FSExpo 2023 was abundant with new product announcements and updates spanning the entire flight simulation industry. This included everything from fresh insights about MSFS 2024 to the introduction of new aircraft and compelling new hardware. A standout revelation was BeyondATC, a novel ATC solution for Microsoft Flight Simulator. This advanced tool pledges to integrate the capabilities of AI into this frequently criticised, yet critical, component of the simulator.
Following the event, BeyondATC came further into the spotlight with a demonstration video showcasing its groundbreaking features during a simulated flight from Vancouver to Seattle. While the program is still under active development, the preliminary insights show a promising leap in this technology, one that will hopefully result in much improved ATC communications in MSFS.
BeyondATC is a highly user-friendly software with a sleek, modern interface designed to simplify the user experience. Its unique features aim to minimize complex configurations or file management, thus enabling users to set it up effortlessly.
The demo offered an overview of the software’s innovative features. One of the key functionalities introduced was the radio degradation simulation that mimics the effect of traffic, terrain, or atmospheric conditions on the radio signal.
Among other notable features is the autorespond function, which essentially acts as a co-pilot, handling communication. Users also have the option to enable an auto-tune radio feature that automatically changes frequencies when handed off, eliminating the need for manual adjustment.
The video highlighted a particularly cool feature, which is BeyondATC’s recreation of the ATIS system, used at real airports. By emulating an 80s text-to-speech program used to generate ATIS, BeyondATC managed to sound almost identical to what you would hear at a real airport!
BeyondATC seems to be a very versatile tool. Users can communicate using pilot shorthand or adjust the wording as needed, and the program will still understand the commands.
Throughout the simulated flight, we can see BeyondATC through all the stages of flight operation from pre-flight, engine start, taxiing, takeoff, reaching cruising altitude, descending, landing, and taxiing to the terminal. The software seamlessly handled communication with the ATC system, showing impressive potential for both recreational and training use cases!
A significant advantage of Beyond ATC is its ability to adjust its phraseology based on location. The software automatically uses FAA phraseology in the US and ICAO phraseology in other regions, thereby ensuring a smoother user experience and more accurate training tool for aspiring pilots.
While it’s still in development, the future of Beyond ATC is definitely very promising. It represents a new generation of user-friendly, immersive, and accurate ATC software that is bound to transform the communication system in MSFS. It’s aimed at both experienced simmers and newcomers, which is great for those longing for a better solution to the “ATC problem” in MSFS and for those wanting to take their first steps in this area.
Expect to hear more about BeyondATC in the coming months. The developers promise to reveal more details about cost, business model, and release plans by the end of the year.