Responding to ATC in VR

Newbie and really enjoying it. ATC keeps giving me instructions and seemingly expecting a response but I don’t know how to respond. Can someone point me at the instructions for doing so. I’m on a:
17" W10 Laptop w/ numeric keypad
Thrushmaster T.16000M Joystick
HP Reverb G2 VR Headset.

I see videos showing the toolbar icon above the windscreen but it doesn’t show on mine in VR mode and I don’t know how to invoke it.

I’m just an old guy who loves flying small planes …preferably amphibs (currently enjoying the ICON 5).
I’d like to use the mouse as much as possible when in VR as I find it disturbing lifting the headset to find the right keys and having to switch input back and forth. I wear glasses too and am wearing out the bridge of my nose with all the headset lifts and adjusts. I seem to recall that in FS2004 a response menu popped up to select and click one’s response.

You need to set a control binding to bring up the vr menu. You could also map some buttons to bring up atc window and atc responses. Just do a search in the control assignments for atc.

Feel free to ask follow up questions.


In 2D (screen) mode, the toolbar will appear if you move the mouse to the top of the screen. In VR, there is no sense to this and as @J1mb0G5751 says, you need to go into the control profiles and set a convenient button to VR: ‘Toggle Toolbar’. I have mine set to the middle mouse button, which is pretty convenient (just my personal preference of course).

Like you, I try not to use any keyboard at all in VR. I have a joystick, pedals and throttle quadrant to cover the primary controls. Everything else I do with the mouse in the VR cockpit. Once you get used to it, it works pretty well; responding to ATC with the mouse is probably the most clunky thing I need to do and when appropriate, I usually ‘ask’ AI copilot Charlie to work the radios for me :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


Thanks guys. I assigned Mouse Button 4 (on the side of the mouse) to toggle the toolbar in VR. That works. Before posting this thread I flew to Lake of the wood and wanted to speed up the sim so I hit “R” and then the + key a few times. That worked but it wouldn’t slow down so I did a really high speed landing on the lake. Then I went to the desktop so I could start this thread and when I got back into the sim it was dark with nice moonlight. So now I’m still sped up and waiting for the sun to come up so I can see to take off, since there are 14 thousand islands on the lake and 5 or 6 reefs for each, so can’t see them at night.
Also find it odd this Icon has no dash compass or heading indicator. I can go by the direction the plane is pointing on the GPS but that isn’t reliable since it is drifting. Odd to me they didn’t include a compass.

When I use VR in MSFS I use Voice Attack and have many command mapped to voice.

I can say “VR Toolbar” the it will appear. I can say “ATC” and the ATC window will be displayed. For the numbered ATC commands I can say “set one” got the first selection. I easily have a few hundred command mapped to voice.


The proper thing to do is to acknowledge the frequency change on departure, and then never, ever, ever speak to the AI ATC again.

It’s absolute trash, as it presently exists.

Source: Am a controller.


For what it’s worth, since we don’t need POV hat in VR, I’m remapping it to the most used ATC selections:

Button Desc. Key Comment
Button 2 button near coolie hat KEY_ATC toggles the ATC popup window
Button 1 PTT (alpha) / trigger (SWFFB2) KEY_ATC_MENU_1 select 1st ATC answer
Pov Left Coolie Hat Left KEY_ATC_MENU_2 select 2nd ATC answer
Pov Right Coolie Hat Right KEY_ATC_MENU_3 select 3rd ATC answer
Pov Up Coolie Hat Up KEY_COCKPIT_VR_FOCUS Temporarily Zoom view
Pov Down Coolie Hat Down KEY_RESET_CAMERA_VR Reset Seated Position

Update: having menus 2 and 3 assigned like this is handy during push back, because you can directly select the turn direction with the hat! (the ATC choices match the hat directions)


Interesting, I still use the hat switch for rotating the camera when in external view but it does nothing when in internal view. Is it possible to keep it for rotating external camera whilst having different functions in internal view?

Perhaps, if you set the ATC menu to a button/key somewhere and the responses to the HAT. Then if you bring up the ATC menu the HAT will select a response, and if you don’t then it will just move the external camera. (Note that I haven’t actually tried this.)

It seems that FS2020 doesn’t allow for peripheral-based modifier buttons yet, so we can’t have multiple functions mapped to each control properly. It’s something I really miss from DCS. I usually use the HAT on it’s own for trim controls, then modifier buttons to make it do other things like menu movement, slewing sensor systems, etc.

I had problems with this in past versions (didn’t check lately) where the game was using both commands when in ext. view (both moving the camera and the action assigned when in cockpit view).

I only use the mouse to circle around in ext. view now because I find it much more convenient having ATC options on the stick, especially when on final or taxiing etc… where it is really not convenient clicking a small line of text while you’re busy doing something else.

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I also had issues getting the modifiers working on a joystick, but I haven’t tried in a long time and a quick search found me this post below which makes me hopeful it now works… Will give it another shot!

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Oh, so FS does support button modifiers? Well I’ll be jiggered, I was sure I read somewhere that it didn’t so I hadn’t even tried! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: I’ll certainly be giving this a try too later, thanks for the link!

Pleased to report it does indeed work :smiley: As explained by the other poster, the trick seems to be the order you press the buttons when “recording” the input in the settings. You need to press the hat direction first, and then the “modifier” key whilst holding the hat. So it needs to look something like this:


Yes, the ATC system is a bit odd. I did a VFR flight from Land’s End to the Scilly Isles and was asked to contact Manchester.

Never mind, flying around the islands in VR was very special.

Thanks for this idea, with the newly discovered modifier function described above I think I will use the four base buttons on my Sidewinder Precision 2 (yes, a £3000 3090 build paired with a cheap 25 year old joystick :upside_down_face:) as four modifier keys and have one modifier dedicated purely for ATC in a similar manner as yours.

Also I found this wishlist request to be able to map an up/down selector for the ATC menu, so we would only have to bind a couple of keys rather than 10… Please vote :slight_smile:

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Wow nice to know the sim support modifiers in controller settings, I did not realize this.
Still getting mine set up to my liking so good to know I can use it when needed.

Only just seen this thread, but since VR was introduced I put most of the ATC Options onto a HAT Switch on my Joystick. 1-4 are standard HAT directional movements (up,right,down,left), then I hold one of the Trigger buttons to select options 5-8. Of course this becomes a pain when the ATC has 9+ options but I just use the mouse.

I used VoiceAttack quite a bit back in the Elite Dangerous days so may give that a go like others to free up the HAT switch for something else.

@MarcG888 I’m using ATC with voice attack and it is so easy - i use command “ATC 1” “ATC2” and so on - works nice and I really like that :slight_smile: simple and enough immersive :wink:


I’ve bound a button on my hotas to the first reply available. That gives you a good way to acknowledge without having to use the mouse or keyboard.

My ATC hotkey is on my CH Eclipse Yoke middle red button.
It’s still very cumbersome until we have VR Touch controls as the 2d mouse requires more than two or 3 clicks for me to confirm an ATC dialogue command. Also I find myself quite annoyed when ATC contacts me for post takeoff clearance as I’m trying to take in the surrounding visuals during takeoff instead of fumbling with the ATC dialogue box. So yea some sort of voice attack function would be so much better.