I’m coming back to the sim after 18 months and want a better ATC solution than what’s in the sim. My main issues with it are the erratic altitude assignments that force me to ignore it.
I will use this with the FBW A320.
What I would like is something that’s easy to get a flight plan into, has good quality voices, can have my co-pilot handle all the interactions, and assign an approach on arrival and ideally instruct me to start descending at ToD (but not into a mountain). I would also like to add chatter or AI ATC to the mix to make it a bit more alive and immersive.
I don’t really care if the ATC is actually controlling AI traffic (like FSHud). I will probably use AIG for AI traffic.
What are my choices? What is best?
Personally, I like PF3, but there are a lot of choices. It has voice capability, and one of the things I like, it has a ton of voices for the different regions of the world, I don’t know of another ATC program that has that.
A lot of people like the live ATC, can’t think of the name offhand, but I’ve never really been into that.
If you want ATC like the Sim has, but functional, then FSHud is probably your best bet. If you want an ATC that has more features, and is voice controlled / activated (that you can also have your co-pilot handle). Pilot2ATC is great, and has options for other realistic voices (now includes direct flight plan import from Simbrief).
And then of course if you want to go full realistic, VATSIM / PilotEdge but no co-pilot handling.
Pilot2atc is amazing and works well as long as the user does what is needed to work well mainly voice training part while is easy to used. I found keeping the mic settings down very low helps. This can be tested with windows recording program Your voice needs to be clear and not distorted. Support is good and the beta version updates are pretty solid. I use a real aircraft headset that plugs into the box with a usb. I use P2ATC about 95 percent of the time. It works anywhere in the world as far as I know
I never used it for VFR, just IFR but I am trying that today
I’m a Pf3 fan, been using it for years first with FSX, then P3d and now with MSFS. The regional voices are great. I use it with MCE for voice recognition so I talk to the ATC and my copilot running through checklists and such. These 2 programs work really well together.
Pf3 also interacts with the AI aircraft.
Does Pf3 assign an approach on arrival or do you have to include that in your flight plan and it will just follow that and won’t change it even if winds are different?
Also, how is the voice quality? One review I watched they seemed very robotic.
I’ve found it will vector you to an ILS approach if that’s the active runway, otherwise it puts you about 10 miles out on final at about 3000’ AGL. I don’t pre-plan approaches since I’m rarely sure of the active runway. Also, the regional voices vary, some are more robotic, some less, but you can filter only to the ones you want, though that’s more work than I’d want to do. For me, the robotic I equate to marginal reception. It is capable of STARs and SIDs as well.
I’ve tried Pilot2ATC, but I found the ease of use and the variations in voices of PF3 to be my preference. They are both pretty popular.
I looked into FSHud… it also suffers from poor voice quality and is super slow - what are your thoughts on voice quality and selection?
Apparently, while it injects and interacts with AI traffic, it’s not very good. Others report that the traffic needs to fly in, which means the departure airport is devoid of aircraft when you start your flight.
Does it do dynamic approach assignments on arrival? Will it initiate ToD?
i’m interested in what your final choice is, I initially too was going to try Pilot2ATC but i saw a video out there somewhere that said if you were to compare it to real life, there are some minor inaccuracies, I wonder what made you rule out PF3, never tried it myself.
I think that’s pretty much the baseline for any and all AI-controlled ATC. If you want real life, Vatsim or bust. If you choose any offline package, you’re going to have to make compromises.
which one is better though you think and most accurate?
I’ve only used P2A. No personal experience PF3 outside of seeing it in a couple of videos. I really couldn’t tell you which is better.
Bottom line though, if you want 100% realistic, then it’s Vatsim or one of the other live ATC networks, but then you have to do your own radio work, not your copilot.
That’s definitely the goal of this thread, although what’s better for you may be different for others. For example, I’m not looking for crazy accurate, or to talk to a live person, just don’t want crazy altitude assignments like the default ATC.
What I wish existed was a reviewer that had looked at all the ATC solutions out there and ranked them on a number of attributes:
- Voice diversity and quantity
- Voice quality
- Interaction with AI traffic
- Ability to dynamically assign an approach on arrival
- Accurately calling ToD and bringing me down (without hitting a mountain)
- Vectoring options for go-around, traffic, etc.
- Accuracy in taxiing instructions at airports (default and modified)
- Voice activated
- Co-pilot automation
- Ease of adding a flight plan
- Latitude in accommodating deviations from the flight plan
EDIT: When I think about it… the default ATC is actually pretty good at some of these. You can’t beat the ease of adding a flight plan- if using the built-in planner. It’s voice quality is good. It’s ability to work with a copilot is great, it will assign an approach on arrival, but it has crashed me into mountains asking me to descend and maintain 3000’ amongst 7500’ mountains.
Yea ill agree with the dynamically assigning approaches and vectoring options. I like ATC options that are smart enough to vary the options accurately without sending planes too low or in the wrong direction. Also don’t mind the voice function if I wanted to talk
The one thing I’d say to that, even RL ATC sometimes gets it wrong, it’s really up to the PIC to decide what’s safe and what isn’t. Having said, that, I think the default ATC is lacking. I use PF3 because of that, but I also know it’s limited as well. Though for me it does check most of the boxes you want. I like the way it handles taxi-ing, most of the time.
Why PF3 vs other solutions?
I’ve only tried PF3 and Pilot2ATC, but between the 2, PF3 had the multitude of voices. If I remember right, at the time, you had to add voices from the Windows service packs for P2A, though it’s possible that has changed. Also, for me P2A seemed much more difficult to set up, and didn’t offer any more functionality than PF3, for what I was trying to do. I fly IFR all the time, but I usually fly to smaller airports, so SIDs and STARs aren’t as critical for me, though PF3 does have the capability, just have to manually set it up for each airport.
The voice recognition seemed very difficult to get right in P2A as well, though to be fair I haven’t tried to set it up in PF3, it may be just as difficult. Then again, when I flew in RL, I had difficulty being understood over the radio, so maybe it’s just my voice.
I have experience with both PF3 and P2ATC solutions, still waiting for the ‘one solution to rule them all’…
Best for imersion, nice regional voices with radio distortion. Full Ai handeling, which is nice. Controllers even on occasion make mistakes and correct them. SID, STAR and approach handeling is the downside for me, no variaton there. The program follows the route that you filed up front. If approach runway changes and star doesnt connect, you need to fix it in flight. Supports 1 hold point and assigns this by chance%
Best in my opinion in giving an experience which is not pre set in rails. Will assign you a random SID, STAR and approach. So that will give some variation. Voices are to clear for my taste, would love some radio distortion. Furthermore no Ai handeling, besides traffic calls. And no holdings supported as well.
To sum it up: Immersion, Ai handling and holdings from PF3 combined with the route handling of P2ATC would be my personal go to ATC solution. Are you reading along FSHub?
So for P2ATC, how do you add voices? I remember it being pretty onerous when I tried it, but it’s been a long time, before MSFS.