Live ATC Voice Controlling

Hello everyone!

Having Live ATC in Infinite Flight is one of the most realistic systems we can have in a mobile flight simulator. FDS has always pushed the limits of what a mobile flight simulator should look like and I think we are more than capable of creating a system of using our real voices when doing ATC controlling. This would be way easier to control in busy airspaces as well as have a more unlimited set of commands tailored to the specific operations of different airports who may run things differently. Below is all the different roadblocks I thought about when having Live ATC voice controlling and how I suggest to work around them. In this post I will be using KATL as an example airport for ATC communication.


!!! → (Live Voice Communication: “LVC” | Current ATC Communication: “CATC”) ← !!!


Just a few quick notes:

  • Enabling LVC for pilots and ATC does not replace CATC. ATC will get to choose whether to do both LVC and CATC or only use CATC but there will never be an option to use LVC only. These options can also be set for certain frequencies. So if ATC wants to use LVC and CATC on Tower and only CATC on ground, that is an option since it will be hard trying to communicate over Tower and Ground using LVC in a busy airspace.

  • ATC will also be able use LVC while the pilot uses CATC. In this situation, ATC must use the standard terminology when dealing with pilots using CATC so the pilots understand.

  • The idea of LVC would work best if there are multiple frequencies open. ATC using Tower and Ground, pilots on Tower frequency will always have speaking priorities over pilots on the ground frequency for obvious reasons.

  • Using LVC will always be at the discretion of ATC. If ATC does not enable LVC in any frequency, pilots will not be able to use LVC.

  • Whenever ATC turns on their mic, all pilots mics are silenced immediately until the ATC turns off their mic.

  • The biggest thing pilots need to remember when using LVC is to use less words at all times, and to always repeat ATC instructions in its entirety.

  • The first communication with a pilot on a new frequency, when using LVC, ATC must say the name of the frequency.

  • LVC will make it easier to help educate pilots on the proper use of ATC instructions. For example if a pilot is cleared for an ILS approach, but they contact tower reporting their position instead of calling inbound, the ATC could easily let the pilot know that they always need to call inbound when first contacting tower for landing. This will make using “Check User Guide” less confusing. If what the pilot did wrong is too much to explain in a short time for ATC, ATC could say, “Check the user guide on the home-screen on how to properly call inbound into tower”.


Ground Control


  • When ATC is using LVC, pilot must use an airport chart to know what taxiway is which regardless of if they are using LVC or CATC. (This does not apply if ATC uses CATC) Ex:

    • ATC: “Delta 1236, Taxi via Lima, Juliet, Mike, Lima Charlie to Runway 27R.”
    • Pilot: If they use LVC, they must repeat the instructions back to the controller exactly. If they use CATC, the pilot must still be aware of the taxiways the Ground Controller cleared them to taxi on.
  • Using the LVC will make it very easy to coordinate where outbound traffic taxi’s versus where inbound traffic taxi’s. LVC will help coordinate outbound traffic sequencing to the runway. LVC will also help when giving clear progressive taxi instructions.

  • Again, if the controller is doing both ground and tower, tower frequency will get priority over any ground commands.


Tower Control


  • For departing traffic, tower can give more specific takeoff instructions, like telling the pilot to fly a certain heading after departure, or using RNAV instructions as it pertains to the SID they use. This will help coordinate takeoff patterns for Departure/Approach frequencies, as well as eliminate the action of pilots turning into other departing traffic on parallel runways immediately after departing.

  • This will also allow the use of giving live wind updates to pilots when clearing for takeoff or landing.

  • In conjunction with Taxiway naming, tower frequency can give initial taxi instructions to pilots before they contact ground when arriving. This will make it easier for ATC to coordinate with pilots where to hold short or cross the runway at and which taxiway to join after crossing or exiting the runway before contacting ground.


Radar Control


There isn’t really much changing when it comes the difference of using LVC vs using CATC when communicating between ATC and pilot.


How do we eliminate pilots and ATC talking over each other?


Whenever ATC is speaking, pilot communication is automatically silenced.

Each frequency will have a set or parameters that prioritize which pilots can talk first. Below is a table that shows those different parameters. The table will take place of the current column where ATC can see who is on their frequency. This is essentially a queue for each type of frequency.



Ground Frequency


Runway Crossings


Pilot
Pilot
Pilot


Inbound Taxiing Aircraft


Pilot
Pilot
Pilot


Outbound Taxiing Aircraft


Pilot
Pilot
Pilot


Aircraft Requesting Pushback


Pilot
Pilot
Pilot



Tower Frequency


Arriving Aircraft


Pilot
Pilot
Pilot


Departing Aircraft


Pilot
Pilot
Pilot


Runway Crossings


Pilot
Pilot
Pilot



Departure/Approach/Center Frequency


Radar Contacted


Pilot
Pilot
Pilot


Waiting for Radar Contact (Initial Contact)


Pilot
Pilot
Pilot


(This is a Tower Frequency using LVC; If they use CATC, the current menu will be there)

Untitled design (3)

(The only difference in the pilot strips is ATC has the ability to move the pilot strips between the different categories of priority using the 3 lines)


If ATC is using CATC, the queue system above won’t be there. The same way the menu for CATC is right now will be present. The queue only pertains to LVC.

Pilots using LVC will no longer have the CATC menu to select from. Instead, once clicking on the headset button, there will be a button to request to speak to ATC. Once they click it, the pilot will select the type of communication they want to use (For example with tower: The pilot will have a selection of Landing, Departing, or Runway Crossing). Once the pilot chooses the type of communication they want, they will be put into the queue above in the selected priority. Once the controller goes down the list of priority and selects the pilot’s name and callsign strip, the controller will then say “Delta 1236, say intentions”. That signals the pilot to speak to the ATC and say whatever they need to say. Pilots using LVC will hold down the headset button in the bottom left corner to turn on their mic and speak. ATC will have this same button to hold down onto. Everyone on the frequency can still hear ATC communication and other pilots whether ATC is on their selected strip or not, but the pilots will not be able to speak until their strip is selected. Once ATC selects a different strip, the pilot is automatically silenced.

If the pilot is using CATC, they will have the same menu pop up where they request to be put into the queue. After requesting the queue, the pilot can now select whatever they need to select in the CATC menu. ATC will not be able to hear the request from the pilot until they have selected their strip. ATC will then respond via LVC, the pilot will then have to click the reply button.




(This is a pilot using LVC)


(This is a pilot using CATC but ATC is using LVC. They will go through the same steps as above except they won’t see the microphone button, they will instead choose their request, then wait for ATC to contact them.)


Conclusion

IFATC will put on the ATIS whether they are using CATC or both LVC and CATC and which frequencies has whichever enabled.

ATC must wait until the pilot acknowledges their command, whether the pilot is using LVC or not, before they can move onto communicating with the next pilot.

When ATC is surfing between frequencies, the flash yellow warning sign will still be there, but ATC will not be able to hear other aircraft on different frequencies becauseeee they need to select the pilot’s strip to be able to hear anything. So everything is essentially silent on the ATC side until a pilot’s strip has been selected.

For IFATC members to be able to use this system, they must go through a training process after being with IFATC for 6 months. Obviously for this to ever be introduced, we need to outline clear guidelines of using profanity and other language that does not pertain to ATC communication when using LVC.

Once you understand how the system works, it really isn’t hard to forget. Once you get it, you got it. I know reading all this makes it seem like a complex system, but it really isn’t and its really simple once you get it. I am prepared to answer all your questions and I really tried my best to explain how this works in the most understanble way possible.

Please leave your questions in the comments. Feedback is greatly appreciated. This systems works for everyone regardless if you speak English or not because IFATC can still choose to use CATC if they need to. Is there another problem that you thought of that I didn’t cover in this post? Let me know.

(@Tyler_Shelton | I would love to hear your opinion on this system and how practical it is to implement)

I see so kinda like VATSIM in a way? Anyway I’m down u got my vote!

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Yea similar to that system

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Great idea ! It would be amazing if this feature is coming in the next years in Infinite flight. 🙌🏼

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While I’m very supportive of a system like this, I’m not sure how it would be practically applied, both to ensure user privacy as well as ensuring people don’t bomb us with annoying noises on Live ATC. Other than those I’d be more than willing to vote for a system like this, but as mentioned earlier, practical application is probably the most difficult part of implementing a system like this.

7 Likes

I understand what you mean. In this system, the only way for ATC to hear any noise from pilots would be if they select their pilot strip. If a pilot is being immature such as making weird noises, ATC can easily silence the pilot, as well as report them if need be.

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I like this idea, but honestly think there needs to be an additional server for this, up from expert.

Too many pilots on expert and that could create chaos with voice comms. Would do a server with only Grade 5+ pilots imo.

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You do bring up some good points and while I’d love to see this come, I don’t think it will. We have to remember that not everyone has the experience of talking professionally with an air traffic controller. Let’s also not forget customers come from around the world so English may not be their native language so you have a language barrier issue. I don’t think it’ll work and if it did there would have to be many major backend procedures to make sure everything is professional.

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that’s costly and number 2 how can we ensure Grade 5 pilots won’t be silly, i can guarantee you some Grade 5s out there may be immature.

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I get what your saying. There will have to be some backhand procedures and templates for pilots to use when communicating verbally. When it comes to the language barrier, they would just have to use the same current ATC communication just like they would now. ATC using the Live Communication would need to use the standard lingo when communicating with someone using the CATC.

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Isn’t the difference between his and other topics that he suggests the current atc „button system“ to stay? Voice atc doesn’t mean that you must speak.

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Yeah I play a bunch of vatsim and I personally would love this feature!!! I just couldn’t become too complicated because it is a mobile flight sim after all! It’s a really great idea

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That’s facts

Or it could be where you talk into it and it puts it into words that can be translated and filtered so you have custom words for atc instead of your normal pre-selected words!! But if you don’t want to speak you can opt for the old pre-selected!

(So it uses your words that you speak to put them to on screen words only which can use TTS)

I thought about that too but I thought it would be too hard to translate words because if it translates incorrectly, it could be all bad

This is true and I really doubt they would ever implement this into the sim!! But it’s always great to discuss it! It would be awesome 😎

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Yes. Like VATSIM, but like @Kedz said we must be very careful of immaturity from grade five pilots. If we had something like this on casual server there would be swearing.

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No doubt, but I would bet money most Grade 4/5 pilots are (for the most part) most professional. With anything, ATC could verbally warn any pilot out of line or abusing features. My point is mostly that Expert Server is extremely busy. Having real comms could quickly become an absolute cluster of a mess. I think if you could limit the use to Grade 5 it creates two scenarios: (1) the drive to get to G5 to experience this perk and (2) limits the total amount of traffic

I agree with you about their experience, it’s true but where is the fun of the hustle and bustle. Many pilots are G3 and are excellent, pilots like me who are new and not yet had a single violation and are flawless deserve to be credited. A new server cost money to make and i’m pretty sure that’s not on the mind of the devs. Your point about limiting traffic would make controlling seem boring, thus only a few controllers would dedicate themselves to the new server, it’d require a new branch of IFATC. These VCs would need to be monitored, that’s more cost efficient than having a new server.

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When it comes to limiting traffic, thats why the current ATC system will still be used. You probably wont be able to truly enjoy Live Voice in a busy airspace unless you have multiple frequencies helping you. Like in ATL, they have a north and south tower, north and south ground. If we can get an airport fully staffed to that magnitude, using LVC would be a breeze and enjoyable.

1 Like