AVSIM Commercial Utility Review

Cockpit Chatter

Product Information

Publisher: Flight 1

Description: Cockpit Chatter American/British Version 1.0.13 (includes SP1).

Download Size:
365 MB

Simulation Type:
Reviewed by: Angelique van Campen AVSIM Staff Reviewer - May 6, 2008


Something new on the horizon or another package with simulated co-pilot or ??????? It’s always difficult to check or to figure out, but probably the Flight1 website helps me in figuring out what it really is.

Cockpit Chatter is used to control FSX and your aircraft through the use of your voice by means of an advanced user independent speech recognition engine. You can control aircraft systems, talk to a virtual copilot, interactively run aircraft checklists, and enhance your flight experience with just your voice. With no training required, Cockpit Chatter represents the most advanced speech recognition platform for use with Flight Simulator.

Flying in Flight Simulator X becomes a completely new experience with the wonders of your virtual copilot. Speak to your copilot just like you would on a real aircraft, telling him to set the flaps, raise the gear, tune the radios, or set the autopilot functions. Interactively run a checklist with command and response; just like a real aircraft captain. Natural speech phraseology and speaker independent technology will never leave you feeling alone in the cockpit again.

Never be stuck with a rigid script again. Speak like you would in a real aircraft to your copilot. Each command in Cockpit Chatter comes pre-designed to be spoken like it is in the real world. Want to set the radios to 121.90? Say it like a pilot would to their copilot, "21 9 on the radio." Every command comes with many different grammars to suit your natural tendency. "1 2 1 decimal niner on comm one" will work as well. Still not the way you might say it? No problem, Cockpit Chatter allows for complete modification of any command using a powerful, and easy, scripting format.

Looking into detail, it seems that FeelThere does the same with Call! and what about the FS2Crew programs or Voice Buddy and probably many others. Lucky for me I don’t own the other programs but on the other hand, I need to know if this program is really different. One thing is for sure, when you operate Cockpit Chatter, it’s not only a co-pilot who talks to you but it also performs the necessary actions you requested, like setting a radio or navigation frequency, flap retraction/extension, gear UP/DOWN selection and so many more commands.

I need a little more background, so let’s see what the developer, Tom Main, can say about this product. "Cockpit Chatter allows the user to control all actions in FSX via voice. If a gauge or keyboard action can be done, you can now do it via voice. This includes such items as direct input of frequencies (a first for FS), direct input of autopilot settings (another first), full engine system manipulation, etc. Also, CC allows for dynamic checklist activity with the copilot. Everything that you can say to CC is also variable (such as saying Gear Up or Positive climb lets get the gear up) so you are not tied to single phrase vocabulary. All of the vocabulary can be modified to your own style as well.

CC is also designed to do what you ask it to do, instead of virtually pressing a key for you. As an example, in some products if the gear is already down and you say Gear Down, they will just press the G key (cycling your gear up). Cockpit Chatter will verify gear position for you and put the gear down if needed or will leave it alone if already down."

Ok, so much for the introduction. Let’s quickly continue with the installation and documentation.

Installation and Documentation


Before starting the installation, first some important items to keep in mind. This program needs either Windows XP or Vista, so no limitations here and of course FSX itself, preferable with SP2 or the Acceleration pack installed. Furthermore, you need a full duplex sound card available and of course a headset with microphone or just a separate microphone.

Do you like an American or British accent? It’s up to you since you can chose between either of the two installers. For the created Flight1 key, it doesn’t make any difference. So, that brings me to the famous Flight1 Wrapper installer.

The Flight1 Wrapper is a way of protecting your software and preventing piracy, although this last item is only applicable for Flight1 and the developers themselves. Since I have the key already in house, it’s always a re-installation but nonetheless, it’s straightforward without any problems. There’s really no need to add screenshots here since you can’t make any mistakes. Even the FSX directory is automatically detected. Still I’ve decided to add some screenshots for those who are not that familiar with the Flight1 Wrapper.

The installation process is divided into two installations; the Cockpit Chatter program itself and afterwards, the Text-to-Speech Voice setup. Finally, when both are done, we’ve got one Cockpit Chatter shortcut on your desktop and a new entry under the Windows Start button.

As usual with Flight1 installers, there’s not that much to explain or to expect. It’s straightforward without any problems. The main program – Cockpit Chatter – automatically detects the FSX location and for the Text-to-Speech program, it goes to a different location since there’s no need to add that into the FSX folder. Conclusion, before you know it’s done!

I would like to bring one thing to your attention and that’s the first time you start Cockpit Chatter. All the Cockpit Chatter built-in checklists are automatically uploaded to the default FSX airplanes. I repeat, default FSX airplanes. Non-default airplanes are not yet supported. Tom Main reported to me that they are working on it but it will cost some time. Can you bypass this problem when flying with modern high realistic add-on airplanes? Of course you can; just simple make your own CC checklists but that’s for later.


When you’re looking for an Acrobat or Word document, you can look in every corner of your PC, but there’s nothing. Is there then no manual available? Why yes there is, and it's a beautiful one to be honest.

When you open Cockpit Chatter (CC) the first button on top “learning center” tells you everything about this program. Ranging from what it really can do for you and what's an interface. The interface is the CC program itself, grammar scripting and how to handle CC including a tutorial of making or modifying new/own checklists and not unimportant, the use within Flight Simulator X. I’m really impressed by this manual.

I – Checklist Assignments

II – Scripting Language

III – Creating a New Checklist

IV – Using Checklists in FSX

V – Generic Phrases in FSX

VI – Setting Up Your Microphone

Some example screenshots of the “learning center” online documentary. Believe me, it’s just a very limited amount of screenshots, but it hopefully gives an idea of what you can expect. Not interested in reading all those pages? OK, but you miss something and on the other hand, the basic program offers so much possible sentences in so many different configurations that ones you’ve configured the microphone operation button, you can start with it. Special attention goes to screenshot VI – Setting Up Your Microphone, but that’s later on discussed in much more detail since this can bring you to a boiling point when not done correctly.

Is there any more to write or to explain about the digital manuals? Not really. What I wrote before is awesome and as a technical writer for my profession, including writing different kind of manuals for several add-on vendors within the MSFS, I really like the way they did it including the contents. A big plus for this part!

Last incoming note for printed grammar list. When you want the complete grammar list available on paper, just follow the screenshot steps below.

Creating your paper grammar list is done in seconds. First select the speech configuration button. The result can be seen in screenshot I. Now click the script button. Since there’s only one with this inscription, it can’t be missed. Screenshot II should give you a good idea when the script is created but @#$%^. When the script is finished, you should see the same as screenshot III. A complete list with all the default grammar listings can be found. Our last action is to save this list. That equals screenshot IV. A rich text file is created and saved in the main Cockpit Chatter directory. From there you can start printing.

I - Click the script button

II – Script operation in progress

III – Total grammar list

IV – RFT file created

Testing .. testing … testing

Or is it say again … say again? When you don’t put your microphone in the correct position, this could happen.

What could happen; the CC voice machine does not understand what you’re saying or you didn’t read the manual or you’ve spoken the wrong words. OK, lots of negative things but believe me, it’s isn’t. After my first attempt I was a little disappointed, but I didn’t read the manual correctly and my headset with microphone was not really in a very good position.

The next day I read the manual and started again and yes, it all worked. Ok, there’s still one figure that doesn’t work and that's the number “2”. Let’s keep in mind for the moment that my pronunciation is not what it should be.

Back to my 2nd flight impression with CC. When you start FSX via the CC window, it tells you that CC is initialized, so you know it's working. Once in the air, I try it and it works. Believe me, it’s so strange that with your aircraft trimmed, Saitek flight sim yoke connected – for the control of the microphone – you can control almost everything. So "THROTTLES FULL" and full throttle is applied, "POWER DECREASE" and the thrust is reduced. "AUTO PILOT ENGAGE" and instantly the AP is connected.

First of all, a male or female voice confirms the request and then it’s done automatically. A connected AP is not enough; I want a heading hold and altitude with vertical speed. Here we go again, sit back and concentrate on what you’re going to say. I start first with the heading; "SET 330 HEADING" and yes, it's set, followed by "HEADING ON". One step back; what we’ve done is this. We have set the heading bug on a specific position, either the same as our current heading or on a different value and by speaking the command "HEADING ON", we connect the AP to the HDG mode. Automatically it’s repeated and done. The aircraft is connected to the selected HDG.

Altitude is done in the same way, so here we go …. "SET 05000 ALTITUDE". Read back is done and altitude is set to 5000 feet in the auto pilot control panel. That means we now add a vertical speed to it like …. "SET 500 VERTICAL SPEED" and when CC understood it correctly, 500 feet VS is set in the window and there we go with 500 VS UP to 5000 feet altitude. Amazing, it works!

Now it's time for some examples. Although I’m aware of the fact that static pictures can't show you the real power of this voice controlled program, but I’ll try. Important to know that with each screenshot, is the used written Cockpit Chatter grammar list command code. That means, the grammar code is the one that listens and implements what you’re saying. When the voice computer – Cockpit Chatter – has no clue what you’re saying, it will respond with “say again”, but when it understands you, it will repeat more or less what you’ve said and set a mode, change the eye view, select a certain speed, heading, altitude and so many more actions that it can perform.

Ok, let’s first have a look to some screenshots with there belonging grammar list code.

Read this intro before looking at the screenshots!
The bold CAPITOL words below each individual screenshot, represents the correct grammar list code from Cockpit Chatter. The shown grammar list code is, in some cases, just an example. Since controlling the aircraft HDG via the Auto Pilot can be spelled in different ways, this is the same for all the other ones shown here.

SET 300 HEADING BUG command
(No Auto Pilot yet connected)

(Selected HDG connected to AP)

SET 04500 ALTITUDE command
(No PITCH Auto Pilot yet connected)


FLAPS 30 command

External view of previous screenshot


SET 300 HEADING BUG command




LOOK BACK command

These grammar list command examples are in relation to the default Cessna 172, and they are just a very small collection of what you, the pilot in command, can say to either the voice computer – Cockpit Chatter – or the Cockpit Chatter co-pilot.
All these commands are there to get a certain aircraft action, either done by your voice, not by clicking on a mouse button or an assigned button/switch on your joystick/flight yoke or via the keyboard.
Every word written below the screenshot is pronounced and converted into an action. The available standard list is not endless, but it is 109 pages long. Not endless since you are able to add any phrases you want. When you think that something could be pronounced more logical or easier, just program it by yourself in a friendly environment.

Say again … preflight checklist … say again

Under the testing …. testing ….. testing chapter, I tried to explain something of the non checklist items. This chapter deals with checklist items and the read back belonging to it. Difficult or different?

Not really since there’s always a read back. The only difference is that during the checklist actions it could be that I need to say a specific word or else my co-pilot will say “say again”. By the way, in the beginning you will hear this many times since it’s a totally different way of approaching the aircraft. Although I’m really impressed about the huge amount of possibilities, it will never be a real person, who is sitting next to you and saying something else then “say again”, when he/she doesn’t understand it.

In the following examples I will try it with the default Beechcraft 58 and see if I can deal with the installed co-pilot. The results are based on hours of frustration since I needed to learn what I had to say, then my co-pilot can correctly continue with the checklist.

Read this intro before looking to the screenshots!
The bold CAPITOL words below the screenshots represent more or less the phrase you need to say to the co-pilot in order for him/her to understand you and then he/she can continue with the checklist items. Difficult, not at all, but don’t forget that you need to perform the cockpit actions by yourself since nobody else is doing this. The speaking co-pilot is only there to help you read the list!

You -> Starting a specific checklist;

Co-pilot -> COWL FLAPS
You -> CHECK OPEN command

You -> ON command

You -> CHECKED command

You -> FULL RICH command

At the end of the knee board checklists you will find all the CC grammar codes

I took, for this example, the old fashioned default FSX Beechcraft 58, but that could be any other GA airplane or even a big jet. The principle is the same and that’s the most important thing. You pick from the Cockpit Chatter grammar list a specific checklist; think about the preflight, start engines, run-up checklist and many more checklists. Then you need the kneeboard since here you'll find the necessary phrases to reply to the co-pilot. Don’t forget to make the necessary cockpit settings like switching ON things, selecting things or setting levers to a specific position.

An important thing to keep in mind is this it’s only applicable for default FSX aircrafts. Non-default aircraft are not yet supported. This can be seen in the following screenshots. Basically, when you’ve no add-on aircraft installed like the ones from CLS, PMDG, Wilco Publishing, Just flight, PSS, Aerosoft, Carenado, Dreamfleet, Eaglesoft, Lionheart Creations, RealAir Simulations, or Overland, for example.

Cockpit Chatter offers every default aircraft a voice controlled checklist. When you’ve got an add-on aircraft installed like what can be seen in screenshot III (Just flight/CLS DC-10 Series), then there’s no voice controlled checklist available or connected to it. Therefore you will see all red crosses in this aircraft type.

I - Default Boeing 747-400 checklist

II - Default Airbus A321 checklist

III – Add-on aircraft | NO checklist

In screenshots I and II, I show you some examples of default FSX aircraft– Boeing 747-400 and the Airbus A321 – with the associated checklists but in screenshot III you find an example of an add-on DC-10-30 Series where Cockpit Chatter can’t find a checklist. So no voice control on this add-on aircraft is available. Problems … no … make your own checklist via Cockpit Chatter!

I hope with this sub chapter you’ve gotten an idea of the voice controlled checklists and although it's just one example, all will work according to the same principle. Although this review can’t explain every possible step of the Chatter program, certain things will be discussed. Later on I will explain something of how to make your own checklist. Not an in-depth discussion since the manual is more or less perfect in that way, but more to see the result of the above example with the DC-10 Series.

Cockpit Chatter program

I don’t want to explain everything here regarding the program and all its options but I think it’s useful to pick out a few things. The only way to use the program as a standalone or in combination with FSX, is starting it via the shortcut on your desktop. It’s not possible to start Cockpit Chatter from within FSX. However, if you started FSX without Cockpit Chatter, you are always able to start CC separately and once CC is running, it will automatically initialize itself into FSX. This can be seen in the FSX menu bar. Under Add-ons there’s an item added namely “STOP Cockpit Chatter”. So even if CC wasn’t started before FSX, it’s now ready for use.

Ok, by knowing this, you simply use CC to start FSX from now on. It also gives you the opportunity to make some last minute modifications before using the “Launch FSX” button. Before I continue, the other way works as well. The other way means that once FSX is running, you can easily make changes into the CC program and, when saved, it will reinitialize itself and implement into the running FSX version.

Lots of words but it simply means … once FSX is running, you’re still able to make changes. Like if you want a female or male co-pilot or one with a English or British accent etc. Not only this but you can also make checklist changes, add new commands and many more things can be changed afterwards. When making changes you need to save it but then you’re done. Either you leave the window on your desktop or you click the minimize button. It will, by the way, not minimize to the task bar but as a small icon in the right hand side of the task bar Complicated? No, its straightforward!

Ok, now its time to look to the different buttons, which CC offers. Find below the six different items including the “Launch FSX” button. I think this one is the easiest button you can imagine. It simply starts FSX while CC is initialized. That’s it, so no further explanation is needed. It’s difficult for me what to write down here since the manual is really so impressive and in-depth, that I’m wondering where and how I shall start but I will find something that helps you.

Screenshot I
Cockpit Chatter Main window

Screenshot II
Activating the “learning center” button, which gives a comprehensive and very detailed manual.

Screenshot III
Activating the “speech configuration” button gives you access to the mic setup, and allows testing of the grammar listing.

Screenshot IV
Activating the “checklist assignment” button gives you the possibility to connect the grammar and checklist to the FSX airplane

Screenshot V
Activating the “checklist modification” button allows you to modify a checklist or create your own version.

Screenshot VI
Activating the “launch FSX” button starts FSX. The advantage is that CC is automatically initialized during the run up.

Screenshot I:
This shot isn’t really special. When the CC shortcut on your desktop is clicked, this CC window appear with all the buttons.
Screenshot II:
The learning center or digital manual is really impressive. Nothing is left untouched. All the things you need to know are here. Not only that, there’s also a tutorial on how to make your own checklist for add-on aircraft or when you want to modify current checklists. Since there’s no paper manual or Acrobat file supplied with it, I can image you may want to have it printed out. No problem, just select the chapter, followed by the sub chapter or page you want to see/read and right click on the text field. Select from the drop down menu “Print Review” and there you go.
Screenshot III:
The speech configuration is just what it’s telling you. Every phrase for every command category – Autopilot, Checklist, Engines, Instruments, Lights, etc. – including the specific command that can be modified, added or deleted. These changes are not only applicable for the command grammar list but also for the confirmation read back list. Here you’re also able to setup the microphone or more important, the way the mic becomes operative in relation to Cockpit Chatter.
Screenshot IV and V:
This part consists of three windows; “Select Aircraft”, “Select Checklist” and “the aircraft assigned checklist name”. A lot of words but what it means is that every default aircraft is connected to a specific checklist. No big deal, except for add-on vendor aircraft types. As you saw before, after the installation of the Just Flight/CLS DC-10 Collection, the “Select Aircraft” window had red crosses in front of all the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 Series. Clicking on a DC-10 didn’t connect it to an available checklist for the simple reason that there’s no Cockpit Chatter checklist available. Whether you connect an available CC checklist to it or you look to screenshot V, where you can make your own checklist.
Screenshot VI:
Starting Microsoft Flight Simulator X directly from CC with CC initialized during start-up.


I’m not going to discuss in the following text block a complete and detailed tutorial on how to create a new checklist for an add-on aircraft, but a short version of how to do this and I hope this story adds some visual information to the available tutorial.
Since there’s no checklist for the available add-on Just Flight/CLS Douglas DC-10-30, we have to make one ourselves.
You click the New button and enter in the space area any word or name you found handy for yourself. I chose for Douglas DC-10-30. You could also enter DC-10 and thus making one checklist name for all available DC-10 series.
When you’ve entered a name, click the OK button.
The DC-10-30 checklist is now loaded. This can be seen on the yellow top part, where is written Douglas DC-10-30.
I’ve chosen to make a beginning with the first checklist needed; the preflight checklist and step by step I’ve entered checklist items like “overhead panel CB’s, FCOM and Battery switch”. At the same time I also entered the response text as can be seen on the right hand side of the yellow booklet. Further on, the co-pilots pronunciation window and possible or valid responses. This is, by the way, explained in detail in the manual. Here it’s just to give you an idea of how simple it is.
After I saved the new DC-10-30 preflight checklist, it's now time to connect this one to the particular DC-10. On the screenshot on your right, I marked the Martinair aircraft to the Douglas DC-10-30 checklist, entered a tick in the box and I'm ready to click the blue ASSIGN button. Keep in mind, it’s not yet done.
This can be seen that below the Martinair tail the “Assigned Checklist Name” is still blank.
Although a part of the “Select Aircraft” is missing, I connected the simplified DC-10-30 checklist to the DC-10 of Martinair Holland. OK, one step back:
- Select Aircraft window -> Martinair Holland Dc-10-30, connected to...
- Select Checklist “Douglas DC-10-30”, assigned to ….
- Click the ASSIGN button and tick the box right of this button.
By doing this – don’t worry, it’s also described in the manual – I’ve assigned this handmade checklist to the particular DC-10 series and by the tick, it’s downloaded to FSX. For this result, see the description below.
Flight Simulator X is either directly started in the ordinary way or via Cockpit Chatter. I now need to load the Just Flight/CLS DC-10-30F from Martinair Holland and once this is done, I request the kneeboard. This action is followed by clicking the Checklist icon.
The result of this can be seen on the right. The DC-10-30 checklist is loaded. I know, it’s a very limited checklist since I didn’t create that much. I only made a very small part of the Preflight Checklist. It should give you a good idea of what you’ve created and you can see on the screenshot that’s there’s also a part of the basic grammar list available.

This brings me more or less to the end of this Cockpit Chatter program. Ok, once more. You can see the Cockpit Chatter program as follows; one part is related to available checklists or new checklists created by yourself or others. The other part is related to all voice commands not related to the checklist, so think about GEAR UP/DOWN, FLAPS RETRACT/EXTEND, VOR 1 FREQUENCY, ILS SET, ZOOM IN/OUT, SWAP 2D/VC COCKPIT grammar list commands and many others.

Last incoming note from Tom Main regarding dedicated add-on checklists and others;"We are going to be creating plug-ins for various add-ons that include SDK's to access their functions and checklists for those aircraft as well."

Tom’s answer was based on my questions …. “are there plans or work on its way to create checklists for add-on aircraft like the ones from PMDG, ATR 72, Level-D etc. and what about the grammar lost commands? Will a simple grammar list command like SET HEADING 330 or GEAR DOWN work in a non default aircraft? So, you need to wait a while but then your favorite add-on aircraft is also Cockpit Chatter controlled.

Summary / Closing Remarks

Test System

Dell Precision Workstation 650
Dual Intel P4-Xeon 3.06Ghz
4Gb RAM DDR 533Mhz
nVidia 7800GS+ 512Mb AGP
RAID-0 HDD’s - SCSI 340Gb
Windows XP Professional SP2
Flight Simulator 9.1
Flight Simulator FSX SP2
Saitek Pro Flight Rudder Pedals
Saitek ProFlight Yoke System
TrackerIR Pro 4
TrackerClip Pro

Flying Time:
32 hours

Is there much to say about this remarkable product? No, I don’t think so. Oh yes, it cost you $39.95 or £20.70 or for all other European countries €25.77. Is that a lot of money? That depends on your wallet but more important on your interest and if you like voice controlled programs.

There are many MSFS programs where one way or another you are able to control something with your voice, but this program really the pushes limit. If you’re willing, you could taxi to the runway, put everything in position, line up and do the rest via your voice. You don’t need to touch any selector, switch or set frequencies. All – ok, let’s say 99% - cockpit handlings can be done via your voice.

You want to experience an extraordinary ILS landing; you can do it with Cockpit Chatter. Not only an ILS landing via the instruments but additionally you can set, adjust and insert all the settings by voice needed to make that easy ILS landing.

When you’re really looking for something special and unique, then I think this is it. Is it then so easy that, after the installation, you can go and fly? Yes, you can, except then for the microphone adjustment. However, I strongly advice you to read or at least have a look at the good looking and comprehensive digital manual, which is a part of the Cockpit Chatter module. Then, after reading the important pages, the voice control will give you the FSX boost towards the reality.

So, my next to last words are …. Awesome product.

Personally, I’m always very skeptical with these kinds of products. But I faced the same enthusiastic feeling as when I reviewed the CATIII software, FSCheckride. These kinds of products are as they say “the crème de la crème”. Controlling your aircraft only by voice is really something unique and an extraordinary experience. If you’ve become interested in this Flight1 product, just have a look at the dedicated Cockpit Chatter forum.

Before I really end, here is a summary of the notes from Tom Main, the developer of this product;
- Work is in progress to create the necessary plug-in for add-on aircrafts, like from PMDG 747-400X and others.
- The best operation/performance for Cockpit Chatter is with SP2 or the Acceleration pack installed.
- Keep in mind, the loss of recognition accuracy while running Cockpit Chatter usually depends on environmental factors. Make sure to turn down your speakers as too much engine noise will disturb the accuracy. Same goes for all the other sounds in Flight Simulator like beeps, horns and others. Some of the accuracy loss will be from your possible accent. They are currently looking at an update to the package to allow specific user training that should cure this problem.


What I Like About Cockpit Chatter

  • I’m impressed by Flight1’s Cockpit Chatter and all its possibilities. For what it’s offering, really, a super voice recognition program. Sit back and relax!
  • Price/quality with excellent performance with standard a huge grammar list full of hundred, may be thousand of standard commands to control your aircraft.
  • Great flexibility in creating your own phrases or even create your own checklists and connect them to any aircraft you want.
  • Nice and clear online manual with a good tutorial and many aspects of the program are discussed.
  • You can chose between an American or British accent, for use as co-pilot.


What I Don't Like About Cockpit Chatter

  • Certain words and values are not understood by the CC voice module, but work is on its way.
  • I couldn’t find anything else … it's a great deal!



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