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VRC + Weather Radar?


Jason Helkenberg 913355
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Anyone know if VRC is going to release some type of update in regards to "onscreen weather?" It would be awsome to have the option to turn on and off weather in transparent mode in VRC to vector traffic around. It would have to be either Activesky or uploaded from the Vatsim network to keep it in sink with the online traffic. I belive this would bring a hole new level of realism to online ATC!

Jason Helkenberg

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While a good idea in theory there are several problem with implementing it -

The first problem is that FS renders weather randomly for everybody - so where you may have a big dirty thunder cloud I may not

The second one is that not everybody uses Activesky or similiar, so how their weather generates be different again.

 

From controlling and flying I've learnt this as I've both reported and had reported to me bad turbulence on approach only for the next pilot to report it smooth as gl[Mod - Happy Thoughts].

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My artcc is actually working on that at the moment. I haven't heard the status of it lately but some screenshots can be found in our forums at http://www.zhuartcc.com/zhuforum/viewtopic.php?t=674. I think right now, we are just trying to combine it with VRC, but i don't know cause i'm not the programmer in this case.

 

Matt Jordan

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VRC will not have a weather radar display until VATSIM has standardized weather for all pilots and controllers. When I say standardized, I don't just mean shared METARs ... I mean shared locations of clouds, types of clouds, cloud tops/bases, etc. Until then, anything I or anyone else could do will just be eye candy. It doesn't make any sense to vector an aircraft around a storm cell that he can't see ... you might very well vector him INTO the storm cell that he can see. In my (not so) humble opinion, it is much more realistic to simulate the lack of weather radar on our scopes, and let pilots request weather vectors.

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

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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I can understand how it might be confusing for a pilot to get vectored around a "non existing storm" but the option to have weather radar in VRC would be a plus for other pilots who want vectors. Yes it might not be down to the foot preciseness, but at lease it will give a general idea where the weather is. Pilots that are not running weather can simply deny vectors around storms or just advice the controller they are flying clear skies. For myself, there have been countless times that I have flown into a storm running FS P[Mod - Happy Thoughts]engers and then regretted it later. I just think that if the option was there, it would bring more realism and a bigger challenge for pilots and controllers!

Jason Helkenberg

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Yes it might not be down to the foot preciseness, but at lease it will give a general idea where the weather is.

 

It won't be down-to-the-mile precision.

 

It won't be down-to-the-ten-miles-precision.

 

VRC doesn't know anything about the weather you're flying through. Best it knows is the METARS, which are often the same as yours. But update frequencies can cause differences there, too. Airports are pretty far apart. Nor does a METAR give wind aloft, cloud height, turbulence, & etc. Each flight sim client makes all of that stuff up.

 

BTW, A little bird told me that Ross has the inside scoop on what makes VRC tick and why some things might be impossible to do at this time.

ZLA Pilot Certs make your eyes bright, your teeth white, and childbirth a pleasure. Get yours today!
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Just for information purposes, in Canada (at least in ZUL), we'ld never dare vectoring a plane around a storm. I'm talking RW here. Becuase the way PSR are set, water detection is not very accurate. We get blobs of wx where nothing lies and vice-versa.

 

Instead, pilots take action in requesting deviations and we accomodate them the best we can. You guessed it, stormy evenings turn into nightmares pretty quick.

 

Some unequipped A/C dare asking what the weater ahead is like and all we can say is " I paint some weather at your 12oclock by 50 miles extending east for 80 miles but a RJ flyed right through about 5 minutes ago saying we needed a better radar "...

 

Another option that they considered was to put a doppler overlay from Environnement Canada on the displays, but as it only updates every 15 minutes, there would be a problem.

 

In my opinion, it's better not to have any than have something inaccurate that can't be used.

 

[edited for typos.. jeez I'm tired!]

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Just for information purposes, in Canada (at least in ZUL), we'ld never dare vectoring a plane around a storm.

 

We don't either in the US. We'll usually tell the pilots that we're indicating areas of [light, moderate, etc.] precipitation at your __ o'clock and ___ miles. It's up to them to decide if they want to deviate or not. It's dangerous to start vectoring them all over, since our data isn't always accurate. We could be sending them right into a huge cell. They have the best view in the house, and can decide if they want to deviate.

Bryan Wollenberg

ZLA!

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VRC lacks the capability to properly display weather as it would be portrayed in Flight Simulator. This is because Flight Simulator needs some weather upgrades to smoothen the transition between two weather station's jurisdictions (you know, where it says, "Weather updated using weather at K***) then all of a sudden it turns into 1sm visibility and a 900 foot ceiling? LOL Yup.) But once VATSIM gets a good weather system (which will happen in time) VRC should be able to display weather radar images. It's not "how." It's more like "when."

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Some DAL pilot: "Atlanta Center, DALXXX, Request 20 left for weather."

Atlanta Athens Sector: "Negative, unable at this time."

 

About 60 seconds later...

 

Same DAL pilot: "Atlanta Center, DALXXX, we can't continue we NEED to turn left NOW to get around this weather."

 

[in a daddy yells at children voice]

 

Atlanta Athens Sector: "DALXXX, that is a NEGATIVE, you do not turn left, if you have to turn you turn RIGHT, I don't care if you make a complete 180 but you DO NOT TURN LEFT, I have a holding pattern full of planes at your 11 O'Clock and 10 miles!"

 

Later that same day on the Final approach frequency....

 

ASQXXX: "Approach, ASQXXX can we turn right to get around this cell?"

Atlanta Approach: "Not unless you feel like playing chicken with a seven five at the same altitude."

ASQXXX: "Ok, we'll get through it, ASQXXX."

 

Let's just leave deviations for weather to the pilots.

 

If you want to increase realism then maybe we should come up with a way to show conditions at the airport better, such as when to shut down an airport due to T-Storms. I have yet to see the VATSIM Metar reflect what is going on at the field in the real world when it comes to getting shut down for weather. Everytime KATL is closed for storms, the VATSIM metar may have accurate visibility, but never shows anything that would make a controller think he needs to shut down the field or reduce arrival rates. At worst it might say thunderstorms in vicinity, but what does that mean to us? Also Storms can p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] by in 20 minutes and the VATSIM METAR never get updated. Maybe a new system for weather on VATSIM not based on METARs? Maybe there is some kind of weather feed out there? I am almost certain the National Weather Service sends out coded reports for every city in the country that reflect actual surface conditions every 10-15 minutes or so. (Like what you see on the your local weather channel...I believe that comes from a NWS encoded feed.) Any ideas???

 

I don't think we need so much of a radar image, but maybe more detailed information on the conditions at the airport on both the controller and pilot side.

Regards,

JX

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Now that I think of it all the weather station are reporting it to the NWS and that is distributed to all the media. The reports I am talking about are not METARs because they report things like rainfall rates. I am no meteorologist so I am by far not the expert so if any of you have any ideas feel free to elaborate.

Regards,

JX

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