Offline ATC improvements

Looking for some drastic improvements in offline ATC, for those who don’t want to fly in vatsim.

Similar to old products like proatcx, or pilot2atc, it would be really good to have an all encompassing ATC that is smarter the has the following features.

Ability to use SID/Stars
AI control (including smart taxiway exiting, instead of taxing to the end of the run way)
Ability to select real world approaches
Ability to change course either direct to or offsetting an IFR flight path to avoid weather
Ability for ATC to assign a holding pattern when airports are busy
Voice recognition option for ATC using the windows speech recognition.

I understand there are a number of third party products who create this functionality, and want to port it to MSFS, but, with the implientation of real world traffic, and azure voice synthesis, this needs an SDK for developers to interact with if it’s not something for the Sim.

This is so important. Atc needs to do actual atc work and direct all plane, be it AI or players. This is something that should be done by Asobo because all players need to hear the same atc to create a persistent immersive world.


Offline ATC in FS2020 is (IMHO) fairly described I think as “a good attempt ,but a bit of a mess !” There are many instances of unrealistic instructions being issued,particularly in IFR approaches for GA aircraft ( I have not tried an airliner yet.
Scrolling text with ATIS is not realistic and should be switchable and it would be good if the ATC window could autodisplay when an ATC contact is incoming.
In any event I’m sure one of the third party Devs will publish a decent ATC
package in due course.

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Important for me: Currently the only way for a mostly correctly handled arrival and approach is the selection of STAR and approach/RWY before the flight and Insert it in the IFR flightplan from the beginning. I would like to have it much more exactly. So I only want to have an Initial clearance to the last waypoint and want to get the runway, STAR and approach/vectors at the beginning of the descent. If I try to enter the estimated STAR and rwy in MCDU during the flight currently the ATC does not notice this plan and the AP is not able to handle this correctly. The AP wants to fly circles back to random waypoints of the Initial plan.
And additionally I want to hear the ATC with the other multiplayers.

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ATC is a cause of curiosity for sure …

At the conclusion of a cross country VFR flight, followed ATC instructions on pattern entry all seemed sensible … until taxiing to parking on the ground and instructed to hold for an airbus on the ‘upwind’.

I know technically that position exists, but in my real world flying experience, don’t ever remember it being used (may be regional I guess). I’ve been holding for 15 minutes so far; good job there’s something to watch on TV … but I’m da**d if I’m going to get another ‘vicinity’ entry in my logbook by parking in the wrong place…

Actually looks like the Airbus is lost … flying circuits above the field without landing.

Ottawa tower: ‘Airbus, decend on the dead side, left hand and right hand pattern in use…’
Airbus: ‘errrr…’

(Just a fictitious example, based on real events)

Plenty of opportunity for Asobo or 3rd party to bring some good ATC to the game.

per the voice atc, that’s not even important for MS to implement. Give the current options, last several messages to and from the player and a “player transmitting” and “transmission invalid/ok” ability into the SimConnect system and that is all I needed 8 years ago to get something I was planning on releasing as freeware.

ATC gives clearance. My program parses the message getting the important bits. Player presses the PTT, my program sets the “player transmitting” flag to true and the player and responds to the clearance, then releases the PTT. My program checks to see all the pertinent readbacks are done. If so, sets the “transmission valid” flag to true and sets the “player transmitting” flag to false. If the readback is correct, my program selects the appropriate choice from the menu options for the readback that occurred.

When the AI or ATC wish to transmit, their transmissions get queued up until the “player transmitting” flag gets unset, avoiding the player getting their transmission stepped on in busy airspace. Before transmitting the message from the que, the clearances would be adjusted to reflect live numbers. If the player ties up the radios for 30sec, a command of “turn left 330” might be “turn left 335” by the time the player finishes transmitting and the que catches up.

The ATC engine checks to see if the “transmission valid” flag is false when the “player transmitting” flag clears. If it is, then the ATC engine adds a “readback incorrect” and re-issues the clearance.

Won’t solve everything but at least the phraseology is improved:

Agree with you! Also there is a topic for AI control: AI TRAFFIC control in SDK

I hear that MS/Asobo intend to revamp offline ATC incrementally with successive updates. There have been many suggestions for detailed “improvements” on this forum but ( if you are listening Jorg ?) I think you should go back to “first principles” if you intend that a realistic ATC module is going to be developed.
First and foremost there is only one way to design a realistic ATC module…and that is “by the book”…either the FAA or European ATC manual. There is very little material difference between the two regimes except that pilots in Europe believe the FAA system is sometimes (as used) a little more “casual”.
Next, the designers should understand that ATC do not fly aeroplanes, pilots do that, and the pilot in command (PIC) is solely responsible (in the final analysis) for the safety of his aircraft. Under IFR (and in Controlled Airspace) the PIC is responsible by the conditions of his licence to follow ATC instructions, except when the PIC deems that instruction undesirable in which case he will respond “unable” and request an alternative course of action.The FS ATC system must cater for “pilot discretion” or is not usable by trained pilots.
Next, all ATC calls must be formally acknowledged by a pilot. ATC/ pilot interaction is teamwork, not “Control” in the strictest sense of the word, and safety is the only bottom line. ATC will also aid pilots to “expeditiously” manage their flight, but the buck stops with the pilot in the left hand seat !
Developers please, remove the rubbish ATC such as:-
“exit runway when able” (which cannot be responded to)…what else is a pilot going to do after touchdown ?..park on the runway ? !
In VFR…the pilot will request to change frequency (QSY) away from the departure Tower when he decides he needs to. The Tower ATC does not instruct him with nonsense such as “you are leaving my airspace frequency change approved”
I note that recent changes to ATC to uncontrolled airfields ( " traffic" frequencies ) enable pilots to designate a runway on takeoff and landing. This flexibility needs to be extended to controlled airfields too. I have frequently been given an unsuitable landing runway …too short, no ILS…whatever.
If a realistic ATC is to be incorporated into MSFS it might as well be done
properly…if MS want it to be used by Simmers who are also pilots.
Oh…and BTW…the hectoring tone of the present FS “controllers” is annoying and unwelcome…as are the too frequent demands to "acknowlege my last transmission " or worse still “did you hear my last transmission”.
A pilots priorities are…in this order…1) Aviate… 2)Navigate…3) Communicate
On takeoff and climbout a pilot will concentrate on 1 & 2…number 3 will sometimes have to wait for a short while.

The other day I was flying A32nx through 11k and all of sudden I got oxygen bells and checklist to decent. While I was unsuccessful in finding the cause and the bells warning kept ringing, no way to turn off that I could find. Anyway, I decided to decend and go back to takeoff airport. However, aside from cancelling flight plan there is no way to ask ATC for clearance back to the airport or an option to declare emergency. Pilots don’t cancel IFR plans when there is emergency. That would be not allowed by the company and FAA.

When u cancel IFR, it gives u the options to go to nearest airport and u have to wait until like when ur 10 miles close to the airport u started at to see the option to get clearance. That’s ridiculous.

Please offer and option to return to airport u started at or declare emergency so u can be cleared to any airport within 50 miles.

My emergency was not immediate with oxygen at 11k, I could easily take 10 or so minutes to troubleshoot while starting to decent and return to my takeoff airport.

MS/Asobo needs partnership with Eurocontrol and FAA to get realistic ATC in the sim…

Thanks for all your hard work on this. I am a retired GA pilot based in the UK and use your mod all the time. The VFR atc sounds much more realistic to me and existing functionality gives a (mostly) reasonable simulation of the real world ATC…for VFR.
I fly the Baron and find the IFR/IMC ATC unusable because of (so far anyway) unrealistic and impractical altitude change instructions and an inability to manage cruise altitudes using the Increase/decrease altitudes from the menu.The Sim will not follow a selected option predictably so flying in IMC is “unsafe”.and there is no “unable” function so impractical instructions cannot be declined. Thanks to your good self the ATC sounds right…but it does not yet work properly. Is it me or the undeveloped ATC “engine” ? .IMHO much work still needs to be done by MSOBO before real weather is realistically any use for IMC flying in MSFS. I have not yet attempted Airways IFR flying so cannot comment on ATC for that.

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It’s hit and miss with IFR at, sometimes it works 1/2 trip then freezes. Then there are times it works beautifully from takeoff to landing. Sometimes, it works all the way but u can’t hear the controller, just response from the copilot.


Yes. Same here. It’s a mix of everythings from good to really bad in IFR. Most of the time I need to make my own descend ignoring instructions except for runway designation.
So, after a good remake of ATC (as from what I recall, it is the same as FSX, or worse), I would love to here some regional accents. I’m sure Azure can do that!

Another major problem is IFR vectors to a visual approach - mostly the vectors either come so late that they are useless, or they do not exist at all.

Today, on a flight to Frankfurt am Main, I tried the MSFS ATC again after a long time.
In German we say: “Au haua haua ha…”

The correct runway direction was announced, but the controller told all aircraft to go around for no reason.

But I don’t want to fly with Vatsim or anything like that either, because they’re either not there or sometimes they’re not.

When does ATC in MSFS least work like it did in FSX?

You know how it goes…

Until it is fixed, you may want to look at something like Pilot2ATC. It is payware but has a 10 day trial if you are interested.

Msfs atc is like 50/50 Chance sometimes it does what it is supposed to sometimes it literally does nothing lol (me waiting for vectors to final after passing the airport like 100nm ago) but it does a pretty descent job with an imported flight plan from simbrief/navigraph etc