Frequently Asked Questions
How much does XSquawkBox cost?
XSquawkBox does not cost any money; you do not have to pay for XSquawkBox to use it. The network for which it is intended (VATSIM) also does not require payment.
XSquawkBox does come with legal restrictions, however; please read the EULA carefully before downloading it. In particular, you may not redistribute XSquawkBox; other users who want XSquawkBox must download it from this site.
What Version of X-Plane can I use XSquawkBox with?
XSquawkBox works with X-Plane 8 and 9 and probably earlier, though only version 8 and 9 are supported. Make sure to update to the very latest version of X-Plane!
Does XSquawkBox work on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macintoshes?
Yes. PowerPC support will be dropped at some point in the future, but a date has not been determined. Likely it will depend upon how easy Apple makes it to continue providing PowerPC support.
What networks does XSquawkBox work with?
XSquawkBox works with the VATSIM network. While it was initially used for IVAO, that organization has developed their own client and XSquawkBox is no longer used.
Do I need broadband to use XSquawkBox
No. You can use XSquawkBox on a modem, as long as it doesn’t disconnect frequently. Broadband is highly recommended.
How do I use voice-over-IP with XSquawkBox
For VATSIM, configure your microphone and speakers using the Audio Setup dialog box. Voice features will work automatically as you tune your Com1 radio to controllers that are using voice.
What ports do I have to open in my firewall to use VATSIM voice?
In some cases, in order to reliably use voice on VATSIM, you need to open port 3290 for UDP traffic in your Firewall, and forward this port if you have a NAT router. However, in many cases with a modern router, no changes are necessary. We recommend you just try connecting to voice first and see if it works reliably for you. If it does, no changes are necessary.
If you do end up doing port-forwarding, to check if you are correctly forwarded, check the web page of a voice server while flying. If your port is listed as 3290 you are correctly forwarded. If your port is some high number in the ten-thousands range, your port is not forwarded correctly. If your port is not forwarded correctly then you may experience voice disruptions based on your firewall’s firmware.
To see your port in a voice server room, use the URL:
After disconnecting from the network on VATSIM, I still hear ATC voice audio. Is this a bug?
This is actually intentional. Occaisionally there is a server crash or network failure on VATSIM. If you are disconnected when this happens, you will still be in the controller’s voice room and will be able to communicate briefly with the controller and tell him or her what happened. When you reconnect or change frequencies the voice connection is closed.
Can I use XSquawkBox’s voice-over-IP capabilities with networks other than VATSIM?
Can I extend XSquawkBox or make add-ons for it?
Yes. XSquawkBox supports interplugin communication. By writing your own X-Plane plugin you can communicate with XSB. If you are a programmer, please email me to receive the XSB communication APIs.
My friends and I don’t want to fly on VATSIM, can we just fly by ourselves?
No. XSquawkBox is only designed for use with VATSIM at this time. If it works with some private FSD server, fine – however we will not make any efforts to ensure continued compatibility.
Why don’t I see the right airplanes out the window.
XSquawkBox can only load 8-10 models into memory at once. It will pick the closest model it can find for any given plane, but with only 10 models there may not be a good model to pick from. XSquawkBox does not attempt to match liveries.
If a user is not using the CSL on Microsoft flight sim or has flight sim misconfigured, you may see them with the same plane model as you have, regardless of what plane they are flying. The XSquawkBox manual (which comes with the plugin download) features some trouble-shooting tips that can help resolve most of these issues.
Some aircraft appear to float above the ground.
This is a limitation of the network protocol; since there is no clear standard for drawing models from different flight simulators at the same level (i.e. with wheels touching the ground), you may see aircraft from other flight sim appear to hover or be buried in the ground. We will continue to improve this as technology and time allow.
VATSIM weather is not up-to-date? Can I use another weather source?
No. It is important to the purpose and functioning of the various online flight networks that all pilots and controllers have the same weather. For example, if the wind from your alternate weather source did not match the winds online, would you be able to land the same runways as other aircraft at the same airport?
Can you add labels or callsigns to the multiplayer planes?
No. I want to address this question because it is one of the most common feature requests.
I recognize the importance of IDing aircraft in a LAN gaming situation, but XSquawkBox was never meant for this! Such a feature would be completely unrealistic on a global network, where the goal is realistic flight, and this is XSquawkBox’s intended use. On VATSIM we have cases where pilots report traffic in sight by name. I am against adding this feature because it would take away from the realism of XSquawkBox. In real life traffic is extremely difficult to spot, especially small single-engine aircraft. A quick read of some of the literature on collision avoidance will open your eyes (so to speak).
I want to get a copy of the XSquawkBox code and I’d be a great help. Can I have it?
Maybe. Some portions of the code are open source. Some of the code is proprietary to VATSIM and requires an NDA to view. To be able to actually build XSB requires an NDA. If you have serious interest, email Wade Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll talk. Note that XSquawkBox is written in C++.