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Interested in a solo training mode?

ATC-pie is a radar air traffic control simulation program for the FlightGear multi-player network.

Interested in a solo training mode?

Postby mickybadia » Tue Apr 21, 2015 9:46 am

Hello,

The news for this month is that I have been working on a solo training mode for ATC-pie. The reason is that I wanted to propose a way for ATCs to:
- get used to the software interface, train in the strip+rack environment and on the strip linking task before comfortably connecting to multi-player;
- as there is still very often only few pilots connected, try out their skills in heavier traffic, configuring it to match the sort of thing they want to practice.

Incidentally, this may promote the software (probably only me interested in that lol), and encourage people to try controlling, after preferring only to mess alone first and getting good at it.

Anybody interested in trying this out can contact me, write here, whatever. I'll be glad to collect their impressions of the "proof of concept" that is already working, though not yet released. Features: choice of any combination of APP/DEP/TWR positions, visual and ILS approaches, configurable departure-arrival balance, handovers to virtual neighbouring ATCs (GND, CTR, etc.). Wish list: see here.

Yours,
Michael.
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Re: Interested in a solo training mode?

Postby simbambim » Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:14 am

I've never used the ATC-pie, but this surely sounds interesting. I never used it because it seemed difficult to get and install. Has this changed?
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Re: Interested in a solo training mode?

Postby mickybadia » Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:12 pm

Well, the first draft of it is currently on the dev branch of the project repos (git people know what to do; otherwise current snapshot downloadable [EDIT: disabled link since released]here[/EDIT]). There is no doc yet of course, but a few tips follow, and I am ready for questions here. It is only a draft and quite a few things are still missing, so it might be misleading just to dive in. However, you should figure enough of it on your own, especially if you read about radar identification, strip linking and middle clicking beforehand on the wiki page.

The idea is that you (sorry for all the capital letters to come):
- receive departing strips from virtual GND if you take TWR, or from virtual TWR if you take DEP without TWR
- receive arrival strips from virtual CTR if you take APP, or from virtual APP if you take TWR without APP
- vector aircrafts using the drag&drop and SHIFT+drag&drop tools on radar contacts
- give all other instructions with the instruction dock available

If doing APP, arrivals will [EDIT] be randomised (future: selectable entry points) appear at given entry points (randomised if none given) [/EDIT] and you must vector them onto final and, if doing TWR, clear them to land. If doing APP but not TWR, you must hand them off to TWR on approach. Contrarily, if doing TWR but not APP, arrivals will spawn on final as if handed over to you by APP. The normal arrival consists in:
- for ILS approach: vectors to localiser, INTERCEPT LOC for chosen runway, then CLEARED ILS
- for visual: vectors until "runway in sight"
- finally of course if you are the tower: CLEARED TO LAND

Departures, when doing TWR, start ready holding short of runways. The typical sequence is:
- (optional) LINE UP AND WAIT
- CLEARED FOR TKOF
- climb and hand over to DEP if not you, or CTR high enough [EDIT] and near enough to aircraft route exit point (future: CTR handover only if reached sensible point for en-route takeover) [/EDIT].

IFR only, many calibrations flaws, possible bugs, work in progress, proof of concept. Hence, comments welcome but no disappointment allowed yet ;-)
Last edited by mickybadia on Mon May 25, 2015 2:18 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Interested in a solo training mode?

Postby mickybadia » Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:25 pm

simbambim wrote in Wed Apr 22, 2015 11:14 am:I never used it because it seemed difficult to get and install. Has this changed?


Difficult to phrase an all-purpose answer here, other than saying you need (only) Python3 and PyQt.

If you have Linux and unless anything exotic, I believe it is not difficult at all: the README file should sort you out. If you have Windows, installation has been OK for several; perhaps this post can help you start with where to look. For Mac, I am still unsure how easy this is, though it should be about the same. A few things have been said here as well.

If you encounter and overcome any difficulty, I'll be happy to receive a summary of it, and might include it in the next README to help others. Keep us posted.
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Re: Interested in a solo training mode?

Postby Johan G » Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:34 pm

I may be mistaken, but I think there once was some plans on having the AI systems set up in in a way that would both allow an ATC to interact with AI aircraft and a pilot to interact with an AI ATC.
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Re: Interested in a solo training mode?

Postby simbambim » Wed May 06, 2015 10:44 pm

My pilots don't want to land. :mrgreen: They read back the landing clearance, descend to the runway at full speed (whatever was last assigned), then climb again. What's the secret of making them land and vacate the runway so that I can hand them off to ground? I tried different speeds on final and different GS degrees, tried extending the final and cancelling all speed and alt restrictions (Shift+doubleclick), still they won't land.

I have some other comments as well, but this is my main problem.
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Re: Interested in a solo training mode?

Postby mickybadia » Fri May 08, 2015 7:27 am

First things first. Thank you for trying and commenting, especially after thinking it would not be straightforward to install. It is a nice feeling to be working for an enthusiastic community.

When reporting problems, please make sure you are reporting on the latest push, either by downloading the snapshot again or by git-pulling before your tests.

simbambim wrote in Wed May 06, 2015 10:44 pm:My pilots don't want to land. :mrgreen: They read back the landing clearance, descend to the runway at full speed (whatever was last assigned), then climb again. What's the secret of making them land and vacate the runway so that I can hand them off to ground?

Normally, pilots say something if they miss touch down. If not, you are probably on an earlier version and should check the console output, or rather now update your version.

Conditions for touch down:
- near enough to RWY (displaced) threshold, both in horizontal position and altitude
- lined up with runway heading
- speed lower than maximum touch down speed
- cleared to land

The first two only fail in case of desperate/awful last-second clearances, as AI pilots will normally handle intercepts, alignments and descents correctly, whether visual or ILS, and the last condition is up to you. Max touch down speed for now is ~240 kt for all aircrafts, which should eventually depend on their type of course.

simbambim wrote in Wed May 06, 2015 10:44 pm: I tried different speeds on final and different GS degrees, tried extending the final and cancelling all speed and alt restrictions (Shift+doubleclick), still they won't land.

In fact think you may have pointed out a bug, which is now corrected: pilots not reducing speed on their own once in landing state, when assigned greater speeds than max touch down speed. I would be curious to know if you had the same problem NOT assigning any speeds on the way, or assigning low speeds. Anyhow, please try again with the newly pushed fix. Pilots should now forget about any speed vectors once established ILS or seeing the RWY on visual.

For your information, SHIFT+double-click does not instruct anything, it only removes what is on the strip, which was in your case automatically filled by your vectoring instructions.

simbambim wrote in Wed May 06, 2015 10:44 pm:I have some other comments as well, but this is my main problem.

Bring it on!
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Re: Interested in a solo training mode?

Postby simbambim » Fri May 08, 2015 8:05 pm

Normally, pilots say something if they miss touch down. If not, you are probably on an earlier version and should check the console output


I downloaded the snapshot earlier the same day.

The pilots didn't say anything. The console output was something like Heading=True Altitude=True Speed=False, so in the end I concluded that speed must be the culprit.
I assigned them 200 knots, when it didn't work, I tried 180 and 160, none of which helped.
The aircraft type is unknown for all of them.
Anyway, I'll try the new version and report back.

Thank you for trying


I've never liked the idea of experimenting with live people. :mrgreen:
If controllers expect crash-free flying from pilots, it's reasonable that pilots would expect decent controlling from ATCs.
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Re: Interested in a solo training mode?

Postby mickybadia » Sat May 09, 2015 7:36 am

Good morning (UTC),

I have just added a few aircraft types and more appropriate speeds to the solo mode, so besides the usual bug reports and wishes, I would love it if well-informed testers helped me calibrate this thing as well. Things like maximum, stall, touch-down and take-off speeds are probably still to improve... If all goes well I will probably release this soon on the stable branch.

simbambim wrote in Fri May 08, 2015 8:05 pm:If controllers expect crash-free flying from pilots, it's reasonable that pilots would expect decent controlling from ATCs.

I find this comment rather nice, both because it expresses a demand for (or welcome of) the solo mode, and because it is thoughtful towards others.
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Re: Interested in a solo training mode?

Postby simbambim » Tue May 12, 2015 3:00 pm

Ok, now the landing is working. Now for the rest.

  • What is the reason that "intercept LOC" and "cleared ILS" are separate commands? (it confused me in the beginning because I didn't notice the second one and was wondering why the pilots wouldn't accept the landing clearance)
  • The headings in the aircraft info box (second line) seem to be random.
  • I think the standard GS angle is 3.0 (currently set to 5.2).
  • It would be easier to assign a new level if it decreased/increased by 500 (or even 1000 - unless you plan to introduce VFR, too), not 100. Or if the aircraft accepted the rounded values as they do with the heading.
  • I'm not an expert on speeds for different aircraft, but certainly they should be climbing out faster than takeoff speed. It would be useful if they also increased it above FL100 by themselves (and arrivals decreased). The C172s would be cruising at 120 normally (and they are usually not as many in FG, as you may know :wink:).
  • Since the APP airspace (range and ceiling) and the speed limits at the entry point will vary for different airports, could you make these user-definable? (the speed might not be necessary if the pilots reduced to max 250 kts below FL100)
  • Could you make the appearance of a new aircraft less predictable (i.e. not immediately after the handed off aircraft disappeared)? Also in the beginning they could appear more gradually.
  • I can't define my ATC position (callsign) when starting the program. It says could not interpret ICAO_AP (I tried different airports with ICAO_APP, ICAO_TW, ICAO_TWR, ICAO_DE as well).
  • After about 1 hour's work the program always crashes saying python.exe has stopped working and needs to close (not sure if this is related to the solo mode as I don't control on MP).
    My specs:
    Win 8.1. 64-bit
    Dell Inspiron 3737 laptop
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i3-4010U CPU @ 1.70GHz 1.70 GHz
    RAM 8 GB
    Intel® HD Graphics 4400
    Python 3.4.3 (64-bit)
    PyQt GPL v5.4.1 for Python v3.4 (x64)
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Re: Interested in a solo training mode?

Postby mickybadia » Tue May 12, 2015 8:17 pm

simbambim wrote in Tue May 12, 2015 3:00 pm:What is the reason that "intercept LOC" and "cleared ILS" are separate commands? (it confused me in the beginning because I didn't notice the second one and was wondering why the pilots wouldn't accept the landing clearance)

Standard procedure. These instructions are two different ones, and "intercept LOC" does not imply "cleared ILS". You can choose to click both each time, which is why I made the two buttons close.

simbambim wrote in Tue May 12, 2015 3:00 pm:The headings in the aircraft info box (second line) seem to be random.

They don't to me :-/ Would you have an example? Reminder: second line shows next waypoint on route and geodesic (great circle) heading to it. But the destination airport for departing aircrafts is indeed randomised, and may have an A320 down for landing on grass somewhere too far for it to fly. :-p But that is not what you are saying...

simbambim wrote in Tue May 12, 2015 3:00 pm:I think the standard GS angle is 3.0 (currently set to 5.2).

Standard flight path angle is indeed 3°, i.e. 5.2 %.

simbambim wrote in Tue May 12, 2015 3:00 pm:It would be easier to assign a new level if it decreased/increased by 500 (or even 1000 - unless you plan to introduce VFR, too), not 100. Or if the aircraft accepted the rounded values as they do with the heading.

Point taken. I had left the 100 ft step because in some places funny alt's can be required, but never high up out of circuits, so a 500 ft step is preferable.

simbambim wrote in Tue May 12, 2015 3:00 pm:I'm not an expert on speeds for different aircraft, but certainly they should be climbing out faster than takeoff speed. It would be useful if they also increased it above FL100 by themselves (and arrivals decreased). The C172s would be cruising at 120 normally (and they are usually not as many in FG, as you may know :wink:).

I do not understand:
- "should be climbing out faster than takeoff speed" -- do you mean "climbing faster at take-off (upwind)"? I agree. I will be fine tuning this soon.
- "and arrivals decreased" -- ?

simbambim wrote in Tue May 12, 2015 3:00 pm:Since the APP airspace (range and ceiling) and the speed limits at the entry point will vary for different airports, could you make these user-definable? (the speed might not be necessary if the pilots reduced to max 250 kts below FL100)

Already in place are the following new options at solo connect dialog:
- enforce speed restriction of classes C-G
- choose levels between which APP receives aircrafts

simbambim wrote in Tue May 12, 2015 3:00 pm:Could you make the appearance of a new aircraft less predictable (i.e. not immediately after the handed off aircraft disappeared)? Also in the beginning they could appear more gradually.

Yes. I had thought of that :-) but at the time it was only a minor concern. I'll work on it.

simbambim wrote in Tue May 12, 2015 3:00 pm:I can't define my ATC position (callsign) when starting the program. It says could not interpret ICAO_AP (I tried different airports with ICAO_APP, ICAO_TW, ICAO_TWR, ICAO_DE as well).

Not sure what you mean. There is no callsign to choose in solo mode. If you mean choose your multi-player callsign directly from the command-line, usage is for example:
./ATC-pie ICAO --mp-callsign=ICAO_TW
...but that seems off topic.

simbambim wrote in Tue May 12, 2015 3:00 pm:After about 1 hour's work the program always crashes saying python.exe has stopped working and needs to close (not sure if this is related to the solo mode as I don't control on MP).

Now that is an interesting, tough, and important one. Do you notice the process's memory usage to increase steadily until it crashes? Could you connect to MP and tell me if the same happens? Could other users try leaving it to run in solo mode as well?

Thanks ever so much.
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Re: Interested in a solo training mode?

Postby simbambim » Tue May 12, 2015 9:47 pm

Standard procedure. These instructions are two different ones, and "intercept LOC" does not imply "cleared ILS".


I know you can instruct the aircraft to intercept the localizer and then the glideslope separately, but is it used that often? I can't imagine a case when I would do it.

Reminder: second line shows next waypoint on route and geodesic (great circle) heading to it.


Ok. The Quick reference doesn't say anything about headings in the second line.

I do not understand:
- "should be climbing out faster than takeoff speed" -- do you mean "climbing faster at take-off (upwind)"? I agree. I will be fine tuning this soon.
- "and arrivals decreased" -- ?


My point was that the departing aircraft never increase the speed above their takeoff speed and climb on it all the way up to FL150 (unless I instruct them otherwise, of course). And the arriving aircraft come all the way down to the final at 500 knots if I let them. I mean, much of the speed changes are the pilots' job. But I understand that you're working on this.

Not sure what you mean. There is no callsign to choose in solo mode. If you mean choose your multi-player callsign directly from the command-line, usage is for example:
./ATC-pie ICAO --mp-callsign=ICAO_TW

When I start ATC-pie, I don't start either solo or MP mode, I just start it. I was trying it the way it was described in this post but ok, it's working the way you posted above. (And I do have a callsign in solo mode: the one that is displayed in the chat.)

Do you notice the process's memory usage to increase steadily until it crashes? Could you connect to MP and tell me if the same happens?


Will test.
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Re: Interested in a solo training mode?

Postby simbambim » Wed May 13, 2015 7:08 pm

mickybadia wrote:But the destination airport for departing aircrafts is indeed randomised, and may have an A320 down for landing on grass somewhere too far for it to fly.


Yes, I get a lot of C172s flying to Australia (from Europe) and some to South America as well, much less to neighbouring or the same country. Not much of a problem, except that I have to look up the airport for almost every departure, as the airports are ones that even skyvector doesn't know about. But now that you told me about the next waypoint heading, I'm just gonna send them that way. Or try how the exit points work.

mickybadia wrote:Do you notice the process's memory usage to increase steadily until it crashes?

It starts out at 107 MB and increases to 130-145 during the hour or so when it crashes.

mickybadia wrote:Could you connect to MP and tell me if the same happens?

No crashes here. I ran it for more than two hours. The memory increased to 140 MB.
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Re: Interested in a solo training mode?

Postby mickybadia » Wed May 13, 2015 9:43 pm

simbambim wrote in Tue May 12, 2015 9:47 pm:I know you can instruct the aircraft to intercept the localizer and then the glideslope separately, but is it used that often? I can't imagine a case when I would do it.

Neither can I to be really honest. I suppose I could merge the two. Or why not: have the "expect RWY ..." serve both ILS and visual types of approach, and a RWY-free version of a "cleared ILS" instruction, implying LOC intercept. Probably closer to actual instruction sequence.

simbambim wrote in Tue May 12, 2015 9:47 pm:The Quick reference doesn't say anything about headings in the second line.

Thanks for spotting; next push will.

simbambim wrote in Tue May 12, 2015 9:47 pm:
There is no callsign to choose in solo mode. If you mean choose your multi-player callsign directly from the command-line, usage is for example: ./ATC-pie ICAO --mp-callsign=ICAO_TW
I was trying it the way it was described in this post

That is a post from the time when there was no command-line options. The only anonymous option now, to come first after program name, is the ICAO.

simbambim wrote in Tue May 12, 2015 9:47 pm:I do have a callsign in solo mode: the one that is displayed in the chat.

Well spotted here as well. Only ICAO code will now appear as sender in chat message table when playing solo.

simbambim wrote in Wed May 13, 2015 7:08 pm:
mickybadia wrote:But the destination airport for departing aircrafts is indeed randomised, and may have an A320 down for landing on grass somewhere too far for it to fly.
Yes, I get a lot of C172s flying to Australia (from Europe) and some to South America as well, much less to neighbouring or the same country.

I should probably do something about this. It really is irrelevant but does feel disturbing.

simbambim wrote in Wed May 13, 2015 7:08 pm:But now that you told me about the next waypoint heading, I'm just gonna send them that way. Or try how the exit points work.

When exit points are given (at solo connect dialog) and if doing DEP, you must hand off to CTR high enough and close enough to the one written on the strip. If not, destination is displayed but only the altitude constraint is enforced for handover.

Warning, "next waypoints" are computed based on distance comparisons. The exit point chosen for a strip is always the closest one to the randomised destination, but if you only allow for exit points on one side of your airport, info box 2nd line for aircrafts departing the other way will tend to skip the exit point. Try having four exit points all around your airport to limit this inconvenience.
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Re: Interested in a solo training mode?

Postby mickybadia » Thu May 14, 2015 9:19 am

mickybadia wrote in Wed May 13, 2015 9:43 pm:have the "expect RWY ..." serve both ILS and visual types of approach, and a RWY-free version of a "cleared ILS" instruction, implying LOC intercept.

Done and pushed. Probably better that way. Like it?
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