By Marc Eijkens 1272704
#521270 Hello all,

Lately I've been getting a bit frustrated by the vast amount of pilots connecting with wrong/invalid aircraft type codes. First of all let me say I don't expect all pilots to know all correct ICAO codes and don't think this is something all pilots should know. This forum is unfortunately already full of people having issues in getting their model matching set-up in a "reasonable" way and I'm glad that packages such as vPilot AI have made it somewhat easier for most pilots who are just starting.

As a controller I can change codes to the correct ICAO format (doesn't do anything for pilots), but from a pilots' perspective I have no way to influence this type code. This results in a default model match the moment someone files B77F for example, even though they think the pilot thinks this is the correct code. I do understand that many people are unfamiliar with the correct aircraft type codes and that Vatsim doesn't actively promote/teach pilots where they could find the correct ones (except for the flight plan page).

Hence my suggestion: Force pilots to choose their AC type code from a predefined list. Since all correct type codes are established in ICAO DOC 8643: Aircraft Type Designators this shouldn't be too difficult. I'm not a developer, but I would think this would simply come down to preparing a database which contains all codes. Pilots can filter/search for their aircraft and choose from a list to get the one they are flying. I think that a simple interface with a search bar which automatically fills the most likely AC type, will allow most pilots to choose their correct code and allow for correct model matching.

I look forward to your opinions and insights.

By Don Desfosse 1035677
#521278 I'm not a fan of a dropdown because there are hundreds of valid options for aircraft identifier that I'd have to wade through. But perhaps if you type in the beginning of an aircraft type, then a dropdown/overlay could appear showing the "valid" options? For example, if I typed in B7, then a relatively small dropdown containing the valid options could appear (e.g. B772, B77L, etc.). If it were a "soft" dropdown, it could be overridden which would enable flexibility if needed, and so the correct codes would only be a suggestion. Perhaps the same could happen for "known" bad codes (e.g. user enters in just 73 without the B, then suggestions like AT73, B732, B733, B734, etc. could appear).

For the developer, that would mean writing additional code and maintaining a database. Not sure how the developers would feel about that. It would certainly help, but the developers would have to consider the return on investment.

Perhaps less work-intensive would simply be an error message (e.g. "Invalid ICAO identifier) and disallowing the entry if a user attempts to type in a bad code. It would still require some code to be written and a database to be maintained, but maybe it would be easier to write. And more importantly, it would truly prevent bad codes and perhaps even teach the user a lesson.

Perhaps VATSIM could place more emphasis on teaching how to find correct ICAO codes. I'm sure it's likely covered in the optional pilot training materials, but you're right that many pilots either haven't found that yet or are actively ignoring it.
By Marc Eijkens 1272704
Don Desfosse 1035677 wrote:But perhaps if you type in the beginning of an aircraft type, then a dropdown/overlay could appear showing the "valid" options?

This was exactly the way I was envisioning it. I was also more thinking along the lines of people just typing "Boeing 777" for example and then showing a list of possible options. It would just require some logic in the way the search function would work.
By Tim Mitchell 859102
#521505 I too am very much keen for this.

Some aircraft types I've seen recently

'RJ1' - not RJ1H
'77L' - not B77L
'777-200ER '- not B772

Maybe this could link into the model matching so if someone is in a cargo variant they will show up as one? Whether it can look at the specific aircraft.cfg entry and look at the parking type line? Cargo repaints seem to be generally filled out like this;