you would hear and see, well, nothing!
In the real world, there are Catering and fuel trucks, follow me cars, stairs, baggage carts, docking systems and of course, passengers boarding or disembarking.
GSX Injects Sights and Sounds!
Lots of things happen when an aircraft parks at the gate, with all kinds of dynamics taking place. In the default FSX, you taxi in, and assuming you are at a default FSX airport, stop and shutdown following your checklists, and as the engines slowly wind down; you would hear and see, well, nothing!
With that now said, I do not wish to diminish FSX, it was and still is an excellent flight simulator, given it was last released in 2009, it is an aging title. With the addition of a range of add-ons by specialty developers, some of the shortcomings of FSX can be overcome and collectively, albeit, at some cost, the simulator can be made much more realistic and enjoyable.
GSX, Ground Services for FSX is one of those add-ons. It has been around a while now and has been well received by the flight simulation community. Its simulates the ground services using advanced animations and sounds which have always been missing in the default FSX, and it does this well. This add-on adds a lot to the simulations feeling of immersion.
So What will Change with the Gsx Ground Services
The first thing to be said is that this product works for all FSX default and popular third party airports. All animations are superb, but while it is stunning visually, it is the sounds which add the polish to this product.
The Two Main Services
Parking Services Criteria: Called when the aircraft is on the ground, is not parked in a designated parking spot, engines are running.
Docking systems – Systems that allow aircraft to park without requiring the services of a Marshaller.
Marshallers – Guide an aircraft into an assigned parking spot in the absence of an advanced parking aid.
Follow Me Car – Guide the plane by driving a short distance ahead to an assigned parking spot.
Assistance, Services Criteria:, – Called when an aircraft is parked with its engines off, and the parking brakes set.
Special Tow Trucks – Used to push the plane back and into a position where it can start taxing to the runway.
Passenger Stairs – Used by the passengers to embark or disembark
Baggage Loaders – Load or unload the baggage into or off the aircraft.
Refuelling Trucks – Deliver the fuel directly to the aircraft.
Passenger Bus’s – Used to both pick up and drop off passengers when there is no docking system, generally used when the aircraft is a long way from the terminal building.
Catering Vehicles – Transport the food and drinks to the aircraft, then load it into the appropriate area in the cargo bay of the aircraft.
So How Does GSX Work in FSX
In a typical scenario, after the aircraft has landed, the pilot begins the process by bringing up a menu via an assigned hotkey. The menu lists some parking spot options available at that particular airport. If the terminal has advanced parking systems, then the list will display the gate numbers as well as those which have the advanced parking (and it’s typed) for each gate.
A nice feature is that it also displays the parking spots status, free or being used. For those occupied FSX will show the type of aircraft currently parked there (AI), along with an indicator of when it will become free (in minutes: seconds).
If you change your mind about the parking spot you have chosen, rest easy in the knowledge that all one need to do is use the hotkey from the menu, to change your assigned parking if you wish.
After you have chosen a parking spot, the menu will ask if you require a follow me car? If you choose no, just taxi to the gate normally, if you decide yes, you just need to wait a short time for the follow me car to arrive and guide you to your allocated parking spot.
About the Follow me Car
After you call the follow me car, be sure to allow a little time for it to arrive, it does not simply pop up. As in the real world, the car will be despatched, and drive to your location. The same thing applies for the other vehicles, the passenger bus, catering vehicle and fuel truck all need to drive to you (normally a few minutes).
I think this adds to the realism that this add-on provides, vehicles do not just pop up in front of you in real life! The vehicle will display some status indicators which indicate what you need to do as you follow the car. For example; “follow me,” “slow down,” “wait,” “stop” or it may display arrows to indicate the direction of a turn.
Upon your arrival at the allocated parking spot, the required services such as a Marshaller or if it’s an advanced docking gate, will be waiting to receive your aircraft, the nice touch is they will be in the livery of that airport’s Handling Company.
About the Marshaller
If there is no Docking system, then the system will provide a Marshaller, who will guide your aircraft into position along both its lateral and longitudinal axes. The Marshaller will use standard gestures to guide the pilot as required; these gestures are available for reference in the GSX manual provided. After the parking procedure is complete, you will see an indication of how well you did on the screen.
NOTE: Beware that most of the following methods require that the pilot opens and closes all the right doors for your aircraft. Of course, these methods will vary depending on each and every plane, particularly for the third party aircraft.
Arrival and Departure Procedures
I have described the procedures for both arrivals and departures, a flight arrives, progresses through a conventional disembarking process, then prepares for a new flight.
Time to Get the Passenger’s Off
Once you have parked with the handbrake set to on and the engines are fully shutdown, you may start the procedures for De-boarding and arrange the services for your aircraft. These services are all shown on the call service menu frequently used in sequence. The following shows the proper order in which services called:
1. Call and Request for De-boarding
De-boarding refers to both luggage and the passengers; both have their ground services. If the airport has a Jetway then GSX will expect it to be used, the pilot will need to set the Jetway by the type of terminal, default or third party.
A third party airport may require a com radio frequency or another method to move the Jetway into position. If the aircraft door is at the rear of the fuselage, or the aircraft is on the apron, then a staircase will be sent to that position. If yours is a default FSX airport and planes, you will need to press Shift + E ( + 2,3,4,5) for opening the cargo and or passenger doors, then only hold Ctrl + J to move the Jetway.
NOTE: Many of the operations which are carried out by GSX require the pilot to open or close the doors as needed, if this procedure is not adhered to, then the services will only sit and wait until the doors open! To initiate the de-boarding, be sure you activate the Jetway first, and then open the main passenger door.
Aircraft Parked on an Apron
Once all the doors open a staircase, passenger bus, baggage cart’s and a Conveyer belt vehicle will be dispatch to your aircraft. If your aircraft door or doors are very low, then a baggage train will be used in place of the conveyor belt vehicle. Very intuitive!
The conveyor belt vehicle will then unload all the bags into each of the baggage carts, the baggage carts then drive back to the terminal to offload. The conveyor truck will, however, remain where it is so that it can load the aircraft in readiness for a flight should you request a boarding.
In that scenario, another set of baggage carts will arrive at your aircraft for loading. Another small but interesting fact about GSX at this point is that the luggage carts are relative in size to the number of passengers flying on your aircraft. If the plane has no doors or is a very small GA for example, the baggage cart will drive up to the plane, stop for a while, then drive off, GSX does this simply to simulate a baggage offloading procedure, again in the name of realism.
2. Call and Request Catering
Now that our passengers and their luggage are all under control, it’s time to organize the catering. The type of catering truck to arrive will depend on the size of your aircraft; it might be a platform truck or if it’s a small plane, most likely a minivan.
Larger aircraft will normally have two doors on the right; therefore, two catering vehicles will arrive at your aircraft. Again, they will sit and wait until you open the doors for them. Once open, the caterers will load the food carts onto the plane, and then unload the empty ones. When the loading and unloading complete, you will then be prompted to close the doors.
3. Call and Request Refuelling
Just as it was with the other vehicles, allow a few minutes for the fuel truck to arrive, this is the time to set your fuel requirements on the FSX fuel page. When done the fuel truck will drive back to the terminal.
4. Call and Request Boarding
Boarding the aircraft is a reversal of De-boarding, except for the baggage cart arriving from the terminal building is now full of baggage. If the aircraft is on the apron, then a passenger bus will arrive with all your flight’s passengers, and you will need to open the doors for them. Boarding time, by the way, is directly linked to the number of passengers.
5. Call and Request Pushback and Departure
The push back is typically done just before engine start and is beautifully modeled in GSX, from a pilot’s perspective it is hands off, GSX is intuitive enough to know where it needs to push your aircraft, and you only need indicating right or left.
<h4?Tip about Pushback
(The procedure and definition are in the GSX manual) I find an easy way to remember is from the pilots perspective, looking forward if the aircraft needs to be pushed back left, and then the rear of the plane will turn left when referenced by the position of your left arm or shoulder. The GSX customizations allow you to change left and right to be called by another term if you prefer)
If there is only one direction available, then GSX will know and push you back in the appropriate direction. To start the pushback sequence, check your parking brakes are set to on, and that the engines are off. Make sure that all ground connections are disconnected, and wheel chocks removed. Confirm all service vehicles have disconnected and pulled back, and that all doors close.
There are various types and sizes of pushback trucks, again depending on the size of the aircraft. The wing walker is the person who will talk with the Captain using an intercom during the whole process, very nicely modeled in my opinion. GSX is smart enough to make the correct call for engine start-ups depending on what you are flying.
For example, if you’re in the PMDG 737 NGX, GSX will prompt you to start the APU early in the pushback procedure, smart stuff! Kudos to the development team who keep an eye out for new aircraft releases and subsequently will update GSX to incorporate any nuances or special requirements for those aircraft.
When the pushback completes, the wing walker will call for the parking brake to be set, and then will disconnect the tow bar; the wingman and the truck will retreat backward, so there seen from the cockpit. The wing walker will raise his arm and declare pushback complete; the parking brake is released. He will then salute you and walks back, or hitch’s a ride back to the gate.
If you should wish it, you can abort the procedure and go right back to the beginning.
No need to watch out for updates, GSX will update itself once a day. It will ensure you are always using the latest version.
There is a trial version which is how you initially install this add-on. When you’re ready to purchase all you need to do is paste in the serial number directly into the add-on manager within FSX. During the trial any FsDreamTeam airports you might have installed or the following airports will allow you to evaluate GSX:
San Francisco – KSFO – USA – From FlightBeam
Munich – EDDM
Milano Linate – LIML – Italy
- Compatible with both the default FSX and third party airports.
- All default and most popular third part aircraft.
- GSX is designed for FSX and uses 100% FSX code.
- Service vehicles will change in accordance with the aircraft and airport.
- GSX uses Surround Sound with OpenAL, many various and realistic effects are used.
- Human animations are modelled using the FSX bones/skin meshe.
- FSX advanced materials used.
- Very friendly user interface similar to the default FSX menus.
- User-customization of vehicles with paint kit.
- GSX keeps it self-updated using a live Update feature, it automatically updates for any new aircraft add-ons as they are released.
- Interacts full with all popular aircraft add-ons from Aerosoft, Wilco and PMDG.
- Supports airport customization which already works with FSDT sceneries and some popular third party sceneries.
GSX uses an Add-on Manager and a module which is referred to as the “Couatl Engine”; it requires the FSX trust confirmation for the system to work.
A Little about FSDreamTeam
FSDreamTeam is a group of very experienced independent developers for the flight simulator addon-market. VIRTUALI is an Italian company which was founded in 1993 when flight simulator was in early development.
They have developed a diverse range of products which have used by well know flight simulation companies like Justflight, Aerosoft, Cloud9, Lago, and Microsoft.
What I Like about GSX
Sometimes, I just feel like kicking the tires and going flying, no set procedure, just fly and have fun.
For those time’s GSX will most likely not even be used, however, more often than not, I like to fly the PMDG NGX (my favorite aircraft at the moment) following a realistic procedure, then this is when GSX does make the difference by adding in another component for flying realistically.
It’s easy to use and understand.
No, I don’t have anything to complain about with this product.
If you are someone who likes realism when you’re flying in your flight simulator, then this add-on is a no brainer.
Would I be without it? Not if I can help it.
Grab your copy here: Flight Simulator Add-ons
Lockheed Martin Prepar3D
Supports DirectX 10.0.
Fsdreamteam GSX 1.9.9 Update 2/6/2016
SODE Jetways Integration – Major Update
Airport selection menu – Major Update. It’s now possible to pre-select a gate to be used for GSX when still in flight.
Support for New Collision System – Major Update
Support for airports using non-standard ground elevation, like Aerosoft Madeira, La Palma, etc.
New Catering Truck: Scania CT8000 for the A380.
New “Restart Couatl and Rebuild Airports cache” option of the “Couatl Settings” menu.
Cargo parking spots recognition: Cargo operators will appear only on Cargo parking spots, and non-cargo operators will appear only on non-cargo parking spots.
Warning message when using isolated parking (not connected to any path).
Automatic protection from the removal of non-Ground Vehicles objects in 3rd party sceneries using SODE or other custom Sims object creation methods.
New AGNIS Docking System (used in KMEM).
Automatic removal of Ground Vehicles around the user airplane after GSX started its services.
“Warp to Trial” now set the plane on the first Start Position.
A ground operator added: NOK: NOK AIR (Thailand).
The ground operator added: HVN: Vietnam Air (Vietnam).
Another ground operator added: HAS: Hong Kong Air Service (Hong Kong).
The ground operator added: KAC: Kuwait Airways (Kuwait).
New Liveries for the following operators: Air Europa, Avianca, Condor Flugdienst, Eurowings, Frontier Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines UK, Iberia, Swiss, Spirit Airlines, Transavia France, GOL, German Wings, Ryanair, SAS.
Bugfix: GSX vehicles wheels not turning in reverse anymore when they move backward.
Bugfix: Improved detection of removed airports.BGLs (AFCADs) to trigger an automatic Airport Cache regeneration.
GSX Ground Services for FSX. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2016, from http://www.fsdreamteam.com/products_gsx.html