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Jason Cochran

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Posts posted by Jason Cochran

  1. 24 minutes ago, Kirk Christie said:

    Discouraged by whom? A small group that use the network and feel inconveniced by its use?

    The proposal is to ask VATSIM to adopt a policy of actively discouraging it. So, if adopted it would be VATSIM's position, rather than "a small group that use the network and feel inconvenienced by its use."

    However, I do think you underestimate the number of people who, if asked, would support such a policy. I'm not sure why you think it's a tiny group.

    • Haha 1
  2. 14 minutes ago, Alistair Thomson said:

    So how does your score-card look at the moment?

    I'm not sure if you're genuinely asking or being snarky (sorry it's a little hard to tell with just words sometimes), but in the event your question is genuine... my opinion (based on some responses here and elsewhere) that there is enough interest to warrant further investigation. There have been a lot of ideas and opinions throw into this thread, some which confuse the issue or mischaracterize the original proposal. But I'd say about half are interested in some kind of modification of the existing rule, and it would be worth a study. 

  3. 13 minutes ago, Torben Andersen said:

    I would think there would be problems also with GDPR in the EU, if you needed to send your medical or other papers to VATSIM.

    I previously mentioned that my idea is to simply force someone to attest. I’m sure nobody wants to review paperwork from a doctor. I’m not suggesting that.

    So, if you force people to attest, they will have to blatantly lie to use text without qualification. That alone, in my estimation, would reduce the numbers significantly. I wouldn’t lie about such a thing.


    Edit: Please ignore this box below... I can’t delete it using my phone’s browser. Ugh.

    13 minutes ago, Torben Andersen said:
  4. There’s a bit of irony that I’ve missed so far that just struck me. Not necessarily good or bad, just ironic.

    It seems from the sentiment I’ve read so far that VATSIM is unwilling to say, “If your microphone broke or isn’t usable to produce good quality sound, you must log off until you fix it.” Instead, keeping text as a backup for whatever trouble might befall a pilot.

    Yet there are other services where you would not be allowed to log on without a mic, or fly with an unintelligible audio quality.

    Which of those networks would we expect to be commercial? My first instinct tells me that customer service would drive the commercial company to act in the way VATSIM does, building a backup for every nuanced problem a customer might have.

    Yet, it is the opposite. I don’t think it changes this discussion, but an interesting thought.





  5. 11 minutes ago, Ross Carlson said:

    I just wanted to respond to your notion that if we don't let pilots use text, then we shouldn't let controllers use it either. That, in my opinion, is a non-sequitur.

    I concur with Ross’ interpretation and thoughts on this aspect.

  6. 3 hours ago, Alistair Thomson said:

    But that's not the point. It depends on what kind of world you live in. If you have no hearing/speech disorders, /t is clearly inferior except for those with mic-fright who would use /r, but if you don't live in that world, your only options are to use /t or go away.

    Is VATSIM going to increase the isolation and exclusion of a group of its members who already feel disenfranchised every day of their life? I hope not.

    I think your reply speaks to a different question than the one being debated here, so I just want to be careful to note the original proposal was not to eliminate /t for the disabled.

    In fact, it would leave /t in place for those who need it, but make /r (at minimum, /v preferred) required for everyone else.

  7. 4 hours ago, Tobias Dammers said:

    Start with loudly and clearly promoting voice as the preferred mode of communication; present voice as the default mode to new pilots, throw out a bunch of official statements about the state of affairs, call it a policy change if you like - the key goal is to silence the lore and rumors that are making rounds. Lots of pilots out there believe that voice unicom is frowned upon, lots of pilots don't understand the burden text comms put on a controller.

    I would be interested to see if this can make an impact and we should start with this. Of course, the CoC already states that voice is the preferred method.

    Although, I’m not sure if anybody truly reads the CoC until they’ve violated it.

  8. 4 hours ago, Tobias Dammers said:

    some legit reasons to go text-only are situational, such as the home situation requiring silence (think young parent doing a quick hop during a well-deserved break when the kids are finally asleep),

    I think this situation could be resolved by simply using /r?

  9. 34 minutes ago, Ross Carlson said:

    I'm curious how we would enforce allowing /t only for users that have been approved. A technical solution where only approved users can send text radio messages? (Which would preclude /r.) A policy solution where controllers can wallop a pilot that is text only and not on the approved list? A combination of both?

    Interesting question. I didn't spend much time thinking about enforcement, but I suppose it would have to evolve over time.

    I think it could start fairly low-tech. Visibility ranges are a good example of that... nothing prevents me from signing on to an TWR position with a 150 nm visibility range, but I always seem to get a visit from a supervisor within about three minutes. So, maybe a report that triggers an alert when a non-flagged account sends a text message on a radio frequency?

    I'm not too familiar with the VATSIM on the backend, but perhaps the end game could be that the FSD servers are modified to quietly drop radio messages from non-flagged accounts? At least then it wouldn't need to be implemented in each client (or at least best I can figure from the outside looking in).

  10. 3 minutes ago, Mats Edvin Aaro said:

    Instead, we should focus more on pushing the ones who CAN use voice, to do so. Perhaps through education or information, we should empower people to actually take the leap and use voice.

    I must respectfully disagree. I think this kind of user education campaign would be hard fought and produce too little in the way of measurable results toward the desired outcome. I certainly don't have time to have this kind of conversation while controlling.

    It may be an unpopular opinion (but I suspect it's not an unpopular opinion if the entirety of VATSIM's user base was polled based on my conversation with other pilots and controllers), but yes, frankly I do believe pilots should be forced to use /r (not /v) unless there is a demonstrable reason they cannot.

    For me, the impact of a single text pilot may be negligible on a normal day. But, the impact of a mere three text pilots during a busy event approach sector when the voice frequency is already 100% saturated is substantial, and not "ever so slightly."

  11. I don’t think speech-disabled folks need /t, since they could use /r with no issues.

    Incidentally, some of the best pilots I work have a speech disability! You rock guys.

    In my opinion, the exceptions should be handled on the honor system. I’m sure most people would do the right thing. If not and there were suspicions, I suppose verification could be requested.

  12. I appreciate the opportunity that /t afforded to those with limited means over the past 20+ years, but with the recent increase in traffic and major technical advances, there's really no reason to keep /t (and some compelling reasons to abandon it).

    It's time that we abandon /t as an option for pilots, with the rare exception of the hearing disabled (for whom I would be more than pleased to continue /t service). Please note, I am not proposing an abandonment of /r. That mode offers some distinct benefits such as keeping the peace for sleeping family members, voice disabilities, and other various use cases.

    Some thoughts:

    • it's nearly impossible to buy a computer without a sound card, headphones are a commodity, and bandwidth has greatly improved since the SATCO days 
    • /t disrupts immersion for controllers and other pilots; other successful networks (some paid) promote voice-only as a realism bonus
    • /t increases controller workload in ways that /r does not, fumbling with not-often-used aliases, and degrades the timeliness of service to all pilots including /t pilots themselves
    • Like 7
    • Haha 1
  13. 7 minutes ago, Ernesto Martinez said:

    Unfortunately, as a controller I can tell you that 99.99% of the times an AA516 shows up, they will use American on the frequency and having them change their callsign and refiling everything is a complicated process that could be avoided by a simple reminder and lesson when filing it.  

    I agree with Ernesto on this one. Perhaps it should not limit the person flying, but there needs to be a more robust, built-in mechanism to prevent filing a flight plan with an unintentionally goofy call sign. I die a little inside every time N14OTP80 calls me.

    I guess if one wants to be intentionally goofy, then by all means. I'm aware that VATSIM, unlike other networks, is not interested in enforcing any kind of realism in this regard.

    • Haha 1
  14. Right you are, Mr. Shearman. But... unfortunately, these guys are asking about a different thing. What you are talking about is related to how traffic is passed from a home router to the PC where the client is running. They are asking about how their home internet presents to the outside world. 

    IPv4 address is something like
    IPv6 address is something like 2001:0db8:85a3:0000:0000:8a2e:0370:7334

    As you can probably infer, there are many, many more available IPv6 addresses than IPv4.

    You and I have a publicly-facing IPv4 address. It's not dedicated to us (unless we pay for a dedicated IP), but it is ours and ours only.  That means when VATSIM (or anything else) wants to send traffic to us, they send it to, then our home network figures out what to do with it (this is where the port forwarding used to come into play).

    Now, I did not know this until reading this article (but should have been able to guess), apparently some internet service providers are already restricting IPv4 addresses to their customers. These guys are saying that their ISP assigned them a unique IPv6 address, but are forcing them to share IPv4 address with other ISP customers. That doesn't work with the voice servers, apparently. 

    To work around this, it sounds like they are forced to buy and pay for a VPN so that they can have a dedicated IPv4 address. Now, I don't know much about IPv6, but if AFV supported that protocol they could connect directly to it. 

    Now is the time I'm thankful I don't use the ISP they are using. I'm assuming these must be small ISPs in other parts of the world where IPv4 allocations are difficult to obtain?




  15. +1 for Kafka. Very nice, guys.

    Though we have struggled with what seems to be higher than normal CPU consumption of the brokers, we are currently using Kafka at scale in a very large enterprise... and it's super dependable and mostly runs itself.

  16. I am neither for nor against the change. I know it benefits folks for various reasons and some have a real safety-related legitimate need to do so. For me, the only downside is the aforementioned lack of "getting to know a pilot." I can remember names easily, but numbers not-so-much. 

    On occasion, I have remembered that "John Q Pilot" was a particularly skillful pilot and that "Sam Q. Doe" was the new guy that I helped understand how to copy a clearance three days prior. In some situations, that has helped me provide better service for Sam and John. John may get more complicated instructions, while Sam gets simpler and slower instructions. 

    As Ernesto Martinez pointed out, most are using their names anyway. And, I can recognize some by consistently used call signs. I don't mean to imply this is any kind of major roadblock or impediment, but just wanted to highlight one use case where it is helpful.

    Interestingly, the proposal by Ross Carlson above to use a unique memorable handle (such as Florida Pilot 1234), would also help in this regard.

  17. David, 

    I've been around VATSIM for a while now (but only seriously for about 18 months). I've got it figured out now, but I very much remember feeling exactly as you do. It wasn't the training part that confused me (that was easy once I was affiliated and talking to the guys at Miami). The hard part, as you so well described, was figuring out what to click and what comes next. As others have pointed out, the distributed nature of VATSIM organizations makes this difficult to figure out.

    As a small example, one point of confusion for me was trying to discern the difference between VATSIM, VATUSA, and the ARTCCs. Even though I had some idea of the organization of the real world aviation ecosystem, I never knew which of those organizations handled which matters, which I needed to actually join, or how to seek help if something didn't work right. Those of us who have now been around a while tend to lose sight of what it's like to be the new guy. Or, maybe it's just my advanced age?

    I can't do anything to help the overall problem; that's going to take some folks thinking about some consolidated guidance documentation or other resources. But... if you want to reach out to me on Discord, I'm not any kind of official VATSIM representative, but I will be glad to answer any question that I can or help find someone who can answer your questions. It's StepOnTheBall#3326


  18. At 0158Z on 2019-10-21, while controlling MIA_TWR and monitoring MIA_GND during an OTS exam, DAL1817 transmitted a read back of a clearance. The transmission began at a normal volume, consistent with the volume of all other aircraft on the frequency.


    Over the course of the next three seconds, his transmission became ear-piercingly loud (accompanied by audio artifacts that were not speech), which cause both me and the other controller to need to remove our headphones to avoid hearing damage. This was not just loud, this was the equivalent of someone blowing a whistle about three inches from the ear. Other controllers listening to us via TeamSpeak could hear the noise re-transmitted through our microphones when we opened the TeamSpeak push-to-talk.


    This is not the same as the known issue with the default Windows communication device that causes audio to get louder or softer due to Windows audio settings. This temporarily affected one aircraft and was resolved on his next transmission.


    Other aircraft on frequency reported that they did not hear the sudden audio increase, leading me to believe it was something wrong with the standalone AFV client through which VRC was connected for both controllers.


    In any case, this should be investigated to avoid such dangerous situations from recurring. If the problem lay in the client, perhaps the client can be adjusted to attenuate any audio that exceeds some volume?

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