Many of you have taken the time to tinker around with the new ATC system. Many of you have had a good experience, others have found yourselves frustrated for various reasons. My goal here is to try and explain what you can expect from the system moving forward and describe the causes of some of the troubles that you might be having.

First, as I’ve said before, what you see in the ATC system is just the tip of the iceberg. The features are going to expand moving forward. What you are looking at now is not the way the final system will work. If we waited months or even years before shipping X-Plane 10, I’d still be saying the same thing. The reason is that the ATC system has the potential to be very large and very comprehensive much like the scenery system. It will evolve over time. There will never be a lack of new things that would be cool to have, there will never be a lack of things that can be changed for added realism etc. We have to develop things in stages however and what you see is merely the first stage.

The first stage was designed with one goal in mind: to create a system that’s comprehensive enough to give AI aircraft a purpose. Having AI aircraft buzzing around creates a living airport environment. Coupled with Ben’s new roads and railways, the X-Plane world is no longer a static world, it’s one that’s alive! AI aircraft are very low maintenance. They don’t have many requests, they aren’t picky about their routings. They just want to depart from one airport and arrive safely at another airport and the current ATC does that just fine. We’ve also allowed YOU the user to interact with ATC at this point but humans are not as simple as the AI planes. Your goals are a lot more specific and detailed than the AI goals and the current ATC doesn’t handle that so well. That’s coming! That’s phase two however. Right now, your interaction with ATC allows you to “get into the system” so that you can have a turn to use the runway for takeoffs or landings.

For those of you unfamiliar with the real world ATC system, let me tell you what it’s NOT. It’s not a turn-by-turn Garmin navigation system. ATC’s job is never to be your navigator or co-pilot. Yes, they often do assist pilots but this is NOT their primary goal. Their primary goal is the separation of aircraft within their airspace. Often, when ATC is assigning you headings for vectors, it’s because it’s easier for them to put you exactly where they want you to be than it is to let you fly however you feel. They’re controlling your position for spacing, for sequencing and for efficiency. This typically only happens on approaches where numerous aircraft are all converging in tight spaces to use a single runway.

X-Plane is no different. If you file a flight plan with a blank route, you’re expected to go DIRECT to your destination. You will not be given instructions on how to do that. If you file a route, you’re expected to fly the route by yourself. You will not be told when to turn or how to get from fix to fix.

ATC is also not a weather service. If you want to know the weather, you have to tune to the various AWOS/ASOS/ATIS frequencies around the world. These were in v9 and they still exist today. Yes it’s true that real controllers will often give you weather information if you ask. We may add a little bit of that in the future but even in the real world, it’s not their job…they do it because they like to be helpful people.

The first stage of ATC right now will give you an IFR clearance after you file your plan. They will assign you a squawk code for radar tracking. They will issue you a routing to your assigned runway. They will ensure that you are only allowed to depart when it’s safe. They will stay with you until you’re near your arrival airport. They will provide vectors to your approach (visual/ILS) and then they will issue you a landing clearance and allow you to continue as long as the runway is safe to use. If the runway becomes unsafe, they will instruct you to go around for another attempt. When you land, they will issue an appropriate taxi route back to your gate. That is the extent of what is possible with the first stage. It’s not comprehensive but it’s a foundation to work off of.

What kinds of things might you expect in the next stage? (NOTE: these are not promises. The details of future features have not been finalized but i’m trying to offer an idea of roughly where we’re headed). VFR operations. Requesting higher/lower altitudes in flight. In-air conflict prevention and resolution. Changing destinations in flight. Requesting specific runways. Requesting specific approaches…etc. etc. Please do not make feature requests at this time. I’m just rattling off some ideas from memory.

I have one or two remaining stability issues to clear up before I can fix some of the current usability issues that seem to have come up. For now, here’s an explanation of some of the issues so that you may at least understand what’s going on under the hood. I will say, the current system is a lot like a fire alarm in that it only takes one simple problem like a dying battery to be REALLY annoying. But like a dying battery, a relatively simple fix can make the problem disappear.

  1. “I filed a FP but ATC isn’t talking to me” – That’s because you haven’t asked for anything. Tune your COM1 radio to the appropriate controller for an IFR clearance. At big airports, this is the Clearance Delivery controller. At smaller airports, this can be Ground or Tower.
  2. “How do i know what frequency to be on?” – You really only need to know the frequency for two people. The guy who’s going to give you your IFR clearance, and the ground controller. After that, you will be instructed by ATC which frequency you should be on for the remained of you flight. You can get the DEL/GND frequencies from a variety of places. First, in the sim you can go to the local map view, enable Airports and then click on the airport that you want the frequency of. Then look at the popup. You can also use real world charts or resources.
  3. “ATC is giving me a routing that’s through gates and buildings” – This is because the taxi layouts are auto-generated and have no idea where the buildings are. In the future, airport authors will create detailed taxi layouts that will completely alleviate this problem at their airports.
  4. “I taxi to the runway and nothing happens” – If you were talking to ground, he should have handed you off to tower. If he didn’t, then perhaps you didn’t pull up enough. Make sure to taxi to the very end of the yellow arrows…not necessarily the hold short lines pained on the ground. Again, when human authors make taxi layouts, these should align perfectly (as they do in KSEA) but for autogenerated layouts, they may not. Trust the arrows, not the paint.
  5. “I contact tower holding short of the runway but i don’t get a takeoff clearance” – This is because it’s not safe for you to takeoff. You have to be patient and wait. There could be someone taxiing on the other end of the runway, there may be an arrival that’s too close, or the last departure may still be in the way.
  6. “I’m constantly being told I’m off course” – This is because you are… :) The problem however is probably not your fault. If you don’t file a route and you leave the routing blank, ATC assumes you’re going “direct”…the current bug is that direct is from the center of the departure airport to the center of your arrival airport. So what happens is that you takeoff, you fly runway heading, you get yourself adjusted, clean up the aircraft….by this time, you can be MILES from the center of the airport where the route line began. Now you decide to “proceed direct” your destination but you’re now paralleling the course that ATC expected you to fly. The real solution to this in the future is me fixing this in various ways but for now, try to fly a course track that emanates from the center of the airport or file a real routing. Real routings may sometimes have the same issues for the same reasons but will be probably be less severe.
  7. “I’m constantly hearing AI planes getting yelled at for their altitudes” – yeah this is because some of the AI planes are being asked to climb to FL360 or so and they seem to be climbing in an inefficient manner. They end up running out of airspeed at FL330 or so and then are not smart enough to step climb up the rest of the way so they just stay there on a border-line stall. Austin will need to tweak the AI planes in the future.
  8. “ATC’s not talking to me after I depart” – Why should he talk to you? You’re the pilot, your job is to fly the plane the way you filed. ATC is NOT a turn-by-turn GPS. You need to know how to get to where you’re going on your own and you are expected to do so. The ONLY time you can expect vectors currently is when you get within 30nm of your arrival airport. At that time, ATC will issue you vectors for your visual or ILS approach.
  9. “ATC forgot about me after issuing me some vectors” / “ATC is vectoring me away from the airport” – Perhaps ATC is not issuing the tightest vectors in the world if you’re in a small GA plane, but it’s not THAT far off. ATC (much like in the real world) typically issues vectors to final using a vectoring Tee (See below). Yes, you may be told to fly away from the airport. Yes he may give you headings that seem out of the way. He will not forget about you. Hang in there. Depending on your arrival angle, you may be given some shortcuts. In the future, I can add some tighter shortcuts as well but it’s actually not that far off. I think in it’s worst case, you can expect an 8nm intercept to final.

So here’s a vectoring tee like the one used by X-Plane’s ATC. The numbers represent the headings you could expect for this sample runway (09/27). Depending on whether you’re approaching from the north or the south, you’ll be given only half of this Tee. Let’s pretend that you were south of the airport…you’d be given a right turn heading 090, then a left turn heading 360, then a left turn heading 330, then finally a turn to 270. Depending on your aircraft type, you may be required to fly away from the airport by several miles. This is normal. ATC has not forgotten about you. You will be turned back toward the airport when the time is right.

So that’s a quick dump of my brain regarding ATC at the moment. There will be more posts in the future about future features and what you can expect. The purpose of this post was to just give you a glimpse of the status of things and alleviate some confusion all around since it’s a completely new paradigm for many people.

About Chris Serio

Chris is an electrical engineer and commercial pilot who got roped into software development by Ben because misery loves company.

106 comments on “Notes about the ATC system

  1. Thanks Chris – excellent post. From what I’ve seen, ATC currently works well and looks to be a winner. Looking forward to the added features, especially VFR (flight following) as I fly that mostly.

  2. Thanks for a really useful insight into what ATC expects of us – what we expect of ATC is probably what causes most of the problems. I think this post will help lessen the frustration some of us have been feeling.

    As a blanket change, would it be possible for the ATC system to be able to compare the msg they’re about to send, with the previous message. If the two are identical, insert a delay. Having ATC send lots of different messages adds ‘texture’ and detail to the sim experience. Having the same msg repeated every 5 seconds is irritating (unless it’s collision avoidance!). This would help with both issues 6 & 7 in the list above.

    Thanks for all your work on this – it’s going to be worth the struggle I’m sure!

    1. Part of this is that the timers need a bit of tweaking. The other part is that voice pack authors can add several versions of the same phrase and the system will randomly grab one so you hear a variation. In either case, this is what we’re moving toward in the future.

  3. I´m one of the frustrated ATC users. Well actually I just tried to use it without much success. Took me 2 hours to get my clearance and to taxi to the runway. Well, it´s getting better and I´m sure not asking for a gps-turn by turn ATC and automatically tuned frequencies but it definately needs a more user friendly interface – at least as an OPTION. I´m sure there is much potential and some things can be “fixed” or “improved” without too much work. Just my 3 ideas for now (because it´s christmas soon!).

    1. ATC should be more patient (I almost smashed my PC when that voice jelled at me every 2 seconds: “You´re off course”!).

    2. It should be able (optional) to look up an “ATC-communication log” in case you forgot what ATC told you (e.g. sqawk-code/ or frequency).

    3. There could be an option to call ATC and to ask for one´s “status” just to see if ATC is still there (=ATC didn´t forget me) and instruction is still valid (=I didn´t miss an instruction and have the correct frequency tuned) ATC would simply repeat the last instruction then.

    Will give it another try tonight. Thanks for the clarifications!

    1. Hi Florian,

      1) It will be a bit more patient in the next beta I think. I tweak a lot of the timers.
      2) Agreed. This will be added as soon as I get my head above water.
      3) Not a bad idea. In the real world, we often ask for an altimeter setting or ask them to check out altitude reporting just to make sure our radios didn’t die.

      Anyway, hang in there. It’ll get sorted out.

      1. Thanks, looking forward to it.


        PS: Regardeless of the bugs and “shortcomings” of the XP10betas I have to admit that it is really impressing what you guys have done and how fast you are fixing things and move on. To see someone care about things makes up for a lot of the initial trouble.

  4. Excellent Chris,
    I too am an ATC whiner!
    Not sure if its your realm of the sim, but I would like to see a button for “read-back” or maybe a keystroke. I know there is a ATC contact button, if I remember correctly
    that is just to open the ATC window. The having to move the mouse up to top of the
    screen for read-back in my opinion is a real pain, especially if I am in the flight
    control area. A quick push of a button and read-back is accomplished.

    Thanks very much for the information,


    1. Hi Chuck, take a look at the ATC Contact button again. This was broken in previous releases but has been fixed as of the last release 10.03b5. The button brings up the contact window and also selects whatever item is highlighted. You can move the focus around with the keyboard, or mouse or assign General Command up/down to your joystick as well.

      1. Using the general command up/down on the joystick while in the atc menu to select something will also change the view. The view movement should be disabled while the atc menu is up (at least for the up/down/left/right inputs the menu is catching.


  5. Haha… I think the main problem is ATC simulation in XP has gone from “easy to use” (and not very accurate) in XP9 to “almost real-life” in XP10 without fair warning 🙂

    I think ATC simulation is great now and I’m eager to see it evolving in the next versions.

    My 2 cents: (with 20 AI planes at KSEA) planes do not seem to regard safety distances to each other and 80 %+ (or so) planes abort landings.

    I’ve tuned it down though to 10 AI planes because 20 would melt by CPU 🙂 and planes do not fly so close to each other.

    1. You should know by now that I’m more likely to give out my bank account # than give an estimate. 🙂 I will say that they’re fairly high priority but not higher than ATC stability issues of which there are 2 remaining (that I know of).

      1. haha touché sounds good Chris, I’m looking forward to adding realism with my soon to arrive saitek radio panel

  6. Hi Chris,

    I have no doubt that ATC will evolve and become a really fun part of the sim experience. It is already, but to keep clear of some of the aggravations you’ve mentioned, I’ve dialed the number of aircraft back to just 1 – me. Here’s why and a situation you might find helpful.

    This is the situation I encountered and how I think it went awry. I was ignored during vectoring for final and it went something like this (using your T for reference):

    * approaching from the south-west.
    * vectored onto the 090 leg.
    * vectored onto the 360 leg.
    * ATC started looping on issuing a climb to FL360 to “Papa-two.”
    * I flew on and on toward the north pole never hearing from ATC again (except for listening to the endless “climb…”/”up to…” loop.)
    * (okay, I finally just turned back and landed – fuel ain’t cheep, virtual or not. lol)

    This may be a good point to ask a related question about ATC/AI aircraft. I have an i7-950 with hyper-threading disabled. Would it be better to turn it back on for XP-10 or are virtual cores more or less worthless? I know the more cores, the more AI aircraft you can comfortably handle, but a Quad-Core is really just that, 4 cores, not the 8 it “appears” to have with HT enabled.

    Thank you for the accelerated postings lately. Really interesting insights, and comforting to know that everything’s being looked at carefully moving forward. 🙂

    1. Hi Tom, I’m not sure about the performance benefits of HT the flight model. I’d say try it both ways in “identical” test cases and see which is better. I think you’ll probably see a slight benefit to having HT enabled.

  7. Hi Chris,

    First thing first, thanks for such an amazing development – ATC is great and it’s going to be amazing. BUT (and some rant now…)

    – Please please please … Make it cockpit builder friendly. On top of the existing dataref disable drawing, please add some so we can control it using Dataref: One Dataref showing last text and some for answer navigation. Please … 🙂

  8. good stuff Chris-

    How about terminal/enroute sectors? For example, I notice Jacksonville center is just called “ZJX” and only has on frequency…and of course, there is no terminal facilities either. Any updates?

    1. Good question…I’m kind of surprised no one has asked this until now. 🙂

      The current system can handle real world sectors for ARTCCs and TRACONs but we just don’t have the organized data. I dug through some old data by hand and created


      ARTCC sector for each major division in North America but there are no sub-sectors. There are also no TRACONs in there. If someone can get me data in the right format, it can go in the sim immediately and then we can ship with accurate sector boundaries and frequencies. This is true for centers throughout the rest of the world as well. Otherwise, it’ll have to wait for me to have some free time to parse through some pile of old government files that I have.

      1. Would Lat-Lon coordinates and altitude limits for individual all ARTCC and TRACON sectors help? It is christmas ya know.. 🙂

        1. It would if it’s formatted properly yes. Take a look at Resources/default scenery/default atc/Earth Nav Data/atc.dat. That’s what defines controllers, their airspace and their frequencies (for radar controllers).

          1. Just checked it out. Seems pretty straight forward. I tried to create the SYR TRACON following other examples in the file, but the tower still switched aircraft to the center on departure.

            Do you have any format examples to share? I’d like to add a bunch of data for both center sectors and tracons.

          2. The files I pointed out ARE the format examples. 🙂 Without seeing what you did, I can’t tell you what’s wrong but there’s probably an error in your file somewhere.

          3. This seems like a good crowd source project. Where would we find lat/long and altitudes of the boundaries and sub-sectors? I have been searching the FAA website but coming up with nothing so far except sectional descriptions. These are more landmark based definitions than lat/long.

          4. If it were that easy, I’d have done it myself. 🙂 The data used to be available in the DAFIF database which the government no longer provides freely. There are still copies of the last DAFIF revision out there and the data IS in there but it’s not in a simple format to use. Some work would need to be done to extract it and get it in the right format.

            At this point, I do NOT want a bunch of small submissions from users “here’s XYZ tracon”, “here’s ABC Center” because it’s a maintenance nightmare. If someone is willing to provide one large batch like “Here’s every TRACON” in the USA, I’ll accept that. The reason is, if there’s a bug, I can go back to one user and work out the issue and correct the entire batch at once rather than go back to 15 different users for corrections.

          5. all TRACONs in the USA? Easy enough…lets spice it up a little and even include the sectors within the TRACON! 🙂

            Just two questions..why do you have BDL and BOS local controller (gnd &twr) if the file is for radar controllers only? come some facilities have two frequencies?

            I’ll start today..

          6. The file is not just for radar controllers. I was just trying to simplify the explanation. By default, TWR/GND/DEL controllers are created automatically by the data from within X-Plane’s apt.dat however they are created with “generic” airspace boundaries (in the case of tower) which will be imperfect someday. Users can of course override this and create their own TWR/GND/DEL (and of course CTR/APP/DEP) by defining them in atc.dat. This way they can clearly specify the Tower controller’s airspace jurisdiction even though that data is not really being used yet by the simulator. The ones in the file are probably left over from my tests and should probably be removed.

            If you can create accurate TRACON and sector boundaries, I’m sure a ton of X-Plane users will be grateful. I know I will. Just make sure the data you use is legally distributable as our data is GPL.

            We support multiple frequencies in some ways. For instance, sometimes sectors are often merged and handled by one controller and he operates on both frequencies so pilots can remain isolated from the internal staffing decisions of facilities. Otherwise they’d need to know what frequency to use depending on the time of day/staffing of the facility.

          7. Interesting stuff! Lots of potential! The data I will be using will not be simply inserted into the data file…I will be simply using the data as a reference to assist building the sector volumes. So, I guess you can say the sectors will be of my creation. Does that make a legal difference? 🙂

          8. Regarding legality, it entirely depends on your source data’s legal licensing. If it’s government data, it’s probably fine. If it was from a private source, that may be a different story.

          9. ok..been building some airspace with the ZBW to start. I just have two questions…

            I had to delete the entire ZBW facility entry because to was superior in communication priority. Tower was always issuing commands for departing aircraft to contact ARTCC even when a correctly modeled TRACON was present. Can TRACONs have priority? This way ARTCC sorta fills in the around the TRACONs without having to nitpick gaps between TRACONs? This way, if a feature was ever added to have operational time limits to TRACONs (6am to 12am), it would be filled in by ARTCC when inop.

            Most TRACONs are simple ATCT/TRACON facilities. The vast majority of those have basic 45 mile/10,000 ft agl service volume. Can that be programmed by default like the TWR and GND are just build in the apt.dat? The only real creative TRACONs are the ones with ID codes like C90, Y90,A90…those I need to build from scratch.

            …oh and yeah, all my data is public government information OR my own observations. 😉

          10. I should clarify. Even though most ATCT/TRACONs are simply, some do break the rule 45 mi/10,000 ft rule (TPA, BGM, and ELM for example). I plan on customizing and tailoring each radar sector as best and most realistically, but it would be helpful to be able to skip the simple ones. I’m sure you know in real life flying, handoffs between sectors isn’t perfectly on the boundary line…sooooo, perfectly perfect boundary lines actually reduce the feeling of chance and uniqueness.

          11. There is no notion of priority nor should there be. The selection of controllers is done by looking at the airspace volumes. Airspace volumes are SUBTRACTIVE meaning that if you imagine the biggest airspace (ARTCC’s) covering it’s giant region all the way to the ground (or whatever minimum they have). Then you build the next layer of airspace (TRACONS) which is automatically subtracted from the ARTCC’s airspace since they co-exist. If ATC is selecting the wrong controller, then you’ve either done something wrong, or I have a bug to fix but without your data I can’t tell.

            Which reminds me…I already implemented A90 in the atc.dat. I’m pretty sure that mine worked properly regarding handoffs from tower. Maybe compare yours to mine?

            As far as generating ATCT facilities, we have no data as to where they exist so autogenerating them would not be possible. Plus, you’ve already pointed out the fact that they are not always a “standard” size.

          12. glad to hear the XP10 ATC is so smart! Thought I was going to have trick the system 🙂 but, you and I are getting different results. How bout I send you the TRACONs I build for you to take a peek? I assume you have a nice mapping feature that will draw the airspace to show the accuracy? If you like my work, I can then start doing the ARTCC sectors 😛

            thanks Chris-

  9. Thanks for these interesting notes about ATC system.

    I remember a post from february where you were talking about SIDs and STARs… Is it still on your radar ? I’m not asking for a date 😉 I just wonder if you are still thinking about implementing them.

    Keep up the good work.

    1. Take a look at Resources/default scenery/default atc/Earth Nav Data/atc.dat. That’s what defines controllers, their airspace and their frequencies (for radar controllers).

  10. Will X-Plane 10 in the future support Green Approach? I guess ATC need to be updated to support Green Approach?

    1. Interesting though I’m not sure this is something I’ll be able to get to for a while. There are a lot of more standardized features that need to be written first.

  11. About point #6: I tried a few times to file a flight plan but it seems that x plane own flight planner does not take airways only waypoints. At the same time the UFMC was accepting all the airways and accepting the route. After I realized that this was a problem, means it was not that particular airway to be not recognized but all airways, I filed a plan with only the waypoints and it was accepted but of course at some point of the plan I was “off course”.

  12. Hi,
    About nr 4 above:
    The runway should be beginning and ending at the hold short lines on the taxiways. ATC need to clear you to position and hold on the RWY for you to be able to cross those lines. Perhaps a option to call tower with a position at RWY this or that would help when ATC isn’t recognizing you as being at the RWY.

    Cheers Pierre

    1. I’m not sure that I understand what you’re trying to say. The current system works just fine, the only issue is that autogenerated layouts don’t necessary match the paint on the ground. Users need to trust the arrows and ignore the paint.

  13. suggestions:

    1. make it so that a route that already is filed into the FMS will automatically be used when filing the flight plan.

    2. that timer thing is really worth an update. One at times can’t even “get through” because the controller is occupied with the same message all over again.

    3. make it easier to get ATIS. E.g. you could list “frequencies of nearest facilities” in the pop up window. One would see an Atis or Awos station and could tune COM2 without interupting the flight. It even would be helpful when down on the ground looking for the airport freqs. A bit like the “Who is near and online” floating window in xsquawkbox.

    Looking forward to your improvements. It is already a hell lot better than what we had.

    1. 1) An interesting suggestion.
      2) It’s already been tweaked for the next beta.
      3) This destroys the realism. Most pilots don’t have this…to me, it’s the equivalent of sticking “autoland” functionality in a Cessna 172 just because landings are “too difficult” to learn. With that said, I may in fact make a beginner mode that does provide SOME guidance as to what frequency the user should be on. But we’re a simulator. The goal is to simulate real life in as many ways as practical.

      1. Hi Chris,
        On point 3, I’d argue that operating a 747 with a one person crew is not normal either and that getting some help from the sim for tuning the radios would mitigate the absence of the Pilot Non-Flying. At the end of the day, you have to let the simmer decide on the degree to which the simmer wants to emerse his/herself in a realistic scenario.

  14. Well my mayden voyage was a KJFK to KBOS
    NEWES J225 RAALF and it did’nt take j225

    then I tried a KJFK to KORD
    KJFK FJC J146 MIP J78 PSB J60 DJB it didn’t accept all 3 airways
    I also flew in Europe but since was clear to me that the program was not taking any of the airways I entered, I just entered waypoints via direct.

    1. I’m not sure what you’re doing wrong, but both of those routes loaded up just fine for me with the airways. I tried “NEWEST J225 RAALF” and “FJC J146 MIP J78 PSB J60 DJB” both while on the ground at KJFK. Of course I set the destination to KBOS or KORD where appropriate.

      1. Since probably last time I tried it was b3 I just tried again with b5 both Routes, and I get the same message for each and every airway I enter which is: unknown navaid
        Are my navaid files corrupted/bad format, I use Mac. Which ones are the files I should look for?

          1. Yes that’s the file. What’s the date on it? Open it in TextEdit and search for J225. You should see it appear in several places. One of them at RAALF and another at NEWES.

  15. Got it! I got rid of the old file, run the updater and it gave me the latest awy.dat file I tried again but it was not working, I then copied and paste from your reply the route to Kord and it was working, all airways accepted! Why?! They MUST be all CAPITAL letters, please let people know.

  16. first please accept my warm wishes for this holiday season and all your hard work on this wonderful product!

    I’ve same problem with “off course”. I did file the route but still got the nagging. The situaiton is as follows. Created a flight plan from CYVR(vancouver intl) to PANC(ted stevens intl, anchorage). First of all ATIS of CYVR is broken i assume because nothing happens on channel 124.60 The flight plan was as follows:


    This plan works fine if i take off from 08R but since ATC donot take into consideration wind directions from real weather it summoned me to take off from 30 instead. Fine with that then i take off and override first 3 way points and hit LN direct to join JORJA, which atc isn’t aware of it kept nagging me “off course” for rest of my flight! even beyond 30nm radius. Maybe because ATC is wanting me to fly via VR, YVR and CANRY. I wonder if i file in few odd GPS cordinates which flight plan doesn’t accepts then we would get same warning.

    Another problem with this issue is barometric pressure which is a blackbox i.e not visible in weather window at all unless you set your own weather. This means that unless you’re in touch witn ATC or if ATIS works, barometric pressure is a blackbox. I failed to intercept localizer few times because i was flying too high. Would be nice if we could get this setting somewhere all the time to successfully fly IFR

    Thank you!

  17. Chris (Serio),

    Don’t know if this is a bug or not:

    I filed a flight plan using fixes that basically would take me on a sight-seeing run around Mt Rainier. After takeoff (16C) ATC put me on a 060 vector. I complied thinking it was for traffic (although I have minimal AI due to system limits). Anyhoo, my next course change from ATC made me realize that I was going to fly a pattern. As I said, don’t know if it is a bug or that having departure and arrival match tells them I want to do pattern, it ignored the enroute fixes altogether.


    1. ATC is goal oriented. It saw you were near your destination and set you up for your approach. It essentially gave you a shortcut…despite the fact that you purposely filed a long routing to do some sightseeing.

  18. Hi Chris

    I have a request… as the “enter” key open the Atc dialogue is it possible to have a hot key assigned to the readback just like in FS? Not asking you this because I’m lazy or spoiled, or maybe I am, but even though my screen resolution is not set to the maximum(1680) I find the menus very tiny and not really practical while in flight and dealing with a T/O procedure, having to use the mouse to point the cursor to the words “readback transmission” which is a very microscopic box, while I could use another key which could be user assignable, or if this is not possible one that you decide? Just imagine a t/o scenario where my left hand is on the yoke, my right on the throttle, gear up, and I’m about to turn on the autopilot in the MCP in front of me and at that moment the Atc guy already told me for the 17th time to contact center but when am I gonna find the time to click “Enter” grab the mouse, point the cursor to the readback, and exactly on top of the words and click? Maybe for people who fly with the mouse or with a very small set up, it is not a big deal but for me it is. If this is a problem I’m going to put an ad on Craigslist and hire a co-pilot 😉

    1. Hi David, why not assign General Cmd Up/Down to your joystick as well as the “Contact ATC” buttons. That’s everything you need to make requests and respond. I will consider a button for “readback ATC command” but you’ll still need what i described earlier to make requests.

      1. I tried that but using “general up/down” made the view position move up and down at the same time…not very helpful…

        Best regards

      2. if that allows me to bring the atc dialogue up and to readback the transmission without having to use the mouse and pointing the cursor, I will definitely do it, I’ll give it a try whenever that bug with the view up and down will be fixed. Of course if the readback could be assignable also as a button would be even better.
        And BTW since I’m talking about buttons I noticed that there is only one reverse thrust assignable to 1 button, while there are reverse 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 assignable as axis. It would be useful to have these assignable to buttons as well. E. g. I use 2 Saitek throttle quadrants which I use merged together, and I can only use the reverse as a button since when the levers go beyond the idle position they act as a button and no longer as axis.
        So I have on the throttle 1 the reverse and nothing assigned to the other 3 levers so basically if I want to have the reverse on throttle 2 or 3 or 4 only I can’t have it. It is not a big issue since usually the reverse thrust is used for all the engines at the same time but I think it might be implemented at some point.

  19. ..That is, it’d be a LOT easier if we could get a detailed description of the ATC data files at some point…

    1. I will have a writeup for that but I’m probably going to wait for WED v1.2 to come out first since there’s not much you can do with airport data without that….unless of course people are more interested in airspace and controller creation in which case I might be able to be persuaded into doing a special writeup earlier.

      1. I, for one, am more interested in the ATC stuff than the scenery stuff. Please write up sooner rather than later. 😉

        On a related note: Taxiing out to KGEG Rwy 03, I stopped at the hold short line and waited. Then I realized that the taxi guideline extended past the hold short. Once I taxied to the end of the guideline I got takeoff clearance. I know you said the guidelines depend on the underlying structures (for lack of a better word). I thought I saw a post that this accuracy will be improved as the environment is filled out, so I won’t submit a bug report on this. Had a great experience with the system during the flight except for when the STAR took me on a heading that strayed from the direct route of the FMS…enter the “you are off course” recording. 🙂

        1. Hi Brian, you’re correct, you have to ignore the paint on the ground and follow the arrows…human authors will have to start creating their own taxi layouts in the future which will make taxi routings much more smooth and accurate…like at KSEA. Until then, the autogen ones have no notion of what the author has painted on the concrete.

          1. Cool. I look forward to being part of that effort. Enjoy Christmas THEN count this as a second vote from me for that next write up.

  20. Looking through some of the newest reviews of the latest gen graphics cards one can just start imagine the potential this could mean to realism in XP10.

    As a XP fan one is having a real hard time to watch the benchmark images/vids without having in mind how this could be implemented in XP!

    Weather (waterdrops):

    Trees (here you go, Andras =):

    Water (+physics):

    Sorry for being offtopic here, just dreaming along for a couple of minutes… =) Keep up the good work, guys, and the best of Christmas wishes for the entire XP team! You’re the best!

  21. Hi Chis, Thanks for a very informative blog!! I think your XP10 ATC system is realy going to take off!!.. sorry I could’t resist! Just have a fun short flight from EGCC (Manchester UK) to EGGP (John Lenon Liverpool UK), Filed, got Taxy clearence, followed the Taxy arrows to the active (that taxyway dosn’t join the active at the end) , got given “Cleared to take-off”, so I thought I’d been given a intersection take off, so started to move onto the active runway, then suddenly noiced the taxy arrows disapeared then re-appeared, but this time indicating a “back-track” right to the end of the active. I thought I knew best and continued down the runway & took-off!! Silly me! ATC then started rapidly issuing new taxy instructions based on the position of my aircraft over the ground. ATC hadn’t twigged that I had actually taken off. I did a low-level cct, landed and taxied back, and this time followed the “taxy-arrows” to the letter and all was well.
    One other thing I have noticed is alot of missing ATC WAV files being reported, & lots of “Text & Wave function failed expansion” errors/warnings.
    Examples of missing WAV files are: (as reported on the Dev Console).
    They are missing on XP10.03beta5 & beta6, or is it just my machine or is it a common problem?
    Keep up the good work, & Have a Happy Christmas!!

      1. Hi Chris, Only prize I want is to see how much XP10 & the ATC system developes over the next few months
        Is there a XP10 bug database that I could easily lookup so I won’t keep bothering you hard working developers with known issues?

        One question before Christmass? Was ATC having an off day when you recorded the default files because some of the voices don’t match!
        In X-Plane 10\Resources\default scenery\default atc\voices\default. Did ATC suddenly have a shift change mid sentance? because the following files seen a bit off?
        departure_frequency.wav, center.wav different voice? feet.wav different voice?, gate_hold.wav ?, tower.wav ?

        Also in “X-Plane 10\Resources\default scenery\default atc\voices\default pilot”, the default pilot appears as a very competant young female captain/copilot most of the time.
        She appears does come over as a little uncertain of her gender orientaion when under pressure.
        e.g.: approach.wav sex change?, are_you_with_me.wav sec change & sounds like ATC?, center.wav again sexchange & ATC?, cleared_for_takeoff.wav sex change?, cleared_to_land.wav sex change?, contact_bos_twr_on.wav
        gate_hold.wav, tower.wav?, welcome_aboard.wav sexchange or could be the femail pilots male co-pilot?, you_are_off_course.wav sex change, but why is the pilot saying “you’re off course”?, youre_leaving_my_airspace.wav again sex change or why is the pilot saying your leaving his/her airspace?

        1. Hi Steve, no there’s no public bug database. You can make your reports here We can always throw the report away if it’s a known issue. It doesn’t take too long.

          As far as the controller voices, the odd ones are old recordings that should be deleted from our system. They’re not wired up to anything (that i’m aware of) so you should never hear them.

          As far as the pilot voice, yes there does seem to be a phrase or two missing and the controller ones are filling in. OOPS!

          1. Hi Chris,
            After another great ATC controled flight. I’ve been looking at your atc.dat file & I know you said At this point, I do NOT want a bunch of small submissions from users “here’s XYZ tracon…., but here in the UK we have the NATS (Aeronautical Information Service) who publish the The UK Integrated Aeronautical Information Package (IAIP) online..
            And Part of it covers ENR 2 – Air Traffic Services and Airspace

            Just click on link for ENR 2.1. FIR, UIR, CTA, TMA (including Military Control Zones/Areas) which lists the Name, Lateral Limits, Vertical Limits, Class of Airspace, Callsign, Hours of Service, Frequency & Remarks. all in a freely available pdf format. (I don’t know what the legality of using it in a comercial product sutch as XP10 is, I just know it’s their and our/my taxes are paying for it).

            Merry Christmas

  22. A very merry christmas to all at Laminar, thanks to your amazing talents and skill we will have a Christmas to remember,
    To chris and Ben here on this blog it has been an amazing and at times a very funny ride, a big thanks in sharing your time to write here,
    And finally Ben you can open that beer that was left over from the house move, it doesn’t matter how drunk you get, you pulled off a miracle.

    My best wishes Ft56

    1. I do not think one could sum it up in a better way. Yes, thanks ben and chris for your fantastic products and I really am eager to see what more there is to come to 10.x! x64 bit is going to be a major upgrade. I really hope it comes soon. 4GB of ram or lower is kinda 2006 given today’s RAM prices. I got 16 yesterday and am thinking of upping to 32 when I finally order XP10.

      Just one more thing.
      For all of you running fancy macs with integrated, on-board graphics with external memory and 2GB of ram. No, you really won’t get 60+ fps at highest settings in XP10. This has nothing to do with optimizing XP or XP being a bloatware product. What you need to realize is you need to get a better computer to run modern graphics. Even if laminar invested 5 Bn dollars on optimizing XP10.x, you still would’nt get more than 5 fps on your macbooks. If you want to run a very good looking sim with full physics, AI and algorithms placing 500.000 buildings nicely around you – you will need something with a lot more bite than a 2007 style macbook. Sorry for being a bit harsh here but I’m really going sick of reading all threads about XP not running totally fluid on this and that old laptop/netbook. If you really are interested in cutting edge technology and want a fluid, nice flight simulator with lots of detail you should really start looking for a desktop computer. And no, price really is not an issue here. You can get a FAST computer nowadays for like 800-1000$ (or, if you prefer – x3 if you choose the Mac alternative(great looks)).

  23. ATC works really well once you get used to it. Very nice. I did however encounter another plane whilst taxying (cleared for and following the arrows). Which was quite scary because it was pitch dark at the time and I was able to just avoid it.

    Another thing is that the taxying arrows are quite messily placed. Which explains why the AI planes taxi they way they do I guess.

    1. Only at airports without a custom layout. If you go to KSEA where I made the layout myself, you’ll see they follow nearly perfectly the taxi lines on the pavement. This is what airport authors will need to do in the future for the major airports. But yes, that’s why AI planes taxi a bit haphazardly right now.

  24. I hope to be rocking a Mac Pro in a year or two, and esp reading about AMD Radeon HD 7970 , 12 physical cores, mega GPU, much RAM. Can’t wait, however, I am doing quite well on my 2011 macbook pro 1gb vram and 2.3ghz quad. I could NOT have even used xp 10, let alone enjoy 9 on my 2008 13″ macbook

  25. Some comments on Beta 6.

    – “Your’re off course” when repeated by the pilot, the first part has a male voice, the second part has the pilot female voice.

    – Many ATC sounds seem to me missing, causing endless repeats of “papa 1” “papa 1” “papa 2” “papa 2″…

    – At night, when flying through clouds the whole outside view disappears at times, showing only stars everywhere. My guess is that this happens when right in the middle of a cloud (zero visibility) but it is wrong to then show stars. By the way, the night clouds do not look convincing IMHO. Much too light.

    – On approach another plane suddenly gets clearance to cross the landing strip causing my landing to be aborted by the ATC. After the aborted landing the ATC forgot about me (I flew on my last directed heading for about 20 NM but the ATC never got back to me).

    – Tire smoke of AI aircraft is a) not scaled down when viewed at distance and b) not in line with planes, sometimes meters above the AI plane (got screendump if you’re interested).

    – Roads are drawn erratically, going up into the sky, for instance next to EHRD. (got screendump if you’re interested).

    Other than that, I love X-Plane 10 🙂

      1. Hi Chris

        b6 fixed the problem of the general command up/down assigned to a button in order to select the “readback transmission” without having to use the mouse. That worked perfect for me. No nead for a readback transmission hotkey.
        Is it normal that I have to re-assign the hot key to bring up the UFMC every time I load the plane? default is F8 and I can’t have that in my imac because it opens Itune instead so I assigned Shift U.


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