January 11, 2012

Contact Person: Ralph Zimmerman
Company Name: RealATC Software
Email Address:
Website URL:


Ultimate RealATC Now Available as Donationware!

The pioneer of RealATC for Flight Simulator, Ralph Zimmerman, writes to say "I said in June of 2003 that I was going to retire RealATC due to the changes in Microsoft Flight Simulator and associated programming languages. But I keep hearing from folks who enjoy and/or want the huge collection of over 4,400 RealATC files! - I even let go of the domain name for awhile and had to go with domain to make this available again"." The website for the Ultimate RealATC Collection for Radar Contact V4, Enviro!32  and ever other simulator available is We've been there for several years now.  Zimmerman has had a continued presence on the Internet since 1996.

This now donationware add-on, which in this case simply means you name your own price, will double your pleasure with Radar Contact 4.3 and earlier and works great with ALL previous versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator, and every other civilian or military flight simulator out there (Enviro!32 strongly suggested) except for Radar Contact). The idea behind this was to simply let folks pay what they wanted.

 PayPal did not like Zimmerman's  concept so it was changed to allow users to select from 4 different price points, the lowest being just $2.00. "So, it's not about the money today, far removed from my commercial releases, - it's about enhancing your simulator experience. "New simmers come on line all the time and it's good for them to be aware of alternatives", said Zimmerman

Ralph Zimmerman pioneered the RealATC concept for Flight Simulator in 1996. The current form includes the largest collection of RealATC sound bytes available from a single source, about 4400 sound bytes!

Early on in Flight Simulator releases Zimmerman was reluctant to sit back and just accept what the marketplace had to offer. To maximize the experience, it simply had to be more realistic! His vision evolved to the first Turboprop SGA sound for FS4.0, praised as a significant enhancement to flight simulation technology. Zimmerman helped designed the Las Vegas scenery for the FLY-IN 11 held on CompuServe in the early 1990's. This enhancement package was on the iup server for several years, and proved compatible with FS98 when adapting the Las Vegas scenery to work with FS2000.

By 1996, Zimmerman had produced one of the most realistic flight simulator experiences ever for Microsoft Flight Simulator. He had created the first RealATC .wav files for use with BAO's Flight Shop, overwriting the rudimentary 30 enroute files that played.

A new era had emerged: RealATC was born in the CompuServe flight simulation forum as a $5 shareware concept. This led Zimmerman to the development of a commercial product: RealATC, creating adventure coding and the low altitude sound files for the product. The original RealATC initially was written for FS5.1 so the concept is certainly not new. Technology moves forward but the interaction between pilots and controllers stays very much a human experience.

"My ambition to turn the real Air Traffic Control recordings into a real time interactive flight experience is unsurpassed in the level of real ambiance it brings to flight simulation," says Zimmerman. "But the real credit for any of the product's triumphs goes to the pilots who flew the flights, and the controllers who interacted with them and to the people who brought me some of the tapes and shared my vision of bringing a new dimension to flight simulator. Most of it, however was my trusty scanner and a high end tape deck."

Zimmerman has participated in the adventure coding and sound editing for several other commercial products as well. They include Airfield, Flight Academy and Fly Lauda and the very successful Lauda 425 as well as Three Real Flights, RealATC and RealATC 2.

Zimmerman grew up in New York State, but spent several years in Florida and Las Vegas before finally settling in Colorado. After fourteen years in Denver, he currently resides in Colorado Springs.

"This is a great hobby," adds Zimmerman, "challenging, affordable and just plain fun. Just when you think you've got it down, somebody comes along with something bigger and better and you get to be the 'student' all over again. I'm proud to have been among the pioneers in this hobby, taking simulated flight to new heights."


This press release was modified on May 23, 2012 to correct some typographical errors and to bring it current.

Thanks for reading a little bit of history


Because I don't want to add another page to my site, the following updated info is a direct quote from my book, "I'm Okay Now"

My Aviation and Software History

This is a bio that has been copied from what used to be the who's who in computer flight simulator software at and slightly updated. More info is at my homepage: REALATC.NET.


At 68 (born on D-Day!), my passion for the skies goes back over 50 years to my first flight in a commercial airliner - a gift from my parents - a trip to Big Apple from Syracuse, NY and it has never stopped since that day. As a teenager, whenever I flew, I always somehow found my way to the cockpit for a chat with the crew.


I studied weather, flight dynamics and navigation on my own and passed the FAA Private, Commercial and almost passed the Instrument written while still in my teens. I took flying lessons at Tamiami (KTMB) airport in South Florida during the early 70's in a Cessna 152. I soloed after only 3.5 hours and went on to get my solo cross-country before I ran out of money and that's back when we were only paying $16/dual and $14/hr solo! I logged about 32 hours and just never got back to finish. Now I have the money but a heart attack won't let me pass a physical so I do all my flying and fulfilling my dreams as best I can through the marvel of the wonderful computer flight sims we have today!


My first sim was Sublogic's Flight Simulator II for the Atari and I've moved on up since over the last 20 years to IBM compatibles and now "fly" an IBM Core2Due E6400 processor with 2 GB of RAM and ATI Radeon 3850 PCI 16 graphics card. My older favorites are FS2000, Fly!, X-Plane, Flight Unlimited, II and III. I have owned many of the combat sims but buy them mostly for the graphics - I'm a civil aviator at heart! Of the older combat sims, I like Falcon 4.0 and F-22 Lightning 3 Janes F/A 18 and DID's Super Hornet and of course MS Combat Simulator. When both Fly! and Flight Unlimited III. came out I can say that I did enjoy both of them for what they are and they both add in different ways to my enjoyment of civilian aviation sims and although they both sport ATC, neither has RealATC(TM)!!!!. My favorite older flights were done in FS2000 with Lago's FS Traffic and FS Assist running in the background while flying a ProFlight 2000 generated flight with RealATC2 running in the background.


While I currently enjoy the newest version of Microsoft Flight Simulator, FSX, I find that with all the add-ons I accumulated for FS9 (Century of Flight)I am flying FS9 more and more. The new version is processor hungry and it's not in the cards to upgrade again right now. (With the release of two patches - it actually runs quite well now)


Contributions to the flight sim community have been the 1st Turboprop SGA sound for MS FS4.0, a significant enhancement to BAO's Las Vegas Scenery for FS5, and helped designed the Las Vegas scenery for the FLY-IN 11 held on one of the very popular on line services. This enhancement package LASENHV3.ZIP works just great with FS98 and also quite well when adapting the FS98 Las Vegas scenery to work with FS2000. In March of 1996 I became known as the "father of RealATC" for Microsoft Flight Simulator when I created the very first "REALATC" sound files for use with the newly release BAO Flight Shop to overwrite those horrible 30 enroute files that played! This led to a great expansion of the concept and RealATC was born in the CompuServe flight sim forum as a $5 shareware concept his led to the development of a commercial product RealATC(TM) on which I was responsible for the adventure coding and the low altitude sound files on that product. RealATC(TM) was developed on a 486 DX4 100 with 16 Mb of ram and originally written for MSFS 5.1


Most of the low altitude digital recordings were made by me at LAS and MCO..Credit and thanks also go to Doug Thompson whose High Altitude ARTCC files make RealATC(TM) more complete than it would ever have been for I lacked the resources to capture the great stuff he did. Doug's files were in the public domain at the time on the iup server and the adventures on RealATC were written to point to them. The commercial publisher included them to save then end user the trouble to download those great files but failed to give Doug proper credit for it. Doug is an air traffic controller at the Memphis ARTCC. There has always been public acknowledgment for Doug's great work on my website ever since RealATC was first commercially published.


Additionally, I have done the adventure coding and sound editing for several other commercial products. They include Airfield, Flight Academy, Fly Lauda, Lauda 425, Lauda 106, N54 IFR and GO Flight 9973. Titles may change as some of these have not yet been released but should have been available in the late fall or early winter of 2000 but my commercial publisher (Peter Tishma aka Papa Tango) went bankrupt. Flight 106, Flight 9973 and Cherokee 6 flights were released by RealATC Software in October 2002 as "Three Real Flights". When Tishma went bankrupt he stiffed me for about $30,000 worth of work that was contracted for and I had finished. He was in the United Kingdom and I was in the good old US. Financially it did not make sense to sue him since it would have cost much more than he owed and he filed for bankruptcy anyway. So, I'd just be out more money. And I also did a title for the U.S. Navy Training Center in Orlando, FL, probably in about 1999 with a guy from Chicago by the name of Doug Horton.


At any rate, I got my some of my15 minutes of fame when Lauda 425 sold very well in Europe since that is where Tishma had all of his distribution contacts. No matter that he gave me the crappy end of the stick as things fell out, I was highly honored when in the Forward of Lauda 425 he wrote:


“We wanted to include real ATC procedures that real pilots hear and act upon as well as load the exact same weather conditions (or challenges) facing those same pilots; at the same time we wanted our customers to be able to fly them at any time they they chose, in all weathers, on any day of the year, and that, although flying the same routes with the same or similar ATC clearances, that the real world consistently gives, could be as different a flight every time as the real flight itself.


I needed a master compiler to complete this dream and make it happen, a script writer with ATC passions who shared my soaring ambitions. I found such a person in Ralph Zimmerman, my good friend who I had been working with since the early days of RealATC. - author of the first ATC product ever produced for Microsoft Flight Simulator. My hat goes off to Ralph, the genius of these flights....”


The guy who wrote that (Peter Tishma) I had the utmost respect and admiration for until he turned the flight simulator community against him because he started making stupid decisions and stiffed me for $30,000. Anyway that was maybe just 7 ˝ minutes of fame. I'm still owed the balance of my 15 minutes!


The website was shut down on July 20, 2003 as changes in the way Microsoft was heading with FS2004 made me decide to retire the concept. I'll now have more time for flying and other business ventures. It was a great 6 years with realatc! The realatc concept is back alive now by popular request and it's at as well as more personal pages there. My computer today is very far removed and upgraded from what we worked with in the early years. I'm currently residing in Colorado Springs, CO, having been in Orlando, FL for 5 years, LasVegas NV for 2 years, Denver Co for 14 years and Miami FL for about 10 years. I was born in Charlotte, NC and grew up around the Syracuse NY area. Also enjoy football, video games, hiking (when I have two good legs!) camping, animals.