xPilot Documentation

xPilot is an intuitive and easy to use X-Plane pilot client for the VATSIM network.

Minimum System Requirements

Installation

After you download the installer, double-click the executable to launch the installer. You will be prompted to choose the root folder of your X-Plane installation (where your X-Plane executable lives). You will then 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.

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

Note: be sure to close X-Plane before installing or updating xPilot or else the X-Plane plugin cannot be successfully installed.

Starting xPilot

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

The first time you run xPilot, you will be prompted to configure xPilot. Click Yes to open the settings window and configure xPilot.

After xPilot starts, it will immediately attempt to connect to X-Plane via the configured plugin TCP port. If you change this port number in xPilot, you must also change it within the X-Plane plugin settings. A message will appear in the main message area when a connection is successfully made.

Important: You cannot have another multiplayer plugin installed (e.g. XSB, XSwiftBus, etc.). You will need to remove these plugin(s) prior to using xPilot otherwise you may have issues seeing other aircraft correctly.

Configuration

To configure xPilot, click the Settings button. You will see the screen shown below.


Network Connection

This section is where you enter your VATSIM network credentials, name and home airport. In this section you will also choose which VATSIM server you would like to connect to. Generally, you should choose the server that is geographically closest to you.


Notifications

The items in this section allow you to choose which events will cause the task bar to flash when the xPilot window is not active.

If the "Play generic SELCAL alert notification" checkbox is checked, xPilot will play a generic SELCAL ding as opposed to your actual SELCAL aural tone.

The checkbox labeled "Show incoming text messages in simulator" allows you to see incoming radio or private messages within the simulator. This can be useful for users with only one monitor.


Miscellaneous

This section contains a list of miscellaneous configuration options.

The "Automatically squawk Mode C on takeoff" makes xPilot automatically turn your transponder to Mode C after takeoff.

The "Automatically check for xPilot updates" option allows xPilot to automatically check for new versions when launched. It is recommended you leave this option checked.

The "Keep xPilot window visible" option makes the xPilot window stay on top of all other windows.

The "X-Plane Plugin TCP Port" is the port number that xPilot will use to communicate with X-Plane. If you change this port number, you will also need to change the port number within the xPilot plugin settings in X-Plane.

Audio Configuration

This section allows you to choose which audio device to use for your microphone and output audio device. If the device is not yet plugged in, you will need to close the Settings window, plug in the device, and then re-open the Settings window.

Once you have your microphone device selected, it's important that you calibrate your microphone. When talking, the calibration bar should be bouncing in the green band. If it does not, increase or decrease the Mic Volume slider.

The "Disable realistic radio effects" option will turn off all VHF, HF, range degradation, background static, voice equalization and audio filtering. It is recommended that you leave this option unchecked unless you have difficulties hearing other users.


xPilot Toggle

This section allows you to set a shortcut key to toggle the visibility of the xPilot window. This is useful if you only have one monitor and want to quickly bring the xPilot window forward.


Push to Talk (PTT) Device Configuration

This section allows you to set which keyboard key or joystick/yoke button you wish to use for PTT. Simply press the button labeled "Set New PTT Key or Button" and then press the keyboard key or joystick/yoke button that you want to use for PTT. xPilot will detect the keystroke or button press and update the "Current PTT Assignment" accordingly.

Note: If you want to use a keyboard key for your PTT, you may need to run xPilot as an administrator for the key press to be recognized.

xPilot also supports the option to map your PTT key or button within X-Plane using commands. This is useful for individuals that use VR headsets and want to map their VR device for their PTT.

To map a PTT keyboard key within X-Plane, open the X-Plane settings and go to the "Keyboard" section. Look for the "xpilot" section and map the "xPilot: Toggle PTT" command to your desired key.

Alternatively, you can map a joystick button as your PTT through the "Joystick" section. Choose your desired device and button and bind it to the "xPilot: Toggle PTT" command.

Plugin Settings

There are a couple of xPilot settings within X-Plane that can be tweaked.


The "Max number of aircraft" defines the maximum number of aircraft that should be drawn in the simulator. Generally, the higher the number, the more of a performance impact you will see.

The "Max aircraft draw distance (nm)" is the max distance to draw other aircraft. Any aircraft outside this distance will not be displayed in the simulator.

The "xPilot Port" is the TCP port number used to communicate between the xPilot UI and X-Plane. If this port number is changed, you must also change it within the xPilot settings.

The "Show aircraft labels" checkbox allows you to show or hide the callsign labels on other aircraft.

Model Matching

xPilot has no special model matching rule sets because it utilizes CSL model sets to display other aircraft in the simulator.

You must have at least one CSL model package installed to use xPilot. A popular model set is the Bluebell CSL package.

You must define the path(s) to your CSL models within the xPilot plugin settings in X-Plane (Plugins > xPilot). You can define up to 7 different paths to CSL packages. Paths are relative to X-Plane's main directory, but you can also enter the full path to the package folder anywhere outside of X-Plane (useful if your CSL package lives on a different drive).

CSL package paths can be enabled or disabled for the next X-Plane startup by using the checkboxes next to each path.

The Load button next to each path will load the respective CSL package immediately into X-Plane. Note: The Load button is irrespective of the enable checkbox. If a path is checked, it will be automatically loaded during the next plugin startup. Any errors that occur with loading a CSL package will be logged in X-Plane's log.txt.

Within the plugin settings, you can also define the default aircraft type code. xPilot will attempt to use this type code if there are not suitable CSL models found for an aircraft.


Connecting to VATSIM

To connect to VATSIM, click the Connect button. This button is disabled if X-Plane is not running.

After you press the Connect button, you will see the Connect window. You can choose from recently used aircraft or enter new information. The SELCAL code is optional, but the callsign and aircraft type are required.

Press the Connect button when you are ready to connect to the network. If the connection was successful, you will see a message in the main message area and the Connect button will turn blue and will read Disconnect. If there are controllers within range of your location, they will appear in the controller list.

Disconnecting from VATSIM

To disconnect from VATSIM, click the blue Disconnect button. The controller list will be cleared, and any nearby aircraft will be removed.

Note: xPilot will automatically disconnect from the network if you should down X-Plane.

Controlling the Transponder

While flying on VATSIM, you will need to toggle your transponder between Standby Mode and Mode C. There are two ways to toggle your transponder mode. The first way is through the aircraft itself. The second method is via the main xPilot window.

You may be also asked to "squawk ident" so that the controller can identify you on his radar scope. If you are asked to squawk ident, you can either toggle the ident in the aircraft itself or via the Ident button in the main xPilot window.

Note: some aircraft developers use different datarefs to toggle the aircraft transponder. If you receive complaints that your transponder mode is not functioning properly, please create a thread in the support forums and include details about what happened and what aircraft you're using.

Communicating with Controllers

When you connect to VATSIM, all controllers within range will be displayed in the controller list on the left side of the main xPilot window. Each controller entry will have the controller's callsign and primary frequency. If you hover your mouse over a controller entry, a popup label will appear with the controller's name.

In order to communicate with a controller, your aircraft's master power and avionics power must be on. Then, simply tune the controller's frequency in your aircraft's radio panel using either the COM1 or COM2 radio. The radio must also be selected for transmit and receive. At the top left of the xPilot main window, you will see the TX/RX labels turn white when transmit and receive is enabled for that COM radio.

To communicate with a controller via text radio message, type your message in text command line in the main message area and press enter. This will send your text message out as a text radio message on whichever COM frequency you have selected for transmit.

Incoming text radio messages are also shown in the main messages area. If you are listening to more than one COM radio, the text radio messages will include the frequency it arrived on.

If an incoming text radio message is specifically directed to you, you will hear an audible alert sound and the message will appear in white. Text radio messages directed towards others (or as a generic message to everyone) will appear in a gray color.

SELCAL

If you specified a SELCAL (Selective Calling) code when connecting to VATSIM, controllers will have the ability to send a SELCAL alert to your aircraft using that code. This is used to get your attention during long flights over areas where standard VHF radio doesn't have enough range, and noisy HF frequencies are used instead. The pilot will typically turn down the volume so he doesn't have to listen to the HF static, and controllers will send a SELCAL alert to get his attention when they need to talk to him over HF.

If a SELCAL alert is received, a tone will sound, and a message will be displayed in the main message area alerting you.

Requesting Controller Information (Text ATIS)

Each controller on VATSIM maintains their controller information (also known as a text ATIS). To request this information, double-click on the controller entry in the controller list. The controller information will appear in the main message area.

Filing a Flight Plan

To file a flight plan, click the Flight Plan button on the xPilot main window. You will see the window shown below. By default, your previously filed flight plan will populate in the flight plan form. You can fill out the flight plan form when not connected to VATSIM, but you will not be able to file the flight plan until you connect.

If you check the "Heavy Aircraft" checkbox, xPilot will automatically prefix your aircraft type code with "H/" to indicate to other controllers that you are flying a heavy aircraft.

Choose an equipment suffix from the dropdown so that controllers know what type of navigational equipment your aircraft is equipped with.

Before submitting your flight plan, be sure to choose your voice option. Based on your selection here, xPilot will add the appropriate voice tag to your flight plan remarks so that controllers know what your voice capability is.

If the VATSIM server already has a flight plan on file for your callsign (i.e. if you pre-filed), you can download it by clicking the Fetch From Server button.

Private Messages

xPilot allows you to chat with other pilots or controllers via private message. If you receive a private message, a tab will appear in the xPilot main window with the sender's callsign as the tab name.

To reply to a private message, type your message in the text command line at the bottom of the chat tab and press enter.

To initiate a new private chat session, either right click on a controller in the controller list and choose "Open Private Chat" or use the .chat dot command (see below).

Dot Commands

xPilot supports the following dot commands, which can be entered in the command line just below the main message area (or in any private message tab).

.chat CALLSIGN MESSAGE Opens a new chat tab for the specified callsign. You can specify an initial message string to send. If no message string is specified, only a new chat window is opened. You can also use .msg
.close Closes the current chat tab.
.atis CALLSIGN Requests the controller information/ATIS for a specified callsign
.wx STATION Requests the weather (METAR) for the specified station ID. You can also use .metar
.wallop message Sends a "wallop" to all supervisors connected to the network.
.copy Copies the contents of the active message tab to your clipboard.
.clear Clears the contents of the active message tab.
.x SQUAWK-CODE Sets your transponder to the specified squawk code. You can also use .xpdr, .xpndr or .squawk
.com1 FREQUENCY Sets the COM1 radio to the specified frequency.
.com2 FREQUENCY Sets the COM2 radio to the specified frequency.
.rx com# on|off Toggles receiving on the specified com radio. For example: .rx com1 on
.tx com# Enables the COM1 or COM2 radio for transmit. For example: .tx com2
.notes Opens a Notes tab if one does not exist. Alternatively, you can close your Notes tab by sending a .close command within the Notes tab.
.towerview [IP ADDRESS] [CALLSIGN] Connects xPilot to a proxy server (such as provided by Euroscope) in observer mode for the purpose of creating a tower view. The IP address defaults to 127.0.0.1 (localhost) and the callsign defaults to TOWER.

Shared Cockpit (Observer) Mode

xPilot supports the ability to connect in observer mode so that your aircraft does not appear to other users on the network. This feature is intended for use with shared cockpit operations. To use this feature, the first pilot should connect to the network normally, and the second pilot should connect in observer mode. The second pilot must use the same callsign as the first pilot, with a letter appended to the end.

For example, if the first pilot's callsign is JBU123, the second pilot should use JBU123A. Any letter suffix will work.

Software Updates

Each time you launch xPilot, 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, xPilot will download the updated installer. When the download is complete, xPilot will close and the installer will open to begin the installation of the new version.

Getting Help

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