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» Economics » Computer game category » Topics begins with O » On-line flight simulation

Page modified: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 18:55:36

During on-line flight simulation it acts around a specialized variant of the PC flight simulation with the goal of simulating apart from the simulation of the flight as a pilot at the same time also air traffic control. By special software, which is already firmly built into the flight simulators or can be after-installed, the users make a connection to special computers in the Internet. Instead of accomplishing their flights with at best artificial, computer-produced air traffic and air traffic control alone, they are now with other users connected those their services than air traffic control offer or even from A to B fly.


The beginnings

In the year 1996 the company Microsoft brought its software Microsoft Flight simulator in the version 5.1 on the market. As a player one slipped into the role of the pilot, interactive air traffic control found only in the context of so-called "Adventures" time and event-orients however throughout pre-determined instead of. Likewise to this time the software ATP of the company stood subLOGIC for order, which tried to simulate beginnings from interactive air traffic control extended by some functions by Simon Hradeckys 3DAGS also to. On the other side developed slowly there were not programs for the simulation of air traffic control than such, an integration of flight simulation and air traffic control however.

By the first auxiliary modules for the flight simulators as for example Fly by Wire for the FS5 were suddenly multi-player flights possible over the structures of the Internets, so that the possibility existed now to see also different airplanes which were likewise steered by "correct humans". The group of on-line pilots became slowly more largely and ever more frequently did to one of the pilots to even fly positioned his airplane to the place of the Towers and tried to coordinate air traffic. In addition it had however no own radar display screen available, but was dependent on it, what it its flight simulator represented. Communication took place by Internet Relay Chat.

At this time the Kalifornier Jason Grooms began to sketch two programs, which set at this point: The program pro CONTROLLER for the radar monitoring and the program SquawkBox (see Squawk) for data exchange with the flight simulator. The SquawkBox picked for this the position and elevator data out of the airplane faded in on the screen and made these data available. In order to make for both programs possible communication with one another, it sketched a simple server often commodity, which exchanged the data between SquawkBox and pro CONTROLLERs. The Texaner Joe Jurecka about at the same time sketched server minutes, which should serve exactly the same purpose. Grooms and Jurecka came into contact and continued working together. Both obtained the technical break-through, when they could fall back to a function library developed particularly for the FS5.1 (English "dynamic left LIBRARY", DLL), which could almost fall back to each program variable of the flight simulator. It was Adam Szofran, which developed FS6IPC. After the work on both programs continued to progress always and was pursued in the flight simulation scene with very much interest, Grooms and Jurecka divided themselves the work. Grooms had responsibility further for the pro CONTROLLER, while Jurecka took over the work to the SquawkBox. In the summer the Dutchman Marty Bochane pushed and transferred 1997 to the team in addition the advancement of the server often commodity, which admits FSD servers today under the name is. Bochanes vision was a global network of servers, in order to be able to bring as much as possible participants together (virtual pilots and virtual air traffic controllers). On 25 January 1998 were available both SquawkBox, pro CONTROLLERs as well as the FSD server in the version 2.0 and formed the basis for the today's on-line networks.

The organizations

The number of participants of on-line flight simulation was limited at first to little dozen of enthusiasts, only a fraction of those, which argued altogether with the topic PC flight simulation. A avowed goal was to be convinced it, clearly more trailer from this hobby to, in order to obtain so an increase of the reality by an increase of on-line traffic. Randy Whistler created SATCO, the Simulated air Traffic CONTROLLER Organization, which made it it's duty to train prospective customers as virtual air traffic controllers. Ray Jones created ISPA, internationally the simulator Pilots Association, which wanted to train again the ambitionierten hobby pilot. In order to become fair the slowly increased technique employment, under the direction of John Eisenhour the organization of the networked available FSD servers one operated. The SATNET was born.


Ever more largely and also many trailers in Europe WERE SATCO/SATNET could induce to the participation to autumn 1998. The structures within SATCO/SATNET were strongly American coined/shaped due to developing history, so that it already came in the autumn 1998 to a splitting off of a majority of the European members. Internationally the Virtual aviation organization (IVAO) developed and developed on accurately the same program products: SquawkBox, pro CONTROLLER and FSD server.

In the summer 2001 SATCO/SATNET and handed over the operational activities as well as the existing infrastructure dissolved to the successor organization Virtual air Traffic simulation network (VATSIM)).

In January 2003 again a group split itself off one of the networks, this time IVAO. Flight Project international (FPI) developed from the circle some former software developers of IVAO.

Current conditions of the development

Numbers of members

In the spring all three networks registered 2005 over 120.000 members. The membership was and is free in all networks (up to the costs of the own Internet entrance), the running costs by sponsors is covered.


After first the used software was still identical SquawkBox and pro CONTROLLER in all three networks, it was meanwhile individually developed further:

  • FPI replaced the SquawkBox as the first and published the ATOC pilot Client (IPI). This is supplemented meanwhile by the ATOC pilot Client (IPI express). On the CONTROLLER side the ATOC ATC Client (ICP 3.x) replaced the pro CONTROLLER.
  • IVAO solved the SquawBox by the IvAp - IVAO virtual pilot client off and also the flight-drawn with IVAO do not have meanwhile no more the pro CONTROLLERs in the employment. Here the IvAc does - IVAO virtual ATC client its service.
  • VATSIM uses since March 2005 the SquawkBox 3 and FSInn and on the CONTROLLER side also here the pro CONTROLLERs already in the year 2003 by the ASRC - Advanced Simulated radar Client was replaced.

Also the server often commodity FSD server was subject in all networks unites changes, so that all networks became meanwhile technically incompatible.


If the first on-line pilots had to fall back in the years 1996-1998 still to IRC, in the following years both in the flight simulator as well as into the Clientsoftware for pilots and CONTROLLERs an internal text Chat was built.

Also this kind of communication loses appreciably at meaning, since by programs like first "RogerWilco" and "team peak" became possible a voice communication over the structures of the Internets. All three on-line nets developed own language minutes, which were partly integrated into the respective Client software, partly in addition, than condition alone software for the order stand.


After Microsoft with its flight simulator row has the market share within the range of the PC flight simulation, largest with distance, oriented yourself the development of on-line flight simulation likewise at these products. The concept is not however under any circumstances only to Microsoft products aligned, to participate can one in principle with each flight simulator, for which a Pilotenclient is available. The "SquawkBox" gave it also for less spread simulators and since 2004 enjoys the flight simulator to X-tarpaulin constantly growing popularity. Also for this an on-line-able Pilotenclient is available - the "XSquawkBox".

For Microsoft themselves actual according to statement of Bruce Williams ("manager" product for the Flight simulator with Microsoft) on the "1. German-language conference of flight simulator" 2003 in Paderborn - the range of on-line flight simulation no topic. Only here the topic concerns is also so interesting a fringe group without larger influence on economical success.

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