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tf51d

ATC modifications suggestions and opinions

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Some of you may know, that I have been delving into modifying the default phraseology of the default ATC to sound more (hopefully) realistic, using the editvoicepack utility. I would like to ask opinions on, whether or not I'm going in the right direction, or maybe suggest other changes that could be modified to make it better. (Depending on whether it's possible to do within the program.) My main focus at this time was to enhance the FAA subset, as a number of modifications were already available for the ICAO set within editvoicepack. (The new modifications can be used for the ICAO subset as well) Some of which I made available for use. Since the community updates are not modifiable in editvoicepack, I did this by extracting the mod from the ICAO set, and re-importing it to the My Modification phraseology section. Other modifications I have previously made myself, and have released here in the AVSIM FSX/Sound library. In addition I have made other modifications which I intend to release in a second package. Of course there are 3rd party alternatives, and live ATC like VATSIM, all of which have their own limitations. For me I find a modified default ATC with the aid of the AISmooth utility the best compromise, taken in to account ground control, user and AI interaction. Unfortunately my setup is not conducive to online ATC, so for me that's not an option. Here's a list of what I've done.Existing editvoicepack modifications1. Added Pleasantries to pilot freq change responses. There are a number of variations, for example "over to 127.25 Delta 2118 Good Day"2. Changed "Position and hold" instruction to "Line up and wait", which has been adopted by the FAA as was already the standard phrase in the ICAO regions.Changes previously released by me.1. Clearance Delivery instructions and responses now include expected flight level information.2. Landing Clearance now include winds. (Wind instructions for takeoff clearances already exist within editvoicepack)Additional modifications I've made.1. Initial approach clearance will now add the Destination to it's instruction. Example "Delta 2118 you are 100 miles Southeast of Atlanta, turn right heading 250, descend and maintain 10000 feet Expect vectors ILS runway 27L" approach."2. Final approach clearance. Added a reduce speed to 180kts instruction as well as the destination airport. I wanted to add variations of the speed, which the default ATC system does support, but there would be no way for the pilots responses to match up, so I had to use a fixed speed.Of course this is only for affect as far as AI aircraft are concerned, AI will not actually obey these restrictions Example: "Delta 2118 you are 24 miles southeast of Atlanta Turn left heading 300, Descend and maintain 3000, Cleared ILS runway 27L approach. Maintain 3000 until established on the localizer, Contact Atlanta Tower on 118.3 Reduce speed to 180kts".2. Transfer to Tower will now add a reduce speed instruction to 160ktsExample "Delta 2118, Atlanta Tower Reduce speed to 160kts Fly straight in, runway 27L. Altimeter 2991"3. Tower transfer to ground will now add a welcome like I hear on many VATSIM videos, as well as some Live ATC. Example: "delta 2118 Welcome to Atlanta contact ground on 121.0"I welcome any comments on these, as well as any suggestions for additional changes.Thank You

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Hi Tom, I welcome what you've accomplished what and agree that your approach is the best compromise. Others won't agree, but it's a subjective thing. Will your changes be made available?

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Hi Tom, I welcome what you've accomplished what and agree that your approach is the best compromise. Others won't agree, but it's a subjective thing. Will your changes be made available?
Yes, that's why I'm asking, to see if I need to make any changes, or if anyone has any new suggestions, that I may be able to do before I release it. As mentioned I've already released the first set, (Clearance Delivery, and Landing clearance).Thanks!

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Hats off to you,Tom. This is a cracking project that you have undertaken. Because quite frankly I have no idea which planet Microsoft were when they modelled the ATC into their MSFS platforms,which,as a result has forced simmers seeking the authentic thing into other developer's products such as RC,etc. This is just what today's simming requires.Well Done.

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Hello Tom,A valiant effort for sure to add more realism to the default ATC. As a real FAA controller, I can give you some pointers and maybe some challenges to make it more realistic.Approach Clearance: You should probably change "reduce speed to 180 knots" to if possible "maintain 180 knots until 5 mile final" or "maintain 180 knits or greater until 5 mile final.Initial Tower Call: As I am a tower controller, I will tell you that no one will ever tell an aircraft to reduce to 160 knots. This is because approach has already given them a speed restriction. IF we need to slow an aircraft on final to create spacing we will say things like "reduce to final approach speed" or "maintain slowest practical speed". We don't want to be issuing hard speed restrictions to aircraft that are less than 5 miles from the landing runway.Also, on thing you'll never hear in the tower to an aircraft on an IFR flight plan is "make straight-in runway ##". We simply clear them to land, pattern entry instructions are only used for VFR aircraft and sometimes we'll use them to IFR aircraft on a visual approach if cunducting a circle to a different runway. If you can completely remove that statement from FSX ATC, that would be the most realistic. OR an alternative, you could have it say "runway ##, continue, wind ### at ##".

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Yes, that's why I'm asking, to see if I need to make any changes, or if anyone has any new suggestions, that I may be able to do before I release it. As mentioned I've already released the first set, (Clearance Delivery, and Landing clearance).Thanks!
Hi Tom,Just looking at the list of what you have already created, this looks really useful. I haven't yet downloaded any of your atc files ( I didn't know they existed until I read this thread), and when I doI have no idea of what to do with them ( maybe you tell us in the read me?).As someone that flys with real atc in IFR, I totally get it when folks prefer online atc as it's interactive and somewhat human. But since my sim time is so limited and results in such spasmodic flights (sometimes just doing a pattern around the airport in a 737! ), I'm interested in what you are doing. Virtual controllers don't care what I do...One thing that would be cool is if you were able to give an initial heading on takeoff. I know that in the real thing, the initial heading is sometimes dictated by noise abatement or terrain, and there's no way that FSX would know that. But if you were able to figure out the general direction of a flight plan, and insert a similar heading into the takeoff instruction, that would be cool.I see you call out flight level in the clearance, do you get this from the flightplam? You could add an initial altitude clearance (with an"expect in 10 minutes" final flight level, where the initial could be something like 10,000 feet above departure airport altitude.I look forward to trying out some of your work when I get a chance.Thanks, Bruce.

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Excellent recommendations Jeremy - if any other controllers can chime in with suggestions it goes along way toward creating realistic changes in EVP.Kudos to Tom for all his work. After installing his packages I had some spare time and changed the way traffic advisories are spoken (listened to LiveATC for repetitive patterns) and also made changes to the pronunciation of many different airports, cities etc. FSX used to say San Paul for Saint Paul, MN. If anyone is interested in using them and offering suggestions for change, I would gladly post them up. If I get the time (ya right...) I would be willing to work on changing some other segment(s) of ATC.Keep up the good work Tom, your mods along with the EVP speed changes make the ATC much more realistic. Thanks!

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Hello Tom,A valiant effort for sure to add more realism to the default ATC. As a real FAA controller, I can give you some pointers and maybe some challenges to make it more realistic.Approach Clearance: You should probably change "reduce speed to 180 knots" to if possible "maintain 180 knots until 5 mile final" or "maintain 180 knits or greater until 5 mile final.Initial Tower Call: As I am a tower controller, I will tell you that no one will ever tell an aircraft to reduce to 160 knots. This is because approach has already given them a speed restriction. IF we need to slow an aircraft on final to create spacing we will say things like "reduce to final approach speed" or "maintain slowest practical speed". We don't want to be issuing hard speed restrictions to aircraft that are less than 5 miles from the landing runway.Also, on thing you'll never hear in the tower to an aircraft on an IFR flight plan is "make straight-in runway ##". We simply clear them to land, pattern entry instructions are only used for VFR aircraft and sometimes we'll use them to IFR aircraft on a visual approach if cunducting a circle to a different runway. If you can completely remove that statement from FSX ATC, that would be the most realistic. OR an alternative, you could have it say "runway ##, continue, wind ### at ##".
Thanks! This is just what I'm looking for. For the initial tower call the Continue instruction already exists for the ICAO subset, I added the wind info to the landing clearance, because FS ATC has a tendency to give final approach clearance sometimes up to 40 miles out, which I thought was too far to give final wind data. I think what I'll do is use this instruction with a variation with and without a "reduce to final approach speed" instruction. I based the reduce to 160kts instruction from a RW video of a Virgin 747-400 into KSFO. Re-watching it though shows it was the last reduction prior to transfer to Tower. The option to delete it altogether is not really feasible because FS has 2 distinct instructions on Xfer to Tower, which have to be responded to. Thanks!!Tom

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Hi Tom,Just looking at the list of what you have already created, this looks really useful. I haven't yet downloaded any of your atc files ( I didn't know they existed until I read this thread), and when I doI have no idea of what to do with them ( maybe you tell us in the read me?).Yes, the instructions are in the readme!!As someone that flys with real atc in IFR, I totally get it when folks prefer online atc as it's interactive and somewhat human. But since my sim time is so limited and results in such spasmodic flights (sometimes just doing a pattern around the airport in a 737! ), I'm interested in what you are doing. Virtual controllers don't care what I do...One thing that would be cool is if you were able to give an initial heading on takeoff. I know that in the real thing, the initial heading is sometimes dictated by noise abatement or terrain, and there's no way that FSX would know that. But if you were able to figure out the general direction of a flight plan, and insert a similar heading into the takeoff instruction, that would be cool.That may be able to be done, depending on whether the data field (The heading data, that is giving from departure) is already populated in the system, at point of takeoff. At the very least I could add "Fly runway heading" like I hear in other ATC programs. I have to be careful here though, because (I'm not sure yet) but the takeoff instruction may also be the same one for VFR flight, in which case an instruction like this would not be realistic. I'll check it out!!I see you call out flight level in the clearance, do you get this from the flightplam? You could add an initial altitude clearance (with an"expect in 10 minutes" final flight level, where the initial could be something like 10,000 feet above departure airport altitude.I give both initial (Which was the default) and the expected flight level with my modification.I look forward to trying out some of your work when I get a chance.Thanks, Bruce.

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3. Tower transfer to ground will now add a welcome like I hear on many VATSIM videos, as well as some Live ATC. Example: "delta 2118 Welcome to Atlanta contact ground on 121.0"I welcome any comments on these, as well as any suggestions for additional changes.
First, thanks for the care and effort that you're putting into this! Although I'm a user of a 3rd party ATC, I'll be sure to give this a listen when you're done.One little thing I've always wanted to hear comes from when I was a student pilot - when my instructor was going over basic radio procedures he taught me that if ground frequency was 121.something, some tower controllers would not speak the "one two one." So 121.6 would be referred to as "ground point six," 121.25 would be "ground point two five," etc. (But he stressed that if a controller were to speak "one two one" that I better read "one two one" back.)I'd be surprised if partial frequencies could be coded into MSFS ATC, but since you asked.... :(

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Tom,First of all, as an avid EVP user, I'd like to say thank you so very much for doing this. The attention to detail you have exhibited in these mods shows through really well. Keep up the good work.I agree with Jeremy's recommendations. It's always good to have a primary source on-hand to make it more realistic :( One thing that's always sorta bugged me in FSX is the "TRAFFIC ALERT!" I looked up some phraseology for this in an FAA handbook and in real life, the controller says something along the lines of "TRAFFIC ALERT (aircraft call sign), TURN (left/right) IMMEDIATELY, (climb/descend) AND MAINTAIN (altitude)." It'd be awesome if the appropriate directions could be chosen by FSX ATC depending on the position of each aircraft but I don't think that this is possible. But I think it'd add a bit of a realistic flair if the FSX ATC controller said something like "Advise you take immediate action" or something along those lines.I also focused on the altitude alerts, for example, the "you are xxx above/below your assigned altitude." In real life, phraseology varies but I think it's along the lines of "Low Altitude Alert, check your altitude immediately" for low altitude. I don't know about too high altitude though.Just my 2 cents!Thanks again for doing this!

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Tom,First of all, as an avid EVP user, I'd like to say thank you so very much for doing this. The attention to detail you have exhibited in these mods shows through really well. Keep up the good work.I agree with Jeremy's recommendations. It's always good to have a primary source on-hand to make it more realistic :( One thing that's always sorta bugged me in FSX is the "TRAFFIC ALERT!" I looked up some phraseology for this in an FAA handbook and in real life, the controller says something along the lines of "TRAFFIC ALERT (aircraft call sign), TURN (left/right) IMMEDIATELY, (climb/descend) AND MAINTAIN (altitude)." It'd be awesome if the appropriate directions could be chosen by FSX ATC depending on the position of each aircraft but I don't think that this is possible. But I think it'd add a bit of a realistic flair if the FSX ATC controller said something like "Advise you take immediate action" or something along those lines.I also focused on the altitude alerts, for example, the "you are xxx above/below your assigned altitude." In real life, phraseology varies but I think it's along the lines of "Low Altitude Alert, check your altitude immediately" for low altitude. I don't know about too high altitude though.Just my 2 cents!Thanks again for doing this!
Thanks! For the Traffic alerts I can change the phrase but unfortunately there is no mechanism within the ATC system to direct appropriate action. If you do deviate from course or Altitude yourself, ATC will warn you, so I'm not sure what can be done here. I was thinking about doing something about the altitude deviation messages myself. While I'm sure it occasionally happens in real life, I don't think it would be at the frequency we see in FS. (Due mainly from the abrupt change in Weather conditions we get in FS) So I was going to take the whole phrase out and just leave the "Turn Right Heading xxx, climb(or descend) and maintain FLxxx" portion, this way it would just appear as a navigational instruction. Jeremy, what do you think about this?ThanksTom
First, thanks for the care and effort that you're putting into this! Although I'm a user of a 3rd party ATC, I'll be sure to give this a listen when you're done.One little thing I've always wanted to hear comes from when I was a student pilot - when my instructor was going over basic radio procedures he taught me that if ground frequency was 121.something, some tower controllers would not speak the "one two one." So 121.6 would be referred to as "ground point six," 121.25 would be "ground point two five," etc. (But he stressed that if a controller were to speak "one two one" that I better read "one two one" back.)I'd be surprised if partial frequencies could be coded into MSFS ATC, but since you asked.... :(
I don't think that can be done in FS, but then again there is a shortened callsign, so maybe there is, I'll look into it.

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Tom, Your plan for the Altitude Alerts sounds like a good idea. In the real world phrases like: "You are 300 feet above your assigned altitude...", etc. are extremely rare, and quite frankly, it sounds ridiculous anyway.

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Tom,As far as traffic alerts go, I actually think they're already modeled into FSX if I'm not mistaken (been awhile since I used AI ATC). Traffic Alert is simply a phrase to draw immediate attention. We all know the standard radar traffic phraseology, and you can use traffic alert instead of traffic. For example, let's say I'm working the VFR helicopters position (providing Bravo services) and one of the 19 arrivals decides to decent early. At first I would have issued:"Maverick 3-0, traffic, 2 o'clock, 2 miles, falcon at 3,500, turning final for ruwnay 19R"Response: Maverick 3-0 lookingNow a bit of info on this scenario: Our helicopter arrival track brings helos in at 3,000 ft under the 19 finals. The TRACON will instruct arrivals to maintain at or above 3,500 until abeam the stratosphere.So as I am watchingthe radar screen, I'm noticing that the falcon is descending early and Maverick 3-0 still doesn't have the traffic in sight:"Maverick 3-0, Traffic Alert! 1 o'clock, less than 1 mile, falcon, descending out of 3,300"Now, IF I feel that it is necessary to issue a vector to ensure they don't hit, I will. However, the nice thing about our tour helos is they have sophisticated TCAS systems (better than some airliners) and he probably got the alert before I even said anything.For Low Altitude alerts: I think you are confusing verifying an altitude and a low altitude alert. In FSX, you'll hear the ATC say "You are 300 ft above your assigned altitude....yada yada yada". In real life, as a controller I would say "Verify altitude". If the pilot comes back and says "FL360" and that is the altitude he's supposed to be at yet I'm seeing FL365, I would say "Altitude indicates FL365, verify altimeter 29.92". If the pilot comes back with "Affirmitive", then I'm going to start questioning the accuracy of his equipment. "Stop altitude squawk", give it a few sweeps, "squawk altitude". If the transponder is still showing an incorrect altitude "stop altitude squawk, it appears your transponder is inaccurate" or something to that effect.Low altitude alerts are a radar only function and you will only issue an LA when you feel absolutely necessary or the radar is giving you an LA alert. For example, here in Vegas, we go IFR maybe twice a year if we're lucky. One night I was working Local for the 25's and our ceiling was about 10 ft above minimums for the ILS to 25L. I had a US Airways airbus check in on final for 25L at about SHAND waypoint. Shortly after, my LA starts to go off, I look and he is over RELIN descending out of 3,000 ft. The minimum safe altitude at RELIN is 3,800 ft. That is when I say "Cactus 123, low altitude alert, check your altitude immediately, your altitude should be at or above 3,800 over RELIN". The pilot questioned me about it and I repeated the LA advisory. He then started to climb to get on the correct glide path. Come to find out, on a real ILS, there are "false glide paths" both extremely below and extremely above the actual glide path. The pilots instruments were showing that he was on the glide path, but he had inadvertently picked up the false glide path....scary huh?Because FSX doesn't simulate any of these things, you will never have an instance for low altitude alert, and it would be nearly impossible to make FSX to verify an altitude by the book.

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Ok, I decided on 2 changes suggested here, As Jeremy suggested I dropped the "Fly (or Make) straight in" initial tower instruction (Including the added speed reduction), in favor of using the existing phases in the ICAO section "Continue" and "Continue Approach". The other change is to eliminate the "You are 300 above/below your assigned altitude" prefix, so now these occurrences will just appear as a navigation instruction. I checked into the other suggestions to add an initial navigation instruction on takeoff clearance, but couldn't find a way yet to make it work. I'll continue to check and if I can figure it out, release it then. I do have some things to do this weekend, so I probably won't be able to put a release together until next week. I plan on putting together instructions, not only for my current changes, but to set up the existing modifications, my modifications already available, and the new changes. I think that will help people to set this up!!ThanksTom

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Ok, I decided on 2 changes suggested here, As Jeremy suggested I dropped the "Fly (or Make) straight in" initial tower instruction (Including the added speed reduction), in favor of using the existing phases in the ICAO section "Continue" and "Continue Approach". The other change is to eliminate the "You are 300 above/below your assigned altitude" prefix, so now these occurrences will just appear as a navigation instruction. I checked into the other suggestions to add an initial navigation instruction on takeoff clearance, but couldn't find a way yet to make it work. I'll continue to check and if I can figure it out, release it then. I do have some things to do this weekend, so I probably won't be able to put a release together until next week. I plan on putting together instructions, not only for my current changes, but to set up the existing modifications, my modifications already available, and the new changes. I think that will help people to set this up!!ThanksTom
Good stuff, and thanks for your work on this!Any chance you could release this is an all-in-one for ease of use?

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Hi Tom, I can't add much to the information already provided, but just wanted to say that I really appreciate the work you've done (and plan on doing) to make the FSX ATC as good as it can be within the limits of the FSX engine.Thanks!

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Noticed it's been awhile..... Any idea when, or if, this will be released? Maybe it already is and I'm just an idiot. Seems like a great idea to me. I'm sick of hearing "Fly runway heading, climb and maintain 0 feet.". I'd rather not run into buildings, trees, cars, etc. just because FSX told me to. Obviously I ignore it anyways and just set an altitude of like 10000 ft. By then, clearer instructions are given. It's just a pain in the arse.

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