autower - automatic tower position for FS 2004
This is autower's homepage. There are no Web 2.0 fancy rounded buttons here, but you should find all the information you need.
In a nutshell, autower is an add-on to Flight Simulator 2004 that automatically sets the tower position to the closest airport.
Have you ever been annoyed by the fact that when you want to see this perfect
touchdown you just made from an outside perspective, the tower is anywhere
but where it should be? Got frustrated trying to get the tower where
you think it is in reality, or at least somewhere where it fits well?
If the answer is yes, then take a look at autower. Designed to operate in
the background without any user intervention, it automatically moves the tower
to the airport where you want it to be, to the spot where the tower sits in
reality (well, at least somewhere close).
autower is free and open source software, released under the GNU General Public License.
autower is actively maintained and improved in response
to user requirements. While there are versions available on popular sites related to Flight Simulation (uploaded by myself or by other people), those are not updated on a regular basis;
the latest version, official support, and source code, is only guaranteed to be available here. In other words: this page is the authoritative source of information about autower.
autower requires FSUIPC. The free version of FSUIPC will work just fine, unless you're using an extremely old version (for FSUIPC 3.70 or older, you need a registered version).
Please help if you can
autower is, and will always be, free for you to download, use, and modify.
I'm glad to see that in general, the FS community is willing to recompensate developers for their efforts.
If you think that autower is worth it, you're more than welcome to contribute -- but don't give your money to me.
Please, if you can, donate to a Literacy Project in Laos. Thank you!!!
Note: I am not personally affiliated with Big Brother Mouse in any way. I simply fell in love with Laos and the people there, and I saw that BBM is doing something that is very much needed.
Your donation will make a difference!
News, Hints, Notes, Version history ...
- Nov 04,2011: Version 2.4.0 released.
The logic for determining the available sceneries has been completely rewritten. Now, an arbitrary number of sceneries is supported, and the order in
which they are considered should exactly mimic FS9's behavior. Previous versions supported a maximum of 999 layers, and may have gotten the ordering wrong
under certain (unusual) conditions. This version also fixes a glitch accidentally introduced with version 2.3.0, where a debug message would be
unconditionally displayed if the tower settings for TNCM were changed using autower.ini.
- Oct 30,2011: Version 2.3.0 released.
This version allows to conveniently override tower positions (and names) within the configuration file, instead of having to directly modify the
airport definition. Moreover, closed runways are now accounted for, thus yielding more accurate results on roughly 500 airports.
- Aug 02,2011: There is an alarming increase in network surveillance being done by ISPs notably in the UK and the USA (Vodafone, TalkTalk, and probably many more),
where the Internet Service Providers are literally stalking their customers, monitoring and then replaying every browser request. Not only does this completely screw up all usage statistics and double
or triple internet traffic, but most importantly, it is a totally unacceptable invasion of user privacy.
Therefore, I've switched over to providing all of the content of my site by encrypted HTTPS only. More background can for instance be found
here, here, and here.
If you are a TalkTalk or Vodafone subscriber, I urge you to switch to an honest provider who takes your privacy seriously.
- Feb 26,2011: Version 2.2.0 released.
There has been a slight modification of the scenery layer detection, and warnings about ignored layers have been "downgraded" to informational messages.
In addition, airports with a tower altitude of -1000m or less are ignored (as per user request for a very special setup). Note that the default log level
has been changed, so if you're using a custom configuration file, you may need to update the LogLevel setting in autower.ini.
- Jul 09,2010: Just a note, in case you did not know about it yet: FS Recorder is a fantastic freeware add-on for Flight Simulator.
While its primary purpose is to record and play back flights, it also has some really neat options to define new views, which for example allow you to freely "look around" the airport
from the tower. Absolutely awesome in conjunction with autower! ;-)
- May 21,2010: Version 2.1.1 released.
This version fixes a bug that affects all previous releases: altitude information was handled as unsigned numbers instead of signed,
which resulted in horribly wrong tower altitudes for airports below sea level (e.g. in the Netherlands).
- May 15,2010: Version 2.1.0 released.
Besides various other small improvements, the most important new feature is that the DLL variant now seamlessly integrates into the Flight Simulator UI when re-indexing, or when
showing messages. Upgrade recommended. If you are upgrading from an older version, be sure to revisit the autower.ini,
as there have been a few modifications and additions.
- Apr 25,2010: Version 2.03 released.
The only (purely cosmetic) change compared to 2.02 is the silencing
of a warning message ("expected airport ID (0003), but found...") that was reported to show up with Aerosoft
- Apr 25,2010: Version 2.02 released.
Sporadically, the DLL variant could cause a crash while FS was being shut down. The termination is now better
coordinated, which should avoid such crashes.
- Apr 24,2010: Version 2.01 released.
This version includes a fix to the path handling that would cause an incorrect detection of the
FS base directory in some rare circumstances.
- Apr 21,2010: Version 2.0 released. This is an almost complete re-write of the program with some massive improvements. Here's a couple of highlights:
- Automatic detection of scenery changes. No more manual deletion of autower.dat!
- Much faster indexing of airports, now making use of the scenery.dat files.
- Completely new handling of multiple layers, resulting in correct detection of the tower position for heavily modded airports.
- Out of the box compatibility with AlacrityPC or other situations where the Server service is not turned on.
- More graceful error handling.
- Debug mode to display how it handles a specific airport.
- Possibility to configure the behaviour to account for "misbehaving" add-ons like FSHotSFX.
- Last but not least: complete refactoring, resulting in much more readable code.
- Dec 9,2006: Version 1.04 released. The error messages have been changed to be more human-readable, and slightly more logging has been added. There have been NO other changes, so if 1.03 runs fine for you, there is no need to update.
- Dec 6,2006: Another hint: there was a report about autower, in conjunction with the registered version of FSUIPC, giving the error message "Unable to
connect to FSUIPC. Incorrect version of FSUIPC, or not FSUIPC". If you get this error, the following seems to fix the problem: Remove your registration
information from FSUIPC, restart FS, and re-enter your FSUIPC registration information. More details here: Post at AVSIM forum.
- Dec 3,2006: Version 1.03 released. It includes a graphical progress display while creating the datafile, slightly faster datafile creation,
plus a new feature which will find a better tower position for small airports (applies to over 16,000 airports, actually!). Upgrade recommended.
- Nov 30,2006: Just a note... I have received comments about autower presumably not working (high disk activity
but nothing else for more than 10 minutes): please wait, autower is doing something, namely scanning all scenery files.
It simply can take a loooooong time (up to 15 mins here) for it to build its database because of the possibly massive amount of scenery files --
fortunately this is a one-time process. However, I acknowledge that some visual feedback would be more recomforting, I'll
implement something during the weekend, so check back for version 1.03 soon.
- Nov 29,2006: Version 1.02 released. After a report about the DLL version having trouble with connecting
to FSUIPC in certain circumstances, parts of the DLL were rewritten. So, if the DLL
version only gives you an error like "Unable to connect to FSUIPC", then please download the fixed version.
- Nov 28,2006: Version 1.01 released. It fixes an annoying bug that caused
the command-line version not to read its configuration file. In addition,
some changes to the defaults were made, and the configuration file now contains
Frequently asked questions
You're also very welcome to contact me by mail. Please look into any of the downloads to find my mail address.