There are two different pilot clients that can be used to connect to VATSIM when you fly. At VATSAF the members predominitly use:
FSINN for Microsoft Flight Simulator
xSquawkbox for X-Plane
Although Squawkbox is available for Microsoft Flight Simulator, we find FSINN offers a far richer interface than squawkbox.
FSInn up and running quick and easy (4 simple steps) Courtesy Larry James from VATSIM Forums.
First I would like to mention that FSInn1.3 beta is very stable. It was waiting for the completion of the Weather installation which was dependent on the functionality of simconnect.
FS9 users can consider sticking with the older version 1.2. Neither FSX or Vista is supported under FSInn1.2. FSInn1.3 has full support for both.
The upgrade will eliminate many problems from any Flight Simulator version. You will find the FSInn1.3 download at:
To become more definitive with the install, numerous times I took a fresh machine and installed Flight Simulator (Both FS9 and FSX) and FSInn. I did this for:
- Windows XP (both x32 and x64)
- Windows Vista (both x32 and x64)
- Windows 7 (x32 and x64)
Below are the steps. The installations worked perfectly the first time each time:
- Installed Flight Simulator then installed the appropriate service pack for the Flight Simulator version (FS9.1, FSX/SP1, FSX/SP2) on a fresh system.
- Installed FSCopilot 1.7 and FSinn 1.3. Run FSInnUI once from the Start menu to update .ocx registration. (Important to click Start -> FSFDT -> FSInnUI -> Chat).
(During the install, I didn't make any changes or type anything in any of the fields. I just clicked Next or ENTER, for both packages. )
2a. Vista (and Windows 7) Specific
Important Specifically for Vista (and Windows 7):
I right clicked on the FSX.exe (or FS9.exe) program and set the compatible mode to Run as Administrator (by putting a check mark in the "Run as Administrator" option). Very Important: Don’t put any check marks in any of the FSInn modules.
(You can find Flight Simulator's install directory with FindFS.)
Also, right click on the FSInnUI (the Inn Control Panel) from the start menu. Click on Run As Administrator, then Click on Chat.
For Windows 7 the system has to be run from an account that is Administrator type (a Standard user will not work properly) This is changed from the Control Panel -> User Accounts - Change Your Account Type.
- Started Flight Simlator, clicked on Add-on, Clicked on Inn Control Panel -> Set -> General -> Basic (Filled in my Call Sign, First Name, Last Name and Homebase Airport. Then Clicked Network -> VATSIM (typed in my VATSIM UserID , Password and a current server from the link [Vatsim Current List of Servers]). The default installed IP is obsolete.
- Clicked on the VATSIM button in the Inn Control Panel and was immediately connected to VATSIM.
That's it. Install is complete. Take a look at a Flash Movie Connection Tutorial for connection details. Configuring and trouble-shooting follows below. Be sure to check the weather bug below.
Configuring Sound (VATSIM Voice and PTT/Push To Talk):
While running Flight Simlator, bring up the FSFDT Control Panel. It's the icon in the tasktray that looks like a traffic light sign.
Click on Voice -> VATSIM (Choose your sound devices) -> Click on Volumes -> (Insure Sliders are to the right for more volume) Click on Key mappings -> (Choose your PTT for keyboard [and or joystick button])
With this I was fully up and running in minutes with voice configured. On the next session with just a single click on the VATSIM button I was connected and flying online.
The most common problem that can occur after this simple installation is having a third party firewall block access. If you have problems, check the program control of your firewall program and give full access to the three modules:
The Text Chat Error (and other .ocx errors)
When running the text chat the first time it might give an error. You can fix this by running FSInnUI (the Inn Control Panel) once from the Start Menu and clicking on Chat. (For Vista right click to run as administrator.)
Error when Exiting Flight Simulator
Turn off Sky Blue Radio Tuner.
(Addons -> FSCopilot -> Settings -> Tuner -> [click to toggle] Enabled/Disabled)
Be sure to do a full uninstall of FSCopilot/FSInn when changing versions
FSX - Seeing AI (and hearing FSX's ATC and ATIS) when on VATSIM
To avoid the confusion of having FSX's AI and ATC popup when on VATSIM move the traffic sliders all the way to the left.
Disable FSX's voice (the conflicting ATIS).
(From FSX's menu: Options -> Settings -> Sound -> [uncheck] Voice)
Weather Bug in FSInn/FSX (affects Speeds, Temperatures, and Climb [above FL245])
This is an issue with FSX/Simconnect/weather. When flying at high altitudes (above FL245) there's a miscommunication between FSX and FSInn concerning the temperature. This TAT problem isn't experienced when flying below FL245.
The resolution is to turn off FSInn's weather when flying above FL245 and use an alternate such as FSX's weather. There are two ways.
- Turn the weather off by default (Inn Control Panel -> Set -> Weather [Check/Uncheck]). With this option You will in effect use whatever alternate weather you already have in effect with Flight Simulator.
- Or (what I consider preferred) turn it off or on on-the-fly by clicking the CAVOK bottom to turn FSInn's Weather off or clicking the VATSIM cloud to turn it on. When you turn FSInn's weather off, use FSX's download real weather +15 minute option. To resume FSInn's VATSIM weather, just click on the cloud next to VATSIM
Other references for trouble shooting and configuring can be found in the: