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I GIVE UP ON VATSIM!!!!

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All,OK, I braved the time-consuming double registration and sign on for vatsim. I read the PRC on how to install the software and the steps needed to get going. I've spent several evenings slogging through the software installs while tryng to figure this all out and get VATSIM going on my computer. All told, I have no idea how all this works or what I need to do to get connected to VATSIM.Earlier tonight I figured I'd just start some programs and see what happens. I started SBRelay and noticed that the KLAX tower was manned. I double clicked on the tower info and got an IP address. I started FS2004 multiplayer and used that IP address to connect. Nothing was happening so I tried to start Squawkbox. I kept getting some error message that said I joined but I didn't. I tried to start the AVC and I can't get past the folder that wants a server name. None are available through the pulldown menu.So, I spent several evenings and a lot of time trying to figure all this out. I've feel as though I've gotten nowhere. Nothing works except for ServInfo. I have no idea about how this all works together. There is no big picture on what is going on or what to do next for a newbie. I give up.This is way too difficult and time consuming to set up. There is no one to speak to for help. There are no excamples of how to fly a flight. All I wanted to do was show up at the aiport and observe. Do I need to file a flight plan on VATSIM, then on Squawkbox too? Like I said before, there is no big-picture about what is going on here or what I need to do.Well, I think you all get the picture so I'll stop here. Maybe one day in the future the setup for VATSIM will be much easier. Until then, I'm going back to the FS2004 ATC. Heck, for all the time I've spent on this I could've flown several complete FS2004 flights with it's built-in ATC."HAWKMAN"

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I am really sorry you feel this way HAWKMAN and felt compelled to writing the scathing review, particularly after the personal email I sent you earlier. When David Weese wrote the FS2004 software tutorial, he designed it and included screenshots just so new users would have a step by step guide to loading everything up to get going. Then, in the AVC, FSUIPC, and other software courses were written in similar fashion.You mentioned above that you

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You say you went through PRC. It sounds like you skipped a step or two above.Here's the steps in a simple form:1. Start SBRelay2. Start FS3. Start Multiplayer4. Start SBhost.5. Make sure FS is not in 3D Mode (press alt-enter)6. Start SB.7. Connect to VATSIM.8. Right mouse to get menu, double click on ATC to connect fs/avc com1 to desired ATC text and voice room, if available.You might want to go through PRC to make sure nothing is missed.

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Scott and Mike,Thank you for the replys. Scott, I used your start sequence and I think I'm finally starting to get somewhere. But, it's still not really happening for me. Here's what I've done so far.I finally figured out to leave the game search fields blank. This brings up the games available to join in both FS multiplayer and Squawkbox multiplayer screens. Originally, I kept thinking I had to enter an ISP address.Next, after starting FS I get an error message;"FS has detected potentially incompatible aircraft or software File HostSB.dll"I select "load anyway" option and SBhost seems to work OK later on.After starting FSMultiplayer I now get a "Server has joined session" message.I then start SBhost and minimize the window.I then start SquawkBox. My in sim message then displays "Squawkbox has joined the session."Then, here comes another error message;"FSUIPC error; One or more of your programs you are using is not accredited for access to an unregistered copy of FSUIPC. Please see FSUIPC.log for details."I select "OK" on this and the screen disapears. What is going on here?Now, this is where things seem to stop. Scott, you said to right click mouse to get menu. I've tried to right click and nothing seems to happen other than pulling down the normal FS menus. What am I right clicking?I manually started AVC. I click to join session and receive the following message;"Authentication Failed; Your callsign was not found. You must log onto a VATSIM server before joining a voice channel."What? I thought I was already logged on with FS, SBHost, and Squawkbox. I'm not sure what I need to log onto for AVC. The PRC made it sound as though AVC would start automatically.Well, that's as far as I can get. VATSIM is still not happening for me. Any help or suggestions for these problems will be sincerely appreciated. Thanks.

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Hawkman,There is no arguement that getting on to VATSIM in its current form, is a royal pain. Fortunately, once you figure it out it is relatively painless and takes less than a minute. We all have high hopes the new version of Squawkbox will help. If you need help, take a look at UPS Virtual Airline. There is always someone on the Roger Wilco channel that can TALK you through the process step by step. Believe me you will be up and at it in no time. www.upsvac.com you can access the RW channel from the website.good luck.Mark.

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Hawkman,It's very clear that you have not followed either the steps in the VATSIM PRC or in the SBRelay readme. THere are no shortcuts. You have to read one or the other or both and follow the steps.If you do, none of the errors you are seeing will still be present.cz

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Hello there hope this helps."FSUIPC error; One or more of your programs you are using is not accredited for access to an unregistered copy of FSUIPC. Please see FSUIPC.log for details."You need to do one of two things. Pay to register FSUIPC or look up in your FSUIPC error log (should be in your FS9 modules folder, a text file) and see which program has the code issue with FSUIPC. Then you need to obtain the register code for that program and in the FSUIPC panel there is a selection for registering a program where you will enter this code. It is probably SBRelay causing the error and the author has the FSUIPC code on his website where you downloaded the program and is probably in the readme file also included with the program download. I chose the previous method and paid for the FSUIPC as it is a one time charge for all future upgrades and Peter Dowson is contantly improving the program.If you can find out which program is causing the error let me know and I will help you find the register code if you choose to go that route.Regards,

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Mark, cz, Keven,Thank you all for the replies. After several days of working on this I am still unable to get VATSIM going. I've eliminated a couple of the previous errors. FSUIPC seem to be the holdup now. Here's what's going on.Shortly after starting Squawkbox I get the "Authentication Failed" message. I've checked the log and FSUIPC is looking at Squawkbox as an unregistered program.I reveiwed PRC 103f, SBRelay readme, and the adobe FSUIPC guide installation section.I've run the FSUIPC "application registration" numerous times. I make sure that "Squawkbox" and "LWVQ 7IZV 9GPB" are in the appropriate fields. I hit OK and then a "confirm" option comes up. I hit confirm and then nothing happens. I've restarted Squawkbox. I've restarted FS. Results are the same.Can anyone please help me. Any suggestions at this point will be appreciated.

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Well, I feel close to the way you do. After all the people who recommended VATSIM to me lately, I decided it was finally time to give this a try. I'm an ATC sim fan, listen to chatter on every United flight and have owned every FS since 1.0. VATSIM was a COMPLETE PAIN IN THE @@@ to get going. What gets is that every step seems overly complicated and non-intuitive.First the double registration. Second, usernames and password you have NO control over that are totally random so they're a pain to recall forcing me to constantly keep them nearby. Even the much ballyhooed Pilot's Resource Center is a problem. Many of the topics are not up-to-date, including mistakes and lots of broken links. Also many elements that are important just aren't mentioned. Plus the choice of style is very intimidating and references from fans about that start with, "Oh, that's explained on Step 11." Step 11??? And that's of just one tutorial of many. The fact that, to do it right with 2004 you need, ServInfo, SBRelay, AVC, HostSB and Squawkbox all to work correctly is just painful.That none of the docs I found (and I looked) mentioned that I needed to open 3 ports in my firewall was a major problem.AVC was the biggest pain to get going and I'm still totally confused by it. Nothing in the docs mentions how to talk with it. Do I hold the key (yes) or is it toggle? And I had no idea I had to select the person I want to talk to from ATC Display. Still not sure if AVC is supposed to load when I load Squawkbox now (I swear I read it's supposed to) but doesn't, and for now I have to select the person I want to talk to AND enter their frequencies into my radio manually. It also isn't smart enough to work the MUTE feature of the Microphone and the last thing you want is an active mike all the time so I've need to manually go in and turn it on and off by hand. I didn't ever need to do this with Naturally Speaking and other RW-like programs.The .xxx commands are a real treat too. No way to set Private so you have to type their full call-sign every time.Then, when you do get it all working there are other issues.You have to be in in the game in a window or it'll crash. Just bringing up the radio stack crashed FS9 every time. Once I was able to go back to Full Screen but every other time it hung up the game with a black screen.And even forgiving all of this, when you do get on, at least for the few days I've been on, there's no real coverage out of many major areas (I fly out of Philly) and I've never seen more than two (and almost always one) controller out of NY! Today there was full coverage in Kansas City for some reason but then I spent 2 hours on the ground there trying to get AVC working before quitting in frustration. Just this morning I finally got it working and I think I like the text better. The controller I spoke with kept calling me "dude" as in "hey dude, how's it goin'?" At least with text I can imagine a bit better. Add to this that I once again feel pretty much alone in the skies (I own and am used to MyTraffic at 100%) and the "it's as real as it gets" moniker just doesn't shine through from my perspective.Maybe when Squawkbox 3 comes out (when is it due?) but I suspect it'll be quite a while before this effort is really approachable for enough people to have it fully realize its potential. It's a great concept but at this stage I'd have to say it hasn't emerged from that mode yet.

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Martin,Thanks. That IS the tutorial I used in the end and it's better than the others but is still missing many critical elements to make this work well for many people (no mention of voice at all, no mention that FS9 needs to start in a window and many other things).I just feel that at this point in time, VATSIM is only for the most motivated and patient simmers out there. For me, all the work it took to get it going wasn't worth the end result so far.

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Hi AgrajagTry thinking of it as an investment, in terms of time and effort. I don't think I have seen any posts where anyone has said starting out on VATSIM is easy. I certainly found it a little confusing at the start. However, for your investment you will ultimately receive a return, which to me is the enormous satisfaction gained from the interactivity of the whole thing.Let me offer some responses to your points, if it helps.>First the double registration. Second, usernames and password>you have NO control over that are totally random so they're a>pain to recall forcing me to constantly keep them nearby.Once your username and password are entered into Squawkbox, they stay there, and your username stays in AVC as well.>Even the much ballyhooed Pilot's Resource Center is a problem. Many>of the topics are not up-to-date, including mistakes and lots>of broken links.Not my experience at all. Even though I've been on VATSIM a while now, I've tried the intial course on the PRC. If there are any broken links, I'm sure Mike B won't mind you pointing them out so they can be fixed. Ditto the mistakes.>The fact that, to do it right with 2004 you need, ServInfo,>SBRelay, AVC, HostSB and Squawkbox all to work correctly is>just painful.The installation and configuration of the various software can be tricky (see my comment re "investment" above). We are all optimistic that SB3 will eliminate several of the links in this admittedly long chain.>That none of the docs I found (and I looked) mentioned that I>needed to open 3 ports in my firewall was a major problem.Now this I think is a common error, and one I made (twice!). If you think about it, the applications you are using all require access to the internet, and your firewall needs to be configured to permit them access. This is not exclusive to VATSIM - it applies to any application on your PC.>And I had no idea I had to select the person I want to talk to from >ATC Display.Have a look at VATSIM121e in the PRC. This explains it. It's also in the tutorial quoted :)>Still not sure if AVC is supposed to load when I load>Squawkbox now (I swear I read it's supposed to) but doesn't,>and for now I have to select the person I want to talk to AND>enter their frequencies into my radio manually.AVC doesn't load when you load SB. When you select the "Connect" option in SB, make sure the tick box on the right hand side (Use RW for voice) is checked. When you press the "Connect" button, AVC will then load automatically.As far as manual tuning of radio frequencies is concerned, some pilots find this the more realistic method. Personally, I use the easier option of double-clicking the controller in the ATC directory, which tunes the radio automatically.>It also isn't smart enough to work the MUTE feature of the Microphone It doesn't need to be. When you push your PTT (Push To Talk) key, and keep it pressed, your microphone is live, and when you release it, the mic is muted.>The .xxx commands are a real treat too. Frankly, I agree entirely. I find I don't use them, except for .msg.>And even forgiving all of this, when you do get on, at least>for the few days I've been on, there's no real coverage out of>many major areas (I fly out of Philly) and I've never seen>more than two (and almost always one) controller out of NY!Remember, the controllers online are not providing a paid-for service, and there are times and areas where there is no coverage. There is usually coverage SOMEWHERE however. Use Servinfo info to find areas where controllers are online, and look at the major airports in the evenings, which is the busiest time. If you participate in fly-in's, which are publised on the VATSIM website, you can expect wall-to-wall ATC cover. Try Europe as well.>Just this morning I>finally got it working and I think I like the text better. The>controller I spoke with kept calling me "dude" as in "hey>dude, how's it goin'?" At least with text I can imagine a bit>better.That's disappointing. ATC is normally very professional. Are you sure you weren't receiving a private message from someone?>Add to this that I once again feel pretty much alone in the>skies (I own and am used to MyTraffic at 100%) and the "it's>as real as it gets" moniker just doesn't shine through from my>perspective.I can see what you mean when the skies are empty, but does the FS ATC ever help you with a routing or flight level if you've made a mistake, or ask you to turn quickly to avoid a conflict, or thank you for executing a hold procedure well? It's my own view, but I never, ever fly with FS ATC controlling me now, as it is simply not enough. If I have to fly offline (eg trial flights with a new aircraft), AI is set to zero and I don't open the ATC box.I think the key to succeeding with VATSIM is to make sure you read each document, tutorial and readme, start to finish. Don't skip anything, as you are likely to miss something vital. And although it can be a chore, go back and read it again. There is a vast amount of information, and I found that reading it once is not enough. All the information you need is there, but it is easy to forget something. I keep a window open with the tutorial displayed when I'm embarking on something new.Keep trying, when it gets going it truly is worth all the effort.Best of luck.Bruce.

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Bruce and all,Can someone PLEASE help me? This is what's going on ;I think that I'm getting real close to using VATSIM. Each time I start up I go through the FSUIPC "register an application" process and that seems to eliminate any error message with the squawkbox startup.I then use the SBHost to file a plan and double-click onto the local ATC freq. Now what? I try using the key that I assigned on the AVC menu to voice communication. Is there some visual indication when a mic is keyed? I never hear anything back. (I always confirm local ATC is on-line through ServInfo. . .before logging on)I've tried to manually start AVC. I always get a "authentication failed" message. It goes on to say "Your callsign was not found! You need to log onto a VATSIM server before joining a voice channel."I'm not really sure what they are talking about here. I've changed my callsign with FS and Squawkbox. And, am I not already logged onto a VATSIM server after I start Squawkbox?I've gone through the PRC AVC intall tutorial several times, along with the AVC adobe user guide. I think I've done everything properly in setting AVC up.Some additional info is that when I start AVC it gives a "Connected!" message before the "authentication failed" message. Also, there seems to be a default server listed in the connect line but the large window below that is always blank. (The picture in the AVC adobe user's guide showed a list of servers filling the large window.)Can anyone help me? As always, any suggestions at this point are sincerely appreciated.

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Ok, You are real close and are actually able to fly on vatsim now were u to just use text. The AVC should be loggin u in automatically if you tick the "use RW " box when logging in to SB. However, in AVC i believe the tab is adjust, or pilot info can't remember, u need to make sure your callsign is the same as the one you logged into SB with. I.E. my callsign normally is FJL102 this all has to match in the AVC for it to login. A detractor for this otherwise fine improvement on what we had with RW. IMHO of course. So make sure everything is the same in AVC as it is in SB when u login, user id, password id, and Callsign. Hope this helps !

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Well, it's now 7pm and I want to fly and there is one controller for the entire Northeast (Kennedy APR). Miami has 2 controllers, no LAX at all on the west and sporadic in a few other places.I fly generally the KingAir 350 between major airports.In 4 flights so far I've never had more than a single controller handle me. The part about shifting my interest in also important to me. I didn't buy a plasma TV because burn-in is so prevalent on them that you really need to shift they way you watch TV or risk the TV. Not me. I choose solutions that work the way I work and in this case I don't think I'm all that abnormal. The end result is that my VATSIM experience, instead of resulting in being impressed, pushed me to buy Radar Contact 3. I may not be happy with it either but that's another discussion.I do thank you for the dialogue. Everyone involved does seem very nice and willing to help. I just realize I'm far from the first or last person who will have this opinion and I think that's a shame.

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>Once your username and password are entered into Squawkbox,>they stay there, and your username stays in AVC as well.That is a help but their own website requires that you remember your password. Allowing users to change their own password is a rather basic feature these days. So is picking your own username but that one I can understand a bit more.>require access to the internet, and your firewall needs to be>configured to permit them access. This is not exclusive to>VATSIM - it applies to any application on your PC.Battlefield 1942 tells you right in the manual what ports need to be opened. Other programs I have tell me the same thing. That VATSIM is like other programs, I agree. Why can't it be more like them and simply note which ports it requires as clearly those ports are not known until you fail otherwise.>hand side (Use RW for voice) is checked. When you press the>"Connect" button, AVC will then load automatically.Thanks!>I use the easier option of double-clicking the controller in>the ATC directory, which tunes the radio automatically.Where did you find that documented???>It doesn't need to be. When you push your PTT (Push To Talk)>key, and keep it pressed, your microphone is live, and when>you release it, the mic is muted.Not so. At least not here. Yes, it's muted with regard to the program but it's not muted to your computer system. I leave my microphone muted (it's muted by default in fact) because otherwise I would constantly hear myself typing on my keyboard through my headset and such. I have been involved in soundcard technology at a professional level for most of my adult life. MANY applications are aware of this and simply check the status of that setting and control it directly so that when you do talk, it unmutes, system wide) and then mutes when you done. All SB is doing is ignoring any sounds until you hit push to talk. It's not the same thing.>Frankly, I agree entirely. I find I don't use them, except>for .msg.Sure sign of a legacy product. >Remember, the controllers online are not providing a paid-for>service, and there are times and areas where there is noI fully understand but, and I mean this in a nice way, that isn't my problem. Do you follow? It's a nasty catch-22 I fully agree but for now, you pretty much have to change your flying preferences if you want to get a better VATSIM experience and as I said to someone else, I make a point of not choosing things that require me to change the way I work or play. I am not alone there. I like to fly out of Philly and in the 4 days I've been looking there has yet to be ANY coverage what-so-ever there. The best I can get is a SINGLE controller out of NYC covering Kennedy.>That's disappointing. ATC is normally very professional. Are>you sure you weren't receiving a private message from>someone?Yep. I'm sure. But hey, it was around 5am so that I wouldn't hold against the initiative.>I can see what you mean when the skies are empty, but does the>FS ATC ever help you with a routing or flight level if you've>made a mistake, or ask you to turn quickly to avoid a>conflict, or thank you for executing a hold procedure well? Absolutely not. That's what I came to VATSIM for and I got slight hints of that (a new VATSIM phenomenon is forgetting to click SB and turning off features through typing) when I managed to turn off my prop sync, didn't realize it and had my first missed approach at Kennedy (due to the problem I couldn't keep the plane from pulling hard left and just assumed it was nasty low wind). The controller was very helpful.>I think the key to succeeding with VATSIM is to make sure you>read each document, tutorial and readme, start to finish. My argument is that this shouldn't be necessary. A software solution should be provided that negates the need for at least 80% of what's needed today. My main vocation is in game development (mangement, not coding) and know a more intuitive product could be developed. It just hasn't yet and I really believe that's holding back the VATSIM community. The current solution is very cobbled together and dated and that combination makes for unnecessary confusion. >Keep trying, when it gets going it truly is worth all the>effort.I will but as I also said somewhere else, the whole experience, instead of winning me over, pushed me to buy Radar Contact. I may end up not liking it either. At this point I don't know. It has its limitations too. Perhaps FS 2010 or SB version 6 will be what I'm looking for.

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>I think that I'm getting real close to using VATSIM. Each>time I start up I go through the FSUIPC "register an>application" process and that seems to eliminate any error>message with the squawkbox startup.You should not have to do this, you only need to do it once. When you enter the code for SB in to FSUIPC make sure you enter LWVQ 7I2V 9GPB that is an i not a 1 between the 7 and 2 most people make that mistake and its a 2 not a Z. Read the FSUIPC set-up guide on the Vatsim Pilot Training site, you'll see a screen shot of what you should be seeing.>I'm not really sure what they are talking about here. I've>changed my callsign with FS and Squawkbox. And, am I not>already logged onto a VATSIM server after I start Squawkbox?>I've gone through the PRC AVC intall tutorial several times,>along with the AVC adobe user guide. I think I've done>everything properly in setting AVC up.>>Some additional info is that when I start AVC it gives a>"Connected!" message before the "authentication failed">message. Also, there seems to be a default server listed in>the connect line but the large window below that is always>blank. (The picture in the AVC adobe user's guide showed a>list of servers filling the large window.)>>Can anyone help me? As always, any suggestions at this point>are sincerely appreciated. You have to be logged in to Vatsim with Squawkbox before AVC can connect, and you MUST use the same callsign on Vatsim as you do with AVC letter for letter space for space or it will not work, Go look at the AVC set-up in the Vatsim Pilot Training again you'll see what I mean.

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For what it's worth, it's 10:00pm EST and since 8:00pm EST, the New York Area has had the following controllers in place:La Guardia Clearance DeliveryKennedy Clearance DeliveryKennedy TowerNewark TowerNew York ApproachNew York CenterThe Oakland/Los Angeles and Atlanta areas are also very well staffed.VATSIM has a bit of a learning curve and it does require some computer knowledge. It WILL get better as applications are updated (Squawkbox, etc.). What I can assure you is that there are many pilots and controllers on-line, right now, that are having a fulfilling experience. The positive anecdotes from simpilots are what convinced me to join up a number of years ago-- and I've never looked back at MSFS ATC since.Give us an update on the latest issues you're experiencing and let's see where we're at. It seems like you're starting to get it figured out-- Once you do, it all becomes reflex.

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Thanks Chandler.I'm still very critical of the current situation with VATSIM. Yes, it has a lot to offer but I still believe it is currently its own worst enemy. Virtually nothing about VATSIM is easy or intuitive and that has much less to do with the complexity of the concept than fans point out. Aside from that, I am getting going and I've now gotten a solid mic (the STAND-ALONE USB Logitech microphone is excellent and only $30 while their $50 USB headset/mic combo was complete junk, go figure) that finally got me a positive response from AVC setup. Again, note that all my other mic's never had trouble with other software but hey, in the end I'm even better off and more current as well as less soundcard dependent (however, that does come at the cost of overhead as the soundcard was handling recording and now the processor is).The points I outlined are still concerns but I am getting over the hurdles. Now "I" am becoming the limiting factor. I've flown only props and VFR for YEARS (going back to FS 1.0) and only started flying IFR with the addition of semi-useful built-in ATC in FS2002. MS ATC always gives the same routes and such and has never thrown me a curve I wasn't able to handle. Real controllers, doing more realistic things are throwing me intersections (never flew one) stars/sids (no idea there) and even VOR-to-VOR, they're giving me VOR's that are not the paths MS ATC gave on the same flights (nothing wrong with that AT ALL) and I now realize I have NO idea of how to go about finding them and such short of getting charts for everywhere in the world (since VATSIM often pushes you to fly anywhere solid coverage can be found) and then manually looking them all up. Any help on where to get started on these concepts would be greatly appreciated.

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>MS ATC always gives the same routes and such and has never>thrown me a curve I wasn't able to handle. Real controllers,>doing more realistic things are throwing me intersections>(never flew one) stars/sids (no idea there) and even>VOR-to-VOR, they're giving me VOR's that are not the paths MS>ATC gave on the same flights (nothing wrong with that AT ALL)>and I now realize I have NO idea of how to go about finding>them and such short of getting charts for everywhere in the>world (since VATSIM often pushes you to fly anywhere solid>coverage can be found) and then manually looking them all up.>>Ahh now see? This is where things get interesting, and you'll begin to see how much you can learn with the benefit of human interaction. I'm glad you've got things going. However, now you need some help in moving forward so let get started:For one thing, you are not required to fly a DP/STAR on VATSIM. Simply instruct the ATC that you don't have charts. The easy way to do this is when you file your flight plan- in the remarks section, put in "NO CHARTS" Usually an ATC who's not going crazy with traffic will then give you simple vectors.Let's say you DO want to learn this stuff. Let's jump in:SIDS - (S)tandard (I)nstrument (D)eparture procedure. Now known as DPs - (D)eparture (P)rocedures. They're the same thing. DP = SID = DP. :) So what does it mean? The best way to see it from a beginner's perspective is this: SIDS/DPs are like tunnels-in-the-sky that your departing airport want you to fly through. The reason why they have this in the real world is for a number of reasons:(not in order)- Provides pre-planned paths that aircraft will go through giving a much need ordered nature (read, safe!) to major airports (for a great example of this, think John F. Kennedy, La Guardia, and Newark Airport being in very close proximity, and you can begin to understand why the FAA utilizes SIDS). It would be chaos, otherwise. Imagine the poor ATC attempting to keep so many aircraft from getting too intimate with each other.- Reduces ATC/Pilot interaction because SIDS/DPs can be given as a single name rather than a laundry list of "Do this, then that, then that, then that, etc." Rather, Clearance could, instead, say to the pilot "...Cleared to KBOS via LAGUARDIA9 departure..." Since the LAGUARDIA9 departure is explained on a chart (read, pre-planned), the pilot understands what ATC is requesting of him. - Noise abatement (People on the ground complain if it gets noisy, SIDS/DPs attempt to handle this situation by restricting airspeed, regulating climb rates, or avoiding certain areas completely).Now with the above in mind, we come to "So, what's a STAR?"STAR - (S)tandard (T)erminal (AR)rival: It's like a SID/DP however it's instructions provide an aircraft with the approach "tunnels" for the same reasons mentioned above.Now as far as obtaining those charts. If you do want to fly using the charts and want to add this extra realism to your experience, the good news is many VATSIM sectors provide their own charts to their respective sectors.For instance NYARTCC.org, the New York Sector, provides SID/STARs for JFK, LGA, TEB, EWR, etc. Los Angeles Sector, laartcc.org, provides its respective charts.Now you may be saying to yourself, "I have to locate all these charts just to fly these places?" Again, the answer is "No." Just tell VATSIM ATC that you don't have them. However, if you're looking for that realism- for that suspension of disbelief- for that immersion (I'm starting to sound like a marketer) than you want the charts. Real-Life pilots must acquire their charts. They can't say, "Sorry, no charts." ;)Want more info, here are some direct links that may help you:What is a SID/DP?:http://www.flightsimaviation.com/index.php...iontheory&ch=13How to Fly a DP:http://vatsim.net/howtoflyadp.htmlHow to Fly a STAR:http://vatsim.net/star.htmlTo start you off for charts:New York Charts:http://www.nyartcc.orgOther places for charts:http://www.clearanceunlimited.comhttp://edj.net/cgi-bin/echoplate.pl Moving on...I noticed you mentioned VORs but you seem to understand them so if you're missing a VOR from your list, you can always use the MAP in your flight simulator to find it.See if this helps you get started. If you have more questions, we're here to help.Cheers.

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>Ahh now see? This is where things get interesting, and you'll>begin to see how much you can learn with the benefit of human>interaction.I couldn't agree more, which is what drew me, and many others, to VATSIM. But that doesn't change the fact that things need to DRAMATICALLY improve on the useability front to KEEP those people here and to grow the interest exponentially. Of course, that's a mixed bag as you'll also have more of people like me (inexperienced) to deal with.>For one thing, you are not required to fly a DP/STAR on>VATSIM. Simply instruct the ATC that you don't have charts.>The easy way to do this is when you file your flight plan- in>the remarks section, put in "NO CHARTS" Usually an ATC who's>not going crazy with traffic will then give you simple>vectors.Excellent. I also need to get into the flick as they say as I often need to ask a controller to repeat a complex direction. Clearly they're used to people who know the routes and really don't need to hear them where I'm writing them down!>SIDS - (S)tandard (I)nstrument (D)eparture procedure. Now>known as DPs - (D)eparture (P)rocedures. They're the sameThat alone is a help. Didn't realize they were the same.BTW, it also helped that someone on flightsim.com tonight made me aware that the Flight Planner in FS IS editable by just dragging the red route line to whatever elements you need it to go through. Doh! HUGE help. I can't tell it to cross CYN at 250k and 11,000, but it's better than not having the path at all.>- Reduces ATC/Pilot interaction because SIDS/DPs can be given>as a single name rather than a laundry list of "Do this, thenAh, assuming I have the charts and can quickly look it up.>departure..." Since the LAGUARDIA9 departure is explained on a>chart (read, pre-planned), the pilot understands what ATC is>requesting of him. Thus, if I'm going to often fly Philly between Philly and NY I should have those charts at a minimum.>STAR - (S)tandard (T)erminal (AR)rival: It's like a SID/DPAh, thus why they're often linked together in discussion.>If you do want to fly using the charts and want to add thisAbsolutely. >For instance NYARTCC.org, the New York Sector, provides>SID/STARs for JFK, LGA, TEB, EWR, etc. Los Angeles Sector,>laartcc.org, provides its respective charts.Ah. Okay. Still one question lingering. In the case of my last flight between Philly and JFK the controller wanted me to fly the "preferred route" which was that one I mentioned before made up of intersections and one VOR. Where did that come from? Clearly there can't be charts from every airport to every airport and yet somehow it was common knowledge that Philly to JFK goes this specific route.>marketer) than you want the charts. Real-Life pilots must>acquire their charts. They can't say, "Sorry, no charts." ;)Agreed. I could go the SimCharts route but they are a bit pricey. I spend a lot on this hobby but that's pushing it. Someone did give me a great site for charts. Have you seen http://www.myairplane.com yet?>I noticed you mentioned VORs but you seem to understand them>so if you're missing a VOR from your list, you can always use>the MAP in your flight simulator to find it.Ahahah. That's one complaint. That's like trying to find a needle in a haystack with the tool they provide. If I could just type "DITCH" and have it find it, that would help. >See if this helps you get started. If you have more questions,>we're here to help.Thanks. One thing I cannot complain about is the wonderfully helpful people who are here to lend a hand. Again, I just don't think it should be that necessary. Thanks for the wonderful links. I'll be very busy reading.

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For the FAA preferred routes, use this page:http://www.fly.faa.gov/Products/Coded_Depa...s_database.htmlSounds also like you may wish to investigate a piece of shareware called FSNavigator. It is probably the last add on I'd not buy for FS and it is used by me on about every flight. Easy to type in an intersetion name and you are able to find it in seconds. Also is capable of loading the DP's and STAR's too. And it has vertical nav (altitudes) that can be programmed so you can be an absolute spud sitting there watching all that automation.www.fsnavigator.comWorth every cent I've paid for it. You can try it out for 20 uses before it quits and you have to pay for it, but 20 uses is enough to get most folks hooked.Kyle

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Thanks for the FAA link. Great stuff.I downloaded FS Navigator last night. Very confusing to use at first. I have the manual in front of me now. The only thing I'm not that thrilled about is that it doesn't, or at least I don't yet see that it doesn't, feed data to FS so that I can use the default GPS and see the route there. There's also a bit of double duty outside VATSIM. If I just want to fly solo with the default ATC, I've got to either build my flightplan in MS' default Flightplan editor and then do it again in FS Nav to get ATC to handle me right or go all the way into the game, bring up FS Nav, build the plan, export it and reload it into the MS flightplan which then causes the game to restart.I'm very surprised that there's no way to reach the app outside FS but that's minimal and it does look amazing.I did have one bug with it where MS got stuck in a loop. I hit F9 and FS Nav took over. I could not get back to the game. Hitting F9 caused an hourglass to come up over the cursor and it just got stuck that way bouncing between cursor and hourglass until I closed the app and restarted.

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