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Feedback requested on proposed model matching changes


Ross Carlson
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 11/24/2021 at 10:09 PM, Ross Carlson said:

Hi all,

For quite a while, I've been wanting to expand vPilot's model matching capabilities. Currently, it looks at the first three characters of the callsign to determine the airline. This works well for most situations, but there are some cases where the callsign prefix doesn't correctly identify which airline should be shown on the model, such as when a regional airline is flying for a mainline airline. For example, if the callsign is RPA123, the callsign prefix (RPA) doesn't indicate which mainline airline the pilot is flying for, and it could be Delta, American, or United. vPilot supports the ability to map a flight number range to a specific model, and this covers most of the regional airline situations. However, this flight number functionality is only available if you load a custom VMR file. vPilot's automatic model scanning does not support the flight number range capability.

Since the FLAi project was shut down, model matching has been back to the way it was before FLAi ... it's a bit of a free-for-all, and you don't get decent model matching unless you make your own VMR file, or you use a model set that vPilot "knows about" such as the World of AI models or the payware My Traffic models. This leaves P3D v5 users and MSFS users out in the cold, and they have to use third-party tools like ModelMatchingMagic in order to get decent model matching. I want the process to be more automatic.

To that end, I'm considering two major changes to improve the model matching process:

First, I would expand the Connect window so that you enter not only your callsign and aircraft type code, but you can also enter an airline code and livery code. The airline code would be optional, of course, and you would leave it blank if you're flying a General Aviation aircraft. If you're flying an airliner, you would obviously enter the ICAO airline code in the airline box. This airline code would be used by other pilots' pilot clients (not just vPilot) for the purpose of selecting a model to represent your aircraft in the other pilot's sim. This will improve model matching not just for vPilot users, but also for other pilot client users when they are displaying aircraft flown by vPilot users.

If you leave the airline code blank, and your callsign looks like an airline callsign (three letters followed by one or more digits and then optionally one or two letters) then the airline code will be set equal to the first three letters of your callsign.

If you fill in the livery code, that code will be sent to other pilot clients to allow for more fine-tuned model matching. Since we don't have a standardized database of livery codes, this will primarily only be useful for people that build custom VMR files for their VA. Eventually, I would like to build up an "official" database of livery codes, and provide a list of those codes in a dropdown for the user to choose from. This list would be filtered based on the aircraft type code and airline code that was entered. This would allow pilots to specify that they are flying the "Mosaic" livery for JetBlue, or the Fox livery for Frontier, or the Shamu livery for Southwest, to name a few examples. We could also establish standard livery codes for GA aircraft in order to represent the colors in the paint scheme more accurately.

When you fill in these fields, you will have the option of saving the aircraft details in your "hangar" for easy recall later. There will be a dropdown on the Connect window where you can choose a previously-saved aircraft. Note that the callsign would not be saved with the aircraft, as it is subject to change each time you fly any given aircraft, but vPilot will remember that last callsign you used with each aircraft and pre-fill that callsign when you select the aircraft from your hangar. I may also have vPilot remember which aircraft you selected for each flyable aircraft that you have installed in the sim, and then automatically select the appropriate aircraft from your hangar when you select an aircraft in the sim. If vPilot doesn't recognize the aircraft that you selected in the sim, the Connect window fields will be blank and you'll need to enter the data. vPilot will then remember the values that you entered for the next time you select that aircraft in the sim, even if you don't save the details as a new aircraft in your hangar. I might have vPilot pre-fill the aircraft type, airline code, and livery code if the aircraft you've selected in the sim is found in the model database.

Second, I would have vPilot utilize the database of model information that the developers of swift and the community have created and given me permission to use in vPilot. vPilot already has its own database of model information, but it hasn't been updated in a long time. The swift community have done a great job of populating their model database, including many of the models that are available for MSFS. Using this database to supplement the existing model scanning process will allow vPilot to automatically identify many more of the models that you have installed in your sim, especially for MSFS users.

So, that's what I'm currently considering. Please let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions for changes.

Thanks!

 

This is not very GA friendly. I'm 58 and currently working toward PPL and what better ATC practice options. I will never for real get anywhere near an airliner flight deck.  Also, it is a real, large , pain in the butt looking up ICAO codes. It would really be nice to have it all in a convenient search engine with several fields.

Manufacturer

Model

Engine

Avionics Equippment

Click search, get code. Maybe I'm lazy. Could someone post convenient links to what I need to know to log in for a flight?

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22 minutes ago, Gary Reed said:

This is not very GA friendly. I'm 58 and currently working toward PPL and what better ATC practice options. I will never for real get anywhere near an airliner flight deck.  Also, it is a real, large , pain in the butt looking up ICAO codes. It would really be nice to have it all in a convenient search engine with several fields.

Manufacturer

Model

Engine

Avionics Equippment

Click search, get code. Maybe I'm lazy. Could someone post convenient links to what I need to know to log in for a flight?

From Ross' post:

Quote

The airline code would be optional, of course, and you would leave it blank if you're flying a General Aviation aircraft.

So if you're flying GA and using a reg, you wouldn't add anything to the code box and therefore you'd connect with your aircraft registration.   That sounds a fairly simple solution to me?   Or am I missing your issue with this?

Regarding ICAO codes for airlines, there's various options out there to know who is who.  If you wanted to fly an airliner with their airline code, how would you pick who you were flying as?  A route you know?  An interesting route you've seen on Flightradar etc?  Simply take the callsign that you've seen and use that.

Trevor Hannant

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  • 4 weeks later...

It would be good if vpilot tried matching the model first , then the livery. 
When flying near other aircraft, it's more important to me what they are flying than who they are flying with.  Both are important, but I hate seeing 744's as a CRJ because a livery can't be found. I'd rather see a 744 in a generic livery. 

BD

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27 minutes ago, Ross Carlson said:

You can accomplish that yourself with a VMR file rule. If you have a generic 744 installed, then you can make a rule that specifies the type code but not the callsign prefix.

Ross - don't want to belabor this, but how about the other way around.
I fly with a fictional livery on a 744. Since not everyone has my livery, would it be better that model  matching shows them a 744 (or something close) rather than defaulting to a CRJ or Airbus? 
Maybe it does, but I think no matter what I fly, most people see me as the default aircraft rather than the proper model with a different livery. 

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10 hours ago, Bob Donovan said:

Maybe it does, but I think no matter what I fly, most people see me as the default aircraft rather than the proper model with a different livery. 

They're going to see whatever their VMR files tell vPilot to use for a B744 with a fictional callsign prefix. Since most people aren't going to have a VMR rule for your fictional prefix, they'll get the default model, which is the CRJ or Airbus unless the user changed it.

But as I said, if you just want to see a generic B744, and you have such a model installed, you can have a VMR rule that specifies the B744 type code, with no callsign prefix specified, and have it use that generic model.

If you don't have a generic B744 installed, you can have a VMR rule that specifies the B744 type code, no callsign prefix, and it lists all of your B744 models that have airline textures, and vPilot will choose one at random. Then you'll see the right a/c type, but the wrong livery. Some people think this should be the default behavior, but I very much disagree. I never want to see the wrong airline. I would much rather see the right airline on the wrong a/c type. And if the right airline isn't available, I want to see either a generic unpainted model that is the right a/c type, and then fall back to the default model if I don't have a generic model. I want it to be obvious when I don't have a match, so that I know I need to install more models.

Also, when I'm taxiing at an airport and ATC tells me to give way to the American 737, I definitely don't want to look out the window and see a Southwest 737 (if I don't have the American 737 installed.) I'd much rather see an American A320. These proposed changes would make things work better in that way ... you'll see the correct livery more often, and you'll see a similar aircraft type more often, and it'll fall back to your default model much less often.

  • Like 1

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

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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