Aerofly FS2 RC ATC available for download (trial or purchase)

  • Hi fellow Aeroflyers,


    I’m the developer of the air traffic control solution for Aerofly FS 2 that Ray’s been speaking of.


    “Aerofly FS 2 RC ATC” is set to be released this coming Saturday, November 9 and will be initially available for download and purchase at the product’s secure website Aerofly FS2 RC ATC.


    The product leverages the exceptional air traffic control experience of Radar Contact v4 by providing a bridge between it and Aerofly FS 2 (AFS2).


    Before touching on product highlights, it must be mentioned that the foundation of the development of this product is threefold: user experience, performance and stability. The product has been developed using commercial software development industry best practices and extensively tested. The product is designed to make intelligent use of hardware capabilities, both CPU and GPU. You will experience zero effect on performance (i.e., FPS). Worth noting is that the rendering of the Radar Contact menu within the AFS2 screen is measured in microseconds (not milliseconds).


    Some feature highlights:

    ·       Radar Contact’s “menu” is displayed within the AFS2 window using OpenGL or Vulkan by default but can also be displayed in a secondary popup window if desired. Display of Radar Contact’s menu can also be disabled altogether.

    ·       The size and color of the text is configurable.

    ·       The screen location of the text is also configurable and can be positioned at one of the four corners of the screen (upper left, upper right, lower left, lower right). This allows for view of the Radar Contact menu without obscuring the instrument panel or the window view.

    ·       For ATIS and enroute weather reports, metar data is downloaded periodically from one of over 11000 weather reporting stations. The weather download period is configurable with a default period of 15 minutes. Weather download can be disabled if desired.

    ·       While complete control of weather is not possible at this time due to limitations of the IPACS SDK interface, Visibility can be controlled.

    ·       As depiction of visibility is highly subjective, it is highly configurable for fine tuning to the user’s preferences. Visibility control can also be disabled if desired.

    ·       Radar Contact is limited to interaction using only the keyboard. Aerofly FS 2 RC ATC eliminates this limitation by providing complete support for ATC interaction using flight controller buttons (joysticks, yokes, etc.). If the controller is supported by AFS2, it will be supported for interacting with ATC.

    ·       Aerofly FS 2 RC ATC includes extensive, category-based logging facilities for troubleshooting in the event of unexpected behavior. When enabled, a log file will be created that can then be emailed to product support for evaluation.

    ·       Support will be provided via email through a dedicated email address, here on IPACS’ forum and the “usual suspect” flight sim enthusiast sites like Avsim (which also has a dedicated Radar Contact forum).

    ·       Try before you buy! A seven-day trial period is available if desired. Perhaps you’re unfamiliar with Radar Contact or air traffic control in general. Download the product and request a license prior to purchase. A license enabling the trial period will be sent via email reply.

    ·       Once purchased, two permanent licenses can be requested allowing for use, for example, on a desktop computer and a laptop.


    The purchase price is $29.95 US. All product enhancements will be freely downloadable as they become available. The first planned enhancement is support for VR.


    If you’re interested in adding air traffic control to your Aerofly FS 2 experience, I highly recommend visiting the Radar Contact website to familiarize yourself of its capabilities. On our Downloads page, you'll find a number of links and documents essential for a smooth installation and registration of Radar Contact. By far, the majority of challenges experienced by my test team were related to getting Radar Contact up and running.


    Lastly, a little bit about myself, the developer.


    I live in Denver, CO USA. I’ve been a simmer since MSFS 5.1 (circa 1995 – Avsim was called “Avsim Magazine” at the time) and have enjoyed most general aviation sims since (all the MS sims [including Flight], Flight Unlimited, Fly!, Pro Pilot, P3D, and X-Plane ). I’m also a longtime lurker on most of the sim sites including IPACS’ forums.

    For over thirty years I’ve worked in software and hardware development (MSCS, MBA); as a hands-on dev and for the last fifteen in leadership roles and building my own consulting business. (You can find me on LinkedIn.) I maintain my coding chops through personal projects, mostly sim related.


    Questions and comments are most welcome. I encourage my test team to share their experiences with the product.


    Kind regards,

    Karl Nietsch (AdvResGrpDev)

  • I'll go first.

    Due to the 1,000 word limit, here are some selected excerpts. You can read the full mini-review at Higgy’s site.

    // ----------------------------------------------------------- //

    A few months ago a programmer in Denver decided to explore the possibility of writing the necessary code to enable Aerofly FS 2 users to have a working ATC program effectively making the glue that keeps AFS2 and RCv4 talking to each other. The result is a fully functioning, feature rich ATC program.


    But, it turns out to be so much more than that. The new custom configuration screen has several tabs and uses sliders for the interface and for making your personal choices.


    The General tab on the RCv4 screen is where you select your plane information and options. The Voices tab is where you select and customize your choices of Pilot, CoPilot, Controllers and Chatter pilot’s voices.


    This user friendly AFS2 RC ATC Configuration program allows you to place the RC Menu at your choice of locations on your screen (I prefer upper left) along with the color and size of font. You can have the menu shift downward to avoid overwriting the Flight Info Panel with a simple check mark in the box. You can also elect to have a small popup box with the active menu if you are one of those purists that do not want anything foreign on their screen.


    Unfortunately, this initial version is not VR friendly, but, there is hope on the horizon. A popup window is being evaluated to enable VR users to select requests and reply key codes from a menu. More to come on this as it develops.

      

    This customized AFS2 RC ATC also introduces some weather and visibility controls for your flying in FS 2. You will all be familiar with ATIS and METARs soon. You tailor how much and how often the weather affects your flying with selections using this configuration program.


    Now this is no simple tweak of the existing “weather”, as such, provided by AFS2. What we now have are near-real world weather adjustments using your local METAR as the guide. I actually didn’t think this was possible and I sure didn’t expect such astounding results. I’m talking about adjusting the weather based on the local relative humidity, precipitation, cloud cover at various levels, snow, wind direction and speed, reported visibility and such.


    Just using the default settings for weather adjustments yesterday – a cool and drizzling rainy day with fog with reduced visibility – I was stunned at the appearance of my plane sitting on the ramp of my local airport.


    I immediately set up a standard approach for the active runway using nothing more than the yellow airplane icon and voila (wa-lah locally), it is so foggy that I am instantly on instruments and it appears to be below minimums. I know for sure this has never happened to me while flying AFS2, but, as I levelled off for a missed approach I caught just a glimpse of the running rabbit approach lights. Sure enough, this changes everything. I cheated a little, and tapped the V key a couple of times for an almost legal landing. Amazing improvement folks.


    I think these innovative weather tweaks alone would be enough for anyone to add this AFS2 RC ATC to their flight sim, but the “voices in the sky” is what this is supposed to be about.


    Another significant new feature is the ease of key mapping the RCv4 menu keys to your Flight Sticks/HOTAS controllers. This was no easy feat, and is unique to the AFS2 ATC, but this makes communicating with ATC while flying so realistic and simple for those with yokes and flight sticks. It effectively adds the Push to Talk button to my yoke.


    I use a right hand thumb button for my Acknowledge transmission and a left thumb push button for my Acknowledge and Execute transmission. This falls under that “this changes everything” as far a moving from totally quiet skies to flying with purpose and direction.

    // ----------------------------------------------------------//

    A ton of variables have been built into the system over the years, but its unpredictability is one of the strong points. I truly enjoy some of the gentle chiding. You will learn to change your altitude first and heading second when given both at the same time. Otherwise, the controllers will be on your back about being at the wrong altitude before you have time to initiate the change.


    Your purchase provides some short and concise “Get Started” documentation intended to get you up and flying in AFS2 quickly. You will also find some handy recommended settings for your initial configuration.


    Remember, all flight sims use the same sky, the same real world airports, and the same ATC procedures.

    // -------------------------------------------------------------- //


    A CoPilot feature is included in the design and can be very useful should you wish to step away for a break, lunch, or whatever. Your copilot will respond to controller instructions and fly the airplane in your absence, or while you are observing. You choose to give him the radios, the plane, or both. He can never take-off or land though. He is only available during mid-flight.


    Another nice feature that works with or without the copilot is “Pause at a distance”. This is a distance from your destination that you choose to pause the flight. This is especially nice for long flights where you can start the flight, maybe get to TOC, turn over the comms and controls to your copilot then go watch TV or go to bed. The next morning after coffee or tea, you can pick up the flight at that point and fly the approach and landing.


    // ----------------------------------------------------------- //

    You can read my “entire thoughts” over at the https://flight-sim.org site.


    https://flight-sim.org/filebas…rofly-fs2-rc-atc-program/

    A steely-eyed Sierra Hotel record setting F-15E Strike Eagle simulator pilot. 8o
    Out now: Hawaiian Islands 8) Part 1: Kauai + Niihau v2

    Work in Progress: Part 2: Molokai, Maui, Lanai, Kohoolawe + Molokini Crater



    Edited once, last by Jetjockey10 ().

  • I'll go second


    I use this in VR and with manual radio tuning, you do need to do a few things first.


    Assign the 1,3 and acknowledge keys in the ATC config program ( in your windows start menu) to buttons on your HOTAS . Why only these buttons, well 90% of the replies needed for radar contact are, yep you guessed it, 1,3 or acknowledge. Whilst in the Radar Contact config, set the radios to manual tune in the general tab, ie untick the "tune on contact" if you want to do things yourself.


    Remember the ground frequency where you are flying from if you are going to manual tune. Enter this in the comm radio when you go In VR. Normally you need to press 3 (or button) to get things going with ground, or at least you do at Liverpool. Listen out there after for instructions and next frequency. Of course you can program as many buttons as your want but my little brain max's out at 3 :/


    Great fun and adds so much to the immersion factor....IPACS gods..can we have landing lights please ;) as these would also help :thumbup:


    Steve

  • You guys are incredible. It seems to have a certain learning curve, even more as my ATC experience is limited, and I will need time to get accustomed to it, but I will try for sure and stay connected. On the other hand, this seems to add so much more "to do and observe" while flying!


    I understand the RC manual will be of help. I am glad the author provides a "Get Started" for the AFS2-specific aspects besides.


    Thanks a lot to Karl and Ray, Michael

    Intel i7-6700K 4.0 GHz / Asus MAXIMUS VIII RANGER / Kingston 32 GB DDR4 / Samsung SSD M.2 500 GB + Samsung SSD 1 TB + Intel SSD 500 GB (AeroflyFS2) + WD HD 6 TB / EVGA GTX 1080Ti 11 GB / LG 34UM95 3440 x 1440 / HP Reverb / Win 10/64

  • Forgot to add


    try ticking the "pre-recorded chatter" in the general tab. Now we're cooking on gas.. Just remember to listen out for your call sign as it's easy to miss it with all the chatter going on

    Just like in the real world. If you miss the call, the controller will hit you up again and sound a little more insistant. (just short of pi$$ed)

    A steely-eyed Sierra Hotel record setting F-15E Strike Eagle simulator pilot. 8o
    Out now: Hawaiian Islands 8) Part 1: Kauai + Niihau v2

    Work in Progress: Part 2: Molokai, Maui, Lanai, Kohoolawe + Molokini Crater



  • And yes, ATC is finally here for Aerofly FS 2!.


    Thanks to Karl, we all have now the possibility to hear departure, ground, tower, enroute and initial and final approach controllers for our flights like in the real world. This was a long-time requested feature for AFS2. We can also be able to hear the "chatter", as other pilots are also requesting clearance, ground operations and vectors during their flights, so no more the feeling of being alone in the AFS2 skies.


    Apart from what is already said by the other members of the beta team, AFS2 RC ATC also provides some kind of control over the visibility part of the weather, that increases very much the realism of the simulation. Everybody should try it.


    Make sure you download the manual of Radar Contact v4, something you can do right now if you wish to start getting used to this interesting program (and necessary to make all this to work together). Keep the manual at hand to better know the capabilities of this ATC app. Once you get accustomed with Radar Contact you'll find it's very intuitive, reliable and complete. As Karl mentioned, the initial setup of Radar Contact is the most challenging part of the overall task, so please read carefully the instructions that will be provided in that regard. The rest is really quite easy.


    You'll also need to have at hand a good external flight planner, in order to fill your IFR flight plans, that will be essentially followed by AFS2 RC ATC and of course, your controllers from the departing to the destination airports. We used during the beta testing phase a neat, very capable and surprisingly freeware flight planner available on the net called "Little Navmap" (probably users of P3D and XP already know and have used it). If you haven't downloaded it yet you could do it now to start getting familiar with it, and make sure you also download its manual, even if the program is very intuitive.


    A final word: Once you have ATC running with AFS2, you'll see you'll never do a serious flight again without using AFS2 RC ATC!.


    Cheers, Ed

  • Hate to be a downer, but I have a valid question. If I am sitting at the holding point of the runway, awaiting takeoff clearance because there is traffic on final, will this program add the visual of the traffic I am waiting for? If not, I see this as pointless folks.

    Kenneth, we are flying in AFS2, not FSX. You will not have anyone on final while you are waiting. You are alone in this universe. ;)

    A steely-eyed Sierra Hotel record setting F-15E Strike Eagle simulator pilot. 8o
    Out now: Hawaiian Islands 8) Part 1: Kauai + Niihau v2

    Work in Progress: Part 2: Molokai, Maui, Lanai, Kohoolawe + Molokini Crater



  • Kenneth, we are flying in AFS2, not FSX. You will not have anyone on final while you are waiting. You are alone in this universe. ;)

    Shame.... I will pass on it. BUT it is a step in the right direction. Kudos and commendations to the developer. I will look forward to reading feedback from users. I have been known to give things a go even when in doubt! And... Yes I still like AFS2 for so many things (just to balance off perceived negativity).

  • One possible resource for AI traffic might be Just Flight again. They ported their Traffic Global from Prepar3d to X-Plane already. Given they are not stubborn towards AeroflyFS2 and they have all the assets like plane models available, they might be the closest ones to offer a living AI.


    On second thought... given there are only few airports available in default AeroflyFS2 where are those AI planes going to take off from or land to...?


    Kind regards, Michael

    Intel i7-6700K 4.0 GHz / Asus MAXIMUS VIII RANGER / Kingston 32 GB DDR4 / Samsung SSD M.2 500 GB + Samsung SSD 1 TB + Intel SSD 500 GB (AeroflyFS2) + WD HD 6 TB / EVGA GTX 1080Ti 11 GB / LG 34UM95 3440 x 1440 / HP Reverb / Win 10/64

  • So: the review by Jetjockey10 suggested that the real-life weather changed winds, precipitation and clouds, but advresgrpdev says only visibility. I am confused.

    Hi gsobala,

    Yes, my software can only change visibility at the present time. This is a limitation of the IPACS SDK. I'm hopeful that as the IPACS SDK matures, additional capabilities such as control of wind, cloud layers, etc. will be available to external programs such as mine.

    Regards,

    Karl