By Joe Bieniek 1408401
#519052 Hi very new to the network and I love it so far! Its alot of fun!! That being said I have been flying FSX for about 10 years before I ever knew there was a network like this. I would always file my flight plan through FSX for direct gps and the FSX atc controller would give me vectors along the way to stay on course i.e. turn left heading 270 turn left heading 360 all the way through the flight. I am not expecting this out of Vatsim (if that could happen that would be awesome) Before my questions I should state that I only use the standard gps model that game with the game. My first question is how do I take a flight plan from Sky Vector and load it into FSX? 2nd if ATC approves the flight path how do I get my FSX plane to follow the course the whole way without vectors? And finally I assume this is self explanatory from my previous question if ATC makes changes how do I get those changes to appear on my FSX standard GPS that came standard with game. Thank you all so much like I said I am really loving the network and if someone could give me some help with the questions above it would be greatly appreciated so I am not bother the controllers so much.
By Matthew McEwen 1303289
#519068 Hey Joe, welcome to VATSIM!!

You're right in that you shouldn't expect vectors as a routine thing enroute. Depending on where you choose to fly, not only will you be very lucky if you have enough area controllers to vector you the whole way, but they certainly won't be too impressed if you do :wink:

It can be a bit of a tedious task to fly an IFR airways route on the default GPS and I certainly wouldn't recommend it. Nonetheless, it is possible and this is the most straightforward, uncomplicated way to do what you're asking.

Make sure your FSX navigation database is up to date (download updates here). Build & validate the route on Skyvector - if it includes a SID & STAR, find the charts for the specific SID & STAR (just google [ICAO code] charts).
Open up the FSX flight planner, build a 'Direct GPS' route from your chosen departure to destination ports, but don't just hit accept - here's where you edit your route to add all the important stuff in. Drag the red line to each waypoint on the SID, then each & every waypoint on your route (be careful not to skip these as you don't file every waypoint in your flight plan - just the airway intersections), then each waypoint on the STAR.
When you're in the plane, make sure your nav mode is set to GPS, then when you're airbourne (assuming you haven't been given a vector), hit the nav or loc button on the autopilot (depending on aircraft). Assuming you're using the autopilot, when you engage it, it should then follow the route on its own.

Be sure to file your planned SID & STAR in the VATSIM flight plan so that ATC knows that you've planned that specific SID & STAR. If ATC assigns a different SID or STAR to what you've planned, you will need to state that you're unable and request radar vectoring. If ATC gives you direct to a waypoint that is along your flight plan route, then you can accept it - go to the legs page and select the leg /after/ the waypoint you were given direct to. For example, if my route is DCT OBAMA DCT WHITE DCT HOUSE DCT TRUMP DCT (DCT meaning direct to...), and ATC tells me to go direct to HOUSE, I would select & activate the HOUSE-TRUMP leg. Do not just enter direct to as it will delete the rest of your route.

If ATC tells you to go to a waypoint that is not in your planned route, then you cannot accept it (unless it is at the end of your route, say, for the beginning of an approach, for holding, etc.) - advise them that you are unable and explain that you're following route flight plan route on the FSX default GPS.

All that being said, I highly recommend you invest your time & money in to learning to fly a more complicated payware aircraft. This will not only make the experience much, much better for yourself & the ATCs you will interact with, but you will feel so much more accomplished once you've tackled the learning curve. One simple, cost-effective option is the BAe 146 from QualityWings, but a more attractive and mainstream option might be the Boeing 737-800/900 from PMDG (despite the hefty price tag, I think the vast majority of those who have tried it will tell you it's worth it).

I hope I've imparted at least one bit of wisdom on you just now.
Happy flying!
By Robert Shearman Jr 1155655
#519125
Matthew McEwen 1303289 wrote:Open up the FSX flight planner, build a 'Direct GPS' route from your chosen departure to destination ports, but don't just hit accept - here's where you edit your route to add all the important stuff in. {...}

In my opinion, an easier way is via SimBrief.com. You can build your flightplan there (or even just enter the origin and destination, and it will suggest a good route between them), and you can then export it to a file which you can pull into your default GPS on the startup screen using "Flight Planner" and "Load."
Matthew McEwen 1303289 wrote:If ATC gives you direct to a waypoint that is along your flight plan route, then you can accept it - go to the legs page and select the leg /after/ the waypoint you were given direct to. For example, if my route is DCT OBAMA DCT WHITE DCT HOUSE DCT TRUMP DCT (DCT meaning direct to...), and ATC tells me to go direct to HOUSE, I would select & activate the HOUSE-TRUMP leg.

We did some testing on this and it doesn't really work: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=74005

My recommendation for being shortcutted to a point further along on your planned route is to employ one of the following:

a) if it's a VOR, tune it on NAV1, spin Course knob until needle centers pointing *toward * it, switch HSI from GPS to NAV mode, then switch back to GPS once you reach the VOR and rejoin the planned route.

b) if it's some other point, eyeball a heading by zooming out on the GPS screen and switch to Heading mode until reaching it, then back to NAV mode once you do. You can figure out which point it is by doing as Matthew suggested and activating the leg either starting with or ending with that point -- then aiming for where the purple segment starts or ends, accordingly. (that one's pretty BS as far as realism goes, but usually good enough for sim purposes.)

c) say, "unable, default GPS" and either request vectors or ask to remain on planned course.

Option (b) is really silly but it's what I got by with for years before finally springing for a nice payware aircraft with a working FMC.
By Don Desfosse 1035677
#519126 Good advice from both gentlemen. A couple of thoughts:

For route changes with the new direct-to fix on your flight plan, I have used Rob's method (b), above, for years when flying with the default GPS, and considered it the "least worst" method.... :)

For route changes with the new direct-to fix NOT on your flight plan: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=72769&p=508243#p508243

For filing a route, in the US, please do not ever file DCT to indicate direct. In the US, it is assumed that if you want to go, file, and/or are cleared via the fixes WHITE HOUSE, you will go direct between the two; no need to file WHITE DCT HOUSE in the US (and actually it's not correct to do so).

In terms of navigation and planning, you can do what you are seeking with an updated FSX default GPS and autopilot -- lateral guidance only --- vertical is up to you -- if you:
1. Update the fixes and navaids in your default GPS, and
2. Use vRoute to get routes (when flying in the USA, I check for good, valid routes first on FlightAware, then search for those same routes in vRoute).

To see what the real world folks are doing in the US, I look on FlightAware. Use the following url:
https://flightaware.com/live/findflight/kxxx/kyyy
substituting your departure airport for xxx and your arrival for yyy
(e.g., https://flightaware.com/live/findflight/kbos/kjfk)

Here's a little more explanation on updating the default GPS and using vRoute to take advantage of the FSX flight planner (export from vRoute to FSX, then Flight Plan Load in FSX).

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=71316&p=500732#p500732

Welcome to the community, and all the best!
By Robert Shearman Jr 1155655
#519143 And, Joe, the best advice not yet given is to stick with it, and don't give up if you don't learn all this stuff the first time out. Many of us have been doing this for years or even decades. What you're experiencing is in my opinion the single largest learning gap when going from a single-player to a multiplayer environment, so don't worry if it takes you some time to understand it all.