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Frequently Asked Questions

Generically doesn't work

I have a question: How / What / When...

Try the Search field in the top right corner. Everything explained to anyone once has been put into the documentation...somewhere...

I don't see any planes! What can I do?

  1. Follow First Steps at a busy airport.

  2. Make sure menu itemPlugins > LiveTraffic > Aircrafts displayed is on.

  3. Verify that OpenSky / ADS-B Exchange do have traffic where you are.

  4. Verify that these channels are enabled in your Basic Settings.

  5. Double-check CSL model installation. Do perform the validation recommended in the installation instructions by looking into Log.txt.

  6. If you see yellow labels but no planes go back to CSL model installation. As there are plane models missing. Really do perform the validation recommended in the installation instructions by looking into Log.txt.

  7. Switch logging level to Debug in the Advanced Settings and wait for 10 minutes, then take a look into Log.txt. There should be many lines like

Log.txt (extract)
OpenSky Live Online: Sending HTTP: https://opensky-network.org/api/states/all?lamin=...
OpenSky Live Online: Received #### characters
ADSB Exchange Live Online: Sending HTTP: https://public-api.adsbexchange.com/VirtualRadar/AircraftList.json?lat=...
ADSB Exchange Live Online: Received 7953 characters

If not you might have setup/network problems. Try getting help in the LiveTraffic Support forum or at Discord providing your Debug-level Log.txt.

Why do planes disappear after landing?

If they roll out to a complete stop and then only disappear then this is actually a feature to prevent them from disappearing even earlier. Read here about auto land.

If they disappear the moment they touch down (and there are also no other planes taxiing on the entire airport) then check your Basic Settings, right-hand side: There are two options meant to allow to integrate with plugins for airport traffic. And their job is to hide taxiing planes or planes below a certain height AGL. If any one of these is active LiveTraffic hides planes on the ground.

"Seeing 25, displaying only 2", what does that mean?

When starting up initially LiveTraffic reports on the received data to get an idea what you have to expect. These messages stop after the buffering period while receiving data certainly keeps going. (Check the Plugins > LiveTraffic > Aircrafts displayed menu item for an up-to-date number of displayed aircrafts.)

"Seeing" in this context means that there was one data point for an aircraft reported by the channels. Channels tend to repeat stale positions for a while before taking them out of the data stream. LiveTraffic certainly needs live data, at least two positions to have a track to fly. If there's lots of stale data then LiveTraffic believes to "see" many planes, but only few have moving data allowing to follow a flight path.

Remember to check coverage in your area before being disappointed of empty airports.

LiveTraffic disappeared...it's no longer in the Plugin menu. What happened?

Are you still on a beta version? Beta versions are time-limited to make sure beta testers keep updating to latest versions. You were informed with every start about the time limit. And if the limit expires then all what's left from LiveTraffic is the line LiveTraffic <timestamp> FATAL src\LTVersion.cpp:70/CalcBetaVerTimeLimit: BETA-Version limited to <some date in the past> has EXPIRED -> SHUTTING DOWN! in your Log.txt. Go and update to latest version.

Whatever...the first place to look is -as always- your Log.txt file in X-Plane's main folder. Just double-click it to open it in your favorite text editor, search (usually [Strg+F]) for LiveTraffic. In a normal installation the first appearance would be LiveTraffic: LiveTraffic <version> starting up.... There are two options now:

  • The search came back empty: Well, then there is no LiveTraffic! That would mean that X-Plane didn't even try loading a plugin by that name. Make sure there is a LiveTraffic folder with appropriate installation under <X-Plane>/Resources/plugins (so that it didn't get moved or trashed accidently). Basically go back to installations.

  • The search found something: Read that message...it might contain the reason. If it happened before it is mentioned here somewhere and the first FAQ applies.

FlightModels.prf: Unexpected Version

If you see something like

LiveTraffic 1551304182.7 ERROR src\LTAircraft.cpp:635/ReadFlightModelFile: Config file '.../FlightModels.prf' first line: Unexpected version LiveTraffic 1.0, expected 1.1...trying to continue

in your Log.txt and in the message area then you have probably only updated your LiveTraffic executables in the 64 folder, but not the other files. FlightModels.prf is quite important as it defines parameters of flight modelling. That's why LiveTraffic complains if it expects something newer.

Download LiveTraffic again and make sure to copy all files to your plugins directory.

Settings and Features

Can I switch off these annoying yellow labels?

Yes. Deselect all options in Setting / A/C Labels.

You can also quickly hide/show them in the current view via menu item Labels Shown, which can be bound to a keyboard shortcut or joystick button.

Can I switch off the message area in the top right corner?

To a large extend, yes. Go to Advanced Settings and change the level of messages appearing in the Message Area. If you select Fatal then you should never see anything there...and if so LiveTraffic's probably dead anyway. However, less than Error is not recommended.

Can I increase font size of aircraft labels? Could they move with head movement? Can aircraft labels {put any wish here}?

Unfortunately not, at least not at the moment. Thanks to kuroneko at least labels are drawn in the 3D world again. But the 3D world is made for objects, not for text. The X-Plane API provides no way of setting a font size. So, as long as I don't draw all characters by myself (no, sorry...I won't ;)) this is probably the way it is until somebody comes up with a better idea. Hey...it's open source...check out XPMPPlaneRender.cpp and have a look at the very end of XPMPDefaultPlaneRenderer().

Also, it seems that with the move to Vulcan this last trick of writing text will be finally gone for good. Let's see...

Can I selected multiple flight data channels simultaneously.

Yes, see Settings / Basic / Flight Data Channels. Please also understand the accompanying warning.

Can LiveTraffic start displaying aircrafts right after startup without going into the menu first? / Can LiveTraffic wait with loading aircrafts until I want it to do so?

Yes, choose Auto Start to your liking in the Settings / Basic.

Can you support Flightradar24 as a channel?

Technically yes, I can. But legally I am not allowed, sorry. I've checked with FR24 support. They do not yet allow using their data outside their own applications. Maybe, so their answer, they will provide a (paid) model in the future...maybe not.

Is there an option to read historic tracking data? Wasn't there once one?

Currently, there is no option to read historic data, with "historic" meaning to go several days or even months back.

There once was an option to read historic ADS-B Exchange data. The code is still in, just the settings to access it are removed. (Even the dataRefs to control access are still in, so it could be activated using a DataRef editor.) The conditions, under which one could request historic data files from ADS-B Exchange have changed quite a bit since the code came into being. Nowadays, ADS-B Exchange does not provide historic data just for the fun of flight simulation, but only for scientific purposes. So I can't get historic data any longer and hence have no chance to maintain the functionality.

No other publicly accessible historic data is known.

Planes and Models

My planes are sliding on their belly! What's wrong?

Most likely you are missing some VERT_OFFSET versions of xsb_aircrafts.txt in your CSL model folders. Copy them again from BB_IVAO_vert_offsets*.zip, see step-by-step instructions.

Some planes seem to be missing gear or props...

Gear appears if moving closer than 0.5nm

These are issues in the CSL models to be fixed by the CSL model developers:

Many GA and business jet models of the Bluebell package are known for LOD issues, i.e. some elements of the model simply don't show if the object is "too" far away. This is standard procedure in modeling to save performance. However, it often happens beyond 0.5nm already, which is visible. Move the camera closer than 0.5nm (a/c info window tells you your distance) and gear will show.

Less likely, but also reported: It could be a dataRef error: The model might still refer to some other (like WorldTraffic's) dataRefs to learn if gear is extended or not and might not have extended the gear. The correct dataRefs for LiveTraffic (and XSquawkBox and others) are documented here.

Why are some planes rendered with the wrong model? I see GA traffic rendered as A320, how to change?

Certainly, available models depend on the CSL packages you have installed. LiveTraffic can only render what's available as a CSL package. Install more package for better model coverage.

For picking the right model LiveTraffic (specifically: the multiplayer library) depends on the ICAO aircraft type code and the operator code (for the livery) to be transferred. If it is available then complex multi-step matching algorithms start kicking in to try picking the best matching model with the best matching livery. Check out Advanced Setting "Log model matching" if you are interested in the details.

One aspect of matching is the Resources/related.txt file: If no model is found in the CSL packages which exactly matches the type code of the plane to be displayed then the requested type code is looked up in related.txt. If found then any other model in the same line would do...if they exist, that is. So editing related.txt to include the missing type code at a proper place would help, too.

If, however, the ICAO aircraft type code is not transferred (and that does happen, especially for GA aircraft) then LiveTraffic has currently (pending issue #44) no clue as to what kind of aircraft this is.

Cessna 172S rendered as A320 due to missing ICAO type

You will see a warning to that effect in Log.txt like this:

Log.txt extract
OpenSky Masterdata Online: Data for 'A80A5D' (man 'Cessna', mdl '172S') lacks ICAO a/c type code, will be rendered with standard a/c A320

The a/c info window shows

  • the ICAO type received, or "?" if none has been received,

  • Manufacturer and Model as human-readable free text fields as sent by the network channels,

  • the CSL model actually used to render the aircraft.

Some planes are shown with wrong livery, how to fix?

Often: Help the community-maintained data by reporting wrong data. OpenSky offers the possibilities in their Detail Windows per aircraft.

LiveTraffic relies on the operator information delivered by the channels. And then there must be a matching model for the a/c type with matching operator livery to be displayed. Aircraft type takes precedence...the model matching prefers the right type of model over a wrong type with correct livery.

If you are interested in how model matching works switch on „Debug: Log model matching“ in the Advanced Settings and keep looking into Log.txt (see tips on keeping it open here).

How does it work?

How derives LiveTraffic the model to pick for any given aircraft?

This process is called "matching" and works based on 3 parameters: The ICAO aircraft type of the plane, the ICAO operator code to identify the airline, a text to identify a special livery. Starting with v0.92 LiveTraffic passes the aircraft's registration number as this special livery string so that it is in theory possible to define individual liveries per airframe.

Internally, a fourth parameter named group is added, derived from the ICAO aircraft type: There are many similar looking aircraft models in the world...just think of A319, A320, A321. The file LiveTraffic/Resources/related.txt combines all similar looking models into one line, which make up such a group. Each ICAO type is allowed to appear at maximum once in the entire file.

Model Matching now happens in up to 8 passes. If a pass finds a matching model within the set of provided CSL models then this is the model to be shown:

  1. Aircraft Type + Airline + Livery, i.e. an absolute exact match for the very specific airframe you are looking at...lucky you!

  2. Aircraft Type + Airline has good chances of being successful: the specific model with the correct airline's livery

  3. Group + Airline + Livery

  4. Group + Airline, in most cases this is eventually successful for airliners: a similar looking model with the correct airline's livery

  5. Aircraft Type + Livery

  6. Aircraft Type this is the match when the airline is not known (and there is also no specific livery), but the exact aircraft model is found.

  7. Group + Livery

  8. Group this is the match when there is a similar model, but the airline is not known.

If after all these passes still no model has been found then the model matching tries to derive a good guess of a model type with available CSL model, based on the "size" of the plane to be displayed. For "size" the wake turbulence category and the plane's configuration (like "L2J" for a 2-engine jet landplane) are taken into account. These matching passes also consider airline and work in the following order:

  1. airline, WTC, full configuration

  2. airline, WTC, # engines, engine type

  3. WTC, full configuration

  4. WTC, #engines, engine type

  5. airline, WTC, # engines

  6. airline, WTC, engine type

  7. WTC, # engines

  8. WTC, engine type

  9. airline, WTC

  10. WTC

If a type has been found this way it will be used for rendering the aircraft. What does that mean? Consider for a moment you would have no CSL models of any Airbus...for whatever reason. Now the live tracking data says there is an incoming A330-200 of China Eastern. The basic model matching won't find a CSL model. All Airbusses are grouped together in one group in related.txt...so none of the 8 passes has a chance. (Would we mix Boings with Airbusses in a group we would have found something here already...but we won't dare!) Now the next algorithm starts: An A332 is a heavy L2J plane according to Doc8643 of the ICAO. So in the first step we try finding any available CSL model, which is a heavy L2J plane and comes with a China Eastern livery...and maybe we are so lucky to find a B763...then we'll take that. With Log model matching on this looks as follows in the Log.txt and is precisely how we tested that algorithm in issue 44:

Log.txt (extract)
LT MATCH - ICAO=A332 AIRLINE=CES LIVERY=China Eastern Airlines GROUP=A332 A333 A338 A339
LT MATCH - Group 0 key A332 CES China Eastern Airlines CES
LT MATCH - Group 1 key A332 CES
LT MATCH - Group 2 key A332 A333 A338 A339 CES China Eastern Airlines CES
LT MATCH - Group 3 key A332 A333 A338 A339 CES
LT MATCH - Group 4 key A332 CES China Eastern Airlines
LT MATCH - Group 5 key A332
LT MATCH - Group 6 key A332 A333 A338 A339 CES China Eastern Airlines
LT MATCH - Group 7 key A332 A333 A338 A339
LT MATCH - No match.
LT MATCH/acf - Looking for a heavy L2J aircraft
LT Match/acf - matching airline, WTC and configuration
LT MATCH/acf - found: B763 CES
LiveTraffic 1544571591.6 INFO LTAircraft.cpp:871/LTAircraft: Added aircraft 7803BF (A332 CES), a/c model 'B763 CES B763_CES', flight model [HugeAirbus], bearing 171, distance 8.3km

What happens to a plane when no more live flight tracking data is received?

One out of two things:

  1. "Autoland": If the plane is in flight phase Approach (this is triggered when plane is sinking and below FLAPS_DOWN_SPEED according to FlightModel.prf) then the descend is continued straight ahead with constant sink rate to the ground where the plane flares, touches down, and rolls out to a complete stop. (If by that time the plane is already on an ILS beam it will hit the runway threshold fairly ok.) If then there's still no new data the plane will disappear. This special handling is due to the fact that ADS-B receiver coverage is typically worse the lower planes fly. Missing data during approach is quite common. LiveTraffic will never simulate taxiing without tracking data.

  2. "Continue unchanged": If the plane is not in a phase between Approach and Roll out then it will continue flying with unchanged parameters (heading, speed, vertical speed) for as long as configured in a/c outdated period in the advanced settings.

    1. If during this time the plane descends (in a configuration not triggering Approach phase, e.g. too fast) and hits the ground it will flare, roll out and stop as in "Autoland" - no matter if there happens to be a runway or a skyscraper.

    2. If during this time the plane ascends it will continue to ascend and be taken out of service at FL600.

The a/c info window tells you per plane how old the data is in the Last Data line: If the number is positive then there is a known data point this number of seconds in the future and the flight will continue at least until then. If the number is, however, negative, then the last known data point is this many seconds ago and we are flying blind already. The number will not grow (much) more negative than -(a/c outdated period).