to run a 'little friend' with it ?

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Sometimes the 'Heavy' has a CAP guard. Is it possible to run a 'little friend' with it ?

Uhm...just group a plane to the tanker? ;)

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@Kremator, right now the script I've made doesn't spawn the C130. The reason is, I think mission makers need to decide where on the map their tanker will fly so it won't be shot down and where it will fly straight (like over water or flat ground). I've waffled back and forth on that detail but decided it's better to let mission makers decide where the AI tanker will fly, not me. I just allow that AI tanker to be a refueling option in flight. I hope that makes sense. So if you want a close air patrol guardian, I would do what Myke suggested. :)

In reference to your other question about a script version, I suppose I could do that.

QUESTION: Is there a listing of radio sounds such as "contact" and numbers that the player and AI say when commanded to do things or when they see things? I'm thinking of dropping my homemade radio chatter and instead using the radio sounds already built into vanilla Arma2. I'll unpbo the dubbing.pbo, and see what I can figure out for now.

Edited by Feint

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QUESTION: Is there a listing of radio sounds such as "contact" and numbers that the player and AI say when commanded to do things or when they see things? I'm thinking of dropping my homemade radio chatter and instead using the radio sounds already built into vanilla Arma2. I'll unpbo the dubbing.pbo, and see what I can figure out for now.

I'm not trying to start any conversation pertaining copyright infringement, but what if we started up DCS A-10 Warthog or Jane's USAF, created a scenario of a refueling mission, wrote down all of the different commands between the tanker and receiving aircraft, and then got someone to record our own version for you to play?

Would that make people shy away from the addon due to the large addon size after recording all of the new sounds? Or do you think people would like it more?

I have both of the games mentioned above, and wouldn't be too shy to try and record them at my house, but I'm not a recording artist or studio to produce the sounds the way they do.

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Can we change the placement and number of probes? Say I wanted to use Il-76 as the refueling plane how difficult woult it be to do that?

@Raptor: I'm always up for more interaction with things.

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I'm not trying to start any conversation pertaining copyright infringement, but what if we started up DCS A-10 Warthog or Jane's USAF, created a scenario of a refueling mission, wrote down all of the different commands between the tanker and receiving aircraft, and then got someone to record our own version for you to play?

Would that make people shy away from the addon due to the large addon size after recording all of the new sounds? Or do you think people would like it more?

I have both of the games mentioned above, and wouldn't be too shy to try and record them at my house, but I'm not a recording artist or studio to produce the sounds the way they do.

I'd hold off on that for now. I think the sounds add to the immersion, but aren't critical. And as for right now, they are delaying the release. So I'm going to just drop the sounds for now and revisit them later. But thanks for the suggestion and offer of help! :)

Can we change the placement and number of probes? Say I wanted to use Il-76 as the refueling plane how difficult woult it be to do that?

@Raptor: I'm always up for more interaction with things.

Hmm. Someone else mentioned to me in a PM the IL-76 and the KC-767 that is available in the JSDF mod. Hmmmm...

Edited by Feint

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UPDATE:

With special thanks to Evil_Brownie who informed me of the JSDF Mod's KC-767, I've incorporated that aircraft as a compatible refueling platform as well. I've adapted the script to give the pilot a narrow path to line up with to activate the boom arm refueling. Evil_Brownie also did a lot of the heavy lifting by finding the attachTo points for multiple aircraft. Thanks again, man!

Here are some pics of the F22 refueling:

boom_refueling-01_LR.jpg

boom_refueling-02_LR.jpg

boom_refueling-03_LR.jpg

The real life KC-767 has wingtip refueling drogues as well as this refueling boom. So I have created two scripts for the KC-767; one for the boom and one for the drogues along with a check to make sure you choose the right one depending on your aircraft.

Edited by Feint

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Ha, no sorry, USAF safety regulations prevent operating the boom and drogues at the same time. ;)

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Okay Feint, i have completed the Drogues model, i had one made already but it was for FSX, and looked crappy, so i made another from scratch...i will pm you the download link.

it should be scaled to the Bis C130J, and the hose ends should met up with the wing tanks, i have a few other projects and don't have alot of time right now to try and write a config, as i am not the greatest scripter(learning now as we speak). but if they help out your module glad to have contributed to it .....

I also made a UV and textured the drogues and Hoses, not the best texture job but i have included the source PSD should you feel like jazzing it up alittle more..

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Thanks so much! They are working great. I'm retexturing them a little adding in some alpha values to the paa file to make them look more like a basket with air catchers on them. Here they are in-game:

drogue_refueling-01_LR.jpg

drogue_refueling-02_LR.jpg

I just need to update the different positions for aircraft which takes a little bit of time. But I figured out a faster way of doing it directly rather than taking off and tanking each time like an idiot. Haha. :) But now I'm getting pretty good at tanking. The trick is to not touch your inputs too much and definitely don't touch your rudder. I use a HOTAS so it's easier than keyboard, but I have it set to analog throttle, rather than digital or whatever the other one is. That way it is easier to speed up and slow down slowly. Here's what I usually do:

  1. Approach tanker at max speed until about 500 meters from the aircraft, or until it is a solid spec on the horizon.
  2. Start to slow so you don't overtake the tanker.
  3. Match altitude as closely as possible with the tanker, making very small adjustments keeping an eye on your HUD (if you have one)
  4. When tanker is about 200 meters away, approach at a +100 kph speed (100 kph faster than the tanker)
  5. As you get close to the red sphere, match the speed of the tanker but add about 11 kph until you get close
  6. Get ready to slow down to +4 kph
  7. Make very small inputs as in ... adjust to move higher then let go before you reach the correct position ... level out before you reach the correct position

It takes a bit of practice, but you only have to get within 2 meters of the target (the red sphere). Try to fly your head directly into the red sphere. That will line you up with the drogue. Once you are lined up, the plane attaches and you start to refuel.

Edited by Feint

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Feint- Sometime last year a gentleman released an addon that made rope segments that could be configured to "sway" or "swing" with the wind. I believe he gave the script so that people could look into it and use it with their addons or scripts. I think it was called HEDP Rope or something of the sort. When the KC-130 is refueling, it's hoses are obviously affected by the relative wind caused during flight. This (again obviously) makes it a tad bit more challenging for helo pilots and the like during refueling ops.

In a KC-10 Extender or the KC-135, a boom drops down and only a small portion of the refueling section is a hard type nozzle that intersects with the receiving aircraft. Anyhow, the HEDP rope might add a little more "reality" to the look you may/may not be looking for. It's totally up to you, the way you have it now is leaps and bounds above what is expected ingame. Keep up the great work, and thanks to F2F_BHO also.

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Thanks for the suggestion. I actually considered incorporating he HEDU Rope but put the idea to the side in the face of the coding I had to do. I think it's a solid idea and I'd like to take a look at it when I have more time to explore that rope. I looked at the code and it's a bit complicated to decipher from scratch for me. So I'll see if I can figure it out some other time when I have more time.

Also, as a possibility, I think it might be really cool. I decided to try and replicate the speed and altitude of the tankers using the -60 in the example mission. It might have been my unsolid inputs, but the rope was moving all over the place. If there's a way to make it lighter or able to catch the virtual wind more, this might be a really cool idea. Problem now is that that the rope simply moves around too much.

QUICK UPDATE: (textures)

I spent some time tonight finishing up the retexture of the refuel drogues and got them to a point that I'm pretty happy with the results.

drogue_retex-01_LR.jpg drogue_retex-02_LR.jpg

And here is an interesting visual bug. Here I'm refueling and clearly attached accurately to the drogue, but in the cockpit view, the edge of the drogue doesn't overlap the nozzle. It seems to be a visual bug with the Arma2 engine because even if I move the drogue closer to the cockpit, the drogue never overlaps the nozzle.

Oh well. Most planes don't have refueling nozzles anyway, so it doesn't really matter all that much.

aerial_refueling_drogue-01_LR.jpg aerial_refueling_drogue-02_LR.jpg

aerial_refueling_drogue-03_LR.jpg aerial_refueling_drogue-04_LR.jpg

Edited by Feint

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it's great your mod, you plan to make it functional for helicopters, as the mv22, the HH-60 Stillman and EC-725 Caracal of OFrP?

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Feint, that really looks extremely well. If possible, you should set up some kind of standard which addonmakers could follow so their planes/choppers could be compatible by default without the need that you define each plane manually into your refueling addon. Actually i don't know your used scripts and routines but if you would say "listen guys, it needs a memory point named XY and a config entry named BLAHBLAH, your plane will be compatible with my refueling stuff", it would make your life a lot easier.

Just a proposal as i think your addon could set a standard here. Think about it.

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Myke;2100434']...Actually i don't know your used scripts and routines but if you would say "listen guys' date=' it needs a memory point named XY and a config entry named BLAHBLAH, your plane will be compatible with my refueling stuff", it would make your life a lot easier.[/quote']

I'd support that. Most of our stuff has Probes or sockets.

I'd suggest two seperate named points though. One for probes and one for sockets: Refuel_probe & Refuel_Socket maybe? That way you could easily match locations for both types or refuse a wrong connector? Just and idea.

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