General aviation training legends John and Martha King took the stage at a press conference to announce "Parrot," the newest feature from Redbird Flight Simulations. The new technology, introduced by Redbird founder Jerry Gregoire, simulates air traffic controllers, with directions and procedures appropriate to the weather and location plugged into the sim.
For example, if you "place" the sim at Austin Bergstrom Municipal Airport under specific weather conditions, Parrot will deliver the ATIS information, and all the appropriate frequencies will respond — clearance delivery, ground control, tower and departure. If you mistakenly dial in the wrong frequency, Parrot will not respond. If you're stuck, you can say, "Help me," and Parrot will tell you what you've done wrong, or what you need to do to proceed.
John King said he had personally made several mistakes to test this feature. Martha did not challenge his account. Users with challenging accents can read a select few paragraphs that will "teach" Parrot the necessary words. Parrot will also include "smart background chatter" that is, the simulated conversations of other aircraft in the area on the same frequency. It will also include "intelligent vectors," logical directions that one would likely get while flying the appropriate route. There will also be "emergency modes" available, predetermined emergency scenarios that can be replayed for sim users.
The home version of Parrot is priced at $2,995 and can accommodate two separate user voices. The Pro version, designed for training facilities, will sell for $7,995 and have unlimited voice profiles available. Beta software will be released in December with the full program available in the first quarter of next year.