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engwerda

Best Atc Package

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Some advice please! I am not yet ready for VATSIM but would like to get some experience with ATC other than that which comes with FS2004. Preferably it would have a range of voices, compatible with the Queen, interactive and usable in Australia where I live. Any ideas?Gerry

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Some advice please! I am not yet ready for VATSIM but would like to get some experience with ATC other than that which comes with FS2004. Preferably it would have a range of voices, compatible with the Queen, interactive and usable in Australia where I live. Any ideas?Gerry
I'd recommend Radar Contact v4.3. It works well, and is a lot better than default MSFS. Version 5 is upcoming, but probably not for a year or so.-stefan

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I'd recommend Radar Contact v4.3. It works well, and is a lot better than default MSFS. Version 5 is upcoming, but probably not for a year or so.-stefan
Thanks Stefan - Can I export flight plans straight from FS2004 into Radar Contact or do I need FSBuild as well?Gerry

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Thanks Stefan - Can I export flight plans straight from FS2004 into Radar Contact or do I need FSBuild as well?Gerry
It'll read MSFS flight plans just fine, in fact that's the only kind it can read, really. I still recommend FSBuild as it's nice, but it'll work fine with MSFS plans.-stefan

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I'd recommend RC4.3 too. It works perfectly all around the world. I fly often across Africa and you're handled as in real life.

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Gerry, sorry to be a pain in your back but I would recommend VATSIM anyway.The sooner you start the better for your skills and aviation knowledge (communication is a huge part of it).There's nothing to worry about! I recommend Germany for the beginning: very friendly staff, clear English and very frequent ATC presence.All the above addons may be nice (and definitely are better than the default 'ATC') but a living human control is such a great experience!Best regards,Rafal

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Gerry, sorry to be a pain in your back but I would recommend VATSIM anyway.The sooner you start the better for your skills and aviation knowledge (communication is a huge part of it).There's nothing to worry about! I recommend Germany for the beginning: very friendly staff, clear English and very frequent ATC presence.All the above addons may be nice (and definitely are better than the default 'ATC') but a living human control is such a great experience!Best regards,Rafal
That's true, absolutely, but it depends on the time you have. On line flying is much more realistic and the preparation is longer and sometimes you spend more time on the ground rather than in the sky. RC is good even if you have few minutes for flying (that is my case).

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Rafal and Lorenzo,Thank you both very much for the advice and I think that you are right - I do need to get onto VATSIM. I have registered and I am now going through the PRCs. It all looks a little intimidating but I will persevere. I will just sit and listen for a while first because even though I am an ex private pilot I always seemed to worry about my radio work and often left that to a fellow pilot to handle. It has been some time now since I took a Piper up but this might give me that little bit of extra realism that I need. It does get awfully quiet and somewhat boring flying the 744 for a 4 hour flight and not talking to anyone. Now I just have to buy a good headset.ps - I like the signature Lorenzo.ThanksGerry

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I may be a little biased, but I highly recommend Radar Contact :-)Scott

Some advice please! I am not yet ready for VATSIM but would like to get some experience with ATC other than that which comes with FS2004. Preferably it would have a range of voices, compatible with the Queen, interactive and usable in Australia where I live. Any ideas?Gerry

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ps - I like the signature Lorenzo.
:( I like it too :oAnyway you've done fine. There is nothing better than VATSIM for real entertainement, and also you don't have to worry about radio communications..nobody will hurt if you don't know the correct phraseology :( :( RC is very good, but it suffers of all the computer generated programs, once you're accustomed to it, you already know what to do. I think version 5 will be still more realistic especially during approach.Regards.

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VATSIM is not perfect: darn near every time I go in there, nomatter the airport, say JFK, it's deserted.

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VATSIM is not perfect
Of course, nothing is! :(
near every time I go in there, nomatter the airport, it's deserted.
Well, you should use more planning or start flying in Europe too. There are many websites and addons helping you know when ATC positions are going to be occupied.First you can preplan you flying with the VATSIM callendar:http://www.calsplus.net/vatsimThen you can always start with checking traffic via Servinfo. For example European airports are usually heavily occupied somewhere between 1900 and 2200 Zulu Time. On weekends it's even longer (starts earlier and ends later). Plus you can usually check booked positions at individual FIR's websites.Thanks to all that I'm actually never out of control (yes, it happens, but rarely).A well preplanned VATSIM flight can give you a full ATC coverage like:DEPARTURE / GROUND / TOWER / APPROACH / CTR / APPROACH / TOWER / GROUND - and each with a different living human voice... :( Best regards,Rafal

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VATSIM is not perfect: darn near every time I go in there, nomatter the airport, say JFK, it's deserted.
But even if they are deserted you can practice a bit your skills and landing only by looking at tables just like any small airfield :(,. It's always a good exercise.

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VATSIM is not perfect: darn near every time I go in there, nomatter the airport, say JFK, it's deserted.
Look for the fly-ins at Vatsim. Yesterday KLGA had a Fly-in and there was plenty of traffic and lots of controllers online. I suspect most logged off though when I managed to get a fire in my left engine at take off and started harassing the controllers... It should be noted that beginners should steer clear of the fly-ins in the beginning - you really need to know your stuff - at least to some degree.Everyday there is always at least a few airports on Vatsim with lots of controllers, Germany being a very active area but time zones is of course a factor, so it's not a problem finding controllers. But if you absolutely need to fly between two specific airports you might be out of luck. Nothing beats VATSIM, although I do sometimes miss the wonderful mix of AI traffic I enjoy with RC.

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VATSIM is not perfect: darn near every time I go in there, nomatter the airport, say JFK, it's deserted.
You need Vroute. Even the freeware version will tell you, country by country, which ATC stations are open. You can plan your routes accordingly.However, there is a gap in the market here (not that it would make anyone any money): a route-planner that maximises online ATC coverage for flights of a given duration. For example, what flights of less than 2 hours duration will give me maximum ATC, given current and booked online controllers? Perhaps we could also weight our priorities: for example, what flights of less than 3 hours duration will give me maximum ground/departure/arrival ATC (even if much of the overall time (in cruise) is without ATC)?Tim

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Another vote for PFE.. has it's limits, but still by far the best ATC experience, supports VFR, has a huge good and real VHF radio sounding voice set with ai+atc regional accents and what not.Best of all, you get to enjoy the fruits of ongoing development, bug fixes and free feature upgrades almost monthly, instead of every three years or so..Support forum is right here on Avsim. Have a look.

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Another vote for PFE.. has it's limits, but still by far the best ATC experience, supports VFR, has a huge good and real VHF radio sounding voice set with ai+atc regional accents and what not.Best of all, you get to enjoy the fruits of ongoing development, bug fixes and free feature upgrades almost monthly, instead of every three years or so..Support forum is right here on Avsim. Have a look.
Argh I'm a Radar Contact 4 user but you're tempting me to go buy this now, you're a bad influence on my wallet :( It looks similar to Radar Contact 4 but I'm guessing its something more up to date

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Has PFE been upgraded fairly well? I bought it when it first was re-released for FS9 and it had some issues I wasn't 100% happy with, like the lack of choices of callsigns, plus when wanting a new altitude in flight, the steps were in odd increments. If I needed to step 1,000 or even 2,000, it didn't have that. Very limited in altitude reassignments. I don't remember all the issues I might have had now, but I'm curious what has been changed, fixed or upgraded. I refunded it back then through Flight1, so I can't just reinstall.I no longer use RC4 because of it's issues too. The lack of VFR or uncontrolled airfield support (hearing other traffic) and inability to use a complete STAR and IAP with smooth transitions.

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I no longer use RC4 because of it's issues too. The lack of VFR or uncontrolled airfield support (hearing other traffic) and inability to use a complete STAR and IAP with smooth transitions.
But you have the chance to use IAP and STAR as you prefer, all you have to do is to ask for them. Like in real life the controller is there to give you headings on final, but, especially on low traffic airfields, you can request the full IAP procedure if you have all charts. It's always up to the controller to decide what to do with you, but usually I get what I ask for. For me RC is super, I couldn't do without it.Cheers.

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RCV4 allows both your own navigation in departure or arrival. Be sure your SID or STAR waypoints in the RC flightplan for the enroute portions of them (outside of approach). If you after acknowledging your expected runway from approach request an IAP then you are responsible for your own navigation to extended center line intercept of the selected runway. See the instruction manual regarding departure options.I use a flight planner that exports both to FS format and the PMDG FMC format and it has a SID/STAR data base. I then import the whole plan into the FMC which contains procedure waypoints by doing index/navdata/flightplans and then scrolling to find the flightplan name. LSK the name to put it in the scratchpad. Then go to RTE page 1 and LSK CO_ROUTE to load, activate, and EXE it. Now your FMC and RC have the same waypoints.I do load the right side of the destination APPR screen with the appropriate selection of the FMC IAP as guidance to display in the FMC.There are quite a few RC users that also use VATSIM. RC is used when their are VATSIM controller scheduling availability conflicts since VATSIM uses real-time GMT and RC uses your FS time as you set it.I use Active Sky for weather downloading the day's weather for the GMT time of my flight as set in the sim. This therefore takes into account the effect of the time of day on weather due to solar heating.

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Has PFE been upgraded fairly well? I bought it when it first was re-released for FS9 and it had some issues I wasn't 100% happy with, like the lack of choices of callsigns, plus when wanting a new altitude in flight, the steps were in odd increments. If I needed to step 1,000 or even 2,000, it didn't have that. Very limited in altitude reassignments. I don't remember all the issues I might have had now, but I'm curious what has been changed, fixed or upgraded. I refunded it back then through Flight1, so I can't just reinstall.I no longer use RC4 because of it's issues too. The lack of VFR or uncontrolled airfield support (hearing other traffic) and inability to use a complete STAR and IAP with smooth transitions.
PFE is now at it's version 2.8 and in the forum Dave has also mentioned some features for 2.9 I believe.. coming soon. So yes it has been updated a lot. If you tried it at first release, you'd probably barely recoqnize it now. Be sure to pick up the new voice pack (about 10 dollars extra I think) with the xpack2 update to get the 1000+ callsigns and realistic VHF souns.You can now get realistic altitude changes just to mention one thing.Like I said, it has it's limitations. For now there is no "perfect" atc simulation available, but out of the three options (RC, PFE or default ATC) PFE has the best ambience IMHO. Online flying is another thing of course, but ambience-wise, it only comes close to these addons during organized fully staffed events between two airports, which is rare. My opinion only.

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PFE is now at it's version 2.8 and in the forum Dave has also mentioned some features for 2.9 I believe.. coming soon. So yes it has been updated a lot. If you tried it at first release, you'd probably barely recoqnize it now. Be sure to pick up the new voice pack (about 10 dollars extra I think) with the xpack2 update to get the 1000+ callsigns and realistic VHF souns.You can now get realistic altitude changes just to mention one thing.Like I said, it has it's limitations. For now there is no "perfect" atc simulation available, but out of the three options (RC, PFE or default ATC) PFE has the best ambience IMHO. Online flying is another thing of course, but ambience-wise, it only comes close to these addons during organized fully staffed events between two airports, which is rare. My opinion only.
Thanks, I'll check it out again next time I have some extra money. :(

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Thanks, I'll check it out again next time I have some extra money. :(
No problem. You might want to check out the version history document for all new features and fixes thru 1.0 - 2.8 right here on Avsim at the PFE support forum. It can be found in the "latest version" topic pinned to the top.

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