I did a little testing with the latest release, so far the docking procedure seems to have improved significantly. I was even able to manage a photo shooting without losing one single escort
Unfortunately I had a major accident and I am not sure if and how this is related to your last changes, as I have never seen this in the older version.
After a successful fight, the escorts were automatically called back. My Wolf escort was next to me heading forward when it got the order to dock. It seems it was out of docking range, and I was at half speed. The Wolf did a quick U-turn and plunged directly into my front. I was only on half shields... and after that I had no shields and no ship anymore.
I don't know if this is possible but do you think it could be done that the ships only try to dock from the rear of the carrier, and with a rather slight speed difference only? And try to avoid being in front of the carrier (on green alert, that is)?
PS/Edit: Ah well and I just noticed in the log:
8:05:49.746 [shipData.load.error]: ***** ERROR: the shipdata.plist entry "escort-ghavial_gun" specifies non-existent model "escort-ghavial_gun".
This happens upon start of Oolite 1.80.
Edit2: I just got in the log...
19:12:09.004 [escortdeck_escort]: Wolf Mark I 3: Feersum Endjinn terminated by [Ship "Witchpoint Beacon" position: (6.36663, 3.3509, -28.5262) scanClass: CLASS_BUOY status: STATUS_DEAD] scrape damage