Is there somewhere I can fly
informally with other folks on the net?
Bob Feaver provides the following
information on how to fly online at X-Plane.org
You will need to register for an account. Go to:
. The reply will assign you a
login number and a password. It takes about a day for the account to
You will need to install the IVAO build of XSquawkBox from:
When you log on for online flying, Plugins > XSquawkBox > Connect
use x-plugins.com as the server connection. This will show your
position on the Google Map interface. The X-Plane.org server will not
show your position on the map.
There is an Flight Operations FAQ Forum at: http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?showforum=22.
If you want to get TeamSpeak for PC or Mac go to: http://www.goteamspeak.com/.
When you login to TeamSpeak at X-Plane.org the server is: x-plane.org
and the password field is left blank.
Before you can fly online you will need to open port number 6809 on
both your computer and your router firewalls. For information on
setting port forwarding on your specific router go to
or see the
port forwarding discussion on the Networking
. (Note you don't have to do any of the X-Plane networking
setup - all the networking used by XSquawkBox is built into the plugin.)
Air Traffic Control
Can I fly X-Plane with some
intelligent air traffic control?
Yes. There are simulated air traffic
control systems that operate on the internet.
How do I join one? Do I need to
join a virtual airline?
An answer from Keith Smith:
Joining a virtual airline is absolutely not required. You
can fly with any callsign you like (UAL123 for United, SWA123 for SWA,
etc) or any fictional callsign, without being a member of the virtual
airline, if one exists.
There ARE virtual airlines for X-Plane (Freeworld and California
Airlines) which have their own aircraft with custom paint jobs. Cal Air
also has its own scenery, I'm not sure about Freeworld.
You don't have to get training, but a basic understanding of IFR or VFR
flight would be useful. VATSIM has a Pilot Resource Center, which is a
great place to start, http://www.vatsim.net/prc. There
are various tutorials on how to fly under IFR or VFR out there, but
here's one which explains how to conduct a few VFR flights in the Los
Angeles, where I'm a controller: http://www.laartcc.org/article_page/14.
It covers the basic
procedures and the precise radio transmissions that would be involved
in doing pattern work, a short flight, and a longer flight with radar
service from a controller.
Yes, real people sit in their homes and fly, while other people sit in
their homes and provide ATC services to those pilots. I do both.
If you 'screw up', it's normally not a big deal, ie. turning right
instead of left, or not climbing to your assigned altitude. Probably
the worst thing you can do is pause your flight sim while you're on
final, when the controller has 6 planes behind you for the same runway.
Flying from airport A to airport B, following your cleared route,
utilizing SIDs and STARs is a real challenge. Seeing other planes in
the sky, and flying into an airport with 3 people ahead of you, 3
behind you, and 15 planes on the ground is a real thrill.
If learning the basics of VFR or IFR flight is NOT an interesting
prospect, VATSIM is not for you, as the premise of VATSIM is to
interact with ATC and follow real-world procedures, to the extent
As a starting point, consider installing xsquawkbox, signing up for a
VATSIM id/passwd, then connecting to the network, parking yourself at
the RAMP (not a taxiway or rwy) and listening in to the ATC. To do
that, see who's online using the who's online page or java applet on
the vatsim.netsite, Find a region with ATC online, start up xplane, go
to that airport, connect to VATSIM, and tune into the controller's
frequency on your com1 radio.
How do I get started with VATSIM?
Back to the Flying page
Peter Lehrack provides the following
step by step description:
- XSquawkBox has a separate plug for VATSIM and IVAO, only the
first to load will work. You can change the load order by renaming one
of the two plugs or holding down 'control' during x-plane launch in
order to select which you would like to use. VATSIM supports voice,
- The easiest way to start is to first have a good understanding of
how to operate your aircraft. Crashing or not controlling your aircraft
to the controllers requirements is frowned upon.
- Next, assuming you have a VATSIM username and password, go to www.vatsim.net
and click on 'who's online' on the left. Here you will see the active
servers and regions that the controllers are covering.
- Go to a controlled regions airport making very sure that you
startup on the ramp, never start on an active runway as you may appear
directly in the path of traffic. Once on the ramp you can sit and
listen to the procedures that are used.
- Eventually you will need to send the controller a flight plan
(you can do it via vatsim.net or using Goodway or xpcopilot). It is
recommended that you inform the controller that you are a newbie by
adding that to the notes field. If the controller is not busy at the
time you can ask questions you may have via the .pvt command.
- Once you feel comfortable you can request a clearance for your
flight 'as filed'. The controller will make sure he/she has your flight
plan and it's acceptable (you should probably be familiar with the
airports SIDS and STARS and have the appropriate charts for the takeoff
and landing runways too). If your flight plan is good, the controller
will read the departure information to you. Write it down because you
will be required to read it back accurately.
- If the read back is correct, you will be told that you can
contact the controller when ready to taxi. You are then given taxi
instructions/departure instructions, etc. Always do what the controller
says and repeat back to him/her all instructions. The controller may
tell you to take off and climb/maintain a certain altitude. Do not take
off and assume that you can just fly your flight plan. The controller
will tell you when you can begin following the flight plan, sometimes
it's right away, sometimes not.
- Enjoy vatsim, it is an awesome community and makes flying much
more realistic and fun. Hang out on the ramp and listen a lot. Write
down how pilots respond to the controller, it will help you when it's
your turn. Don't be intimidated, the controllers are very helpful and
will answer any questions you may have when they are not too busy.
More from Bill Woodrum:
Along with Peter's excellent explanation I would like to add a few
What VATSIM wants you to do is go ahead and file a flight plan even if
you will just sit there. Just say in the remarks section "Newbie
observing at parking south of runway 25L" or something like that.
Squawk standby on your transponder so you don't show up as a bright
light on the controller's screen. After you log on, call (or text
message) the tower on their line and tell them you're there. And, be
sure and stay and monitor while your logged on in case they call you (I
left my machine for a while once thinking it wouldn't matter and they
couldn't reach me so they disconnected me and sent me an e-mail
reminding me of the rules).
After you log on at the airport go to an outside view and look all
around to see if your sitting on the nose wheel of a 747 parked at the
same place as you (this happened to me once). No big deal, just taxi
away or log off then move then log back on (even though they're
virtual, they are huge!). It's strange to think but, when you're not on
line, no one can see you. You can land, takeoff, crash into the tower,
whatever you want, your on your own as usual. So you could fly to an
airport and land (off-line) then taxi to a spot and log on (I have my
favorite spot at KLAX).
As I re-read this, it sounds awfully picky and full of things that can
get you into trouble. But I've found they are all good people who are
there to help you out if you just ask. For instance, Keith Smith senior
controller at the Los Angeles VATSIM http://www.laartcc.org
(and contributor here on the Tech list) has been a big help to me
off-line. I e-mail him questions and he has good answers. On line with
VATSIM is a very controlled environment just like the real deal. I've
found the personal rewards are big for success in figuring it all out.
Give it a shot, it's all free after all.
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