vATIS Documentation

vATIS is an intuitive and easy to use ATIS client for the VATSIM network. vATIS was created to simulate the Digital ATIS (D-ATIS) system used by the FAA with the intent to reduce controller workload. Never again will you be interrupted while recording an ATIS — vATIS will automatically update it for you.

Read the change log for a summary of bug fixes, changes or enhancements in each version release.

Minimum System Requirements

Installation

After you download the vATIS installer file, double-click the executable to launch the installer. You will be prompted to choose an installation location. It is recommended that you leave the default location selected as the local application data folder to avoid any file permission problems.

The Empty Config File option will reset your vATIS configuration file to the default settings. You will lose all configured settings.

When the installation is complete, you will have the option of launching vATIS.

Terms and Concepts

Before using vATIS, you should familiarize yourself with a few basic terms and concepts.

  • Facilities

    A facility is the geographical location of the ATIS (e.g. KLAX).

  • Configuration Profiles

    Configuration Profiles are used to save ATIS free text and settings, allowing you to quickly populate vATIS. You can create an unlimited number of configuration profiles per facility. For example, you could create a profile for "West Ops", "East Ops", "Night Ops", etc.

Starting vATIS

To start vATIS, double-click the desktop icon (if you chose to create one during the installation process) or locate vATIS in your programs list.

Each time you launch vATIS, a window with a list of facilities (if you created or imported any) will show. See the Facilities section for details on how to create a facility.

Facilities

Each time you launch vATIS, a facilities list will show (see screenshot below). The first time you run vATIS, the list will be empty. Most users will download and import a facility configuration file created by their ARTCC.

Create a New Facility

To create a new facility, click the New button at the top right of the facility list. You will be prompted to enter a facility ICAO identifier (e.g. KLAX) and a name for the facility (e.g. Los Angeles). After you save the facility, it will be added to the facility list.

Import a Facility Configuration File

To import a pre-configured facility configuration file, click the Import button. A file browser dialog will show allowing you to browse to the location of the facility file (.gz file). Importing a facility configuration file will also import all configuration profiles associated with each facility within the import file.

Export a Facility

You can export a configured facility by highlighting the facility name in the list and clicking the Export button. This is useful if you want to make a backup copy of your facility configurations.

ARTCC Facility Engineers: To export a facility and its configuration profiles to share with your ARTCC, highlight the facility name in the facility list and click the Export button. Choose a location to save the exported file.

Select a Facility

To select a facility, double-click the facility name in the list. The facility and its profile configurations will be loaded and the main vATIS window will become active.

Tour of the Main Screen

  1. ATIS Frequency and Transmit Status

    This area displays the ATIS frequency and an indicatior that illuminates if the ATIS is currently transmitting. See Configure ATIS Frequency section for more information.

  2. Information Status Bar

    The Information Status Bar across the top of the main vATIS window gives an at-a-glance look at the current ATIS situation. From left to right is the current zulu time, wind and altimeter reading.

  3. ATIS Code

    The current ATIS code. Left click to increment the ATIS code letter. Right click to go back to the previous letter.

  4. METAR

    This area shows the current METAR report for the current facility. The METAR is only visible when you are connected to the network.

  5. ARPT COND

    The Airport Conditions is a free form text field used to define the current airport conditions such as active runways, approaches in use, taxiway closures, etc. This text field follows the Text Parsing Rules. You can also define static airport condition messages that you can toggle on and off. See Pre-Defined ATIS Messages for more information.

  6. NOTAM MSG

    Similar to the ARPT COND text field, the NOTAM MSG text field is a free form text field used to define NOTAMs in the ATIS. This text field follows the Text Parsing Rules. You can also define static airport condition messages that you can toggle on and off. See Pre-Defined ATIS Messages for more information.

  7. Function Control Bar

    The Function Control Bar at the bottom of the main vATIS window contain several functions.

    • TX ATIS: This button will start or stop the transmit of the ATIS.
    • RECORD ATIS: This button allows you to manually record an ATIS (useful for facilities that don't have a digital ATIS in the real-world). The facility must be enabled for Voice Recorded ATIS in the facility configuration.
    • Configuration Profiles

      The Configuration Profile dropdown list shows all configuration profiles that are created within the loaded facility. To select a configuration profile, click the dropdown list and choose a configuration profile by clicking its name. vATIS will populate with the configuration profile data. See the Configuration Profiles section to learn more about creating profiles.

    • CONNECT/DISCONNECT: This button is used to connect or disconnect from the VATSIM network. When clicked, a new network connection will initiate (if you have properly configured vATIS). When vATIS is connected the the network, the button will read DISCONNECT and turn blue. See the Disconnecting from VATSIM section for information on disconnecting from the network.


Pre-Defined ATIS Messages

In addition to inputting free-from text in the APRT COND and NOTAM MSG boxes, you can also define static messages that can be toggled on or off. This is useful for defining messages that you may frequently use but need the ability to quickly turn them on or off. These messages are independent of configuration profiles so no matter which configuration profile you have active, you will be able to access all your pre-defined messages.

To create a new pre-defined message, click on either the ARPT COND or NOTAM MSG labels. A popup dialog will show allowing you to toggle existing messages on or off, modify existing messages or add new ones.

To toggle an existing message, simple check or uncheck the checkbox next to the appropriate message. After you do this, the Apply button will become active. Please note that even though you may have messages toggled on, they will not be included in the ARPT COND or NOTAM MSG free form textboxes.

If you have a transmitting ATIS and you toggle a message on or off, you will be prompted with the option to stop transmitting the ATIS so it can be updated. If you choose yes, the ATIS will stop transmitting. You will then have to click the TX ATIS button to start transmitting the updated ATIS. If you chose no, the current ATIS will continue to transmit until you manually stop and restart the transmission.

Connecting to VATSIM

To connect vATIS to the VATSIM network, click the CONNECT button at the lower right of the main screen. If you haven't fully configured vATIS yet, you will be prompted to do so before you can connect.

If at anytime you need to change your network login credentials, use the key combination CTRL + S to open the settings dialog.

After connecting, the ATIS will become visible to other users connected to the network who are within range. See the Disconnecting from VATSIM section for more information on how to disconnect from the network.

Configure ATIS Frequency

To configure the ATIS frequency and voice server URL, double click the ATIS frequency at the top left area of the main screen.

In the Voice Server text box, enter the URL of the voice server that vATIS should use.

In the Frequency box, enter the frequency of the ATIS. This is the frequency that other network users will use to tune to listen to the ATIS with.

When you are satisfied with the settings, click the OK button. If you are currently transmitting an ATIS and you change the voice server URL, the ATIS will stop transmitting and disconnect. You will have to click the TX ATIS button again. If you just change the frequency, it will automatically change without disconnecting.

Transmit an ATIS

To begin transmitting an ATIS on the VATSIM network you must first select a configuration profile from the dropdown list at the bottom of the main vATIS screen. If you do not have any configuration profiles created, please read the Configuration Profiles section for information on how to create a configuration profile.

After you have configured the ATIS to your liking (i.e. airport conditions, notams, etc), choose an ATIS code – left click the ATIS code box to increment the letter. You can also right click the ATIS code to go back to the previous letter.

To begin transmitting the ATIS on the network, click the TX ATIS button. You can click this button any time to stop transmitting the ATIS.

When a new METAR report is received, vATIS will notify you of an ATIS update with an audible "ding" sound and the vATIS icon in the taskbar will begin to flash (if you have these notifications enabled). When you activate the vATIS window, a popup dialog will show with the new ATIS code with a button to acknowledge the update (see notification screenshot). You can disable the popup dialog in the facility configuration settings.

ATIS Update Notifications

VATSIM controllers may subscribe to a vATIS connection to receive notification of a new ATIS.

  • VRC Users

    To subscribe to ATIS updates, send a private chat message to the ATIS connection with the command SUBSCRIBE. vATIS will acknowledge your subscription request and add you to the subscribers list. You will receive a private message from the vATIS connection when a new ATIS is published.

    You can unsubscribe from the ATIS notifications by sending a private chat message to the vATIS connection with the command UNSUBSCRIBE

  • vSTARS and vERAM Users

    The "track" command is used to subscribe to ATIS updates. Refer to the vSTARS or vERAM documentation for more information on how to use the track command.

  • EuroScope Users

    EuroScope users will be notified of an ATIS update with an audible notification sound. The ATIS letter within EuroScope will automatically update.

Facility Configuration

The Facility Configuration window contains additional options for configuring the ATIS facility. To open the facility configuration window, use the key combination CTRL + F.


ATIS Template

The ATIS Template tab has a text field with a template used to format the ATIS. Clicking the Default Template button will restore the ATIS template to the default template. The following variables can be used in the template, in any order.

Note: By default, US formatted ATIS templates will automatically have "Advise on initial contact, you have informaton X" appended to the ATIS template, so it is not necessary to add it.

[FACILITY] The ATIS facility name (i.e. the airport name)
[ATIS_CODE] The current ATIS letter code
[FULL_WX_STRING] Recommended Variable – Inserts the full weather string
[OBS_TIME] The METAR observation time
[SURFACE_WIND] The reported surface winds
[RVR] The RVR (runway visibility range)
[PREVAILING_VISIBILITY] The visibility, if reported in the current METAR report
[PRESENT_WEATHER] The reported present weather conditions (e.g. rain, snow, hail, etc.)
[CLOUDS] The reported cloud conditions
[TEMP] The reported temperature
[DEW] The reported dewpoint
[PRESSURE] The reported pressure reading
[ARPT_COND] Inserts the text in the ARPT COND free form text field
[NOTAMS] Inserts the text in the NOTAM MSG free form text field


Configuration Profiles

Configuration Profiles are used to store ATIS options without having to redefine them each time you use vATIS.

To create a Configuration Profile, click the New Profile button at the bottom left of the facility configuration window. A popup dialog to specify a name for the profile will show. When you create a profile, it will automatically become active. You can delete or rename a configuration profile using the respective buttons at the bottom of the facility configuration window.

Any changes you make to vATIS when a configuration profile is selected will be saved to that configuration profile. For example, you could create a configuration profile for "east operations" and input the appropriate information. Then, each time you choose the "east operations" configuration profile, vATIS will automatically populate with the "east operations" data.



Contractions

The second tab in the facility configuration window is where you can define contractions. If you specify a contraction that already exists in the Contraction List, then it will be overridden with the contraction you insert.

Contractions are useful for tricking the voice synthesizer to pronounce words or acronyms the way you want. For example, by default RNAV is synthesized as "area navigation", but you can make vATIS pronounce it as "are-nav".



Configuration

The third tab in the facility configuration window contains miscellaneous configuration options. These options are global to the active facility and are shared with each configuration profile within the facility.


  • Officla METAR Observation Time

    To enable this setting, check the box and specify the offical METAR observation time in the numeric box. For example, if the METAR normal updates at 53 minutes past the hour, then type 53 in the box. If the number in the box does not match the METAR observation time minutes, then the word "special" will be appended after the observation time in the ATIS.

  • Use International ATIS Format

    If this checkbox is checked, vATIS will attempt to read the METAR using the standard international format.

  • Voice Recorded ATIS

    If this checkbox is checked then you can manually record an ATIS. This setting is useful for facilities that do not use a digital ATIS in the real-world. See the Voice Recorded ATIS section for more info.

  • Text to Speech Configuration

    vATIS now allows you to change the text to speech voice. Note: certain voice options only have one gender option.



vATIS Settings

The vATIS Settings dialog is where you specify your network credentials and to choose which server to connect to. Additionally, there are also options to disable ATIS notifications, the ability to keep the main vATIS window visible and to automatically check for updates when vATIS starts. To open the settings window, use the key combination CTRL + S.

Voice Recorded ATIS

vATIS allows you to manually record an ATIS for siutations where the facility does not use a digitalized ATIS in the real world. This option is especially useful if you are using a radar client that does not have a built-in ATIS maker (e.g. vERAM or vSTARS).

To manually record an ATIS you must first configure the facility to allow a voice recorded ATIS. See the Facility Configuration for information on how to enable this setting.

  1. Connect to the VATSIM network and choose a configuration profile and ATIS code.
  2. Click the RECORD ATIS button and begin speaking the ATIS. vATIS will use your default microphone device to caputre the audio. Be sure to leave a few seconds of silence at the end of your ATIS recording so there is not overlap when the ATIS loops.
  3. When you are finished recording, click the RECORD ATIS button to stop.
  4. You can listen to the ATIS you just recorded by right clicking the RECORD ATIS button and choosing the Preview option. You can stop the playback at anytime by clicking the Preview option again. If necessary, you can re-record the ATIS by repeating step 2.
  5. When you are satisfied with your recording, click the TX ATIS button to begin transmitting your ATIS. When a new METAR is available, you will be notified of the ATIS code change so you can record a new ATIS (if you have new ATIS notifications enabled).

Disconnecting from VATSIM

To disconnect vATIS from the VATSIM network, click the blue DISCONNECT button at the bottom right of the main window. If an ATIS is currently transmitting, it will disconnect automatically.

Additionally, you can disconnect and end the current session by clicking the red X button at the top right of the main screen.

Software Updates

Each time you launch vATIS, it will check if there is a newer version available. If there is, you will be prompted to download the update.

If you choose to download the update, vATIS will download the updated installer. When the download is complete, vATIS will close and the installer will open to begin the installation of the new version.

Text Parsing Rules

You can use the following text parsing rules in the Arrival/Departure/Other free text field and the Notams free text field

Taxiways

To parse taxiway names, you must append the acronym TWY or TWYS in front of the group. For example, TWY E16 would be read as "taxiway echo sixteen" by the voice synthesizer.

Runways

To parse runway names, you must append the acronym RWY or RWYS in front of the group. For example, RWY 25R would be read as "runway two five right" by the voice synthesizer.

Numbers

To correctly pronounce numbers, append an asterisk (*) followed by the number. For example, *5058 would be read as "five thousand, fifty-eight" by the voice synthesizer. If the number should be pronounced as a negative value, append a dash after the asterisk. For example, *-8 would be read as "minus eight".

Frequencies

To correctly read frequencies, they must be typed in the full MHz format. Only frequencies 100.000 to 199.999 MHz will be parsed correctly. For example, 127.65 would be read as "one two seven point six five" by the voice synthesizer.

Airport Names

To parse airport identifiers to the airport name, append a plus sign (+) to the ICAO identifier. For example, +KLAX would be read as "Los Angeles International Airport" by the voice synthesizer.

Navaids

To parse navaid identifiers to their name, append a plus sign (+) to the navaid identifier. For example, +GBN would be read as "Gila Bend" by the voice synthesizer.

Contraction List

vATIS is preconfigured to translate and synthesize the following FAA contractions if used in the Arrival/Departure/Other free text field or the Notams free text field.

ACFT AIRCRAFT
ADVS ADVISE
ADVSD ADVISED
ADVZY ADVISORY
ADVZYS ADVISORIES
ALS APPROACH LIGHTING SYSTEM
ALT ALTITUDE
ALTS ALTITUDES
APCH APPROACH
APCHS APPROACHES
APP APPROACH
APPR APPROACH
APPRS APPROACHES
APPS APPROACHES
ARPT AIRPORT
ARR ARRIVAL
ARRS ARRIVALS
ATTN ATTENTION
AUTH AUTHORIZED
AVBL AVAILABLE
BA BRAKING ACTION
BAA BRAKING ACTION ADVISORIES
BC BACKCOURSE
BTWN BETWEEN
CAUT CAUTION
CLNC CLEARANCE
CLR CLEAR
CLRD CLEARED
CLSD CLOSED
CLSGN CALLSIGN
CMSN COMMISSION
CMSND COMMISSIONED
CTC CONTACT
CTL CONTROL
CTLD CONTROLLED
DCMSN DECOMMISSION
DCMSND DECOMMISSIONED
DEP DEPARTURE
DEPS DEPARTURES
DEPTG DEPARTING
DIST DISTANCE
DRCTN DIRECTION
DURG DURING
DURN DURATION
E EAST
EFCT EFFECT
EFF EFFECTIVE
ENE EAST NORTHEAST
EQPT EQUIPMENT
ERN EASTERN
ESE EAST SOUTHEAST
EXP EXPECT
EXPT EXPECT
FLT FLIGHT
FREQ FREQUENCY
FT FEET
GND GROUND
GS GLIDESLOPE
HAZ WX INFO HAZARDOUS WEATHER INFORMATION
HDG HEADING
HDGS HEADINGS
HELI HELICOPTER
HS HOLD SHORT
INBD INBOUND
INTXN INTERSECTION
INVOF IN VICINITY OF
LAHSO LAND AND HOLD SHORT OPERATIONS
LDG LANDING
LGT LIGHT
LGTD LIGHTED
LGTS LIGHTS
LLWS LOW LEVEL WIND SHEAR
LLZ LOCALIZER
LOC LOCALIZER
MOD MODERATE
MULTI MULTIPLE
N NORTH
NA NOT AUTHORIZED
NE NORTHEAST
NERN NORTHEASTERN
NNE NORTH NORTHEAST
NNW NORTH NORTHWEST
NOTAM NOTICE TO AIRMEN
NOTAMS NOTICES TO AIRMEN
NRN NORTHERN
NW NORTHWEST
NWRN NORTHWESTERN
OAT OUTSIDE AIR TEMPERATURE
OPER OPERATE
OPS OPERATIONS
OTS OUT OF SERVICE
OUBD OUTBOUND
PAPI PRECISION APPROACH PATH INDICATOR
PIREP PILOT WEATHER REPORT
PRM PRECISION RUNWAY MONITOR
PROC PROCEDURE
PROG PROGRESS
RMNG REMAINING
RMVL REMOVAL
RQST REQUEST
RQSTD REQUESTED
RWY RUNWAY
RWYS RUNWAYS
S SOUTH
SE SOUTHEAST
SERN SOUTHEASTERN
SFC SURFACE
SIMUL SIMULTANEOUS
SRN SOUTHERN
SSE SOUTH SOUTHEAST
SSW SOUTH SOUTHWEST
SVC SERVICE
SVCS SERVICES
SVR SEVERE
SW SOUTHWEST
SWRN SOUTHWESTERN
TFC TRAFFIC
TFR TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTION
TODA TAKE OFF DISTANCE AVAILABLE
TURB TURBULENCE
TWY TAXIWAY
TWYS TAXIWAYS
UFN UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
UNCTLD UNCONTROLLED
UNUSBL UNUSABLE
US UNSERVICEABLE
USBL USABLE
VASI VISUAL APPROACH SLOPE INDICATOR
VCNTY VICINITY
VCTR VECTOR
VCTRS VECTORS
VFY VERIFY
VIS VISUAL
W WEST
WNW WEST NORTHWEST
WRN WESTERN
WSW WEST SOUTHWEST
XPDR TRANSPONDER
XPDRS TRANSPONDERS
XPNDR TRANSPONDER
XPNDRS TRANSPONDERS
XTM EXTREME

Getting Help

If you're having trouble configuring or using vATIS, please post your message in the vATIS Support Forum.