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  1. coma

    ATC server?

    The price for PilotEdge has very little to do with infrastructure and everything to do with paying controllers to be there. 15x7 coverage....2 coverage areas with 1 of the areas have an extra controller online for some of the time. Use just about any pay rate above minimum wage and you'll see the costs add up very quickly. In terms of this proposal, the problem is writing a solid voice recognition system, and something which doesn't suck at sequencing. Consider this request, "we'd like the VOR-A, then the ILS back at John Wayne." There's that, and a nearly infinite number of other ways that you could paralyze a voice recognition system, making requests that you say in real life on literally any IFR flight.
  2. The small area you refer to, just to confirm, you're referring to the 85 towered airports, thousands of non-towered airports within 6 ARTCCs? When PE was ZLA only, I understood the comments that it was 'small', but now that it covers the western half of the United States, I'd have to disagree. Regarding the price, you can fly in 5 of the 6 ARTCC's with a Western US subscription for $19.95/mth or $179/yr (annual subs get a discount). If you want ZLA + Western US, the annual sub for that is $329. If you're going to extrapolate a monthly price to an annual figure, it's more reasonable to use the annual option, that's what it's for. As for the 'single controller' argument, there are 2-3 controllers online at time on PilotEdge during normal configurations (1-2 for ZLA, plus a separate controller for Western US), and then considerably more than that during the monthly events. I totally understand that it's initially odd hearing the same controller's voice when swap from freq to freq (although, I've lost count of how many times it happens at towered airports where one guy/girl is working ground and tower at the same time...) You're conditioned to VATSIM where you get a voice change on every freq. What you're failing to consider is that you ONLY get a freq change if there is a controller working the next position. So, on PE on a flight from SNA to, say, SBA, you go from SNA clearance, to ground, to tower, then through 3 Socal tracon sectors, then Pt Mugu tracon, then Santa Barbara tracon, then SBA tower and then SBA ground. With typical VATSIM staffing (again, assuming there is anyone there at all), it's likely to be, say LAX_CTR and LAX_TWR online. That means, you're going to be on 125.80 (LAX_CTR) for the ENTIRE flight. You're still hearing just one controller the ENTIRE time, and even worse, you haven't changed freq the entire time. On VFR flights it becomes even more important as the distinction between Tower and Departure gets completely lost since you're talking to LA Center the entire time. So, between the option of having ambiguous ATC with non-distinct roles through the the flight, OR, realistic freq changes and a crystal clear distinction between the roles that you're talking to on a given flight...I think the second is preferred, even if it is the same VOICE, the controllers are well-trained in handling things as a different ROLE. So, if you request the ILS into SBA while you're talking to Socal or Pt Mugu on PE, they're going to say, "you can make that request with Santa Barbara...." On VATSIM/IVAO, they're going to say, "rgr, expect the ILS" because at any given time, you don't know what position is ACTUALLY being simulated, because you're on 125.80 (LAX_CTR) the entire time (with the staffing that I just described). The situation is only marginally improved if SCT_X (socal combined tracon) is online...you're in exactly the same boat if you fly, say, BFL to SBA instead as BFL tracon and SBA tracon are almost never staffed, practically speaking...it's going to fall under LAX_CTR even if SCT_X and LAX_TWR are online. This is not to be disparaging of VATSIM, however, when you say that you have a problem with speaking to the same controller after each freq change, you're discounting the fact that you're getting way more freq changes with a clear distinction of roles in the process. That, and a guarantee that ATC is there to begin with during the published times. That is a completely different offering to volunteer staffing with a completely unknown progression of freq changes on a given flight. Lastly, if you actually want to hear a distinct voice on every freq change, along with realistic freq changes, we'd need 400+ people to staff ZLA alone, just like the real thing. That's not financially viable, or is any version of the plan with even 1/10th of that staffing level. When you're paying controllers to be there, the math gets brutal....immediately.
  3. dynamic VHF distortion was implemented on PilotEdge for X-Plane quite a while ago. P3D/FSX will be next.
  4. Starting to play VHF radio emulation for PilotEdge now. We avoided it for years because the version of the sound library we used didn't allow convenient post-processing of the audio. Now that we've moved to a newer version of the library (a while ago, admittedly), I'm looking closely at this. I found some open source DSP code and was able to apply high and low pass filters, but there was a buzz in the resulting audio of which I'm not a fan. I'll keep working it Since we do track the signal strength for party on the network, we could theoretically degrade the signal as it gets closer to the limits of the reception distance. We already model the transmitter locations on the network as well as we can (even the altitude of the rado transmitters in cases where they're placed on top of a mountain) so everything is in place except for the last piece, which is to manipulate the audio based on all the conditions we're simulating. Some people will like this, others will not. I started out not wanting it, but I have come to realize that the cd quality audio we use now needs at least a high and low pass filter to run over it (with the appropriate cutoffs) to remove the low end bass, even if we add no actual distortion, that would be a good start. Beyond that, we'll probably make it optional to enable the degrading of the signal. Regarding the expansion, we're on track to launch by end of year, and yes, it's generally for tubeliners, but the 'bonus field' program might be of interesting to piston and turboprop guys. That's a program where we staff an additional field (on a rotating basis), not too far from one of the expansion fields. That way, there are some additional options for smaller planes without having to fly 600-800nm between airports. That, and we will be providing basic radar services for enroute IFR and VFR within the expansion area (albeit without the ability to vector or clear people for approaches into unsupported airports, but it does cover you for 95+% of the flight). This opens up several hundred non-towered airports, too, where you can depart on the CTAF, pick up advisories, fly around pretty much anywhere you want within the expanded area, then terminate your service just prior to swapping to CTAF at the next non-towered airport.
  5. There's always room for fun & games, listen to this one of a 747 out of LAX that calls for takeoff clearance when he still has 1/2 mile of taxiing to do...(an Aussie pilot and a pseudo-Australian controller). Don't worry, he doesn't control much anymore. http://assets.pilotedge.net/recordings/archive/early_takeoff.mp3 (from 10 secs to 1min 39secs)
  6. Failures are fine as long as you handle them in a realistic fashion. 747 going GPS direct from LAX to SFO with a 4 engine-out emergency screaming "mayday mayday!!" is not welcome. Realistic emergencies are fine and do not require coordination or permission. The PE plugin for xplane, as an example, monitors bus voltage. If it drops below a certain value, your radio is toast. So, if you're on a flight and the alternator goes offline, you need to do what you'd do in real world, shed load and come up with a plan, particularly if you're in IMC. Those are great emergencies. We also have the technology to check your gear state (though the controllers haven't been trained on that yet) so if you suspect there's a gear problem, you can do a low approach at a towered airport and they'll be able to check it out. Those are all fine. We can actually trigger failures in X-Plane from the scope, a feature we currently reserve for commercial clients but will eventually make available for retail customers as well. Here's a great video of one of our users (who has agreed to let us trigger failures on him without notice for testing). I was watching him stream his flight live on twitch, hopped on the scope as an observer and triggered a bird strike. This is the result: That wasn't what I was referring to when I mentioned dynamic events, though. I actually meant things as simple as, "ground, is Alpha the 2nd left or this one right here?" "Ground, can we pull over here on Alpha for a moment? We need to check something out, should take about 90 seconds." Those simple examples will result in "say again" from any synthetic system. Regarding your concern for beginners, we have pretty thorough training programs to take you through a detailed series of flights with plenty of resources to make sure you're prepared for each flight (cockpit videos, transcripts, etc).
  7. BeechPapa, here's a link to some of the exchanges that took place on the combined radar position during the opening hour of service on PilotEdge today: http://assets.pilotedge.net/recordings/hourly/2015-1-22_8_17510.mp3 How do feel about the clarity and readability there? Note: this link will not work in 3 months from now, that's how long the recordings are kept for QA purposes. And that, right there, is why synthetic ATC systems are going to struggle to gain acceptance among real world pilots. If it's all you've ever used, it's probably ok, but once you've spoken to a real controller and realized that they understand just about everything you say, no matter how you say it, it's very, very hard to accept anything else. There are also many non-standard things that can happen during a flight, whether it's requesting an approach other than the one in use, negotiating shortcuts or practice approaches, asking for weather at other fields, or receiving interesting vectors behind other live traffic, ATC is fundamentally dynamic. This is my beef with synthetic systems, they miss this nuances...and ultimately, once you get passed the basics of IFR clearances, taxi, takeoff and landing, what's left is the interesting, dynamic stuff. $20MM Level D full motion flight simulators are often equipped with synthetic ATC systems. At most places, they simply turn off the ATC and have the instructor pilot pretend to be ATC (badly). There really aren't any synthetic systems out there, afaik, where pilots walk out of a sim saying, "boy, that ATC was amazing, just like the real thing." They sound like what they are...a computer attempting to impersonate a person. Great for stock standard exchanges, but they fall short when the going gets tough.
  8. kama2004, thanks for the kind words. PilotEdge traffic for Dec and Jan was up 40% compared to the average for the rest of 2014. The traffic is considerably heavier than it used to be. That said, since we cover 40 towered airports, the chances of having multiple aircraft in the pattern are small unless you've arranged something in the Fly WIth Me forum. Another exception would be SNA, which almost always has aircraft inbound or outbound there because of the various training programs. I'm happy to say that we are looking closely at our first network expansion for later this year. The planning and funding are in the works as we speak. I think 737, 757 and CRJ pilots are going to be very happy with the result.
  9. http://pilotedge.net was purpose built for people in your exact situation. Definitely check it out (disclaimer: I'm the founder of that network, but I still maintain that PE is pretty much what you're looking for). Alternatively, there is a no cost option called VATSIM (http://www.vatsim.net) that offers a similar service (with a wider coverage area). However, there are significant differences between the two networks that become quickly apparent if you're working on your real world flight training. Here's a page offering some info on the distinguishing features of PilotEdge: http://www.pilotedge.net/pages/comparison-to-other-networks Use the 'contact' page on our site if you'd like more info, I don't want to hijack this thread any more than I have, however, I wanted to provide a little more detail on your specific question that came about as a result of original post.
  10. To answer your specific question, a restatement of an assigned altitude OR an assignment of a new altitude DOES cancel any other altitude restrictions on the SID. If ATC needs you to comply with the SID altitudes, they either have to restate the restrictions, or they will say, "comply with restrictions." Otherwise, you can throw the vertical profile out the window if you receive a climb instruction (or a restatement of an assigned altitude...something many pilots aren't aware of).
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