PilotEdge Review - ATC Practice Flying Online
While I can't speak for other students and licensed pilots, I have heard again and again that in the business of flying, talking on the radio with ATC and even other pilots, is the most common fear, difficulty, and even avoided on flights when airborne. Go the long way around, just to stay off the radio. Yeah, not that bad, but me too. While my own radio speak is not too deficient in general, and not a huge fear overall, still in some situations I lock up and become flying imbecile just like others.
Well like anything, one must practice for advancement and perfection, and/or at least to conquer the hurdle. Online flying helps, and PilotEdge is by far the most outstanding!
Pilotedge is online flying ATC at it's best! Pilotedge is just fantastic, and I can't thank them enough for the amazing and wonderful facility and services they provide.
Here are excerpts (slightly revised) from a review of Pilotedge I found helpful, accurate, and compelling.
"If you want to guarantee that high quality controllers will be online along with functioning voice CTAF, Pilotedge is for you.
Pilotedge is for real world pilots and serious simulation enthusiasts.
PilotEdge say they provide a reliable and repeatable online flying experience by building their network from the ground up to provide a level of realism not seen in other networks. All true.
In order to guarantee ATC service they operate between 8:00am to 11:00pm (US Pacific) 7 days per week with only a few exceptions around major holidays. However, the radio systems are on 24/7 so after hours you can fly with other pilots, including the 500+ drone aircraft in Class E & G airspace.
Also, to increase traffic and maintaining quality ATC the service areas are limited to the ZLA (Los Angeles ARTCC) area and San Fransisco International airport. That means there are 4 Class Bravo fields covered, San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Fransisco. They also cover numerous Charlie airports along with way too many Delta airports to name. They also mention their choice of the ZLA airspace is due to the amount of traffic in the area as well as it is a challenging airspace for pilots.
PilotEdge also hand selects their controllers and compensates them for their time so a high level of ATC is guaranteed during all operation hours.
A very unique feature to PilotEdge is their use of drone aircraft to fill the skies of VFR traffic just like in real life. These aircraft mimic real flights made by real people and they only operate in Class Echo and Golf airspaces squawking VFR just like you would find flying in that area.
Further, the subscription fee will also deter pilots that are not ready for such simulated realism therefore bringing the pilot quality up as well.
PilotEdge does another unique thing by modeling two-way VHF radio operations. Basically this means that they simulate real transmission/reception limits not only based on range, but altitude and terrain as well.
Non-towered airports have functioning voice CTAFs with the real frequencies found on charts, not just a text based UNICOM frequency that is the same all over.
At this writing, the monthly plan is $19.95 per month and the annual plan saves you 25% at $179.
Once you have signed up for your free trial, download the X-Plane plugin directly from the PilotEdge website. The installation is also easy, you copy the PilotEdge plugin folder to your X-Plane directory Resources > Plugins. When done correctly the plugin will be in the list of your other plugins. Simply put in your email address, password you created at sign up, callsign, aircraft ICAO and you are connected.
When I connected on my first flight, just a few seconds went by when I heard the first transmission and immediately I heard the difference in quality from any other network. Calling it "incredibly clear" doesn't even do it justice, it was beyond incredibly clear.
Even though this was a short flight with simple ATC, I realized how incredibly professional PilotEdge is. It made it completely clear that I need to fully plan and brief before every flight.
Simply, I will keep my account and fly regularly. All the features mentioned on the PilotEdge website were backed up in reality. This is a great service.
Who is Pilotedge for?
PilotEdge is for:
- Real world pilots and student pilots looking for professional and realistic ATC.
- Experienced X-Plane pilots that are looking for the most realistic experience.
- X-Plane pilots that are serious about learning the real way.
PilotEdge is not for:
- Casual flight simulation pilot that likes to just power up and go.
- Long haul pilots.
- Beginner X-Plane pilots with minimal understanding of procedures and resources.
I fall into the category of people that PilotEdge is perfect for. As far as I know there is no competitor to PilotEdge either. VATSIM and IVAO are great services and I will continue to fly on VATSIM but when I am looking for a hyper realistic flying environment I will be logging into PilotEdge.
Hope to see you on PilotEdge soon too!