I am designing a VA Dispatch application for use with a VA dependent on a mixture of FSX and FS2004. I want, if possible, to include your ACARS application in the solution.
That should be possible. Many VAs use my ACARS for this.
To use your ACARS applications, and include the calculations made by TOPCAT, within the VA Dispatch application (which would contain the VA data), where would the application that Christian Grill refers to as 'ACARS Communications Station' be run? Am I right in assuming that the ACARS Network is only used for storing/forwarding telex messages and is not the same as the ACARS Communications Station?
You are right in the store/forward assumption, and wrong in thinking that the network and the communication station are different entities. I changed the name from the latter to the former quite a while ago, but TOPCAT still uses the old terminology. I now call it all "the network". You do not need to install anything. The network runs on my server (www.hoppie.nl) and is there 24/24 for your use. TOPCAT and all ACARS applications use this one as the default.
Does your ACARS Dispatch Client have any potential role in feeding the TOPCAT ACARS reports via the ACARS Dispatch Client to the ACARS Airborne Client?
Negative. TOPCAT contains its own ACARS client, and can send telex reports straight to the plane. Of course you can alter the call sign TOPCAT sends to and direct its messages to the dispatch client, which then can forward them... but that seems a bit weird. The only drawback of using TOPCAT is that it will make the messages come from a different call sign than when Dispatch would be used as forwarder. I am not totally sure whether TOPCAT can also receive messages, but if so, it would compete with Dispatch for messages (just as if you had two POP email clients aimed at the same mail box).
I ask because it might be better for the pilot to see all information coming to the Airborne Client (except from ATC) from the Dispatch Client.
If TOPCAT can save its messages to a folder on disk, you can use the existing Send File functionality of Dispatch to forward these files to the planes, or even (much better) to send them to the network ahead of time and let the plane pick them up using their ACARS Request features. This was my original model for TOPCAT, until Grill added full telex capability.
Should this not work, please notify me. I am interested in enabling this properly, as the canned requests are nicer than the telexing around.
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© 2012 Jeroen Hoppenbrouwers