This may come as a shock to you, but… we hear a lot of complaints about the X-Plane 11 ATC.

I have good news: We want to improve the ATC!

The problem we’re facing is that a lot of the feedback we get is indistinct—hearing “ATC sucks” doesn’t help us understand how we could do better. So, here’s what we’d like from you: Tell us the specific issues you have, or the specific features you’d like to see implemented. At this point, we can’t promise a timeframe for any given improvements, but we can promise to consider everything you say.

Please note: Any comments on this post that don’t directly relate to ATC will be deleted. Moreover, please don’t slag on other people’s wishlists—arguments against other people in this thread will not inform our decisions about how we prioritize this stuff.

About Tyler Young

Tyler is a software developer for X-Plane. Among other projects, he was in charge of the X-Plane 11 user interface and the massive multiplayer implementation.

240 comments on “What Would Make the ATC System Better?

  1. Requesting the ATC takes terrain into account.

    Currently the ATC won’t mind directing you straight through a mountain, not great for IFR.

          1. But i like trees brushing the belly of my aircraft at night and ATC telling me to visually confirm a runway with my “see through mountain x-ray vision eyes”

    1. I 5th this – or whatever number it is now!

      It really hurts coming into Innsbruck when I have to fly through a mountain.

    2. I’d love to see the ability to route ATC audio to headphones only, to separate environment sounds and voice.

      I’d also enjoy separate, selectable voices for pilot & ATC. Radio static would enhance realism as well.

    3. One big compliant is when ha dead off to next sector I get handed back to previous act center. Happens a lot it seems between JFK & BOS centers. Plan a short flight from KBDL TO KALB & you will see what I mean. Seems the algorithm for that needs to track fly path more accurately.

  2. – Different voices/accents for different ATC controls and/or ability to add our own voices (like Ivona voices);
    – Option of automatic assignments of SIDs/STARs;
    – Vectoring to initial waypoint after TakeOff if no SID;
    – Option of requesting permission to cross an active runway when taxiing;
    – Respect of MDA when vectoring to final approach;
    – Allow inflight ATC emergency assistance – like vectoring to closest appropriate airport;
    – Implement “Line Up and Wait” instruction when possible;
    – Option to instruct/request holding pattern;

    I think all these would greatly improve the realism of the flying experience but I would definitely start by adding more voices or allowing the user to add it’s own voice collection. Actually, it’s dreadful and not appealing at all.

    That’s all I can think right now.
    Thank you,
    Francois Rule

    1. My understanding is you *can* add your own voices, and have been able to since xp10. BUT:
      * There are no instructions or documentation on how to do so AKAIK. I tried to record my own, and created a library.txt but … it didn’t work. No sound.
      * It would be possible, and cool, for scenery developers to include sets of files for that location (similar to how BetterPushback has different accents). Or for the community to offer packs that implement UK, European, or Australian ATC phraseology.

      So, my suggestion is: make it plain the 2 current voices are *default* and can be changed … with some docs to explain how this is done (i.e. the wav file format rules etc). The rumoured shift back to artificial Text-to-Speach tech, and therefore the need for people to have (purchase) additional voices, would be a backward step IMO.

      I’d also like to add my voice to the idea of IFR SID and STAR handling. The procs are there for the 430/530/G1000 already.

      And one more thing. Ability to request a step-climb, or maybe simply to request clearance to a different cruise altitude.

    2. I agree with most of these as well. Particularly, SID/STARs, Line-up-and-wait, holds and emergencies. Personally, I don’t care about other voices at all.

    3. – Respect of MDA when vectoring to final approach;

      MDAs are not related to vectors to final. Minimum vector altitude for the airport.

    4. Totally support all the above.

      Whilst current ATC will get you – more or less – from A-B, that is all it does. It is not true ATC, which requires taking airport traffic and local conditions into account as well.

      I would like to be held realistically in one of those holding patterns you encounter in real life when coming into Heathrow on a Friday night!

    5. I use to fly on x- plane 9.70 and when press enter you would get to Air traffic control with all of what would be required in order to submit a flight plan or to ammende it and many more options .
      If the X plane 11.10 programmers would have a look at the 9.70 platform and just introduce it into the new platform … It would be great.
      Thank you,
      Robert Aaalard

    6. Not desperately worried about variety of voices, but all Francois’s other points would make a world of difference.

  3. “Gate hold is in effect for runway change, stand by” Please make this stop.

    Also, a way to make requests, such as to avoid weather or for higher/lower altitude. Also, have them route traffic around weather, and explain that to the pilot.

  4. I would say the 3 biggest problems for me:

    1. It’s impossible to fly VFR for example request landing without having an IFR plan, or request flight following or state intentions at uncontrolled airports.

    2. IFR controllers very often send me crashing onto mountains, ground elevation should be accounted for

    3. The controller ask to confirm weather filed is in sight, if I don’t confirm within a very short time, I get re-routed. Maybe the time to confirm field in sight should be extended to something a bit longer? Something around 5-10 seconds?

    1. Sorry I mis-spelled a lot of words in point 3, find a redacted version below:

      The controller asks to confirm whether field is in sight, if I don’t confirm within a very short time, I get re-routed. Maybe the time to confirm field in sight should be extended to something a bit longer? Something around 5-10 seconds?

      1. I second the VFR comment. Maybe at least at controlled airports (Class D etc) you could request to depart VFR or remain in the pattern, and they’d (ATC) give you some simple “remain left traffic, cleared for the option, etc)

        1. VFR ATC would be wonderful, ask an airport for range/direction, get pattern clearances, get traffic information, get weather information (all without flight plan).

          This should work for uncontrolled fields, too: announce your position/intention at uncontrolled fields, hear other airplanes announce their positions/intention.

          Really cool would be flight following, and being able to ask Flight Information for guidance (weather, airports in.the area, traffic).

          1. Plus 1 here. VFR ability would be really great. The older versions had a great and very simple system that didn’t require a flight plan.

        2. +1 . It is annoying to need to file for an IFR flight if all you want to do is some circuit practice (I even think this is not even possible with the current implementation).

        3. Yes, please! More support for VFR flying and interacting with ATC while VFR would be wonderful! I fly VFR in real life most of the time, and I really miss VFR radio comms in the sim. Specifically, being able to contact clearance for a VFR departure, calling for taxi clearance, tower take-off clearance, flight following and interacting with non-towered traffic via CTAF frequencies would be a dream come true!

          1. VFR would be fantastic, but I’m sure its a ways off.
            Even a few more, hopefully, “simple” things like an option for “Taxi to parking or gate”
            “Taxi to active runway”
            Landing and Takeoff clearance without having to file a flight plan… guess thats along the lines of full VFR though.

      2. I gotta add to the VFR requests. As a primarily GA pilot, ATC in xp11 is all but useless to me.

        When I see the list of available contacts in the aTC window, the options of communication should reflect the service selected. For example, I should be able to contact approach control and request permission to enter airspace.

        Request we ident as appropriate.

        I should be able to contact the tower and request permission to land, with or without a flight plan.(assuming I’ve recieved permission to approach the airspace. In-flight emergency requests, etc.

        Sqwauking 7700 with comm at 121.5 SHOUlD result in someone contacting you.

        Let me request flight following, parameter changes…let me ask ground for a taxi route to a different gate as needed.

        Please add the option to see/select ATIS/AWOS frequencies for nearby airports.

        Have AI GA use CTAF at non-towered so we can hear who’s in the area, or in the pattern, about to take off from the runway we’re approaching.

        Put the need to radios back in VfR GA craft

        1. +1 on VFR. IMHO, new pilots and users of the sim are more likely to be using VFR interaction whilst many experienced users seeking out IFR are as likely to use third-party live ATC services anyway. Having it would add to the immersion factor with uncontrolled airports.

          1. I held off on moving from Version 9.7 simply because from 10.0 onwards, it was all about airways, airliners, and IR traffic. I only fly VFR in the real world and want to return to the halcyon days of the simple VFR commands that were in place on X-plane right through to Xplane 9.7.

            Please … a return to VFR is all I’m waiting for !
            thanks – Binky

      1. I would like, especially for the new pilot, to turn off and just hear instructions that pertain to your flight. You could turn it back on for more real fight with ATC when you feel more comfortable

      2. I agree.

        Along with not getting routed into mountains during IFR flights, I’d love to be able to interact with ATC (clearance, ground, tower, unicorn) for practice and training purposes for VFR flights.

        I have a pilots license IRL but haven’t exercised it in about 20 years. Also did most of my training at uncontrolled airfields. Closest airport to me now is a smallish but very busy field which has a tower. I’d love to be able to practice interacting with ATC for realistic training scenarios so that if I do go get current, I can concentrate on polishing up the flying skills more. X-plane helps with that part too (quite a bit!) but it’s also an area where you don’t get the feeling of the actual forces tugging you around.

  5. I enjoy the various human (male and female) voices that are found in Microsoft Flight Simulator (FSX). As old as that game is the voices are realistic sounding. I would probably start using the ATC in X-plane when there are realistic sounding human voices (and more than one) for starters. Improvement can grow from there.

    1. Yes. I agree. Amazing how FSX got the voices down over a decade ago. But, speech synthesis has come a long ways since then. There may be alternatives now.

    2. I agree regarding MS FX10 – I enjoyed all the various scenarios that came with the product that included ATC interaction. I also enjoyed ATC instructions when flying IFR and the ability to respond by text selection. I’m not a pilot, but did take lessons – and your product is so much better when it comes to scenery, etc.

  6. This is probably really crazy, but It would be really cool if the ATC could use voice recognition, and give a visual hint (visibility configurable or maybe shows when you take too long to talk back) of what to say in certain situations (this could be almost a teaching tool). Like for example if you’re at a larger airport with clearance and delivery start with flight plan filing (would also be great to have full SID and STAR support) and then you get prompts of what to say in the corner “[callsign] requesting IFR clearance to [location] with charlie” etc.

    1. Probably the biggest issue with voice recognition is the span of three platforms. I regularly play Tower3D Pro on my Windows box where I went through the accessibility wizard to train my computer to understand my voice and it works perfectly. I can speak naturally and fast and computer understands me very well. However this is on Windows and it would be just one complex piece of extra feature to support that single platform. Mac probably has also possibility to have decent voice recognition but what bout Linux?

  7. I think it would add to the realism if the ATC voices were higher quality (I know this is probably a limitation of computer speech voices) there were lots of different voices (well at least like enough to seem more unique)

    1. I would not say that is a limitation at all. Have you ever heard of meatwater’s voice pack for Radar Contact 4 (Which I use in XP)? Unfortunately I can’t find a single video that covers it (The files are available to download, but unfortunately they are split into small phrases so you can’t get a full idea of it). Anyway the voices are quite realistic and really are quite fantastic.

      Another thing I would mention to back up how good voices really can be is listening to IVONA voices. This one is my favorite: //

  8. One thing you could do, is support some of the prexisting plug in based ATC systems with more robust features, Datarefs Etc. some of them are very good, having more access or better tailored access to improve them even further is a good thing. Conversely if thats not an option, more voices better integration into regional differences and things of that nature

  9. The transmissions should not be in robotic voices. They should have a static effect as real ATC transmissions have.

    1. Second this. A 3Khz bandpass filter should be CPU cheap and realistic enough.

  10. Things I’d really love to see:
    – use of SIDs/STARs
    – a possibility make requests to ATC, like directs/short cuts, level changes, choosing a different approach type then the ones proposed by ATC (e.g. different runway, visual/instrument approach), choosing a different runway to start from
    – random requests from ATC like the aforementioned options
    – more internationalization, e.g. appropriate transition altitudes, altimeter settings
    – option to file a callsign
    – no vectoring into unsafe altitudes
    – VFR flight plans / traffic
    – a possibility to enter flight plans for AI aircraft

  11. Will plugins be able to interact with the new ATC system? Will there be an SDK API for ATC in the future?

    Specifically, I want to be able to interact with the ATC system- request clearances, file and cancel flight plans, etc- without clicking buttons in the current ATC window.

    I make a voice control plugin, and would love to add functionality to interact with ATC. This is one of the most common requests from my users.

    1. I love your plugin, Lee!

      Yes, extending the SDK and datarefs to support existing add-ons like PlaneCommand, World Traffic, 124thATC and others would be a great way to leverage the incredible volume of work already done by the community.

  12. Current issues

    No vfr options
    ATC vectors in oft take you into mountains
    One voice for everything
    Following atc instructions properly sometimes will never get you to the airport. Instead you get vectored in the wrong direction if you are lucky, and this is usually on approach

    More active planes in the sky. One of the biggest letdowns in x-lane. Hopefully can be fixed after vulkan comes in. Not an eye candy person but a student pilot it would be nice to listen to other planes around the area
    Voice recognition, been using pilot2atc lately but it’s annoying as it’s a separate program, would be good to use it natively
    An accurate traffic patterns SIDS and stars, doesn’t need to be updated everyday, just would be nice to have some.

  13. Uncontrolled airport operations is quickly becoming the norm in general aviation, yet has been almost entirety ignored by all major flight simulation providers.

    This is a huge opportunity for X-Plane to set itself apart by providing:

    -Full support for CTAF/UNICOM/FSS radio communications for AI and player aircraft.
    -Generated VFR traffic flying closed pattern, local, and cross country routes.

    X-Plane is no stranger to the role of pioneer. It is my sincere hope that you will choose to be the premier simulator for VFR flight.

  14. The first thing you can do is have a plug-in to live ATC around the world as you fly you’ll receive real world ATC announcement being made from cockpits to controllers. Gives a more depth of life around the simulator even though flights may not be happening on your sim they are happening in the real world.

  15. Now I’m not an expert on ATC so I won’t comment in detail what others could explain better than me, BUT, I’d like something in the lines of FSX and P3D. A clickable ATC where I can tune in on radio channels with ease in VR, and request startup, taxi and takeoff etc etc etc.. And sometimes you won’t be able to land because another plane is about to, and they tell you to go around.

    1. I agree. Something based on clickable menus and options. Easy like P3D but more complete. The voices and the natural way the text is readed still amazes me in 2018.
      For non-english natives, and also for non ATC experts out there, all that voice recognition options people are asking, are too difficult. Better read options and choose the ATC interaction you prefer.
      Also I´d like the ATC system could be compatible with AI Traffic packages like WT3 or X-Life.

      1. This! I think a better interaction with the AI planes, including those coming from external addons would make the simulation come to life. ATC placing you between two other planes for landing would be very immersive.

        Also, more SDK functionality for addons to interact and improve on the default ATC system.

  16. I would like to see the possibility to define custom VFR approach/departure routes per airport for use by ATC and AI aircraft.

    At uncontrolled airports it would be great if AI planes would do callouts at mandatory reporting points and avoid other traffic (including our own).

  17. There was a program many years ago called Radar Contact by JDT LLC for MSFS. What that program was able to do is really what X-Plane needs. I know a plug-in was created to try and allow this software to run in X-Plane, but if one could even just license the code and use it for the basis of default ATC you would be far ahead. Obviously, AI aircraft also needs to come in to play when dealing with ATC.

    1. The Radar Contact program and its documentation and feature set can still be found at //
      The guys (with a real ATC Controller among them) implemented 7110.65 FAA Rules (current at that time) and real world procedures, it had several voice sets etc.
      The tool won several top awards.

      It would be great if we could get a similar feature set in X-Plane.

    2. I really like the idea of decoupling X-Plane and the ATC system. There’s really no need to be on the same application, as in real life the controller is not sitting next to the pilot. X-Plane could provide a API in order to get/set the situation parameters (who’s flying and doing what, and make them do what they are told to do). Then Laminar or other third parties could even open source a totally independent ATC system.

  18. Better handling of/more robust AI traffic. ATC should be better at maintaining separation of landing/departing AI traffic. AI traffic should follow routes vs just popping up in a radius around the user aircraft. AI traffic should be able to land/take off without going off the runway. AI traffic shouldn’t be such a performance hit. SIDS/STARS for AI and user aircraft.

    No more vectoring 30 NM in the wrong direction before you decide that ATC has forgotten about you.

  19. Atc should work without filing a flightplan first – a vfr flight should be possible by simply requesting takeoff clearance and up we go. Flight following, contact to any airports tower or center or atis along the route should then be possible without further ado – exactly as it works right now in fsx/p3d. Cancelling ifr plans should be possible as should be reuests for diverts or alternate runways or approaches. If the new system works like fsx does today but is additionally aware of sids and stars, it is perfect. Most important focus for me would be to remove the ifr necessity; pilot2atc is a good one to look at.

  20. There is not much left for my wishlist,
    but one thing for training possibilities would be great:

    – requests like ” intercept radial … inbound/outbound ..”

    Thanks for listening

  21. First of all, thank you for looking into improving the ATC-System.

    I am currently working on my PPL. I use X-Plane regularly for the training of standard procedures on the circuit of my base airfield. I suppose this is a way many X-Plane customers use the sim.

    From this prespective, we need an ATC that supports correct VFR procedures – at controlled and uncontrolled airports. This includes requests for take off, landing, crossing, state intensions etc. I guess, for this to work properly the ATC System needs to be aware of the circuit patterns of an airport.

    Another specific thing are military airports including restrictions. When I depart my home airfield (LSPG) I often cross the control areas of three military airfields (LSMA, LSZC, LSME). Would be great, if the sim could handle these kind of requests too.

  22. I usually fly VFR in EASA area, so I think it’s a big limitation not to have VFR ATC, and a small limitation not to have EASA-style ATC (phraseology has a few small differences).

    Typically, in real life, I start at Enghien LFFE and go for a trip to the Channel. So I take-off (auto-information airfield), and after 10 min I have to transit through the Beauvais TMA. It basically goes like this (sorry, I’m gonna put the whole thing so you can also spot the FAA/EASA-style differences) :

    Beauvais, F-HZCE, good afternoon.
    FCE, Beauvais, go ahead.
    FCE, a Czech PS28 from Enghien to Le Tréport, 2 POB, information India, 2 minutes south of SE at 1300 ft, to transit.
    FCE, squawk 7021, transit approved, what are your intentions?
    FCE, 7021, transit approved. We’d like to enter at SE, then climb to 2500 ft, then S, vertical airfield, exit via N?
    FCE, roger, climb as required, maximum 2500 ft, call back on exit.
    We’ll call back on exit, FCE.

    FCE, traffic information, a Cessna 172, 2 miles on your 2 o’clock, right-to-left, 500 ft below.
    Copied traffic, no visual contact yet, FCE.

    FCE, at N, to exit?
    FCE, you’re leaving my airspace, squawk 7000 and you can leave my frequency, good bye.
    7000 and leaving your frequency, FCE. Good bye!

    Eventually, I’d like to have flight following too. 😉

    I know it’s a bit long, but that’s the kind of things I’d really love to have on VFR flights. The entry/exit sequences are quite strictly scripted and I believe they could be managed if you had a map of all airspaces and report points. The major missing thing is, since no flight plan has been filed, a way to enter destination just as we request a transit should be designed (ideally voice recognition for the whole thing, or a pop-up asking origin, destination, etc. at the time they’re needed?)
    The altitude change request and traffic information (and change of destination, pan-pan and mayday calls maybe?) might be a little trickier to design since they can occur basically anytime, in any situation, and the communication is less strictly scripted.

    But as X-Plane really helped me get the proper timing when I learned to fly a pattern, I’d really love it to offer close-to-reality European VFR ATC communication to get my ears used to those exchanges.

  23. ATC is such a difficult topic because procedures vary from country to country and sometimes Ben airport to airport in one country. Yes, you could allow to play to set a call sign, request stuff and so on but I’d actually you help in networks and other ATC addons work with XP. Built in Selcal, HF Communication,… so much potential

    1. Decoupling the ATC system from X-Plane would have the added benefit of not having to be tied to an specific set of rules for a particular country. Different rules, voicesets, phraseology could be then “plugged in”.

  24. ATC can go from very simple feature to very complex, so for starters, I think those are the main issues that need to be addressed before jumping into more complicated stuff:

    1) Support for IFR: Fill up a flight plan route. Enter callsign, departure, destination, cruise and expected descent rate. ATC will then approve the route, set the departure runway and the right SID for that route. Ideally, the flight plan can be created inside X-Plane, but by now the users can just use external services to create the routes (as Simbrief). During the flight, ATC will check the plane position to calculate when start descending and what STAR and runway use. On the airports database, would be cool to add an optional field where the community can add the airport operations (World Traffic 3 does it), so X-Plane will know which runway are actives following certain conditions, time, weather, etc.

    2) Voices: From a library of TTS voices, the player should select the “user voice”. Then the rest of the voices will be assigned to ATC controllers. (at least 3 or 4 voices should be enough for ATC to have variations.) The more the merrier, obviously.

    3) ATC Basic Procedures: Let’s go for the simple stuff first: You need to request clearance delivery, engines start and pushback, taxi, take off, change altitude and start descending. The player should be able to select a different runway either for takeoff or landing and ATC should resync to allow it.

    4) Radio-Communications: All this should be done through a options menu, and we should have the option to auto-tune the right frequency and contact the right ATC. (pretty much like it does now). And ATC should always lead us to the next controller: “contact tower for take-off”. Center Control areas should also be supported.

    5) Contextual: ATC should be able to understand in what phase of the flight we are, and be ready to give instructions for it. For instance, if we are in ground frequency, heading towards the take off runway, once we are getting close, we should be instructed to contact the tower. If the weather at cruise altitude is bad, the ATC could suggest us to use another altitude.

    6) Vectoring: The ATC could vectoring us towards our destination when we are close to the airport, but must keep in mind the altitude restrictions of the area we are flying over. Flying at night with an ATC that doesn’t have in mind mountains can be really dangerous.

    7) Take a look at 124thATC. It’s a free plugin that does an outstanding job right now. It fails on the vectoring and AI traffic control, but it’s pretty good with the communications flow. Take a look and see how you guys can improve it.

    Advanced Features: Things that we should have once the basic stuff is working:
    1) AI Control: ATC is able to handle the player flight plan and other AI planes as well, that have their own flight plans. ATC should order stop to planes that are too close to each other, hold planes when another one is getting ready to land, etc. Same thing when we are arriving at the destination. Handling traffic so we are positioned in a queue of planes for landing and assigned to the right parking position.

    2) AI Voices: We need a wider range of TTS voices here, so we can listen ATC talking to us and to other AI planes as we see them acting in the sim. As a player, I must wait for a previous ATC communication to be finished before I can ask my request. This was achieved by FSX already a long time ago.

    3) Voice Recognition: This can be cool, but no English speakers users can have difficult times with this system, so definitely not a priority.

    4) Support for recording player voice: The way I see this option being used is because in real life you can listen to pilots from different countries. If a recording tool allows the player to record different sentences, numbers, and airliners, we can have a good variety of voices and accents, with the community recording those files and sharing them. I agree, TTS voices are more flexible, but this system can open the community to create amazing variety in the communications. (ProATC is a software for FSX that allowed something like this)

    5) Multiplayer support: This is the holy grail. ATC is able to control multiplayer users. ATC approves flight plans and fits the users in a spot for takeoff/landing calculating the number of flights in that airport and that moment. It really works like an automatized ATC. I can talk with ATC controllers using the voice recognition system -or some menu option-, so other real users can hear me too. If a user ignores ATC control it will ban temporarily.

    I hope we can see a better ATC flow in a near future.

    1. I second this. This is a great list.

      Vectoring into mountains, and ATC directing me right pass my airport/runway top my list.

    2. Great list!

      An addition:
      – ​possibility to set the environment/airplane sound to speaker and ATC to headset

  25. Pilot2atc works very well for speech recognition and good sounding voices. In VR speech is crucial unless you can find a way to pop a window into the VR headset.
    The command set I remember from fs2004 was very good. There were taxi instructions, permission to cross runways, vfr takeoffs to the North, circuits, touch and go, full ifr including vectors.
    For me, speech is crucial.

  26. – Option of automatic assignments of SIDs/STARs;
    – Vectoring to initial waypoint after TakeOff if no SID;
    – Option of requesting permission to cross an active runway when taxiing;
    – Respect of MDA when vectoring to final approach;
    – Allow inflight ATC emergency assistance – like vectoring to closest appropriate airport;
    – Implement “Line Up and Wait” instruction when possible;
    – Option to instruct/request holding pattern;
    – Position report over oceanic flights;

  27. – Fix the bug where an AI or imaginary aircraft keeps getting altitude changes over and over driving me insane and forcing me to turn of ATC (sorry if it’s already fixed, I gave up on ATC a few releases ago)
    – When the AI or imaginary aircraft calls in, reduce the volume of their engine noise
    – VFR
    – ability to change flight from VFR to IFR and vice versa
    – amend flight plan in flight due to emergency/weather
    – request QNH
    – cancel ATC
    – start ATC services in flight
    – altitude changes
    – SIDs/STARs
    – controller voice variety

  28. Integration with some of the popular ATC addons currently available would be good? A lot of serious enthusiasts don’t use the ATC is FSX or P3D either and rely on these addons instead.

  29. I’d start trying not to be worse what already existed years before. Products that come to my mind are:
    * Microsoft Flight Simulator
    * Sierra’s ProPilot ’99
    * Looking Glass Studio’s Flight Unlimited III
    * Hasbro’s (I think) Falcon 4.0
    * DID’s Total Air War
    Unfortunately each of these products could do more years ago than X-Plane 11 can do today. Maybe the developers can grab one of the PDF manual files to see what these products could do. Also several of the former developers got another job as the original company ceased to exist, but their knowledge should be in their heads, still. Maybe try to hire one of those!
    Also a more realistic ATC would require AI planes to follow a more realistic flight path. In Flight Unlimited III there existed a library of flight paths planes would follow; in X-Plane AI could pick one of the existing flight plans (*.fms) matching the plane’s performance data. So the user could add to those.
    Besides of the decision what ATC can do, the question how to interact with it should be addresses. I think speech recognition that was requested would be nice in the future, but some clever keyboard interface would be preferable if it’s efficient. In a first step CONTENT (what is said) should rule over FORM (how it is said: voice quality, different voices, etc.). For example in Fligh t Unlimited III the read-back for ATC always had ‘1″ for confirming the message and ‘2’ for “negative”. As a reminder, the corresponding messages showed up (configurable item) on top of the screen when ATC was expecting you to respond.
    Likewise requests used some hierarchical structure: First you decided what kind of request you want to make, and then more details could be selected. That all could be done using the ten numbers (X-Plane may need some additional cleverness).

    Some roles FLight Unlimited III implemented:
    Clearance Delivery Controller
    Ground Controllers
    Tower Controllers
    Radar Approach Controller
    The Position Report
    UNICOM: The Airport Advisory

    Before I forget: Flight Unlimited III also had some ATC humor implemented:
    If you leave the taxiway: “We appreciate you mowing the grass, but please stay on the concrete” (so so)
    Or “Attention to all aircraft: There a Piper Archer taxiing on the aerodrome not talking to me”
    Or if an aircraft enters a controlled airspace without talking, ATC will contact the aircraft “on guard”. As the manual puts it: “If you are going to enter Class B or Class C airspace, you must receive a clearance from the radar approach controller. If you fail to receive clearance, you get a radio call on guard frequency to contact the approach controller on a specific radio frequency and to state your intentions.”

  30. I’ve got many suggestions about AI traffic but I’ll keep my suggestions specific to ATC.

    1. There should be a greater variety of voices, with regional accents for different parts of the world (there could be a crowdsourced effort to ask people to read off a standardised script with all the words that are needed to make the ATC system work). Combined with information about where that person lives, then that could be applied to tower controllers across the world. I think though that spoken strings of text should be synthesized to sound fast and fluid. I hate the slow, robotic style of instructions that are spoken now. In particular:
    – Callsigns for airlines should be used along with flight number. Tail number call outs should be limited to general aviation.
    – The calling out of tail numbers should be sped up, or abbreviated for follow up instructions (assuming they do that in real life).

    4. Instructions should be given to separate out landing traffic (e.g. flying a longer downwind portion, execute a published holding pattern, or instruct inbound flight to fly more slowly. It’s not realistic to see two planes coming into land where the following aircraft is commanded to go-around to avoid a traffic conflict. There should also be sufficient separation to allow room for departing aircraft to take off. Landing separation should be defined in minutes to touchdown rather than miles (A plane has sufficient time to depart if an approaching Cessna is 3 miles out, but not a jetliner ).

    5. Published SID, STAR and approach procedures should be instructed for IFR traffic where such procedures are available. Radar vectors should take priority if available, but only if traffic is sufficiently light and touchdown can be achieved more quickly, and there are no terrain hazards in the vectoring area.

    6. Runway operations should be better utilised – aircraft should be commanded to lineup after the previous aircraft has begun its takeoff run. Runway crossings should be cleared if no conflict is due within 45 seconds. I also have comments about how AI aircraft should behave on the runway, but I’ll keep comments to ATC for how.

    7. VFR ATC control should be available (subject to airspace restrictions), and traffic patterns around the airfields for such VFR traffic should be much tighter.

  31. 1) Randomize ATC voices
    2) Ability to speak to the controller naturally.
    3) ATC controls AI traffic accurately
    4) Flight Following
    5) Stop ATC from repeating the same command over and over and over……..
    6) Realistic random background chatter.(perhaps recorded live ATC chatter)
    7) Option for automatic frequency selections.
    8) Take terrain into account.

    The closer you can to real life the better it will be, I guess that goes without saying.
    124th ATC does a great job, you could model your system after theirs or perhaps collaborate?

  32. For me personally every offline ATC that I have used was just clicking the same line of text at the same phase of flight every time, more of a hindrance to the experience than anything else. So in my opinion the best offline ATC would be one that would be able to prepare me to fly with online ATC so I don’t have to use the offline one. I guess that doesn’t make me the best person to ask for offline ATC feature requests, but I think you get what I mean. Something that would be able to actually teach how communicate instead of just giving directions (often into mountains going by the overly angry posts on the forum 😀 ) would be pretty neat. One random thing that I remember from when I used to fly with offline ATC in the other sim is how painfully slow the voices were, it was unbearable, so if I have a specific “request” it would be the ability to adjust the speed of the speech.

  33. Please contact developer of VoxATC and have him work an XPlane 11 version. I used VoxATC for many years when using MS flight sim. I moved to XPlane several years ago and still miss the ability to talk to ATC vs pressing key commands.

    1. I am the developer of Copilot X, an Android app that controls X-Plane using voice commands. I have had some informal discussions with Laminar about expanding my app’s capabilities to interface with new ATC commands. I can’t promise anything but there is the possibility that something could come of this.

  34. – 124thATC is a good start point. You can see good ideas.
    – More inmersion, actual robotic voice doesn’t help .

  35. First of all, it´s great that you plan to improve the ATC. From my point of view is one of the very few areas where the sim is still lacking a bit.

    Most of my points have been already mentioned, proper ATC for VFR, dynamic assignment of SID/STAR, vectoring, shortcuts, etc. I would not detail them again, but I concur with most of the points above. Of course, it would be nice not being vectored against a mountain.

    I would add, a better Ground ATC, not only giving taxiways but also alerting about surrounding traffic, or giving directions if we´re lost or confused.
    Important is also that ATC reacts if we are not properly following the procedures, i.e. if we don´t get in contact with the right controller, or if we deviate from our flight plan. Of course, I don´t expect that they scramble the fighters (but that would be cool!), but at least that we are alerted that there´s an issue.

    Airspace classes, we should define if we are VFR or IFR and we should fly in accordance with the Airspace class rules, otherwise ATC could alert us or even deny us the entry into an airspace.

    Make everything a bit dynamic and random, using slightly different sentences for the same message so that it doesn´t feel so scripted.

    Linked to the ATC system is the AI traffic. We need many aircraft going around so that we feel it´s a live world, to get the same impression as we have with road traffic. This means having traffic in each airport, of course, less in small airstrips, and more in big international airports. And the traffic should be in line with the type of airport, hence no small GA aircraft in big airports or the other way around. Also, military traffic in military airfields. And AI traffic could do some unexpected things from time to time.

    Finally, this goes beyond the normal ATC but I find it cool. Why not creating special random events impacting air traffic like military exercises, weather balloons, big cranes… and then having a list of virtual NOTAMs and restricted areas that the pilot must check before flying.

    1. Oh, I forgot, many people are talking about already existing ATC addons to take as examples. I would check Pilot2ATC. It´s voice controlled and it offers a wide range of possibilities to interact with the ATC.

  36. Hi,

    Here is my ATC wish-list based on limited knowledge:

    1. ATC interface should have some hierarchy to commands so we should do most of the “interaction” through it. Currently it is limited. BTW, visual commands in ATC can be integrated with VR so it might make sense to go that way.

    2. Everyone seem to want different voices for different regions.. Let me say that I do not think LR should implement this, instead, and please bare with me, LR should create a “gateway” like for voices (if it is achievable) and let the community add their own voices, pick the one you prefer – Maybe extend WED to manage voices per zones and support mp3 format in certain sizes. Just a thought.

    3. VFR – I’ll appreciate if it will be implemented, the only kind of flight I do.

    4. Instead of re-innovate ATC, Make the ATC as a framework so 3rd parties or plugins will be able to “interact” with the ATC system, that will take X-Plane to a whole new level in ATC flying.

    Cheers and thanks for listening.

  37. VFR ! Flexible ATC without the need to fill a complete flight plan.
    With VR in mind.
    Thanks !

  38. If ATC includes guiding the AI aircraft, please at least make AI aircraft aware of my aircraft and avoid going through it. This will happen regularly at runway hold points and on runways themselves.

  39. It is going to be a very hard task to implement a full featured ATC. But it has already been done quite a few times from various developers, may it be in other sims or as an addon to a certain program. Some of them went quite into details and the already mentioned ‘radar contact’ also came into my mind when I read the headline.

    One thing is missing though many times: The complete interaction with AI-traffic, full awareness of the terrain and the restricted/prohibited areas. I think, this is the core part of what a good ATC must be built upon to.

    Why not laying a proper framework with a dedicated ATC/AI-traffic-SDK enabling those specialists doing their job for the nitty-gritty? Or may be hiring a real expert in this matter would pay off as well in the long term?

    Shure, you could then expand your own ATC-set from time to time with VFR requests, the use of SIDs/STARs and the like.

    I really hope this gets addressed and I thank you for listening.

  40. Oh boy, where do I start. Some stuff already mentioned, I would like to see a system like that:

    * ability to provide schedules per airport – creating persistent worldwide flights (i.e. EDDF 1030Z DLH450 EDDF-KLAX 22:30Z B744 IFR) This file would be editable by users. The system would enable hundred-thousands of flights simultaneously worldwide, tracking each one on a very rough scale, only resolving it finer (or even showing the 3D aircraft) when closer to the camera (bubble concept). 3D models must be simple to not wreck framerate when 50+ airliners are moving around at big hubs. One needs to be able to “follow a plane”. No more “random” generation and disappearing.

    * Ditch the “all planes use real flight-dynamics”. It is not needed, hogs CPU time, and doesn´t work very well for a big variety of aircraft anyway. The planes need to learn how to take-off, fly, land. Make a simple performance table for AI planes (acceleration, climb rate and speed, cruise speed, approach speed, AOA/speed, deceleration, taxi speed, flaps).

    * Create an ATC file for each airport specifying VFR/IFR arrivals (SIDs, STARs) and exit/entry points to organize flow in the airport vicinity (+vectoring, holdings). This could possibly be augmented by reading in Navigraph/Aerosoft data on SID´s and Star´s.

    * Create a close-in AI that controls the class D area (IFR approaches, VFR pattern)

    * Improve AI ability to enter/exit gate and tie-down stands (pushback, push-in to park, etc.)

    * Multi-layered ATC system (delivery/ground/tower…) but flexible enough to allow uncontrolled airports

    * Better GUI for filing flight-plans, allow flexibility in VFR/IFR, filing enroute, cancelling.

    * Awareness nor terrain (MRVA)

    * Awareness for weather (ceiling, wind)

    This sounds like a lot – but I think with a fresh approach, a well-thought out architecture and the right people tackling the problem, it can be done.

    Cheers, Jan

    1. Oh yeah, please ditch the “all planes use real flight-dynamics”. When I first heard of this idea in the X-Plane 10 presentation I thought “why….?”
      It eat CPU time and there is no benefit of it. Autins idea of making the AI aircaft look more real because they struggle with the weather was nice. But in reality the concept failed completely. I can sit at KSEA and see every AI go around when approaching from the north because the become somehow instable on the approach (using standard Laminar AI airplanes).

    2. True reason why Jan wants to ditch the AI flight dynamic stuff is because if LR does pull it off it would make real pilots redundant 🙂

    3. I think listening to Jan is wise (as a general rule). Echoing what he said. “Create an ATC file for each airport specifying VFR/IFR arrivals (SIDs, STARs) and exit/entry points to organize flow in the airport vicinity (+vectoring, holdings). “

      Building on that Idea, I think ATC information will need to part of WED or similar approach . Provide us with a template and some rules/standards to follow. Then crowd source via the Scenery gateway.
      For example KABQ could have a “Vector exclusion zone” east of the airport. Preventing ATC from vectoring into the side of the mountains when aircraft is below a given altitude.

  41. Something simple that really needs to change are the ATC and automated weather voices. The sim’s voices sound like they’re being generated with an extremely unnatural text-to-speech software, and can really take me out of the sim. AWOS/ASOS systems in the real world use a much more natural automated voice, and so does P3D/FSX. Improving the automated voice system would go a long way into improving the experience, even for those who only listen to automated weather without using ATC.

  42. I didn’t think about ATC links with IA aircraft, but what would actually be really cool in my opinion would be, especially on smaller airfields, to have “students” pilots, flying approximate patterns (with the occasional overshoot and go around), and making ATC calls with hesitations, and sometimes missing things up — like “Cessna 28A, er, left base for, er, runway… 07” when he’s actually on right-hand base. I have no idea how to implement it, but that would be SOOOO fun!!!
    (Don’t misunderstand me: it’s not about mocking other pilots. I definitely did some of those, and I sure will do some other mistake one day or another.)

  43. I would be happy if ATC allowed me to fly a basic flightplan in an airliner successfully. By basic I mean:

    1. Understanding SIDs and STARs, with their respective speed and altitude restrictions;
    2. Understanding airways;
    3. Understanding terrain around the airport so as not to vector me into a mountain;
    4. Allowing me to request altitude changes so I can climb as fuel burns off;
    5. Allowing me to request descent so I can descend when indicated by a third-party FMCs VNAV calculations;
    6. Either allowing me to choose a STAR, or giving me a STAR and/or vectors before TOD.

    I have used X-Plane’s ATC, and some third-party solutions, and 1-3 are, generally, supported. 4 is occasionally supported, but 5 and 6 seem never to work. 6. is a big problem because, quite often, I don’t reach TOD until I’m already onto the STAR, and many third-party FMCs require me to program to approach page and/or choose a STAR before initiating TOD, so if I am told to descend at a (seemingly) random point and not given a STAR to follow, it’s going to be too late for me to follow ATC instructions.

  44. A user should be able to set his call sign (and the ATC should address him accordingly). Also, ATC suggesting a transponder code would be really great.

  45. First of all, this is awesome: requesting direct user input.

    Second, I don’t use ATC. I’m not alone, as many people have already become adherents of third party resources like VATSIM, IVAO, PilotEdge and Pilot2ATC.

    If I did use ATC, I would prefer that it be on a slave PC, one that is not already doing the very important work of managing the flight model and rendering my scenery. In fact, were it possible, I would make it a standalone application like Planemaker. Yank *all* of the ATC code out of X-Plane. Drastic? Yes. But wouldn’t it be wonderful to have such a clean slate, and not worry about breaking the core sim while ATC is developed separately?

    Aside from that pipe dream, my one request would be simple: create an override dataref or a toggle in the UI so that ATC processing is disabled, no matter how light weight it may be. I want all the horses of my CPU for VR since it’s well known that X-Plane is largely CPU bound.

    In my opinion, completing ATC to the depths that have been suggested would take all the resources of Laminar Research — and would in and of itself be a very, very complex simulation. This would result in an effort sufficient to justify a stand-alone product – which already exists, including voice-based interaction. Are you attempting to reinvent the wheel? Given the mature product alternatives, I don’t place X-Plane’s ATC efforts as a high priority. The weather system is of greater interest.

    That’s my 2 cents (and a little bit more), Tyler. Thanks for asking!

    1. You must be my twin brother or something…

      But I second this… if the ATC is taking any toll however small it may be, even with 0 AI traffic, please include an option to turn it off completely.


    2. I didn’t read this and I replied something similar some posts above. I think it would be the better solution, leaving the actual ATC implementation to third parties (or even a different Laminar division), and making X-Plane really good at providing all the endpoints necessary for it to happen.

      I agree the weather system to be a higher priority, specially the sudden redraws and METAR changes, and the limited graphic representation of different weather situations.

  46. great improvements would be
    a) to be not directed into mountains
    b) when ATC would also work in multiplayer situations / 2 aircrafts or in shared cockpit (should be possible too – such a fun)

  47. Ability to handle in flight requests, change of altitude, destination, approach, declare emergency etc.

  48. I’ve only been using X-Plane a few months, but played flight sims for a very long time.
    In a similar vein to others the altitude issue is the main pressing one. I’ve done a few short journeys in GA and the ATC wants me to fly at 1000-3000 range. This is daft, we should be able to request an altitude and get routed to that altitude. I’m not sure what it is like for tubeliners or bizjets.

  49. Hopefully, this is specific enough. Currently, I have to insert some small number of AI aircraft manually to see “traffic” fly around. These AI aircraft don’t appear to have a goal in mind. They seem to just fly around randomly, but I could be wrong. What would be nice is to have airports and skies filled with a mixture of aircraft mimicking the real world and interacting with ATC realistically. World Traffic 3 has attempted to solve this, but their plug-in is complicated and there is a steep learning curve. It would be nice to just have this work out-of-the-box in X-Plane with little or no user actions needed. Of course, if you want to tweak settings (to improve frame rates or whatever), that’s fine. But, really, I should be able to jump into the cockpit of my selected aircraft in X-Plane and there should be realistic traffic all around me, some of which are talking to ATC and others are just squawking 1200 and flying silently.

    1. I haven’t tried X-plane’s ATC as extensively as others, but I did like ATC like in MS Flight simulator, Easy to use for beginners. This kind of ATC could be a good starting point with the current more advanced features on top.

      Other airplanes in the Sky, as MS Flightsimulator had would be a good start where you also can hear them in ATC. An API where developers can create plugins for extra features like real world flights paths\schedules….

    2. Exactly. AI traffic in FSX allows you to pop up on any airport worldwide, and you’ll have realistic traffic, realistic liveries and realistic AI destinations (OK, even in FSX/P3D it takes a lot of time to install all of that, but it is possible whereas in XPlane it is not), you’ll have AI communicating using airline callsigns and you’ll have line up with the traffic around you.
      Basically this is not about reinventing the wheel – for a start FSX level plus altitude control plus SID/STARs and a bit of VFR would be a dream.
      As it is now, offline ATC makes no sense, since the AI is too crippled, a few AC popping up and leaving at random, and heavy on resources. Right now both AI and ATC are useless for me, I don’t use them at all. And that is all I miss from my FSX days. X-Plane is way more advanced in all other aspects – but the AI is anachronistic.

  50. 1. Stop telling me multiple times to adjust altitude or adjust course WHILE I’m adjusting. It does take more than 2.5 seconds to go from 500 ft to 3000 ft.

    2. More voices, please! Even if we have just 5 or 6 regional voices.

    3. Add VFR support.

    4. Add terrain awareness.

  51. I three in priority order for me are:
    – ATC taking terrain into account
    – Allow requesting a new altitude mid flight
    – Allow requesting alternate runways and airports

  52. Would be nice if;
    1. No blocking by AI planes on taxiway/Apron; sometimes AI planes do not find a way to move and visually block the taxi route forever.
    2. VFR Support
    3. Support vectoring based on a proper SID/STAR procedure.

  53. Hi,

    Need to be able to change ATC volume on its own, currently you cannot. Also haveing a seperate sound card for ATC o plane sounds come throuigh speakers and ATC through headset.

  54. -VFR ATC should be a thing, including callouts by AI aircraft on common frequencies when necessary
    -constant altitude change requests and AI aircraft not being able to follow instructions leads to overload of the same messages and we start to ignore them
    -maybe an interface or ability for addon traffic programs to be able to use the same ATC as the player (with AI callouts)

  55. Hey Im a controller at a busy approach control, and have also worked at a small VFR tower and at a basic some things id like to see, in addition to better VR integration

    Full atc control of class D and above, requirement to contact tower prior to entering class D C B airspace.

    ATC clearence for TAXI Landing touch and go ect

    Wind given with landing clearance.

    Splitting Approach control from Center, Center does not handle approaches to major airports.

    Proper phraseology, ie “Radar Contact” on initial check on with an atc radar facility, a lot of that stuff can be found in the faa 7110.65

  56. Definitely I would like to see ATC and AI traffic interaction-this needs to happen plugin or not

    ATC window transparent

    ATC keeps vectoring me in the mountains currently

  57. VFR support in traffic pattern and taxing/run up and when approaching controlled airspace.

    no buttons! I will use this mechanism when i can talk some fundamental vfr phrases into the mic and get some expected answers back .(USA and EU phraseology )

    And it would be great for keeping my ppl in trim.

  58. One of the keys to air traffic control is having air traffic and having it in abundance!
    Having traffic with a realistic flight model is great, but we can’t fill the skies this way. It’s just too costly.

    I’d take 500 very rudimentary simulated AI traffic in my airspace any day over 3 or 4 perfectly simulated ones.

  59. Maybe you could develop a SID/STAR system like (or in) WED that enables users to build the procedures for each airport.
    This way the users could quickly build a lean uniform database that could both serve ATC as well as FMC services.

  60. I haven’t tried X-plane’s ATC as extensively as others, but I did like ATC like in MS Flight simulator, Easy to use for beginners. This kind of ATC could be a good starting point with the current more advanced features on top.

  61. Something not yet mentioned here that I think would also greatly improve the usage of ATC is allowing key bindings for answering to ATC. it’s kinda messy to have to select the option trough mouse, being capable to bind, say, 1 trough 5 (just a exemple) to the available answers would be really good!

  62. Hi,

    proper Air Traffic Control should come with an total overhaul of your AI Aircraft approach. Because is not only about the user, it is about controlling all movements in the sky and on ground.

    I liked Austins comments about dynamic ATC in VFR for controlled / uncontrolled airfields. While there are of course published phrase pattern, communication is often more diverse. touch-go’s, traffic pattern, local flights, gliders, helicopters and so on.

    IFR is another beast. All has mentioned above. Maybe focus on IFR OR VFR first.

    My recommendation is to do it the x-plane way. Think Out-of-the-box and do it differently. Do not look too much back how other simulators implemented ATC half baken in the past.

    1. “proper Air Traffic Control should come with an total overhaul of your AI Aircraft approach. Because is not only about the user, it is about controlling all movements in the sky and on ground.”

      This doesn’t really guide us because it is a description of how to fix a problem with no statement of what the problem actually is. WHY do you say we should be overhauling the AI aircraft approach? What problem are you trying to solve (for which you believe this overhaul would help).

      We’re looking for specific problems like:
      “Framerate too low when AI planes turned up.”
      “AI planes do unrealistic things.”
      “Not enough choice of AI liveries.”
      “AI too slow to clear off the runway.”


  63. ATIS needs to be integrated fully in the ATC system. At the moment it’s separate and when you tune in, the volume is separate to the ATC system’s volume and its way too low to hear!

    Configurable Voice packs for different regions (using the computer’s speech features) would be amazing too as there’s NO sim on the market that can currently do this!!

  64. What a wonderful response! Indicates a genuine need for a better ATC. My only concern is that ‘in toto’ what seems to be required is more like what VATSIM provides and I don’t think that is realistic for X-Plane. However, there plenty of food for thought here. Good Luck!

  65. – ATC should sound realistic, this makes it both more interesting as a training tool as well as much more fun.
    – ATC should be able to be integrated in 3rd party add-ons like world traffic as the default AI traffic is way too sparse.
    – 3rd parties should be able to create plugins into the existing system, maybe to create voice recognition for it or to even further extend it.

  66. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned yet:

    Please give us the ability to set our own callsigns.

    MSFS let you set the ATC tail number, airline name, and flight number, and adjusted accordingly. For example, if you left the airline/flight number blank, you would be called as “[Manufacturer] [registration]”, like “Cessna N1234”

    I think this would be a good system for X-Plane too. Forgive me as I’m very new to X-Plane, but does X-Plane/Planemaker have some sort of dictionary for aircraft type? For example, in MSFS if you set the aircraft type to “B763” in the aircraft.cfg, the sim knew that you were a Boeing 767-300, which was essential for ATC, parking locations, etc.

    1. Yes I deffo vote this up! I don’t want to be called X-ray Papa all the time! If I select my callsign as speedbird 192 I want to be called Speedbird 192! And so on for the ai too. MSFSX did this really well and made it feel a lot more realistic hearing ATC say “Delta 2541 taxi to runway 26…” and then actually seeing the ai in delta livery taxying to the runway! I was in awe!!

  67. There seems to be a wealth of specific issues that people want addressed.
    I’d like to look at the problem like this:
    3 distinct user groups:
    Experienced pilots who know what ATC should do.
    Wanna-be pilots who’d like to know how ATC works.
    People who don’t use ATC.

    I’m in the wanna-be group.
    I’ve had 12 real lessons so far, and I all I know at the moment is that I NEED simulated circuits, experience of radio calls. This might be the ‘VFR’ people have mentioned above. I just wanted to specify it in these terms, because thats what it should be measured against.

    In terms of bugs – I’ve never been able to land using ATC. Go here, go there, go 10nm out to sea rather than join overhead. Go on this heading, and before you get there, go on this other heading. Away from the circuit join. (as if I was flying something that could go 400mph!)

  68. I would like an ATC, that does give you route changes, sends you into holds respective of the current traffic, IF YOU OPT IN to use it, meaning, if you use it (even as a VFR 1200 aircraft that request to remain in the pattern).
    Anyhow, if you don’t touch you ATC controls at all, then the X plane ATC should be leading traffic around you automatically, so that you don’ get crashes or anything. Nevertheless, AI aircraft should always be around you, just because it adds a lot of reality to the sim experience.

  69. 1. Turn off the pop-up window that says ATC instructions have been violated. In single screen mode, this pop-up takes up the entire screen. Maybe just have ATC yell at you, but no pop-ups

    2. Being able to declare an emergency.
    2.1 Requests to divert due to emergency or weather.

    3. Create more radio chatter by either synthetic chatter to AI aircraft or, optionally, by streaming in live ATC feeds.

  70. Using different voices for different regions, e.g. a voice with a French accent over France, a voice with a very British accent over the UK….

    1. Yes, as a Frenchman I say : zat would bee wonderfoul. Aye would love too ear it !
      But maybe also let the French speak French. It’s actually easier to understand us when we don’t even try to speak English. 😀

    2. I would add: not only “French accent over France”, because that would mean always English. But in some countries, the local language is allowed and its phraseology regulated, so you should be able to specify the language you speak (perhaps on the first communication) and from then all interaction should be on the established language.

  71. I think that the biggest problem of the ATC is the inability of 3rd party pluging expansion of the current system. It would be best if user and AI planes were separate, the library expandable and the whole ATC system to be opened up with SDK to 3rd parties so they can expand upon it. In ideal world I would like to see plugins like RC4 or UT in Xplane because creating a really in depth ATC and traffic system will need a dedicated team which I don’t believe can be realistically done in-house. So my wish for ATC improvement is actually to provide good framework that plugin devs can easily build upon. Several teams already do great job but currently they have to completely bypass the existing system and do everything from scratch. So now we have things like WT3 which is great for traffic and P2ATC which is great ATC plugin but without a common framework they cannot supplement each other which is a shame. Providing a robust open framework that would bring these plugins together would be a real win and realistically probably the only way how to achieve good traffic and ATC in Xplane.

    1. I totally share your thoughts, except the point that a user and the AI planes should be separate. In order to let 3rd parties ATC regulate all the traffic, it is of course important and necessary to also bring the users position and the chosen route (if available) into account. Or let me put this in other words: The user is just one another dude flying around in the sky! 😉

      1. Yes but what I mean is that a different model library should be used for AI planes – like the Bluebell’s models that WT3 and Xlife are using because being limited to only few planes from user aircraft is not good. This library should be easily extendible sort of like Custom_Scenery library.

  72. Hi
    Situated awareness for ATC that included airport vehicle.
    I have a screenshot shat tells the whole story, but cannot share it here. If you like to see it, contact me on

    Today I was taking of from runway 24 at ENAL and just about half way down the runway there is a helicopter in the middle of the runway. Well I am not for the fact that you must need to file a flight plan with the default ATC system, so if I don’t I might not get at runway free when taxing, taking of or landing due to AI aircrafts that have gotten clearance from ATC I do not listen to. Anyway to fix this or have an option in XP that disable ATC traffic/AI Traffic. At least I couldt find it.

    ATIS system should be improved or implemented. Adapting such things as Runway free and other communication to the tower.

  73. I agree with Mike H that creating a more robust API for 3rd party ATC software developer’s is probably going to be the best way to go in the long term. No need to use other peoples interface standards either, simply innovate and create your own API format. Build it and they will come it is said.

    The benefit is that people can then choose from many different potential ATC plugin solutions that are specific to their needs and or desires. Why not let the non Lamimar developers do the heavy lifting on this issue by enabling them to create solutions with a righteous and robust API !

    As you can clearly see from all of the comments, Moses would have to part the read sea first before any agreement could be reached as to what constitutes a good ATC system.

    There are others who do this VERY GOOD so why not let them have at it.

    Just a thought . . .

  74. So I had one more thought on this and I was thinking that just like MisterX creates custom scenery packs for various airports, why not allow people to create airport specific custom ATC systems for the airports that THEY want to use.

    Want VFR, no problem, want IFR, not an issue, want pattern work, yeah, we got that, isle 6 ! By utilizing this method, users could download pre-made simple to complex ATC profiles, or create their own custom ATC profile for each airport, each with its very own unique behavior’s as configured by you if desired.

    Create a custom ATC folder to store all of the custom airport ATC profiles in, and your good to go.

    Anyhow, Great work guys. . .


  75. LR are talking about the future. In the Q&A video it was stated that the current ATC system is more extensive than we know. Tyler said there was no specific time frame for implementation. In my opinion there are two possible approaches.
    1. adopt the existing legacy system with radio communication, SIDS, Stars etc etc
    2. Look to implement the future the FAA are looking at eliminating radio voice traffic and legacy systems such as VOR, ADF, NDB, ILS etc. Phillip’s videos on a video sharing site, describe new technologies such as WAAS, LPV, GNSS etc . Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System is due to be finalized in the US by 2019.

    Is it time to embrace the future??

    1. A friendly reminder that X-Plane models the entire world, not just the US.

  76. As a retired 33-year veteran air traffic controller here in the U.S. Tyler has a huge task ahead of him. I hope he still has all his hair when he finishes. I commend X-Plane to make the effort to improve the ATC in X-Plane. Allow me to provide a brief idea what Tyler will need to accomplish. He will need to incorporate the parts of the appropriate ICAO Annex’s, the entire FAA Order 7110.65 (Air Traffic Procedures), all Jet, Victor, Q, and Oceanic routes (with MEAs, MCAs, MRAs, MAAs included), Letters of Agreements (LOAs), Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), Bi-Lateral Procedures between nation’s. One item many non-controllers are aware of is MVAs (Minimum Vectoring Altitudes) these are not the same as Minimum Safe Altitudes published on approach plates and are not published for pilot’s. In mountain regions there is very little vectoring, most is done by procedures, as the pilot of your airplane, you responsible for the safe operation and to that end you should be completely familiar with how to navigate to and from an airport using the published procedures. I use and In real mountainous operations a controller with get you to an intermediate fix and then instruct you to conduct the approach without the aid of vectoring or radar coverage. I don’t want to come across as condescending or rude, but if you understand there are limitations to ATC and what can be provided by ATC. I’ve been flying X-Plane since version 3 and the improvements made since then, are astonishing.

  77. There are three problems I have run into with the existing ATC System.

    The first is being told to expect a visual approach and then when vectored to final there is a cloud layer at altitude which prevents you from acknowledging, “Field in sight”. I suppose this falls under ATC Approach or X-plane Weather being better at drawing or understanding cloud bottoms, Airport elevation levels, and distinguishing when a visual or instrument approach is necessary.

    The second is around KTPA. KTPA straddles the line between Miami and Jacksonville ARTCC. When placed on final for 1L/1R and told to contact Tower, ARTCC comes back and requires you to switch Centers. Try flying the 1R approach. If any faster than approach minimums and you probably will not be able to get to Tower before be told to go missed.

    Lastly, the most bothersome is the number of times you have to click on the response screen before ATC acknowledges your response.

    One more. ATC, in X-Plane versions before 11 or maybe even version 10, was set so the push to talk button when clicked on, as long as the mouse cursor was over the identified menu item, would serve as acknowledgment of a response and the visual ATC screen would close. Now the screen does not close and can only be dismissed by closing the window.


  78. I would like to have the option to turn off X-Plane’s ATIS system. As a pure VATSIM user it is really annoying to hear the X-Plane ATIS not matching the VATSIM ATIS.

    It is easy to not use X-Plane’s ATC by simply not calling it but the only way to “disable” ATIS is to turn down the respective sound channel at the sound menu. But turning down this sound channel will also “disable” i.e. voice calls by the ground truck system or radio calls by Better Pushback.

    A simple checkbox (ATIS on/off) would do the trick.


  79. AI needs to work with ATC to make messages more realistic.
    So better AI definitions for taxiways, routes, patterns and air routes need to be created, like the detail in world traffic 3.
    ATC messages then work on a simple set of rules based upon using points on those routes eg pushback, hold, cleared for taksoff- as now.
    Add an API for people to add their own messages and create regional differences, or add more realism to an airport design.
    Sounds like a great job for the developers and the community, beccuase this is just too big a job for xplane.

  80. hi, Mark from Australia. The main problem with the x-plane 11 atc system as far as ai traffic behaviour goes as far as i can see stems from the fact that the ai traffic does not actually fly complete real flight plans, instead it just randomly generates itself near the user aircraft. You really need to look at the way microsoft fsx handles atc.

    1. being able to plan a flight directly within x-plane 11 using a built in flight planner,
    vfr and or ifr ,a map that shows your current flightplan and automatic installation of that flightplan into the aircrafts gps etc. then having atc fully aware of that flightplan and all the other ai flightplans at the airport you are departing from.

    2. Getting accurate and correct taxi instructions to the active runway and being told to hold for other traffic including airport vehicles whilst taxiing or when you approach the active runway for takeoff.

    3.after takeoff being handed over to departure then center then approach at the destination or being able to cancel ifr and request flight following, the ability to reinstate ifr control if desired and apon approach to an airport ability to choose runway and type of approach.

    4.the ability to be able to contact any controlled airport at anytime and request departure or landing.

    5 the abilty to request touch and goes and full stops and recieve appropriate pattern information runway left or right patterns etc

    6. ai chatter giving correct call signs and intentions is absolutely required for the player pilot being able to maintain situational awareness especially at an uncontrolled airport.

    7. proper traffic alerts when apropriate giving make callsign and direction and altitude of other ai aircraft.

    there are many other things that already exist in fsx as far as atc and ai implementation goes, also an complete pop up navigation log would not go astray as well. hope this helps, by the way i think x-plane 11 is a great sim cheers!

  81. I would like to see a tutorial included on how to use ATC and options to simplify and automate the process so it can be tailored to ones level of experience.
    This would make it enjoyable to use for all.

    1. Second this. The lack of tutorials for the basic X-Plane system is a bit frustrating. While I recognize the impossibility of providing tutorials for every aircraft (wouldn’t that be dandy), providing tutorials on the interface of the ATC system would be great. Right now, even with a basic understanding of how ATC functions in the real world, I have yet to make a single successful communication with X-Plane’s native ATC system.

  82. Please fix the repetitive “maintain altitude X” that’s announced for all AI at such a pace it makes it hard to respond to ATC a lot of the time. It’s pretty much constant and makes it so that I want to turn off the audible.

  83. * A lot more traffic (more than 20, if 20 is the limit the system should manage to use phisics AI on near aircrafts and such kind of a simple drone to far traffics
    * VFR support
    – reporting departure, arrival, taxi, traffic pattern phases
    * Traffics making full flights (taking of to one airport and landing at another)
    * Sid and Stars
    * A lot of options with atc
    – request weather info
    – request another runway ( to land and to take-off)
    – request another SID/STAR
    – Request vectors
    – report traffic insight
    – request change of destination

    * Ability to set Airports traffic parameters
    – percent of Airlines, GA, Helicopter, military
    – movements per day
    * Scheduled flights
    * And maybe random events to make more fun and unpredictable situations

    Obs: I would love it if there was such a topic asking about the weather!

  84. I would love, if the ATC would give me my speeds on approach…

    Also if we could change the callsigns ourself, and if the voice would not say Lima Uniform (etc.) 456, but instead Lufthansa 456

    Thanks for listening to your customers! Keep up that great work!

  85. I agree with much of what has already been said.

    For me, some way of creating an ATC framework such that the community can add on to it via the gateway would be fabulous. For example, I created a gateway airport for our small strip that is home to a gliding club. It would be amazing to be able to add both AI glider traffic as well as the standard radio calls they would make. I know it’s been mentioned multiple times, but adding VFR operations would be a huge step forward as well. In my gateway example, I could also add the ATC calls when gliders need to leave the local field and interact with controllers before entering their airspace.

    List of things I would like to be able to do with ATC while I’m flying:
    1) Operate VFR at both controlled and uncontrolled airports
    2) Hear AI aircraft operating VFR around me using local procedures as well as standard procedures. (ex. the glider ops I mentioned above)
    3) Voice recognition. I hate taking my hands off the controls and touching the keyboard to use ATC. I realize this has issues, but I’m busy dreaming 🙂
    4) ATC that is terrain, obstacle, and weather aware. Obstacle awareness would almost certainly have to come from the gateway. Here ‘obstacle’ would be any feature that needs to be avoided such as buildings, military installations, bridges, etc.
    5) Rotation of controller voices simulating the change of shift over the day.
    6) The very occasional ‘incident’. i.e. emergency situation, student pilot making errors, radio equipment difficulites, etc. You don’t want a lot of these, but one every now and then adds some realism.

  86. Having read most of the suggestions, I’m surprised that many seem to hang on details like volume or quality and number of voices, when the real problem still is what these voices are telling us!
    I’m not a real pilot, and I’m unsure whether the “direction driven 500-ft-vertical-separation-rule” (see // is still in effect, but X-Plane never cared about it. Instead there are some ridiculous instructions like these:
    0:02:35.464 D/ATC: p=2 (N02XP): Fly Heading: 208
    0:02:35.464 D/ATC: p=2 (N02XP): Maintain 2998ft
    0:02:45.489 D/ATC: p=2 (N02XP): Fly Heading: 267
    0:02:45.489 D/ATC: p=2 (N02XP): Maintain 1998ft

    Maybe start to learn how to round to 500 feet (even if you indent to control the aircraft down to the inch)! 😉 It seems IFR uses 2000ft separation…
    The good thing with ATC is that it isn’t time critical. A response time like three seconds should not be a problem. Try not to waste more CPU cycles than necessary for ATC.

  87. So I’ll even go into a little more detail here.

    I flew out of kabi yesterday with a strong south wind but they were advertising north flow?

    The Garmin shows the correct approach control frequencies at kftw however all aircraft on takeoff are switches to center on 135.75.

    135.75 is the south bound sector for fort with center and only after about 9pm will they use that frequency when the combine up. Waco low at Zfw isn’t gonna be controlling meachem departures.

    Atc assigned headings is all I ever hear never direct waypoints which is far more common.

    Climb and maintain. Not maintain, although if Someone is busy they may shorten it to maintain its not correct

    My suggestion since this is a gargantuan task is start to model realistic atc at the big airports like nyc atl Chicago dfw lax sfo. Doing that will create a realistic tower/approach/center environment that will affect the most people. Then you can worry about modeling the smaller approaches like Oklahoma and midland.

    As for the 7110.65 it’s massive and I don’t think you need to get to much into the weeds about modeling proper separation with 15 degrees divergence, non radar, etc. I think most people just want to hear controllers say the right thing and get the navigational guidance. If you can accomplish that it would be a huge step.

  88. yepp!
    I do miss gliders and all that sort of little aircraft in the air as well!
    Skies are currently soo empty 🙁

  89. You do not have to reinvent the wheel. Look for example at JAR X-Life, the connection between GNS430 database, a table for choosing the flight route with SID and STAR, and a protocol about communication in every stage of flight. Then you can wider it and bind it to information about FL restrictions for sending leg advices etc. JAR system is genius, it must be only refine . Additionally you can also bind aircraft traffic on route and at airports. That will bring life into X-Plane…..

  90. I too come from years of MSFS, and I’ve always wondered why x plane atc was so much worse than a program that is so old. I currently use 124th atc as my offline version, it has issues too, but much better than xp11 default atc.
    -need better ground commands, hold short, line up and wait, cross runways(tower)
    -VFR support, flight following at any time during flight. transitions for air space.
    -Vectoring that does not send me past airport or leave me on a high, fast, short final.
    -better non computer sounds or sdk and portal/ gateway for regional voices
    -sids/stars, advanced clearance instructions if no sid(climb, expect 9000 5 mins etc)
    -if nothing else just fix what you have so that it works better in moving you around and getting you there. Even the basics are broken.

  91. Hi,

    I agree with most of what has been said above, and I am really pleased to see how active this topic is.

    To me, ATC and AI are combined, because everything works together. ATC communication could feel so realistic, if real callsigns were used. The information can be easily found, thanks to flight radar 24. One idea could be to add a new entry in WED to configure all scheduled departures at a given gateway airport. Callsign, destination, out of gate time would be the minimum required, but we could also chose to assign a gate and a flight plan route, which would match SIDs and STARs. It would be very important for X-Plane to be able to bypass that flight plan route, because this is extremely AIRAC dependant.

    Applying radar separation (1000ft vertically or 5Nm horizontally) would be great. There are busy places where lateral separation can be reduced to 3Nm, but I do not know if it would be worth implementing that.
    Applying the semi-circular rule (// would be even better.
    Implementing oceanic clearance or non radar separation (1000ft or 10 minutes to keep it simple) would be fantastic, but maybe it is just me dreaming and it would be ok.

    Another thing that would add to realism, would be to use the real frequency at the right place. Someone talked about that already. Sectors and their frequencies can be found in ENR 3.7 (// and ENR 3.8 (// This does not change so often along AIRAC cycles. We could also imagine writing a simple file to tell when and how sectors should be combined, according to usual configurations. I could easily do this for France, and maybe Europe. Another thing to implement could be frequency range. The ATC should use “call me back on 133.635” instructions to remain in radio contact, if sectors are combined on a wide area.

    Ground movements should be more fluid, especially on the runway :
    -At the moment, AI aircraft vacate the runway in a very inefficient way. Very often, they miss an exit at 20 kts and taxi very slowy all the way to the end of the runway.
    -“Behind landing A320, line up runway 27 and wait, behind” instructions should also be implemented to save 20 seconds here and there. But this has already been suggested.
    -Late landing clearance can also prevent an aircraft from going around.

    More reference for phraseology, because I have seen several comments about that :

    Adding VFR movements to non controlled airports would bring a huge feel of realism too, and adding auto-information AI capability would be awesome. But this might be extremely complicated to achieve.

    1. Other idea :
      Make it possible for us to describe flow-dependant taxi routes in WED. On big airports, on Ground Movements Charts, we can see predefined itineraries for arrivals or departures, depending on the runways in use. This is the case for instance at LFPG or LFPO.

      1. I like this idea. Trying to do this with one-way rules often does not work or only suits a single runway or flow.
        Some form of “overlay” over the existing routes of directional commands (one-way, which way), closed/unavailable routes, and size-category rules maybe.

  92. Hi,I was a beta tester for Radar Contact-we cannot expect this first fi of the ATC system to hope to match any of the stand alone ATC programs but I think a good start might be:
    1 Allow step climbs and decents
    2 Allow interaction with the ATC by key or button as well as mouse
    3 Allow pilot to request change of runway either at departure or arrival
    4 Alow pilot to request change of altitude en route
    5 When ATC window is open flush the chatter queue or limit it as at times there is so much chatter user cannot interact with ATC
    6 Make pilot check ATIS prior to landing
    7 Allocate squawk codes randomly- not always starting at 4700
    8 Use dirrenet pilot voices from pilot in chatter
    9 Remove the frequent ‘runway change is in effect’ situation that appears to happen at nearly every sim start

    These would start to make the ATC more useful or freindly.
    I am happy to help if you wish

    Ashley Sear

    1. “we cannot expect this first fi of the ATC system to hope to match any of the stand alone ATC programs”
      I believe it is very presumptuous to assert that, given that you don’t know how many people in Laminar are working on ATC system and since when.

  93. How about not having ATC vector me into the ground. Example, I was just flying a route from KDEN to KJAC, between RIW and DNW ATC told me to descend to 9,000 ft. Terrain along this route is 10,126 ft. Often ATC vectors me below minimum sector altitude on approaches and I have to cancel IFR or fly into a mountain or the ground. Same in this case, I wanted to see if I could make it but got a terrain warning and had to cancel IFR and kick off the autopilot and climb.

  94. To be honest I’d rather see an improvement in the weather system than in ATC.

    1) Cloud rendering is currently very basic compared to real life clouds and build up in weather systems
    2) Cloud layers are too limited
    3) Weather updating is very clunky
    4) Weather is always noticeable
    5) Many people like to fly with online ATC
    6) ATC is there to seperate the traffic and if that works correct you’d hardly see any traffic for the largest amount of the time using X-plane (up in the air)
    7) I wouldn’t want to give up CPU power to work on loads of fake traffic that can hardly be seen and that’ll probably never match real life conditions at all, still causing some kind of annoyance due to frame rate drop in the larger airports

  95. My ATC wish list…

    Better VFR capability for doing circuits etc.
    Alternate voices.
    Additional hand offs between controllers.
    Terrain height is taken into account.
    PTT button diesn’t need mouse intervention . XP10 allowed you to use your contoller buttons, to bring up ATC then communicate, XP11 doesn’t do this as far as I can tell. You need to use the mouse to click to the commands and call backs…

  96. Aircraft separation. All to often AI planes are over taking or using opposite direction for take off within 5 miles of the runway that ATC has vectored me for. Also at times it seems that ATC keeps the altitude high resulting in a slam dunk to an airport.

  97. “Adding VFR movements to non controlled airports would bring a huge feel of realism too, and adding auto-information AI capability would be awesome. But this might be extremely complicated to achieve.”

    Maybe we could create a custom ATC design and editing tool that would allow people to create and specify custom traffic patterns and proper altitude hazards for any given airport, along with an easy to use options tick list to configure it to your liking along with custom call signs etc.

    Then, to share it, I was kind of thinking of a new custom ATC library similar to the current custom scenery library where the community could create and share their own ATC files for any and all airports desired.

    These newly created custom ATC config files could then be shared if desired and downloaded much the way we use custom airport scenery at the current time. KBOS would now have a new companion ATC server called KBOS_ATC and so on. Laminar could then help to distribute official (Reality based) user created ATC files, while unapproved or user created or modified custom versions would be stored locally.

    Let people in the community create both simple and complex ATC versions for airports or modify anything that they download so that it is perfect for them and their needs. Create a robust API so that other software developers can develop complex systems and easily interface it to the sim.

    Allow an option for ATC server to run independent from the game to offload the work if desired to another PC so that it doesn’t impact or drag down sim performance. For the long term, if you really want to be progressive, allow the server to connect multiple players who would all be visible to each other in a selected airspace. One player could host the ATC server and allow everyone else to connect and share location data much like AI would show up now. This would allow the very thing that everyone craves and that is REAL company in the air and on the ground. Friends all flying together !

    I really feel that we need to involve the whole community and empower them to do the heavy lifting by creating and sharing custom ATC configs for all of the different airports that they fly at and are already very familiar with. I know that there are lots of real ATC guys out there who would be more than willing to help design and build out these new virtual ATC servers that we could then share with each other.

    Anyways, just my 2 cents on this complicated yet simple issue.


  98. Great that you are looking at ATC. With so many great responses I hope you are not sorry you asked! And I hope all this will allow you to determine a priority list of practical ie doable improvements. My following comments are not really specific because everything I had in mind has been covered, but some general points follow. I have previously given my support for better ATC for VFR at controlled airports and for things like VFR flight following outside controlled airspace, ie add/improve realistic features that exist in real life. But do not add features that do not exist in real life, eg ATC at non controlled airports, ie simulate real life as much as possible as a general rule, keep it real not pretend.

  99. Some things that come to my mind:

    -faster speaking controllers (maybe even user-adjustable speed) + short sentences
    -different callsigns for GA aircraft (no more N-XP…) and also airline callsigns if possible
    -differentiation between VFR and IFR airports
    -at VFR airports: no vectors but ability for pilots to ask for landing information, airport direction and report their position in the traffic pattern
    -higher number of AI traffic
    -possibility to create custom traffic patterns in WED especially for VFR airports
    -possibility to request different flight levels
    -correct timing between landing and departing traffic to reduce go arounds (XP ATC likes to give takeoff clearances, even when approaching traffic is short from touching down)
    -smaller traffic pattern after go around considering the aircraft category (speed of the aircraft)

    Greetings Peter

    1. Addition:

      -possibility to define the own callsign prior to flight independently from what is specified for the plane in plane maker

  100. Please just keep in mind, that the ATC is just a “nothing” if there is no need for ATC. Why would I need to ask for take off clearance if there is no AI or the AI is totally unpredictable and rebellious. Why would I need to get an IFR clearance when it does not matter? We can practice this with our imagination just fine.

    If (since) the AI is not like the real world, there is no need to waste resources fixing the ATC system. The AI planes and the ATC need to be ultra intelligent and adapt correctly to all kinds of scenarios for the ATC system to be impressive and of value.

    If LR can overhaul the AI, then the ATC will be worth it.

    Surly the staff at LR knows what real ATC does and why, just make it so in XP. We could all try and “list” features most important to us, but to leave anything out makes the system not worth while… it right, make it real, or forget it.

  101. Dear Tyler
    Thanks for asking the community about the atc! Apart from a really advanced and professional atc I’m also interested in a simple atc solution. Like when I’m dialling in airport frequency, i will get some options like what i wan’t do (asking for weather, asking for active runway, asking for landing, passing by, etc). So this means at first when we start up atc dialog, we can choose in between IFR advanced, IFR simpel, VFR advanced, VFR simpel or something like that. I hope you get my point!
    Good success in developing the new ATC
    Regards Tobi

  102. I would like to see better ATC control of AI routing on the ground including use of hold short points on taxiways to avoid aircraft running into each other while taxiing.

  103. I am all for Laminar Research just providing the aftermarket “addon” developers the resources they need to create full fidelity ATC systems. Like if there is something missing in the code of X-Plane that a developer needs for their addon to work properly just spend the time adding that.
    Same goes for weather systems. If REX or Active Sky (or similar) need something added to complete their systems – add that code for them – promptly.
    In the end – the after market systems will come along and work better and be updated more frequently by developers that are devoted to just that aspect of the simulation.
    I am all for Laminar creating the base/foundation that developers can build on and provide the resources developers require in a timely manner.
    Other aspects of the simulation – such as flight dynamics – should be the main focus of Laminar….or again creating the resources for addon developers to tweak (and maintain) their flight dynamic systems (internally or externally).

    Trying to put too many irons in the fire just stifles progress and will most likely become a redundant system anyways.

    Just one man’s thoughts on this wonderful simulators progress in the future.
    Cheers LR Crew!!!

    1. i‘m with you.
      LR, spend your time for proper code and api (vr, weather, enviroment data, etc.). then the sophisticated addon market will grow like the x-plane fans as well.
      These are essentiells for success

      Chris Oak

      1. I just have to point out that it’s much less of a given for Linux / Mac users that the aftermarket will take care of things. Yes, I know those platforms make up a rather small minority but it’s a very active one.

        1. Harry,

          If they focus on improving the code, architecture, and APIs, it doesn’t mean they can’t go ahead and build features on them anyway, after the architecture is improved.

          But for example, the biggest nuisance for me at the moment on X-Plane is the cloud transparency bug and how poor the weather engine is and the lack of good add-ons for this. The developers of weather engines for other sims already mentioned they have far less control over the weather in X-Plane than other sims, so their ability to provide a good add-on is limited, or it means a lot more effort.

          Even if LR wants to improve their default weather engine, they’d have to start by improving/updating the architecture anyway, so it’s not a waste of time in any case, know what I mean?


  104. ATC with full IFR-Service would be great (from startup request, taxiing, SID/STAR to shutdown). I think voice recogniton should be possible, best with voices from AI-Planes. If this all works we need a flightplanning utility.
    I’m looking foreward to seeing ATC in X-Plane VFR!


  105. What about a higher level solution to ATC problems, what about a joint venture with PilotEdge ?

    Here is my thinking, I have simmed for decades and did care very little about ATC until I decided to become a real life pilot. Now it has become an obsession. Why not just make it for real for those who matter?

  106. 1. “You’re leaving my airspace” bug where a female pilot and male ATC have this exchange:

    Male ATC: “Cirrus 251CV, you’re leaving my airspace. Frequency change approved.
    Female Pilot: “You’re leaving my airspace.” “251CV”

    2. VFR flight following.

    3. Get a (pseudo)random transponder code. I can guess with 99.999% certainty I will be squawking 4700.

    4. Give time for the pilot to comply. If ATC asks me to descend to 6,000 and turn to 130, I need more than 1-2 seconds to fulfill that request. Usually, by the time I get the heading set, ATC is coming back and telling me to descend to 6,000 again, even though I confirmed it earlier.

    5. Ability to report emergency and get vectors (low priority in this list).

    6. While in a taxi at KMQY, the ground controller would not stop repeating the instructions. This usually happens when the scenery doesn’t match the taxi guidelines (yellow arrows). I tend to follow the scenery and if you’re off the intended path for more than 3-5 seconds, you’re going to get in the ATC circular loop.

    7. Ability to adjust ATC speech speed. Sometimes ATC rattles off the taxi instructions so fast, I have trouble parsing them.

    8. Stop ATC from giving me taxi instructions just as soon as my wheels touch the runway. I need to get slowed down first and likely can’t make that left turn onto the first taxiway. An alternative would be to exit at your discretion, go to the end of the runway, or attempt to exit at the second left, etc.

    9. Shorten the call signs when possible. Initial contact with any new controller should be N123CA, but any further communication can be abbreviated 23CA or 3CA.

    1. 9. Shorten the call signs when possible. Initial contact with any new controller should be N123CA, but any further communication can be abbreviated 23CA or 3CA.

      This would be a great help and not waste time when on short final.

  107. I’m sure someone has already mentioned this, but half the time I’ll
    Have clearance to take off and then mid roll it tells me to taxi and I get the you’ve ignored atc pop up.

    Also it would be nice to request change in altitude.

    When headed toward your arrival airport I’ve been given vectors that take me so far away from the airport and never end up clearning me in for the approach or arrival just vectoring me rightninto a mountain.

    Looking forward to ATC being useable.

    1. First point of Isaac: same here. It bothers. Second, yes, if one fly into the LOWI area he will crash because they send you right into some mountains. And all messages about NO2XP, NO6XP are completely boring. Also waiting all the time on clearance when entering an airport. Or having clearance, and they cancel the clearance at 20 feet above the runway (are you mad??). And taxi a 737 to a cargo gate or even to a heliport. Well a 737 normally has to go to a public gate (except perhaps if it is a UPS plane or something. Anyway, have a nice time to fix ATC and thanks for the good work.

  108. I know it is not LR’s policy to have paid DLC. However, I for one would willingly pay to support a realistic ATC system, even if it is separate from the main program.

    XP is such a great flight sim; in fact, it is the only true flight sim available outside of a full motion simulator, especially in VR, whether that be native or FlyInside.

    Please be aware that some of us are willing to support ATC with real money.

    Thanks for looking at ATC improvements.

  109. My wish list (all IFR): (all very similar to 124th ATC, but working rock solid)
    Read my flight plan (horizontal and vertical planning) from the FMC. Use the SID I programmed or give me a new one.
    Provide the taxi route to my departure runway.
    Take care of other traffic, runways etc..
    Take care of WT3 traffic.
    Let me request waypoint/flight level changes.
    Guide me along my planned route, take care of my ToD, take care of the terrain (esp. mountains) when descending.
    Give me a runway, STAR, TRANS and guide me there.
    Help me with changing frequencies according to real procedures.
    All Windows and fonts should be scalable for 4k monitors.

    lower prioity:
    more voices

    long term:
    voice recognition

    Thanks for all your effort, it’s a great sim!

  110. As an oldie with slight hearing problems, I would like to see the option of increasing the ATC text that appears in top left of X-Plane 11.

    1. And having ATC interactions in a separate movable window (in triple monitor full screen mode) with a short interaction history similar to FSX would be helpful…FSX ATC is much user friendly than Xplane 11 ATC (basically unusable/unreliable)…Recommendation: I would mimic the FSX ATC features as a baseline ATC (providing VFR and IFR support) and then improve on that fairly basic baseline.

    1. As mentioned by others, Pilot2ATC is Windows only. Any viable solution should cover all 3 OS platforms.

  111. I stopped using atc when the controller gave me a squawk code , and it did not work. I kept getting the ident message. Overall, X-plane has gotten so much better. I started with v-9, skipped 10 and now have 11. I just use the pop up map using victor airways and it gets me there. Gate numbers at the terminal is a different ballgame with ground controlling . I love the suggestions that others have posted. Let’s hope for the best.

  112. Hello…
    i believe an ATC such as FS 2004 would be great. I think that it may include traffic also.

  113. Totally blown away by XP-11. Best sim I have ever tried. That being said………terribly disappointed that such a great sim cannot even come close to the ATC that was working really well, VFR and IFR, in MSFS as far back as 2009. As far as I’m concerned getting XP up to that level of ATC would be a great goal.

  114. I would add my name to the multitudes asking for VFR support. While occasionally loading up and flying an airliner, most of my flying is puttering around in the 172, with the occasional upgrade to the Baron. Most, if not all of these have been mentioned previously, but this is my list:
    1. Ability to make requests without an IFR flight plan. e.g. closed traffic, touch and go, request the option.
    2. Flight following (with traffic point outs, or else what’s the purpose)
    3. Ability to customize tail number and have ATC use it.
    4. When appropriate, have ATC use abbreviated tail numbers, i.e. November One Seven Two Sierra Papa becomes Cessna Two Sierra Papa.
    5. The repeated instructions to the AI craft have to be fixed! Even when flying an IFR plan, I don’t use ATC because you are constantly hearing ATC give the same two instructions to the same two AI aircraft with a single letter difference in callsign ad nauseum!
    6. This is not technically an ATC fix, but goes to the overall enjoyment of the ATC system, but screw the physics models and let us have a more realistic number of AI aircraft filling the skies. ATC talking to 3 planes is pointless.
    7. As a nice to have, I would add support for voice recognition and better TTS voices. Something along the lines of what ATCPRO is doing. Very smooth sounding TTS from multiple voices, and very good speech recognition.
    8. While I like the idea of having the ability for the system to auto-tune the radios (and the ability to turn it off), I kinda don’t like that it tells me what the frequency is if I’m not using it. The controllers should be telling me what the next freq is, or I should look it up, either on the map or the GPS. If I turn off autotune, don’t show me the freq.
    9. Fix the AI in general. Having to grab a mouse and click an opaque window is not great. Maybe have button inputs that allow us to map a control to it. Assuming that any command has a limited number of responses, you could handle most interactions with a single button. Each click would move to the next response (displayed in a line at the top of the screen.) The system waits until the pilot pauses on a response for a couple of seconds before using that one as his transmission. Possible transmissions would be ordered by likelihood of use. This would allow us to handle interactions by mapping a single button to the radio, like a PTT. However, don’t fix the UI until you fix the system. That’s like putting lipstick on a pig!

    Obviously, there are some other rough edges, but those are what stand out to me. Love that you are reaching out to your community for input! Good luck!

  115. +1 VFR
    +1 no controlled flight into terrain

    -1 “real” procedures. Something close enough to match
    -1 issuing instructions to AI aircraft

    I primarily fly GA (mostly with FSEconomy) with real weather turned on so am low/slow with a variety of VFR and IFR flights. Would love to add ATC into the mix for better immersion but ATC is worse than useless if I have to check that every instruction won’t result in CFIT. Replicating FSX ATC would be good enough for me.

  116. Current ATC does not let me put an airline call sign like: Pan Am 786.
    All it lets me enter is PA786, and then says it as: Papa Alpha 786.
    Airlines do not use registration numbers.
    Please give me that option.
    Also, in XP11, at TNCM, Princess Juliana airport, I have to wait more than 10 minutes while (2) Sikorsky S-76 helicopters hover over the active runway, or one hovers over the active runway and the other over the active runway hold line impeding my clearance for take off.
    Also happens at other airports.
    After 10 minutes, I get frustrated and I go into the map, select each helicopter and move them out about 10 miles from airport over the ocean, until they don’t bother me any more.
    Could you please put someway of taking these out of the simulation?
    They are very annoying, since helicopters really don’t need a runway to take off from.
    Also, please give us more options on ATC and pilot’s voices.
    Need options to select SIDS/STARS.
    Would like to be able to listen to the airport arrival and departure ATIS at the same volume as other ATC communications.

  117. one thing about atc that just bugs me is that when you’re in a small plane like a c 172 it will put you on a 10 mile final like an airliner and if you want to cancel your flight plan while atc is trying to correct your heading god help you.

  118. Voice command within ATC
    Better traffic in air and on ground
    Ability to find active landing runways when starting ifr.

  119. Guys,
    here in Europe we have probably thousands of small airfields with a lot of glider-traffic (especially on weekends).
    Please bring them into the X-Plane skies and lets have some basic ATC for this VFR airfields.

  120. It appears from the number of comments that ATC is even more popular than VR. On the VR thread many of the comments were from LR.

  121. I wish the ATC would cover VFR and IFR flying, similar as in FSX. The software should be able to provide altitudes in reference to the minimum sector altitude and terrain. Less robotic voice. Provide choice on which approach to use. If something similar to FSX ATC could be recreated and some additional features would be added, i think it would do the job for everybody, from the beginner guys discovering a new hobby to the real pilot guys that want to practice in a more realistic environment. I am a real world pilot, many have told me to use online ATC providers… i have no time for that. I want an inside Xplane feature that is easy and straightforward. Once again, FSX ATC is not so bad as an example, and if we consider that it was built more than 10 years ago… well today something incredible by Laminar R could be done! You can do it guys! Strongly believe in you!

  122. Actually ATC and AI in this amazing Sim is not good. AI is totally randon. What´s the use see a lousy SR71 flying in the brazilian interior airspace? As like said above, take FSX/FS9 as a model to ATC in X-Plane would improve a lot. Also, would be great if accept SID/STARS. Would be great too if X-Plane could say the name of airline, or the name of the aircraft, like “Cessna” or else.

  123. I would like basic ATC to come back like it was years ago. Hit the Return key and your given choices to declare emergency landing, runway vectors, audible headings etc. make it more game like for basic users. I don’t file flight plans, nor dial in keys or do system depth cockpit flying. I just play for fun and would like a more immersive ATC experience. Have a basic and pro level functions

  124. If I were to summarize in a nutshell what I would consider a perfect ATC for X-Plane, these would be ProAtcX. This program for FSX/Prepar3D is undoubtedly the best addon that exists, because not only limited to having the most realistic ATC system I have known, but also interact with the traffic AI

  125. After reading more posts regarding this matter, one thing that came to mind. the electronic hum associated with a pilots transmission , if it can be done.

    1. Regarding my last post about electronic hum with pilots communicating, I saw an old post from 2010 , and it was mentioned. It said that larger planes have a 400htz electrical system, and is responsible. It also mentioned that this tone can be replicated with audacity software. the post is called mystery tone on aircraft.

  126. I’ll re-write what I wrote earlier.

    A precept (from the Latin: præcipere, to teach) is a commandment, instruction, or order intended as an authoritative rule of action.

    The precept of aviation is: Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. Fly the plane. Direct it where it should go. Talk to ATC. If we are not physically and actively communicating with ATC, what are we learning? I’m not referring to pressing the Enter key so the program can recite what ATC wants the pilot to do. Speak and repeat back the ATC controller’s instructions. XPlane needs ATC voice command.

    I know there are several controller web sites for this but they are limited in area of coverage.

  127. ‘llo,

    Just an idea, no offense: why don’t you simply drop the ATC engine ?

    You are the developers of the “foundations”, stick on those foundations. You design a lot of foundation blocks, you master them and, obviously, are the only ones able to work on.

    I mean, let look what becomes the default 737: a really nice aircraft by default. Some people in the community (Zibo and others) leverage it and it becomes excellent. Really excellent.

    Maybe you should consider to drop the ATC code on github (or somewhere) to let the community leverages this code. This community will spent a lot of passionate hours of work you can’t. You still are responsible of the interactions between the XPlane “core engine” and the “satellites”.

    And besides, it will gives you the opportunity to continue your work on other critical foundation blocks: weather engine ? water operations ? plugin sandboxing ? there are many domains to improve.

    You can’t do all by yourselves, so polish the core: v11 is a huge step forward compared to v10. Absolutely nice work, continue that way !

    All the best LR team,


    1. Wow, one of the best responses I have heard in months. I am a real world private pilot and had all my flight lessons and Chicago Midway (ATC 24/7) I have only used x-plane for two years. I tried the default ATC when I first bought x-plane 10 got frustrated and gave up and bought x-plane 11, still not good. Now I’m finally on 124th ATC and with some limitations it works quite well. Now I’m well on my way to Vatsim and Pilotedge.
      X-plane is a wonderful product and your VR and scenery improvements are spectacular making it the greatest sim platform ever. . As always keep up the great work.

Comments are closed.