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It is clear the developers spent all their time on scenery and not enough time on air traffic control.  I used MFS X for a long time and that ATC module was horrific, but the ATC module for MFS 2000 is even worse!

I fly everything IFR on flight plans developed by professional flight planning/airline dispatching software.  I have to transfer them into MFS 2000, which takes a while, and then I can go off and fly the route.  The whole package is really nice and I like it better than MFS X, but when it comes to ATC I have to say I am totally disappointed.

The ATC module uses words and phrases no pilot or controller would ever say.  It totally restricts what the pilot can do when interacting with ATC, and if you don't at least acknowledge what the controller says to do it WILL NOT let you go beyond that point or do anything else.

Case in point, when flying a Cessna 172, I asked for a different approach from the controller from that which he assigned.  MFS issued a completely new clearance and said "Climb and maintain FL180."  Obviously, a C172 can't do that and there is no way to tell the controller "unable," which is what I would do in real life.  So, in the simulator you must ack the climb but don't climb (to tick the "the aircraft responded" bit within the ATC module,) and request a lower altitude.  It stacks that request behind the climb request by saying, "Climb and maintain FL 180, expect 8000 (or whatever you ask for)" -- and from that point on unless you actually climb to FL180 (which is impossible) it does nothing but bark at you to "expedite your climb to FL180."  It's an impossible situation -- yet one that is easily resolved in real life.  It has caused me to cancel IFR to shut off the barking.  And it doesn't help to re-establish contact and ask for a new clearance.  It just shoots up up to FL180 all over again, so nothing gained.

Another funny one is when flying in northern Texas.  It calls the centre "F T Worth Centre" -- spelling out the letters F and T -- instead of saying "Fort Worth Centre."  NO controller or pilot would ever do that.

It says "tree" instead of "three."  I know the ICAO standard says to say "tree," but NO ONE does that.  Same for "fife" as opposed to "five."

When changing frequency, the controller always says, "...continue as planned, altimeter XX.XX."  NO CONTROLLER does that.  You check on a new frequency and give your altitude, and the controller just acknowledges you and MAYBE gives the altimeter setting.

I have also read, on this forum and others, people saying ATC does weird things to them.  I can believe all those stories.  The ATC module is totally broken.  It is inflexible, directs impossible situations, isn't forgiving to correct errors, and says things no pilot or controller would ever say.  I don't know if there is a third-party fix for this, but I would really hope Microsoft assigns some talent to this and corrects the problem.  Some of us really do want to use this software for IFR flying as close to the real world as possible, and this ATC module leaves us totally lacking in almost every respect.

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Their 'feedback snapshot' suggests an improvement to ATC phraseology is scheduled for Sim Update 4 (probably around April).  Let's hope they improve the logic and make it more flexible, rather than just modifying the messages.

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I think one of the causes of this is that people always shout VATSIM!!!!11 as soon as the default ATC is mentioned. So Asobo might have the impression that the default ATC doesn't matter at all. But this is simply false. 

The default atc is the only way to manage players and ai traffic at the same time. Vatsim simply can't do that. Coverage is also too low for it to be a real alternative too me....and I am simply not really interested in it. 

Problem is: Third party ATC is also player only as far as I could see. 

The default ATC doesn't have to be perfect, but apart from the stuff you mentioned it needs to actually control players and ai at the same time. I want to hear what other players are doing as well. Same goes for communication on uncontrolled airfields. 

I also have a feeling that they are way too afraid of griefing or spamming to implement such features. But honestly It would still be much better as it is now. Just give it a mute function. 

 

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Yes, the command to climb to FL heights while in a 172 is one of my major frustrations.  It's also frustrating (with a number of aircraft) being ordered to climb into icing conditions.  Changing the approach is also tedious as far as any coupling with the current nav systems are concerned, though I simply load in the nav frequencies and fly the approaches.

**One thing that I've found helpful when getting inappropriate climb commands is to:

  • Cancel IFR
  • Request Flight Following
  • When approaching the planned approach IF, request to reestablish IFR

This has worked well for me, keeping the immersion in and dumping the inappropriate altitude calls.

Edited by RandallR

Randall Rocke

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4 hours ago, ATP CFII MEI said:

It is clear the developers spent all their time on scenery and not enough time on air traffic control.  I used MFS X for a long time and that ATC module was horrific, but the ATC module for MFS 2000 is even worse!

I fly everything IFR on flight plans developed by professional flight planning/airline dispatching software.  I have to transfer them into MFS 2000, which takes a while, and then I can go off and fly the route.  The whole package is really nice and I like it better than MFS X, but when it comes to ATC I have to say I am totally disappointed.

The ATC module uses words and phrases no pilot or controller would ever say.  It totally restricts what the pilot can do when interacting with ATC, and if you don't at least acknowledge what the controller says to do it WILL NOT let you go beyond that point or do anything else.

Case in point, when flying a Cessna 172, I asked for a different approach from the controller from that which he assigned.  MFS issued a completely new clearance and said "Climb and maintain FL180."  Obviously, a C172 can't do that and there is no way to tell the controller "unable," which is what I would do in real life.  So, in the simulator you must ack the climb but don't climb (to tick the "the aircraft responded" bit within the ATC module,) and request a lower altitude.  It stacks that request behind the climb request by saying, "Climb and maintain FL 180, expect 8000 (or whatever you ask for)" -- and from that point on unless you actually climb to FL180 (which is impossible) it does nothing but bark at you to "expedite your climb to FL180."  It's an impossible situation -- yet one that is easily resolved in real life.  It has caused me to cancel IFR to shut off the barking.  And it doesn't help to re-establish contact and ask for a new clearance.  It just shoots up up to FL180 all over again, so nothing gained.

Another funny one is when flying in northern Texas.  It calls the centre "F T Worth Centre" -- spelling out the letters F and T -- instead of saying "Fort Worth Centre."  NO controller or pilot would ever do that.

It says "tree" instead of "three."  I know the ICAO standard says to say "tree," but NO ONE does that.  Same for "fife" as opposed to "five."

When changing frequency, the controller always says, "...continue as planned, altimeter XX.XX."  NO CONTROLLER does that.  You check on a new frequency and give your altitude, and the controller just acknowledges you and MAYBE gives the altimeter setting.

I have also read, on this forum and others, people saying ATC does weird things to them.  I can believe all those stories.  The ATC module is totally broken.  It is inflexible, directs impossible situations, isn't forgiving to correct errors, and says things no pilot or controller would ever say.  I don't know if there is a third-party fix for this, but I would really hope Microsoft assigns some talent to this and corrects the problem.  Some of us really do want to use this software for IFR flying as close to the real world as possible, and this ATC module leaves us totally lacking in almost every respect.

ATC in MSFS is inherited from old FSX and have a lot of known problems. However,  you should understand MSFS is not FAA certified ATC ICAO sim. If you don't have enough ATC in real life, you can fly online services like Plot Edge. I haven't see any FAA certified ADT, BDT that would meet your ATC expectations, so I'm clueless why do expect it from MSFS? 


flight sim addict, airplane owner, CFI

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4 hours ago, kakihara123 said:

I think one of the causes of this is that people always shout VATSIM!!!!11 as soon as the default ATC is mentioned. So Asobo might have the impression that the default ATC doesn't matter at all. But this is simply false. 

The default atc is the only way to manage players and ai traffic at the same time. Vatsim simply can't do that. Coverage is also too low for it to be a real alternative too me....and I am simply not really interested in it. 

Problem is: Third party ATC is also player only as far as I could see. 

The default ATC doesn't have to be perfect, but apart from the stuff you mentioned it needs to actually control players and ai at the same time. I want to hear what other players are doing as well. Same goes for communication on uncontrolled airfields. 

I also have a feeling that they are way too afraid of griefing or spamming to implement such features. But honestly It would still be much better as it is now. Just give it a mute function. 

 

Agreed!!!


Chris Camp

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4 hours ago, loge said:

Their 'feedback snapshot' suggests an improvement to ATC phraseology is scheduled for Sim Update 4 (probably around April).  Let's hope they improve the logic and make it more flexible, rather than just modifying the messages.

I really hope so!!!


Chris Camp

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Just so people know, and even though I rarely use default ATC...it was brought to Asobo's attention in the EARLY days with plenty of documentation on how to make it realistic.

In my opinion, almost all of the concerns were ignored.

There is definitely a time and place for default simulator ATC, but it is indeed a disaster in this release.

 

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|Ryan Butterworth|

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The OP is an IFR instructor and his expectation is at a level no one expects from a flight sim software that costs $50.  Flight 1 sells their software for the G1000 for $1000. If you want study level ATC, you may want to look for real world IFR Radio ATC comm, there are few out there.

I find the ATC in MSFS quite adequate and its so much better than FSX or P3D. Could they do better, sure. I wish they had  Vectoring to an ILS at 30 degree like in the real world. That would be an improvement. they never sold it or marketed it as an ATC comm for IFR simulator. There are products for that which costs more and and they do nothing byt AC comm instruction. I own those products too. 

Maybe this is an opportunity for some 3rd party developer to develop an add on for Study level ATC software.  To look at MSFS as not satisfying the 100%  expectation of real world ATC is absurd!

Lets list down the expectation of MSFS for everyone

1) It needs to be real world including the terrain and trees and buildings all over the world 100% and not be older than 3 years.

2) Every single aircraft ever builts from  1920 until today should be created with  100% accuracy in terms of systems and flight dynamics etc by the book 100%

3) the weather should 100% accurate to the T whenever like in a time machine including live weather and represent everything we see out the window on the sim! Snow, Rain, Ice, Wind blah blah blah

4) the weather effect on the flight dynamics should be 100% reflected on the aircrafts that we do not want to pay  more than $20 react 100% accurately.

5)It needs to run with 100FPS on a PC we bought 10 years ago.

6) I want to add 20 monitors  with 5 million x 4 million pixels and 250 ' screen in a dome  and a home cockpit that would compete with Airliner simulator cockpit.. (This is Me and my expectation for full disclosure. I am guilty! ). 🙂

7) all of the above to be done within  5 months since the time of the initial release of the sim. Oh yeah! Otherwise I am going to stomp my feet and pout like a peturlant child! 

Just saying.

 

Edited by Manny
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Manny

Beta tester for SIMStarter 

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I have been flying IFR in P3D4, using Radar Contact, an old program, no longer supported. RC4 is by no means perfect, but seems far more realistic to me than MSFS 2020. When RC4 assigns an approach, it gives you the ILS frequency and gives you the option to take vectors to the final approach or to fly the full approach. The voices are mechanical sounding and there  is no support for taxi or VFR flight. What's needed is the best of RC4 combined with the MSFS ATC.

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Dale

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I still prefer FSX/P3D/MSFS ATC over the default X-plane where you have to create a flight plan even at small uncontrolled airports.  At least with the MSFS, pronunciation of certain numbers are correct, 3 pronounced "tree" and 5 pronounced "fife". Unless my ears are deceiving me.

 

Mike

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I recommend this for the OP and his students

Comm1: IFR Simulator 

  • $89.95
  • Most seasoned pilots agree that talking to ATC just gets easier with practice. That kind of practice can be costly -- Comm1: IFR can save valuable training and BFR dollars. Comm1: IFR offers a heightened interactive training experience with new and enhanced features including:
  • Over 9 hours of comprehensive radio training
  • Realistic rapid-fire ATC exchanges
  • Complex IFR scenarios
  • 76 detailed briefings
  • 55 interactive communication exercises
  • Over 800 colorful diagrams, aeronautical charts and approach plates
  • Comm1: IFR showcases the same type of realistic pilot-ATC audio dialogue, detailed flight scenarios and interactive simulation exercises that have been praised as the winning ingredients of Comm1: VFR Radio Simulator.

OR THIS.

 

Edited by Manny

Manny

Beta tester for SIMStarter 

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2 hours ago, sd_flyer said:

If you don't have enough ATC in real life, you can fly online services like Plot Edge. I haven't see any FAA certified ADT, BDT that would meet your ATC expectations, so I'm clueless why do expect it from MSFS? 

I certainly agree with this and look forward to giving Pilot Edge a whirl after I can trust the aircraft and nav systems to not put me in an bad situation.  In the meantime, some basic items in the built-in ATC can be corrected or adjusted.

Edited by RandallR
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Randall Rocke

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I've put in a feature request with MS/Asobo to support modding/interacting with ATC through SimConnect. I'm sure they have their hands full at the moment continuing to improve the existing sim features, but I would love to see this get some attention, as I'm sure FBW and the rest of the community could do an amazing job building upon the existing ATC to make it more accurate.

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Please do not contact me via DM for support or help with the A32NX mod. We recommend using our help channel on our Discord.

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I appreciate everyone's thoughts and suggestions.  While I don't expect this $120 (I have premium deluxe) software to be perfect, I must insist the ATC module is way below expectations given the sophistication of the product in other ways.  I thought the FSX ATC function was better and they have taken a step backward with FS2020.  I'm not using this software for teaching or anything like that, but rather my own personal use.  There are plenty of really good teaching aids and in my 35+ years of being a CFI using Microsoft flight simulator has never been one of them, although I do know some instructors who use it to teach students situational awareness.

It just seems a shame they can do such a darn good job with the visuals and aircraft renderings, and yet fall so totally flat with the ATC function.  Just sayin'.

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