If, you have to text a pilot, then "be prepared" is the motto.
There is nothing worse – when you are busy – and a pilot is /t text only. Don’t get me wrong, it is totally recognised and authorised by VATSIM. There is no discrimination between voice and text on the Network. However, as with your voice comms, text comms must be available at the drop of a hat. So, I intend to provide you – in this “series” of TEXTING, my approach (I am an APP controller LOL) to the provision of some regular – and irregular – texting capabilities, namely [dot) commands built into an Alias file via NOTEPAD.
Text [dot] commands are just a series of “shorthand” (remember those shorthand typists and journalists in the 20th century?) commands that when received by the pilot become instant “longhand” instructions. Think of it just like some of our shorthand voice commands – “HDG 350 – C/M 15000, we don’t say HDG 350 degrees, and C/M 15000 feet".
Some of my smallest [dot] commands include the following:-
[dot) id = IDENT
[dot] sk = SQUAWK XXXX (the sqk number appears automatically if the code is already slotted into the Flight Plan)
You could even have more simple commands such as – [dot]a = AFFIRMATIVE, [dot] n = NEGATIVE
Then there are very complex commands, which need some research, manipulation and trialling. Yes, you must trial your [dot] commands. Nothing worse (except as mentioned above) is you entering a shorthand command, only for that command either, not to be received by the pilot or, the wrong instruction is received because of some error(s) in your [dot] command.
One of the many typical complex [dot] commands that I use is:-
.rfdt Released for departure, clearance void if not off by $ftime(30)Z, If not off by $ftime(30)Z, advise $callsign no later than $ftime(35)Z of intentions, time now $timeZ, Report airborne this frequency when in controlled airspace, change to advisory frequency approved
.rfdt ([dot} rftd = “released for departure time"
The complete text received by the pilot is at an unmanned airport location, which has the one in/ one out rule, and conditionally releases the departure clearance issued.
Well, that’s just a taster. If you require more insight into [dot] commands and texting to pilots, then follow this series of discussions. Please, ask questions, make suggestions and share your thoughts and ideas on this subject.
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