• Review: OnCourse Software - PF3 ATC

    PF3 ATC

    Publisher: OnCourse Software

    Review Author:
    Michael Hayward

    Suggested Price:
    $49.00

    Buy Here

    It is a known fact that default ATC on most common flight simulators is not always that good. They miss several features of flight such as SIDS and STARS and in some cases can send you into ground locations where aircraft are not quite compatible.

    OnCourse Software has recently released PF3, the latest edition of their long-running ATC software, compatible with FS2004, FSX, P3D and the all-new Microsoft Flight Simulator. It aims to improve the traffic control experience for flight simmers with a new system built from the ground up to walk you through each stage of your flight.

    In this review, we will take a look at the all-new add-on and see how it works alongside Microsoft Flight Simulator, as well as to determine if it is worth picking up for your flights.

    OnCourse Software - PF3 ATC

    What Is PF3?

    OnCourse Software's PF3 is an Air Traffic Control client for any flight simulator that uses the FSUIPC client. It provides you with an all-new advanced set of flight instructions that allow you to simulate far more realistic ATC without the need for flying on any of the online networks, such as IVAO or VATSIM. It also allows you to walk through every aspect of your flight, including your flight plan, chosen SID and STAR, as well as any deviations or holds you might be required to make.

    It also manages your flight around AI aircraft that are also within the simulator. While it may not be able to guide them, it can guide you around their paths, avoiding any chance of collision or deviation in the case of a busy airport operation.

    OnCourse Software - PF3 ATC

    PF3's interface is simplistic and gives you what you need to start and plan your flight. The UI is clear and simple to understand, while the in-sim frequencies and captions box adds a nice little extra for you to quickly glance at. When connected to the simulator, the wing navigation lights on the logo will also start to flash as an indicator that navigation is running - a nice little extra detail!

    Taxi Guidance is also a nice extra feature that lets you follow paths to and from the runway with audio cues from the co-pilot. They will guide you left and right, naming any taxiways and stand numbers that you are passing.

    The PF3 database comes with thousands of voices with different accents that cover almost the entire world. No matter where you fly, you will hear the voices of controllers that would not go amiss in your departure and arrival areas. This also includes the voice of your co-pilot, which can be set with a choice of 119 offerings. Voices can also be shared among regions, for example, the US and Canada or the Irish and British to increase the amount of variety you will hear on the ground and in the air. Bored of that robotic Microsoft Sam voice? You no longer need to hear it!

    OnCourse Software - PF3 ATC

    Control of PF3 is also simple and again comes with a lot of variety. You manage your communications by a series of hotkeys. These are linked to your responses and allow you to easily chat with the tower based on your requirement. While it does take some learning to remember what each key does, once you know the pattern, it's just a case of pressing a number and listening to the program do all of the work. Don't feel like communicating? Get the co-pilot to do it all for you! PF3 also has two automated ATC methods that let the software communicate and respond on your behalf, as well as change frequencies and autopilot systems.

    OnCourse Software - PF3 ATC

    It also features some VFR options too, giving you flight following and guidance on request if you feel like flying something low and slow and enjoy the scenery that Microsoft Flight Simulator has to offer.


    2 Comments
    1. durhambuilder's Avatar
      durhambuilder -
      Have used Proflight 2000 in the past and thought it was excellent. Was looking forward to the latest release and so requested the demo. Nothing, not even a reply. Will give it a wide berth now, thankyou.
      Geoff
    1. shermank's Avatar
      shermank -
      While I agree with much of what the reviewer says, I think the program is somewhat more complicated than he suggests. There really are a lot of hoops to jump through to get set up. Once that is done, there will be an occasional burp. For instance, on a flight yesterday, as I was taking off from my assigned runway, a plane was taking off on the reciprocal...fortunately, he was airborne before we reached contact. But, that needs to be corrected in the software.

      Should you ever uninstall and reinstall the program for whatever reason, you may have to seek relicensing. I will give credit that Dave March, who created the program, responds quickly to email requests for license clearance. While I understand his need to protect the program from cheats, this does add another of those hoops I mentioned above.

      Otherwise, I do like FP3 and recommend it for the sim pilot who wants something better than default ATC, but may not wish to fly with VATSIM or another online service.

      Sherm
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