JumpDC3s

Getting Real

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I've been watching Pilot2ATC develop for some time and recently did the 10-day demo. I flew three regional jet trips - West, Midwest and East. The Flight Planning component is amazing - the best feature of the product, and the Control Panel and Map make P2A very user-friendly. During the flight there were some issues/errors along the way; the most notable being that not once did I hear the words "radar contact" on initial call to Departure Control (leaving from LAS, JFK and CLE).

I can only imagine the difficulty of writing code for such a major project and I expect, and forgive the growing pains of development. But far more important is the need to mirror real-world ATC procedures to the highest degree. Of all the ATC sims out there P2A is a leader, but is still miles away from the realism the flightsim community deserves.

P2A's SIDs and STARs are modeled extremely well but in actual practice a flight is almost ALWAYS vectored onto a SID and vectored off of a STAR.  Go to www.flightaware.com and watch any major airport traffic flow (I recommend KORD and KATL). You will see how arrivals come into the area via STAR routing and are then vectored onto downwind and base to fit into the traffic flow. Or better yet, watch this clip of actual arrival traffic at KSEA. It is a perfect example of aircraft arriving via the STARs and then being "controlled" into the flow of other traffic. (Search YouTube - ATC Approach - Seattle Final Vectors).

Also, for deparures the initial altitude assigned is not random, and is not (or rarely) predicated on the SID. The two major factors limiting the initial climb are 1) the altitude that arriving aircraft overhead are descending to and 2) the upper limit of Departure Control's airspace. For example, departing/climbing aircraft are initially cleared to say, 6,000 so as to "tunnel" under the flow of arriving aircraft descending to 7,000. Once clearing the "arrival corridor" they are climbed to the highest altitude of the Departure Controller's airspace (generally 10,000 to 14,000 etc) and handed off to Center for higher.

To allow aircraft to fly the published SID and STAR procedures without controller input basically leaves separation between aircraft totally to chance - and separation of traffic is the "prime directive" of Air Traffic Control; everything else is secondary.

Note this caveat -  Any "procedure"  can be circumvented by coordination between controllers, as long as separation and safety are not compromised. While working midnight shift at a major International airport I've had Center proactively call me and give approval to climb a departure non-stop, straight up to his cruise altitude, which transited three different controller's airspace. This only worked because I was working both arrivals and departures for the Airport (as I said, midnight shift) and he was working both the Low and High sectors in that Center area. Almost anything is possible with coordination but standard operating procedures are the way to handle busy sessions.

Anyway... All this to say that the surest road to success for P2A is to be the most realistic ATC simulator on the market. Everything else is nice, but accurate, realistic ATC procedures are the heart, mind and soul of any flightsim ATC application.

Blue skies!

JumpdDC3s

RW IFR PPL

RW FAA ATC

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Thanks for your comments.

It has been a labor of love since the very beginning.  In fact, it started as a little program I was going to "whip up" to provide me with a better ATC than X-Plane's default ATC.  I enjoy programming and love flying, so what could be better than the two of them coming together.  One thing led to another, and a few years later, here we are.

There are many major areas that are not yet where I want them to be, with AI Traffic interaction being at the top of that list.  Right now, the SIM or AI Traffic engine controls all the traffic other than the user's aircraft, so traffic patterns and vectoring of AI Traffic is not handled by Pilot2ATC.  I agree that to meet its full potential, I will need to partner with AI Traffic engine providers or develop my own AI Traffic engine.  Either of these efforts will be a MAJOR undertaking.  Perhaps almost as significant as the work to date.

There are many other elements of the real world environment that I envision for future enhancements.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Implementation and display of controlled airspaces
  • Holding Pattern Implementation as part of traffic flow control
  • Alternate airports and diversions
  • Emergency handling
  • More realistic Center boundaries and names
  • And the list goes on.

I appreciate all you current users and your valuable inputs for both finding and fixing bugs and for adding to the list of future enhancements.  I know from feedback that many of you have come to depend on Pilot2ATC to enjoy your Flight Sim experience.  I hope to be able to continue enhancing Pilot2ATC well into the future, adding features and improving stability and performance along the way.

Thanks,

Dave

 

 

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On 4/26/2017 at 11:03 AM, Dave-Pilot2ATC said:

Thanks for your comments.

It has been a labor of love since the very beginning.  In fact, it started as a little program I was going to "whip up" to provide me with a better ATC than X-Plane's default ATC.  I enjoy programming and love flying, so what could be better than the two of them coming together.  One thing led to another, and a few years later, here we are.

There are many major areas that are not yet where I want them to be, with AI Traffic interaction being at the top of that list.  Right now, the SIM or AI Traffic engine controls all the traffic other than the user's aircraft, so traffic patterns and vectoring of AI Traffic is not handled by Pilot2ATC.  I agree that to meet its full potential, I will need to partner with AI Traffic engine providers or develop my own AI Traffic engine.  Either of these efforts will be a MAJOR undertaking.  Perhaps almost as significant as the work to date.

There are many other elements of the real world environment that I envision for future enhancements.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Implementation and display of controlled airspaces
  • Holding Pattern Implementation as part of traffic flow control
  • Alternate airports and diversions
  • Emergency handling
  • More realistic Center boundaries and names
  • And the list goes on.

I appreciate all you current users and your valuable inputs for both finding and fixing bugs and for adding to the list of future enhancements.  I know from feedback that many of you have come to depend on Pilot2ATC to enjoy your Flight Sim experience.  I hope to be able to continue enhancing Pilot2ATC well into the future, adding features and improving stability and performance along the way.

Thanks,

Dave

 

 

Hi Dave,

Totally support P2ATC and encouraged by your good response to JumpDC3s comment.

 

In respect of AI in XP the chap at World Traffic just has the best solution (and looks like the largest support). WT is expecting a significant upgrade shortly that will lend itself to an even wider audience.

 

I would encourage you to have a discussion with the WT chap and see if you can pair your products up somehow. I truly believe that p2atc and WT will completely monopolise the traffic and atc market if you were to marry up some how.

I have been flight simming for 20 plus years (and real time flying upto about a decade ago) and have literally purchased nearly every utility out there, and now from my experience I do not have to look any further for traffic and ATC as WT and P2A do the current job.

Paul - NZ

www.tinyurl.com/paulslfightdeck

www.tinyurl.com/paulslfightspec

 

  

 

  • Upvote 1

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plus one to that. I use both as well and know for a fact that Greg ( WT ) is receptive to exploring the possibilty of joining the two. Oh what a wonderful world ( simulated ) this could be ;)

p

 

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Yes.   If P2A and WT3 (WT4?) could totally work with each other I think we would have flight sim perfection at last in XP11.

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