vPilot: Integrate ATC Simulation into MSFS Flight Training

vPilot: Integrate ATC Simulation into MSFS Flight Training

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What is vPilot?

vPilot is a software application that integrates the VATSIM Air Traffic Control (ATC) simulation network into Microsoft's Flight Simulator 2020 application. When vPilot is installed, MSFS pilots can communicate with VATSIM ATCs in real time.

Why should I consider Installing the vPilot Integration Software?

A significant part of an aviator's education is focused on ATC practices and procedures. Using MSFS without the benefit of intelligent ATCs managing airports and airspaces detracts from the realism and usefulness of MSFS as a flight simulation training and practice application.

Installing vPilot integration software application will enable the VATSIM ATC simulation network for use within Microsoft's Flight Simulator.

Aviation enthusiasts, student pilots, and licensed aviators will then benefit from talking with VATSIM ATCs, boosting the effectiveness of MSFS as a flight education and training application.

Preparing to Install and Configure vPilot

Preconditions for Installation of vPilot

If you are not familiar with VATSIM, read: An Introduction to the VATSIM ATC Simulator. Next, create a new VATSIM account and complete the new member onboarding program.

 If you already have a VATSIM account, consider logging into your account to confirm VATSIM member account and configuration settings. Having this information readily available will speed up the completion of step 4 of the vPilot installation process.

How to Install v-Pilot for MSFS PC Application

Step 1. Download vPilot

Access the vPilot website and click on the download web link.

Depending on your MS Windows 10 PC security settings, you may see the following pop-up notification displayed when the vPilot download completes.

To resolve the notification prompt, select the […] 'Keep' download option to change the 'unconfirmed' status of the download filename to the vPilot filename version.

This completes the download of vPilot software application download. The installation file can be found in the /downloads folder. Confirm this via the Windows File Explorer application.

Step 2. Install vPilot

To install vPilot, double-click on the 'vPilot-Setup-<releaseid>.exe' file. The application installer software will launch.

After reading the License Agreement, click 'I Agree' to continue with the installation.

You have the option of changing vPilot application launch options by unchecking the defaulted launch options.

Click 'Next' to continue.

You can accept the default installation folder location for the vPilot software or change the location to suit your preference.

Click the 'Install' button. If vPilot successfully installs, a confirmation notification will be displayed.

Leave the default 'Launch vPilot' option checkbox checked. Click on the 'Finish' button to launch the vPilot application to configure the application for use with MSFS.

Step 3. Configure vPilot

When vPilot launches, the vPilot dashboard will display.

vPilot Application First Time Launch

A status notification prompts that the application is searching for and scanning folders of the installed MSFS application.

After a few seconds, vPilot will prompt to begin to configure for interfacing the installed MSFS application with the cloud VATSIM application.

Click 'Yes' to proceed with vPilot configuration.

Step 4. vPilot Network Settings Configuration

vPilot will display a prompt form for VATSIM configuration settings that were set during the VATSIM configuration and orientation sessions, previously completed.

Enter your VATSIM information into each of the vPilot Settings form fields.

My default home airport is KSPG Alfred Whittig Airport, located in Saint Petersburg, Florida USA.

The KSPG airport is listed as an airport that is supported by the VATSIM search, though this airport may not yet be supported by MSFS.

For my VATSIM Server, I selected 'USA-EAST' to coincide with myVATSIM Region-Division setting 'Americas - United States

Click 'Apply' when entries have been completed in all vPilot Settings fields.

Step 5. Audio Settings

The Audio configuration settings must be custom configured to apply and complete vPilot configuration.

NOTE: Some headset microphones may not have adequate sensitivity to meet the vPilot minimum audio volume settings.

Validate that the maximum microphone volume level (100) is set in Microsoft Windows > Settings > Sound, to help ensure the microphone sound levels will be adequate for vPilot Audio configuration.

Once the audio level for the microphone is confirmed to be set at '100' in Windows 10 Settings, complete the Audio form settings for your headset configuration.

Increase the 'Mic Volume' level slider control while speaking into your headset microphone, until the volume level indicator ranges in the green area of the graph.

Step 6.  Push-to-Talk vPilot Configuration

To configure a key on your keyboard for 'Push to Talk' capability, click on the 'Set new PTT Key or Button' option.

I chose the 'Alt' keyboard key as my PTT button.

Consider other keyboard keys, such as the 'Caps Lock' key, that is not used by vPilot, VATSIM or MSFS, as a PPT key option.

Click 'Apply' and 'OK' to save all vPilot custom configuration settings.

Validate vPilot Functionality using MSFS

In the next post of this series, we'll validate that vPilot is functioning correctly within the MSFS application.

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