What good ATC product do you use?

I am sick of the constant broken ATC. Either not descending me or not climbing me. Or just all around being muted randomly during flight.

I have tried pilot2atc and it was okay but even that program never descended you without requesting it…

I am not wanting to use VATSIM. So I was wondering what else everyone uses…

I am almost at the point of not using MSFS and waiting for X-plane 12 to come out…

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Why not VATSIM?

If realistic ATC is important for you, you won’t really get around Vatsim or IVAO. I fly on vatsim and it adds so much fun. No automatic ATC program can create this kind of immersion.

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You should consider Vatsim.

To you P2A issue, you will get orders to descend if your altitudes are correct on the flight planner. In addition, you need to be sure you get a ‘Radar Contact’ acknowledgement after checking in. If you don’t, P2A will get confused with flight progress and communication seems to stop.

At least, that’s what I’ve noticed.

I was in the desperate need for a good ATC a few months ago. I tested the trial of Pilot2ATC and it is really really good but a bit pricey for me. So I started Vatsim and never looked back. What could be a better virtual ATC than real people controlling airspaces after lots of training. Go and give it a try - it’s awesome!

There isn’t any really. It’s fairly complicated. (I don’t think XPlane 12 will be significantly better ATC, though probably better than 11s which is bad).

Why don’t you want to use VATSIM ?

The main problem people have with VATSIM is nerves I think, worrying about making an idiot of themselves. VATSIM (and IVAO, used more if you are mainland Europe) quite often run beginners events where they handhold people through their first flight.

And the ATC are quite helpful. If you turn up at EGLL in the rush hour they won’t have the time, but if you start at a quieter airport with not much happening and signify yourself as a beginner most will try to help you. If you look on Vattastic or Webeye (?) they will tell you what places have ATC and how busy they are.

And nobody really minds mistakes as long as you don’t spoil it for other people. Avoid the #1 no-no - connecting on the runway so you just appear there to the controller.

I use PF3.

It’s quite good. I use it in conjunction with Multicrew Experience. They work very well together.

I used them both with P3Dv5 and when I moved over to MSFS I was so glad they made them work with this sim.

If you use sids and stars you have to input them manually but overall I enjoy using this over the default ATC.

PF3 has regional accents built in and it is great to hear real sounding voices over the radios.

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I use P2ATC when I actually want to pay attention to ATC (which isn’t always… :slight_smile: ). I always use imported SimBrief flightplans with it, and haven’t had issues with descents, although usually it’s a case of ATC telling me to cross a given waypoint at a certain altitude, leaving it up to me to decide when/how to start the descent. I’m happy with it, although I wish the radio module could be a separate pop-out window (that I could throw onto my second screen, which is an iPad running Spacedesk – the full P2ATC window on the iPad leaves the text too small to read easily).

Correct me if I’m wrong, but… doesn’t VATSIM relies on real life controllers who is actually controlling an airspace?

If I’m looking at the VATSIM coverage on Volanta, the airspaces with the VATSIM controllers are spotty at best. Like they’re only available in certain areas at a given time. I’ve never seen a global coverage 24/7 that there’s always going to be someone handling you wherever and whenever you fly.

I hardly see anyone controlling Indonesian Airspace, which I fly quite often. But what happens if there’s no VATSIM controller available? How do you fly around an area without an active controller?

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Correct,

VATSIM is all volunteer based with regards to ATC so you are relying on people being logged in. Typically after work / school in their local timezone.

If there is no ATC online in your area monitor unicom 122.800 for both voice / text and announce your intentions.

I use Vatspy and map.vatsim.net to see ATC online and what services they are online for. Right now closest to Indonesia that is online / active is Singapore approach.

For those who are nervous about flying on the network there are a TON of tutorial videos that go through the entire process. Also when you file your flight plan you can also put remarks “first time on VATSIM” “newbie” Etc… so the controllers know that you may not know exactly what to do and they can help you.

Lastly, you can also link up with a training partner like VATSTAR who do the certification / ratings (not required) but they do host 2 orientation sessions a month for beginners. You join their Discord and go from there and they walk you through everything, answer questions etc…

I learned the ropes by joining BVARTCC before it joined VATSIM. Nowadays they have a WINGS program to take you step by step how to fly both Visual Rules and Instrument Rules. The systems are very similar around the globe so learning in the US will be good for Europe. WINGS Flights - Boston Virtual ARTCC (bvartcc.com)

I’ve been using Pilot2ATC since before MSFS came out as believe it or not X-Plane’s ATC is worse. Its also got good mapping, flight planning, plus other tools and will import/export many different flight plan formats.

I’ve liked it because its better than any in sim ATC, supports voice input or you can use a menu driven system, and I don’t want to commit to flying with human ATC controllers.

This is not a pop out but you can run it in a small format with just the radio pannel and speech interaction. You can probably also make the speech window small by grabbing the vertical separators with the mouse cursor and resizing the various parts of the bottom section.

Click the down arrow/triangle that is above the power indicator (Pwr) in the lower left hand side of the window.

I am not really wanting to 1) have to wear headphones while I am flying for 2+ hours and 2) I am not really wanting to have to talk to actual people as I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.

I’m with you on that… I also let my copilot handle the ATC so I don’t need to. I don’t think any other ATC app outside of the default MSFS can support the copilot ATC handling. I only use the ATC for my first clearance, and my taxi clearance to the gate after landing. For every other time, I let my Copilot handle it, since I usually leave my PC to do something else after takeoff and will come back for descent and approach.

PilotEdge. I have used it and I’m about to get it soon for live streams. Flying is my job and the accuracy of ATC procedures and phraseology is spot on. The downside is the coverage area and cost (approx 20 bucks a month), but they pay their controllers a salary and it’s staffed a majority of the day. If you fly, learning to fly, or just want to be as realistic as possible in the simulation end of things, I highly suggest it. Homepage - PilotEdge.net They do have a free trial period which is 14 days or 5 hours spent on the server. Any live ATC service like VatSim or PilotEdge really adds to the realism of MSFS.

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I do use the collapsing feature – it’s what I use the most now, to keep P2ATC on top of the sim without taking up too much screen real estate. (I’m on a laptop.)

What I’d really like is for it to be a resizeable pop-out window; with scaled text. That way I could put it on the iPad and enlarge it so that it’s readable. I don’t expect that would be any sort of development priority (nor should it be)…

Pilot2ATC for me. I only fly IFR in FBW 320 and it works well. Especially useful when vatsim is unavailable at night.

I get what you are saying but 1) Pilots do wear headphones so this is realistic. 2) If you look at the WINGS program it starts with flying circuits/patterns and slowly moves on to more complex procedures. The communication thing is very daunting until you have tried it a few times, after which it becomes addictive.

Is there a feasible way to get decent sounding voices in Pilot2ATC? I listened to some review and demo videos and the voices sounded very robotic, read up on it and the advice was to spend quite a bit of money buying additional voices… Is that still the case or is there a straightforward way to get Pilot2ATC to at least sound as “good” as default MSFS ATC?

I have found VATSIM Indonesian pretty active on a daily basis especially with popular airports like WADD and WIII. I started my VATSIM journey with them and have been flying under the coverage daily when I first started. I guess they are normally active during evening time in Indonesia which may or may not be your flying slot. I have also seen quite a few Aussies flying under Indonesian VATSIM.

They are among of the most polite and patient controllers in VATSIM.