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New Prefile Page/Website


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Hi everyone I've spoken to a couple of people in the loop already but want to clarify for everyone else's benefit as transparency is critical at this point.  There was some disconnect in inf

I appreciate all the guides, etc. but frankly from an ATC training perspective in the USA, we shouldn’t have to go through this. There was clearly minimal forethought put into how ATC clients other th

Big thank you to Zach and IT team for this much needed update. Looking forward to using it.

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From a U.S. ATC perspective, the new system creates a few issues.

The real-world FAA system takes the set of ICAO equipment information and converts it to one of the recognized suffixes that were used in the old pre-file and the current vPilot Flight Plan system. Thus, a pilot who is filing with the appropriate ICAO codes for RNAV with RVSM capability would show "/L" in a U.S. system. 

However, the new flight plan system VATSIM has apparently released (https://my.vatsim.net/pilots/flightplan) creates the following in U.S. ATC clients:

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(Normally, we would see "A319" only; instead, we're seeing the type followed by all of the ICAO equipment codes.)

Ideally, the new pre-file system would "convert" "A319/M-SDE3FGHIRWY/LB1" to a Type Code of "A319" and an Equipment Suffix of "/L". Otherwise, I imagine that the U.S. ATC clients (VRC, vSTARS, and vERAM) will need to be updated to make this functionality possible. Either way, something should be done because the screenshot above looks ridiculous and will quickly create clutter on controllers' screens.

Hopefully this is a planned feature in the next little while. Could someone from VATSIM leadership comment on this as a few of us in the VATUSA Discord are wondering?

Edited by Evan Reiter
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Evan Reiter
Boston Virtual ARTCC/ZBW Community Manager

 

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I appreciate all the guides, etc. but frankly from an ATC training perspective in the USA, we shouldn’t have to go through this. There was clearly minimal forethought put into how ATC clients other than Euroscope (and presumably vTAATS), pilot clients, and the numerous tools that depend on the data feed would handle ICAO FPL equipment and surveillance codes. That’s a step that should have been documented and resolved prior to the new pre-file site being rolled out.

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Dhruv Kalra

VATUSA ZMP ATM | Instructor | VATSIM Network Supervisor

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Great job to the team but I highly encourage them to implement a callsign verification feature. 

Example: If someone attempts to file a flight plan with the callsign: "AA516", the system would prompt (highly encourage) them to change it to "AAL516". 

I know you can't force them to pick a callsign but some warning and information about real callsigns could benefit new members. 

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Ernesto Martinez

Membership Manager - Europe/ME/Africa
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In terms of VATSIM staying true to Real-World Operations, this is great! BUT my only grip is the way this Prefile page is set up. It needs to be intuitive. Nobody knows ICAO suffixes because there is a LOT.

What Vatsim need to do is create 1800wxbrief account, navigate to the "flight plan" tab and play around with how intuitive, helpful, and simple their flight plan box is. For instance, it shows (in a simple list) what each suffix stands for. If you select equipment "S," It blocks out "L," "O," and "V." See Below. VATSIM has provided NO information on what ICAO flight plans are. And they are MUCH more complicated than FAA Domestic Flight plans.

Also, what Vatsim now has, looks great, but it is TOO much. It is a LOT to look at. Make it simple. Resize it.

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Edited by Logan Schroeder
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My main point with this post was simply thanking the team for the new website as to me, the more modern look will encourage pilots to prefile instead of seeing the old, clunky webpage. As a controller myself, I agree with the issues it creates with scopes but I do think it's a great start.

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I personally thing that it is way too much information that clutters up the field.  I will just doing it the old way until I can't do that any longer.

 

 

Scott DeWoody

CEO - American Virtual Airlines

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At some point the current faa style prefile webpage will link to the my vatsim page from what I heard in a discussion on discord with our new vp td. and simbrief has now started to link to the new webpage. We had a discussion on this topic yesterday on discord. I think that some fields will need some extra explaining by use of an information icon. 

I think In the long run having the icao format is better but some changes are needed in the software to deal with the new format.

 

Edited by Koen Meier
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Besides technical changes that need to be done within the various ATC & pilot clients to scope with the new flight plan format, I absolutely second to what Logan wrote above. Some type of dropdown menu to fill in the correct equipment and transponder types is a must IMO, not only for "newbies" but also for experienced members.

Edited by Christoph Reule
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1 hour ago, Christoph Reule said:

Besides technical changes that need to be done within the various ATC & pilot clients to scope with the new flight plan format, I absolutely second to what Logan wrote above. Some type of dropdown menu to fill in the correct equipment and transponder types is a must IMO, not only for "newbies" but also for experienced members.

Maybe also ask simbrief to have the same functionality if users create a plan through that.

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10 hours ago, Ernesto Martinez said:

Great job to the team but I highly encourage them to implement a callsign verification feature. 

Example: If someone attempts to file a flight plan with the callsign: "AA516", the system would prompt (highly encourage) them to change it to "AAL516". 

I know you can't force them to pick a callsign but some warning and information about real callsigns could benefit new members. 

Which I'm sure will become annoying for people who want to fly as AA516 using a GA aircraft and have no interest in flying "big tin" in an AAL livery.

This brings in additional coding - is it IFR/VFR?  Is it an airliner or something smaller?  You could go round in circles on this - I'd rather controllers make the suggestion if the pilot calls up as American.

Trevor Hannant

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14 hours ago, Dhruv Kalra said:

...other than Euroscope...

nope, we have the same problem with the field now "exploding" with the additional data.

Some feedback from official side would really be appreciated if this was intentional or maybe just got accidentally released with a totally different change on the homepage - and when we can expect updated clients - if even @Ross Carlson didn't know about it this makes it even more strange and looking accidental...

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5 hours ago, Trevor Hannant said:

Which I'm sure will become annoying for people who want to fly as AA516 using a GA aircraft and have no interest in flying "big tin" in an AAL livery.

This brings in additional coding - is it IFR/VFR?  Is it an airliner or something smaller?  You could go round in circles on this - I'd rather controllers make the suggestion if the pilot calls up as American.

AA prefix isn't an appropriate callsign in any country. The system would need to also recognize a valid VFR callsign as well. Additionally, the system wouldn't prevent you from filing, it would just inform you about the appropriate callsigns. After all, one of the tag lines of VATSIM is to Educate not to mention that having an appropriate callsign is important for realism. If you also logged in as AA516 no one would see you correctly because it doesn't exists. 

 

Unfortunately, as a controller I can tell you that 99.99% of the times an AA516 shows up, they will use American on the frequency and having them change their callsign and refiling everything is a complicated process that could be avoided by a simple reminder and lesson when filing it.  

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Ernesto Martinez

Membership Manager - Europe/ME/Africa
VATSIM Supervisor
        
 
 
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7 minutes ago, Ernesto Martinez said:

Unfortunately, as a controller I can tell you that 99.99% of the times an AA516 shows up, they will use American on the frequency and having them change their callsign and refiling everything is a complicated process that could be avoided by a simple reminder and lesson when filing it.  

I agree with Ernesto on this one. Perhaps it should not limit the person flying, but there needs to be a more robust, built-in mechanism to prevent filing a flight plan with an unintentionally goofy call sign. I die a little inside every time N14OTP80 calls me.

I guess if one wants to be intentionally goofy, then by all means. I'm aware that VATSIM, unlike other networks, is not interested in enforcing any kind of realism in this regard.

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21 hours ago, Logan Schroeder said:

In terms of VATSIM staying true to Real-World Operations, this is great! BUT my only grip is the way this Prefile page is set up. It needs to be intuitive. Nobody knows ICAO suffixes because there is a LOT.

What Vatsim need to do is create 1800wxbrief account, navigate to the "flight plan" tab and play around with how intuitive, helpful, and simple their flight plan box is. For instance, it shows (in a simple list) what each suffix stands for. If you select equipment "S," It blocks out "L," "O," and "V." See Below. VATSIM has provided NO information on what ICAO flight plans are. And they are MUCH more complicated than FAA Domestic Flight plans.

Also, what Vatsim now has, looks great, but it is TOO much. It is a LOT to look at. Make it simple. Resize it.

 

 

14 hours ago, Christoph Reule said:

Besides technical changes that need to be done within the various ATC & pilot clients to scope with the new flight plan format, I absolutely second to what Logan wrote above. Some type of dropdown menu to fill in the correct equipment and transponder types is a must IMO, not only for "newbies" but also for experienced members.

There is a button in the upper right that says "Process ICAO FPL". You can paste your ICAO flight plan from PFPX or Simbrief and it puts everything where it needs to go. Pretty intuitive in my opinion.

Edited by Ryan Parry

Ryan Parry - 965346

vZOA Air Traffic Manager

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Ok, so at least from SimBrief side there is the confirmation now that this change was intentional (https://www.simbrief.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=8020#p8020):

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The release was not an accident. I was specifically requested by the VATSIM developers to migrate SimBrief to the new MyVATSIM Prefile form as of August 18th (I was a bit late and only released it yesterday).

I even went so far as to do a few test flights on the network myself before release. The response from ATC I talked to was that it "looked weird" but didn't break anything critical.

At this point, I'm going to leave the decision in VATSIM's hands. If they want me to revert back to the old form I'm sure they'll contact me to let me know. I'll keep an eye on the VATSIM forum topic as well, thanks for the link.

No need to inform anybody else it seems...

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9 minutes ago, Ryan Parry said:

There is a button in the upper right that says "Process ICAO FPL". You can paste your ICAO flight plan from PFPX or Simbrief and it puts everything where it needs to go. Pretty intuitive in my opinion.

And what about someone who is not using PFPX or Simbrief to create the flight plan? 😉

Sure, you can print some equipment & transponder type explanation from the internet, but, as said above, a dropdown menu would do the trick here.

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I'm sure there are technical solutions for this. E. g. only displaying the wake turbulence category, RVSM approval (code: W), GNSS availability (code: G), PBN availability (code: R) and surveillance equipment, and "hiding" the rest in a context menu "FPL lookup" ? In above screenshot, this would shorten "B738/M-SDE2E3FGHIRWXY/LB1" to "B738/M-RW/L"...

Just thoughts, of course.

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