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MS ATC question from a new user

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Hello. I'm a fairly new MSFS person who likes to use the software for practice before going out on real training flights. It's the next best thing to a PC-ATD I've seen so far. They have those things at my school for free practice, but that means I actually have to get off my duff and drive there. Very happy with the purchase so far.However, I'd like to include some of the ATC adventure-stuff to make things a little more realistic (if only to make things busier and 'annoying' while I'm trying to manage my pretend flowchecks and approach briefings). I ran into a problem though. In real life, instrument training involves doing approach after approach, sometimes at the airport of origin. Microsoft seems to be hardwired for point-to-point flight plans. Is there any method or addon product that would allow me to go back to the airport of origin? For example, any way I can file KGFK-CKN-KGFK or KGFK-15dme@050 radial GFK-KGFK? What about specific, sequential, multiple approaches at an airport like VOR rwy 31 KCKN, NDB rwy 13 KCKN?Thanks for the help. I have followup newbie questions regarding the abilities of MSFS (and availability of 3rd party products) if anyone is willing.Bedwyr

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Hello,You sound like someone who goes to UND, talkin all that jive about PC-ATD's and filing to Crookston and back. I knew there were more UND guys like myself who are also into flight simulation. Well, to answer your question, no you cannot file flight plans like you do out at the Grand Forks Airport. Since you said you're relativly new to FS2002, then you may or may not know that this is Microsoft's first attempt at adding what they classify as "Interactive ATC." Now, while it may not be much, it's a good start so just keep in the back of your mind that around this time next year, FS2004 should hit store shelves (god willing.) Things like ATC hopefully will improve, for example: declaring emergencies, runway changes according to wind, multiple use of runways by AI traffic, changing flight levels enroute, more realistic weather and your idea of shooting multiple approaches at the same airport, (not just ILS', but being able to request VOR, NDB, GPS and Localizer backcourse approaches.) I know I went off on a tangent, but those are the things that I can only hope will be in the next version of FS. A good way to simulate what you want to do, is not to file a flightplan at all. Just shoot approaches under VFR and go missed to do another and so on and so forth. However, there is a free online service called VATSIM (www.vatsim.net). What they provide is online ATC from real people to real virtual pilots. For example, I fly for Delta Virtual Airlines. Now although I am off campus, I can still dialup on my service provider and go through a program called Squawkbox. This is a 3rd party FREE add-on that is on the VATSIM website that you must have installed to be on the online network. If you want to talk on voice (instead of the regular type-while-you-fly), you can download Roger Wilco, which is a FREE program that allows you to talk over the web to online ATC as well as other pilots. Now, I do domestic flights all the time, like Cincinnati to O'Hare. Most of the time, I am talking to Indy Center and also Chicago Center and sometimes Chicago Approach. And especially on weekends, most major airspace throughout the US and abroad are partly to fully staffed (Ground, Clearance Delivery, Approach, Departure, Tower, Center.) Overall, if you want to shoot multiple approaches at say, Crookston, you'd talk to Minneapolis Center; even into Grand Forks you'd have to because I've never seen anyone staffed at GFK. It's just like the real thing. You're talking to a controller who should know what you're talking about when you ask to fly outbound on a certain radial or ask for a VOR approach into Crookston followed by the GPS approach. Thus, I know this is a mouthful, but I'm eager to help a fellow UND (or Non-UND) student or just someone who flies out of Grand Forks. Good to know there's life in this city still, though I'd much rather be back home in Chi-Town!MaulWho Wants to fly the big jets...I DO! :-wave

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Fair enough. I didn't think I could file to an airborne clearance limit. Still though, one can't even file a round robin? I'd almost be willing to call that a bug and not a 'feature' since they allow intervening waypoints.And yes, I suppose I'm a UND-ite. I'm sure you can sympathise that, while they've got the Frascas with dual Garmin and all that, it costs money. The PCATDs up on the mezzanine level are nice (as is MSFS) to use, and so is the GNS430 simulator they threw on our laptops, but there's no opportunity to practice in an integrated way outside of the Frascas. I'd shave off at least a couple hours of training if, say, I had access to an IFR Warrior panel with full Garmin avionics stack and ATC yapping in my ear in at least some fashion. At least that way, I could be sitting at home figuring out *exactly* where to punctuate the descent checklist and approach briefing and not "drop the airplane to fly the checklist".I've had no problems (I'm in Avit 222 and cruising through way too fast, I'll be done before I'm ready for the written test), but this would add another layer of efficiency to the training.I wonder, in fact, why folks like Garmin, Bendix, and UPS haven't come out with their MSFS version of equipment (must be corporate inertia).So I suppose I'll hope for the IFR student about four years from now that MSFS will get to that point. Class is starting, must go listen to how Nexrad works.Bedwyr-who wants to fly the li'l planes, the big planes, the in-between planes, and then call himself a teacher and a glider pilot above all.

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"I wonder, in fact, why folks like Garmin, Bendix, and UPS haven't come out with their MSFS version of equipment (must be corporate inertia)."UPS is covered with this add on. It is great and addresses some of your wants. It saved me lots of real time to be able to practice on a simulation of the real unit.http://www.reality-xp.com/http://members.telocity.com/~geof43/Geofdog2.gif

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I've heard of this product. It looks really really good. I only wish there were a kln89B or gns430 product. Those sorts of tools, combined with a well crafted panel would go miles towards helping students learn how to integrate the complex avionics stacks out there with the aircraft.The Garmin 430/530 simulator that's available online is good, but it doesn't show you what happens when you forget to go back into VLOC mode for a VOR approach, how to auto-crossfill on a dual setup, when in a checklist or where on an approach one should click out of OBS mode and reset the approach procedure to go active via vectors. That's the kind of thing I'd like to see. Good and faithful IFR panels, accurate flight models, and a close-enough environment to maybe shave a couple hours off training and be better prepared in general.Bedwyr>"I wonder, in fact, why folks like Garmin, Bendix, and UPS >haven't come out with their MSFS version of equipment (must >be corporate inertia)." >>UPS is covered with this add on. It is great and addresses >some of your wants. It saved me lots of real time to be able >to practice on a simulation of the real unit. >>http://www.reality-xp.com/

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