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Guest Fltsim Phil

VOICE!! VOICE!! VOICE!!

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I have been a Vatsim member and on-line pilot now for about 3 months and I feel on-line flying is one of the greatest additions to come along in years!! The only pet peeve I have is regarding the lack of voice controllers... Before everyone attacks that statement, I do understand that Roger Wilco is at best a flakey system to deal with (on a good day) and some pilots prefer text (fear of public speaking??). But I have to say that there is nothing more annoying than being 5 miles out on an ILS approach, getting handed off to the Tower by Approach and having to:1. Pause FS20022. Type into a chatbox3. Unpause FS2002My suggestion is that all "critical" controller positions (Tower, Approach/Departure) be required to offer voice access (when technically feasible) in addition to text. It still amazes me when I log into ServInfo on a busy evening that a large number of controllers at popular airports are on "Text Only".... This really takes away from the realism that on-line flying is designed to enhance.Anyone elses thoughts??Phil

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Hi Phil;A couple of things here. Firstly often new controllers start working from the ground up (pun intended). They will usuallyserve a time as GND or DEL then move up to TWR. Most areasdon't permit voice until the student controller has gained appropriate experience and knowledge.Your frustration is understandable since turning final aftera long flight is the most critical time and having to switchto text can be awkward but don't forget you can customize yourSB commands to add one such as "with you on final" to save you typing after you switch.During fly-ins though you may find most positions are mannedby voice rated controllers and then RW might get overloadedso you need to be ready to fall back on text anyway.RegardsBlayne M.

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Phil,thats life. As mentioned VATUSA requires new controllers to work on text for abit before going to voice.ALSO - DONT PAUSE ON FINAL - it gives ATC a heart attack, especially if ATC is sequencing other guys on final behind you. Get used to flying and typing.Frankly - it is better not to acknowledge "clear to land" than screw up the final approach.Real world pilots are taught the phrase "aviate navigate communicate" - which means your first priorty is to keep the airplane under control, then keep track of your position and then lastly to talk to ATC.A savvy text TWR controller will understand that if you dont respond right away to "clear to land" - it means you are busy lining up on the runway.Actually pausing without prior approval from ATC is not permitted by the VATSIM code of conduct.Jim B.

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Yes!! Yes!! Yes!! As a Vatsim pilot I really don't understand this mandatory text for controller trainee policy. It's totally inappropriate. I think it's one of those rules that made sense a long long time ago and somehow no one has thought to change it... it's just policy. Is it really easier for a trainee to type rather than speak? What is the benefit here for the trainee? Or is it a "pay your dews, like I had to" kind of thing? I know I can barely type at the best of times. With voice, if things get a little out of hand I can still fumble through in a polite and professional manner...but typing forget it. I'm basically a NORDO roadblock. I agree aviate, navigate, and then communicate. I can use text on the ground but in the air...forget it...I'll type a nice "thank your sir" and an apology once I'm at the gate. Sorry, maybe I just need a little more info on the policy and it's value. As it stands, I'll take an uninitiated voice controller over text any day :-)Cheers,Danny CYVRPS. A very sincere thank you to all the Vatsim controllers...especially ZLA and ZOA. What a great experience it has been for me, with the flair and personality only live ATC can offer...Great stuff guys :-beerchug

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You can also right mouse click on SB and go to bottom where it says "cleared to land", click on it. Also a lot of pilots just type ctl (cleared to land), which is 100% fine with me.

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Danny,As a former instructor, let me try to address this from a controller's point of view.Many of us "old timers" started controlling before voice was an option. At times, using text was just as stressful on the controllers as it is on the pilots. It still is. Pilots only have to communicate with a single controller, whereas controllers have to communicate with all the pilots in their airspace. In order to increase a controllers efficiency, aliases are used to simplify repetative instructions. For example, a controller might type ".crsb" and the pilot sees "Clearance on request. Stand by". There are many more. Knowing these aliases is essential for a busy controller.With voice being the norm rather than the exception we often hear requests from pilots asking that VATUSA drop it's voice restrictions. The problem is that the general consensus of the instructor community is that we feel that with the number of pilots who still use text only (and that is probably higher than you think) if a controller isn't proficient in text controlling he's setting himself up for, to put it mildly, an "unpleasant experience". In this case it would be unpleasant for not only the controller but for all the aircraft under his control. Text is more difficult but we have to teach it first because we are obligated to give text pilots the same level of service we give voice pilots.As I hope you can see, there really is a useful purpose for training on text first. It isn't a "pay your dues" situation.Hopefully I answered your question. If not, I'd be happy to discuss it further.Mike BromleyBoston ARTCCSenior Controller

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Hi Mike et al,Just thought I would add a little something to this discussion. What I think most pilots are concerned about is the fact that the controller rating and voice rating doesn't suit our virtual reality. Often a new controller, training on text, starts with a ground or delivery position. When proficient enough he steps up to tower or approach but is still on text. From a pilot's point of view, the time when you are communicating with TWR or TMA is the most busy time.As a pilot I don't mind seeing DEL on text, Actually I think it's more "real", because nowadays most clearances are done by "text", ACARS(?), at least on busier airports. Ground is ok to go by text. But then I think controllers in training should go to CTR positions, if they still use text. I'm guessing the complexibility for a controller doesn't grow from the ground and up, if you get what I mean? I think a good career way would be CLR-GRD-CTR-TWR(voice)-APP/DEP(voice). I have never been into controlling so please tell me if I'm totally wrong here.And of course I'm aware of the fact that VATSIM's main, and stipulated, choice for communicating is still text. We still have to remember we have controllers, and pilots, who have hearing disabilities.Just my

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Mats, I agree that the transition from voice to text between APP and TWR is probably the biggest complaint that most pilots have. In fact, I tend to agree with you. When I fly it isn't as much of a problem because when I first got involved in online flying 5 years ago during the SATCO days all we had was text so I got used to it. The problem we run into is that the promotion path in the controller ranks to Senior Student is based on a proficiency at the TWR level. Since Senior Student is the second leg in the promotion ladder it is the lowest level that can be set as the standard for getting a Voice endorsement. At the Senior Student level we at least know that the controller has spent sufficient time learning the ropes that they should be reasonably comfortable controlling with text and are ready to move to voice. In some ways controlling with voice can be more difficult than controlling with text. For one, you don't have the aliases to help you with the proper phraseology. You have to know it. One of the ways that it is learned is by the controllers reading what the aliases actually sent in the Comm window.I'm not in a position to make policy for VATUSA but those who are are always open to suggestions for improvement. I'm sure that if they were presented with a procedure that would allow more TWRs to be staffed by controllers on voice, and at the same time meet the prereqisite training requirements of a Voice endorsement, they would seriously consider it. The hard part is coming up with the procedure. Everyone knows this is a problem for pilots, what we need now are some suggested solutions.This is getting long but I need to address the career path (DEL-GND-CTR-TWR...)you suggested. CTR is not as easy as a lot of people think. You have considerably more airspace to watch over with aircraft on countless different flight paths. You are also the APP controller for all of the airports in your area that don't have Approach Controls in the real world. This means you have to know the approach procedures for many different small airports, rather than one large one. It's a lot to know and a lot of airspace to watch over. CTR controllers in particular have to be able to visualize what their airspace is going to look like 10 minutes from now and plan accordingly. That's something that only experience can teach which is why it is taught last.MikeP.S. Your English is fine. :)

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