Consistent VATSIM ATC coverage requirement

As a longtime commercial aircraft sim pilot, I have been used to using VATSIM throughout my flights, including in areas where no ATC is online. I am not aware of any on-going work to provide worldwide ATC coverage in areas with no active controller.
To attempt to recompense for this, we now have BeyondATC and SayIntentions providing some very impressive, but architecturally incompatible ATC alternatives. Neither of these can provide seamless operation with VATSIM because VATSIM cannot share their ATC communications.
The only solution, as I see it, is for VATSIM to develop an extension that can cover CPDLC text communications with VATSIM pilots during periods when there is no real controller on duty. VATSIM is in the best position to determine where commercial aircraft are during absences of real ATC,
Can plans to provide these enhancements be started, please?

so… you want vatsim to create an AI service that sends text messages when there is no active atc?

You sound surprised. Do you have a problem?

no problem, indeed surprised
You want VATSIM, a free service provider, run by volunteers, on their free spare time, to build the same that two companies already are doing, for an hefty fee.
indeed surprised

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Not every aircraft in the real world supports CPDLC, let alone every aircraft in every sim. This is a non-starter.

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This comment is not a knock on the original post, just my opportunity to state an opinion!
It appears that Vatsim is a live person ATC service that is top notch. Hopefully the folks in charge will continue to grow the network. Lets hope more people will volunteer to be Controllers going forward to offer wider coverage. I personally want to thank every controller that volunteers their time to provide this service. I am amazed that we as flight simmers can pop on the network and simulate real world procedures. One last observation…… hopefully we will see an improvement with pilots communicating with one another. I’m doing my best to improve, but I know from time to time I come up short


If you want to have AI cover areas of airspace that don’t have a human controller, then why not just have AI ATC 27/7 globally and eliminate the humans?

VATSIM is a human interaction network, if you want to interact with AI that can already be done.

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Hi Kirk,
That’s quite the opposite to what I want. VATSIM, with real people controlling, is by far the best environment. I am just trying to identify the next best where ATC is not staffed.

I doubt this will happen anytime soon.

Honestly, while on a long cruise over the Gulf of Mexico between MROC and KIAH, I was thinking the same thing while trying to juggle both VATSIM and Beyond ATC on a recent flight.

How cool would it be to seemlessly transition from Vatsim controller to Beyond ATC. It would be the ultimate ATC experience.

But then reality hit me. I like your idea, just don’t see a realistic path to implement.

Honestly, what I would like at this point is just some way to juggle unicom, CTAF and BEYOND ATC.

Yesterday, while flying out of KBNA, I was so focused on Beyond ATC I forgot I was still on Vatsim and accidentally read back the controller instructions on CTAF instead of just announcing my departure like unicom.

For now, I’ve parked beyond ATC. The extra work at muting both software along with FS2Crew was just too much.

Outside of the enormous practical challenges of designing and implementing a system like this, I think its important to consider the compute costs associated with these tasks. LLM inferences take time, and considerable compute. For example, GPT3 has ~175 billion trainable parameters, and one inference takes ~350 TFLOPS. More modern models like LLaMA have even more parameters, there’s a reason AI solutions are pricey.

I really do not think we will ever (or should actually) have this on the network. No AI can replace a human interaction. Period.

I too have been wondering about whether such an integration (AI/VATSIM) is possible.

For many of the reasons mentioned above it appears this is not feasible NOW. But perhaps in the future when AI becomes more ubiquitous and the cost goes from cheaper to negligible, and the challenge of controller shortage becomes more acute there may be a path forward for this.

Give it some time I say.

If you’re suggesting an AI feature, I very honestly doubt they would ever do this. AI isn’t perfect and not always realistic.
If you are an atc shortage in certain areas, it’s normally lack of training rather than supply - at least in the UK.

Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. I joined VATSIM to talk to human controllers, not AI. There are already AI ATC services available if you want them.

+1. Vatsim is trying to be as real as it gets, and the embryonic and dysfuntional AI gibberish is artificial, not real.

+1 I want real-live people sitting on the other side of the screen.

On the other hand some other automated/automation services would be nice to have

  • Runway selection on non-staffed controlled airports to eliminate people using runway 07 for departure and 25 for landing etc…Maybe even an auto-atis system…
  • DP Selection . Probably a bit trickier but maybe someone comes up with a clever idea how to…
  • CPDLC built into the pilot- and controller client (actually I should’ve put that as #1)

My 2c

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