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Not live but progress so far on the Mexico Vatsys Sector    

VATSYS Present in WorldFlight 2020 I was crazy enough to try it on Tuesday! And it did pretty good managing the eastbound departures out of Mexico Center. Still some things to figure out an

Kuwait Radar for today's event from Dubai to Amsterdam!

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Well the colors didn't come out right at all.. I don't have a Print Screen key on my computer, and the combo that help says equals it does nothing so I have a free screen grabber.. Anyway, the flight strip is the more important thing here, sadly he never called

 

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PS, usually it's zoomed out farther, I was handling someone's taxi at the time.

Steven Caffey (SY) ZLA Controller

"A mile of highway gets you one mile, but a mile of runway can take you anywhere."

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It's up to me that I want to share my way through to my controller software setup I am going to write that for the pilot that is eager to see how our scopes look like as well as for the experienced controller that might find my feelings common to his own way through setting up a controller workstation.

 

The sector we deal with is EDGG_S, one of the (hundreds of) Langen Radars (everything that has a scope from the middle of Germany down to the border of France and Switzerland is called a "Langen Radar"). Covered primary fields are Frankfurt/Main in the middle, Stuttgart, Frankfurt/Hahn and Nuremberg (in the East, if no Munich Radar is online). In the first picture you can see roughly ten more fields that have at least a temporary control zone and some sort of IFR procedures.

 

My starting point is an oldish laptop with a 12" display. You don't believe me? Yeah, you are right: I attached a 22" flatscreen to it

 

We start with the dusk of EuroScope 3.1d, January this year, which was able to make everything much more colorful

It conincided with my CTR-promotion so here you see one of my first afternoon-sessions on CTR.

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From today's point of view (only 3 months later which shows that this point is changing constantly...) way too much unnecessary information drawing attention from important things.

What you can see are the EuroScope-common "handoff borders" (around Frankfurt approach sector and to Cologne approach in the Northwest). EuroScope can be taught to know each and every airspace and which controller is handling it. You get neat hints about the agreed "coordination points" and together with a constant calculation of the aircraft's path a direct indication which controller will be next for each and every plane.

On the bottom a simple flight strip is shown, summarizing the flightplan data and adding some information by looking up databases (name of airports, plane type and wake turbulence category).

The lists on the left are rather self-explanatory in their meaning and are fully customizable. They follow the same color scheme as the aircraft tag (the thing on the scope along each radartarget that shows the textual information) in my case, but if you are masochistic, you can choose different colors here The base colors in this setup are: Cyan for tracked aircraft (EuroScope calls that "[Mod - Happy Thoughts]umed" - basically an indication of "this airplane is mine, you other radar controller leave your hand off it!"); Orange for aircraft that will soon enter my airspace ("notified" in EuroScope's vocabulary) and sand yellow for "unconcerned" aircraft.

In the lists interesting fields are T (Voice/Text/Receive only communication type), XFL (planned sector exit flightlevel, thanks to EuroScope's knowledge of handoff points and altitudes), COPX (planned sector exit point) and SI (the controller currently tracking the aircraft [curently none] or the next sector's controller identifier).

In this setup I had the Holding List installed - which I find totally useless nowadays

The METAR list shows another nice EuroScope feature: Along with the Wind and QNH information the current ATIS letter is indicated. This is handed off from controller to controller so (as long as the other controller uses EuroScope) you get the correct designator for each ATIS in range

A further helpful, but totally unrealistic (damnit ) feature is a list of pilots that have hooked to your voice channel - helpful to find that sucker pressing his Push-To-Talk button the whole time. And also a "cheat" to get a callsign where you only understood "Alitalia...a-two"...

 

 

Here is the second (and third) EuroScope window.

One frank talk to the (beloved) EuroScope developpers: Would be awesome if those windows would be freely resizable...

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On my 12" (laptop) monitor

You see Stuttgart ground and the Frankfurt arrival sector. These views are basically the same I use today...

See the nice little airplane on the tarmac in Stuttgart? That's EuroScope's ground view (all symbols are freely customizable, this one a little smaller than the standard).

 

 

Definitely inevitable for any VATSIMer: charts.

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I use the free ChartViewer. It allows automatic download of official charts provided by vACCs plus it allows to quickly search in a specific folder. This is where I have all LoAs (letter of agreements between FIRs, so to say agreed procedures happening near the borders), private charts and other valuable docomeentation saved. It displays .pdf, .txt and images, basically everything you can open in Internet Explorer I am very very happy with it .

Second important thing: TeamSpeak.

 

 

Some addition I highly recommend for any action that is taken out parallel on VATSIM voice and Teamspeak (aka controlling or flying ).

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I hated to mute myself on TeamSpeak because I got confused by two different voice origins. This neat program allows to use your left headset speaker for VATSIM voice and your right one for TeamSpeak. Believe it or not: our brain is able to split that apart so that it is easier to get the message even though you are talked to on both sides. It is called Virtual Audio Cable and I have bought it for some bucks - I deem it well worth.

 

 

The scope moves on. Next step I was taking was to make the colorscheme lighter.

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You see the difference? Yeah, some more controllers are online (see the handoff borders all around me ) And apart from that? Ah, well nothing - still cluttered like hell.

 

 

Time to pull all that m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ive amount of fancy lines out of it. Think that was February then.

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Looks way more controllable now, does it? + Brussels online (in the West), hooray!

 

 

Another day, another colorscheme.

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Good contrast, but not my style... What needs to said here, is that EuroScope does not allow to change the color of the menubar on the top. You say "it is a program, not a romance". Ah, leave me alone.

 

 

Here we are in March 2010. The sector shows a Friday evening load.

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I have added a fourth tag color: "redundant" is EuroScopish for an aircraft inside your sector, but already tracked by another controller (light grey, see one the leaves my sector to the bottom over Frankfurt's approach airspace).

Pretty much everything went out of my screen, compared to the first setup: If I do not need an aircraft I "tag it down" so that only the flightlevel and climb/decend indicator is shown. No Holding list. I feel that I need everything I can see (that is subject to change, as we have seen...).

 

 

Here is the tag I use now (did I say yet it is fully customizable?)

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What you see are two variants of the same tag family: "tagged" and "detailled". You have seen "untagged" in the fullsize Friday evening picture already. Every tag gets detailled when my mouse hovers over it. Most items hold functions that are accessed by clicking on it. So this tag is the most powerful thing ever invented in aviation.

I still have the destination in the tagged variant, I need it constantly but maybe that might go out soon as well. Its color is dependant on the cleared flightlevel, either dark blue (even) or dark green (odd). Apart from that, you see present and cleared flightlevel (only shown if different from present level and in green, my color for all things I [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ign to an aircraft).

 

The detailled tag holds the scratchpad field (make notes and stick it on a plane, like "newbie", "never reads back", "no control" etc. ), [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned SID (on the ground) or STAR (in the air). Next line: destination, planned sector exit level (only shown if not set as cleared level already), [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned RWY. Next line: callsign, eventually communication type, controller indicator (next enterring sector's controller in that case). Next line: Current flightlevel, cleared flightlevel (only shown if different from current level), speed in 10kts, next direct-to-point or [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned heading. Next line: [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned rate (1000ft/min in this case), [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned speed (250kts). Next line: flightplan data like plane type and requested cruise level.

 

Shall I explain which functions I can access by mouseclick?... Ah, I better leave you alone, most items have functions [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned for left and right mouse buttons, where the right button is (often) to switch the item visible/off in the "tagged" variant. I am currently thinking if this is necessary because I use it so seldom.

 

Colors: My approach is that all colors should really should "mean" something. I chose bright green for clearances (heading, cleared level, rates and speeds, SID/STAR) and co-ordinated direct-to points (you will have to think of 4 colors for EuroScops's controller co-ordination features: pending by other/by me, accepted [this one goes bright green because I consider it a clearance], refused...), ocean blue for flightplan items (aircraft, cruise level) except from destination - that one gets shown in two colors based on the cleared flightlevel (even or odd) and sand yellow for all warnings. Grey are computed values like the sector exit level or the current vertical speed. On "[Mod - Happy Thoughts]umed" (= tracked, aka "mine") airplanes the callsign, altitude and speed are shown a notch bigger than anything else, one of the best-looking features in my oppinion That, at least, is a try of making similar things look similar and give the eye a clue of what to search for when I question myself "ey, what is the cruise level of this one?".

 

EDIT: You can download all my visual settings. After being asked for them, I put them to a .zip. Copy to your desired settings location and use "Settings files setup..." to import them to EuroScope.

 

 

Thanks for your interest in a story about some VATSIM controller setting up his workstation to fit the needs and the endless (daunting, uncountable, confusing... ) possibilities of EuroScope. Make it your home and find your style! But it can be where too much freedom will never let you be content with the state you are in now. Beware Questions? You're welcome.

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