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FSS and UNICOM or Enroute


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So, after a recent flight in the CZEG FIR (VFR in real life) not under any control, monitoring 126.700 I listened to Edmonton FSS give a SIGMET over the frequency. It was about severe turbulance south of Calgary. My main questions are this: Why couldn't this same thing be integrated into VatSim? Not so much for turbulance, but for weather, icing, and such? (Maybe even events)

I've had long email chains with VatSim "higher ups" on why there hasn't ever been any addition of proper Unicom frequencies. The responce I got was mixed, it was a great idea and has been thought of before, but according to them, it would be difficult to do because pilots don't care to check the charts or anything to get a UNICOM or MF. Take Red Deer for instance (CYQF), according to the charts, if you wonder within 25nm of the field, you are to be monitoring and talking on the MF (122.875). In my opinion, this should be something that should be fairly easy to add in. The servers already have the ability to do this, since you can switch to whatever frequency you like and talk, if anyone else is on the frequency, they can hear you. With charts being easy and free to access (online or through and iOS and Android app called FltPlanGo) it shouldn't be an issue. Don't get me wrong, 122.8 isn't horrible, but having a group of three or four Air Canada's making radio calls about taking off in Edmonton while I do circuits at Cooking Lake isn't that awesome, or realistic. 

Wrapping up my rant here, would anyone be intrested in a system like this either the SIGMET type or my proper UNICOM and MF. 
 

Matthew Bleakney

CZEG FIR Events Coordinator

matthewbleakney@outlook.com

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Some VATUSA controllers do a broadcast on their frequencies regarding SIGMETS or flight watch. 

In Canada FSS controllers are required to broadcast items under certain conditions... A new SIGMENT is one of them. (AIM - RAC 1.1.2.1 (C). With the new issuance of a SIGMET I have often gotten asked by IRL CTR controllers if I have that weather on board. If I didn't and they had time they would read it out, but if they didn't I could pick it up from an FIC freq.   For VATSIM users (ATC for this purpose) in order to issue that type of information users would need to have it open or some notification of issuance and some users only have 1 monitor witch can be task loading for them. Also you users would have to be able to understand and issue the required information if a pilot asks about it. So more training would have to be involved. 

As for having multiple frequencies I agree with you on use of the proper frequencies, but it becomes a huge burden on the servers too (ATC are limited to how many RCO/PAL sites we could operate because of this external load). As you may know in Canada there are only a handful of "MF,ATF, Unicom" frequencies that are used and so its not uncommon for you to hear other traffic nearby landing at other fields. So the simple fix is on generic MF, ATF, Unicom, Enroute Frequency for VATSIM while putting a range limiting distance on it. I think its 20NM.

I share your enthusiasm for these features, unfortunately VATSIM is just not there yet...

Edited by Jagard Strong

Moncton FIR

Deputy Chief 

Email: deputychief@czqm.ca

 

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Jagard,

Yes I've seen US controllers do that over their own frequency. However, that is on thier frequency, that doens't allow for VFR aircraft not operating under control to have the same infomation as the IFR guys. Hence why I believe an enroute frequency (something other than 122.8) should be something that should be considered in the near future. Especially with VatSim velocity coming out sometime in the furture. It could be something they integrate into that. I believe that VatSim as full capibility to integrate the MF and proper UNICOM frequecies, because like I said in the OP, if you dial up 126.7 and have someone else do the same, you can hear each other. Like the responce I got from VatSim was that they've tried in the past, however pilots couldn't be bothered to check the charts to get the MF or Unicom. What I suggested to them was leave the 122.800 for the major airports such as YEG, YCC, YVR and majpr airport  like that. As for the smaller towered fields, such as something like CZVL, simply use the posted tower freq as the Unicom, that would work well in my opinion because if a controller decides to log on, they don't have to wait for the planes to contact them after serving them a .contactme, since all the planes should already be on posted freq, it would be something as simple as just logging on and announcing your presance. You bring some great points, but I don't believe that VatSim doesn't have the capibility to integrate such things, just that pilots don't want to have to put in the extra work of finding a frequency and dialing it up instead of 122.8. 

Matthew Bleakney

CZEG FIR Events Coordinator

matthewbleakney@outlook.com

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22 hours ago, Matthew Bleakney said:

As for the smaller towered fields, such as something like CZVL, simply use the posted tower freq as the Unicom

That's sort of how it works in the UK in RW. I've flown VFR in to Cumbernauld, EGPG, after the Information radio frequency had closed down and used that freq to broadcast my intentions. Of course, Cumbernauld has no ATC, just an advisory info channel manned during the day, so there is no ATC-manned tower as such. Your suggestion would be a VATSIM-ism extension of what happens at non-ATC information frequencies.

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Alistair,

Yes, it happens across the pond here too. Within VatSim's current state it should very easily be able to be implemented. 

Matthew Bleakney

CZEG FIR Events Coordinator

matthewbleakney@outlook.com

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