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Chris Catalano

Simulated ACARS - is there an ACARS addon?

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Dear All:Is there an addon that simulates an ACARS system? I would love to have one for the 737 NG. I especially would love to know the landing runway long before I land, this way I could program it in the FMC really early on like they would do in real life. Is there such an addon anywhere?Thanks.Chris Catalano

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I hope ;-) that there will be an ACARS Addon coming along with the Cargo Addon for the B744 from PMDG. In my opinion communication (especially datalink comm) is one of the most underestimated things in FS and FS Addons. It would add so much more realism if we could ask e.g. for a NAT Clearance via ACARS, or recieve weather reports via ACARS etc.! And of course, as already said, it would make FMC programming much more comfortable since we could ask for the active rwy!CheersFrederik

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Hi all,I support your eager for a ACARS system in our FS world, but things like NAT clearances seems to me impossible to simulate on a realistic way. NAT tracks in real life are selected with factors in mind like traffic congestion, weather, aircraft performance and human factors.Traffic congestion can be dealt with if you have something like radar contact. But how can we let know Radar Contact that our initial routing (i.e. track Y) has been changed (i.e. into track Z). I think Radar Contact needs to be rewritten...And what about the weather? Thanks to such great tools like AS, we are able to know the weather enroute and at our destination. But how can we pick the right track based on the weather? For that alone, the FS ACARS software should have a very complicated model to simulate different altitudes and different tracks for different weather situations (as weather changes during the 3 hours crossing of the pond)And last but not least: aircraft performance. We all know about the extended range operation of aircraft and we also know that calculating the maximum distance to the nearest airport is not a sinecure: again a sophisticated model is needed.If I make the sum of all these elements (wich, I confess, are not explained in great detail) it seems rather impossible to simulate a realistic ACARS environment for NAT-clearances.And what about loadsheets,... Loadsheets are also a very important function of ACARS: data is being transmitted to the flightdeck minutes before take-off. But the data is being calculated by professionals, supervised by state of the art software... Who of all the FS pilots have ever seen a load and balance sheet of an aircraft in detail? I don't think there are many... So how can we simulate something complex like weight and balance? %CG, trim settings etc are all to be calculated via weight and balance sheets (or electronically) and is being sent trough ACARS to the flightdeck. Are we also gonna make that for our ACARS system?Unfortunately, I'm afraid that the real-world complexity is , for this time, realy TOO complex to simulate: just because we aren't well trained real-life pilots and we aren't well trained and experienced loadmasters (those who calculate all the stuff). Making an realistic ACARS system would imply we should make sophisticated models for different weather situations, weight and balance calculations and we should even insert some AI to cope with the human factors.Of course we are humans and humans have ambition and dreams and maybe, if we can work really hard and don't mind to learn details by hard, it wouldn't be impossible to recreate a realistic ACARS system, but I'm afraid the most of us aren't capable to use it (due lack of time to study the things which are behind it).Yours sincerelyNick

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Your points are valid but let me say a couple of things about Radar Contact especially version 4. I use it with AS6 and FSBuild 2.22. I can between FSB and AS6 generate reports similar that given by a dispatcher and would be transmitted via ACARS to the aircraft. When all is balanced and flight level is chosen I export to PMDG and FS9 (for Radar Contact).For RC4, you only load the flight plan into it after your route is finalized. It accepts the standard FS9 plan format which is based on waypoint name and lat/long coordinates. I would assume you have NAT TRACK planners that can export in both .rte and .pln formats, or the tracks can be imported in to FSBuild for processing. The point is RC4 accepts your plan.Within RC4 you can request FL cruise changes to accommodate unplanned changes in winds aloft.Regarding arrival, RC4 looks at the AI pattern and if they are active selects the active runway from AI trends. If they are not active then their normal selection algorithms are used based on weather and runway facilities. Whatever the selection when you contact RC approach you get the "expect vectors to . . ." at which point on the DEPARR page for the destination ARR I choose the approach and runway for the RC announced runway. In RC at this point you can also also request the approach you wish and do your own navigation thereby declining vectors. If you wish to have LNAV and optionally VNAV coupled to the AP you can do this without RC interfering.The point is RC points to the active runway in use at the actual arrival time just in case from the arrival METAR reported by AS6 at plan load time weather has progressed to require a different choice of runway.I just wanted to clarify the current state of Radar Contact and its flexibility in working with dynamic changes.This is not a complete description.Perhaps a dispatch emulating add-on will be created. There was an inquiry from Peter Wilding who has developed some products for Flight One regarding user interest but (on the AVSIM FS Discussion) the thread was short and no conclusion was stated.

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