ATC Schedule

Totally agreed, just hope they realise this!

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I think the place where ATC is needed is soon with a lot of traffic. Of course, I know that ATC service gets better with less traffic.

I personally think this has nothing to do with IFATC or the schedule change or whatever we changed.

For students (any of you below 24) in the northern hemispheres (at least most) are in the end of their semesters for school as summer is about to start, because of that most people are trying to finish strong, and are focusing their time towards the real stuff.

I bet it should pick up in the next couple weeks… This is just my perspective and from what I have heard from others as well… just don’t have time.

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For example I have teacher assessed assessments (lol) for my A-Levels this week (UK version of high school finals essentially) and before yesterday where I did a quick flight as a “break” - I hadn’t used IF in about 3 months 🤣

This is my perspective from a fairly new IFATC controller, but I have had experience of controlling with both the schedule and regions.

I loved the schedule, always did, it felt like a coming together of the community with the amount of pilots that would fly out of airports that would always be staffed throughout their day.

Initially, I was excited for regions becuase I could control any airport I wanted to in my home region. However, as regions have progressed, not including FNF or the free choice day, I feel the only airport I want to open is EGLL. I like airports with high traffic, for the challenge and becuase they are the most interesting.

With regions, only these large hubs are getting mass traffic, which means if I went to control elsewhere, it could get very dull due to lack of traffic. However, it also gets dull opening the same airport every time as it its the only airport in my region with more than 50 or 60 inbound aircraft.

To summarise, since the introduction of regions, I have found controlling to be a little dull as many airports have limited to no traffic so opening them seems pointless, just for control 5 or 10 aircraft in an hour and becuase opening the same airport everytime is also a bit dull as I would like to explore more.

I know all the supervisors have worked very hard on regions and I thank them for their continuous efforts to try and improve the IFATC experience!

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This pretty much sums up my thoughts on the new ATC program.

I have nothing but love and respect for the IFATC team, but in the old ATC program at least people would fly in and out of Africa when it was featured on the ATC schedule.

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No doubt the previous weekly schedule took a lot of effort, and coordination, to organise. But it was surely worth it, as it provided a reliable framework for multilayer mode… People could jump in for flights with ATC and have a mostly reliable experience.

Where it is difficult to have respect for the planning here, is the extreme implementation… I mean just cutting off the old system without developing any of the new processes and support mechanisms first.

There’s a lot of talk about VAs, events, group flights etc, but these depend on as of yet undeveloped communication channels and forward planning tools to link in and create interaction with IFATC.

Meanwhile the reality is that for the individuals, there is a lessened experience and the risk of drifting away. My only really good ATC experience recently has been the FNF.

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I’ve got to say that when I first heard about the planned changed to regions, I was super excited as I’m sure most of us were to control our home airport or our home regions, mine being Oceania and specifically Australia.

However, I know it hasn’t been that long yet and I’m willing to give it a little to see if the situation improves, but so far I’m not entirely enjoying this new region assignment program. As I’ve seen many others mention here as well, I liked the themed schedule which provided not only pilots with solid information on where IFATC will most likely be present, as well as provide IFATC controllers where most of the traffic will be.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the hard work and any planning that went into this change, and as mentioned before, there is still a long way to go before we fully access the situation of the region assignment program, but from what we have witnessed so far and I’m sure a majority will agree, the schedule was better, more organised and better for pilots and IFATC alike.

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The planning has been offloaded to others… onto the individual controllers and groups of pilots (through VAs for example).

I’ve seen a few controllers really trying hard with their region threads, putting in airport info, suggested routes, with a rather desperate flavour coming through…

But nothing can solve the fatal flaw here, that opening just 1 airport without approach or departure, or a centre radar frequency, severely limits the potential for the sort of flight experience people want.

Combine that with the fact that individual controllers cannot sustain their frequency openings for a long enough period, and it becomes clear why the ATC schedule is missed.

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While the region threads are a good idea, if an IFATC member opened up a smaller airport and put it in the thread, I don’t think it would make a massive difference to the traffic that airport received when EGLL, KLAX, KATL and the other larger airports which will have traffic will also be open.

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Hey, All!

Just popping in to say I appreciate the feedback, both good and bad. This change was never intended to be an “implement and walk away” sort of modification, instead being a continuously evolving way of operating around the world that adapts based on user input and hard data.

I know it’s easy to say, “just go back!” but I definitely want to encourage us to keep sharing some constructive ways to improve the current system and I personally say thanks to those that already have. While the path of least resistance is just tossing up a schedule to appease a few that don’t like it, I’d pitch the question:

Where does that leave the future of IFATC? Do we remain in a small sandbox forever while leaving the majority of the globe unattended day after day?

With that said, here are a few improvements I’m working on:

  • Reduce controller’s minimum staffing requirement to 30min for all positions which allows more “catching” of arrivals from the in-app arrival board
  • Allow controllers to post staffing intentions up to 48 hours in advance on tracking topics for better pilot planning
  • Introduction of intermediate rank between Officer and Supervisor that allows veteran radar controllers to serve their airport’s Tower, Ground, and Radar (Departure or Approach)
  • In-app ability to identify airports each region would like to feature each month (For example, Oceania Region commits to continuously staff Gold Coast, Queenstown, and Melbourne which is highlighted on the map)
  • ATC events which are similar to Flash Flights, instead focusing specifically on the ATC efforts of specific region(s)

We will also be using the 10 global regions as a framework for the 3D airports we introduce in the future to ensure an even distribution which I believe will be one of the strongest sources of influence on traffic.

Thanks again for those embracing this with positivity despite finding flaws in the way it impacts the way you’re used to operating. I’m excited to develop this the same way I did with the schedule many many years ago! Cheers

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Its good to hear of commitment to ongoing improvement and response to user feedback 👍.

I agree that just turning back to weekly schedules is not an easy answer, and I think very few people would really want that.

My key concern is that it was a too sudden switch over, before any evolution had begun.

I believe the way forward is to identify those key elements from the weekly schedule system that need to be kept, that were central to the success of good weekly schedules and drew pilots in. Then find a way to implement those essential elements within the new system.

The central idea here, that pilots will take the lead and ATC will spot them and leap ahead to open up for them , is really very hard to believe, and surely is not backed up by any practical evidence yet…? So I wonder how reducing ATCs minimum opening time to 30 mins can help at all, when pilots are struggling to get there before they close as it is?

I like the thought about sort of mini schedules within each region, with a few highlighted destinations that are kept going through the week… I suggest that, as well as a main hub, we need at least one smaller regional airport open and one larger secondary hub further away, to give options for different flight lengths.

This way we can keep exploring and discovering new places, which surely was one of the key plus elements from before…

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That’s what I’m working on which you’ve also identified. The specific airports featured would also be up to each region, not me. I’ll simply identify them on their behalf. As for the minimum times, we don’t have hard evidence because it hasn’t been done yet. That is the point of the change so we can see if being more mobile as a controller allows more airport arrivals to receive service.

This certainly wasn’t sudden or done overnight. A great deal of work was done for months before we launched. We also purposely avoided over engineering this to give us an opportunity to see how people operate organically. Creating a hybrid of the schedule/regions, adding too many features, and implementing too many rules up front could’ve been counter productive without knowing how people want to use this. As intended, we’re now adapting quickly and making decisions based on what is needed to fill voids. 🙂

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Let me get this straight for myself. This region thing has only been around for 2 some odd weeks now. I have my upsides and down sides to this. My upside to this is that controllers can open up their own airports. Im still extremely motivated to become an IFATC officer next year. Like Tyler just said, this was not done over night. Tyler has worked so hard, and so has the IFATC team. Tyler over the next couple months he is going to build it up so that controllers can generate over 50 arrivals. The only downside which i’m sure Tyler will fix, is the no arrival issue. Its only two or 3 weeks it has been released, Tyler’s got this.😉

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I think we’re waiting to see… 😉

He certainly shows that he is starting to understand the problems, but is now having to play catch up.

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I disagree, Tyler doesn’t have to play catch up at all. Everyone knew there would be creases needing to be ironed out, but they would not be visible until a week or two after regions had begun. To ensure quality control, more discussion and planning would go into any adjustments made so this would not happen overnight. To say he needs to play catch up is very unfair in my opinion

I don’t think anyone can rightfully say that IFATC isn’t an amazing org putting tons of time and effort into improving the system, what they have is one of the most impressive user-run groups in all of flight sim. And fundamentally, the idea of allowing controllers to become more specialized in specific airports/areas is a great idea, I know I myself have complained about the river visual at DCA and other approaches not being followed accurately, and this seems like a way to combat that.

However, I would have to agree that it has fundamentally changed my experience in a major way and eliminated a huge part of what I typically do in Infinite Flight. Long haul, overnight flights to land in the morning with ATC were some of my favorite flights, that’s no longer possible on a regular basis. Flying without ATC in this game, for me personally is only about 20% as enjoyable as with ATC, I seek it out and rarely fly in places without it. And yet even when trying more short hauls recently based on the ATC that’s currently online, I’ve had the experience of my departure ATC going offline during taxi and destination ATC going offline during descent many, many times now, and thats an extremely frustrating time. Seems like there must be some middle ground between the new and old systems that would be more seamless.

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This specific point is addressed by Tyler.

It appears what you view as “catching up” was quite intentional.

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Of course, you’re right, that’s what he’s said now, it must have been all part of the plan 😉

I’m not going to continue talking about any individual, this is really for everyone to embrace now. I don’t know anything about any staff here, and I’m not here to get likes or be popular with them.

I’ve been speaking out in defence of the user experience, and what I see as the reduced value of the subscriptions.

I’ve never called for a return to the previous system, and I fully support the staff as they work at improvements with the new system. I’ve said in previous posts that there are great opportunities possible now… Its the practical implementation that is the challenge.

I’m starting to sense that my points are hitting home, so I am feeling more optimistic.

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Just a quick question, what counts as an arrival in the in-app arrival board? Does a pilot show up as an arrival based on distance, or time to destination, or does simply including the airport in a flight plan count?