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Shomron

Current thoughts on ATC programs

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41 minutes ago, Shomron said:

Yep it's great we have this forum! Started this thread asking about Pro ATC X and ended up getting PF3 😃

 

Haha, well, that wasn’t the intention of my participation in this topic (and I warned you for drawback nummer 2 😜) but I am glad you were able to make a well thought out choice! 😉 Enjoy your purchase! 

I myself am stepping away from the usage of SIDs and STARs (because the flights I do are never done with SIDs and STARs in real life) so I am looking at other options too once again, including PF3. 😉 

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Just now, J van E said:

Haha, well, that wasn’t the intention of my participation in this topic (and I warned you for drawback nummer 2 😜) but I am glad you were able to make a well thought out choice! 😉 Enjoy your purchase! 

I myself am stepping away from the usage of SIDs and STARs (because the flights I do are never done with SIDs and STARs in real life) so I am looking at other options too once again, including PF3. 😉 

Who knows I may try out Pro ATC as well at some point 😃

I mainly fly in the US, where in the major hubs SID/STARs are indeed used until a certain point on downwind etc where you get vectors...


Shom

[P3D v5.1 HF1 running on Win 10 Pro, i7-9700K, EVGA 1080Ti, Crucial 2666 16GB, 2 500GB Samsung EVOs 850/860]

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1 hour ago, Shomron said:

Yep it's great we have this forum! Started this thread asking about Pro ATC X and ended up getting PF3 😃

I have been using PF3 in the last few days and I am really starting to like it.

However, it does have its drawbacks - 

1. Vectoring & step climbs/descends need to be polished (when compared to old RC4)

2. The planning can be cumbersome when it comes to SID/STARs - I think there is a need to add more flexibility around this

All in all happy I upgraded from RC4.

 

Here is the way I use PF3, and by the way the Q400 is my favorite VA aircraft . 

I use Simbrief for the flight plans, mainly because simbrief will suggest a sid and star if one is available for the flight. In simbrief I copy and paste the suggested SID and Star into the remarks section  in simbrief or you could just write them down on a piece of paper so I can add them to my flight in the FMC  or GPS, . If you have either a sid or star or both, just click the appropriate box in PF3. Then PF3 will expect you to fly the Sid from takeoff,, and the star from the waypoint you select as the start of the star in PF3.

 

Now what makes this really easy is if you have EFB V2. To see what the Sid and Star is, just click on the active runway in EFB, and it will show you which Sid and Star works for that runway. If you are on approach, and the active runway changes, you can see if the new runway works with the Star  Simbrief suggests, and if not, you can use EFB to pick another Star. For instance, if you are flying into an approach from the West, it will show you all Stars that will work from a westerly approach. It will even show you suggested altitudes and all waypoints in the sids or stars. EFB even gives you the frequencies for the ILS, LOC, etc. EFB is the greatest thing since sliced bread, for simmers. If you can't come up with a Star for the new runway, just ask PF3 for vectors. 


spacer.pngBob Cardone         MSFS 2020     PMDG DC6,  JF Arrow  , Carenado Seminole , Mooney  

TrackIR   Avliasoft EFB2    ATC  by PF3    FlyVirtual.net  CLX PC

 

 

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There is a couple of big things wrong with ATC and thats largely because its very difficult to code.  There simply can be no human component in the decision making of ATC.  Purpose of STARs and SIDs is for terrain avoidance, restricted areas, and orderly flow when there is huge amounts of traffic.  Since these programs dont recognize AI very well, most of the time they are irrelevant. Why go the long way with little traffic around when you can be vectored. Or why not have ATC cancel restrictions if there is no need for it to be there on the STAR. These decisions should be dynamic. PATC was sending me on a 25nm downwind and then turning into final when that decision can be made on the fly and change the approach from a STAR to vectored without my interaction telling it what to do as the situation presents itself.  Otherwise I am my own ATC anyway.  If you fly online with ATC, they make these decisions like that and thats how software ATC should work. But clearly its very difficult to program it that way. Instead its very scripted and to the letter.  Hope it changes in the future but until they can manage AI properly and include the user in it in a smooth way, its hard to feel the immersion of robotic ATC. 

But then again online flying can be very quiet as well. Thats my 1cent worth of opinion. 

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CYVR LSZH 

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1 hour ago, HighTowers said:

There is a couple of big things wrong with ATC and thats largely because its very difficult to code.  There simply can be no human component in the decision making of ATC.  Purpose of STARs and SIDs is for terrain avoidance, restricted areas, and orderly flow when there is huge amounts of traffic.  Since these programs dont recognize AI very well, most of the time they are irrelevant. Why go the long way with little traffic around when you can be vectored. Or why not have ATC cancel restrictions if there is no need for it to be there on the STAR. These decisions should be dynamic. PATC was sending me on a 25nm downwind and then turning into final when that decision can be made on the fly and change the approach from a STAR to vectored without my interaction telling it what to do as the situation presents itself.  Otherwise I am my own ATC anyway.  If you fly online with ATC, they make these decisions like that and thats how software ATC should work. But clearly its very difficult to program it that way. Instead its very scripted and to the letter.  Hope it changes in the future but until they can manage AI properly and include the user in it in a smooth way, its hard to feel the immersion of robotic ATC. 

But then again online flying can be very quiet as well. Thats my 1cent worth of opinion. 

Give a try to VoxAtc, he has almost everything you're looking for!

It couldn't be easier, you load a FP into FSX/P3Dvx and that's it!
-Launch Vox

-Vox knows the characteristics of your aircraft whatever it is.

-Vox will assign you the right track with the right sid if necessary. On arrival you will either be vectorized directly (without sending you more than 20 nautical miles) or via a STAR and Vector to finish.

-The departure and arrival airports are in mountainous areas? no problem Vox manages this in real time. I have been able to test this many times without any problem.

-Do you have a failure or is the weather too bad to land at the planned airport? Even if you had not planned an alternate airport (which I very rarely do, I know it's bad), Vox will find one that matches the characteristics of your aircraft and will guide you to the new airport via vector or Star.

-If what Vox offers you does not suit you, you can always ask for a direct approach in complete autonomy or change ruway, everything and so on...

-VoxAtc manage the AI's

-Just in case I also own and use PF3 and P2Atc. All three are excellent programs with their qualities and flaws. It seemed useful to me to draw attention to Vox, which did not seem to be the case in this Topic.

-You can try the latest version of VoxAtc (7.42) released during the WE for a period of 7 days

Regards,

Richard

 

Edited by DrumsArt

Richard Portier

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1 hour ago, HighTowers said:

But clearly its very difficult to program it that way. Instead its very scripted and to the letter.

Agreed. I do like ProATC for how it assigns the appropriate SID and STAR automatically but I don't like how it sticks to it all the way. As I said before SIDs and STARs are seldom (=never) flown where I fly and so I always ask for Direct to's to skip parts of them but then it feels like I am doing what ATC should do. (In that regard it's the same as with PF3 and SID/STAR assignements.) And besided, asking for Direct to's often leads to problems (ProATC suddenly telling me to fly to a waypoint I skipped or not clearing me to lower altitudes on time). There simply doesn't seem to be an ATC addon that acts humanly and that changes whatever it does depending on the current situation. It's either this or that, black or white, unless YOU tell ATC what to do. During my last flight my flightplan contained no SID and STAR points so ProATC vectored me around but that also felt odd and scripted... In short: the perfect ATC addon doesn't exist yet.

So maybe instead of focusing on certain procedures and ease of use I should focus more on the human aspect of ATC addons: which addons FEELS the most real? 😉

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For what it's worth...

I just installed the demo version of PF3. On the first flight (KCCR-KMRY) it assigned me a non-existent approach (ILS 28L, there is only a LOC and GPS for 28L due to terrain), demanded a speed reduction to 100kts while well outside the FAF (in a high-performance twin), and then vectored me into a mountain while attempting to line me up with the final approach course. Not terribly impressed. Glad I didn't buy the full version!

 

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1 hour ago, Aviator64 said:

For what it's worth...

I just installed the demo version of PF3. On the first flight (KCCR-KMRY) it assigned me a non-existent approach (ILS 28L, there is only a LOC and GPS for 28L due to terrain), demanded a speed reduction to 100kts while well outside the FAF (in a high-performance twin), and then vectored me into a mountain while attempting to line me up with the final approach course. Not terribly impressed. Glad I didn't buy the full version!

 

You didn't set a profile for the aircraft you are flying, hence the wrong speeds. The instructions will always say ILS, even if it is LOC only.  Suggest reading the manual, it is pretty extensive. 


spacer.pngBob Cardone         MSFS 2020     PMDG DC6,  JF Arrow  , Carenado Seminole , Mooney  

TrackIR   Avliasoft EFB2    ATC  by PF3    FlyVirtual.net  CLX PC

 

 

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13 minutes ago, Bobsk8 said:

You didn't set a profile for the aircraft you are flying, hence the wrong speeds. The instructions will always say ILS, even if it is LOC only.  Suggest reading the manual, it is pretty extensive. 

Actually I did set a profile. 100kts would be correct inside the FAF with gear down and approach flaps, but not 10+ miles out before I have even intercepted the localizer. There was no AI traffic so it wasn't for spacing.

The program descended me to 3500 in an area where the minimum safe altitude (MSA) is 6300. The initial altitude for the approach is 6100, so 3500 was just wrong. As a real-life pilot, I get cold chills when I'm being vectored in the soup and hear "WHOOP WHOOP! Terrain! Pull up!" :-) That definitely shouldn't be happening!

The program also vectored me across the final approach path at a 150 heading (final approach course is 280) and then gave me essentially a 270 degree left turn to intercept. This led to an unfortunate encounter with a 4467' peak. Definltely some issues with the vectoring logic!

If you look at the approach plate for KMRY LOC RWY 28L you'll see what I'm talking about.

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2 hours ago, Aviator64 said:

For what it's worth...

I just installed the demo version of PF3. On the first flight (KCCR-KMRY) it assigned me a non-existent approach (ILS 28L, there is only a LOC and GPS for 28L due to terrain), demanded a speed reduction to 100kts while well outside the FAF (in a high-performance twin), and then vectored me into a mountain while attempting to line me up with the final approach course. Not terribly impressed. Glad I didn't buy the full version!

 

Did you read the manual?

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4 hours ago, Aviator64 said:

For what it's worth...

I just installed the demo version of PF3. On the first flight (KCCR-KMRY) it assigned me a non-existent approach (ILS 28L, there is only a LOC and GPS for 28L due to terrain), demanded a speed reduction to 100kts while well outside the FAF (in a high-performance twin), and then vectored me into a mountain while attempting to line me up with the final approach course. Not terribly impressed. Glad I didn't buy the full version!

 

As you may know I use ProATC and am not a fan of PF3 but in all honesty: you can't judge an ATC addon on just one flight... If I had done that I would never liked ProATC as much as I do now. 😉 ATC addons are complicated, perhaps the most complicated flightsim addons you can buy (apart from study level planes obviously 😉 ) and you are bound to make beginner mistakes! My first ProATC flights were utter **** (and I probably complained on various forums about how bug ridden that piece of **** was, blaming the developer for selling pre-alpha **** 😎) but after a week or so things suddenly began to work fine... which made it very clear that not ProATC was utter **** but I was (or at least my knowledge of the addon).

So if you really are interested in PF3 give it some time, at least do a few flights with it, use it for a week or two, before you post a 'review' online! 😉

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I just learned finally how PF3 thinks and works— it just wasn’t clicking on my head... that was the hardest part!

Now it’s my favorite ATC program surpassing ProATC  and this is as recent as a few weeks I’ve had both for a very long time.

I used to think the STAR and SID you would put in your flight plan that you loaded into PF3 would be the only one they would assign every time and had to fly and set in stone weather changes be damned.

Now I realize it’s as dynamic as I need it to be and it will “assign a STAR/SID (which is just a name to PF3)” on the fly based on the winds with which ever runway is accosiated with it. Sure you have to make sure each airport has the names of STAR/SID set properly for each runway but I use the randomizer to give me random micro instructions (which are just text code based) — the little investment you do at the beginning of the flight I’m down to setting up a flight just as fast as it was with ProATC.

Looking back I was way overthinking how much micromanaging I put into my initial flight plan and didn’t realize the power of adding the Start of SID/STAR points and hold point in the flight plan set up screen. 

In conclusion, yes ProATC is very nice and the fact that it’s connected to Nav data is a huge plus. But when you take the regional voice variants plus the oceanic procedures and the fact that PF3 will most of the time give you clearance to cross active runways etc. these kind of things push PF3 above the rest. 

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1 hour ago, UAL4life said:

I just learned finally how PF3 thinks and works— it just wasn’t clicking on my head... that was the hardest part!

Now it’s my favorite ATC program surpassing ProATC  and this is as recent as a few weeks I’ve had both for a very long time.

I used to think the STAR and SID you would put in your flight plan that you loaded into PF3 would be the only one they would assign every time and had to fly and set in stone weather changes be damned.

Now I realize it’s as dynamic as I need it to be and it will “assign a STAR/SID (which is just a name to PF3)” on the fly based on the winds with which ever runway is accosiated with it. Sure you have to make sure each airport has the names of STAR/SID set properly for each runway but I use the randomizer to give me random micro instructions (which are just text code based) — the little investment you do at the beginning of the flight I’m down to setting up a flight just as fast as it was with ProATC.

Looking back I was way overthinking how much micromanaging I put into my initial flight plan and didn’t realize the power of adding the Start of SID/STAR points and hold point in the flight plan set up screen. 

In conclusion, yes ProATC is very nice and the fact that it’s connected to Nav data is a huge plus. But when you take the regional voice variants plus the oceanic procedures and the fact that PF3 will most of the time give you clearance to cross active runways etc. these kind of things push PF3 above the rest. 

How do you get the SIDs/STARs based on the weather? Doesn't the randomizer pick them randomly?


Shom

[P3D v5.1 HF1 running on Win 10 Pro, i7-9700K, EVGA 1080Ti, Crucial 2666 16GB, 2 500GB Samsung EVOs 850/860]

[FSLabs A319/320/321, Feelthere E170/175/190/195 v3, PMDG 737 NGXu ,TFDI 717, Aerosoft CRJ Pro, Majestic Dash 8, CS 757 iii, Feelthere ERJ-145, Fly The Maddog X, QW 787, PMDG 777]

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5 hours ago, Shomron said:

How do you get the SIDs/STARs based on the weather? Doesn't the randomizer pick them randomly?

Charts or EFB

 


spacer.pngBob Cardone         MSFS 2020     PMDG DC6,  JF Arrow  , Carenado Seminole , Mooney  

TrackIR   Avliasoft EFB2    ATC  by PF3    FlyVirtual.net  CLX PC

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Bobsk8 said:

Charts or EFB

 

I meant to ask how does the program know which ones to assign to you? If it is done by the randomizer than I would think it is generated unrelated to the weather conditions.


Shom

[P3D v5.1 HF1 running on Win 10 Pro, i7-9700K, EVGA 1080Ti, Crucial 2666 16GB, 2 500GB Samsung EVOs 850/860]

[FSLabs A319/320/321, Feelthere E170/175/190/195 v3, PMDG 737 NGXu ,TFDI 717, Aerosoft CRJ Pro, Majestic Dash 8, CS 757 iii, Feelthere ERJ-145, Fly The Maddog X, QW 787, PMDG 777]

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