Today's Dev Q&A - Cold and Dark Starts in the Water....?

Ok, color me extremely confused. I start cold and dark in the water every day.

Why do the top devs not know you can do this? (Seb “agreed” with the question and said you can’t. But you can).

Sure, it requires a dock parking spot, but there’s plenty of addons with them (including several of mine and several more coming). I’m not sure why MicroSobo doesn’t have dock parking spots in their airports?

(BTW, for those that don’t know, FUEL parking spots can be put in the water, too, and they work there just fine (best if you turn off 3D Mesh). It also seems FUEL parking spots only work if the aircraft is pointing in the general direction of the parking spot arrow, which is a pain in the you know, as you can pull into one and it doesn’t turn on the Fuel menu. Took me a second to figure this out).

Be that as it may, can somebody explain the reasoning behind their answer that you can’t?

I don’t remember exactly what they said. (I’m typing up the transcript, so I’ll find out eventually!) But, is it possible that they were talking about starting cold and dark anywhere?

I remember a previous stream where they talked about being able to start a flight anywhere. Maybe this is along the same lines?

The question was directly “With all the great water planes coming to the sim, will we ever be able to start cold and dark in the water”
In QA 2 at 51:00 Seb answered that you can’t. You can. But maybe there’s something I don’t understand about the question or subject.

It’s a bit of a pain, because you float around, but that’s true in real life. There’s an existing thread about somebody asking how you do an engine runup in the water, with a link to an article that explains typically it’s done while taxiing to the water runway location, and that it’s dangerous to do it while tied up because you can damage the floats with the forces involved.

I assume you need to be on PC for those add-ons?

I suspect what he means is “anywhere” on water, not just parking spots in water runway airports or addon water runway airports.

Shameless plug, but you can actually start anywhere on water (or land) with Location Manager for MSFS - Sonicviz (pro version) [disclosure: developer of LM]

It’s a little bit of a process via creating the saved location from the main map (or fly mode) then in Fly mode you can select the saved location and teleport to an engine stopped state on ground/water or engine on (duh!) flying in air @ 1000ft iirc. Then you can begin whatever flight startup process you wish. You can currently save 200 locations, & I may increase this in future.

The reason for the process is multiple. There’s an issue that custom waypoints selected on the main map always have a set height of 1640ft/500m, which makes getting the altitude for ground/water a little tricky, when it should be able to just pop it in there on the map. Also, it appears custom waypoint starts are always in the air at a height depending on the aircraft type, and there was no way I could see to hook into that to do a custom ground/water start anyway. There is no flexibility there, by design.

I asked this on the dev forum:

Q: Why don’t custom waypoints have correct altitude?
POI’s, runways, airports etc all have correct altitude set in the location object in world locationinfos, but custom waypoints altitude are fixed at 1640ft or 500m everywhere.
I’m on SU12 beta, but I think this is also the case in live.

Yoanito answered • Mar 14 2023 at 6:10 PM BEST ANSWERACCEPTED ANSWER
Hello @sonicviz
This altitude value is hard coded because waypoints in general have no altitude, the POI altitude is right because it has been set by hand.
It is made like this by design and won’t be changed.
Best regards,

Ah, but waypoints in general DO have altitude, if you want them to. For whatever reason(s), they decided it wasn’t needed.

So I found a way to do it in Location Manager anyway so you can get set up anywhere on ground/water, but if MSAsobo do actually look into doing this properly from the main map akin to the current starting location process they will encounter the same issues that will need to be resolved first.

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When we click anywhere there is water on the map, the Sim should ask if we want to depart from
the water, or do an air-start.


And why it doesn’t do that I just explained above. Maybe one day!

It’s actually not that simple to implement, there’s more to it than it looks when you start exploring the use cases around it. I can understand why they skipped it in the initial release.

Expanding on that, the whole topic of water simulation in MSFS needs more visibility and discussion.
I posted some thoughts on that here, and hope to do more on that soon:

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Yes, my sceneries with docks are freeware and only for PC. But, It’s entirely possible there are airports available in the Marketplace for Xbox with “Dock” parking spaces, I haven’t checked.

If not, hopefully the new thing that allows us to edit scenery allows Dock parking spot creation. If not, hopefully it gets added before release since it’s going to take a few weeks before they can release it. I’ll ask at DevSupport.

The Boeing B314 comes with scenery around the world with dock parking spots, is that available on Xbox?

I believe they said it will be once it reaches the Marketplace.

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I recently came across the seaplane base in downtown Seattle (forgot the name) and it had mooring spots where you can start your seaplane cold and dark - and that was the pure vanilla MSFS without any add ons.

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Just having an option to start the plane in a cold and dark state on an active runway (or waterway I guess) would be nice. There’s a fair few water runways (mostly in the USA) and thousands of dirt strips around the world that don’t have any parking spots in the sim so you always load in with everything turned on. If they gave us a little tickbox or something that said ‘start cold and dark’ which loads up the apron.flt state instead of runway.flt that would be awesome. (just like in X-plane :wink: )

Which one’s that? I see a couple with parking but they’re from the Drzewiecki Design Seattle Landmarks pack.


Plug is needed, as so many don’t seem to yet know of of its existence, or of Aircraft Manager,

These two product both provide what was being asked for in the Q&A, and most likely provide a far more extensive solution, than anything Asobo could realistically develop,

Maybe Asobo/MS could negotiate with the Developer to include these both in the core MSFS, and save Asobo a lot of duplicate development work ? (wishfull thinking)

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The comments in the Q&A about “Shared Cockpit” were interesting.

Yes, a very complex feature to implemented correctly, if it is to work well, especially with complex planes.

What surprised me was that this discussion did not include any references to Multiplayer, as it would seem that to support Shared Cockpit with 2 pilots, (or hopefully more than 2 pilots, as already done by P3D), would probably also require quite a large overhaul of the Multiplayer System - The current Multiplayer system already having numerous stability issues as it is .

Once I load into a parking spot at a bigger airport, I use Flow Pro to relocate to the small airport without parking I want to start at. If flow allows you to spawn anywhere you click on the map, I don’t understand why Asobo can’t do the same thing from the world map.


Heres my 2 cents
Maybe instead of focusing just on water starts, the whole custom starting position system could be upgraded to allow you more freedom in your desired starting position. Perhaps you could select an initial altitude(ground surface included), maybe an initial airspeed, and initial heading. Would need some programming to ensure the aircraft is in an acceptable configuration for the starting conditions selected. IE, starting at the water surface doesn’t spawn you with the gear extended.

Also, if you choose a ground start, a dropdown menu showing the available aircraft configurations to start in would be cool as well. So you can select Apron, Cold and Dark, Taxi, etc. And that dropdown could be shown to let people choose for all ground starts, not just custom ones. With the recommended configuration for the chosen parking spot preselected by default. IE, choosing to start at a gate would select “Apron” by default but still allow you to change it, starting at the runway would choose “Runway” by default, etc. That way you don’t impede the flow of people who just wanna click through quickly, or require too much fine tuning for new users who might not know what all the starting states mean.

ALSO! This might be getting too advanced, but since the starting configurations are just .FLT files stored in the aircraft folder, you could also allow users to save an aircraft configuration and then start with that configuration from the menu.

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There’s 4 good ways I know of to start anywhere in MSFS in the sky or on the ground/water, and even though I wrote one of them (Location Manager) I also use all of them as well as my own.

In addition to teleporting they all have some unique useful features that solve other problems too. So they’re all good in their own way, and I recommend having all of them in your toolbox of addons/apps.

MSAsobo may well at some point implement this feature, but I’m pretty sure they won’t replicate the other grab bag of useful things we all bring to the table to make your UX better.

If you’re wondering why it’s not done currently by Asobo I explain here a couple of the reasons why:


Kenmore… Sea… something ? I am sorry, I do not recall. I will check when I get the chance.

I think the reason may be that most waterway starts don’t actually have a parking spot, just either end of the “runway”. I certainly don’t have any third party ones, and every sim default one I have tried has not had a “ramp” start. It makes sense that if they exist it would count as a ramp start for C&D, but I have never seen a sim default one, hence their answer I suspect.

If that’s the case, then, the answer isn’t “You can’t”, it’s “You can, you need a dock parking spot to start from. We’ll need to work at adding some.” He said, I suppose you could say implied, you flat out can’t. That’s wrong. Hence, I’m confused how he doesn’t know that, or said what he said.

Mostly I posted here to hopefully eventually get a response from them on this subject, as water based aviation is near and dear to my heart. As somebody else noted, I’d like to hear some discussion on their plans for water physics as well (and effects, that cavitation behind the floats seems a bit overdone?).

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That was certainly how I interpreted it, in exactly the way as you can’t do a C&D start at a land based airstrip with no parking spots. The water has nothing to do with it, but everything to do with the airport data.

I just quickly checked these three in LNM, and none of them support anything other than a “runway” start:

If they exist, they are few, and far between, so modders would need to include these in their sceneries to allow for it.

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