To get started on PilotEdge, you’ll need:
- A compatible flight simulator (Microsoft® Flight Simulator 2004, Flight Simulator X, Prepar3d, or X-Plane).
- A headset, configured as the default recording device in Windows/OS X.
- A broadband connection (not dialup, not 3G mobile).
- A PilotEdge membership (2-week trial, absolutely free!)
We provide Air Traffic Control on a guaranteed basis during specific hours, in a specific area. Read about our Operating Hours and Service Area prior to joining PilotEdge.
If you’re a real-world pilot, the radio system is going to be very familiar to you. Set the real world frequency for the facility you’re trying to reach. If you’re within the reception range of that facility (based on your altitude and distance from the associated transmitter/receiver), you’ll be able to hear and speak with that facility.
Similarly, the radio at non-towered fields is range limited based on the altitude of the aircraft involved in the conversation. The higher you climb, the greater your radio range. The radio model includes line of sight limitations, including terrain.
Since we don’t supply a phone number to use when picking up IFR clearances at non-towered field, and since the center/approach transmitter may be too far away to pick up on the ground, we have a dedicated frequency which is NOT range-limited: 122.20. Use this to simulate a phone call between you and the overlying center controller (not Flight Service). Note: to enforce the fact that this is a simulated phone call that would be made whilst being stationary, or taxiing slowly, it is only usable until reaching a speed of 30kts. The reception will begin to degrade as you approach this speed limit as a reminder. You’re welcome!
Transitioning from other networks
If you’ve flown on other online ATC networks, there are some key differences about the radio system that will help with your transition to PilotEdge:
- There is no “controller list” – consult your real-world charts and use the appropriate frequencies.
- ATC is provided within the entire Service Area during the published Operating Hours.
- Real-world frequencies are used (you can use charts and online resources such as SkyVector.com, and AirNav.com to find the ones you need).
- See the operating hours and service area page for information about which fields are considered to be towered on PilotEdge.
- PilotEdge is a 100% voice network (no text).
- When flying at non-towered airports, you should announce yourself using voice on the published CTAF frequencies (note: it’s not always 122.80).
- Pick up IFR clearances from the ground at non-towered airports on 122.20. This simulates a phone call to the overlying Center controller. Address them as “Denver Center,” “Oakland Center,” “Seattle Center,” etc based the ARTCC of your airport (easily found in the Chart Supplement, Skyvector, Airnav, etc)
- Be on the lookout for lots of VFR traffic flying around within the coverage area that isn’t communicating on the radio. This happens in real life more than most simulation enthusiasts realize. These “drone” aircraft only fly in Class E and G airspace on PilotEdge.
Once you’ve connected to the network and verified that your radio is operational, you’re ready to do some flying!
If you’re looking for some suggestions to get started, here is a short, simple first flight to try on PilotEdge.
Just like the real world, PilotEdge supports a wide range of aviation operations. Every towered airport is fully staffed, top to bottom, and CTAF frequencies are supported at non-towered airports. So don’t be shy about visiting some of the smaller fields. You can:
- Practice VFR cross-country flights.
- Pick up flight following, either in the air or on the ground before your flight.
- Transition the LAX class B airspace using any of the published transitions (SFRA, Mini-Route, Coastal Route, etc).
- Request “tower enroute” (IFR), with or without filing in advance. You’ll receive the real-world TEC route, including the actual local departure instructions for that airport.
- Shoot some practice approaches (vectors to final or full approach).
- Meet up with a friend and request IFR into or out of the same non-towered field at the same time. Behold the delay of one-in, one-out … and enjoy the hold!
Try things you’d do in the real world, and try things you usually wouldn’t do for lack of confidence. PilotEdge is a great place to learn and master unfamiliar procedures and skills.
For some structured learning, be sure to visit the PilotEdge Training Center