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George Peppard

atc-software CPDLC/PDC for the absolute beginner (and for those who just fancy installing it)

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George Peppard

CPDLC stands for Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications and is the method by which controllers communicate with pilots via a datalink system. The most common method on VATSIM is via Hoppie's ACARS.

Various aircraft are now beginning to support Hoppie's system and therefore this guide will show you the simplest way to get up and running and able to issue PDC (pre-departure clearance) to aircraft via this system.

Prerequisites

In order to use this system, you require a copy of EuroScope (which I hope you all have) and vSMR. vSMR can be downloaded here. Simply install this plugin into EuroScope like any other - you don't actually need to setup the vSMR ground view (although you may if you wish *ahem* Heathrow), you just need a copy of the plugin installed.

You also require a Hoppie's logon code, which may be obtained here.

Setup of vSMR

Once you have vSMR installed, type ".smr" in the message box at the bottom of EuroScope. You will then be greeted with a dialog that looks something like this.

image.png.f58683be1317b21de6fa8ccbcf57a5a3.png

Enter your Hoppie's logon code (from the prerequisites section which I trust everyone read fully) and set the logon callsign as the four letter ICAO code of your aerodrome (for example EGKK). If this is already taken, then there is a high chance that someone is already offering PDC at your airport. You can still set ACARS up, but it probably won't be used by pilots. I have it on relatively good authority that "non-primary" stations would use Z + last 2 letters of their ICAO + first letter of position. For example, EGKK_TWR may use ZKKT if EGKK was already taken.

You may also want to tick the "Play sound on clearance request" checkbox, but this is entirely optional.

image.png.c12f7bc8e4689d33f966ab63e6b786f7.png

Once this is done, click "OK".

Departure list setup

You now need to configure the departure list on EuroScope to allow you to see requests and process them.

Click the "S" in the top left of the departure list to bring up the setup dialog. You may now add an item in a position of your choosing. I'll add it after the clearance recieved flag.

image.png.66629eee50e6497b9f81df45cb208615.png

Configure the item as above, and press "OK".

image.png.bade31306076da4a3774a74fb562ff37.png

You should now have a new item in your departure list.

Connecting and issuing clearance

You may now connect to the ACARS system. Type ".smr connect" in the EuroScope message bar. You will recieve a confirmation if this is successful.

Aircraft may now request clearance. In this example, BAW126 will request PDC via datalink. You will hear a "ding" if enabled and the datalink indicator will flash with an "R" symbol. Clearance is on request.

To process the clearance, click the indicator and click "confirm". You must now check all data is correct and if applicable enter the next frequency.

image.png.d87a3c2806eb12b045376d01c96add5f.png

Once you are satisfied, press "Send". The datalink indicator will change to a yellow "V", and the aircraft must now accept the clearance. If the aircraft is unable to fly the clearance you have issued, they should revert to voice procedures.

When the aircraft has accepted the clearance, the "V" will change to green. You may now tick the "clearance received" flag.

image.png.0b78fd6c1f1d84e13b64790666352b66.png

All done!

You're all setup and have handled your first PDC clearance request. Other options are available when issuing clearances, for example "standby" or "voice". These are fairly self explanatory and have not been covered in this guide.

You may also wish to enter something like "PDC logon EGKK" in your controller ATIS so pilots can find your callsign easier. This is optional but highly recommended.

If you have any questions please post below and I (or perhaps another helpful member) will do their best to help you. Together, we can put an end to "PDC via vPilot" 😉

On behalf of all the pilots wishing to request PDC, thanks!

Edited by George Peppard

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James Yuen
23 minutes ago, George Peppard said:

*ahem* Heathrow

need some cough medicine there?

On a serious note: good work there GP! vSMR is brilliant in my opinion - nothing 'overkill' and very neat set of features.

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Andrew Gransden

All works fine up to:

You may now connect to the ACARS system. Type ".smr connect" in the EuroScope message bar. You will recieve a confirmation if this is successful.

I received no success confirmation.

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Adam Farquharson
21 hours ago, Andrew Gransden said:

I received no success confirmation.

I had that for a while but my password was years old so I requested a new one and it worked. Maybe make sure you copied it correctly and you didn't copy and extra space at the beginning or end because that can be quite easy to do.

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Sonny Nixon
22 hours ago, Andrew Gransden said:

All works fine up to:

You may now connect to the ACARS system. Type ".smr connect" in the EuroScope message bar. You will recieve a confirmation if this is successful.

I received no success confirmation.

As well as that, it happened to me a few times, make sure no one else has it connected at the airport your controlling and sometimes I just entered ".smr connect" a few times and it worked.

 

Also thanks for the guide @George Peppard, explains it perfectly!

Edited by Sonny Nixon

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Sebastian Wheeler

I've needed this for a while!!!!! PDC now available with me! (On a side note @Lee Roberts, do you know if Brize/Northolt etc. offer PDC for their a/c?)

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Andrew Wilson

Really great to see so many stations online over the weekend offering PDC. Thanks guys!

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George Peppard
5 hours ago, Sonny Nixon said:

make sure no one else has it connected at the airport you're controlling

If you still wanted to connect, I have it on relatively good authority that "non-primary" stations would use Z + last 2 letters of their ICAO + first letter of position. For example, EGKK_TWR may use ZKKT if EGKK was already taken. There's not really much point though...

Edited by George Peppard

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Gary Oliver

Brilliant work George, now FSL have made Hoppie a lot more popular I’m excited to see many more controllers to interact with via ACARS.

 

 

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George Peppard

@Gary Oliver @Andrew Wilson One of the reasons I wrote this in the first place was so that I could request PDC myself! 😉  

Hopefully it gets adopted by more and more controllers going forward.

Edited by George Peppard
Compulsory spelling mistake fixed

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Stuart Duncan

Many thanks for the step-by-step guide @George Peppard.  The thread title definitely refers to me: 1st time beginner and just fancied seeing what all the hype was about.

Whilst I was unsuccessful with it this evening, I think I know where I went wrong so will try again next time. 

Quick Q, will this also work for area controllers, ie, if an identifier of EGPX instead of EGPH was inserted, would PDC be available for all fields within the PX FIR? 

Cheers,

Stu

 

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George Peppard
Just now, Stuart Duncan said:

Quick Q, will this also work for area controllers, ie, if an identifier of EGPX instead of EGPH was inserted, would PDC be available for all fields within the PX FIR?

Yep - the aircraft enters the "logon code" so to speak so instead of EGPH they would just enter EGPX into their FMC.

George

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Stuart Duncan

Thanks for the prompt reply.

Would I/pilots enter EGPX/EGTT as that's the FIR, or SCO/LON as that's what I'm logged on as?

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Callum Axon

Used this to set it up for Bandbox earlier this morning - thanks for the guide!

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Luke Brown
9 hours ago, Stuart Duncan said:

Thanks for the prompt reply.

Would I/pilots enter EGPX/EGTT as that's the FIR, or SCO/LON as that's what I'm logged on as?

It depends what the controller has set their code to. We should probably start a bit of a convention, so as not to confuse pilots or each other!

If I’m offering it on Bandbox, I’ll enter the following into my ATIS:

” Hoppie PDC/CPDLC Avilable Logon “EGTT”

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Shaun Anderson

When VSMR first came out, if pilots tried to login to the ATC channel it didn't work. All you had to do was send a PDC request from Hoppies and it went through, unless VSMRs code has now been changed  to allow the log on.

 

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George Peppard
6 hours ago, Shaun Anderson said:

When VSMR first came out, if pilots tried to login to the ATC channel it didn't work. All you had to do was send a PDC request from Hoppies and it went through, unless VSMRs code has now been changed  to allow the log on.

This is still the case unfortunately, however most pilots on VATSIM don't "log on" to the code anyway (at least not in my experience).

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Simon Irvine

I used it for the first time on SCO today and it worked like a dream.

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Lenny Colton

Good to see this becoming more commonplace - excellent post, George! I always find it to be very useful and pilots really enjoy the realism. On the downside, I now need to find a new reason to persuade them all to fly from EGKK... 😉

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