By Don Desfosse 1035677
#465974 vPilot Tips, Tricks, FAQ and Troubleshooting Guide
Initial Release: 01 May 2014
Last Update: 21 Jan 2016


Note that this guide was created for vPilot v1. Some of it may be applicable, but some won't be, particularly entries regarding model matching and networking.

Introduction and Objective
The objective of this post is to provide a quick reference guide to help members effectively set up and troubleshoot the most common issues with vPilot. Note: This post is applicable to VATSIM operations only.

vPilot is a simple-yet-functional client designed to get a new pilot up and flying quickly with good model matching out of the box. Although not specifically written for P3D, vPilot has also been used successfully with Lockheed Martin's Prepar3D v1.4 and v2.x, due to the fact that P3D supports the same SimConnect client library that comes with FSX. This means that in order to use vPilot with P3D, you'll need to have FSX SP2/Acceleration installed, or manually install the FSX version of the SimConnect library which comes with P3D.

The biggest complaints that most people seem to have with FSInn and Squawkbox are tricky installations / installation problems and difficulty in setting up model matching. The beauty of the client is that most people can be online with well-functioning model matching within about 15 minutes of downloading the client. It is extremely low overhead, providing a good-FPS solution for users. It is something that Ross Carlson, a long-time member and technical supporter of the VATSIM community, developed and released within just a few months, bringing the ability for a significant number of new members, or members who left due to the trouble setting up a client, a way to enjoy VATSIM quickly and easily.

vPilot is designed to be a very simple client. It doesn't come with its own model sets (e.g. payware or freeware AI model sets). It's designed to get a new pilot up and flying quickly. If you haven't purchased or downloaded freeware Artificial Intelligence (AI) aircraft, you can either download the FSX default model matching rule set, or all you will see is the default aircraft (e.g., white Airbus A321 in FSX).

It likely meets the needs of the majority of VATSIM members, without having "all" the functionality that some would like, that would have added a significant amount of time to the release. There is a new client under development that promises to bring more capability and support more platforms. vPilot will likely bridge the gap for many people, providing a much better VATSIM experience than they enjoy now, or a great out-of-the-box experience for new members, and then when the new client is released, members will have yet another choice as to which client best supports their needs.

Please send any recommended updates via email to Don Desfosse emailing to [vatusa1 at vatusa dot net] or via a forum private message.


Tips and Tricks
1. Read the documentation first! Especially the sections on model matching (read them twice!).
2. Download at least a freeware AI aircraft library (e.g., World of Aircraft (WOAI). It will make your experience so much better!
3. If you use UAC and use a keyboard PTT, DO NOT install vPilot as an administrator, but once installed, if you run FSX/P3D as an administrator, run vPilot as an administrator. Joystick PTT works fine with or without running as an administrator.
4. If you run FSX/P3D as an administrator, you must run vPilot as an administrator.
5. If using Windows 8, ensure you have full control permissions on the vPilot folder.


FAQ / Troubleshooting
Q: What's the number one issue people have with vPilot so far?
A: Failure to read the documentation and the vPilot Tips, Tricks, FAQ and Troubleshooting Guide, especially the sections on model matching!

Q: I'm brand new, and I don't have any AI aircraft. What will I see?
A: If you haven't purchased or downloaded freeware Artificial Intelligence (AI) aircraft, you can either download the FSX default model matching rule set, or all you will see is the default aircraft (e.g., white Airbus A321 in FSX). See the discussion on seeing other aircraft and how other pilots see you, below.

Q: I just downloaded a bunch of AI aircraft. Where do I install them in vPilot?
A: You don't install them in vPilot. vPilot doesn't know or care where the models are installed. As long as they are installed correctly for use within FSX/P3D, vPilot can make use of them, assuming you enabled the correct model matching rule sets.

Q: I clicked all the model matching rule sets, but all I see is white A320s. How come I don't see all different aircraft?
A: You may be confusing liveries (a/k/a model sets) and rule sets. Liveries are the paints that appear on AI aircraft. Rule sets are the instructions that tell vPilot where to find your AI. There are no liveries that come with vPilot. For liveries, you need AI (artificial intelligence aircraft). Examples of these include WoAI, MyTraffic, etc. You have to find freeware ones or buy payware ones. Then you need to install them in your simulator. Then you can tell vPilot which ones you have installed by selecting the model matching rule sets and making those active in vPilot (and picking the order of precedence).

Q: I downloaded and installed all the model matching rule sets that came with vPilot, but now I'm getting a million errors. What's up with that? What's the logic?
A: Only download and install model matching sets for AI packages that you have installed! If you don't have the aircraft installed, vPilot will look for the aircraft in your FSX/P3D installation and when it can't find the aircraft, will throw an error message. Read the Model Matching Rules Explained section of the documentation (http://vPilot.metacraft.com/Documentation.aspx)

Q: I keep getting all these errors saying there's an error with my model matching. What's up with that? What's the logic?
A: Read the Model Matching Rules Explained section of the documentation (http://vPilot.metacraft.com/Documentation.aspx)

Q: I just upgraded from P3D v2.4 to v2.5, but now I'm getting a bunch of model matching errors. Do you know why?
A: Yes. For some reason, Lockheed Martin changed the location of the SimObjects.cfg file. It now needs to be located in the C:\Program Data\LockheedMartin\Prepar3Dv2 folder, NOT in your P3D folder.

Q: I use P3D, and am getting a bunch of model matching errors. What's the most common reason?
A: Failure to ensure the AI is actually installed in the simulator via a proper entry in the SimObjects.cfg file. Make sure you have an entry that looks like:

[Entry.x]
Path=SimObjects\yyy

Where x = the next sequential number in the Entry series, and yyy is the path where your AI exists (e.g. Path=SimObjects\MyTraffic\Aircraft)

Q: I use P3D, and occasionally get an error message about my default aircraft. Any ideas?
A: The most common reason for this error is the user forgetting to change the default display aircraft from an FSX aircraft to a P3D aircraft. !). In the Settings > Model Matching tab, change your Default Model to the Default P3D CRJ by clicking the button in the bottom right (or you can select a different P3D aircraft if you wish, but will need to type it's exact name into the Title window). See this relevant section from the Documentation here: http://vpilot.metacraft.com/Documentati ... figuration for more information (scroll down until you get to the Model Matching section).

Q: I can no longer find the IVAO model matching rule set. What happened?
A: The IVAO model matching rule set file is no longer offered, respecting the wishes of IVAO. See here for more information.

Q: I downloaded the model matching rule sets that pertain to AI I downloaded a few years ago, but I'm not sure the AI I downloaded exactly matches the aircraft included in the model matching rule set. Is there a tool that I can use to create a model matching rule set that includes only the AI on my computer?
A: Yes! A fellow pilot, Nico Kaan, has graciously created and shared with our community a software tool called VMRGenerator. Several hundred pilots have now successfully been using the vPilot VMRGenerator, found at http://www.lekseecon.nl/VMRGenerator.html , to create a model matching rule set that ONLY corresponds to AI you already have loaded on your computer.

Q: When starting vPilot I get an error message that says, "Could not initialize vPilot core components. Please ensure SimConnect version 10.0.61259.0 is installed." What's up with that?
A: This is caused by running an out-of-date version of SimConnect. The current version is 10.0.61259.0 If your FSX machine is running SP2 or Acceleration, you can take the SimConnect client installer from there and run it on the client machine. Alternatively, there is a link to the current installer in the vPilot documentation.

Q: I keep getting an error message saying that UDP Port Creation Failed. It seems to be blocking my voice transmissions.
A: That means that either some other program is using the UDP port (e.g., FSInn, SquawkBox, VRC, etc.), or perhaps your antivirus/firewall is blocking the UDP port. Several members have suggested that Avira antivirus is particularly "aggressive" in blocking the UDP port. You will need to either close conflicting applications and/or ensure your antivirus/firewall will accommodate vPilot.

Q: I'd like to use vPilot networked across two PCs. Which one, or both, do I install vPilot on? How do I use vPilot on 2 PCs?
A: vPilot is needed on the remote (non-flight sim) computer only. Models for model matching will need to be installed on your primary (flight sim) PC. For instructions on how to configure in a networked environment, see the vPilot Networking Guide at http://vPilot.metacraft.com/Assets/File ... kSetup.pdf

Q: Can I see vPilot when running full screen mode?
A: No. vPilot cannot be displayed when FSX is in full screen mode, as it is not a module that can be run from within FSX. It isn't a module that can be run from within FSX because it is developed in a different programming language.

Q: I can't select a PTT on my keyboard. What's up with that?
A: If you use UAC and use a keyboard PTT, DO NOT install vPilot as an administrator, but once installed, if you run FSX/P3D as an administrator, run vPilot as an administrator. Joystick PTT works fine with or without running as an administrator.

Q: I can hear others and my mic has no problem, but whenever I try to transmit with my PTT, I need to switch to the vPilot window in order to transmit successfully. If I try to attempt to transmit inside the simulator without switching to vPilot, the TX in the top right corner of vPilot window is not highlighted and I cannot transmit.
A: That's the number 1 symptom that indicates that you are not running vPilot as an administrator. If you run FSX/P3D as an administrator, you must run vPilot as an administrator.

Q: When I start vPilot for the first time and go to the settings box, there are no options (e.g., OK, APPLY, CANCEL) showing on the bottom right as they appear in the docs. Also, in the settings the Calibrate Mic button isn't highlighted, even though I have chosen my audio options. What could cause that?
A: That's caused by having the Windows DPI setting (aka zoom) too high. The way to change this depends on your OS, but at least in Windows 7 and 8, if you right click your desktop, select Personalize, then Display and then select Smaller - 100% (default). vPilot will work perfectly at 100%. It is still functional between 100-125%, though some text/items may appear clipped. For more information, see: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/44 ... hange.html

Q: I don't really like the alert tone that alerts when a new PM is received. Can I change it?
A: Yes, you can change any of the sounds. You can find the current location of the sounds here: %localappdata%\vPilot\Sounds Alert.wav is the file that is played when a new text message comes in. You can replace it with your own sound if you wish. You just need to ensure it has the same file name (e.g., Alert.wav).

Q: I had dozens of flight plans saved in Squawkbox. Can I use those?
A: Sure. In the File Flight Plan window, you click on "Load..." and point to the location your stored flight plans are located. You can keep them in the Squawkbox path if you like, or move them to vPilot. In either case, vPilot will look in the last path you pointed to when you loaded your previous flight plan.

Q: I use PFPX and want to import and/or save those flight plans in vPilot. Can I?
A: Sure. Within PFPX, export your flight plan to VATSIM (Prefile). Then, in the vPilot File Flight Plan window, select "Fetch From Server".

Q: I can't hear others, and I am using a router.
A: Ensure you've forwarded UDP port 3290 in your router, for routers that close the port after a timeout. (It doesn't hurt to set up the forwarding for routers that don't have an inactivity timeout.)

Q: When I'm connected using vPilot, I still see AI aircraft that aren't on VATSIM. How do I prevent that?
A: Go into FSX's Settings Options > Settings > Display > Aircraft and move the AI sliders to the left (0%). If you are using an AI Traffic addon like Ultimate Traffic, you'll need to disable the traffic on the addon settings as well.

Q: When I'm connected using vPilot, I still hear MSFS ATIS and/or ATC audio on top of VATSIM ATC audio.
A: Disable FSX's voice (the conflicting ATIS). (From FSX's menu: Options -> Settings -> Sound -> [uncheck] Voice).

Q: I can't see and/or hear any multiplayer aircraft.
A: While on the ground and you know there is traffic around you (by using a situational awareness tool such as VATSpy, Servinfo, vattastic.com, etc., or asking ATC), type .debug in the vPilot command line. It will open a window showing what aircraft are connected and near you. If the result is null, something is likely blocking the connection.

If you suspect a blocked connection (voice and/or ability to see others):
1. Ensure your firewall/antivirus allows vPilot (i.e., vPilot listed as an exception so it's not blocked)
2. Ensure you've forwarded UDP port 3290 in your router (if using a router)
3. Disable uPNP in your router (if using a router)

Q: I logged onto VATSIM but don't see any ATC online.
A: Using a VATSIM situational awareness program such as Servinfo, VATSpy, vattastic.com, etc., make sure there is actually ATC online where you are.

Q: When I try to connect to the network I get an Invalid CID/Password message. Any idea why?
A: This is usually caused by copying/pasting the CID and/or Password, which sometimes includes one or more extra space characters (which is often hard to notice in the CID field, and impossible to see in the Password field). Try just simply typing them in without copying/pasting.


For model matching rule set troubleshooting purposes, perhaps try this:
1. Using the .debug function of vPilot (type .debug on the command line to activate), go to the Aircraft tab. Look at the callsign and aircraft type of the planes in question.
2. Look at your model matching rule set to see if that airline and model are supported within the model matching rule set you selected. If so, go to the next step. If not, there's your answer; vPilot said, "Hey that airline doesn't fly an XXXX (where XXXX is the model), and I couldn't find that airline's XXXX in any of the model matching rule sets that you prioritized below the model matching rule set you selected (e.g. WOAI, VIP, etc.), but I found a generic XXXX, so I'll just show you a white one." Or, similarly for an invalid aircraft type, vPilot said, "Hey, there's no such thing as a 'ZZZZ' (e.g., somewhat commonly we see aircraft logged on as ZZZZ which is obviously wrong, or often as a PA28 (should be P28A), etc.), so I'll just show you the default white A321 (or whatever you have selected as a default).
3. Verify that you actually have a XXXX installed within FSX/P3D. If so, go to the next step. If not, there's your answer; vPilot said, "Hey, you selected a model matching rule set that told me to go to your FSX/P3D and find an XXXX, in that airline's colors, but you don't have one. So then I went down all of the model matching rule sets that you prioritized below the model matching rule set that gave you the error (e.g. WOAI, VIP, etc.), and I still couldn't find an XXXX in that airline's colors, but I found a generic XXXX, so I'll just show you a white one." (Note that if you didn't have a generic white B732 installed in your FSX, you'd get the default A321 (in FSX))
4. If you are sure you have an XXXX from the AI package installed, but the corresponding model matching rule set didn't have that airline/model in it's model matching rule set, send a note to Ross so the .vmr file can be updated/corrected for the next release.

Recognizing that the above may be complicated, here is the above with an example of an airline, model and model matching rule set, where the airline is Air France and the model is B732 and the model matching rule set is UT2.

1. Look at the callsign and aircraft type of the planes in question. In this example, you got an error trying to find AFR123 flying a B732.
2. Look at your UT2 model matching rule set to see if that airline and model are supported within the model matching rule set you selected. If so, go to the next step. If not, there's your answer; vPilot said, "Hey Air France doesn't fly a B732, and I couldn't find an Air France B732 in any of the model matching rule sets that you prioritized below UT2 (e.g. WOAI, VIP, etc.), but I found a generic B732, so I'll just show you a white one."
3. Verify that you actually have a UT2 Air France B732 installed within FSX/P3D. If so, go to the next step. If not, there's your answer; vPilot said, "Hey, you selected the UT2 model matching rule set that told me to go to your FSX/P3D and find an Air France B732, but you don't have one. So then I went down all of the model matching rule sets that you prioritized below the UT2 model matching rule set (e.g. WOAI, VIP, etc.), and I still couldn't find an Air France B732, but I found a generic B732, so I'll just show you a white one." (Note that if you didn't have a generic white B732 installed in your FSX, you'd get the default A321 (in FSX))
4. If you are sure you have a UT2 Air France B732 installed in your FSX/P3D, but the UT2 model matching rule set you downloaded with vPilot is missing the Air France B732 in it's model matching rule set, send a note to Ross so the .vmr file can be updated/corrected for the next release.

What you may find, in several cases, is that the other pilot logged on as an aircraft that Air France doesn't fly. There's probably no AI package (and therefore no model matching rule set) that will show someone logging on as an Air France B732 as a B732 in Air France colors.


How you See Yourself Using Add-On Aircraft, Seeing Other Aircraft, and How Other Pilots See You

In addition to the default aircraft included with the simulator, most of us on VATSIM download additional aircraft to choose from. You'll find that this is, in general, a pretty serious community interested in simulating things as close to real-world as possible. What most folks do is either purchase some number of payware add-on aircraft and/or download freeware add-on aircraft. In either case, whether you are buying payware or downloading freeware, you install those add-on aircraft into your simulator. Once you've done that, you'll be able to see your aircraft in whatever livery (the aircraft come) with that you select. For example, many folks on VATSIM have purchased the payware PMDG B737NGX and/or B777. They come with a number of liveries (e.g. American Airlines, Delta, United, etc.). So, much the same as today you can select a default B737 in Soar Airlines livery, once you install an add-on aircraft, you can select that make/model and one of several liveries that either comes with the aircraft, or that you have downloaded separately.

Now, for other people's aircraft, that relies on something called model matching. Model matching relies on you both having AI (artificial intelligence) aircraft (or default), and corresponding model matching rules. For example, many folks when just starting out download many of the freeware World of AI (WOAI) AI aircraft. Once you have those downloaded, and then once you have them installed, you could select the model matching rulesets from vPilot that correspond to the AI aircraft you just downloaded/installed. Or, perhaps even better, you could run a complementary program called VMRGenerator that creates a custom ruleset for just the aircraft you have installed in your sim.

Remember that model matching of course relies on what you have for AI and the "goodness" of the model matching rules you set up, plus the "goodness" of how people log onto the network. If someone logs on with an invalid aircraft type (e.g., ZZZZ or B738L or 777, etc.) no one (without some heroic measures/band aids) will be able to see you in what you "think" you are flying....


Reference Documents:
vPilot Home Page: http://vPilot.metacraft.com
vPilot Documentation: http://vPilot.metacraft.com/Documentation.aspx
vPilot Forum: http://www1.metacraft.com/VRC/forums/viewforum.php?f=23
VATSIM vPilot forum: http://forums.vatsim.net/viewforum.php?f=132