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Chock

A quick fly by of Pro ATC

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As noted on the Avsim main page, this is a new FSX add on which offers you three functions to improve your IFR airliner flights: a replacement ATC system, a flight planner and a co-pilot. It is by German developer Pointsoft, who I've never heard of LOL.

 

A link to the product site - note that the screenies at that site are tiny, and consequently don't show a lot, so I've posted some bigger ones here on this thread:

 

http://www.pointsoft...cxfeatures.html

 

 

At 40 quid (about 65 Dollars) this is not a cheap add-on, but then again it does do three fairly major things, so it would perhaps be better to think of it as several add-ons combined, which makes the price a bit easier to swallow (more on this below).

 

What you initially see upon installation and having fired it up, is an interface which looks like this. Don't worry, there are loads of available airline choices and you can add your own aircraft types too, so you don't have to fly for the Luftwaff - I mean Lufthansa:

 

1-66.jpg

 

Click on the flightplan bit and it takes you to a screen where you can set up a flight which will automatically generate an IFR plan for you between your chosen departure and arrival airports in a manner similar to the default FSX flight planner:

 

2-52.jpg

 

Again, sort of like the default FSX planner, you can then amend by right clicking on things to either add or delete waypoints on the route, although unlike the default planner, it has SIDs and STARs:

 

3-39.jpg

 

Having set up a route and saved it, you can then choose from rather a lot of options relating to how your co-pilot will assist you, and what sounds will be played etc, etc (including some very nice real world ATC pre-recorded stuff if you like). These choices can also be tweaked on the fly when the thing is running in FSX, so it is very customisable:

 

4-31.jpg

 

When you've set everything up to your preferences, you right click on your created flight plan in the list, and with FSX already running, it will set up the flight for you when you click the option which appears to enable you set up things such as the time and start location airport gate:

 

6-19.jpg

 

When FSX fires up, you press the 1 key (that's the default, you can change it) and up pops a modified ATC window with all the options which Pro ATC adds. And there are a lot of them, here you can see the choices on what your co-pilot will or will not do for you:

 

1-67.jpg

 

Here's the choices for checklists:

 

3-40.jpg

 

And here's the regular ATC menu with some expanded choices:

 

2-53.jpg

 

All of this stuff has audio, so you can have you co-pilot go through checklists, and you will press the 2 key to acknowledge things (you can reassign that key if you like), where it plays audio for your response. You can select a variety of voices, although Germany features prominently here, since it's a German development company, but the voices are not heavily accented, so it's all perfectly undertandable English, and there are some nice options, for example, you can have a female co-pilot if you like. Go on, admit it, you like that idea, don't you?

 

When you contact ATC for clearance, push back, engine start etc, the procedures are also with audio and very true to real life procedures, so both the co-pilot and the ATC module do a similar thing to stuff such as FS2Crew, MCE and Radar Contact combined. This means it's quite a lot of bang for your bucks, which goes at least some way toward explaning the rather hefty price tag. And it works with any aeroplane.

 

Now the bad news, well, sort of. Initially when I installed this, I had loads of problems with it, it wouldn't let me add or remove waypoints from plans, the options windows kept closing randomly on me, and all kinds of stuff like that, to the extent that I was forming the opinion that it was an overpriced piece of garbage. So thought I would try reinstalling it as the admin and then running it as the admin too, courtesty of right clicking on the installation file and then right clicking on the exe fiel to run it, and guess what? that sorts it all out, and it then runs just fine. So I was getting narked off for no reason really, although they could have suggested doing that on the install window and saved me a bit of trouble LOL

 

But - there's always a but, isn't there? - before you get too excited, there are some flies in the ointment, the main one being that the database of SIDs and STARS is not absolutely complete, for example I found that some fairly major airports did not have some procedures which they should have done, places like Paris Charles de Gaulle, Brussels, Manchester and Almeria, so there is clearly some work still to be done to make it really zing.

 

However, there are apparently plans to add other sound packs, and I should think at this price they will have to look at getting those procedures in there too (there are a lot which are present too by the way, so don't let that put you off too much). So whilst I would say that it is currently a bit pricey given the certain lack of quite a few SIDs and STARs, and the fact that you cannot import a flight plan but must instead let Pro ATC create it and then amend it from there, this does in fact have the potential to be a must have if you like stuff such as MCE, FS2Crew and Radar Contact, because the ATC and the co-pilot functions are really rather good.

 

I hope they make a demo of it, because it would be nice if people could give it a try out before deciding to stump up 65 bucks. But having sorted out my initial issues with it, which did initially make it a pain in the &@($*, I have to say that it is really pretty good.

 

Al


Alan Bradbury

Check out my youtube flight sim videos: Here

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It looks interesting indeed. I wonder how "smooth" the radio voices will be? I hope there is a video or demo for it.


Sagga Toure
 

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Being recordings, the voices sound just like the real thing, that is one of the plus points of it in comparison to some other solutions. They are treated to sound like radio transmissions by being subjected to some treble boost and bass reduction EQing.

 

Al


Alan Bradbury

Check out my youtube flight sim videos: Here

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Al, this is the FSX version of a previous similar FS9 interesting project that was reviewed (see link on AVSIM), is the product very much different from this one and have the flaws identified in the review then (FS9 version in 2006 in all fairness to the developer) been resolved?

http://www.avsim.com...FSCOM/FSCOM.htm


Jean-Claude 

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That's good. But FSX does actually a good job in not being so "robotic" audio compared to other atc addons I've seen.


Sagga Toure
 

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Nice one Al that was just what i was waiting for.

 

I was tempted yesterday but held off for your review!! Yes a demo would be good to try out first as it is quite pricey.

 

With all the other features aside, is it on par with RCV4?

 

Cheers


Chris Howard
 

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What about ATC, how does it assign SIDS/STARS. Is it like voxatc? What about, approaches, vectors stuff like that?

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From a mail conversation with the developers, SIDs are assigned based on weather at the airport. STARS are not calculated before a certain distance to the destination airport, so they are influenced by the local weather as well.

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Great review Al, thanks!

 

I'm very tempted. How customisable is it? Can you add/create SID/STARS, add voices etc ? I love the co-pilot feature

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The one thing that seems to be missing is voice communication (with ATC, co-pilot etc.) Or did I miss that ?

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Repost of the developer words from here:http://forum.avsim.net/page/index.html/_/pr-ann/pro-atcx-from-pointsoft-released-r347?st=50#commentsStart

 

Hi all, I am one of the developers of PRO-ATC/X and just want to clarify some points discussed here.

 

Flight plan

Importing flight plans is not supported so far. The reason is that flight plans in fsx format don't know anything about SIDs and STARs.

 

PRO-ATC/X assigns the sid and star procedures at run time, means after the flight is started, since the procedures to assign depends on wind heading and this can differ from flight to flight, especially when flying with real weather.

 

An fsx flight plan is already now generated and loaded automatically into the GPS. This is done in 2 steps.

 

Step1: When Clearance Delivery assigns a SID procedure or vectors, a flight plan containing all sid and airway waypoints is generated and loaded into the GPS. At this point we don't know which star procedure will be assigned later!

 

Step2 is done after approach control assigns a star or verctors. Btw the generated fp is saved into the file "proatcx.pln" in your personal fsx folder.

 

AIRAC Data

Importing airac data will be implemented with an update within the next few weeks

 

 

Videos and a forum will be available tomorrow.


Joshua C.

WSSS

 

coloraerosofta320extdev.png

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Al, thanks for the review and Josh thanks for reposting the dev's words.It looks like an interesting piece of kit.I wonder if the planner includes NATs when planning transatlantic flights.The price is interesting too :Party:

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That's good. But FSX does actually a good job in not being so "robotic" audio compared to other atc addons I've seen.

 

I completely agree with this point. I've tried many ATC addons over the years and although some of them are procedurally better than the default FSX ATC they nearly always have a struggle sounding at all convincing. I agree that FSX's ATC voices are superbly done, since although they are actually triggered bits and pieces of voices, they are very cleverly put together to give a pretty convincing natural flow.

 

As Chock also points out, ATC should never be hi-fi quality (some addon ATCs actually proudly claim "recorded in hi resolution", which is quite silly as that is not as it should be - ATC should sound as low fi as possible, with middle and treble eq and almost no bass eq at all).

 

The voices used for realistic ATC are every bit as important as the procedural system used, but many addons have at best a very poor implementation of voices, or worse still, a horrible use of microsoft or other "virtual" voices which to my ears sound ridiculous. But to be fair to the developers of these kinds of addons, it is a huge task to record then link together the hundreds of phrases, numbers and commands that an average ATC operator speaks, in a convincing way.

 

I've never heard a better implementation of this than FSX's default ATC, and that encourages me to forgive the procedural mistakes.

 

Rob

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Al,

 

Thanks for the review. Does the ATC only follow ICAO, or does it do FAA also if flying in the states?


Jeremy "BZ" Bucholz

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Al,

 

My sincere thanks for reviewing 'in record time' this new utility and sharing your opinion with us. And lets hope that the feedback to the developers that bleeds through your review and comments made yesterday in reaction to the announcement will result in an enhanced version in the near future.

 

Regards,

 

JJ


Jean-Jacques

CYND, Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport, Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

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