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How hard is it to fly online? (IVAO or VATSIM)


Guest cptawsom
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Guest cptawsom

The question is simple, as the title says.

(I know I could post it on the AVSIM forums, but for some reason, I feel more comfortable here)

So:

How hard is it to fly online? (IVAO or VATSIM)

I've been simming with FSX for about six months, I've done about 150 flights, all with successfull landings, with 4 different planes (B737, B747, MD-11, A320), I know how to read (and follow) SID/STAR/appoach charts, and how to interpret an airport diagram. Also how to program the above planes' FMCs, and how to control the planes "semi-manually (via autopilot speed/altitude/heading restrictions). I also know what the default FSX ATC tells me, and what to expect of it at any time. The only thing I don't know yet, is the equivalent alphabet letters in ATC language (eg. Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, etc.).

Now, given these, how hard would it be to fly online? From hardware, I only need to get a headset.

- Is it too complicated to set up the needed software?

- Will it run with no performance hit? (I don't have a second computer on the LAN, to run it there)

- What happens with the flightplan? (usually I do SID->straight-line-on-a-sphere->STAR, but I do not include SID and STAR in the flightplan)

- Do IVAO or VATSIM require a lot of "bureaucracy" before somebody starts? (I saw somewhere that IVAO needs a double registration, both on its web page, and on its forums)

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  • Administrator

All in all fliyng online is easy. I'm flying at VATSIM and I have to say that they also have a great support.

First of all let's start with the controller coverage: At the evenings here in germany (around 18-20z) there a pretty good controller coverage. Sure, you'd have to look up where to go and can't expect a controller at every signle airport, but all in all it's pretty good for the big ones.

There are tons of traning documents available on the VATSIM side, so it won't be a problem to learn what you need.

But you have to know that you can immediatly forget almost everything FS default ATC teaches you. It is very far from reality and therefore from what's done online!

VATSIM offers training courses via teamspeak for new pilots as well as experienced ones to give them the opportunities to gain the knowledge they need to fly just as real pilots.

Next to answer your questions:

-No it's only install and fly

-I do not have a great performance hit. Usually I get about the same FPS than flying offline. Only when there's very much traffic my frames reduce by 1 or 2, but surely nothing serious.

-You'll have to fly a flightplan following air routes. SIDs and STARs are most often used, but the controller with assign you the apropiate SID so you don't have to add it to your plan. There are nice training documents how to do it available on VATSIM.

-No not really. All in all if you just want to fly you'll just have to sign up on the general VATSIM site. Lateron it can be good if you'd sign up to your appropiate region devision, but that's not mandatory.

To make a short summary, I'd say:

Flying online is a great experience which every simmer who want to be 'as real as it gets' should do. At the beginning it isn't that easy, but after some 10 or 20 flights under ATC coverage it get's pretty easy and relaxed and is really great fun!

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Hi, sorry for my "could be better"-English in advance.

:D

Uhm, I was in the same situation as you two weeks ago. I ever wanted to fly online on IVAO or VATSIM someday, but I was a little frightened because of the much higher level there.

If you fulfill all these things you mentioned, it´s (in my opinion) easy to make. Honestly, if you are good prepared before a flight you usually don´t have to fear anything. And with preparation I mean only searching necessary charts. I know there can be done so much more, but that was enough for me.

If you know in advance what things the controller could say, you can read back it way faster and you are less nervous. At my first flight (one or two weeks ago) I joined VATSIM at a gate and I just listened for a few minutes to the ATC to get myself "comfortable". :P

Then I listened to the ATIS-frequency to find out what runways are in use and then I took a look on the ground charts, which route I would possibly have to taxi to the holding point of the runway. And exactly that route was given to me after the pushback. That´s just one example. If you expect what the controllers could tell you, you are good prepared, in my opinion. What helped me also a lot was an example flight with the ATC phraseology in it. I had it open on my secondary screen and I used it as a kind of manual for my flight.

Now to your questions... no in my opinion it was not that hard to configure the software at my computer. I am using FSInn (so I fly on VATSIM), but I was happy, there were a lot of advises in the VATGER forum, especially for using the MTL (Multiplayer Traffic Library; "AI"-Models to show the other pilots and their aircrafts) additionally to the standard ones of FSX. I am not familiar with the IVAO-tools and I am also not familiar with Squawkbox which is an alternative to FSInn.

I do not have any performance effects by flying online @ VATSIM. ;)

The next question I don´t really understand. You file your flightplan before your flight (usually). You mean, you don´t know how the route shall be entered into the flight plan?

"Waypoint Airway Waypoint Airway"

That´s the scheme of it. An example of a flight from Hamburg, Germany to Munich, Germany.

"AMLUH UM852 POVEL UZ16 GALMA T703 LULAR T105 EXUSI"

For Vatsim you should take your routes from vatroute.net ;)

Bureaucracy? Hmm... if you want to call it that way. Yes I actually "had" to register myself three times I think.

The setup of the VATSIM-account includes the account in the international VATSIM-forum and then I had to setup an account on VATSIM Germany and also an account in the forum of VATSIM Germany. But it was a matter of a few minutes, for me it´s not an argument. I don´t know what it´s like at IVAO but I think there are at least two registrations, maybe more. But as I said, I fly only at VATSIM.

I hope all of your questions are answered. If not, don´t hesitate to ask. That´s what you surely need on your (first) flights at VATSIM. "Say again"... maybe one of the most used phrases in a newbies phraseology and it´s totally okay. :)

Edit:

A little too late. Emi put it on the line, nothing to add! :)

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Guest cptawsom
The next question I don´t really understand. You file your flightplan before your flight (usually). You mean, you don´t know how the route shall be entered into the flight plan?

"Waypoint Airway Waypoint Airway"

That´s the scheme of it. An example of a flight from Hamburg, Germany to Munich, Germany.

"AMLUH UM852 POVEL UZ16 GALMA T703 LULAR T105 EXUSI"

For Vatsim you should take your routes from vatroute.net ;)

Actually, you covered it very well on this. I didn't know the exact format they needed the flightplans in. But I went to the site you suggested, saw a couple of examples, and understood. Good thing is, they have an option to make it ready for FSBuild (which I use anyway).

A few more questions would be:

- What happens with AI traffic addons? I'm using WOAI. Would I have to disable that? (I'll have to search how it can be done)

- What happens with real-time weather? (right now I'm using AS2012). Again, would I have to disable that?

- Is the workload greatly increased? And I'm not talking about following ATC commands with altitude/speed/heading or requesting clearances to gradually climd/descend. I am expecting these. I was mainly talking about sqwak codes. I never bothered with them up to now. And also about the lights -> I'm not following the exact procedures so far because they're too complicated to memorize (and I find no common logic-sense in them) -> I simplify them -> I turn on at once all non-front lights (no wing, landing, taxiing, wheel-well) that do not blind ground crews, plus logo if it's night, and then I turn on the front lights only when pushback is complete and the ground crew away.

And the most important:

- What happens with the differences between stock FSX, and the addons that the player has in his own setup?

----> mesh-altitudes (eg FSGlobal)

----> coastlines (eg UTX)

----> airport sceneries

They could very well lead to other planes landing outside of the player's airport (difference in position) and/or floating in the air or submerging in the ground (difference in airport elevation), or perhaps passing through mountains (more detailed mesh), all for all of these, it could happen vice-versa for the player in other players' machines.

PS: Also, I've been told that VATSIM has much more American traffic, while IVAO has much more European traffic. Is that true?

The reason I'm asking this (I have nothing of course against people from one continent, or the other) is purely practical. I live in Europe, so due to similar timezones, I also have to fly within Europe (at the most north Africa, or Middle-East).

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One thing to try if you decide to go online; find a busy airport and just sit at a gate and listen. That way you get to observe what is going along with getting used to the phraseology and the speed at which the controller communicates.

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  • Root Admin

Starting with online flying is not easy, but it is like learning to ride, after a very steep initial few hours it becomes second nature.

I strongly support the suggestion from FlyingNut. Just park your aircraft in a place where you are not in the way and can see the other aircraft move. Then just listen and try to match what you hear to what you see. When things are quiet let the controller know you are newbie and ask permission to taxi to another location

"KL222 at parking Bravo12, we like to move to KLM maintenance at platform 12"

If the controller is any good (and 99,9% are) he'll guide you. Just make sure you got the airport chart. That way you get a simple risk free introduction.

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You could stay at the WoAI, but there could be some confusions when there are AI-aircrafts as well as other online-pilots, but technically you don´t need to deactivate it. You can use AS2012 further on, you just would have to set "VATSIM Weather" in the settings. I´m sure there is such an option, then you will receive the weather as it´s supposed by VATSIM. And that´s real time weather also, by the way.

With the sceneries (except airports) there shouldn´t be any problems at all. With airports there CAN be problems. What problems? Sometimes at the default-airports (or not so good made add-on airports) the taxiways and gates and so on aren´t very accurate so the positions are not really correct. Then it can happen, that the controller sees you not ON a taxiway but next to it a few metres. It´s just an example. At VATSIM (Germany) there are some correct sceneries provided for German airports, to make sure that most of the pilots have a correct layout.

And most of the payware addons are accurate enough and recommended, such as the Mega Airport-series for example.

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Hi,

Like Mathjs said, starting is not easy and can be overwhelming in the beginning (terminology, etc)

However after a few flights, you will get used to it.

I started online flying eons ago and since then never flew offline anymore

It is so much fun to fly with real ATC and other aircraft/pilots.

Just bite the bullet and go for it, you won't regret it.

About IVAO/VATSIM

It is a matter of your location (and likings)

Personally I prefer VATSIM over IVAO.

For Europeans VATSIM is more present in Mid/Northern Europe, IVAO is more present in the Mid/Southern region.

(correct me if I'm wrong)

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
Guest cptawsom
...put all engine sounds through the PC's sound card and all voice/comms go through the headset.

That is exactly my intention too.

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But in that fact I would not use headsets with closed headphones. I mean, headsets which do not surround the ear complete. I think it would be a lot better, because with closed headphones (know I found the term: "circum-aural"-headphones! :P) you will not hear that much from your plane and so on, which comes out of the speakers.

So I would take a good "supra-aural"-headset in your case. :)

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  • Deputy Sheriffs

That is exactly my intention too.

The cheapest USB headset is all you need then :lol:

Mine:

http://www.amazon.co...42102403&sr=8-1

but I didnt pay 1/2 that price for it lol

Edit: These are kinda funky retro look and a good price

http://www.amazon.co.uk/USB2-0-Stereo-headsets-Headset-Headphone/dp/B003ZV0UY2/ref=sr_1_4?s=computers&ie=UTF8&qid=1342102470&sr=1-4

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Guest cptawsom

But in that fact I would not use headsets with closed headphones. I mean, headsets which do not surround the ear complete. I think it would be a lot better, because with closed headphones (know I found the term: "circum-aural"-headphones! :P) you will not hear that much from your plane and so on, which comes out of the speakers.

So I would take a good "supra-aural"-headset in your case. :)

This is indeed a concern. (*)

Do you have anything specific to suggest?

(*) Although I never liked headphones, especially those small that get "inside" the ear.

And I never used them for music listening, movie watching, or gaming.

I always prefer speakers.

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Well, by experience I can´t recommend you anything in that range. I have a Plantronics gamer-headset (about 30€) and I´m totally satisfied with it. But it´s also circum-aural. ;)

If I were you, I would look after products like that: http://www.amazon.de...42110756&sr=1-2

It´s the German Amazon-shop, because I am from Germany and I can´t see where you are from. To me it looks very good, you can put it into your USB port and be happy with it. No further sound card necessary. ;)

But again, I do not know that headset, I am just judging after the opinions of the customers on the bottom of the page. ;)

Keep flying,

Jonas

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I'm flyin' @Vatsim too. I've been to IVAO, but it's simply not almost realistic as Vatsim, in my opinion. The reason is, because in Vatsim

you mustn't open a controller station without training and a check. When you've flown a few years @Vatsim, you know how to radio :D

My first flight, I did the following way. I just started the flight, but filled under remarks in the flighplan "newbie". So the controller knew, that I was new, and took care of me.

Everything went right!

Just do it the same way.

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Guest cptawsom

Well, by experience I can´t recommend you anything in that range. I have a Plantronics gamer-headset (about 30€) and I´m totally satisfied with it. But it´s also circum-aural. ;)

If I were you, I would look after products like that: http://www.amazon.de...42110756&sr=1-2

It´s the German Amazon-shop, because I am from Germany and I can´t see where you are from. To me it looks very good, you can put it into your USB port and be happy with it. No further sound card necessary. ;)

But again, I do not know that headset, I am just judging after the opinions of the customers on the bottom of the page. ;)

Keep flying,

Jonas

I buy from Amazon UK, because I do not speak German.

How about this:

http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/en-us/b/lifechat-lx-4000-for-business/7YF-00001#overview

That is better, because it has a single earplug, so that I can still hear my speaker output (from the plane).

PS: I can find it here in Greece around €45, which is a normal price.

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