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All:


For the past week or so, I've been comparing FSX's default ATC against the demo versions of PF3 and VoxATC (specifically with an eye to light GA IFR flights). I've found things I like and dislike with all three options (see below), and wanted to know how ProATC-X stacks up in comparison. Unfortunately no demo version is offered, and nearly all Youtube videos where PATC is used are of turbojet / turboprop flights).

First a rundown of my likes/dislikes from the programs I've already tried (based on three IFR flights: untowered-towered, towered-towered and towered-untowered).

Default ATC
Like:
- Frequencies appear correct (even for different approach / departure sectors based on bearing from airport and altitude)
- Ability to request specific approach and transition (i.e. RNAV 22, via DADES transition)
- GUI: menu w/ options, comm history
Don't Like:
- For shorter flights, departure controller likes to issue approach instructions for the destination airport (wouldn't approach instructions be assigned by the approach controller covering the destination airport?)

VoxATC
Like:
- Handoff sequence seems correct (from departure to center to approach to tower)
- Recognizes specific approach requests (i.e. RNAV Rwy 03) which can be requested; also recognizes approach waypoints (i.e. "report GUNNR," "report ARSHW," "report FLYEN")
- Crossing runways while taxiing requires clearance to proceed
- Menu with options and comm history (although not as clean-looking as default)
Don't Like:
- Fictional clearance name (i.e. "Utopia Radio")
- Directed to request airport conditions info from unicom (and not AWOS) at untowered airports
PF3
Like:
- Handoff sequence seems correct (from departure to center to approach to tower)
Don't Like:
- Fictional approach/departure frequencies
- No acknowledgement of RNAV approaches (seems to be vectors to runway only)
- IFR cancelled abruptly when on IFR flight plan to untowered airport; told to squawk 1200 and contact advisory on fictional fequency (2 trials of same flight - KLEE-KTPF)
- No menu (have to memorize hotkeys or refer to cheatsheet) or comm history ("say again" not always effective, as new trasmissions make it impossible to hear transmission before that)

Now for a couple questions about PATCX:

1. RNAV Approaches - Will PATC assign RNAV approaches with transitions as appropriate (or can they be requested)? If so, where would the approaches be read from (in-sim airport data, 3rd party nav data, etc.)?

2. RNAV Approaches - If RNAV approaches are recognized and assigned, is there a way to exclude them as options in case I were to fly a plane without a GPS, or instead request an alternate approach using ground-based navaids (i.e. ILS, VOR, NBD)?

3. SID/STARs - will procedures not applicable to aircraft type be excluded? For example, if I'm flying a piston aircraft will PATCX know not to assigned a SID/STAR that's reserved for TURBOJETS/ TURBOPROPS ONLY"?

4. What AIRAC cycle does PATC currently ship with? The current manual (dating from Nov 2014) says it comes with Navigraph data, but that it is six months out of date. For that matter, does either Navigraph or NavDataPro offer older AIRAC cycles (since my F1GTN is current only as of cycle 1803)

5. What's the minimum flight distance for PATC to work? I read several places that PATC doesn't support short trip distances. What's considered a short trip?

 

Believe me when I say I've read just about every ATC thread out there (both on Avsim and elsewhere), and the last think I want want to do is create another, but since I fly mostly light GA, I thought it'd be worthwhile (especially since some of the threads I've read are several years old by now).


Thanks,

Jeff

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1 hour ago, FLJeff337 said:

PATC is used are of turbojet / turboprop flights

Jeff

PATC is very much about Class A & B airspace ..... no "pattern / visual" flying as you can in vox at non-controlled airports (GA).

Otherwise, features 1 & 2 you asked about get a tick, 3 no.

PATC / Vox etc. require concurrent navigraph airac cycles (not necessarily the latest) with your aircraft's ..... not sure about older copies.

Short flights are problematic in PATC & not supported (<200nm)

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John,

I managed to find a couple more videos of people flying relatively short legs in small GA using PATCX (links included below), and that, along with a thread on A2A's forum about using PATCX for GA, has convinced me to take the plunge and give it a try.

 

A2A Bonanza, Blackpool to Carlyle (EGNH-EGNC): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Db3iA2iGob0

RA Legacy, Danbury to Bridgeport (KDXR-CDBR): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1K1sowQltYA

Carenado Mooney, Gustavus to Juneau Intl (PAGS-PAJN): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3-EBPGPqEs

 

I appreciate your thoughts, and I'll probably post my thoughts once I get a couple flights under my belt.

Thanks,

Jeff

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