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Poll: Online flying with VATSIM, IVAO, or Pilot Edge

Online flying with VATSIM, IVAO, or Pilot Edge  

163 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you fly with online networks ? (VATSIM, IVAO, PilotEdge)

    • All the time
      56
    • Sometimes
      47
    • Never
      60
  2. 2. If you DON'T fly online, what is the PRIMARY reason for not doing so ?

    • Not enough time
      17
    • Not confident enough with phraseology and/or procedures
      25
    • Too many immature people online spoiling it for everyone else
      10
    • Insufficient ATC coverage where and when I want to fly
      41
    • I do fly online
      70
  3. 3. If you DO fly online, which network do you use PRIMARILY?

    • VATSIM
      81
    • IVAO
      14
    • Pilot Edge
      7
    • Combinations of the above
      5
    • I don't fly online
      56
  4. 4. If you DO fly online, what would you PRIMARILY like to see improved?

    • Better voice quality
      29
    • Much better supervision and a quicker response to trolls online
      12
    • Lower latency
      6
    • More people using online networks
      63
    • I don't use online networks, so I don't have an opinion
      53
  5. 5. If you use 'off the shelf' options (ProATC, VOX etc) INSTEAD of online, have you tried online flying before?

    • Yes and I prefer offline solutions
      33
    • No but would like to try online
      16
    • No, and I'm not interested in doing so given the available options
      25
    • I fly online
      89


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Often discussed, quite divided in opinion.

Would be interesting to see general views on the online flying scene and how many here use online networks, the reasons if you don''t and the improvements you'd like to see if you do.

Quite broad brush but will give a fair general view.

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My view of online flying is that without Vatsim and IVAO, flight simming is a boring world. Nothing cranks up the realism quite like online simming.

I would suggest joining both networks and giving it a go.

 

Unfortunatley both networks have this culture of keeping the secret of their networks as some  word of mouth only secret members club, its crying out for expansion and has been stagnant for numbers for a decade.

Despite Vatsim especially having countless managers and directors they cannot advertise their networks, they are closed to any mention  of a merger with IVAO or even participation with them at any level, its due to empire building and titles and status and the pissing contest within the network that stops the big picture being seen...the small minded negative approach to increasing numbers of both ATC and Pilots either by megers/partcipation with other networks or advertising themselves has left the door open for other networks like Pilotedge and Matt Davies new baby Poscon.

 

Vatsim have petty censorship on their forums and a reputation for being unfriendly and unforgiving to newbies, my advice is join IVAO first where its more of a European based network where English is of course the language used online and in forums but not being 100% fluent members in English helps take the unfriendly side of online simming down a few notches.

 

 

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I am definitely looking forward to POSCON, but a network is only as good as the number of people that use it. That would necessitate a mass migration of controllers and pilots from other networks. 

Vatsim seem to be providing too little too late, so we’ll see how that pans out. Agree with the unnecessary burocracy and seemingly fifedoms within fifedoms in the Vatsim hierarchy

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I tried VATSIM for awhile but there audio is horrible.  Sometimes u have no idea what the controller is trying to say and u have to have them repeat it over and over.  But other then the occasional controller that needs taken out back and beaten I have found the community quite helpful.

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I really don't know why we need two networks

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In fly online rarely. Not because I don't like it or because I don't know the phraseology, but because flying into a ghost airport with no controllers for hundreds of miles lessens my experience. Don't get me wrong, when controllers are on and there are multiple people simming it is an awesome experience.

The vast majority of the time its you simming alone with no aircraft in sight on an online network. Frequently, IMO, a 3rd party ATC is a much better option as you see other planes, you can hear radio chatter and you are receiving instructions. Additionally, there are no trolls when you're using a 3rd party ATC.

Too bad that there are big egos in this niche market as perhaps enhancing and merging the networks would be best.

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The main reason I don't fly online was not listed in the poll, so I'll explain here:

Flightsimming allows me to escape the real world, namely, other people. I like to do my own thing in my own way without having to interact with anyone telling me how to do things. There are already enough such people in my life. Offline ATC is of course not perfect. It's in fact annoyingly bad in certain aspects (I'm referring to all offline ATC products, not just the built-in). But I'm free to ignore its instructions at my choosing and without consequence, so it works for me.

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I fly Pilot Edge almost exclusively.   Occasionally I'll get on vatsim if there's an event for an area I like to fly in.  The service and realism on PE is unmatched. 

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Online simming is exactly a niche market, Vatsim/IVAO can produce membership numbers that are impressive but hide the online numbers on a daily basis which have hardly changed for a decade, there are online tools that show numbers connected, after a  while you can guess very accurately how many are connected before checking at any given time.

 

At this time its:

 

690 Vatsim

647 IVAO

 

If you look on an online map of the world its like a jigsaw puzzle with big pieces of ATC coverage missing because thats covered on the other network, its so obvious 1 network would benefit simmers, its been obvious for many years that stagnation of numbers isnt going to change or one network will be the dominant one.

 

Empires and egos is the problem.....that of course would never be admitted.

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Online flying is fantastic if you like flying with Unicomm as your ATC 90% of the time. 

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Pilot Edge may not be for everyone, but for any real world pilot who wants to gain/maintain proficiency on the radios, it is hard to argue the value they provide. And for a GA guy like me with absolutely no ATP aspirations, it’s really the only good online option that I have found.

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2 hours ago, polk2 said:

Empires and egos is the problem.....that of course would never be admitted.

Which empires and whose egos?

In more than twenty years of 'online flying', is it that surprising that there is more than one group of people with an idea about how best to run such a network? It's like any community -- virtual airlines, news websites/forums, football clubs -- not everyone has the same aims and ideas and everybody has a different idea of what's important, so it's almost inevitable that over time there will be more than one.

As I've said in the past: I hear a lot of people moaning about the people that run VATSIM, but nobody can ever articulate to me what exactly this supposed bureaucracy is stopping them from accomplishing.

There are some basic common sense rules which fit on one sheet of A4 paper. From an ATC point of view there is some fairly well-defined training to be completed to staff the various positions. That's about it really: fly, control, enjoy.

Personally, I'll take flying online with real humans over AI any day. On the odd occasion I've tried various AI packages and ATC software, and have always pretty much instantly remembered why I didn't use them in the first place: one or more of pressing buttons to communicate a small set of pre-defined messages to ATC, predictable communications with ropey phraseology, little or no regional variation or intrigue, AI traffic that cuts you up on final and just generally behaves with very little "intelligence" at all, a limited range of voice sets and accents for controllers, standardised vectors to a standardised final approach (and maybe in to a mountain if you're lucky), very limited if any VFR support... the list goes on. I should stress, I'm not having a go at any particular piece of software and I know there's a number of options out there, some of which I'm sure are better than others and may cover one or more of those issues, but at the end of the day a computer is a computer and there is (so far) only so much one can achieve with software.

VATSIM and other networks are far from perfect, but for me there's nothing that beats the experience of flying to JFK, for instance, which with the time difference means one can depart late afternoon UK time and more often than not pick up some ATC on departure, then by the time you reach the other side of the Atlantic Canada and the East Coast starts to light up with ATC, hearing the accents, experiencing the unique procedures and phraseology used at each airfield and in each area and seeing the lights of other aircraft in the sky knowing that those too are real people, perhaps half a planet away, but nonetheless all coming together for the same reason -- a shared interest in and passion for aviation. Knowing that it actually matters that I take the time to prepare for an approach or fly a particular route, because unlike the offline environment there's real people who will be affected.

A couple of years ago I flew to Rovaniemi with a VA colleague who happens to be a real airline pilot in connected flight deck. When we called up Tampere Radar, the controller -- an actual Finn, of course -- acknowledged each of our transmissions with a clipped "Tampere." "Brilliant," said my mate. "That's exactly what they do in real life!" I've been to Beijing where I've been controlled by locally-based controllers, smiled (in a friendly way!) at a fellow with an AAL callsign who was clearly a little alarmed and confused at being cleared to a flight level in metres (and quietly dropped him a link to a conversion chart). I've flown across Africa overnight from Entebbe, broadcasting 'blind' position reports on the IFBP frequency, seeing similar broadcasts from another aircraft on a converging track and establishing that, purely by chance, it happened to be another pilot from my VA heading 'home' from Nairobi. We converged over Khartoum in the dead of night, he two thousand feet above, the glowing lights of the city sprawled across an inky black desert 35,000 feet below us, and then I watched him slowly slide away in to the distance (my 767 being no match for his 777 in a foot race!). I've tuned in to London Control after a long-haul flight from somewhere hot and sticky and enjoyed hearing the sound of 'home'.

I've met people on and through the network who have become some of my best friends in real life as well. Through my involvement in training and the pilot rating schemes I've got to know people from all over the world and all sorts of different backgrounds -- from Hong Kong to High Wycombe and quite a few places in between, from teenagers with dreams of the skies to retired airline captains and everything in between.

Maybe one day software will be able to do all of those things and give all of those unique, memorable experiences. Until then, however, I think I'll accept the odd period of Unicom and the slightly emptier airports and look forward to what looks to be an exciting future for online flying with what I know are some really exciting developments on the way.

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7 hours ago, skelsey said:

Which empires and whose egos?

https://forums.vatsim.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=77059

Well here's a brief example of why some people might think that.  It's not that the advice given was wrong, but the way it was dealt with.    Department this....department that... couldn't possibly speak to a VP...way too important.  Nonsense.   

7 hours ago, skelsey said:

Personally, I'll take flying online with real humans over AI any day. On the odd occasion I've tried various AI packages and ATC software, and have always pretty much instantly remembered why I didn't use them in the first place:

Agree.  In fact, discovering VATSIM is one of the primary reasons that I decided to stay in the flightsim hobby.  Real ATC interaction is one of the best enhancements to the overall experience of flightsimming you could ever wish for. I'm okay with the occasional 122.8 - even if it is the whole flight - which is rare in Europe at the times I fly.    

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I always fly offline using default ATC. It's good enough for my needs, and when it starts to talk nonsense, I can always ignore it.

Prefer offline flying as the areas I fly most of the time don't have any coverage, and when they do it's at a specific time and date, which is very restricting, as I prefer to fly when I "feel like it" or have free time available. With offline flying this is hard to combine, so I don't even bother.

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I usually fly on VATSIM. The few times I don't is because I'm either testing something or just randomly flying around.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, mpw8679 said:

I tried VATSIM for awhile but there audio is horrible.  Sometimes u have no idea what the controller is trying to say and u have to have them repeat it over and over.  But other then the occasional controller that needs taken out back and beaten I have found the community quite helpful.

The one time I tried it I got a controller who needed to be taken out the back. I never tried it after that although I often looked at VatMap(?) to see what controllers were active - but there never were where I wanted to fly, and the idea of typing CTAF message always seemed ridiculous to me.

PilotEdge looks a lot more tempting and I might still sign up, but there's the coverage problem, and for me it's a bit of an outlay to commit to every month. Not a huge amount on its own, granted, but when you add it to your other monthly subscriptions...

Poscon looks very interesting, though , and I'll be keeping an eye on developments, but for now I'm offline only and I'll tolerate the default ATC for VFR or use Radar Contact for IFR.

 

 

Edited by Holdit

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11 minutes ago, Holdit said:

The one time I tried it I got a controller who needed to be taken out the back. I never tried it after that although I often looked at VatMap(?) to see what controllers were active - but there never were where I wanted to fly, and the idea of typing CTAF message always seemed ridiculous to me.

PilotEdge looks a lot more tempting and I might still sign up, but there's the coverage problem, and for me it's a bit of an outlay to commit to every month. Not a huge amount on its own, granted, but when you add it to your other monthly subscriptions...

Poscon looks very interesting, though , and I'll be keeping an eye on developments, but for now I'm offline only and I'll tolerate the default ATC for VFR or use Radar Contact for IFR.

 

 

I tried Pilot Edge for a few months but like u said the monthly subscription is hard to swallow especially since I only had time for 4-5 flights a month.  It was hard to justify.  But if u want to learn it is by far the best way to go.  The controllers are professional, strict, and helpful.  To get the most out of it u have to commit to the smaller coverage areas and shorter flights.  Load up the ORBX California regions, A2A GA of your choice, or Majestic Q400, and u will have a blast while learning ALOT.

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5 minutes ago, mpw8679 said:

The controllers are professional, strict, and helpful. 

I agree. They have free sample audios of their sessions available on their site and I've listened to quite a few and been impressed.

 

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You really wouldn't want me flying around in your airspace. I prefer to keep my own pace :laugh:

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VATSIM will get much better Voice quality soon (I hope) they announced on Facebook that they are beta testing new voice codec stuff and things like voice-unicom, quality by range and other awesome things! 

Looks like a new era of online flying to me! 

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, skelsey said:

Which empires and whose egos?

This  is classic Vatsim uk  empires and egos.

A  Vatsim uk member back in 2011 tried to raise  a concern for 3 months through the right channels........he got ignored and made his feelings known on the forum.

 

Jan 21 2011 thread "getting answers from staff"  Vatsim uk forum.

 

As  usual with "complaints" on Vatsim forums the attack dogs turn on the  the member who dared to raise anything negative, and despite it being after 2200 hrs in the UK.....3 of the 4 staff  members who couldn't be bothered to reply to the original poster over 3 months all managed to post on the thread within 26 minutes.

 

The usual way of dealing with negative remarks/ reviews on Vatsim or complaints or even moaning is to avoid the point being raised and make the original poster seem ungrateful for what voulunteers do for free in their own time.

 

dozens and dozens of threads over the years, the forums are riddled with the original thread starter made out as being ungrateful/uncaring/rude.

 

Its the way the empires deal with things.

Edited by polk2
censorship

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I mostly fly offline, however I did try Vatsim once. Just as a test I took my C172 out for a couple of circuits in Canberra when there was good coverage in the area.

I must say I had quite an enjoyable experience. There were a few bigger airplanes approaching the area as well as some weather just off the airport. Hearing real people makes a massive difference for even things like weather. The controller was quick to update me on wind changes and where the precip was heading during my circuits which never happens offline.

However, I never flew on Vatsim again because I never seem to find the right time when there is coverage for an area I like to fly in, and I mostly fly GA. I don't know about the logistics of it but I must agree with a lot of posters here and say that it would be for the benefit of us all if there was only one system. We are a large community but it's not large enough to start segregating it. In this capitalist world we need to remember the passion for aviation is why we are all here otherwise all this would have died with FSX. I feel like businessmen have taken over our community.. 😐

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10 hours ago, RancidViper said:

. I feel like businessmen have taken over our community.. 😐

In a way that's not necessarily a bad thing.   The problem is, not everyone, on principle,  would pay for something that has been provided for free for so long , which divides the community still further.

Mass consumption of anything will always create commercial opportunity for someone - and with mass consumption comes increased demand for quality - which of course comes at a price. 

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Below is one of the reasons i gave up with ATC, whether it be the default one or a purchased one.

 

You can see how far i have to deviate off track to get around these thunderstorms.

 

If i had asked RC4 to deviate that far off track, the program would have imploded.

 

So i found a freeware program whereby i can play real ATC through the headset (through LiveATC)

and i enjoy that far more. I can listen to the real boys and girls go at it while having the freedom to

deviate and conduct other procedures at will.

 

star_1.png

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On 10/4/2018 at 7:46 AM, Holdit said:

The one time I tried it I got a controller who needed to be taken out the back. I never tried it after that although I often looked at VatMap(?) to see what controllers were active - but there never were where I wanted to fly, and the idea of typing CTAF message always seemed ridiculous to me.

PilotEdge looks a lot more tempting and I might still sign up, but there's the coverage problem, and for me it's a bit of an outlay to commit to every month. Not a huge amount on its own, granted, but when you add it to your other monthly subscriptions...

Poscon looks very interesting, though , and I'll be keeping an eye on developments, but for now I'm offline only and I'll tolerate the default ATC for VFR or use Radar Contact for IFR.

 

 

Have you given the two week trial a try?  At least you might be able to tell if it was worth it.  I'd recommend socal region for starters.  I actually don't use both regions but have been flying since it's inception

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