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Why I Quit Unicom


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I've noticed for a while now that the use of Unicom is very limited and at times non-existent, even when flying in to busy airports with no ATC. I'm currently on approach to CYYZ, 3 flights have just landed fairly close together, and not 1 of them made any sort of call to announce what they were doing (one landed with a 20-30kt tailwind but that's another issue). The other day at CYVR I saw one flight land in one direction, another take off in the opposite at the same time, again no call. 4 flights lined up to depart VHHH made all 4 takeoffs with no calls.

 

And no these are not newbies, as just as many offenders that I've seen are seasoned veterans. I've also heard the excuse "there was no conflict", but yes I've seen or been involved in several conflicts because of it. I guess from now on I too will be just another silent, faceless AI aircraft flying through these skies, wind direction be damned.

Mike Freeman

#quitunicom

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It is a problem that i noticed also.There is no explanation as to why it it is happening,except "lazy or i don't care " attitude.

Will it change if we were to have voice UNICOM. Possibly. The voice UNICOM might create a another problem where people just want to chat about anything on it.

Time will tell.

 

Nebojsa

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It is frustrating to fly and be doing "what you're supposed to" as far as monitoring and transmitting on UNICOM...while dozens of other people are not. However, I'd submit that you should make yourself an example instead of being part of the problem. This (people not transmitting critical flight information) is something the network is currently looking at, currently transmissions are not required by Code of Conduct...but that is subject to change.

 

Will voice UNICOM help? Maybe

Will there probably be people who abuse it? Definitely

 

Unfortunately we see people "forget" the purpose of UNICOM now with text, and as supervisors we address it when and where we can (either when we're monitoring or when it's reported with .wallop). We'll continue to do so and when the voice update is complete we'll do the same with voice UNICOM. As a community member we all have the same decision to make. Do we allow the "bad apples" that are inherent to an online community to spoil our "barrel", or do we make ourselves an example of the best apple we can be for others to emulate.

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Anchorage Deputy Air Traffic Manager

VATSIM Senior Supervisor (Team 1)

Have a question or concern? Email me at [email protected].

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But if you quit Unicom you miss out on the self appointed Approach controllers telling you what to do.

 

I've had my (more than) fair share of this.

"XXX123, inbound ILS 7L."

>> "active runway is 7R" Sure.

 

I always make it a habit to state my intentions on UNICOM when approaching the terminal area, during taxi, and before lining up on the runway.

 

I recall an incident in LOWI, after setting up for the approach turning base for rwy 08, another a/c came out of nowhere flying an RNAV rwy 08 approach, no UNICOM announcements whatsoever. I had to make a call if I should [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume an invisible mountain straight ahead or [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume a traffic/conflict free final approach path. I opted for the latter. Guess what, I got .wallop'd for being 'disruptive'.

Romano Lara
vACC Philippines, Manager - Training & Standards
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I opted for the latter. Guess what, I got .wallop'd for being 'disruptive'.

But you explained the situation to the SUP so he could educate the other pilot, right?

 

That, of course.

Romano Lara
vACC Philippines, Manager - Training & Standards
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I would have to agree with Kenneth's point: "be the change you want to see".

 

I recall an incident in LOWI, after setting up for the approach turning base for rwy 08, another a/c came out of nowhere flying an RNAV rwy 08 approach, no UNICOM announcements whatsoever. I had to make a call if I should [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume an invisible mountain straight ahead or [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume a traffic/conflict free final approach path. I opted for the latter. Guess what, I got .wallop'd for being 'disruptive'.

 

The only thing I would say about this is that at the end of the day, if there is no ATC it effectively comes down to 'see and avoid' just as it was in the early years of aviation (and indeed as it still is for VFR traffic and traffic outside controlled airspace).

 

UNICOM/SAFETYCOM etc is just an extra tool to help you see and avoid other traffic. It is not mandatory to transmit on it (though clearly it is good airmanship to do so!) and just like real life at the end of the day uncontrolled airspace is 'bandit country' - people WILL be flying around quite legitimately not talking to anybody/NORDO etc, people can make mistakes and mistune the frequency or forget and so on and the fact that you have announced your intentions does not mean that you can then absolve yourself of all further responsibility to see and avoid other traffic. At the end of the day a sharp lookout is essential and the rules of the air are clear about who should give way or has priority in any given situation. Even then - ultimately (in real life) if you hit someone because you thought they should have given way you might be in the right but you will still be just as dead!

Vice President, Pilot Training

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am relatively new to Vatsim (~20 flights or so), and I generally fly GA to small 1-2 runway fields in Montana. There are rarely any controllers on in this region and usually only a few jets flying miles overhead and hundreds of miles away. I've only ever shared one airport when an A320 made an emergency landing at KCOD 10-15 min after I entered the pattern and landed.

 

I fly VR, so switching out of VR and grabbing the keyboard to type to unicom really breaks the immersion, especially if there's nobody to hear/read it. On my initial flights, I would update unicom religiously with my intentions, but I've quickly become lazy too, unless there are others around.

 

Does anyone know if the unicom convention will change with AFV to favor voice over text? I'd enjoy updating whomever may be in range of my small rural fields via voice comms using a mapped PTT button and staying in VR, but I'm not sure I want to keep writing stuff that nobody will ever read, just for the practice of doing it.

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Thanks Ross, I actually read the blog post you linked before making my post above, and that's what got me interested. I guess I interpreted the blog post as "supporting" voice unicom/CTAF... i.e. making it possible rather than making voice the preferred standard instead of text.

 

When I first joined and read through all the welcome information, it seemed that VATSIM's focus was to be all-inclusive and welcome pilots/controllers that might not have a mic or speakers, thus text was the default on unicom. I'm excited to see the technical support for voice CTAF, but with this capability I'm wondering if policy decisions will have voice replace text as the primary/preferred means of communication on the unicom channel.

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Thanks Ross, I actually read the blog post you linked before making my post above, and that's what got me interested. I guess I interpreted the blog post as "supporting" voice unicom/CTAF... i.e. making it possible rather than making voice the preferred standard instead of text.

 

When I first joined and read through all the welcome information, it seemed that VATSIM's focus was to be all-inclusive and welcome pilots/controllers that might not have a mic or speakers, thus text was the default on unicom. I'm excited to see the technical support for voice CTAF, but with this capability I'm wondering if policy decisions will have voice replace text as the primary/preferred means of communication on the unicom channel.

 

I am not responsible for setting any sort of policy, but my interpretation would be:

 

Voice is already the preferred method of communication (CoC C8) -- technical limitations mean that at present voice is only available on an active ATC frequency but that will change obviously with the new voice system.

 

Of course, text will remain available and both pilots and controllers should be mindful that non-voice-capable members may also be flying alongside them and should therefore continue to monitor and use text if necessary to co-ordinate with a member who is unable to receive voice.

Vice President, Pilot Training

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Michael, have a look at this blog post to see what the plan is for voice UNICOM/CTAF:

 

https://blog.vatsim.net/a-discussion-on-voice-ctaf

 

Just throwing an idea out there Ross but would it/ could it be a good idea to maybe on Unicom when you transmit via voice that the text reads out something like "voice transmission". So it would clue people in that a) you can now transmit voice on Unicom and b). if you text only that you're missing out as they are transmitting voice...

 

Just a thought. Of course that could/would become very annoying as well hearing that constantly...

Mr.

VATSIM P2

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Yeah I think that would be quite annoying and I'm not really sure what problem(s) it would solve. I think that we should use other means (such as an email blast) to inform users that they can now transmit voice on UNICOM. And text-only users will already know that they're missing out, so I don't see that as a problem either.

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

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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One wonders if a "text to speech" function could be incorporated in the new voice system; if not immediately perhaps at some point in the future?

Quig, C3, P1, VATPAC, CZQM (inact), CZQX (ret).

4200+ hrs of "Chaos, Panic & Disorder in your virtual skies!"

 

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Indeed! I seem to recall there was some experimentation with AWS automatic speech-to-text transcription in the very early days and then someone worked out how much the service would cost in actual use!

Vice President, Pilot Training

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  • 1 month later...

Hi,

 

I just stumbled onto this thread. I can understand the frustrations when UNICOM is not being used as it should be. I would like however to mention the fact that in some cases it's not easy to fly and type in text in the UNICOM channel at the same time. I've just recently started to fly heli's in flight sims (P3D and X-plane) and I can tell you trying to fly a heli and type in text is not easy. If you have a SAS you might be able to accomplish this, but without it I would think that it's not very do-able without crashing. So in such a case I think voice UNICOM would certainly be a great benefit!

 

Kind regards,

 

Dave

Belgium

Dave

 

Laptop: MSI GT62VR 7RE Dominator Pro i7-7700HQ 2.8 (3.54 turbo) Ghz, 32GB DDR4 [email protected], NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB, Windows 10 Home (v 20H2).

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I thought was voice already...is it only text?

 

Yes, right now UNICOM is text only.

 

Kind regards,

 

Dave

Dave

 

Laptop: MSI GT62VR 7RE Dominator Pro i7-7700HQ 2.8 (3.54 turbo) Ghz, 32GB DDR4 [email protected], NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB, Windows 10 Home (v 20H2).

XPv11: Orbx & OpenSceneryX Libraries, Ortho4XP, SimHeaven X-Europe, Orbx TE GB South, Swift.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Microsoft's TranslateIT si working well for providing speech to text abilities for those of us who are deaf or hard of hearing and helps us deal with those folks who are too ignorant to realize there are those who may not be able to hear as clearly as they are. Whether UNICOM is text or voice people will adapt.

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Hi,

 

I have also noticed this issue with people not stating their intentions on Unicom and it's annoying as hell sometimes but I also realize that since we don't have any mandatory "pilot certificate" on Vatsim, it will continue to happen. It could be that some people are "hand flying" the approach part and don't feel it's convenient to start typing text.

 

To have voice on Unicom I think would be fun to listen to but it would be a total mess with people hogging the frequency with irrelevant discussions. Some would start telling others what to do etc.... Unless the voice range can be limited to for example 30-40 miles from an airport It would be a total mess in my opinion.

 

I also think that some controllers nowadays are very harsh towards beginners. I hear them being berated by the controller for not understanding an instruction. It can be that they don't have the STAR in question or don't understand even what a STAR is or how to fly it. Unless the controller is very busy , I think they should be more helpful and inform the person where to find charts and then guide the person by using vectors for example.

 

Best Regards / Jan

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