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Tobias Dammers

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Posts posted by Tobias Dammers

  1. 1 hour ago, Jordan Breadon said:

    Can you message the controller for oceanic clearance the same you would for position reports or should it be done through the radio? 

    It depends on the station. Some will accept clearance requests via text messages, some may support Hoppie ACARS, Gander/Shanwick has a website that you can (sometimes) use, some require calling in via the radio. The Oceanic FIRs all have documents explaining what is expected from you AFAIK. For example, for the North Atlantic, [Gander Oceanic](https://ganderoceanic.ca/) is a great starting point.

    1 hour ago, Jordan Breadon said:

    If your departure airport is within the 40 minutes of oceanic entry can you get oceanic clearance off any position at the airport ground, tower etc or should you wait until after departure to get it. 

    In principle, you can get your oceanic clearance whenever it suits you, provided you do it well in advance (at least 30 minutes before oceanic entry). However, you don't want to have to make your request during the "sterile cockpit" phase of the flight (takeoff roll to 10,000 feet), so generally if your oceanic entry is less than 40 minutes from your departure, you would typically get the oceanic clearance on the ground, and if it's later, you'd get airborne and climb out to 10,000 first, and then make your request when you have a low-workload moment.

    1 hour ago, Jordan Breadon said:

    Is oceanic clearance require for flying over the south atlantic ocean?

    Yes. All oceanic airspace requires oceanic clearances, with a few exceptions for domestic flights in countries that lie within oceanic airspace, e.g. Iceland or Greenland.

    However, oceanic control facilities over the South Atlantic aren't staffed often on VATSIM, and when there are no controllers, you obviously can't get an oceanic clearance, so in practice, you will most likely fly there without an oceanic clearance - just like you don't get a regular IFR clearance when you depart on Unicom in domestic airspace.

  2. If the "Clearance Delivery" position at your departure airport is not staffed, you follow the "top down control" chain: DEL -> GND -> TWR -> APP/DEP -> CTR. The first staffed position on that chain will issue your IFR clearance and assign a squawk code. So for example, if you're flying out of EGLL, and neither EGLL_DEL nor EGLL_GND is staffed, but EGLL_TWR is, then you would call up EGLL_TWR and request your IFR clearance from them, and they would tell you the squawk code.

    If none of them is staffed, then you can't get an IFR clearance; in this case, you depart on Unicom and "clear yourself" (but don't actually say your clearance on frequency, just act as if you've been cleared as filed), and you use the appropriate standard squawk code - 2000 for IFR, 7000 for VFR in most of ICAO land, 1200 for VFR in the US. You would still squawk mode C, i.e., turn the transponder on.

    • Like 1
  3. Sounds like something you should discuss with whoever is behind that thing.

    My guess would be that they haven't updated their data stream to the new VATSIM API which landed a while ago. Most of the ecosystem has upgraded, and the old API has been turned off, so anything still depending on it will no longer work. But that's something that would need to be fixed on their side, not VATSIM's.

  4. 3 hours ago, Carl Gibson said:

    Another thing I'm trying to cure tly learn to is the taxiing because when I hear somone talking on Vatsim about which way they need to go that goes over my head too because I have no map in front of me that shows me the route!

    For most airports, chartfox has all the essential charts. In many cases, you can also find the taxiway names on OpenStreetMap, though this isn't as reliable, and often requires awkward zoom levels to show them all. If you're willing to spend some money on this, maybe consider a navigraph subscription, which also gets you FMS data (though I don't know what the state of MSFS is on that front).

    Also keep in mind that taxiway names in MSFS are often wrong (or so I've heard), so you can't really rely on the in-sim signage - charts really are quite important, especially the taxi / ground charts.

    And one more tip: anticipate. Before requesting taxi, have the ground chart in front of you, identify your current position and where you need to go, and try to guess which route they will send you. Then when you get your taxi instruction, you can easily follow along on the chart, and read back while following along again. The same goes for everything else, really: look up the frequency for the next controller before you get handed off, write down what you think your IFR clearance will be before requesting the clearance, don't call for pushback until you're actually ready to push back, try to guess your landing runway and STAR while still in cruise, etc. In short, try to be one step ahead of ATC and the aircraft.

  5. On 7/24/2021 at 10:35 PM, David McClanahan said:

    What is and how to fly a RNAV Departure?

    A SID that is defined in terms of RNAV waypoints rather than conventional navigation methods.

    In a conventional SID, instructions tell you things like "fly heading X", "until X DME ABC", "intercept radial 123 from VOR ABC", etc.: things that a conventionally equipped aircraft (one or two NAV radios, an ADF, and one or two DME's) can navigate.

    An RNAV SID basically just tells you the waypoints to fly to, and those waypoints are defined as geo coordinates (latitude & longitude) and part of your onboard FMS database. To fly an RNAV SID, your aircraft needs to be RNAV-capable, which includes having an FMS and an up-to-date nav database. Practically all modern airliners are RNAV-capable, and at least in Europe, even the majority of bizjets and IFR-certified GA aircraft are.

    As to how you fly it: in a modern airliner like the A320, it's pretty much exactly the same as a conventional SID, and you may even have flown a couple RNAV SIDs without realizing it: you program the SID into the FMC, and then you just follow the magenta line (or whatever color it is in the airbus). And at some point you'll turn on LNAV and let the aircraft follow the magenta line automatically. Whether that lines is defined from RNAV waypoints or from conventional navaids doesn't make much of a difference.

    • Like 1
  6. Pilot's perspective on the matter:

    I would love to see a local language proficiency requirement made possible, at least in countries where the local language is used for ATC IRL.

    Without a proficiency requirement, people cannot just call in using the language of their choice, they will have to check with the controller first, and that request may be rejected.

    And I don't think it's unreasonable to make such demands either: after all, we also demand that visiting controllers are sufficiently familiar with local airspaces and regulations. I think keeping up immersion and a certain realism outweighs the inconvenience of not being allowed to control a certain position.

  7. On 6/27/2008 at 9:18 PM, Eric Szczesniak 1011649 said:

    Definitely. In fact, I'd say even heavy metal approaches should be flown manually unless visibility is starting to close down and you need to be prepared for CAT II/III.

    AFAIK, flying the approach on autopilot is perfectly fine. You just shouldn't use autoland unless cleared for a CAT-II/III approach.

    You also don't upgrade the approach type from what you've briefed and set up - that's not how it works. If you've briefed a CAT-I approach, then you see it through; if it turns out that visibility isn't good enough, you don't start fiddling with your knobs to upgrade to CAT-II, you go around, have yourself sequenced in again, and do it properly.

  8. 16 hours ago, Jim Rish said:

    I don't know what the "issue" is with this, really.

    The "issue" is that KSFO is a large airport with lots of runways and taxiways and stands and procedures, and it's the 15th busiest airport on VATSIM - if you're looking for a simple airfield that doesn't get too busy, then KSFO might be just a bit overwhelming. YMMV though.

    • Confused 1
  9. 3 hours ago, Nathaniel Miller said:

    lol they wouldn't ban me if i was sailing my sailing boat around Tahiti would they?

    How would that even work? Nobody else has boats in their model matching, you'd have to report your aircraft type as ZZZZ, ATC would treat you like an aircraft (seaplane maybe?), you would most likely show up as some kind of utility floatplane on everyone else's computers, and since you can't take off, all you could do is "taxi" a little. You would probably not get kicked, but it would also be a completely pointless thing to do, and all that just to make your point? Eh.

  10. 12 hours ago, Nathaniel Miller said:

    I am a feeling a little discouraged to even attempt a flight without being kicked for absolutely no reason...

    I'm pretty sure this wasn't meant to come across as hard as you took it. I can understand why accounts get deleted / suspended when they aren't used within a reasonable timespan after registering - a database full of phantom accounts that never connect doesn't help anyone. This is almost certainly not meant to be offensive in any way; the account just got deleted (or suspended) because you weren't using it. It is definitely not disciplinary action.

    12 hours ago, Nathaniel Miller said:

    I have pilot friends who don't like VATSIM and are REAL PILOTS and do this professionally and they say there is too much abuse, intimidation and just unpleasant people who are allowed to ATC or be supervisors... (Who take things WAY too far, and abuse their authority)

    One way to find out, no? IME, VATSIM is one of the friendliest and cleanest communities I've witnessed first hand - there's the occasional drama when someone misunderstands what VATSIM is about, or plain out misbehaves, but overall, I've had overwhelmingly positive experiences.

    Most of the perceived negativity of the past year or two seems to be down to the network effects of COVID-19 and the MSFS2020 release - the pandemic has produced a large demographic of people stuck at home with nothing to do, and many picked up flightsimming as a hobby; MSFS2020, marketed at gamers, opened up another new demographic to flightsimming. As a result, we've had a huge influx of new members, many of them new to flightsimming, some coming with wrong expectations, and in some cases, with some cultural friction (gamers vs. simmers, that kind of thing). But overall, I think the outcome is a net positive.

  11. 13 hours ago, David McClanahan said:

    so I get off to PHL fine, good flight .... and then !! (always)  I'm almost home, have the final in sight and my autopilot turns and descends ,  I'm looking at my software looking for some easy solution ...and suddenly my plane is turning another direction ...

    Teachable moment right here: whenever the automation does something you don't expect, your first reaction should be to turn it off, drop to a lower level of automation. For the purpose of this, there are only 3 levels of automation:

    1. FMS (LNAV/VNAV)
    2. Autopilot (HDG/ALT)
    3. Hand-flying

    If the FMS does strange things, switch to HDG (which is why you should always set the heading bug to your current heading after each turn: this way, switching to HDG will keep the aircraft on its current course). Then turn the HDG bug where you need the aircraft to go. Then, and only then, start diagnosing why the FMS did what it did. Don't try to solve ongoing FMS misbehavior with your CDU.

    If the AP does strange things, disconnect it and hand-fly the aircraft into stable flight, and going where you need it to go. Only then start diagnosing what the autopilot did and why. Don't try to solve ongoing AP misbehavior with the glareshield panel.

    So you're on final, the runway is in sight, and you have your ILS needles centered and your airspeed where it should be, and suddenly the AP decides to make a turn - well, don't try to figure out how to make the autopilot behave, just disconnect it, and hand-fly the approach.

    Also, follow "Aviate, Navigate, Communicate": First, fly the aircraft, establish a stable and safe situation. If you have lost situational awareness, flying straight and level is a good default - unless you're on short final, this should buy you at least a minute or so to regroup. Second, figure out where you are, where you're headed, and where you *should* be headed, and take corrective action. And third, communicate: tell ATC what happened, what you did to mitigate, and what you need from them.

    13 hours ago, David McClanahan said:

    but, but , I have to land, ...  "You'll have to given me vectors Please"

    You will have to land eventually, but if anything is wrong with your approach and you're starting to panic or lose situational awareness, or even just having doubts about being able to safely land the aircraft, then, as the song goes, "you can always go around". A good mindset is to switch around your mental defaults: instead of flying the approach with the intention to land, and with a go-around as your backup option, fly the approach with the intention to go around, and have the landing as a backup option that you can activate if everything looks OK. This is huge, because in the heat of the moment, your brain will not make complex rational decisions, it will focus on your default plan and do everything it can to follow that. If your default plan is to land, and things go pear-shaped, your stressed-out brain will push for a landing, even when you're having doubts; if your default is to go around, then a stressed-out task-saturated brain will execute a go-around, and you can just try again, no harm done.

    13 hours ago, David McClanahan said:

    10 minutes later I'm on the ground and HAPPY that I didn't mess up anyone else's flight experience ....

    Don't worry about that. We've all been new to this, and as long as the controllers are doing at least a half-decent job, the worst that can happen is that some of us get put on delay vectors, asked to go around, or put in a hold - but in most cases even that isn't necessary, and watching a controller deal with mishaps like these and seeing everything work out is actually pretty nice.

    • Like 3
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  12. 7 hours ago, Pierre COLET said:

    I am new and would like to know what it is like when an uncontrolled airspace switches to controlled airspace when we are already in that airspace.

    In principle, it is your responsibility to monitor whether a controller comes online for the airspace you're flying in. Most pilot clients should have a list of controllers within your range, so if you see a controller pop up, tune to their frequency and contact them.

    You don't need to keep a constant watch, but you should make a habit of keeping an eye on that list every couple minutes.

    In practice, many controllers will proactively send "Contact-Me" messages to all pilots in their airspace when logging in, so chances are this will happen before you get a chance to call in. That's fine, and it doesn't mean you did anything wrong. You just shouldn't depend on it; even if you're not getting a Contact-Me, you're still expected to call in.

  13. 20 hours ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

    You don't necessarily have to brief such an approach thoroughly, just have a look at the chart, check for significant differences (final approach altitude, minimum, missed approach procedure in general, navaids, final approach course) to the approach that you actually expected and briefed first.

    Yes, I was going to elaborate on that part, but decided to edit. You brief the alternative approach, but you can brush over the parts that are the same, and highlight only the differences (which is also why I said you should include in your briefing the steps needed to set up the aircraft for the other approach).

    • Like 1
  14. 7 hours ago, Dustin Rider said:

    Tobias, for those airports that have visual departure segments due to a lack of radar coverage, are those flown on an IFR clearance, or are you considered VFR until you reach the appropriate altitude and/or waypoint?

    "Visual" does not mean "VFR". The status of your flight is still IFR, throughout - just because you're IFR doesn't mean you cannot fly procedures with visual segments in them.

  15. Note btw. that this is a US thing; most European airport do not have radar vector SIDs. If you can't or don't want to fly an RNAV or conventional SID, you would just request a vectored departure, and receive detailed departure instructions, or, in some cases, you would depart visually, report a given altitude, and receive instructions from there. (The latter is usually the case where there is no radar coverage around the airport, like at EKVG or BIIS).

  16. Just file your flightplan as normally, but don't include and SID and STAR, and write "NO SID/STAR" in your REMARKS section. If all goes well, ATC will give you explicit departure instructions, and for the arrival, you'll probably get vectors.

    Heads up, though: for KDEN, vectored departures will most likely be given by assigning the "DENVER TWO" departure (found here: https://skyvector.com/files/tpp/2105/pdf/09077DENVER.PDF) - but that's basically just "vectors", with a couple additional instructions, and you don't need an FMC to fly that one.

  17. It depends. In principle, yes, you can always ask for vectors (not "vectors to the STAR" though - just request "vectors").

    However, especially during busy events, this puts an extra burden on the controller, so be aware of that - they can't deny you service (that would be against VATSIM policy), but they may be forced to delay you in order to fit you into the flow in a manageable way. Also expect questions as to why.

    Now, the most likely reason why the FMC won't give you the procedures ATC told you to fly would be that your FMC data is outdated. VATSIM generally follows real-world procedures where possible, and those are updated every 4 weeks (these versions are called "AIRAC Cycles", identified by a four-digit number consisting of the two digits of the year and the cycle number within that year, e.g., AIRAC 2012 is the 12th AIRAC cycle of the year 2020), but most sims do not update their data all the time, so unless you can get your data from elsewhere, your FMC data is most likely not up to date. The most popular solution to this by far is Navigraph, who, for a fee, provide up-to-date FMC data and charts in a myriad of formats.

    If you can't or don't want to spend money on that data, the next best thing would be to figure out which AIRAC cycle you have in your FMC, and mention that in your remarks. Also, as part of your preflight, compare your FMC data against up-to-date charts (e.g. from skyvector, or from the relevant real-world AIP), and take note of differences. Often, procedure updates between AIRAC cycles are very minor, and might not even affect the flight path at all, but they still get a new designator. For example, obstacle information on the chart may be updated - but this does not affect how your FMC flies it, it's just something to be aware of when flying. Speed restrictions are another thing that you can mostly ignore, you just have to make sure to honor the updated speeds. In such cases, you can just program the old designator in case ATC gives you the newer one - but you really need to brief these things beforehand, because there is no way you can safely do this kind of thing in flight while also flying the aircraft and keeping up with ATC. If there is no procedure with the same flight path, you can also request the older procedure explicitly; often, ATC can accommodate those and will grant your request, and then you can just fly whatever you have. If all that fails, you can still resort to requesting vectors.

    Another alternative would be to simply file "no SID/STAR". This way, many controllers will just give you vectors to final or detailed departure instructions straight away.

    1. Technology wise, yes, sure, there's text chat built into the VATSIM network protocol and all clients. Voice messages are not automatically converted into text though, and they aren't logged either, so it wouldn't be a "copy", it would be the ATC manually repeating their instruction in text. Needless to say, this is not something that's normally done, but in some situations, using text chat is a reasonable way out when voice communication fails. Some controllers will also use text chat in lieu of CPDLC/ACARS, particularly for PDC (pre-departure clearance). In principle, you can also use text for all communications; if you want to do that, put "/t/" in your remarks. Keep in mind though that most people on the network would prefer to see voice communications wherever possible - it's easier for everyone, and makes for better immersion.
    2. Sorry, can't help you with that one since I don't use MSFS.
    3. That is sort of OK in principle, but not really a solution - after all, you can also get re-routings in flight, and at least when flying in Europe, your arrival runway, approach, and STAR/Transition will only be assigned as you approach your last enroute waypoint, so being able to modify your flight plan on the fly (pun intended) is kind of critical. Unfortunately, it seems that the default aircraft in MSFS2020 can't do that, so the standing recommendation is to either buy an add-on aircraft that can do it, or use a different sim, or fly flight plans and aircraft types that don't require an FMS.
  18. Just now, Robert Shearman Jr said:

    ... as long as you did one of those things by mistake and not in deliberate, willful disregard of a controller's instruction. 

    ...which would be a violation of COC B8, so.

    • Like 1
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