Audio for VATSIM launch date announced

Written by on September 29, 2019

VATSIM is delighted to announce that Audio for VATSIM, our brand new voice technology, will launch on Monday 14th October 2019. This is the dawn of the next generation of online flight simulation.

What is Audio for VATSIM?

Audio for VATSIM is an innovative new technology for our voice communication which features:

  • 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 amazing development by the community.

This is the biggest technological change for the VATSIM community in many years, and is being rolled out across all pilot and ATC clients. In order to implement this change, we must do two things that have never been done before on the network. First, we must take the entire network offline for maintenance for a short period on 13th October 2019 at 2000z. Secondly, after the downtime, all VATSIM members will need to have updated their ATC and pilot clients to be compatible with the new infrastructure.

Audio for VATSIM is revolutionary new communications platform for online flight simulation 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 of the world’s largest online aviation network. All 80,000 of our active users will need to perform a small update to their pilot or controller connection clients to use the new technology and can find the information at All flight simulator users are welcome to join and fly in our online community for free to experience the next generation of online flight simulation!

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