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brucek

ATC in FSX

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I've been using FS9 and Ultimate Traffic for a number of years now. I've never been pleased with the ATC ... I'm always vectored straight in, never a hold and aircraft are usually almost piggy backed in so much of the time that most are ordered to go around. While on the ground I'm rather often routed so that I'm face to face with another aircraft going the other direction so we both sit there ... forever. While FS9 at one time was probably "as real as it gets" it leaves a lot to be desired in this particular area. A friend of mine was an approach/departure controller at KSTL, KSLC, KDEN and KJAX throughout his career and eventually rose to crew chief ... he could hardly stop laughing when he listened to what passes for ATC in FS9.Before I spend the money to upgrade to FSX, I'm curious as to whether the ATC is improved ... at least a little.Thanks for your input,Ken

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In FSX, the ATC text now shows up in pretty colours depending on who is doing the talking ... and that's about it on the improvement front.As you can see in the FS11 wish list thread, many are wishing for better ATC with the next FS release.Gary

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Thanks Gary. Then it won't be worth my while to upgrade at this point. I'll wait and see what the next edition brings in another 2-3 years.Thanks for the reply.Ken

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Have you looked into Radar Contact? It simulates holds and delayed vectors among many other things but does have a few drawbacks such as the lack taxi monitoring (no holds while taxing) or guidance, the voices are a not as good as the FS production and no VFR support.Despite the negatives it is leaps and bounds above the default for IFR flight plans.

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"I've been using FS9 and Ultimate Traffic for a number of years now."Please, stay with FS9. It will be a win win situation.You'll fly FS9; I'll fly FSX. It can't get any better than that.

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Thank you all. I remember using Radar Contact a long time ago when it first came out ... taking a peek at their website - looks like a good option since it works with Ultimate Traffic. I generally fly the PMDG 737NG. The ATC in FS9 will allow me to fly SID but there is not way to fly a STAR without canceling the IFR plan - and with a full traffic pattern at any major airport I would have to fly through other planes, literally. RC says it will allow SIDs and holds so it sounds like the best option out there for me.I haven't yet heard enough improvements in FSX to make it worth the upgrade.Thanks again,Ken

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>Thank you all. I remember using Radar Contact a long time ago>when it first came out ... taking a peek at their website ->looks like a good option since it works with Ultimate Traffic.>I generally fly the PMDG 737NG. The ATC in FS9 will allow me>to fly SID but there is not way to fly a STAR without>canceling the IFR plan - and with a full traffic pattern at>any major airport I would have to fly through other planes,>literally. RC says it will allow SIDs and holds so it sounds>like the best option out there for me.>>I haven't yet heard enough improvements in FSX to make it>worth the upgrade.>>Thanks again,>KenFor the type of flying you are doing, I would agree with your decision to stick with FS9. FSX biggest advantage is with VFR flying. The scenery improvements are best utilized and appreciated in while going rather low and slow.

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KenYou like many others that posted here need to learn how ATC works in FS9 before attemping to use it to its fullest in FSX.You overload FS9 with AI Traffic and then think that ATC should give you some sort of special handling. The more AI traffic you add the more you need to study how ATC works.The ATC system is only as good as you ask it to be. FS9/FSX uses a very complex set of instructions if you ask for them. It is clear that you have never ask for a Transitions to the IAF for a runway. You don't seem to know that there are many many holding patterns in the ATC system that is honored and allow you to space yourself into the sequence of arrivals. You continue to add many AI Planes to your airport but don't use enhanced airports that open all the runways at one time for both departures and arrivals.You lack the knowledge on how to program a STAR into your FP and then request from ATC the correct Transition to final (of your choice) off the STAR. You bring a ATC Controller into the FS9 world but never show them what the full potential of ATC is and so all the laughing is not on MS but your limitations.There is no 3rd party program that does it any better then FS if you learn the ATC system but, 3rd party ATC may add some additional features that appear to enhance FS9/FSX ATC.Some of what FS doesAllows you to fly STAR's which AI planes can also doChoose the correct Transition Stop using the Novice Hand Holding ATC techniqueAsk for another runway for your arrivalFly one of many Approach holding patterns to sequence your arrivalUse Airports that open all runways at once.Use Airports where ATC directs smaller type planes to shorter runwaysUse Airports that are 3rd party designed for all the AI TrafficTell ATC your intentions and not what they (ATC) will do if you don't understand the systemAsk "how do I" rather then tell us what you think is correct and your friend will stop laughing.Stop listening to those that are as uninformed as you are.Read the docs that came with FS9/FSX to get a better understanding of ATCUse the GPS Receiver to understand all types of Approaches and Approach Holding patternsUse the GPS Receiver as a learning tool and teach youself how to fly the complex approaches Learn to read approach plates which are also in the FS9/FSX database of approachesMy post is not meant to be rude but only explain there is a lot more to ATC then what most Novice Sim Flyers understand. If you fly as a Novice then expect ATC to use Novice rules.

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Thanks for your input Jim. I'm basing my knowledge of what ATC ought to be primarily on two of my close friends. One, as I mentioned but you apparently ignored, was an air traffic controller for 35 years at such airports at KSTL, KSLC, KDEN and KJAX. By the end of his career a few years ago he was crew chief and ran the towers. Another close friend has over 35,000 hours - from flying Hueys in Nam to a number of years flying for American and United. These are the people you term "uninformed" and "novice". If you have more experience with aviation than either of them, then I welcome your input. If not, I will use their combined 70+ years of experience to determine how correct FS9's ATC is handled. You say your post is not intended to be rude but that is exactly how I took it as you clearly used a superior attitude and tone. I have no idea what experience you may have and I will give you the benefit of the doubt with that based on what I suspect your age to be. Therefore I would ask you what credentials you might bring to the table concerning real life air traffic control beyond those of my friends.Ken

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Ken,If you expect FS ATC to mirror real life ATC, it may not. If you want to know if there has been improvement from FS04 to FSX, yes there has been. If you want a more improved ATC system, then you will need to use something like Radar Contact.If your ATC friends already informed you, then you had the information you needed.Jimhttp://www.hifisim.com/banners/hifi-community-sigbanner.jpghttp://www.hifisim.com/

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>Thanks for your input Jim. >>I'm basing my knowledge of what ATC ought to be primarily on>two of my close friends. One, as I mentioned but you>apparently ignored, was an air traffic controller for 35 years>at such airports at KSTL, KSLC, KDEN and KJAX. By the end of>his career a few years ago he was crew chief and ran the>towers. Another close friend has over 35,000 hours - from>flying Hueys in Nam to a number of years flying for American>and United. These are the people you term "uninformed" and>"novice". If you have more experience with aviation than>either of them, then I welcome your input. If not, I will use>their combined 70+ years of experience to determine how>correct FS9's ATC is handled. Ken, you need to read Jim's post more carefully. In fact, reread it several times...Jim's reference to "novices" was with regards to other FLIGHTSIM NOVICES, not your two real life friends, one of whom you state is a retired controller.I understood that clearly on my first reading of his post.To paraphrase what Jim actually wrote, as opposed to how you parsed his sentences:You demonstrated your novice understanding of FS ATC to your real life friends, so of course they went away laughing!Moreover, Jim's "real life experience" isn't an issue. What IS an issue is that quite possibly Jim is the most knowledgable person on the planet with regards to FS's ATC system. I'll even posit that he has a more comprehensive understanding of the "FS ATC System" than anyone at ACES, and they are the ones who wrote the program! :)The major points Jim has made are simply these:1. FS ATC is quite capable of doing many - if not all - of the "real life things" you have claimed it cannot.2. Don't expect to learn much from "fellow novices." After all, "ignorance only begets ignorance, never wisdom." If you want to learn about a subject, ask those who're recognized as knowledgable in an area of interest.All of us are capable of learning! I've made it a habit for fifty+ years to learn at least "one new thing" each day... :-beerchug

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Thank you for your reply, Bill. I have never claimed that I was any sort of expert at FS. Perhaps I did misinterpret Jim's post - I acknowledged that I wasn't aware of his background. I apologize, Jim, if I misunderstood your post and jumped to an incorrect conclusion.I have numerous problems with the logic used with FS ATC but two things in particular.As Mike (my retired controller friend) has often told me, pilots like to think they are in charge but it is the orders of the tower that they must obey whether they like them or not. That's where the control comes from in ATC. And if the controllers are very busy, pilots had better have a very good reason for any requests or they will not be granted. With that in mind I should not have to request certain things via my flight plan. Holds, for instance, are often required at times of heavy congestion so planes arriving can be lined up for landing and sometimes to bleed off altitude. It may be my lack of experience, but I have never yet been ordered to hold at a fix while traffic clears and a place is made in line for me. I could perhaps request such a thing, but it should be ordered by the tower as needed. Could you please tell me how to get FS9 to order that when necessary or give me straight in clearance when that is indicated?That's one. Secondly, it is not in compliance with FAA rules for a plane to be on close final in with a second or third plane to follow it directly on it's tail - all within 100'or so of one another - on the same runway. That's a recipe for a major air catastrophe yet it seems to happen at any busy airport. This is one thing that caused my friends to laugh, but as you suggest, it is probably that I do not understand how to set things up correctly. How do I prevent the program from doing this and lining planes up so they can arrive in a reasonable order with a bare minimum of go arounds?There are other issues, of course, but getting those two things straightened out would be a great help. Thank you for your helpin sharing your knowledge in doing this.And once again, I apologize if I came to a wrong conclusion about your post Jim. I'm somewhat frustrated by what must be my lack of knowledge as to how to get FS9 to handle the two noted issues so I really appreciate your input to that end.Ken

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Wow, tough crowd! The simple fact is that FSX ATC is neglibly better than FS9 ATC, no matter how badly these others who have posted here make you feel about how well you use the ATC system. The bottom line is that FS ATC will still head-butt aircraft with you on the ground and try and land many of you all at the same time, without some divine intervention on your behalf, whether it be by external addons (eg. AI smooth) or just your own survival instinct. FS ATC still has a long way to go.Gary

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I gotta agree that fsx atc is not much better than fs9 atc.But I also gotta mention-I get almost as much trouble from atc in the real world if not more.1) Lately-almost 60% chance real world atc will get my call sign wrong or my aircraft sign wrong...2) Good chance that my ifr plan will not be on file (thank to the new faa system where briefers can be 500-1000 miles away and not know anyting about your route or area when you file your plan)3) Chance that atc will forget to hand you off to the next controller4) Good chance that atc will vector you thru the ils or even forget about you5) Chance on the hand off that next controller will have no idea what you are doingJust some off the top of my head-and I love atc and know they are overworked and professionals etc.-and what the faa has been doing to them lately is horrible.But lots of screw ups in the real world as a daily basis. I'd like to see fs model more of this so I can be prepared...Imho-other than the over vectoring which I would love to see fixed-the fs9/fsx atc is sometimes much more realiable :-lolhttp://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/rxp-pilot.jpgForum Moderatorhttp://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

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Ken, try the free demo of voxatc. It will use the default AI FSX traffic and best of all, it is voice recognition. If you like being vectored in for landings, this program will satisfy.

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Thanks guys ... I'll probably give all or most of the suggested programs a try and see what works best for my needs.Ken

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Ken,As Mike (my retired controller friend) has often told me, pilots like to think they are in charge but it is the orders of the tower that they must obey whether they like them or not. That's where the control comes from in ATC.That does not happen in Flight Simulator. It is not designed to be done that way.FS is designed to allow a person who does not know how to create a flight, how to follow any FAA rules to get from airport A to airport B. Flight Simulator's default ATC is the simplest most basic possible - "Fly this heading" direction. That's all it is.If you want anything more, it's a steep learning curve.There is another "mode" to the ATC where you as the pilot can enhance your flight planning and ATC experience - but it does require you to learn a lot about how the system works, what it is capable of doing and most importantly - how to manipulate the computer program.While we might like a typical Flight Simulator 2004 / FSX clearance: "Cleared ILS Rwy 04R Approach, Cleared direct to INNDY"There are a lot of people flying FS who would have no clue what to do next, where to go, or how to get there.(That is a FS2004/ FSX clearance you will get if you are flying the KBOX ORW3:INNDY ILS04R approach and use the menu's to ask for the INNDY transition)You are dealing with a computer program. ATC in FS is more about learning the program capabilities than about learning ATC procedures.Radar Contact and VOXATC take more indepth approaches to the ATC by adding an intense program on top of FS - but again - it has a steep learning curve.I should not have to request certain things via my flight plan. Holds, for instance, are often required at times of heavy congestion so planes arriving can be lined up for landing and sometimes to bleed off altitude.Frankly the current generation computers cannot support the massive world FS has to deliver, and add more layers of processor cycles to expand the control of aircraft.Yes, we would all like context driven / situational ATC. But it ain't gonna happen until we get a lot more powerful computers.And Microsoft probably has their numbers correct. The number of people who want that level of specificity from the FS ATC is pretty small. They leave that to addons like Radar Contact and voxatc.For the ultimate in FS ATC control - there is always VATSIM - where you will have live human controllers. No computer program limitations.It may be my lack of experience, but I have never yet been ordered to hold at a fix while traffic clears and a place is made in line for me. I could perhaps request such a thing, but it should be ordered by the tower as needed.The FS2004/ FSX ATC will not control AI aircraft and order holds.Altitude is one thing where FS shines. You can request an approach with a transition. As you fly that approach in the GPS mode if your aircraft crosses a hold point too high, it will enter the hold. As you descend at a reasonable rate the plane will circle. When you are down to the target altitude (usually on the approach plate / chart), the aircraft will break out of the hold on the next circuit and continue the approach.One key to getting priority over AI aircraft - always decline the default visual approach or Vectors to ILS Approach. That puts you in the line of AI aircraft. If you choose any different approach - either ILS with a transition or RNAV(GPS) - you will have priority over AI aircraft.Secondly, it is not in compliance with FAA rules for a plane to be on close final in with a second or third plane to follow it directly on it's tail - all within 100'or so of one another - on the same runway. That's a recipe for a major air catastrophe yet it seems to happen at any busy airport. This is one thing that caused my friends to laugh, but as you suggest, it is probably that I do not understand how to set things up correctly. How do I prevent the program from doing this and lining planes up so they can arrive in a reasonable order with a bare minimum of go arounds?Reduce the AI traffic levels to no more than 20 landings per hour per runway. That's about all FS can handle properly with several runway exits and a full length parallel taxiway. If the airport is not setup that way - you need less AI landing.FS2004 is setup to handle up to five aircraft on approach for a runway at any one time.However, the desire for 'realism' in FS AI aircraft flight dynamics means that the aircraft designers want every AI aircraft to fly the final approach at different speeds.FS does a very good job of establishing the initial separation of the AI aircraft on the approach - about 5 nm apart. But when an A320 and a B737 fly their approach at 25 kts different speeds the separation is destroyed.As Jim noted about runways - most AI aircraft flight dynamics have the aircraft flying way too light. This makes for better visuals - but AI aircraft empty weight is the control mechanism. When a B767 weighs under 100,000 lbs - the ATC is not going to treat it as a heavy.I would strongly urge you to get the Microsoft FS2004 TrafficToolbox SDK and setup the Traffictoolbox.dll in your modules folder.The Map feature will show you a lot about how FS ATC is really working.

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Thank you for your input, Reggie. I have printed it out and will try your suggestions. As you say, our current state of computer technology isn't able to handle every contingency that arises for ATC but there are some things that could definitely be done better as capabilities now stand. But that's one reason we continue to get further releases in this series.Thanks again,Ken

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Excellent informative post, Jim.Well done!Peter Sydney Australia

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>of experience, but I have never yet been ordered to hold at a>fix while traffic clears and a place is made in line for me. I>could perhaps request such a thing, but it should be ordered>by the tower as needed. Could you please tell me how to get>FS9 to order that when necessary or give me straight in>clearance when that is indicated?>Couple of points here:1. You CAN fly a SID and/or STAR or DP using FS9/FSX's ATC. Most people don't realize that, and don't know how to get FS ATC to do that.2. In answer to your question above, ATC won't "order" you to hold. It can't do that. However, if you have autopilot on, with the approach you want to fly programmed into the GPS, AND you come in too high, your aircraft will honor the hold and you'll start holding while descending.>How do I prevent the program>from doing this and lining planes up so they can arrive in a>reasonable order with a bare minimum of go arounds?>You will want the program called AISmooth.RhettAMD 3700+ (@2585 mhz), eVGA 7800GT 256 (Guru3D 93.71), ASUS A8N-E, PC Power 510 SLI, 2gb Corsair XMS 3-3-3-8 (1T), WD 150 gig 10000rpm Raptor, WD 250gig 7200rpm SATA2, Seagate 120gb 5400 rpm external HD, CoolerMaster Praetorian

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Thanks Rhett. I haven't problems departing with a SID or DP ... just the STARs. I almost invariably fly the PMDG 737NG with the FMC handling the flight - I set up the FP based on charts so I have required altitudes programmed at all waypoints. I have to see if I can't get ATC to allow a instrument arrival in spite of the fact that it would be the pilot dictating to the controller.I haven't had a chance to try AISmooth yet, but I downloaded it and gave it a quick once over. I'll try it next time I get airborne. I'll also tweak the AI traffic a bit lower as was suggested earlier.Thanks again,Ken

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>As Mike (my retired controller friend) has often told me,>pilots like to think they are in charge but it is the orders>of the tower that they must obey whether they like them or>not. Well... it's not quite that simple and clear cut. In most cases, given no conflicts, that is indeed how the system works.However, the PIC (Pilot in Command) always has the ultimate decision power. NO ONE can "order" him to do anything that would - in his judgement - put the lives and safety of his aircraft at risk.In such an event, it is the PIC who holds the final trump card; let the FAA and other suits sort it out later.Ask your retired controller friend what happens if the a/c squawks 7500, 7600 or 7700... :)

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