ATC needs looooooots of work

It would be a nice improvement if ATC did not assign me to an altitude below MSA and then vector me into mountains. This has happened several times. When in VMC I can make adjustments, but if it were IMC I would be toast. Will have to learn to ignore ATC when they are not following published approaches.

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It would be a nice improvement if ATC did not waste it’s time clearing me through Class B airspace, when I am level at FL320 for the next 200 miles, :policeman:

What I can’t understand is how the developers did not notice this problem with ATC. In another post I got derided for saying that ATC worked “properly” in FS9. I am not a real-world pilot and I understand that ATC terminologies, etc. have never been as accurate as real-world. However, in FS9 (and FSX if I recall) you could fly a flight plan blind and have sane, safe altitude instructions and be vectored correctly to intercept the ILS. I have never been able to do that in MSFS2020. How can a flight sim developer (especially as jets and airlines are included) not have tested these mandatory aspects of IFR.??
I am OK with “imperfect” but at least match what your past versions have done as far as usability of ATC.


Definitely not to fly for you.

The pilot in command is responsible. You should not descend below terrain even if ATC asks you to.

Say unable and request new altitude.

Well said Sr. Very well said.

You can’t do that in MSFS2020


You can request new altitude. I’ve done it In The past. I fly with the charts and always know my MSA.

Yes but atc keeps asking to go lower on aproches. Yes you can ask to change cruise attitude. I have been on ifr flight plans and the ATC asks descend to 3000 and seconds later ask to go to 4000. Then seconds later, to 2500 then to 3000. All within a mater of 30 to 40 seconds. It’s broken badly and this is just a small part of the problems.

Frequently ATC will issue a “descend and maintain” instruction too early. I can see by my VNAV and the TOD marker exactly when I want to descent. There should be a “request descent” function in ATC, but there is not.

There’s also not a “Hal: I’m afraid I can’t do that, Dave” function, when ATC tells me to descend too early. I have to listen to frequent “expedite descent” messages. Very annoying that I can’t turn it off. Once I start my descent then all is well with ATC.

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I agree with the sentiments expressed that ATC in MSFS is appallingly bad, even compared to the FSX/P3D legacy system. With regards to ATC descending aircraft into high ground. However it is not true to say that it is always the pilots responsibility to know the minimum altitudes. ATC very often will descend aircraft below altitudes shown on approach charts. When ATC radar units are vectoring identified aircraft they are allowed to descend aircraft in accordance with their radar vectoring area charts, which have lower minima because the position of the aircraft is more accurately known in relation to terrain. As aircraft in MSFS are squawking an assigned transponder code, and are provided with radar based traffic information on conflicting aircraft it would be reasonable for MSFS pilots to assume that ATC instructions, especially those involving heading instructions, are radar based and taking terrain into account. FSX/P3D seemed to do a reasonably good job of avoiding high ground, MSFS is suicidal.

While waiting for better MSFS ATC, the program :-

Stick and Rudder Studios – FS–ATC–Chatter

adds another layer of realism on top of your ATC experience in MSFS.

If the Devs could get their audio coordinated with the in game AT, so they did not talk at the same time, it would be almost perfect.

But even with that slight issue, its a great experience, and make the skies alive around you come alive.

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Topic has been moved to #community:general-discussion-feedback

If you want to report bugs or issues about the ATC, feel free to do so in #bugs-and-issues:atc-navaids

EDIT: Disregard, I had second thoughts and have decided it’s best that I keep my opinion on this to myself.

No, no. Share! That’s what a forum is all about, a healthy discourse of varied opinions.

No, I would rather not. I typed up a few paragraphs about using VATSIM but I really think I just need to give the plugging a break. I’ve been a user of VATSIM for 10 years and don’t regret it, all the problems you will come across with stock ATC will be gone. Time after time again I hear people complaining about stock ATC and I suggest VATSIM but for some it’s just way, way over their head.

I would wholeheartedly agree with you…if VATSIM had every tower in the world manned 24x7. Well ok, half of em. Well ok, some of em. Well ok, 1 in my country 24x7.

That came across REALLY sarcastic and it was only meant to be slightly sarcastic. Apologies.

But the point stands. It’s half past midnight on a saturday night in the UK right now and there are no manned ATCs on VATSIM in the entire country. Right now, after the kids have gone to bed and the missus isn’t whinging about something, is when I want to fly.

I see your point. I usually go West, where Vatsim ATC is still available / awake as I am not partial whether it is in my country or not, besides a good learning to hear how the yanks run stuff ;-). (yes of course that is then not in your own country anymore, if this is what you insist on).

VATSIM works on a top-down method so all positions needing to be manned all the time isn’t necessary (though when they are like during events it’s incredibly fun) and in the end if an appropriate controller isn’t online you can use use voice (or text) and announce intentions on 122.8.

In your case you’re stuck between a rock and hard place, you either deal with the the lack of controllers online at zero dark thirty (I’ve actually come across some controllers and quite a lot of traffic within an ARTCC online at surprising times) or deal with a very poor AI ATC (which you may as well turn off). Will ATC be fixed at some point? I’m sure it will but it will always be problematic and lack any real depth.

As SierraHotel2873 brought up you may want to sometimes try flying on the other side of the pond. When I fly on VATSIM I do quite often hear many pilots that are obviously not from North America and flying domestic with airlines from North America, it’s not just your long hauls from across the pond. Plenty of those not from North America are also flying general aviation. Personally I don’t fly anywhere but in North America (the United States more specifically), I have not studied up on how things are done across the pond.

At the end of the day VATSIM is volunteer organization and coverage 24/7 all over the place is impossible but during events (which happen a lot) you will find an absolute massive amount of traffic and ATC online and it’s loads of fun. Events don’t even need to happen for this to occur though it will happen inevitably.

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The sims ATC also needs some deviation action. My cub is sent right through thunderstorms flying across Europe and there is no way i can ask ATC to deviate a couple of degrees left or right.

Yep, I hear ya.

I find it somewhat…thinking of the right word here…odd…low tech…unimaginative…that in a massively multiplayer online game, ATC on your system does not recognise the existence of any other player flown aircraft.