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Would ATC accomodate FS2020 limitations?


Diego Vasquez
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So, after about a dozen flights on the FS2020 A320Neo ...

1. The aircraft is only able to follow a normal flight plan when it is entered from the World screen.

2. Customizing a flight plan mid flight, or even something as simple as entering a Direct waypoint will not work, most of the time.

3. VNAV will not follow airspeed nor vertical restrictions.

My question is... if an ATC sees a pilot who is stating FS2020 on the flight plan, would she/he accomodate to that reality? I.e., if I plan for a specific departure or approach, not giving the instruction to deviate much from it?

Vectoring, speed and altitude instructions are OK specially on arrival, but then never ask me to return "as planned" after you made me deviate!

And before you answer, remember both Asobo and VATSIM very proudly announced FS2020 support from day 1.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Diego Vasquez said:

1. The aircraft is only able to follow a normal flight plan when it is entered from the World screen.

Put unable SID/STARS in your remarks and file a flight plan with out them.

 

5 minutes ago, Diego Vasquez said:

3. VNAV will not follow airspeed nor vertical restrictions.

Use V/S and manage your aircraft your self, you are flying the plane. Revert back to basics, 3 x FL / 100 to calculate TOD.

This is not a problem, vatsim has been around longer than the first FMS equipped aircraft for FS. People who can actually control the plane using raw inputs will be better pilots than those that constantly rely on FMS/VNAV/LNAV, my pet hate as a controller is having a pilot blame their inability to follow instructions on the FMC.

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Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

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4 minutes ago, Kirk Christie said:

This is not a problem, vatsim has been around longer than the first FMS equipped aircraft for FS. People who can actually control the plane using raw inputs will be better pilots than those that constantly rely on FMS/VNAV/LNAV, my pet hate as a controller is having a pilot blame their inability to follow instructions on the FMC.

Darn I triplicated content while the forum server crashed! 

The argument of "better pilots" is IMHO beyond the point, airliners are not meant to be flown regularly manually, specially long haul and the A320 can get many many miles on a single tank.

 

 

So I guess that the answer is NO, VATSIM ATC will not make any concessions for the well known limitations of the sim?

 

Edited by Diego Vasquez
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1 hour ago, Diego Vasquez said:

So I guess that the answer is NO, VATSIM ATC will not make any concessions for the well known limitations of the sim?

No one actually said that.

 

VATSIM allows all aircraft regardless of their inbuilt simulator capabilities, FS2020 is an approved simulator and with it, the aircraft that come with it.

The answers given to you were to advise the controllers weather or not you could accept what they were offering. VATSIM ATC will manage you accordingly. 

 

1 hour ago, Diego Vasquez said:

The argument of "better pilots" is IMHO beyond the point, airliners are not meant to be flown regularly manually, specially long haul and the A320 can get many many miles on a single tank.

Thats fine in the real world where things work, you are in the simlator environment and things like that are not working as they should be, if you wish to fly the aircraft on the network, then learn to operate it in a way that you can follow instructions given to you, if you aren't willing, wait untill a suitable aircraft has been released, or dont fly.

Edited by Kirk Christie

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

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1 hour ago, Diego Vasquez said:

And before you answer, remember both Asobo and VATSIM very proudly announced FS2020 support from day 1.

It was supported from day 1. The lack of VNAV capabilities has nothing to do with simulator support, there is no where anywhere in the vatsim documentation that states any requirements for VNAV/RNAV minimums to be able to use the network.

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

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Am I missing something here? This sounds akin to blaming the builders and maintainers of road infrastructure for your car being faulty.

Running with the above analogy, VATSIM has always supported "cars" from many different "manufacturers". It's the drivers responsibility to know how to drive their chosen vehicle, regardless of it's condition. If the vehicle requires special conditions (such as being unable to follow a SID/STAR) it again falls to the driver to advise of such conditions via accepted mechanisms (such as flight plan remarks or a PM to ATC).

2 hours ago, Diego Vasquez said:

So I guess that the answer is NO, VATSIM ATC will not make any concessions for the well known limitations of the sim?

In short, the answer is actually YES because for nigh on 2 decades VATSIM ATC has accommodated the varying capabilities of pilots (and controllers). To suggest that would suddenly change now is, in my opinion, patently absurd.

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The way I interpret the rules and customs on the network:

  • The policy is to accommodate whenever possible. If you can't fly SIDs or STARs, you'll get vectors - just note that ATC may have to delay you, vector you onto a suboptimal route, put you in a hold, or ask you to divert, if things are very crowded.
  • In order to accommodate, though, ATC needs to know what you can and cannot do. The magic word is "unable"; but you also want to file a flight plan that you are comfortable executing, and use the "equipment code" and "remarks" fields to indicate the limitations of your aircraft. And don't just write "FS2020"; you can't expect controllers to know by heart all the limitations of all aircraft types in all supported sims. Write "UNABLE RNAV", "UNABLE SID/STAR" or some such instead.
  • Flying the aircraft however is your job; you are expected to figure out how to follow ATC instructions, they will tell you what to do, but not how to do it. At the very least, you should be able to fly a heading, altitude, and airspeed, perform a visual approach and landing, and be aware of your aircraft's performance limitations. Beyond that, ATC will assume that you are able whatever your aircraft type can usually do; if you cannot do that, or you are uncomfortable doing it with the tools at hand, the magic phrases are "unable" and "request vectors".

Note that VNAV or a working FMS aren't required for the vast majority of ATC instructions you will get - almost all STARs, SIDs, transitions, approaches, and other procedures can be flown manually, or with simple autopilot modes (heading hold, VOR/LOC, altitude hold, FLCH), it's just more work. Planning your descent is something you should do anyway; ATC won't do it for you (and they can't, because they don't know the performance limitations of your aircraft in its current configuration, nor your mission parameters).

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Flight plans can be put in to the aircraft during flat and not just the world view in fs2020. I do it often. In addition you can return to the normal flight plan after deviations you just might have to delete a waypoint or two. No big deal. The only autopilot system that deosnt work is vnav so just use vs mode. I did my first ever flight on vatsim with the 787 and had no issues.

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22 hours ago, Kirk Christie said:

VATSIM allows all aircraft regardless of their inbuilt simulator capabilities, FS2020 is an approved simulator and with it, the aircraft that come with it.

The answers given to you were to advise the controllers weather or not you could accept what they were offering. VATSIM ATC will manage you accordingly. 

Awesome, that was my expectation I am glad to hear that.

And just BTW, throughout all my years on VATSIM whenever my flight breaks down because of my error, or because my PC, software or whatever, I apologize to ATC then simply disconnect.

The issue that I anticipated and the reason why I started this thread was, with FS2020 being so unpredictable, this will happen pretty darn often.

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8 hours ago, Joshua McBride said:

Flight plans can be put in to the aircraft during flat and not just the world view in fs2020. I do it often. In addition you can return to the normal flight plan after deviations you just might have to delete a waypoint or two. No big deal. The only autopilot system that deosnt work is vnav so just use vs mode. I did my first ever flight on vatsim with the 787 and had no issues.

I have tried this several times and, for example on the Neo vertical navigation only works when the plan came from the world screen. I suppose this may be self inflicted (?).

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22 hours ago, Kirk Christie said:

It was supported from day 1. The lack of VNAV capabilities has nothing to do with simulator support, there is no where anywhere in the vatsim documentation that states any requirements for VNAV/RNAV minimums to be able to use the network.

The reason I made the link between the pre-launch videos and the current long list of issues is, I don't ever recall VATSIM announcing so visibly a partnership before with Microsoft or any other vendors of the supported simulators.

Considering how proud of it all we all are (i consider myself part of VATSIM, as a pilot and general community member), I wondered if that partnership was only an announcement, or if it is a continued effort?

  • On this same line of thought, I would liked answers like how VATSIM has and will leverage the partnership with Microsft/Asobo providing feedback and raising visibility of top issues affecting the network. Or something in that direction.
  • Contrary to... embrace the sim for the purpose of publicity, but create distance when talking about the issues?
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15 hours ago, Tobias Dammers said:

The way I interpret the rules and customs on the network:

  • The policy is to accommodate whenever possible. If you can't fly SIDs or STARs, you'll get vectors - just note that ATC may have to delay you, vector you onto a suboptimal route, put you in a hold, or ask you to divert, if things are very crowded.
  • In order to accommodate, though, ATC needs to know what you can and cannot do. The magic word is "unable"; but you also want to file a flight plan that you are comfortable executing, and use the "equipment code" and "remarks" fields to indicate the limitations of your aircraft. And don't just write "FS2020"; you can't expect controllers to know by heart all the limitations of all aircraft types in all supported sims. Write "UNABLE RNAV", "UNABLE SID/STAR" or some such instead.
  • Flying the aircraft however is your job; you are expected to figure out how to follow ATC instructions, they will tell you what to do, but not how to do it. At the very least, you should be able to fly a heading, altitude, and airspeed, perform a visual approach and landing, and be aware of your aircraft's performance limitations. Beyond that, ATC will assume that you are able whatever your aircraft type can usually do; if you cannot do that, or you are uncomfortable doing it with the tools at hand, the magic phrases are "unable" and "request vectors".

Note that VNAV or a working FMS aren't required for the vast majority of ATC instructions you will get - almost all STARs, SIDs, transitions, approaches, and other procedures can be flown manually, or with simple autopilot modes (heading hold, VOR/LOC, altitude hold, FLCH), it's just more work. Planning your descent is something you should do anyway; ATC won't do it for you (and they can't, because they don't know the performance limitations of your aircraft in its current configuration, nor your mission parameters).

Thanks, again that was more or less my understanding but I wanted to trigger the discussion because it will happen to people of different skill levels while trying to enjoy the sim and the network.

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I think it's important to consider that we're talking about default aircraft, and comparing them to the fully-functional add-ons we're probably used to for FSX, P3D, and X-Plane.  If you think about the functionality of the FSX default airliners, and the additional pilot workload it took to fly them realistically on the network among the PMDGs of the world, it's about on par.  The patch that came out today allegedly addresses a lot of the complex avionics' functionality, so, maybe it's better than it was 24 hours ago.  But I don't think it's realistic to expect perfect operational behavior from default planes.  We'll probably need to wait until some more complete versions are available in the freeware and payware add-on marketplace.

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-R.

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It is very nice to hear that VATSIM ATC's generally are accommodating. I certainly agree that maintaining control of the aircraft and adhering to ATC instructions is the pilots responsibility. 

My personal recommendation is that pilots should be experienced flying the specific aircraft they will fly on VATSIM, and aware of any shortcomings its simulated avionics and autopilot have in msfs202 and be ready to take manual control. 

It would be irresponsible to connect to VATSIM to fly IFR without vetting the aircraft and sims modeling shortfalls. I personally have found that only the Daher TBM 930 is close enough to be useable for IFR in a VATSIM environment. 

There is a specific problem I have seen (and reported to zendesk) which is really problematic. That would be the FMC automatically entering a USER waypoint when activating an approach. For whatever reason, instead of modelling real world, they decided that the FMC should insert this waypoint and a nice path to fly, which is between your current position and the IAF. The problem is, that waypoint is often behind you -- sometimes by a 100nm. 

Pilots should be aware of this and ready to manually direct the aircraft as required. Otherwise, what you will find happens is that as soon as you activate the approach you've been assigned, if autopilot is engaged in NAV mode, you might see the aircraft turn (maybe even 180 degrees) and if you don't catch it quickly that would be a deviation. 

Worse, is that it is very hard to get the FMC to fly anything other than that magical waypoint and path it picked. With the most recent patch released this week, it got slightly better. I find that at least now you can do a "direct to" the IAF and the autopilot will fly it instead of that magical path. Problem is, the FMC may not "count it" as arriving at the IAF and activate the next leg upon arriving at the IAF -- it may still want to fly back to that magical waypoint. 

You may or may not be able to activate legs beyond that IAF without flying the magical path. 

I would say that as long as a VATSIM pilot is aware of these problems, and can fly the aircraft despite them and maintain control and compliant with ATC directs, then flying on VATSIM would be appropriate. 

But if the VATSIM ATCs see a lot of deviations as a result of these issues, and that is impairing the management of the airspace and impacting others, that it would be appropriate to disconnect. 

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  • 2 months later...

VATSIM is certainly accommodating. How would I be able to confidently fly my beloved Concorde into controlled airspace if they weren't. Like those having to contend with FS2020, Concorde has no advanced FMS and therefore can not fly RNAV SIDS and STARS. I have to dead reckon my VNAV, most especially the TOD. Makes for a little bit of trepidation when you know you are being tracked and that the plane can easily make a fool of you. That's the thrilling part of llying "seat of the pants"

Rusty

Edited by Russell Diehl 1104622
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Russell Diehl - 1104622

 

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On 9/20/2020 at 3:30 PM, Thomas Carlisle said:

There is a specific problem I have seen (and reported to zendesk) which is really problematic. That would be the FMC automatically entering a USER waypoint when activating an approach. For whatever reason, instead of modelling real world, they decided that the FMC should insert this waypoint and a nice path to fly, which is between your current position and the IAF. The problem is, that waypoint is often behind you -- sometimes by a 100nm. 

Ah, so that's why I've sometimes seen aircraft making a 180-degree turn after I've issued them an approach clearance.

 

To the point of the OP, it's simply not practical for a controller to know the extent to which each aircraft is going to behave (or mis-behave). For one thing, I don't have MSFS2020, so all I know about it is what I've heard from friends or read on reviews. Personally, if I see MSFS2020 in the remarks (if I can even find it with all the gibberish I see in most FPs these days), all I know is that someone likely has some killer scenery and may become disconnected unexpectedly.

I am aware that many of the default airliners in 2020 have some autopilot and FMC issues, but those shouldn't be an issue, so long as the VOR/DME receivers and instrumentation are working normally--and those do work, don't they? All major airports (in the US, at least) still have non-RNAV SIDs and STARs that are perfectly flyable with dual VOR receivers. Additionally, there's still (for the time being) J-routes available for high-altitude navigation.

The best thing to do in this situation is to make sure you file with the proper equipment suffix (/W). If you are told to go direct to a NAVAID that's too far away to receive, you can ask for a vector to the NAVAID and proceed direct when you do pick it up. If you're cleared direct to a waypoint, you can kindly remind the controller that you're "slant whiskey" and request alternate routing. It requires more situational awareness on your part, and more vigilance on the controller's part, but I think it's a much more fun way to utilize the NAS than just giving "cleared direct" clearances all day long.

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Indeed - the idea is that when a controller issues an instruction, the pilot should either do whatever it takes to make the aircraft do the correct thing and read back the instruction, or reject it (saying "unable") and negotiate an alternative instruction with ATC.

Controllers should accommodate the latter: that is, if you're flying on MSFS2020, and cannot accept a STAR or approach that is different than what your flight plan says, then you can say "unable", and ATC will vector you onto a visual approach, or figure out some other way of getting you down. You can not, however, accept the instruction and then make a 180 that's not on the chart, even if it's due to MSFS messing up. Know your aircraft, know your sim, know what you can accept, and don't accept what you can't do.

As someone who's been flying some rather buggy Flightgear aircraft on VATSIM, here's a protip that might help: when you're flying in LNAV mode, and you have to change something in the FMS, synchronize the heading bug with your current heading and switch to HDG mode before making the change. This will give you a chance to review the updated flight plan before allowing the autopilot to actually fly it. For example, one aircraft I've flown would sometimes rewind the flight plan all the way back to the departure runway when changing the approach while already on the STAR; doing this while LNAV is active would then turn the aircraft around towards the departure airport, which is wrong in 99% of cases. By switching to HDG first, the aircraft will instead keep flying straight, which is usually the right thing to do for the next couple minutes, and then I can just delete all the waypoints I don't need, or insert a DIRECT, or whatever, to fix the flight plan, and *then* switch back to LNAV when I'm confident that it will do the right thing. And nobody else will know.

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  • 1 year later...

It's amazing how this still applies today... Today was doing a flight and ATC told me to go direct GOBBY. Put that in the FMC and it didn't work Aircraft did not turn or nothing sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't is what I noticed. Had someone at ATC won't name who tell me I should "Disconnect and learn my aircraft and that's not an excuse" Despite me flying this type of aircraft since FSX. I even told him my FMC is glitching out. Since this ATC didn't seem in a good mood anyway i just said roger that will do and disconnected. But it did infuriate me just a little. Rather him give me a heading to help me out his idea was just for me to disconnect. Not very nice at all...

Edited by Anthony Serna
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If your FMC is "glitching out" then actually that is your problem! These are many workarounds, like flying manually, using an FMC which is capable, requesting vectors, and so on. You might be prepared to believe that the ATCO wasn't helpful, but can you honestly say that you were totally unaware of the shortcomings of the FMC you were using? "Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't" ought to be a clue, don't you think?

 

Alistair Thomson

===

Definition: a gentleman is a flying instructor in a Piper Cherokee who can change tanks without getting his face slapped.

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2 hours ago, Alistair Thomson said:

If your FMC is "glitching out" then actually that is your problem! These are many workarounds, like flying manually, using an FMC which is capable, requesting vectors, and so on. You might be prepared to believe that the ATCO wasn't helpful, but can you honestly say that you were totally unaware of the shortcomings of the FMC you were using? "Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't" ought to be a clue, don't you think?

 

Well that's the thing I was prepared to ask for Vectors and/or do it manually since the FMC was having an issue. The problem was ATC did not bother at all to give me one and just told me to disconnect. The thing is with ATC even in the real world is as an Air Traffic Controller you need to try and accommodate everyone! IMO it should be part of the simulation aspect of Vatsim as well. Not sure if that's in the ATC rule of conduct but really should be if not I can see this possibly turning some people away from Vatsim.

Also got a question for you! What FMC do you use? I'd really love to replace the default to one that actually works!

Edited by Anthony Serna
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From MSFS freeware, I recommend:

  • FlyByWire's A320 Neo
  • Working Title's CJ4
  • Working Title's G1000NX, G3000 add-ons (I think they're integrated by default since the Sim Update 9?) for general aviation

They all have custom built FMS and can handle very well all the SIDs/STARs and directs, as well as provide integration with SimBrief.

 

From paid products

I have used Aerosoft's CRJ 700-900: very good FMS, no problems whatsoever following SIDs/STARs.

If you have a Navigraph subsciption, it will show your airplane position on the chart. It makes it trivial to follow it in heading/vs mode.

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9 hours ago, Anthony Serna said:

. The problem was ATC did not bother at all to give me one and just told me to disconnect

I don't think that ATC has the authority to tell anyone to disconnect. The correct procedure is that ATC calls a supervisor and they mediate the situation. You should contact the ATC organisation responsible for the service you were getting and inform them of the facts of the issue. This gives them an opportunity for additional training where indicated. That way, everyone benefits.

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Alistair Thomson

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Definition: a gentleman is a flying instructor in a Piper Cherokee who can change tanks without getting his face slapped.

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