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A Strong Case for a Mandatory P1 for Pilots


Tom David
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I also have very few issues with audio quality. I have no problem understanding most of the users I encounter online, whether they be pilots or controllers. It's the latency that drives me nuts, because it causes so many users to step on each other. I fly mainly during FNO events, so that issue is exacerbated.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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I also have very few issues with audio quality. I have no problem understanding most of the users I encounter online, whether they be pilots or controllers. It's the latency that drives me nuts, because it causes so many users to step on each other. I fly mainly during FNO events, so that issue is exacerbated.

 

Latency, slow Pilot to responded, only for them to "say again", you repeat, wait for them to read back is a very frustrating issue and one that happens very often.

 

So much time is wasted unnecessarily, I can sometimes take nearly 40-60 seconds to issue one instruction and have it read back to you.

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I agree that some pilots have dreadful setups, you only have to spend some time on the other large network to find that out. But what is easier? Talking to every pilot you encounter on frequency with poor audio quality and advising them on how to improve it or addressing the root cause?

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A possible solution: create a topic in the PRC that deals only with microphone setups and suggestions what to do and what NOT to do. At the same time all ATCOs will implement a text-ALIAS that can be sent to all affected pilots with just a few key-strokes, advising them that there's a problem with their audio-setup and they should visit the website mentioned in the first sentence of this post.

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this issue however isnt one sided, if thats being missed. it happens on both sides of the scope. if a guide is needed, which is only going to address part of the problem, it needs to be for all users. not just one side

 

So if an issue affects only controllers then it doesn't need to be addressed, but if affects pilots then it needs to be addressed from both sides. Got it.

Matt Bartels
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Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own and not representative of the official opinion of the VATSIM Board of Governors

 

 

 

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I agree that some pilots have dreadful setups, you only have to spend some time on the other large network to find that out. But what is easier? Talking to every pilot you encounter on frequency with poor audio quality and advising them on how to improve it or addressing the root cause?

 

Isn't that making an [Mod - Happy Thoughts]umption that changing the audio codec will fix audio issues caused by low quality hardware and/or bad setups? I suppose a new codec might improve the issue somewhat, but as the old saying goes, garbage in, garbage out.

 

Don't get me wrong, we will absolutely benefit from a better codec, but it's not a panacea. And I'm in the camp where we don't want a crystal-clear codec ... that's just not realistic. Or if we do use a crystal-clear codec, we maintain the option to use a band p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] filter, and maybe introduce a little radio noise, so that it is realistic. Plus I still maintain that the latency is the bigger issue, and that's not part of the codec ... that's just part of the voice library we all use. Obviously, we should do both ... update the codec and lower the latency.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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this issue however isnt one sided, if thats being missed. it happens on both sides of the scope. if a guide is needed, which is only going to address part of the problem, it needs to be for all users. not just one side

 

So if an issue affects only controllers then it doesn't need to be addressed, but if affects pilots then it needs to be addressed from both sides. Got it.

 

im not sure what you are reading but ya missed it by a long shot. ill keep it simple, this is a global VATSIM issue, not one sided

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update the codec and lower the latency.

 

This, why can't this be done?, cost?, time?, too big a project?, we've already p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed the point of no return?.

 

(Please only answer if you're an authority on the matter.)

 

I genuinely don't get why this hasn't been done if none of the above I've mentioned are an issue.

 

I've played a lot of VOIP games in the last decade and hand down VATSIM is the worst when it comes to both of Ross's point, I'm sorry to be blunt but that my experience.

 

Fix the car before you fix the driver.

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update the codec and lower the latency.

 

This, why can't this be done?, cost?, time?, too big a project?, we've already p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed the point of no return?.

 

(Please only answer if you're an authority on the matter.)

 

I'm not an authority on the matter, since I know very little about programming the voice side of things, but I can say that some work has been done on updating the codec. I believe a big stumbling point is the fact that some legacy clients are still in use and cannot be updated, such as FSInn. Perhaps the release of swift will pave the way. We have also looked into ways to have the voice server translate between new and legacy codecs, and/or have the clients send voice data with two streams, one on the old codec, one on the new. Those ideas are being explored, as recently as a few months ago. I'm not sure what the status is, since I'm not actively involved in that part of development, I've just made a few suggestions such as the dual stream idea.

 

So, the issue is not being ignored.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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update the codec and lower the latency.

 

This, why can't this be done?, cost?, time?, too big a project?, we've already p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed the point of no return?.

 

(Please only answer if you're an authority on the matter.)

 

I'm not an authority on the matter, since I know very little about programming the voice side of things, but I can say that some work has been done on updating the codec. I believe a big stumbling point is the fact that some legacy clients are still in use and cannot be updated, such as FSInn. Perhaps the release of swift will pave the way. We have also looked into ways to have the voice server translate between new and legacy codecs, and/or have the clients send voice data with two streams, one on the old codec, one on the new. Those ideas are being explored, as recently as a few months ago. I'm not sure what the status is, since I'm not actively involved in that part of development, I've just made a few suggestions such as the dual stream idea.

 

So, the issue is not being ignored.

 

Cheers Ross, really appreciate the response, so what I take away from it is the fact we don't have a 'standard' set of clients but a hodgepodge FSINN, Squawkbox(if that's still a thing), x-plane client and VpIlot?.

 

I'm guessing we're ok on the ATC client side in regards to upgrades as you and Gergely are active.

 

I personally believe that to help progress, decisions need to be made to standardize and streamline operations.

 

I'm only speaking from an outside perspective and have no idea what's going on in the background only to read the GOV minutes when they're published.

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Don't get me wrong, we will absolutely benefit from a better codec, but it's not a panacea. And I'm in the camp where we don't want a crystal-clear codec ... that's just not realistic. Or if we do use a crystal-clear codec, we maintain the option to use a band p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] filter, and maybe introduce a little radio noise, so that it is realistic.

 

I agree 100% when you watch Twitch and listen to people on Pilot Edge, it's SO clear it's totally unrealistic, the controller sounds like they are whispering in your ear. I fly commercially IRL and trust me there are a lot of unclear radio transmissions from both ATC and other pilots; sometimes you just grin and bare it until the next hand off. Sure most sound very good but NOT PilotEdge clear (note: I'm not dissing PilotEdge as their controllers are very good, just it's 'too' clear).

Mr.

VATSIM P2

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update the codec and lower the latency.

 

I'm not an authority on the matter, since I know very little about programming the voice side of things, but I can say that some work has been done on updating the codec. I believe a big stumbling point is the fact that some legacy clients are still in use and cannot be updated, such as FSInn. Perhaps the release of swift will pave the way. We have also looked into ways to have the voice server translate between new and legacy codecs, and/or have the clients send voice data with two streams, one on the old codec, one on the new. Those ideas are being explored, as recently as a few months ago. I'm not sure what the status is, since I'm not actively involved in that part of development, I've just made a few suggestions such as the dual stream idea.

 

So, the issue is not being ignored.

 

Cheers Ross, really appreciate the response, so what I take away from it is the fact we don't have a 'standard' set of clients but a hodgepodge FSINN, Squawkbox(if that's still a thing), x-plane client and VpIlot?.

 

I'm guessing we're ok on the ATC client side in regards to upgrades as you and Gergely are active.

 

I personally believe that to help progress, decisions need to be made to standardize and streamline operations.

 

I'm only speaking from an outside perspective and have no idea what's going on in the background only to read the GOV minutes when they're published.

 

What would be good is to flag these legacy programs and have the system send a message saying "this is a legacy program and will soon be mothballed from Vatsim please view {insert link to vPilot] going forward" do this for a couple of months then just cut it off. People hate change but I'm sure they'll luv vPilot once they try it.

Mr.

VATSIM P2

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What would be good is to flag these legacy programs and have the system send a message saying "this is a legacy program and will soon be mothballed from Vatsim please view {insert link to vPilot] going forward" do this for a couple of months then just cut it off. People hate change but I'm sure they'll luv vPilot once they try it.

 

Good for who, Lindsey? I use FSInn and have absolutely no problem with either the sound quality or the installation process. I also use both FS2004 and FSX. VPilot will not work with FS2004, so if you "kill" FSInn I am now forced to use only one simulator platform and completely lose the other that I have numerous add-ons invested in. Your proposal throws away my money and I don't know about you, but my money did not grow on a tree that regrows new money every time I pick a bill.

 

FS2004 may be antiquated, but I have never had a CTD during Cross the Pond. FS2004 may be old, but I have never experienced a sudden drop in FPS when I approach FlyTampa San Francisco with 10 other aircraft on the ground. Don't get me wrong, as I said, I have FSX and use it, but never when the demand on my system due to an event or a heavy payware will be involved. I have Megascenery, FScene, FS Genesis, Ultimate Alaska/Canada and many payware airports installed in FS2004 and my "views" are far better than I get in FSX...and my sliders are all maxed out to the right and FPS is routinely, though unnecessarily, above 100 FPS.

 

So your suggestion to me is far from "good". I have tried vPilot when I flew with FSX and it worked very well. With that I cannot argue. Make it work with FS2004 (which will not happen) and I won't utter a peep when FSInn is "killed".

 

And now we are getting way off topic...

 

Oh, and I wonder how the controller side would feel about standardization and killing all the controller clients except one?

 

Randy

Randy Tyndall - KBOI

ZLA I-11/vACC Portugal P4

“A ship is always safe in the harbor. But that’s not why they build ships” --Michael Bevington ID 814931, Former VATSIM Board of Governors Vice President of Pilot Training

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Oh, and I wonder how the controller side would feel about standardization and killing all the controller clients except one?

The difference is that vSTARS, vERAM, (vATIS), and Euroscope are still being developed. And at least in the case of VRC, the developer is still active. No one is developing Squawkbox or FSInn. Kill off ASRC, by all means :mrgreen:

If/when Swift comes out, I think that's when we can go for the mandatory transition.

Josh Glottmann
Deputy Air Traffic Manager
Oakland ARTCC
[email protected]

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I just want to bring us back to the original discussion of mandatory P1 training.

 

Recently (this week) myself and 2 other instructors were sitting on team speak having an ad-hock discussion about controller training.

 

Via our theory training and exam system we went back and had a look at some students that are due to have some mentoring and [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essments, upon review of the reports produced by the website we used, we saw that a number of students had not read all the pages for the S2 training (note that we do combined DEL/GND/TWR as one [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment) in the worst case, one member had read 9 of the 47 pages, and had not logged into the system for over a month and is due for mentoring this week, these students had also had multiple exam attempts before finally p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ing, VATSIM says we need to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] a student when they reach 80%, it doesn't say anything about how many attempts a person may have.

 

A review of the incorrect answers showed that they were consistent with the pages that had not been studied.

 

So, how do we stop the same thing happening with mandatory P1, where by a new member attempts the exam, and eventually, has multiple go's, to the point where by their guesses eventually result in a p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]?

 

What exactly have the students learned if thy haven't read what we want them to read?

 

The students above will most likely fail their practical exam, and that will keep them from controlling, but there is not the same for pilots.

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

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Honestly, if we are now talking about voice quality being the issue, and that crystal clear coms is the answer at the demise of things like FSinn, we are missing the point.

 

I'm not a qualified pilot, but did some lessons, and monitor air band regularly, I am SO happy using FSInn with FSX on VATSIM.

 

I don't believe that quality of voice is an issue that even needs discussing. That's my honest opinion.

Sean

C1/O P3

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Hi Sean,

 

there's always something that can be improved. Voice works fine for me most of the time and when it does not, it normally is the ATCO's/pilot's fault (hardware used, incorrect setup, incorrect position of microphone etc.). The main thing that I can also complain about it is the latency that can affect the workflow sometimes. On the other hand it can be resolved by an ATCO being firm on the frequency, telling everyone to just standby and wait for their turn.

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So, how do we stop the same thing happening with mandatory P1, where by a new member attempts the exam, and eventually, has multiple go's, to the point where by their guesses eventually result in a p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]?

 

What exactly have the students learned if thy haven't read what we want them to read?

I don't think we need to worry about it in advance or apply special measures. These things are for people's own good and if they refuse to use them, well, that's their problem. I'm sure there will be many others who will use the test productively. The world doesn't consist of cheaters alone.

 

Btw, that's an interesting system that shows which pages have been opened.

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While mandatory P1 training may well not eliminate ALL of the trolls and ALL of the skaters, if it improved the situation by any measure at all, it would still be a step in the right direction. I'd love to see us try it and re-evaluate in 3-6 months. Crawl before you walk, walk before you run....

Don Desfosse
Vice President, Membership

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While mandatory P1 training may well not eliminate ALL of the trolls and ALL of the skaters, if it improved the situation by any measure at all, it would still be a step in the right direction.

You mean mandatory P1 exam, not training, right? Because training is not possible to provide to everybody.

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While mandatory P1 training may well not eliminate ALL of the trolls and ALL of the skaters, if it improved the situation by any measure at all, it would still be a step in the right direction.
You mean mandatory P1 exam, not training, right? Because training is not possible to provide to everybody.

VATSTAR's P1 "training" is automated; it's fifteen sections, and at the end of each section are three questions that the student MUST get correct in order to move to the next section. And they don't get their completion certificate until they navigate all fifteen. Now, it's obviously an open-book test -- the answers can be found in the material they can see if they scroll up. But, it still gives some modicome of [Mod - Happy Thoughts]urance that they've read and (at least temporarily) comprehended the policy in question. That's something we can expand out to a capacity limited only by the server bandwidth, and the data entry required for conferring the ratings (which is minimal).

 

For P2 and up, yes, I agree that one-on-one training for the entire VATSIM pilot community would not be feasible.

Cheers,

-R.

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