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Beta testers needed for new Toolbar app


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Hi all, I have developed a VS radio toolbar app for FS 2020. It uses the various VATSIM feeds to present the nearby controllers, maps, distance and range info. It also allows you to set your Comm radios to the correct frequencies. I am going to need a few testers in the coming weeks , if you are interested let me know by return. Here is a short promo video , comments welcome.

 

 

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Looks neat, but do people actually find these tools useful? When I fly I find it easiest just to tune my radio to the next frequency ATC gives me, I don't quite understand how someone would find a list of callsigns easier than turning 2 knobs. I don't mean to offend anyone, I would just like to know what the other perspective is and how those pilots do it

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Christian Kovanen
Director of VATSIM Scandinavia
VATSIM Membership Manager

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I guess it depends on the pilot, the aircraft,  controller and knowing what’s online - whilst I was developing this I have spent a few hours in observer mode listening in to frequencies . Not everyone is so confident to press a few buttons and incorrect frequency read back is more common than you 1st realise.  

Tools are not designed for everyone, it’s freeware and simply designed to help those not as confident as others,. 😊

 

 

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Whatever works for you, then great. Personally I fly in VR; it can be a challenge with a pen and paper 

flying in VS today I heard 4 pilots read back the frequency incorrectly in the space of 15 minutes with one controller. So perhaps it’s not an issue for experienced pilots, but it’s certainly one for newer pilots 

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  • 1 month later...

This would be a wonderful toolbar app!  Vpilot doesn't have a way to tune a new frequency with mouse clicks, either because the vatsim code is so archaic, or the vpilot dev is doing the bare minimum.  

Since MFS does not have drag and scroll capability like Ex-Plane, any opportunity to not have to scroll with the mouse wheel for an eternity, would be a godsend!  

I hope you are able to make this work. 

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2 hours ago, Tim Simpson said:

Vpilot doesn't have a way to tune a new frequency with mouse clicks, either because the vatsim code is so archaic, or the vpilot dev is doing the bare minimum.  

Or the vPilot dev holds the opinion that the vPilot interface should be used as little as possible, ideally not at all during flight.

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

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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Ross,

 

thanks, my design assumption is that vPilot serves a different purpose to this app. This app is a simply a presentation layer over the top of the VATSIM API and SimConnect, there we lots of additional features i could have added like messaging (which is handled by sim notifcations) and airspace data. This simply serves the purpose of helping pilots know what VATSIM ATC resources are online in their vicinity during flight and helps them tune to the right freqeuncy when required. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, David Black said:

Ross,

 

thanks, my design assumption is that vPilot serves a different purpose to this app. This app is a simply a presentation layer over the top of the VATSIM API and SimConnect, there we lots of additional features i could have added like messaging (which is handled by sim notifcations) and airspace data. This simply serves the purpose of helping pilots know what VATSIM ATC resources are online in their vicinity during flight and helps them tune to the right freqeuncy when required. 

Hi David, I was responding to Tim's comment about me doing the "bare minimum" with vPilot. I wasn't making any judgement about your app. :classic_smile:

Edited by Ross Carlson
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Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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16 hours ago, Ross Carlson said:

Or the vPilot dev holds the opinion that the vPilot interface should be used as little as possible, ideally not at all during flight.

 
The funny thing is, in vpilot, you can mouse click to get a controllers details, start a private message session with a controller, or display ATIS.  These are all things you'd do during a low work volume time as a pilot.  During the very busy time of departure and arrival, when mouse click comm tuning and transfer would be very beneficial, it's not seen as important. 
 
This calls back to the recent pilot indictment by the VATSIM president. The current state of VATSIM is so broken, there are no changes large enough that will meaningfully fix much of anything.   All that is left are small things.  
 
Flying a multi crew aircraft, as a single pilot in a VATSIM event, during a busy departure, or arrival, and being able to change frequencies with a double mouse click, does more than you think. It gets the pilots head out of the cockpit, instead of trying to scroll over multiple small click spots. In the mean time, while focusing on furiously scrolling digits, the pilot is missing radio calls, or delaying acting on ATC instructions, in turn, causing issues for ATC, and other pilots. 
 
Something as simple as a double click to tune comm one, could actually have a positive impact on pilot performance, by reducing pilot workload at critical times, and improve the overall VATSIM experience for everyone.  Or maybe the dev doesn't hold the opinion that there's any need to improve the VATSIM experience for the members?
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Tim

as I stated in my reply, I recognised that vPilot does the job it is designed to do. However single pilot IFR, potentially in a complex airliner, is a massive workload - so this was designed to help. Despite what other posters have said, its clear from the network that even experienced pilots have issues reading back frequencies (as we all do in real life piloting). If, liike me, you fly in VR then the use of a pen and paper isn't always feasible. 

This is meant, as you say, to reduce workload, espeically for new pilots, and hopefully improve people's experience of VATSIM which is an incredibly useful free resource.

Hopefully some of the more experienced on the network will accept the need for this tool for those less experienced than themselves. We can all co-exist nicely, with the right tools for the right people.. 

 

/DB

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Tim Simpson said:
The funny thing is, in vpilot, you can mouse click to get a controllers details, start a private message session with a controller, or display ATIS.

These are all things that have no equivalent function within the sim. We have no choice but to provide UI for these things.

Edited by Ross Carlson

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

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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28 minutes ago, David Black said:

Tim

as I stated in my reply, I recognised that vPilot does the job it is designed to do. However single pilot IFR, potentially in a complex airliner, is a massive workload - so this was designed to help. Despite what other posters have said, its clear from the network that even experienced pilots have issues reading back frequencies (as we all do in real life piloting). If, liike me, you fly in VR then the use of a pen and paper isn't always feasible. 

This is meant, as you say, to reduce workload, espeically for new pilots, and hopefully improve people's experience of VATSIM which is an incredibly useful free resource.

Hopefully some of the more experienced on the network will accept the need for this tool for those less experienced than themselves. We can all co-exist nicely, with the right tools for the right people.. 

 

/DB

Agree 100%.  

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Posted (edited)

@David Balck

Very nice tool, David! What ever make life easier for pilots. I am an ACC Controller in the Bremen FIR, and in a 2-hour Session we get a lot of text messages asking if we are responsible for certain Airports.

We ALWAYS have all the Airports we control listed in the Controller Info. So those repeated questions can get very annoying after a while.

So I personally think this is a good step in the right direction.

 

For the future:

Hopefully something like this will be available for more Simulators

And it would be great if the pilot would get a Message in Sim which Station is responsible for him based on his position. This would need some kind of Database with Airports and preferably frequencies.

For example, EHGG and the 124.875 prio 1, 125.750 prio 2 etc. going down a priority list and depends on who is online.

 

This would be a great solution for a pretty annoying problem we have on VATSIM currently.

 

Just a thought of mine maybe it's doable maybe not, unfortunately I can't code 😄

 

Best regards.

Edited by Chris Gutierrez
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I agree.  The visual depiction of the airspace you're approaching, along with the frequency, is invaluable on the network.  With top down coverage a necessity, it's very difficult at times to figure out who to contact, if you are coming from an unstaffed area. 

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Thanks for comments, this is somehting I have considered, its needs a authoratative feed with the vertical airspace structures and common naming with the other feeds. This might be too difficult considering the different rules for different FIRs/Countries and complexities of regions such as LA, SFO, NY and LON. 

Chris makes a good point about having the text information regarding airspace/airports responsbility, this tool at least surfaces that information to a pilot, however there are issues quality/consistency of some of the text fields entered by come controllers. For a starter, even a consistent text field showing controller responsibilities - (for instance heights, airports etc.) against each controller would be a good start, perhaps might suggest over on the vatspy-data-project. 

 

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Such a database has been desired and discussed many times over the years. I think the complexity is what has prevented it from becoming a reality. As I see it, there are two primary complications. First, it's not a simple one-to-one association between a controller and a chunk of airspace. The way the various sectors combine and decombine when controllers log on and off can be very complicated with many variables and permutations. Second, the shape of the airspace covered by each sector often changes based on which runways are active at one or more airports, so there would need to be a way for controllers to specify the active runways.

It is technically possible, but it's a very heavy lift, and it's not something you can do piecemeal or half-baked. In order for it to add value to pilots and controllers, it has to be accurate, else it's no better (perhaps even worse) than what we have now.

 

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

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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I understand that it is complex, but I would see at as a responsibility of the vACC to keep it accurate and up to date. 

We already manage a great amount of Info with each AIRAC and keep everything up to date using Aero GNG.

A similar approach should make a Database like that possible.

 

I am just concerned because this is a major problem in Europe.

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