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This change, effective immediately, is targeted to modify ARTCC policy.

The purpose of this Mandatory Briefing Item is to announce that vZNY officially supports vSTARS again.

The following policy will supersede any other published policy. Please start using the new policy below until the Publications section is formally revised. As always, if you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at zny-fe[at]vatusa.net

Background

In 2016, ZNY staff decided to discontinue support for the vSTARS Controller Client due to decreased interest among the ZNY members, the work required to update the files and problems related to the usage of the client during events where controllers had little experience. Since then we have seen an increased interest in using the client, the ZNY Staff has now decided to review this policy and once again support vSTARS. Members can also expect vERAM to be supported in the near future.

Q: What is vSTARS?

A: vSTARS is a controller client that simulates the real-world STARS available at most TRACON facilities. vSTARS is mainly meant to be used while controlling a PHL or N90 TRACON position, however, since vSTARS also supports a realistic ASDE-X system, it may also be used while controlling delivery, ground or tower at any major airport (i.e. ONLY at JFK, LGA, EWR or PHL). You can find download links to the vSTARS Controller Client and its documentation by clicking here.


Q: I am interested, where can I find the vSTARS profiles?

A: You can find the N90 and PHL vSTARS profiles, together with all our other files, at the download page of our website.

Regulations for using vSTARS

In order to ensure consistency and professionalism, these regulations have been put up for anyone wishing to control using vSTARS or vERAM:

  1. If you have previously been using vSTARS to control, you must download and use the new vSTARS profiles provided.
  2. As described in the ZNY Regulations and Policies document, minor modifications to the files may be made for personal use only (i.e. do not distribute to other controllers).
  3. As described in the ZNY Regulations and Policies document, vSTARS (and vERAM) must not be used during training sessions. We require all students to use VRC or Euroscope during a training session. Failure to do so will result in the session being ended early.
  4. As described in the ZNY Regulations and Policies document, the use of vSTARS (and vERAM) during events is strongly discouraged. If the use of vSTARS (or vERAM) is determined to be the cause of poor controlling during an event, then the user will be asked to either switch clients or sign off.

How Do I Update My AIRAC Data?

The .gz profile available on our download page can be imported into vSTARS using the “Import” button available when first launching vSTARS (note: you do not need to unpack this file). However, this profile does not include any AIRAC data (i.e. information about fixes, VORs, etc.). Therefore, you will need to update your AIRAC data yourself periodically.

If you have a subscription for Navigraph, you may download it yourself from the manual download page. Otherwise, you can get the data by clicking here (usually tends to be delayed a couple of days after the AIRAC release date before being published).

Once the data has been downloaded, you will need to replace the Waypoints and Airports XML files. In order to do this, you will need to get to the AppData folder. Follow these steps:

  1. In the search box type “Run"; this will open the “Run” window. Alternatively, hit the Windows key + R.
  2. Enter “%AppData%” without the quotes into the window and hit Enter. A window will populate. Choose the vSTARS folder.
  3. Replace the Airports.xml and Waypoints.xml files (it is a good idea to backup the old files in case something should go wrong).
  4. Done! You have now updated your AIRAC data.

A Note About Squawk Code Ranges in the N90 Profile

The N90 vSTARS profile has been created to work with any N90 position. However, since the different N90 positions (JFK, LGA, EWR, etc.) use different squawk code ranges, you will need to make a small modification depending on which position you are controlling.

  1. Load the facility profile and open it.
  2. Hit “CTRL+F” on your keyboard. This will open the Edit Facility window.
  3. Now, change the “IFR Squawk Range” and “VFR Squawk Range” to match the position you are controlling (refer to the SOP). It has been pre-configured to match any JFK TRACON position.
  4. Hit the “Apply” button”
  5. Control!

Support

If you have any suggestions or find any issues, you can submit it on the NYARTCC website “Issue/Suggestions” section by clicking here.

If you have any questions, you can ask them on the NYARTCC forums or send an email to [email protected]