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hsmillie

Realistic ATC

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Hi,

 

This is my first post, so i apologise in advance for any mistakes.

 

I have been flying the PMDG 737NGX very confident in actually flying the plane, manually and automated, however I'm getting a little bit bored of the same robotic voices from the default FSX ATC. Currently I am manually plotting my flight plan in the default FSX flight planner for the required VORS, intersections and airways, i dont mind doing this, however I would like to know how to get the ATC to allow me to decide my point of decent and how to use the atc in conjunction with my SIDS and STARS. I'm looking at these ATC addons:

 

- VoxATC

- PRO-ATC/X

- RADAR CONTACT V4.3

 

Which one would be the best for the most realistic effect of ATC?

 

I am also interest in VATSIM, however I don't have the time or space for myself talking to a computer with other people around.

 

Cheers,

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There a couple of threads discussing ATC alternatives in detail.

 

There is Proflight emulator, Radar Contact and Voxatc. Each has its pros and cons. As for Proatcx, I advise you to wait until the long promised update is released because it lacks some basic features. It doesn't interact with AI and you can't request runway change.

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Welcome and ... yes, you'll find heaps of additional information on better ATC in the FSX forum.

 

For Radar Contact:

It works button-controlled and has an easy, clear user interface. It supports SIDs and STARs, but can't assign them. (It lets you fly your own ones.)

 

For VoxATC:

It works only voice-controlled (Windows native voice recognition with U.S. English language) and it can assign SIDs and STARs (from a Navigraph AIRAC cycle in Level-D format). The latter requires a native flightplan loaded and active in FSX, including at least one waypoint that's also part of the respective SID or STAR.

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You should also have a look at PFE (Pro Flight Emulator)  It got an update just a few days ago as well.

In this video there is a very long pre flight check. But after about 17-18 mins PFE kicks in with the Clearance following the Captain's emergency briefing.

 

For me it's slick and little sign of robotic voices.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94xXG5EC6d0

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For VoxATC:

It works only voice-controlled (Windows native voice recognition with U.S. English language) and it can assign SIDs and STARs (from a Navigraph AIRAC cycle in Level-D format). The latter requires a native flightplan loaded and active in FSX, including at least one waypoint that's also part of the respective SID or STAR.

You can also have the FO handle communications and don't have to use your voice.

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Here is the landing extracted from a 3h video, that I just recorded:

 

http://www.twitch.tv/virtualfreightdog/c/4345472

 

You will mostly hear PRO ATC's background chatter until ground requests me to contact tower.

 

The sounds in Pro ATC are not that bad, but there are quite a few bugs that still need to be smashed.

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While I won't be the guy who comes in here trumpeting that you should use an option not on your list, I do feel like I should come in and point out a few things:

  1. There are certain things that these programs will do that no real world controller would ask of you.  A notable example is the "descent to X altitude by Y DME of Z location."  It's an absolutely valid ATC command, but no controller in their right mind would give it.  It's too vague and work-intensive on the part of the crew.  Additionally, it's better for the controller to give a crossing restriction on a common fix.  I have a feeling the person coded it to do that in cases where pilots aren't using STARs with crossing restrictions, but don't feel like you have to go learn some crazy way of putting this into the FMC as if it would happen in the real world.
  2. Vectoring will still be terrible.  Vectoring is an ATC "freestyle" section of sorts.  It's a segment used to sequence aircraft.  If there are vector portions of your route (which occur often in the United States - not so much in the EU), they will likely be awkward.
  3. The program will be rigid, in general.  It will ask you to do things based on the rules the programmer set into the program.  Unfortunately, the people who made these programs are not as well versed in ATC as they should be*.  It might be a decent primer to ATC (and a step up from FSX's ATC), but again, don't expect this to match up with ATC in the real world.

*Then again, ATC is extremely complex, and varies significantly, even within the same system (how the NY TRACON does things is completely different from how Atlanta TRACON does things - seriously), so I can't say I blame them too much.

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While I won't be the guy who comes in here trumpeting that you should use an option not on your list, I do feel like I should come in and point out a few things:

  1. There are certain things that these programs will do that no real world controller would ask of you.  A notable example is the "descent to X altitude by Y DME of Z location."  It's an absolutely valid ATC command, but no controller in their right mind would give it.  It's too vague and work-intensive on the part of the crew.  Additionally, it's better for the controller to give a crossing restriction on a common fix.  I have a feeling the person coded it to do that in cases where pilots aren't using STARs with crossing restrictions, but don't feel like you have to go learn some crazy way of putting this into the FMC as if it would happen in the real world.
  2. Vectoring will still be terrible.  Vectoring is an ATC "freestyle" section of sorts.  It's a segment used to sequence aircraft.  If there are vector portions of your route (which occur often in the United States - not so much in the EU), they will likely be awkward.
  3. The program will be rigid, in general.  It will ask you to do things based on the rules the programmer set into the program.  Unfortunately, the people who made these programs are not as well versed in ATC as they should be*.  It might be a decent primer to ATC (and a step up from FSX's ATC), but again, don't expect this to match up with ATC in the real world.

*Then again, ATC is extremely complex, and varies significantly, even within the same system (how the NY TRACON does things is completely different from how Atlanta TRACON does things - seriously), so I can't say I blame them too much.

Yes, but the most unrealistic of all is the default ATC. VATSIM et al works only if you can get controllers on line for the whole route you intend to fly.

 

So people end up going with what they are happy with. For me PFE gives me the 'freedom' to do my own thing (recognising its limitations)and also it works well with SIDs STARs and transatlantic routings. But above all it's the least robotic. Have a look at the video above. Now that's an a/c that PMDG could try in their 'classic' range :rolleyes:

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Yes, but the most unrealistic of all is the default ATC. VATSIM et al works only if you can get controllers on line for the whole route you intend to fly.

 

True.

 

 

 


So people end up going with what they are happy with. For me PFE gives me the 'freedom' to do my own thing (recognising its limitations)and also it works well with SIDs STARs and transatlantic routings. But above all it's the least robotic. Have a look at the video above. Now that's an a/c that PMDG could try in their 'classic' range

 

That's the thing, though:

You have to know the limitations.  There are way too many out there who think these add-ons are 100% correct, and realistic.  That's why I posted what I did.  I'm not trying to say "don't use them."  I'm only saying "don't think they're going to be correct to the real world all the time."

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PFE does great things with transmissions: Heaps of voice sets, voice selection according to locations, misreadings, unintelligible transmissions etc.

As long as you are willing to create, set up, convert and load your flights via PFE, PF2000 and FSX, it's a good choice, as well.

 

RadarContact is good at crossing restrictions, for example, and VoxATC can even clear you for a STAR (may or may not include a CR) or instruct you to descent via a STAR.

 

Vectoring, unfortunately, is always pretty 'generic' with offline ATC, not really taking into account terrain, obstacles, RW runway operations and stuff.

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You will mostly hear PRO ATC's background chatter until ground requests me to contact tower.

 

This is one area that sets PFE apart from the other ATC offline solutions. When you fly with no traffic, RC4, ProATC-X, and VOXATC provides traffic ATC via canned Chatter, which is not related in any way to the flight you are on. PFE on the other hand will generate it's own simulated traffic chatter, that uses the same frequency and same controller that you are using in the same phase of flight you are in. The only issue though is it will generate the chatter using all the airlines available to it, so you can have a situation of a European regional like EasyJet flying in the US or a US like JetBlue flying in Europe. There is options to filter out airlines on a specific airport, so you can prevent this on the ground, but they will appear enroute. Other than that the feature works great!!

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When you fly with no traffic, RC4, ProATC-X, and VOXATC provides traffic ATC via canned Chatter

 

A small correction. VoxATC creates and handles it's own generated traffic (so there is no unrelated chatter).

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A small correction. VoxATC creates and handles it's own generated traffic (so there is no unrelated chatter).

VOXATC generates actual traffic, where PFE and the other solutions use FSX Traffic system for AI. What I'm talking about is when you don't have actual traffic but want to hear ATC in the background. I don't think VOXATC does this, or am I wrong? (ATC Chatter but no actual traffic) I like to fly this way, for performance reasons as I don't have  powerful system. I can fly with traffic, and I usually do this when I do my youtube videos, but I get the smoothest flights without it. This way I can at least feel like I'm not alone in the sky, and have a nice smooth flight even with performance demanding addons!!

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Actually, RC interacts with AI the same way PFE does. If the default ATC gives the plane an instruction, they repeat the instructions. As for VOXATC, it doesn't use canned chatter. It creates AI plane and gives them instructions as the default ATC.

 

Both PFE and RC has an option to use canned chatter or the fault AI.

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