Audio for VATSIM Released


Audio for VATSIM is a new technology for voice communication featuring:

  • State of the art voice quality – a brand new Opus-based voice codec with optional, realistic distortion, white noise, VHF and HF simulation
  • Reduced delay – up to 80% reduction in latency, making busy frequencies more realistic and manageable
  • Range simulation – transceivers set up as per real ATC positions, with signal strength dependent on distance and altitude
  • Customisable technology – this upgrade paves the way for future development by the community.

Audio for VATSIM was developed by members of the Simfest UK in conjunction with the VATSIM team. The system models real-world VHF and HF radio technologies and immerses the virtual pilot and controller by presenting both the benefits and challenges of aviation radio communication to the user.

Users will benefit from a crystal-clear base codec with an 80% latency reduction from VATSIM’s current voice solution. This codec is then transformed to sound like a real-world airliner and Air Traffic Control radios as verified by many real-world pilots and air traffic control professionals. This audio is then run through a powerful simulation engine that replicates how VHF and HF radios really work.

As pilots fly further away from an air traffic controller’s radio antenna, they will experience signal degradation with increasing static until they are no longer able to hear the controller. A pilot’s reception range will increase and decrease with altitude, potentially resulting in areas where he can not hear air traffic control due to not being in range of a radio tower based on real-world data.

A half-duplex model is implemented where a pilot or controller transmitting on a frequency will not be able to hear others until they finish transmitting. When two users transmit on the same frequency at the same time the others will hear the blocking tone familiar to real-world pilots. Finally, every frequency in the VHF communications radio spectrum works whether there is air traffic control online or not, so for the first time ever on VATSIM, voice UNICOM and eventually communicating on common traffic advisory frequencies become a reality.

Audio for VATSIM is a completely free upgrade to all members and all active users will need to update their pilot or controller connection clients to use the new technology.