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Posted (edited)

I would like to talk about a thing, that may seem non-existent to many, but it's growing within community, that is truly taking old-but-gold motto "As real as it gets" still seriously. With enhancing the quality of the service, adding support to many mods & changes, and trying to adjust to changing real-world aviation, I'd like to talk about switching from old FAA Flight Plans to ICAO Flight Plan Form. Why is it even a concern in our virtual aviation world? Let me point out just a few advantages and disadvantages of the change:

  • FAA form is valid form only in US, and also under several circumstances. (look at the Mats Edvin Aaro post below) In the rest of the world it's the ICAO Flight Plan in use. Even in FAA-land, international border crossing flight plans have to be filled out with ICAO format,
  • Increasing amount of A/C equipped with S-mode transponders, even though not officially supported by VATSIM (which is also an old remain from 90's), is being introduced and simulated by several divisions based on Equipment code in FPL form. FAA Form does not provide info about Type of transponder included on board of ACFT,
  • Introduction of RNAV/RNP and entire PBN idea solutions are being more and more simulated by pilots - you can spot acfts with "Basic RNAV", or "NON-RNAV" RMK inside of FPLs, or those generated/filled by real enthusiasts including "PBN/". Thus should be simulated via proper Flight Plan Item, not a RMK,
  • FAA Form includes not-so-clearly understood "EDT" as "Estimated Departure Time", while ICAO Flight Plan Form clearly states it should be "EOBT" (Estimated Off-Block Time). This is crucial during events, high workload and running and designing slot/CTOT plugins. These solutions are not yet very popular, but you can find out that people are asking for such solutions, and me - personally, as an amateur developer, I find it confusing on how to interpret the timing included in current FPL, because people understand it differently. With proper form, we can give a clear advice on what timing should be filled out there.
  • ICAO FPL included in VATSIM wouldn't need to be fully ICAO Form - therefore we do not need the info about Dinghies or Emergency/Survival equipment supplements.

I understand, that change would involve in changing multiple software developments, beginning with VATSIM servers, then VATSIM-prefile page, Connection clients (both Pilots and Controller software), 3rd party users etc, and might be overwhelming to VATSIM human resources, thus I would really put this onto discussion board. With Over-the-air updates, and notification possibilities to be sent, connection with the community by Social Media, it shouldn't be an user-side (pilot/ATC) issue. If we could do such a major change as AFV. Proper implementation of mode A/C/S would be another benefit, but I get that VATGOV / ADM might find it too complicated for beginners.

 

I think VATSIM shouldn't stop on one huge change in a decade - and I am fully aware of the words I am saying, as I am part of the community since 2009, I grew up here, it gave me a lot, and VATSIM was an originator of my professional career later on.

Edited by Mateusz Zymla
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Mateusz Zymla - 1131338

Operational Officer Assistant

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59 minutes ago, Mateusz Zymla said:

FAA form is valid form only in US

Not anymore, per the 27th of August 2019, FAA formatted flight plans are no longer accepted, and flight plans needs to be filed in an IFP (International Flight Plan) format, in order words, ICAO all over the world. 🙂

I am not sure how easy this process would be to implement on the network, it might be hard coded in FSD... I know some people active on the forums which know a lot more about this, they will probably tune in soon. 🙂

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Mats Edvin Aarø
VATSIM General Manager: Member Engagement
VATSIM Supervisor Team Lead: Team 4

Email: [email protected]

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43 minutes ago, Mats Edvin Aaro said:

Not anymore, per the 27th of August 2019, FAA formatted flight plans are no longer accepted, and flight plans needs to be filed in an IFP (International Flight Plan) format, in order words, ICAO all over the world

I am more into EASA-land rather than FAA, didn't do a proper research about that. However, this is giving my argument another confirmation, that the change is not something "cool". It something - in my personal opinion - we need.

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Mateusz Zymla - 1131338

Operational Officer Assistant

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It does indeed require a change on everything that basically makes up the network (web servers, FSD servers and clients). Believe me, we all want a more modern flightplan format, and we are working on it, but I personally wouldn't consider this a "need", since everything -and everyone- works just fine with it as-is. But anyway, in short: we are working to change this, just not sure when the change will happen 🙂


Néstor Pérez
Web & Server Dev Team
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1 minute ago, Nestor Perez said:

It does indeed require a change on everything that basically makes up the network (web servers, FSD servers and clients). Believe me, we all want a more modern flightplan format, and we are working on it, but I personally wouldn't consider this a "need", since everything -and everyone- works just fine with it as-is. But anyway, in short: we are working to change this, just not sure when the change will happen 🙂

Yeah I get it. As long as you are aware of the "issue" and somehow working on it, I am glad to hear that. 


Mateusz Zymla - 1131338

Operational Officer Assistant

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22 minutes ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

And for the time being we are still able to file flightplans that state all essential details.

But it's not standardized, everybody fills out as they want, and they have right to do so.


Mateusz Zymla - 1131338

Operational Officer Assistant

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If anyone can even get ICAO into a ten year plan at VATSIM you have done wonders.  It’s something I dream of, but don’t think will happen before I die.


Sean

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We're always welcoming new members in the team if you want to lend a hand or know someone who does. Then you might get to see it before you die 😉 😝


Néstor Pérez
Web & Server Dev Team
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Nestor, I have honestly given up volunteering help via an official title.  I have thrown my name up for numerous positions, AND always try and provide comment With a view to making the place better.  If I can help in any way, I am here.  If there is guidance with set and clear outcomes, I’m the man.    Maybe I’m tainted.  But when things need doing, and they aren’t done because someone with a title didn’t do it, then I feel worthless.

 

So Nestor, ask away in any form you wish, and I will help.


 

I think we have generally got to a point that unless you have a VATSIM title no-one within VATSIM respects your comments.  In my opinion we are a community with people of our community selected to provide guidance, not rule.  Every person in a community should be a helper, or in my opinion they aren’t truely part of the community.

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Sean

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Wait a minute, do you mean something like this? 😋

 

ss+(2020-06-07+at+11.27.11).png

ICAO flight planning has long been on my personal wish list - it's a work in progress but it's happening 😄

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Zach Biesse-Fitton
Vice President - Web Services
VATSIM Board of Governors

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10 hours ago, Sean Harrison said:

I think we have generally got to a point that unless you have a VATSIM title no-one within VATSIM respects your comments.

No. It does depend on whether people just offer their help or if they really step up and deliver results. There are enough "advisors" and "commenters", but there are not enough people who are capable and willing to get the job done in the end. One big reason for people not being motivated are the toxic "comments" that are being written here on this forum, on Facebook or via private messages/emails:

  • why didn't you do this or that although I had asked for it?
  • this software is sh*t, it does not work for me (but I did not read or follow the manuals)
  • I demand an answer!!! Now!!!
  • I have a right to be heard, I am entitled to this
  • etc.

Can you imagine that this drags down people's motivation? We need more positive comments from those who are actually satisfied with a product and not only negative, toxic input. No serious developer will refuse constructive criticism, but what I have seen in all the years with VATSIM, is sometimes very embarrassing and upsets me a bit. It is no wonder why so few developers are willing to commit to projects when they receive and read such comments every week.

We should feel blessed and honoured that we still have people who enjoy developing and publishing software and websites for our use at VATSIM. Please do not forget that this is all done in their free-time and that they are not receiving a penny for it. As a consequence there's nothing that anyone of us pure consumers can ask for or even demand.

Yes, make requests and suggestions, but don't expect them to be implemented until there's time and capacity. It's not the end of the world if something's not ultimately realistic or a bit dated. Usually there is a good reason why things do not get changed overnight. As explained above the flightplan information cannot just be changed overnight, because all radar and pilot clients need to be compatible with it. I do not like the obsolete FAA format too much either, but in the end it gets the job done: type of aircraft, from A to B via route C, type of equipment for airliners (90% of our pilots) is normally "/L" (RNAV capability with GNSS, including GPS or WAAS with en route and terminal capability, and with RVSM). Nobody here needs endless information about how many GPS you have, whether your MNPS approved or what type ADS-B you have installed.

And now, burn me, hit me, I can take it. But please do not hurt our developers with demands that nobody here is entitled to make. And stop those conspiracy theories that only people with a title will be heard. I know it is not true, you just have to choose the correct channels to communicate and bring some real knowledge and expertise to the conversation. In the background there are projects being done without anyone knowing, because developers want to be able to work in peace without toxic input.

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I’m sorry that you feel everyone is attacking VATSIM.

VATSIM is an amazing, productive place.  There have been soooo many success stories with people developing skills and obtaining real world benefits. That doesn’t happen in a ‘bad’ place.

There are very obvious barriers to effective communication in VATSIM in my view.  Anyway, I hope you can see the positives and be inclusive regardless of what you think people are saying.

Toxicity = Not providing a response because I think they demand one.

Toxicity = It’s your fault because you don’t have real world knowledge and expertise and didn’t ask the right person.

If our judgement of people is based on forum interaction, we are doomed to failure.  Play the topic, not the person.


Sean

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A strategic plan, and sharing little projects underway, add windows to the train we are all travelling together on.


Sean

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20 minutes ago, Sean Harrison said:

I’m sorry that you feel everyone is attacking VATSIM.

I do not feel that everyone is attacking VATSIM. I see a lot of negativity towards the developers who have a hell of a job and this needs to stop. Constructive criticism is fine, but if there is no reaction or if the suggestion will not get picked up it is how it is.

And as I mentioned already, the real development and associated communication is obviously not done here on the forums, for good reasons.

Let's rather praise our developers that they are volunteering so much of their time. If we lose them, we'll have a bunch of half-finished products again.

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Somewhat moved from the original topic....

 

 


Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

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6 hours ago, Kirk Christie said:

Somewhat moved from the original topic....

Correct and sorry for that, but I really felt that I had to write something, because it really makes me sad when I see people demanding things when they are not in the position to make any demands. Polite requests, factual feedback and constructive criticism are always good, but there's a point where it hurts our developers and we keep seeing high-profile developers walking away. VATSIM simply cannot afford this to happen, because the network is already walking on a thin line, resource wise. You probably know yourself how hard it is to find loyal, honest and motivated staff to get the things done that need to be done to keep the thing running.

Now, back to topic and I am also very happy that there's a plan/project to move away from the FAA-format to ICAO, I appreciate the work being done on it and the complexity of coordinating and propagating the changes down to all the servers and clients.

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On 6/6/2020 at 6:22 PM, Sean Harrison said:

I think we have generally got to a point that unless you have a VATSIM title no-one within VATSIM respects your comments.

Dead on brother! Thank you for having the guts to say it!

Michael



 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Mike Lehkamp said:

Dead on brother! Thank you for having the guts to say it!

Michael

Whilst I'm conscious this is drifting from the topic, is there any chance of some actual examples?

No VATSIM title here and never have had one apart from a brief period about 20 years ago.... I can't say I've ever felt any of my comments are not 'respected'.

Edited by Simon Kelsey
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Posted (edited)

First of all:

Quote

Correct and sorry for that, but I really felt that I had to write something, because it really makes me sad when I see people demanding things when they are not in the position to make any demands

Is it somehow referred to me? [deleted, cuz below answer basically made this part irrelevant]

As an Original Poster I am strongly asking you to return to main topic, rather than do any personal inquiries on any unrelated topic, please. Zach gave us out some sneak peak of what they are working on, and only made my curiosity bigger! Is it part of the new portal? What can we expect from it? Any estimated release date? SPOILERS, SPOILERS are what we need 🤩🤩. Seriously speaking, great job in making progress!

Edited by Mateusz Zymla

Mateusz Zymla - 1131338

Operational Officer Assistant

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