Sign in to follow this  
BrettT

Considering Purchasing - General Questions

Recommended Posts

I am considering purchasing this product.  One question I had was how it handles GA traffic at non-towered airports.  I realize this is an ATC program but it also manages all the traffic.  Does the program establish flights at non towered airports and have them call out their positions, locations on the pattern, etc even though they are not necessarily interacting with a controller.  Just seems like a default traffic/ATC is relatively barren even with sliders maxed out.  Any insight is appreciated.

 

Thanks,

 

Brett

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

Hi Brett,

 

I'm a long-time user of VoxATC.  I have used it extensively in both IFR commercial fights, and more recently, VFR GA flights from both towered and non-towered flights.

 

I would have to say it works better using IFR flight plans, and also flying jets at higher altitudes in general.  That is not to say it's not light-years ahead of default ATC, because it is.  Using it at towered airports is better than at non-towered airports.  It does 'control' other traffic in and around the airport.  You will hear other aircraft in the pattern, approaching the airport, asking for airport information, and on the ground requesting various things.  At non-towered airports, you hear traffic self-announcing while in the pattern, doing touch-and-goes, etc.  It works better when you file a flightplan because if you just want to fly closed patterns at a non-towered airport it doesn't work too well. However, it does work fine for that purpose at towered airports.

 

If you have any more specific questions/concerns just fire away!

 

Jay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jay, I am in the same situation as BreTT, meaning "considering purchasing this product". I have been thinking about this for a while, but I think I need a bit of a push.

I flight exclusively small GA, mostly VFR cross-country, but sometimes IFR (VMC into IMC scenarios). 

Even when in VMC sometimes I shoot IFR approaches, just for fun.

Until now my ATC is (very poorly) handled by default FSX. I also run UT2 for AI traffic (with GA at 100%).

 

In these conditions, would you say VOXATC is going to add much, or would it be an overkill? I like the idea of voice-recognition, but I will probably never fly full SID/STARS or other complex IFR procedures. Just VFR following and IFR published approach procedures. But I would enjoy requesting a runway change, or taxi clearances in towered  airports, or being told to hold until a AI lands, or calling a "go around" and being vectored to a hold. Your typical ATC activity for small GAs.

Is it worth it? What is the best feature of VOXATC that you personally enjoy when flying GA?

 

many thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

First off, I would wholeheartedly and without reservation say that VoxATC is worth it. I have been using it since FS9 and I continue to use it EVERY time I fly. I simply would not fly without VoxATC, just like I won't fly without TrackIR anymore. However, is not without it's warts. I'll get back to that later.

While I have used Vox extensively while flying big iron on IFR flightplans, for about a year or so now I been flying the incredible GA offerings from A2A on both IFR and VFR plans. I find that Vox adds tremendously to the GA VFR experience, although, as I said previously, it does work better for IFR flights.

Let me first try to answer your specific questions. It won't handle VMC into IMC. If you file a VFR plan, that's what you're stuck with all the way thru. You cannot even request an instrument approach if you've filed VFR. You will only be given pattern entry instructions to either towered or non-towered fields. It's not that you can't do it anyway, but you won't be cleared for the approach. One of the features I've asked the developer to implement is the ability to request an instrument approach even when flying a VFR flightplan. However, as you may already know, this is not done in real world situations, as far as I'm aware. If you're VFR you're going only going to get pattern entry instructions. I just think it would add to the experience if you could request an approach anyway, just for fun, like you said. I also sent the developer a very (long) detailed list of improvements that could be made to enhance the VFR experience. He welcomed my suggestions and maybe one day we'll see them happen, no promises from him tho.

I use MyTraffic 6 for AI and it works great, but I do know that UT2 will also run great with Vox, so, no issue there.

The voice recognition works great for me. It actually uses Windows built-in speech recognition app to handle all that. Once you get it set up and train it properly, it has been outstanding at understanding my commands. I use a mono headset which also allows me to attach my TrackIR to it.

Vox does handle VFR flight following very well. It provides traffic advisories, issues squawk codes, and gives handoffs.

It will also do runway changes (you can request any available runway), gives proper taxi clearances, gives you ground holds for both taxiing and landing traffic, and accepts go-arounds (you are told to fly the published miss and then handed back to the approach controller to request another approach).

Now, let's take a step back and talk about those "warts" I mentioned. Vox has issues, always did, maybe always will. It occasionally freezes (this is usually fixed by simply disabling and re-enabling), but it has not been a problem for me in the recent past due to the developer working hard at eliminating, or at least reducing the likelihood of these freezes. That's the really big issue, because if it doesn't work then what have you gotten for your money? However, as I said, it is not, and has not been an issue for me at all recently.

Secondly, if you read this forum (and you should), you will see that many users have brought up many issues over many years. Some of these issues are not actually problems in the software, but the user themself. Some are legitimate problems that are part of Vox and have not been addressed by the developer, or just shortcomings in the software itself. If you are expecting perfection then you ARE going to be disappointed.

Thirdly, VoxATC has been around more than a dozen years and the developer has continually supported and updated the software for free and only charged for major version changes (at a discount for existing users) over all these years. While he doesn't have a dedicated forum for support, he responds to emails sent very quickly. I have been in contact with him many times over the years and he has provided me with above-average support.

I think I've covered everything you asked, if you think of anything else, just fire way!

Regards,
Jay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jay, thank you so much for your long and very detailed answer, very much appreciated.

It all sounds quite exciting, but I am a bit disappointed by what you are saying about "being locked in VFR", even when transition from VMC to IMC. In real life this is an issue of much concern for safety, as VMC-to-IMC is the greatest cause of fatal accidents in GA.

It is actually possible (and advisable) to file a IFR plan even if you departed VFR. It is unofficially called pop-up IFR, especially if you are already on VFR flight following. here is an article about it:

http://www.avweb.com/news/system/183174-1.html

 

I even heard people departing under VFR (weather permitting) and filing IFR in air, just to avoid long queues on the ground for IFR clearance (this becomes very much a reality in bigger, congested airports, as airliners must always get IFR clearances.).

 

So I guess one follow-up question for you is: do you know of any way-around this with VOXAtc? I mean besides landing at an alternate a filing a new IFR plan from ground. Maybe some way to pause VOXAtc, and restarting it under IFR but starting right away with vectors from the point where you are to the next fix of your plan?

Also, can you declare emergencies in VoxATC? I fly A2A aircrafts, where sometimes something fails... It would be cool to get on the com, declare emergency, and getting cleared to the closest avilable strip keeping all traffic out of the way.

 

On another note, have you ever tried VATSIM/IVAO or even Pilot Edge? Would you care to comment on the different win experience between those and VOXAtc?

 

Many thanks, again.

Giovanni

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Giovanni,

 

I definitely agree with you that filing IFR while airborne, or pop-up IFR, would be a very cool feature to have in VoxATC. As would the ability to cancel IFR and proceed VFR. Those are two of the suggestions I sent to the developer. I've never heard that pilots would actually do pop-up IFR just to avoid queuing on the ground, pretty sneaky, hehe.

 

Thinking about a way around the fact that once you are on either method of flight, IFR or VFR, would there be any way to change without starting completely over. I have one idea that I'm going to try when I get a chance, probably tomorrow. I'll definitely let you know if it works.

 

Regarding emergencies. Yes, you can declare an emergency. However, the method to do it is somewhat convoluted and not very intuitive. It was on my list of things to look at more closely and try to make some recommendations to the developer. Now that you reminded me I'm going to try and do that. I do remember that you do get cleared to the nearest field but I don't know if it clears all traffic for you.

 

I have never tried VATSIM or Pilot Edge, and I have never tried any other ATC replacement software other than VoxATC, so I am in no position to make any first-hand comparisons. There are numerous threads in the forums about comparisons, so I'll leave that part of it alone. Seems to be similar arguments to those comparing weather engines, with no one program coming out clearly on top. They all have positives and negatives, but, the one feature that is a must-have for me is VFR ability.

 

I'll get back with the results of my test.

 

Regards,

Jay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Giovanni

 

Hello,

 

Yes I think you can ;-)

 

Vfr flight plan with VoxAtc. During the flight, shutdown Voxatc, load an Ifr FP, relaunch Vox and you got it !

 

Be advised an important thing, Voxatc don't manage the relief during approach. In fact only the native Atc and Pilot2Atc seem to do it.

 

Concerning Ivao/Vatsim, many Vatsim/Ivao pilots use too Voxatc specially when there is not present control at destination.

 

Emergencies from the Vox manual :

 

"You can declare an emergency any time that you are airborne. An emergency call has the
following format:
mayday mayday mayday <call sign> <emergency type> <request>
This version of VoxATC has five types of emergency currently defined, these are:
engine failure
fuel low
hydraulic failure
avionics failure
passenger critically ill
You can make any standard request, but will most frequently want vectors to the nearest suitable
airport.
Example:
mayday mayday mayday cessna one one five one delta avionics failure request
vectors to nearest airport
cessna one one five one delta cleared to Kansas City Downtown fly heading zero
seven five descend and maintain five thousand"

 

For the rest, all that Jay has written is a very good description of what you can do with VoxAtc. Great program !

 

Regards,

 

Richard Portier

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Giovanni & Richard,

 

I just tried the test and I have to report SUCCESS!

 

Richard, you are absolutely correct, and that was exactly what I was planning to do. I created 2 identical flightplans, only difference is one was VFR and the other was IFR. Identical waypoints and destination. Only other change was VFR plan was at FL045 and IFR was at FL050. This plan was from a non-towered field to a towered field approx. 75 miles apart.

 

I started the VFR flight normally, took off, climbed to my assigned VFR altitude (FL045) and headed to my 1st waypoint. I was told to contact center, which I did. I was assigned a squawk code and told to proceed to my waypoint. At this point I simulated a VMC into IMC situation. I paused the sim and disabled VoxATC. I went to the FSX flight planner and loaded my identical IFR flight plan and chose 'No' when asked if I wished to move my aircraft to the starting point. I then un-paused the sim and enabled Vox. I was told to contact some controller and I was told to climb to my IFR altitude of FL050. EUREKA it worked! I proceded thru my flightplan and was eventually told to contact approach where I was given an instrument approach. It worked flawlessly. Nice!

 

Ok, so that is one big obstacle out of the way. We have shown that VMC into IMC can easily be done, without detracting at all from the immersion of being in the cockpit and simply filing simulated pop-up IFR with ATC.

 

@Richard, have you had any luck declaring an emergency? I've tried in the past and I remember just hearing "unable at this time" or "last aircraft, say again". Did it ever work for you?

 

Also, @Richard, what do you mean by "Voxatc don't manage the relief during approach"?

 

Regards,

Jay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jay,

 

Concerning emergency, at this time no, I not tried to declare an emergency, so I don't know if it works or not.

 

"Voxatc don't manage the relief during approach" :

 

-VoxAtc don't know if there are or not some mountains during approach. That's it.

 

-If you flight via star, no problem. However with vector radar approach Vox can lead you anywhere direct on/in the mount ! Tested by me :Big Grin:

 

To add some, it's also possible to save a flight with a fp then reload it latter. Relaunch VoxAtc, you can continue the flight ! ;-)

 

Regards,

 

Richard Portier

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Richard,

 

Yes, you are correct on all you said. I have confirmed everything you mentioned.

 

VoxATC is not terrain aware. It is always best to fly the star as published and then request an approach yourself.This way you get to fly the published approach without vectors. However, you could allow Vox to vector you all the way down, if terrain is not an issue. Your choice.

 

I will attempt to troubleshoot the issue with declaring emergencies and, if neccessary, contact Tegwyn.

 

@Giovanni & Richard: I have just completed the return flight from earlier. I used the same process as described, however, this flight was from towered to non-towered and it still worked flawlessly. Most excellent! I'm totally psyched to discover this previously unknown (at least unknown to me) ability in Vox. You see, flying is about learning, every time!

 

Regards,

Jay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I'm totally psyched to discover this previously unknown (at least unknown to me) ability in Vox. You see, flying is about learning, every time!

 

Regards,

Jay

Exactly ! and never forget, every flight is a different story :smile:

 

Hava nice flight !

 

Regards,

 

Richard Portier

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many thanks to all of you for very detailed replies!

VoxATC is now officially in my wishlist. 

 

Cheers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this