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vPilot Tips, Tricks, FAQ and Troubleshooting Guide


Don Desfosse
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vPilot Tips, Tricks, FAQ and Troubleshooting Guide

Initial Release: 01 May 2014
Last Update: 29 Nov 2021 (added password capitalization note)

 

Introduction and Objective

The objective of this post is to provide a quick reference guide to help members effectively set up and troubleshoot the most common issues with vPilot. Note: This post is applicable to VATSIM operations only.

vPilot is a simple-yet-functional client designed to get a new pilot up and flying quickly with good model matching out of the box. vPilot may be used with Microsoft Flight Simulator X with Acceleration or Service Pack 2, Microsoft Flight Simulator X Steam Edition, Lockheed Martin Prepar3D (tested with versions 1.4 through 5.0), and/or Microsoft Flight Simulator (as released in 2020).

vPilot is designed to be a very simple client. It doesn't come with its own model sets (e.g. payware or freeware AI model sets). It's designed to get a new pilot up and flying quickly. If you haven't downloaded freeware, or purchased, Artificial Intelligence (AI) aircraft, all you will see is the default aircraft as specified in Settings > Model Matching. 

vPilot likely meets the needs of the majority of VATSIM members, without having "all" the functionality that some would like, that would have added a significant amount of time to the release. There is a new client for VATSIM called "swift" under development that promises to bring more capability and support more platforms. vPilot will likely bridge the gap for many people, providing a much better VATSIM experience than they enjoy now, or a great out-of-the-box experience for new members, and then when the new client is released, members will have yet another choice as to which client best supports their needs.

Please send any recommended updates to this guide via email to Don Desfosse [d.desfosse at vatsim dot net].

 

Tips and Tricks

1. Read the documentation and this FAQ, Tips and Tricks Guide first!

2. If you run FSX/P3D/MSFS as an administrator, you must run vPilot as an administrator. In fact, it is recommended that you run your simulator and vPilot as an administrator every time.

3. If you use UAC and use a keyboard PTT, do not INSTALL vPilot as an administrator, but once installed, if you run FSX/P3D/MSFS as an administrator, run vPilot as an administrator. Joystick PTT works fine with or without running as an administrator.

4. Download at least one payware (e.g. Traffic Global, Ultimate Traffic Live) or freeware AI aircraft library (e.g., AIG, World of Aircraft (WOAI), etc). It will make your experience so much better!

5. If using Windows 8 or 10, ensure you have full control permissions on the vPilot folder.

 

FAQ / Troubleshooting

Q: What's the number one issue people have with vPilot so far?

A: Failure to read the documentation (http://vpilot.rosscarlson.dev/Documentation.aspx) and the vPilot Tips, Tricks, FAQ and Troubleshooting Guide, especially the recommendation to run as an administrator!

 

Q: I'm getting the following error: "Unhandled exception. Unable to obtain public key for StrongNameKeyPair." What's up with that?
A: It appears that you are not running vPilot as an administrator. Try doing that.

 

Q: Every time I run vPilot, none of the settings stay saved, and/or every time I run vPilot, it acts like the first time I ever ran it "out of the box." What's up with that?
A: It appears that you are not running vPilot as an administrator. Try doing that.

 

Q: Windows sees my microphone/headset just fine, but vPilot does not. How come?
A: It appears that you are not running vPilot as an administrator. Try doing that.

 

Q: I can hear others and my mic has no problem, but whenever I try to transmit with my PTT, I need to switch to the vPilot window in order to transmit successfully. If I try to attempt to transmit inside the simulator without switching to vPilot, the TX in the top right corner of vPilot window is not highlighted and I cannot transmit. Any idea why?
A: That's a symptom that indicates that you are not running vPilot as an administrator. If you run FSX/P3D/MSFS as an administrator, you must run vPilot as an administrator.

 

Q: I'm suddenly getting an Unhandled exception message for some reason. It says UnspecifiedError calling waveInOpen. Any ideas?
A: Though not something specifically related to vPilot, it seems to be caused by a recent Windows 10 update. Go to Windows Microphone Privacy Settings and turn On the option to Allow apps to access your microphone.

 

Q: I cannot hear anyone. Any ideas?
A: You should check your audio settings both in vPilot and in the sim. Most common issues include:

  • Not setting your preferred audio receive device in vPilot (Settings > Audio)
  • Not ensuring your radios are selected/powered up in the sim (hint: if you're connected and both frequencies are shown as gray, none are blue, you do not have power to your radios (or are not actually connected to the network))
  • Not running vPilot as an Administrator

 

Q: I can't select a PTT on my keyboard. What's up with that?
A: If you use UAC and use a keyboard PTT, DO NOT install vPilot as an administrator, but once installed, if you run FSX/P3D/MSFS as an administrator, run vPilot as an administrator. Joystick PTT works fine with or without running as an administrator.

 

Q: I'm brand new, and I don't have any AI aircraft. What will I see?
A: Your experience will be magnitudes better by using AI aircraft so you can see other aircraft in their correct livery. That said, if you haven't downloaded freeware, or purchased payware, Artificial Intelligence (AI) aircraft, all you will see is the default aircraft (e.g., white Airbus A321 in FSX). See the discussion on seeing other aircraft and how other pilots see you, below.

 

Q: I just downloaded a bunch of AI aircraft. Where do I install them in vPilot?
A: You don't install them in vPilot. As long as they are installed correctly for use within FSX/P3D/MSFS, vPilot will find them and make use of them.

 

Q: I keep getting all these errors saying there's an error with my model matching. What's up with that? What's the logic?
A: Read the Model Matching Rules Explained section of the documentation (http://vPilot.rosscarlson.dev/Documentation.aspx)

 

Q: I clicked all the model matching rule sets, but all I see is white A320s. How come I don't see all different aircraft?
A: You may be confusing liveries (a/k/a model sets) and rule sets. Liveries are the paints that appear on AI aircraft. Rule sets are the instructions that tell vPilot where to find your AI. There are no liveries that come with vPilot. For liveries, you need AI (artificial intelligence aircraft). Examples of these include WoAI, MyTraffic, etc. You have to find freeware ones or buy payware ones. Then you need to install them in your simulator.

 

Q: I use P3D, and am getting a bunch of model matching errors. What's the most common reason?
A: Failure to ensure the AI is actually installed in the simulator via a proper entry in the SimObjects.cfg file. Make sure you have an entry that looks like:

[Entry.x]
Path=SimObjects\yyy

Where x = the next sequential number in the Entry series, and yyy is the path where your AI exists (e.g. Path=SimObjects\MyTraffic\Aircraft)

 

Q: I use P3D, and occasionally get an error message about my default aircraft. Any ideas?
A: The most common reason for this error is the user either changing the default display aircraft title to an invalid title, or deleting the default aircraft from their computer. You can select any valid aircraft as your default that you wish, but will need to type its exact name into the Title window). See this relevant section from the Documentation here: http://vpilot.rosscarlson.dev/Documentation.aspx#configuration for more information (scroll down until you get to the Model Matching section).

 

Q: I can no longer find the IVAO model matching rule set. What happened?
A: The IVAO model matching rule set file is not offered, respecting the wishes of IVAO. See here for more information.

 

Q: I had a model matching issue and watched some YouTube videos talking about using VMRGenerator and/or creating vmr or model matching files, but I don't see a lot written about that. What's that all about?
A: VMRGenerator and writing/updating model matching rulesets were needed in vPilot v1; these are no longer needed for standard installations of vPilot v2.

 

Q: I'd like to use vPilot networked across two PCs. Which one, or both, do I install vPilot on? How do I use vPilot on 2 PCs?
A: vPilot is needed on the remote (non-flight sim) computer only. Models for model matching will need to be installed on your primary (flight sim) PC. For instructions on how to configure in a networked environment, see the vPilot Networking Guide at http://vPilot.rosscarlson.dev/assets/Files/vPilotNetworkSetup.pdf

 

Q: Can I see vPilot when running full screen mode?
A: No. vPilot cannot be displayed when FSX is in full screen mode, as it is not a module that can be run from within FSX. It isn't a module that can be run from within FSX because it is developed in a different programming language.

 

Q: When I start vPilot for the first time and go to the settings box, there are no options (e.g., OK, APPLY, CANCEL) showing on the bottom right as they appear in the docs. Also, in the settings the Calibrate Mic button isn't highlighted, even though I have chosen my audio options. What could cause that?
A: That's caused by having the Windows DPI setting (aka zoom) too high. The way to change this depends on your OS, but at least in Windows 7 and 8, if you right click your desktop, select Personalize, then Display and then select Smaller - 100% (default). vPilot will work perfectly at 100%. It is still functional between 100-125%, though some text/items may appear clipped. For more information, see: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/443-dpi-display-size-settings-change.html

 

Q: When I'm connected using vPilot, I still see AI aircraft that aren't on VATSIM. How do I prevent that?
A: Go into FSX's Settings Options > Settings > Display > Aircraft and move the AI sliders to the left (0%). If you are using an AI Traffic addon like Ultimate Traffic, you'll need to disable the traffic on the addon settings as well.

 

Q: When I'm connected using vPilot, I still hear ATIS and/or ATC audio on top of VATSIM ATC audio. How do I prevent that?
A: Disable voice (the conflicting ATIS). From FSX's menu: Options -> Settings -> Sound -> [uncheck] Voice. From P3D's menu: Options -> Sound -> [uncheck] Voice.

 

Q: I am getting EndReceive (e.g. 10053, 10054, etc.) and/or Connection (e.g. 10060, etc.) errors. Any ideas?
A: These are actually not vPilot errors; vPilot is simply reporting that an error has occurred. The EndReceive (e.g. 10053, 10054, etc.) and/or Connection (e.g. 10060, etc.) errors mean something is interrupting the connection to VATSIM. It's in the pipe between the server and your computer. It could be caused by server interruption, intermittent internet connection, router issue, power issue affecting the router, etc. A large number of variables/possibilities. Most people who have reported persistent EndReceive and/or Connection issues have reported that rebooting the router resolves the issue (though some members report it is an intermittent resolution). Suggest rebooting your router and seeing if that helps.

 

Q: My antivirus program is warning me that vPilot may be unsafe. What's up with that?
A: The download site URL recently changed, and as a result, some antivirus programs have not had enough experience to "build up trust" with the new URL. The software is the same, it's safe, and has been used safely by nearly 300,000 members over the last 7+ years.

 

Q: I can't see and/or hear any multiplayer aircraft. Any ideas?
A: While on the ground and you know there is traffic around you (by using a situational awareness tool such as VATSpy, Servinfo, vattastic.com, etc., or asking ATC), type .aircraft in the vPilot command line. It will open a window showing what aircraft are connected and near you. If the result is null, something is likely blocking the connection.

If you suspect a blocked connection (voice and/or ability to see others):
1. Ensure your firewall/antivirus allows vPilot (i.e., vPilot listed as an exception so it's not blocked)
2. Disable uPNP in your router (if using a router)

 

Q: I logged onto VATSIM but don't see any ATC online. Any ideas?
A: Using a VATSIM situational awareness program such as Servinfo, VATSpy, vattastic.com, etc., make sure there is actually ATC online where you are.

 

Q: When I try to connect to the network I get an Invalid CID/Password message. Any idea why?
A: This is usually caused by copying/pasting the CID and/or Password, which sometimes includes one or more extra space characters (which is often hard to notice in the CID field, and impossible to see in the Password field). Try just simply typing them in without copying/pasting. Alternatively, you may be trying a password with incorrect capitalization. In the past, VATSIM ignored capitalization, but since Oct 2021, correct capitalization is required.

 

Q: When I switch to the vPilot window (to type something, look at flight plan, etc.) my sim freezes/pauses. Is there any way to prevent that?
A: Sure. Turn off your sim's Pause on Task Switch option.

 

Q: I don't really like the alert tone that alerts when a new PM is received. Can I change it?
A: Yes, you can change any of the sounds. You can find the current location of the sounds here: %localappdata%\vPilot\Sounds Alert.wav is the file that is played when a new text message comes in. You can replace it with your own sound if you wish. You just need to ensure it has the same file name (e.g., Alert.wav).

 

Q: I had dozens of flight plans saved in Squawkbox. Can I use those?
A: Sure. In the File Flight Plan window, you click on "Load..." and point to the location your stored flight plans are located. You can keep them in the Squawkbox path if you like, or move them to vPilot. In either case, vPilot will look in the last path you pointed to when you loaded your previous flight plan.

 

Q: I use PFPX and want to import and/or save those flight plans in vPilot. Can I?
A: Sure. Within PFPX, export your flight plan to VATSIM (Prefile). Then, in the vPilot File Flight Plan window, select "Fetch From Server".

 

Q: vPilot looks really awesome! Any chance I can use it with FS9 or XPlane?
A: Sorry, no. vPilot's code/language is not compatible with FS9 or XPlane. 

For XPlane, you may want to consider xPilot. It looks, feels, and works very much the same as vPilot.

Also, there is an updated, cross-platform client in development since 2014 for VATSIM called swift which is now in open beta test (May 2019), and available for use with FS9, FSX, FSXSE, P3D and XPlane. Unfortunately as it is a volunteer development effort and quite complex, there is no scheduled formal release date (though you are encouraged to try the beta, even though there may still be bugs in the beta test software).

 

For model matching rule set troubleshooting purposes, perhaps try this:

1. Using the .aircraft function of vPilot (type .aircraft on the command line to activate), go to the Aircraft tab. Look at the callsign and aircraft type of the planes in question.

2. Look at your model matching rule set to see if that airline and model are supported within the model matching rule set you selected. If so, go to the next step. If not, there's your answer; vPilot said, "Hey that airline doesn't fly an XXXX (where XXXX is the model), and I couldn't find that airline's XXXX in any of the model matching rule sets that you prioritized below the model matching rule set you selected (e.g. WOAI, VIP, etc.), but I found a generic XXXX, so I'll just show you a white one." Or, similarly for an invalid aircraft type, vPilot said, "Hey, there's no such thing as a 'ZZZZ' (e.g., somewhat commonly we see aircraft logged on as ZZZZ which is obviously wrong, or often as a PA28 (should be P28A), etc.), so I'll just show you the default white A321 (or whatever you have selected as a default).

3. Verify that you actually have a XXXX installed within FSX/P3D/MSFS. If not, there's your answer; vPilot said, "Hey, you selected a model matching rule set that told me to go to your FSX/P3D/MSFS and find an XXXX, in that airline's colors, but you don't have one. So then I went down all of the model matching rule sets that you prioritized below the model matching rule set that gave you the error (e.g. WOAI, VIP, etc.), and I still couldn't find an XXXX in that airline's colors, but I found a generic XXXX, so I'll just show you a white one." (Note that if you didn't have a generic white B732 installed in your FSX, you'd get the default A321 (in FSX))

 

Recognizing that the above may be complicated, here is the above with an example of an airline, model and model matching rule set, where the airline is Air France and the model is B732 and the model matching rule set is UT2.

1. Look at the callsign and aircraft type of the planes in question. In this example, you got an error trying to find AFR123 flying a B732.

2. Look at your UT2 model matching rule set to see if that airline and model are supported within the model matching rule set you selected. If so, go to the next step. If not, there's your answer; vPilot said, "Hey Air France doesn't fly a B732, and I couldn't find an Air France B732 in any of the model matching rule sets that you prioritized below UT2 (e.g. WOAI, VIP, etc.), but I found a generic B732, so I'll just show you a white one."

3. Verify that you actually have a UT2 Air France B732 installed within FSX/P3D/MSFS. If not, there's your answer; vPilot said, "Hey, you selected the UT2 model matching rule set that told me to go to your FSX/P3D/MSFS and find an Air France B732, but you don't have one. So then I went down all of the model matching rule sets that you prioritized below the UT2 model matching rule set (e.g. WOAI, VIP, etc.), and I still couldn't find an Air France B732, but I found a generic B732, so I'll just show you a white one." (Note that if you didn't have a generic white B732 installed in your FSX, you'd get the default A321 (in FSX))

What you may find, in several cases, is that the other pilot logged on as an aircraft that Air France doesn't fly. There's probably no AI package (and therefore no model matching rule set) that will show someone logging on as an Air France B732 as a B732 in Air France colors.

 

How you See Yourself Using Add-On Aircraft, Seeing Other Aircraft, and How Other Pilots See You

In addition to the default aircraft included with the simulator, most of us on VATSIM download additional aircraft to choose from. You'll find that this is, in general, a pretty serious community interested in simulating things as close to real-world as possible. What most folks do is either purchase some number of payware add-on aircraft and/or download freeware add-on aircraft. In either case, whether you are buying payware or downloading freeware, you install those add-on aircraft into your simulator. Once you've done that, you'll be able to see your aircraft in whatever livery (the aircraft come) with that you select. For example, many folks on VATSIM have purchased the payware PMDG B737NGX and/or B777. They come with a number of liveries (e.g. American Airlines, Delta, United, etc.). So, much the same as today you can select a default B737 in Soar Airlines livery, once you install an add-on aircraft, you can select that make/model and one of several liveries that either comes with the aircraft, or that you have downloaded separately.

Now, for other people's aircraft, that relies on something called model matching. Model matching relies on you both having AI (artificial intelligence) aircraft (or default), and corresponding model matching rules. For example, many folks when just starting out download many of the freeware World of AI (WOAI) AI aircraft. Once you have those downloaded, and then once you have them installed, vPilot will search your flight sim installation for the AI aircraft you just downloaded/installed.

Remember that the "goodness" of the model matching of course relies on what you have for AI, plus the "goodness" of how people log onto the network. If someone logs on with an invalid aircraft type (e.g., ZZZZ or B738L or 777, etc.) no one (without some heroic measures/band aids) will be able to see them in what they "think" they are flying....

 

(Should be) No longer applicable since deployment of AFV (Oct 2019):

Q: After some number of minutes, I can no longer hear audio until I briefly press the transmit button. It is as if vPilot loses connection with the network but is then resolved immediately when I transmit. Any ideas?
A: Ensure you've forwarded UDP port 3290 in your router, for routers that close the port after a timeout. (If you're not sure if yours does or not, it doesn't hurt to set up the forwarding for routers that don't have an inactivity timeout). Some Windows 10 users are finding that the Windows 10 Firewall is the culprit. If port forwarding alone doesn't solve the issue, try the following in Win10: Windows Settings > Network and Internet > Windows Firewall > Allow an App Through Firewall > (Admin Icon) Change Settings > scroll down to vpilot.exe > ensure both Private and Public are checked

Q: I can't hear others, and I am using a router. Any ideas?
A: Ensure you've forwarded UDP port 3290 in your router, for routers that close the port after a timeout. (If you're not sure if yours does or not, it doesn't hurt to set up the forwarding for routers that don't have an inactivity timeout). Some Windows 10 users are finding that the Windows 10 Firewall is the culprit. If port forwarding alone doesn't solve the issue, try the following in Win10: Windows Settings > Network and Internet > Windows Firewall > Allow an App Through Firewall > (Admin Icon) Change Settings > scroll down to vpilot.exe > ensure both Private and Public are checked

Q: I keep getting an error message saying that UDP Port Creation Failed. It seems to be blocking my voice transmissions. Any ideas?
A: That means that either some other program is using the UDP port (e.g., FSInn, SquawkBox, VRC, etc.), or perhaps your antivirus/firewall is blocking the UDP port. Several members have suggested that Avira antivirus is particularly "aggressive" in blocking the UDP port. You will need to either close conflicting applications and/or ensure your antivirus/firewall will accommodate vPilot.

 

(Should be) No longer applicable since deployment of vPilot v2.6 (Aug 2020):

Q: When starting vPilot I get an error message that says, "Could not initialize vPilot core components. Please ensure SimConnect version 10.0.61259.0 is installed." What's up with that?
A: This is caused by running a different version of SimConnect than supported by vPilot. The supported version is 10.0.61259.0 If your FSX machine is running SP2 or Acceleration, you can take the SimConnect client installer from there and run it on the client machine. Alternatively, there is a link to the current installer in the vPilot documentation.

 

Q: When starting vPilot I get an error message that says, "SimConnect error:version mismatch 5." What's up with that?
A: This is caused by running a different version of SimConnect than supported by vPilot. The supported version is 10.0.61259.0 If your FSX machine is running SP2 or Acceleration, you can take the SimConnect client installer from there and run it on the client machine. Alternatively, there is a link to the current installer in the vPilot documentation.

 

 

Reference Documents:

vPilot Home Page: http://vPilot.rosscarlson.dev
vPilot Documentation: http://vPilot.rosscarlson.dev/Documentation.aspx
VATSIM vPilot forum: http://forums.vatsim.net/viewforum.php?f=132
vPilot Forum: https://vrc.rosscarlson.dev/?f=23 (no longer actively updated, but may have some good historical information to search)

Don Desfosse
Vice President, Operations

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