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1,700 hours and One year later - a thank you from a blind pilot

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Hello everyone!
This is my first post on these forums - and first post of, hopefully, more to come in 2021. As someone with over 1,700 hours on Vatsim, I figure I might as well throw a quick message up.
First and foremost - I'd like to thank those involved in the upkeep and conduct of this network - you all are doing a fantastic job and, as someone who was absolutely terrified at the prospect of using it initially, I have had almost no issues with anyone here.

As a blind pilot - someone who is unable to taxi to a runway - I'd also like to take this time to thank all of the controllers - hundreds, if not more, that I have dealt with during my time on this network. You are a huge part of what keeps me coming back - and you add such an amazing sense of realism and I have thoroughly enjoyed flying with you. I really can't put into words how much I for one appreciate the fact that you are willing to take this into consideration. As someone who has been into aviation my entire life, I truly hate not having the ability to taxi and add to  the realism - but I'll take what I can get. Being able to follow all the procedures in the air is something I certainly don't take for granted, and there is only more to come in the future.

There are too many places I need to leave positive feedback, at this point - and I honestly forget to when I have had a particularly positive experience. I'm still learning a lot each and every day - it's always a learning experience when I hop on. No flight is ever the same and that is yet one more reason I continue to thoroughly enjoy this hobby (more like an addiction now, with my hours).

So, in closing, thank you for everything you have done and have planned for the future. I hope this is the correct place to send this.
Take care and happy belated new year!


PS: I must be missing something obvious, but how do I get my vatsim ID to show up as others have?

Edited by Tyler Wood
Added question regarding vatsim ID.
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I've worked with you on more than one occasion, Tyler, as a TWR controller at the DC-area airports -- and it's always a pleasure seeing you and others like you on my scope.  Thanks very much for the kind words.  And congrats on amassing an hours total in one year that has taken me ten.  🙂




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Always love to hear you on frequency Tyler! As others have already said congrats on the hours logged and thanks  for posting such a positive message.

Josh Jenk

CZVR S3 controller


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Talk about a wow factor!! Tyler, so I can be further educated I for one would be most interested in your process of flying i.e. take off, flying and then landing?? Maybe when you get a chance you would care to expand on the subject herein. Cheers Dan

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On 1/12/2021 at 12:17 AM, Daniel Mckee said:

Talk about a wow factor!! Tyler, so I can be further educated I for one would be most interested in your process of flying i.e. take off, flying and then landing?? Maybe when you get a chance you would care to expand on the subject herein. Cheers Dan

Hello there,
I'd be more than happy to!
First, a bit of history in terms of the software I and others used before I  dive into specifics.

First off - a lot of the Aircraft I, and others, fly - are Freeware, simply due to the autopilot on most payware aircraft being far too complicated, having a lot of systems in general that are well above and beyond what the sim's default autopilot offers, and the inability to use the FMS (until now, I will explain later). I'm also still using FSX - though P3d v4 is useable, there are still some frustrations with it - mostly the inability to have true callouts which the planes I fly in FSX still support and work with - maybe 64 bit libraries missing?

A little over a year ago, we were specifically using
This was, at best, a 50 50 chance of even getting in the air and required a lot of fiddling with various parameters to get the aircrafts to fly even marginally well. Want to go 300 knots on the climb? You sure could, but since FSX pilot wasn't using the actual autopilot or autothrottle, it just yanked the throttle to full even if you were 20 knots below. It drastically overcompensated (and undercompensated) for just about everything.
We won't talk about procedures, at all - it didn't follow them.

Next came (or comes, as it were) FS tramp, which is what I use now. 

In the beginning it was hit or miss on whether or not we were able to intercept the localizer or glide. It would, however, follow all procedures - though in the beginning it was difficult (if in some cases not impossible) to go direct to a waypoint on a SID or STAR simply because those waypoints were not displayed in the list of waypoints that we could react to.

These days, we can follow all procedures, go direct to a waypoint and follow redirects - though I've only had this happen once and it was fun trying to do it quickly.
However the software that truly opened up all the doors to us was Talking flight monitor, made by another blind pilot.
This now allows us to do just about everything - and slowly but surely adding support for, at this point, the PMDG 737. I haven't purchased it yet but will more than likely do so in the coming months. That will certainly be a plane worth the purchase - since TFM now supports most if not all of the FMS, the various systems (engine starting procedures, the works). I'm super excited but also super nervous - especially when it comes to using this on vatsim.

A very, very quick and dirty rundown of a typical flight for me, however.
Starting with takeoff, I am able to use GSX, thanks to text intercept messages and TFM having the ability to read sim connect messages sent by the various third party add ons, like V pilot, active sky, and GSX. I can then load my flightplan into tramp, associate the SID and STAR,  as well as the runway I'll be using. I have my payload set to 0 by default - with one payload edit box in the aircraft CFG - since visually it is impossible to actually see how much payload is in the front vs. rear and how the plane will be balanced. I enjoy the realism this provides and I can usually get the ZFW right on the nose which is something that was a recent find.

Around this time I'll usually ask for clearance after checking the ATIS (if one exists or if ATC is on). Then it's just a matter of requesting clearance, with an amendment to the controller to check my flight remarks as I'm sure several have heard, 'there is something we could use your help with'.
Around this time I'll grab fuel with GSX and depending on the size of the aircraft start the boarding process, or just grab fuel and, depending on location and ATIS, request push and start or just push and start. This is another huge issue - even with TFM having the ability to tell me where I'm at, I'm still not entirely sure. Usually at busy airports I won't even bother pushing as it can be so hectic I'll never be sure if I'm going to push 'through' another aircraft and that's just not something I want to do. TFM (as well as v pilot's '.aircraft' command) will usually tell me who's close by, but regardless, pushing onto a Taxiway someone is just about to enter can be embarrassing as well as frustrating for them.
From here - with engines started - simply a matter of either using GSX or Tramp to reposition to the runway (after controller gives permission, of course). All of this time I'm of course making sure the various lights are on as needed. Especially landing lights when I'm on the runway.
Flaps out, as normal, After this - several options, and it depends on the aircraft. Normally just toga and bringing the nose up - of course it isn't terribly realistic since I'm not using a full on FMC and so there's no power setting to go by. Then enable autopilot and fly plan (in tramp). From here it's just a matter of following various instructions, keeping an eye on altitude, making sure instructions are followed. The alternative is enabling autopilot and fly plan on the ground and letting it bring the nose up. Both options generally work. Landing lights out after 10000 as well as seatbelt. God knows it should probably stay on - if those passengers only knew....
Nothing truly eventful until the descent. Thanks to Talking flight monitor, I am able to have the ILS info read out. By about 10000 I'm looking for the nav1 frequency and entering it into tramp to make sure it will capture the localizer. Tramp has two modes - m1 and m2. M1 is essentially autopilot - from waypoint to waypoint. M2 will allow it to capture the ILS information and send it over to the aircraft - which is also when I enable approach mode. I'm able to view the various procedures (in text) that the STAR and approach both contain and if control is on, when I'm told to intercept the localizer and cleared for the approach this is when I will do so. If left to my own devices, I usually wait for the plane to be on the heading given (104 for runway 10R, for instance). I know I'm fully established and on good terms when TFM announces heading lock and altitude lock are both off. I then disable fly plan entirely - and am given my planes relative location in relation to both the localizer and glideslope. I can then control its vertical descent - if I'm getting too high or low - and it's IAS.
From here, it's just a matter of making sure we're lined up with the runway - thanks to TFM, we can make sure using its runway guidance feature - and with RAAS Professional, we know if we're going to smash down on a taxiway, if we're too high, if we're unstable. Of course during this time I'm also bringing out flaps gradually, gear, whatever else I'm missing (forgive me, it's nearly 3 AM here). I try and be fully configured by at the very latest 1000 AGL but usually the earlier the better for me. Autothrottle comes out by about 30 agl and we're flaring by this time too. TFM also has an altitude indicator to give us audio cues on how we're doing on our vertical speed.

Since it's so late, I more than likely am missing a ton, but that's the basic outline of my steps for configuring and flying on vatsim.

If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask. I am also very very open to suggestions/anything fellow pilots/controllers recommend. My end goal is to be as realistic as humanly possible given what I have to work with, so I always enjoy knowing when I'm doing something that is incorrect so I can work on fixing it and learning from my mistake.


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  • 3 weeks later...
On 1/14/2021 at 5:49 AM, Daniel Mckee said:

Thanks for the education Tyler. I would think that very few of us here would be able to do what you do; I am so impressed. Tell me, how do you use FSTramp if you cannot see it? Regards Dan



Sorry for the late reply.


Essentially, I simply navigate through tramp using my screen reader. Entering values e.g. airspeed, heading, altitude. I can take manual control of the plane thanks to TFM if I need to - thanks to its atitude indicator it is able to, in a sense, give me an idea of the yaw and pitch of the airplane. The only thing we need to work on now is VOR indications and DME. And that is being worked on. DME in particular (or track miles from the field) seems to be more prevalent in Europe, though controllers have been very accomadating. 


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