[jhb_airlines] Re: Why is FPI/ATOC so bad?

  • From: Gerry Winskill <gwinsk@xxxxxxx>
  • To: jhb_airlines@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 27 Aug 2005 20:48:49 +0100

Good to hear of the increased UK controller numbers. I guess us wot fly need to make sure we give you all something to do, so we need to keep an eye on Servinfo.

My system seems to be fairly stable just now. It can't be a coincidence, though, that the few FS9 lockups I do get are exclusively when I'm on FPI. no idea why.

I jumped in to Mike's test session, later on, last night. We could see each other, and in the Flightplan designated aircraft. One other oddity was apparent last night, though it often seems to crop up. When Mike was in the bells and whistles B747, it appeared with undercart raised. When he switched to a Default FPI B 747 the undercart was realistically down.

Gerry Winskill

Bones wrote:

I must add that I now have my own problems sorted.

I haven't used ATOC for a long time so it was no surprise when I logged in
last night to help Phil that I encountered some problems. I was surprised
how long FS froze after hitting the Server button and then, when it finally
jumped back into life, I could see no aircraft. Denis and Phil appeared on
the TCAS OK - and they both appeared as yellow dots in the airfield diagram
- but visually there wasn't a sausage.

I had a tinker with a few settings but eventually found the solution when I
checked the firewall logs. For some reason it had started blocking port
15201. I reset the firewall to clear all FS9 rules and then tried again.
This time it worked and I watched an FPI 747 depart from Gatwick. I followed
it at a safe distance up to 4000ft and then disengaged to the north - my
apologies to the VBA pilot if he got worried.

The only small problem left is that FS9 locks when I turn off the Server
button but I can live with that. It may be something to do with the MS test
software I have installed.


-----Original Message-----
From: jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Gerry Winskill
Sent: 27 August 2005 12:31
To: jhb_airlines@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [jhb_airlines] Re: Why is FPI/ATOC so bad?

Mike, For what it's worth, I've also tried "booking" my long hauls, ahead. No ATC. To be fair, I only booked on one occasion. I guess I should make that a matter of routine, to see if it improves.

Gerry Winskill

Mike Brook wrote:

Thanks guys, I've calmed down this morning and your sensible and
reasoned replies are appreciated.  I had spent a long time preparing
for my long haul last night and was SOOOO disappointed when ATOC let me
down, my post was indicative of my level of frustration <g>.  I've no
intention of trying VATSIM, or IVAO for that matter, and will stick
with FPI in the hope that it gets sorted in the near future...


-----Original Message-----
From: jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Gerry Winskill
Sent: Saturday, August 27, 2005 8:17 AM
To: jhb_airlines@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [jhb_airlines] Re: Why is FPI/ATOC so bad?

Hi Mike, Not sitting on the fence, too painful by far, but I find myself agreeing with you, whilst coming to the same conclusion as Bones.

I've done a few long haul flights recently and on only two has there
been ATC at the destination. One was the "please dismantle your
aircraft and b....r off" place. The other didn't really count as,
seeing John Hill on seat, I made my Capetown to UK flight take me to
Heathrow. Even
then we had, as seems to be the norm at present, problems with voice
comms. Clicking on John's ATOC strip got me nowhere and the Servinfo
frequency was also different from the one he was using. In most
countries outside Europe it would appear there are few FPI controller

Again like you, I've flicked through the two competitor lists and
found them to be full of both controllers and traffic.

Taking a step back, for the reasons John mentions, I'm reluctant to go
to VATSIM. I don't know much about IVAO. The relaxed approach of FPI
suits me, so I guess that if I choose to stay with it I'll be
stuck with
its limitations. The limitations are the narrow geographical
area where
it offers actual, as opposed to notional, ATC coverage, plus the
increasingly tetchy nature of its server setup. I guess they
are stuck
with the former but really should get a grip of the latter.
That is far
more important than the company speak and pseudo marketing
that seems to
be increasingly evident. The simple fact is that FPI and the
pilot end
are not really interdependent. No flyers an no FPI. No FPI and the
flyers can either look at the competition or fly off line,
with FS ATC
and AI for company.

At the moment my own intention is to stay with FPI. I enjoy the
Wednesday sessions, when not distracted by bikes or football. I'll
also start more flying to continental European destinations,
though even that
isn't easy. My guess is that the bulk of the controllers are younger
than the pilots and still having to work for a living. I
often switch on
Servinfo, during the day, to find a healthy number of aircrafy in
European zones, with not a controller to be seen.

For long haul flights I've tended to file a flight plan, which is also
lodged with FS9. If there's no FPI cover I take off in FS9's ATC
environment but as VFR. That allows me to depart from a field
with other
traffic in sight, receive taxi instructions, etc; provided
the weather
isn't IFR but avoided FS9's often illogical IFR departure
routing. Once
clear of land I switch to FPI and keep an eye on Servinfo. If
there's no
sign of life around my destination, with a couple of hundred miles to
go, I get out of FPI and MP and ask FS9 for IFR clearance.
That gets me
back into the land of the pseudo living.

I do hope that the people who run FPI can extract a digit but, since
I'm using it for free and doing nothing to help them, I guess
I'll have to
make the best of what they offer.

Gerry Winskill

Bones wrote:

You seem to have had more of a rough time than most of us

recently. I admit

I only tend to plug in once a week but that is usually for a

solid 3.5 to 4

hours. I've had one or two hiccups but nothing so bad as to raise the
frustration levels too much. Yep - I did have one night a

few weeks back

when I was being kicked off every hour or so but it hasn't

been a recurring


If you are thinking of trying VATSIM then you will indeed

have a lot more

traffic and controllers to contend with - but the level of

simulation is

also much higher too. VATSIM stick to real world procedures

so you really

have to know the airfield layouts, the SID's and STAR's

(current ones too)

and have good cockpit management skills. Having said that it

is a challenge

that some may relish as you know you will be mixing it with

a lot of real

world airline pilots.

There is no doubt that some of you will outgrow FPI. It

hasn't evolved as

much as your own skills - a pity as I had hoped it would

have grown a lot

more since we first started using it - and I am sure this lack of
development will make some feel they are missing out on

better things.

Before jumping in the deep end with VATSIM though I'd

recommend extending

your experience outside the UK. If European controllers are

online in FPI

then get some useful foreign experience under your belt. I

know it can be

reassuring to speak to a familiar team in the UK but it's

best to build up

experience. Europe in FPI (or even further) is a small step

compared with

jumping in the deep end which is VATSIM.


-----Original Message-----
From: jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Mike Brook
Sent: 27 August 2005 00:58
To: JHB Airlines
Subject: [jhb_airlines] Why is FPI/ATOC so bad?

I am rapidly reaching the point of abandoning FPI/ATOC due

to its frequent

unavailability and failures.  At about 1130 local this

evening I was chucked

out of their servers with the following error message:

"Debug Assertion Failed!
Program: C:\program files\FlightProject\ATOC.exe
File: dumpout.cpp
Line: 52
For information on how your program can cause an assertion

failure, see the

Visual C++ documentation on asserts. (Press Retry to debug

the application)"

What the **** was that all about???

I had spent a long time manually setting up my PMDG 747-400

FMC for an

overnighter tonight from EGLL to WSSS when FPI/ATOC went

t*ts up.  What is

the name of all that is holy is going on with this service?

Has anyone any

info that could help restore my confidence?  Whilst I have

never used VATSIM

or IVAO, it really does frustrate me to see all the


available 24/7 on their servers whilst there are maybe have

a dozen or so

folks worldwide on FPI or, more likely, the service is

completely down or

otherwise unavailable in one way or another.

Am I alone...?


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