Shared Cockpit - Stable v1.1.15

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Dan-TXHills
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Shared Cockpit - Stable v1.1.15

Post by Dan-TXHills »

Peter:

We tested the shared cockpit functions yesterday in the 'stock' FSX Baron 58. This is what we found:

Others please feel free to comment - especially regarding my view on what the co-pilot / PNF should be able to do described later in this post.

When the pilot joining was only observing all of the important information was transmitted accurately to the 'joiner's' aircraft - In addition to the airspeed, altitude, heading and attitude the navigation equipment including course indicator, heading bug and RMI along with Nav, Com and ADF frequencies (including standby frequencies), engine status gauges - manifold pressure, RPM, fuel flow, exhaust gas temperature all showed correctly. Movement of the primary flight surface controls were accurately transmitted along with throttle, prop speed and mixture lever positions, flap position indicator (with flaps extended properly as viewed from the outside of the aircraft) and gear position. All-in-all a near-perfect score from the standpoint of the pilot observing.

Near-perfect since the one important thing lacking was for the observer to see the autopilot settings. For those of us that use the shared cockpit function for teaching and check rides it would be good to be able to see the status of the autopilot (although I believe that in most circumstances I would be able to tell if someone is using 'Otto' to fly the plane). So - if possible to do - that would be a very helpful addition to the information sent to the person who has joined another's aircraft.

I will also note that each of us had to set our altimeters in our respective aircraft. This is not a big deal, just a mention so others are aware. Not a priority at all - the autopilot status information transmission to the pilot observing is hugely more important.

Now for the hand over of controls - all worked correctly - BUT - except for the basic instruments (altitude, airspeed, attitude indicator, heading) and primary flight controls behaving as expected the things done by the pilot who joined, now in control, were NOT reflected in the "owner" pilot's aircraft. This includes Nav and Com frequency changes, throttle, prop speed and mixture changes, and course indicator changes and engine status instruments. Flaps and gear position also were not reflected in the "owner's" aircraft but upon landing that aircraft did not crash - it just simply floated a couple of feet above the runway. The 'owner' was able to lower the gear and the aircraft then looked normal.

Bottom line - the 'joiner' can fly the aircraft but outside of basic instrument and flight control information none of the other stuff gets transmitted. Not a big deal for me since instruction involves me observing others and when needed for the purposes of demonstration others observing me so from that standpoint KUDOS on the amazing functionality from this perspective.

However (and I do not do this so this is where others should chime in) if you are doing a realistic pilot - co-pilot joint flight you would want both pilots to see what the other is doing - to have each other's actions reflected accurately in each aircraft. We were not able to tell what functions were included in the Throttles, etc. vs. the 'Other' category since the "owner" could not see what I was doing so we could not check one vs. the other to see what worked but this is how I believe those who want to do a realistic pilot - co-pilot joint flight would want it to work:

- Flight controls would be group as they are
-Throttle, prop speed and mixture should be a group of their own
- Flaps, gear, omnibearing / course indicator setting, heading bug setting, radio frequency setting and other available settings (e.g., if you can do the autopilot setting function) should be in their own separate group (and, you might want to consider separating flaps and gear from the navigational instruments and Com, Nav and ADF frequency setting)

One thing we did not remember to check was if the setting of lights was transmitted between aircraft. If not, adding this is a consideration since the PNF would likely be responsible for landing lights on / off at 10,000 ft., etc. Changing to pressure altitude at 18,000 ft (or whatever altitude if you are in ICAO land or other regulatory authority's airspace) would have to be done by both at this point but something else to consider 'transmitting' to help the realism of pilot - co-pilot joint flying.

Dan
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Re: Shared Cockpit - Stable v1.1.15

Post by Dan-TXHills »

I will also add to this - in the observer's aircraft there is still an issue with the Brakes / Differential Brakes showing as applied even though there is no indication that brakes are in the the aircraft of the PF. On landing the PF had no brakes whatsoever.

And - three others testing cockpit sharing in the stock FSX 737-800 (two observing only) saw the airspeed indicator become somewhat "jumpy" at times - at times fairly smooth but at times +/- 10 knots when IAS was ~ 220 knots. It appears that this variation in speed in the observer's aircraft increases more when speed decreases. Also - fuel gauges did not reflect the correct amount in the observer's aircraft.

It was also noted that if the PF opens the map (the FSX internal map) which pauses that person's aircraft causes an increase in the erratic behavior of the airspeed indicator and so other jitteryness that does resolve several seconds after the PF unpauses the sim.

The two pilots observing were giving a check ride. They also noted that it was a disadvantage to not be able to see the status of the autopilot.

Dan
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Peter
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Re: Shared Cockpit - Stable v1.1.15

Post by Peter »

Hi, Dan.

Thanks for the feedback. I can add the autopilot I think, that shouldn't be a problem.

I think the altimeter setting ought to be synchronized, so I'll add that.

You say that the aircraft owner could not see the operation of the frequencies/throttle/mixture etc. Did you definitely tick the 'Hand over engine' and 'Hand over other' control options in the permission window? So basically everything was ticked?

Did the joining pilot say that they had control of those at the time and there were no strange side effects for him?

I did some tests in the Cessna 172. I'll have a go in the Baron 58, but I don't see why the aircraft choice will matter. All of the controls should be reflected in the other simulator regardless of who currently has control. So it does sound more like a bug than anything.

Throttle/prop/mixture are currently grouped within the 'engine controls'. Is that what you mean?

I put flaps and gear in flight controls since they affect the control surfaces and dynamics of the aircraft, but I can move them into a different category if that makes more realistic sense.

I take it you were both using 1.1.15? If the other person was using 1.1.14 that may explain a lot of what you saw. Because I fixed a bug in the brakes in 1.1.15.

I know about the speed indicator, I'll have to see if I can override it. I think it's possible.

Thanks again for the feedback.

Peter
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Peter
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Re: Shared Cockpit - Stable v1.1.15

Post by Peter »

Has anyone else used the shared cockpit in 1.1.15? What were your findings?

Thanks,
Peter
Mac@BathUK
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Re: Shared Cockpit - Stable v1.1.15

Post by Mac@BathUK »

Hi Peter,
Yes, a few of us at the Bristol FSG have been experimenting with 1.1.15....
Congratulations!!!!

MOST of what we (and other forum posters) have been seeking ARE now working in this latest iteration. EXCELLENT WORK, SIR !!
OK, so we do still have some "issues", but they are NOT significant (and might even be down to OUR (respective/internal) settings...or skills!!)
It would seem that some of the individual switches are not paired (we are ALL using the default Baron 58, in P3D, at EGGD, zero weather). We also have quite violently changing Dials (rpm/Mp/egt etc etc) and some just seem not to work. (But....we have contemplated - for example - that when sharing ""my" cockpit, I see zero fuel-burn....but then COULD this be because my colleague who has joined "my cockpit' is - actually - still in HIS cockpit (as evidenced by the call-sign labels we each see) and thus using HIS, not MY, fuel??? (Does that make for logic/sense??)

We also seem to get a lot of occasions when one or other of our respective planes are around 30ft agl.....which a disconnect/reconnect causes to bounce back down to earth - quite violently!!)

We have also been discussing the (possible) discrepancies that might actually be down to our own (individual) settings, which we KNOW are not always exactly the same as each others'. Or perhaps even because of our respective internet speeds, or even our Graphics Cards/CPU variations??
Overall, Peter, we are VERY pleased with the way this project is turning out and are very grateful and impressed with your personal enthusiasm & commitment to sort out all of our local foibles.

The one major "problem" that we (as the BFSG Club) have concerns over are related to the present lack of X-Plane compatibility. THIS IS NOT A CRITISCISM ! it's just that we tend to have a full mix of regulars on our Mon/Tue/Thur Fly-ins with Members using FS9, FSX, P3d(1/2/3) AND X-Plane and we are - presently - unable to encourage our membership to switch over (from FSInn/vPilot etc).

However.....we note that you already do have this aspect on your (very large") "to-do" list.....and we are more than willing to be patient...
for now!! ;) ;)

Keep up the good work, buddy....progress is looking VERY good.
Barry
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Dan-TXHills
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Re: Shared Cockpit - Stable v1.1.15

Post by Dan-TXHills »

Peter wrote:Hi, Dan.

Thanks for the feedback. I can add the autopilot I think, that shouldn't be a problem.

I think the altimeter setting ought to be synchronized, so I'll add that.
Excellent. Thanks very much - this will be a valuable additional feature for us

You say that the aircraft owner could not see the operation of the frequencies/throttle/mixture etc. Did you definitely tick the 'Hand over engine' and 'Hand over other' control options in the permission window? So basically everything was ticked?
Yes - Share plus the other three boxes ticked. We can repeat this to verify the findings

Did the joining pilot say that they had control of those at the time and there were no strange side effects for him?
Everything behaved as expected for the joining pilot. The 'owner' could not see anything other than the basic instruments - airspeed, altitude, heading - change. He could not even see the landing gear lever or green lights confirm gear down or (from an external view) that the landing gear was down but the aircraft landed and 'floated' above the runway and taxi way (from his perspective, until he lowered the gear himself)

I did some tests in the Cessna 172. I'll have a go in the Baron 58, but I don't see why the aircraft choice will matter. All of the controls should be reflected in the other simulator regardless of who currently has control. So it does sound more like a bug than anything.

I put flaps and gear in flight controls since they affect the control surfaces and dynamics of the aircraft, but I can move them into a different category if that makes more realistic sense.
These might be handled by either pilot but if it is not possible to have both in control of flaps and gear than the pilot not flying should be the one that has control if these have been handed over

I take it you were both using 1.1.15? If the other person was using 1.1.14 that may explain a lot of what you saw. Because I fixed a bug in the brakes in 1.1.15.
I know that we were both using v1.1.15 for the Baron 58 test. I am reasonably sure that this was the case with the two observing the 737 flight also. I did note at an earlier test (as did the 737 pilot this time) that on landing there were no brakes - in my case I used the parking brake (which did work) and then released it as I got down to taxi speed.

I know about the speed indicator, I'll have to see if I can override it. I think it's possible.
Thanks. If you do make changes we will test this again.

Thanks again for the feedback.

Peter
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Dan-TXHills
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Re: Shared Cockpit - Stable v1.1.15

Post by Dan-TXHills »

Peter -

We had seven people join an aircraft. All experienced the brake flag issue (some showing 'Brakes' and others seeing 'Differential Brakes' at various times). They also saw the "jumpy" airspeed indicator. All were in the FSX CRJ-700. All were using stable v1.1.15.

We did confirm that the owner could hand off controls to three separate people (we did not try handing the same control group to more than one - should have thought of that). Things worked correctly except the brake problem - the pilot in charge of brakes could make the brake flag go away in his sim but it did not change in anyone else's.

Dan
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Peter
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Re: Shared Cockpit - Stable v1.1.15

Post by Peter »

Thanks, Dan.

I hope the seven joiners enjoyed their flight. :) I always feel a bit uneasy when someone else takes the controls.

When you assign a control set to a different person it should automatically unassign from the previous one.

This time, did the owner of the aircraft see the reflected changes correctly after controls were handed over?

I definitely need to address those brakes and I'll try to sort out the airspeed indicator as well. I know why it's doing that, it's just a question of being able to override it.

Peter
skelsey
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Re: Shared Cockpit - Stable v1.1.15

Post by skelsey »

Just to add:

Tested out JoinFS shared cockpit this morning. Largely excellent and exactly what I was looking for -- we run some VATSIM training courses and the multi-platform feature would make our lives a lot easier! Just a couple of comments:

- As above - we had problems with dragging brakes. I (as the "host" aircraft) was able to work around this in a sense by simply removing all flight controls permissions until we got airborne, but as soon as I transferred control back the brakes came on again. This happened even when the other party had completely disconnected his hardware. I also noticed the jumping ASI.

- With regard to transferring controls -- when I gave the other pilot all controls permissions, we actually could both act on the controls. This in a way was quite nice as it really does simulate a dual-controlled aircraft and makes taking over as an instructor really straightforward. However, there is obvious potential for interference, particularly if one or the other party has slightly "noisy" controls. I also found that opening the JoinFS window, selecting the permissions dialogue, ticking/unticking etc was all a bit cumbersome. At present in the native shared cockpit feature, I have a yoke button assigned to "Multiplayer Transfer Control" and can simply offer/accept control at any point with a touch of that button without having to 'leave' the sim -- is there any way something like that could be implemented, do you think?

As for who should have which controls -- personally I find the 'native' FSX shared cockpit approach to be almost perfect -- both pilots can operate everything at any time, but only "PF" has the primary flight controls - elevator, ailerons and rudder. Everything else, including engine controls, brakes, flaps etc can be operated by either pilot at any time. Works fairly well -- however, as above actually the ability to (perhaps just temporarily -- maybe with a momentary yoke button press or something?) have 'dual input', or for the instructor to "snatch" control back from the student in extremis rather than the native 'offer/accept' method, would be quite useful in limited circumstances -- for example, recently I have had a student boot in the wrong rudder during a crosswind landing (rather exciting - would have been nice to be able to intervene!) and another get in to a bit of bother during a practice forced landing (suffice to say he got a bit slow and everything started rotating, though I did get the controls back fairly promptly and was able to fix it!).

- The ability to carry 'observers' is absolutely excellent and means we can do proper instructor standardisation flights from time to time

- Weather - apologies if this is in the documentation, but would be interested to know how people are handling weather in general -- obviously any differences will result in different instrument readings, slip angles etc etc etc (something which we have noted during native FSX shared cockpit flights -- if both parties are using the same weather engine it generally is OK, otherwise the only real way to get consistency is for the session host to manually set the weather which is then duplicated in the client). Does JoinFS continuously copy the weather across or is clicking 'copy weather' a one-time hit?

Thanks! As I say, it all looks extremely promising and I look forward to testing it out further.

Simon
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Re: Shared Cockpit - Stable v1.1.15

Post by Dan-TXHills »

We repeated our testing and this time all seemed to work as expected - all aircraft reflected control, gear, flap, frequencies, etc. changes correctly. So, I am not sure what the issue was the first time. Even landing light and nav light switch position changes were seen correctly.

Again noted that the indicated airspeed jumped in the joiners' aircraft. This seemed to be more of an issue with higher speed aircraft (IAS in the 280 knot range) vs. the Cessna 172 although even in the C172 the IAS did jump as much as 10 knots occasionally.

The brake issue was confirmed by all.

Looking forward to having the autopilot status translate to the joiner's aircraft. We did notice that after joining the Cessna 172 we all had to reset the gyro compass to make it agree with the actual aircraft heading (much the same as having to reset the altimeter to make it agree with the owner's). This was not an issue noted before and probably has something to do with the auto-correction of the gyro compass in larger aircraft (true to the actual design of the instrument systems in these aircraft) vs. the need to periodically manually reset the gyro compass in small aircraft (also true to their actual design).

Dan
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Re: Shared Cockpit - Stable v1.1.15

Post by TexxasAl »

Dan and Peter,

My observation of the IAS anomaly confirms the reported results. The IAS fluctuates in the joining aircraft when the joiner is "flying" the aircraft. It is the only significant fluctuation noted thus far. Testing was FSX/ACC as the Joined aircraft, and P3D V2 as the Joiner aircraft.

Thanks for all your good work.
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Peter
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Re: Shared Cockpit - Stable v1.1.15

Post by Peter »

Simon,

thanks for the feedback. That's just the kind of thing that I'd like JoinFS to be useful for, i.e. in training situations. So I'll make those current issues a priority so that it's stable enough to be successfully used in that way.

You mentioned that after hand-over you both had control. But in version 1.1.15 this shouldn't be the case. When the non-controlling pilot changes something it should flick back to where it was within a second or two. Perhaps you were using 1.1.14?

It's an interesting point about how the shared controls are managed. Initially, I wanted to make non-flight controls dual control, where either pilot can interact. However, due to technical issues I decided to use a hand over method just for now to get things working with the intention of looking at dual control at a later date.

Good point about using yoke buttons to transfer control. There are other JoinFS features and functions that would be ideal if available in this way. I'm sure it's possible and something I will look into. There's the added complexity of being able to choose whom you pass control to, perhaps that should still be done through the interface unless I can think of a better solution.

Currently weather is only managed through the aircraft list. There are two methods. The weather column can be used to get continual updates from an aircraft. Alternatively you can do a once only update by selecting the aircraft and using the Copy Weather button below the list. There are some problems with it that I shan't go into here, but your point in relation to shared cockpit is important. I need to ensure that the same weather is applied to all pilots sharing that aircraft. It doesn't make any sense at all to have different weather conditions that in the end will only cause anomalies and problems. So I'll fix that to automatically use the same wind settings.

Peter
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Re: Shared Cockpit - Stable v1.1.15

Post by edakridge »

Peter, we at the USNVA have been using shared cockpit for Check Rides,Training, and to a limited degree Shared cockpit aircraft. Improvements seem to be steady with each upgrade. On our wish list is what Alex has already posted about LVARS/AVARS and separation of Flaps/Gear/Autopilot into a separate group. It would really be nice to have a RIO in some of the two seat fighters, but for this to be feasible Radar and weapons functions would have to be shared between players.(I.E.: when an aircraft or target is locked in one cockpit, this information is displayed in other cockpit) I don't even know if this is possible or not. We also do a bit of "Vintage" ops and on long hauls in a "Heavy" it would be nice to have a crew. (I.E.: Pilot/Copilot/Flight Engineer/Navigator) As to controlling Control handoff via a HOTAS button or switch, is a LUA script for FSuipc an option? I have several aircraft that people have written LUA's for the non standard FS controls. I am by no means an expert in LUA's, but it may be an option. So Far our experience with the JoinFS multiplayer has been extremely favorable. I am looking forward to the next update.
skelsey
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Re: Shared Cockpit - Stable v1.1.15

Post by skelsey »

Hi Peter,

Thanks for getting back! We were definitely on 1.15 -- I certainly am, and the other pilot only downloaded his version a few moments before we connected, so I'm confident that he was also -- however, now you mention about the controls flicking back within a second or two, I think that actually this is what was happening. I'd put it down to interference from the other side, but it may be that it is working as designed!

I agree the question of who control is transferred to is an issue as far as using a yoke button to transfer control is concerned -- perhaps have a means of "nominating" a user in the UI so that the button toggles back and forth between you and them until a different user is selected? (I think that makes sense -- it does in my head!).

Regarding the shared controls -- apart from the limited circumstances I mentioned above, the other thing which we routinely do is simulate engine failures (in theory by pulling the throttle back, but we've found that actually in the native shared cockpit the PF's throttle tends to override, so the mixture is often a more reliable (and realistic!) way of achieving a surprise engine failure (it is a sim after all!)) so that would be quite useful. Also just to echo the other comments above, syncing the altimeter setting, DI and OBS (if the latter isn't already) would also be very useful so that the instructor can see what the student is doing with these particularly important controls!

Thanks for the info re: weather -- I will investigate further next time we test, but it looks as though the weather column is the way to go to ensure that the weather is continually synchronised.

Many thanks once again -- I look forward to seeing what you come up with next!

Best,

Simon
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Re: Shared Cockpit v1.2.2

Post by JackRiordan »

Gentlemen,

A friend and I completed a flight in the Carenado PC12 in the Northwest Arkansas area today.

1. We noticed an issue with the master battery switch, generator switches, and inverter switches not syncing properly.

2. When Copilot attempted to start the aircraft, it began an endless start loop where the condition lever would flop back and forth repeatedly. I took the controls and it seemed to immediately sort itself out, but there is definitely an issue with copilot starting.

3. Copilot noticed he didn't have any brakes when taxiing the aircraft, but he did have a parking brake.

4. GPS functions and autopilot functions were not transferred. When copilot set the destination in his GPS, pressed CDI on the GPS to make sure it was on GPS mode, and activated Autopilot and Approach Hold, the aircraft would turn and stay at heading 120, which was opposite the correct direction.

Overall the flight was a success and I was able to give him some basic training on the PC12. Peter, thank you again for your wonderful software, and I hope that more improvements can be made in the future.
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