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NEW RELEASE! v1.6: incl. CPDLC

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

NEW RELEASE! v1.6: incl. CPDLC

Postby mickybadia » Sun Mar 31, 2019 9:34 pm

Hello everybody,

I am releasing ATC-pie 1.6, bringing three main changes: CPDLC, world shortest route suggestions, and RDF in MP. They are described below.
Besides, other improvements were made and options added, for example better TWY labelling and centre/stop line drawing (see the Changelog for a list). I think the need for explanation there is minimal, so I will just let the possible questions come instead of anticipating the wrong ones.

You all have fun with this, and please direct:
  • feature comments to separate well-titled threads in this forum
  • bug reports preferably to SF tickets

1. Controller--pilot data link communication (CPDLC)
This is the major add-on, justifying the version number bump. Note that both solo and student sessions implement it, but it does NOT yet work in MP. This is for technical reasons that will need a bit of time to address, and for lack of equipped aircraft models anyway. Developers interested in this should get in touch.

To open your facility to data link connections, you must tick the CPDLC option on in the local settings, equipment tab. In solo, aircraft will connect according to the probability set in the session settings; student aircraft will be simulated by the teacher using the extended teaching console. Connected aircraft show a "voltage" sign in their radar tag before their callsign.

In the general settings, CPDLC tab, you can then choose which of the following mouse actions should prompt to use the data link when the selected callsign has a live connection:
  • radar contact click & drag for vector instructions (excluding taxi);
  • strip drop on ATC for handovers or data authority transfers.

Notice the new CPDLC dock displaying present and past connections. Each can be opened in a window showing dialogue history and allowing to answer/send messages if the link is active.

If you know what CPDLC is, my hope is that you learn the rest of your way through the interface and its use. I invite you to comment on the choices made if you have any sort of IRL experience, as I did not manage to collect much input. Even from real-life controllers, the feature still remaining something of a mystery to them too. I basically tried to integrate what I could grasp of it in a seamless manner, making the best reuse of existing GUI blocks, and ALWAYS allowing for all types of facilities, local equipment and policies. These indeed vary drastically.

2. Shortest route suggestion
A new route suggestion button appears near the "route" fields on strips and FPLs. It calculates the shortest route between the entered dep. & dest. airports, relying on two sources: (1) a world data base of airways; and (2) a list of entry/exit points for airports.

(1) resources/nav/custom_awy
The latest data I could find under free licence (from X-plane) is extremely old (2013). It does not even match that for nav points and fixes (summer 2017), so routes get diverted a lot due to navpoints renamed over time, resulting in invalid airways being ignored and new ones missing. It therefore hardly makes sense to use it as it is. I have included it still to demo the feature, and it is better than nothing. But you should provide newer data for better results. Read the resources/nav/Notice file for how to import it. It must be in the X-plane 10 format (I know Navigraph provide that).

(2) resources/nav/AD-entry-exit
If no entry/exit point is given for an airport, ATC-pie will prompt for a manual entry, but it will get tedious if you rely on this too much. Create a file as explained in the Notice for fully automatic suggestions, including DEP and APP procedures.

3. Radio direction finding
This is mostly a change for multi-player sessions, because RDF was already part of ATC-pie but FGMS did not technically allow it. Thanks to some coordination with the FG dev team (esp. Richard for FGMS---cheers!) we now have a system to make it happen.

  • RDF tells you what direction a radio signal is coming from.
  • It must also be turned on on as a facility "equipment" in the local settings, which adds an RDF label in the status bar giving the direction of a signal when one is being picked up.
  • If using radar, a line can draw on the scope if you toggle it from the "Opts" menu under it (see what target it hits to easily identify the transmitting aircraft)
In MP, the frequency monitored is that selected as "publicised frequency" in the ATC/handover dock panel.

Note that RDF in MP will work:
  • only with updated FlightGear clients to come, most likely with FG-19.2 release, so later this year but all ready in ATC-pie (and tested with FGMS developer);
  • provided the cockpit PTT key is used to transmit, so if going through Mumble or whatever else than the integrated FGCom for radio, pilots should bind the same key to both the third-party and the FG clients.
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Re: NEW RELEASE! v1.6: incl. CPDLC

Postby mickybadia » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:20 am

Version 1.6.1 update includes some bug sweeping, and the following change about RDF:
mickybadia wrote in Sun Mar 31, 2019 9:34 pm:In MP, the frequency monitored is that selected as "publicised frequency" in the ATC/handover dock panel.

Multiple frequencies can now be monitored, selected directly from the radio centre, similarly to "kbd PTT".
Repeat: RDF feature will only be operational with the future FG clients to come this year.
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Re: NEW RELEASE! v1.6: incl. CPDLC

Postby yanes » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:21 pm

Great piece of software Thank you !
keep up the great work
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Re: NEW RELEASE! v1.6: incl. CPDLC

Postby Octal450 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:33 am

I will be working with Micky to integrate CPDLC into all IDG Airliners. :)

Kind Regards,
What I do: Flight Dynamics, Systems, Canvas Displays, Autoflight, FlyByWire, Cockpit Animations
Aircraft I currently develop: MD-11 (Mainly), Secret, A320-family (Quality over Quantity)

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