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  1. Dear Members, There has been much discussion in various mediums recently about issues on our network relating to pilots using aircraft that they are unable to properly operate which in turn causes disruption on the network. The VATSIM Board of Governors has been monitoring this, and while this is not a new problem, it has been exacerbated recently by the release of some amazing new aircraft simulations. This post is to address this issue. In 2010, I bought my first PMDG product - the MD-11 for FSX. It was a complicated product, and even as an ATPL rated pilot, I flew it offline for a couple of months before connecting to the network with it. I have purchased numerous products since, and for each one, I mastered the systems offline before connecting to the network. As PMDG, Leonardo, Fenix, and other manufacturers bring their newest and most advanced products to the MSFS 2020 platform, it is important to remind all of our users that VATSIM is an environment for virtual pilots and virtual controllers to come together to simulate the real world of aviation. The absolute prerequisite to this is that pilots must know how to fly and property control their aircraft before connecting to the network. For these advanced aircraft, this is not limited to knowing how to fly a heading, an airspeed, and an altitude. If a pilot connects to the network using a simulated aircraft with advanced automation, they MUST also know how to use that automation. In almost every case, violating an ATC clearance and blaming it on your autopilot doing something you didn’t expect is a pilot problem, not a simulation problem. In a recent Facebook post, a VATSIM member and good friend of mine reminded us all what the “R” in “IFR” means. I would add that we all know what the “SIM” in “VATSIM” means. As I said in a post when I became President of the network, we are an educational network dedicated to members who want to simulate real world aviation. Connecting to the network to learn how to fly your aircraft is simply not why VATSIM exists. You cannot play in our sandbox if you don’t know how to use your shovel. Follow the Rules, respect the Simulation. The VATSIM Board of Governors is currently working on updates to our Code of Conduct to codify a stricter requirement for pilot competency on the network. Additionally, a pilot feedback program is in the final stages of development that will assist controllers in providing meaningful advice and education to pilots through our Pilot Training Department. In the meantime, network Supervisors and Administrators will be continuing to work hard to assist members. Please make note that if you connect to the network and are unable to adequately control your aircraft, you will be removed from the network and asked to either increase your skill level with your chosen aircraft offline before reconnecting, or connect to the network with a less advanced aircraft that you can adequately pilot without causing disruption to other members of the network. Ignoring these requests may require us to remove your ability to connect to the network for a period of time. As members of this amazing community, at all times I would ask you to please respect the enjoyment of everyone connected to the network. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to e-mail me president(at)vatsim.net Tim Barber, VATSIM President
    97 points
  2. Dear All, As my second 2-year term serving as VATSIM’s President ends, I am writing to inform you that I will not be seeking a third term as VATSIM’s President. After four years of serving in in this role, I have decided to allow another member of the Board of Governors to take the reins and keep VATSIM moving forward. I joined this great community 15 years ago and it has been a massive part of my life ever since. I was honoured to be able to serve on the Board of Governors since 2014 and have enjoyed being a small part of bringing positive changes to VATSIM. Thousands of our volunteer members, driven by the same desire to make VATSIM a better place have brought us long needed changes such as Audio for VATSIM, the New Member Orientation course and knowledge check, a modern Code of Conduct, backend technology changes, and many other positive improvements to VATSIM. I want to thank all our volunteer members who dedicate their time developing, controlling, training, supervising, flying, or otherwise supporting VATSIM. We are still within one of the most challenging transition periods we have seen in VATSIM’s history with a 40% increase in membership over the last few years to the pandemic as well as release of a new simulation platform that brought flight simulation to a whole new market. You have risen to the challenge even when faced with the enormous real-world pressures that our current reality has put on our daily lives. As I step back from the role of VATSIM’s President, I have two reflections from my time in the position. Firstly, VATSIM is unique as it is a community that is large enough to be seen by many as a place that should be hugely efficient in delivering new features. The reality is that we are a volunteer organization which will always be driven by the productive output of our volunteers. We must drive better development by engaging with our members to contribute instead of being a closed shop. In the past few years, we have made great strides here by encouraging our volunteer developers by opening our traditionally closed development process and actively inviting people to help improve VATSIM. We have further to go, and I urge us all to continue to embrace the idea of member-driven input whist appreciating that because we are so big, we must set a clear direction of how we as members can contribute. Secondly, we must all remember that we are on the same team and truly have the same end goal. We all want VATSIM to succeed and be the best online aviation community in the world. We may have differed and passionate opinions on how we get to that goal, but it is through open and honest communication that we reach this goal. Too many times, we have had disputes via email or discord text which have driven wedges into our communities, causing irreparable harm or destroying our communities, when a voice conversation where everyone can be heard has resolved the dispute. I have personally spent many hours resolving such disputes. The amount of time we spend on these disputes could be better used to bring positive changes to the community. So, I challenge all of us to channel our passions and instead of doing nothing, build constructive relationships, especially when disagreements arise! I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for VATSIM and excited to see Tim move into the role of President. He has served in his various positions on the Board of Governors fabulously and is a huge advocate for building on the success of this great community. Finally, I would like to again thank everyone who has supported VATSIM and myself over the years, especially my colleagues on the BoG and Founders who have been a source of guidance and support during my tenure as VATSIM’s President. My greatest thanks of all are to the behind-the-scenes volunteers performing the thankless jobs which keep VATSIM running; our division staff and their local volunteers, as well as our membership managers, supervisors, and technical teams who respond around the clock to technical hiccoughs and relentlessly pursue improvements to our infrastructure. We truly could not do it without all of you. I look forward to seeing you on the network.
    32 points
  3. Dear Members, I would like to start by thanking everyone who took a few minutes to offer congratulations on my election to the position of President of the VATSIM Network. My colleagues on the Board of Governors have put their faith in me, and I look forward to working with them, and all of our volunteers in leading this network into the future. Under the leadership of Gunnar Lindahl, VATSIM has reached levels of membership and technology that previously were thought unattainable. Among the best tributes I have read described him as the most “stable, influential, and consequential President we ever had to date”, and this is especially true considering the challenges this world threw at us during the latter part of his four year tenure. This is certainly not to take away from the Presidents who came before him - Founders Harvey Stein and Richard Jenkins, followed by David Klain, Steven Cullen, and Kyle Ramsey...I truly walk in the footsteps of giants, and we all owe a lot to the six Presidents who preceded me. To them, I offer my heartfelt thanks for all you did, and continue to do to make VATSIM what it is today. During my time as a member of this network, I have always enjoyed hearing about the various “VATSIM histories” of our members. It is interesting to find out what brought someone to this network, and what keeps them involved. Many of the members I consider friends have taken their VATSIM experience and turned it into an aviation career, while others have started streaming content thus raising the visibility of our network. Some, like me, have brought their aviation careers to the network. This is my story - records show that I joined VATSIM in August of 2001, but my involvement in flight simulation dates back to 1983 when my father opened the first personal computer store in our town. It was at that store that an employee introduced me to Microsoft Flight Simulator v1.0, and I was hooked. By 1990 at the age of 18, I had my Private Pilots Licence, and in 1997 I graduated from an aviation college with a fresh CPL and a job towing advertising banners and flying traffic patrol over the cities of Toronto and Vancouver. In 1998 I returned home and over the next 9 years I earned my ATPL while flying a Cessna 421B on predominantly air ambulance missions across the Province of Ontario - with some charter work thrown in for good measure. I have some really good stories from my work as a pilot, so just ask if you are ever interested. When I retired from piloting in 2007, VATSIM took a more important place in my life by keeping me involved in, and feeding my passion in all things aviation. This, in turn, led me to roles within VATCAN, VATNA, and then the Board of Governors. VATSIM is a simulation network, not a game - there, I said it. This really should not be a polarizing statement because that was the intent of the Founders of this network when they created it a little over 20 years ago. For many it is a passionate hobby, for others a place to learn, and for still others, a place to teach. Above all however, VATSIM should and must be a safe place for all members, regardless of background or personal history, to feel safe, protected and welcome while celebrating all that virtual aviation has to offer. For me, there is simply no compromise on this. Membership in VATSIM is a privilege, not a right, and those people fundamentally incompatible with the network are simply not welcome. There are many exciting projects currently under development for our network, and I look forward to sharing more about them in due time. As a group, your leadership team is always looking for ways to enhance the experience for our members, and we are also always open to hearing your suggestions. If you have an idea we should consider, please email me at president(at)vatsim.net and I will make sure we have a look at it. Next week I will be in San Diego for FSExpo and I invite you to please come and introduce yourself if you see me wandering around. If you catch me at the right time, you may find me sharing a couple of bags of In and Out burgers with the other VATSIM members and volunteers in attendance. (IYKYK) Also, if you see me online controlling in my two current homes of ZYZ or ZMA, or flying in my favourite study level sim, please don’t hesitate to say hi. Again, thanks to all for the honour of leading this network. Let’s continue to enjoy it together.
    29 points
  4. VATSIM is pleased to announce that Velocity will release on 31 January, 2022 at 22:00 UTC. Velocity raises the refresh rate of position updates for aircraft from once every five seconds to five times per second. VATSIM members will notice much smoother movement of other users’ aircraft, be able to pick out details as small as an aircraft’s nose dipping down when braking and be able to conduct formation flights with a precision not possible under our current infrastructure. Here is a preview video Implementation of Velocity will require all VATSIM servers to be taken offline for a period of 30 – 45 minutes to apply the update. VATSIM will communicate with members via our social media platforms and community discord when the servers are back online. All VATSIM members must update their pilot clients to the newest version. These new versions will be released concurrently with Velocity and members are encouraged to utilize the network downtime to update their pilot clients. vPilot users will be automatically prompted to update their clients the next time they open vPilot. xPilot users must download the newest beta version from https://vats.im/xpilot and ensure both xPilot and xPlane are closed prior to updating. swift users can download the latest version from https://vats.im/swift Failure to update your pilot client will result in inability to connect to VATSIM. You will receive an “Invalid Client Version” error message if you try to connect with an old version. In 2021 we retired some pilot and air traffic control clients in preparation for Velocity. Through our development and testing cycle, we determined that xSquawkbox for xPlane will not be compatible with our new technology and must also be retired. xSquawkbox users will no longer be able to connect to VATSIM effective 31 January 2022 at 2200z and we encourage those users to change to xPilot or swift if they wish to continue to connect to VATSIM. We thank the xSquawkbox team for their support of VATSIM over the years and apologize to xSqauawkbox users for the short notice of retirement of this client. Outside of the fast position updates, Velocity brings some other changes to the VATSIM experience. These changes include better error messaging if you are unable to connect to the network. For example, errors will detail if you are missing the P0 exam, have an inactive account, or an incorrect password. New registrations and reactivations will become instant as opposed to the current system where users must wait for next scheduled ratings sync with the VATSIM servers. Note that at rollout, Velocity has little to no affect on ATC clients. The radar and flight plan processing functions in current ATC Clients (Euroscope, vat-sys, vERAM, vSTARS, and VRC) will continue to function both before and after the rollout with no changes needed. Users who use virtual tower functionality utilizing a proxy server with vSTARS will need to update vSTARS. Virtual towers via a proxy server with Euroscope will not function until a new version Euroscope is released. Velocity does present some exciting opportunities for future features in our current and any future ATC clients! The VATSIM Founders, Board of Governors, and Tech Teams thanks all the developers and beta testers who participated in the Velocity project. They would especially like to thank Mike, Ross, Justin and the Swift Team for their support in rolling out this update to the network. Please join us in thanking these individuals and enjoy Velocity!
    26 points
  5. Today we celebrate 20 years of VATSIM! An incredible feat, and one which would not have been possible without all our members, past and present. You have contributed to our community by flying, providing air traffic services, and serving as supervisors or in administrative positions to ensure that our network continues to grow and be successful. To celebrate, we are starting a month-long celebration with events on the network, interviews with some of our staff members, distributing over $2,500 of prizes, and some other surprises! During the next few weeks, we will be visiting all the regions, hosting special events nearly every day, ranging from VFR to IFR, First Wings to Oceanic, and simple to challenging approaches. There will be something for everyone! Within the coming days we will be opening a website for you to enter a raffle for multiple great prizes donated from the greater flight simulation community. Every member will receive 20 entries automatically plus one additional entry for each year they have been an active VATSIM member. Which they can use to enter for each prize as many times as they have entries. Want more entries? Participation in the anniversary events will yield one additional entry for each event you participate in from July 27 until August 22nd. Thank you to our friends at Orbx, PMDG, FlightBeam Studios, Navigraph, Simmarket, Skalarki Electronics, Flight Velocity, FS Reborn, FlightSim Expo, and VirtualFly for their generous donations to our celebrations. Stay tuned to our social media feeds, community discord server, myVATSIM, and the VATSIM forums for updates on the on and off network events. We encourage everyone to participate events, explore new countries, experience new ATC, and most of all, enjoy the anniversary celebrations! Thank you once more for being a part of VATSIM, and we look forward to many more years of great fun!
    21 points
  6. Happy 20th anniversary to VATSIM. I can vividly remember the moment that Roberto flipped the switch and we were live on our own network. Special mention to the Founders who helped build the finest online aviation simulation in the world. I know we are all proud of the staff and members who define who we are. Stay Safe, Stay Well and Blue Skies to all. Again, Happy Anniversary. Harv Stein VATSIM5
    17 points
  7. You may be increasing access to Air Traffic Control positions for VATSIM members, but this fails to fulfil the second part "whilst maintaining a standard of quality Air Traffic Control service that VATSIM has become known". If controllers are allowed to continue controlling after showing they do not want to maintain the "standard of quality Air Traffic Control service that VATSIM has become known." then we are not upholding the purpose of the document that lets them do that. This is truly all about quantity over quality.
    17 points
  8. This is the crux of the issue. An incompetent controller who refuses to improve will drive away competent controllers. @Matt In the examples you provided, two of them refused to comply with the standards or re-train themselves in order to comply with standards. In the follow-up, you asked "So you would prefer to fly on unicom than fly with a controller who's not perfect?" No one is demanding perfection here, what we want is competence that simulates reality which is vastly different from perfection. I would rather fly with no ATC than be vectored in circles by an incompetent controller 10 out of 10 times. As a controller, I would in fact not log on if I know I'm going to have to fix and undo the errors of another controller who refuses to follow procedures or make an effort to do things the right way. It is not worth the effort and frustration I would have to put in when the other person refuses to put in any effort of their own.
    14 points
  9. And you think this is a BAD THING??? If the controller doesn't care to keep up with changes, then why the heck would we keep him around? If you kept insisting that 2+2=5 after spending years doing my taxes, I sure as heck would not keep you as my accountant just to "connect an accountant to a tax payer"? If we're going to have this kind of standard, we're going to end up in IVAOs "no ARTCC" levels at some point - i.e. controllers who don't even know what a runway is and I for one, don't think I want to stand for - or be associated with that sinking ship. Matt - your comments come across like VATSIM 1. Has a severe lack of controllers online, and 2. Has no competition and won't in the future. It's becoming very clear that the BoG is interested in getting numbers, no matter if someone is an S1 forever, rather than keep their C1s around who is VATSIMs biggest issue - C1 retention.
    13 points
  10. Hey Everyone. I have waited for a while in order to get a view of all the opinions on this. And so I want to add my own thoughts as a division director of a division that has one FIR that has a language requirement that is enforced. Specifically our Montreal FIR. As you all may know, Canada IRL has two official national languages. English and French. In Quebec French is the dominant language, so much so in order to preserve the Quebec culture there is varying laws dictating how and when English may be used. Now, back to VATSIM. I have a Division where there is 6 FIRs which are predominantly English speaking and 1 FIR where there is a requirement for the controller to speak French to a level of being able to control. The FIR can provide training in English and some if not all of the documentation is both in French and English. In other words, the FIR has gone to every length to accomodate the visiting controller short of one thing. They must be able to control in French as there is a large number of pilots that ONLY want to converse in french. Then fly within the Montreal Airspace and not outside it. And IRL this is also applicable. I have and will continue to support Montreals language requirement. While CoR dictates that all controllers must be capable of controlling in English (again which aligns with RW), I see no reason why we need to inflict those same rules on Pilots. I would rather pilots focus their time on being able to fly and follow instructions properly than learning a new language! At the end of the day there is a WEALTH of places where a controller looking for a new challenge can go control, in a language they are comfortable with. There is no reason to inflict uncomfortable situations on pilots just to satisfy either a visiting controller or a "quantity first" style argument. When there really, to my view thus far, is no empiracle data that supports that this actually is a real issue. One thing that always sticks in my head about the Montreal FIR was a while back, they were in need of help from the training perspective. My Divisional Training Director took the time to learn French sufficiently to be able to adequately control in the language and thus, then be able to train controllers in that FIR. To me THAT was the right and most supportive thing to do. And kudos to him for doing so, for myself, I am lucky that all the staff in Montreal speak English so well and are willing to hold their meetings in English when I decide to turn up 😉 I'll admit, in the initial reviews of GCAP this one slipped past me as I was overly focused on other areas. However with the benefit of reading so many impassioned responses about this. I have to agree this is something that is important to many areas and I am unsure there is real tangiable benefit in dictating a path in a high level policy. Beyond, of course, it's up to the local division with RVP oversight. I think David has put this nicely. This is not something that should be dictated by GCAP. This should be left at the discretion of the RVP's. I think they are smart enough and know their respective area's well enough to make informed decisions with their divisions on what is best for each area. Phil
    12 points
  11. Hello All, This is an important discussion, however the posts here have reached the point of not being helpful to the process. To be clear, the VATSIM Board of Governors has not addressed this topic in a meeting, and no motions have been proposed or passed regarding this topic. If it is determined that a BoG discussion and vote is required, then it will be added to the agenda of our next meeting. In the meantime, I have emailed the parties and offered my assistance in resolving any outstanding issues. For now, I will lock this thread and would ask everyone to be patient while this is worked through. Many thanks,
    12 points
  12. Be honest, when was the last time someone tried to set an activity policy that had to be intervened by the BoG? Most ARTCC policies have to go through Division approval, and no Division would allow that through. We have a management structure in place for situations just like this, and they work 99% of the time. The 1% fringe case can be handled case-by-case by the BoG and doesn't need to be codified into policy. This is red tape for the sake of red tape. Not what VATSIM is about. VATSIM is about a mutual love of aviation, not LARPing the bureaucracy of the FAA.
    12 points
  13. I'm really confused at OP's post. VATSIM pilot ratings were redefined and realigned a couple of years ago. To the best of my knowledge, none were removed. If you're talking about a Px rating becoming a Py rating, that's not a removal, it's a realignment. If you have any examples of true removals, please provide them (to me via email (preferred) or PM please). One initiative implemented by the Pilot Training Department a couple of years ago was to make it easier to have RW pilot credentials recognized by granting equivalent VATSIM pilot ratings. However, to the best of my knowledge, there were no, or should have been no, awarding of pilot ratings to controllers on the basis of being a controller. If you have any examples, please provide them (to me via email (preferred) or PM please). Speaking in generalities, there has been a growing concern in the controller community about pilot quality. Things like the release of MSFS2020, and now the release of study-level aircraft for MSFS2020 have reduced the barrier to entry and/or novelty to the flight simming world. This is really good news for the flight simming world, but because it's so much easier for just about anyone to buy MSFS2020 and/or shiny new release airplanes and hop on VATSIM and make a mess of things for the others that are trying to enjoy the network. VATSIM leadership has been very concerned recently about the apparent, or even perhaps perceived, shift in pilot quality, and wanted to send essentially a reminder to the community what our network is all about. We aspire to be better than "just entry level" and/or "just a game". There are certainly limitations and boundaries to making our network "as real as some people want." There are a lot of variables involved, but training, learning and patience all play a significant role. That includes self-study, off the network, to ensure that when you are ready to connect to our simulation network, you are adequately prepared. Not perfect, but have a fighting chance at doing things well enough that you don't cause a disturbance. VATSIM is not interested in a two-tiered network. We are interested in finding the right balance that is best for our community and our network. That sweet spot in the middle is so very hard to find, but by actively seeking it, we are making this network and this community better for all.
    11 points
  14. Hello @Ivan Duris I am sorry you are upset. Let's recap what happened today - it started by you sending an unsolicited message to my flying partner while we were in uncontrolled airspace telling him that he was on the wrong squawk code and telling him to change it. I reached out to you to remind you that squawk codes are assigned by ATC, not other pilots. I also let you know that sometimes messages sent from one pilot to another criticizing their flying often not well received. I conveyed these messages in a friendly way in an attempt to help you in your interactions on the network. A short time later, you connected to the network at our arrival airport and interfered with our arrival by flying circuits in the opposite direction to our arrival without making any radio calls on unicom. At that point a supervisor was called. My communications with you were friendly and meant to help you. I don't know why you chose to escalate them to the point you did. I do not have an email from you today, but if you want to reach out to me, my email is [email protected] Tim
    11 points
  15. All rather a lot of wishy washy rubbish for what should be a really simple thing: being a staff member shouldn’t make you exempt from a requirement that applies to the rest of VATSIM, especially when it’s such a measly one! Controlling for an hour in a year to stay on a controller roster seems bloomin’ reasonable. Nothing in GCAP suggests you can’t be staff by not meeting this requirement, you just can’t be deemed an active controller. They’re completely different things. So get rid of the clause and shall we stop worrying about the hours in a day, month and year and commuting and contributing and what not… because we’re literally talking about an hour in a year to make sure that staff don’t think they’re above everybody else.
    11 points
  16. Soon a major change will come to the way vatSys works. Working in parallel to Ross’s CRC project, is a server project for vatSys. This server will see all flight data, radar, alert and coordination processing move from the client running on the users computer to a centralised server where all data is synchronised and distributed. Users will no longer be connecting directly to FSD. Divisions will be able to create and edit profiles that run on the server to define local data. These “partitions” - effectively processing islands for each division, will be a very realistic emulation of Eurocat / TopSky architecture. Peer to peer, visibility points and even callsigns will be a thing of the past. The current client will remain in open beta until eventually cutting over to server. I encourage those developing profiles to continue, as they will be useable with just a few changes on vatSysServer. More soon.
    10 points
  17. The rule, saying that the responsibility to contact ATC, lies with the pilot, originates from the days when VATSIM's airspace and sectorization was much more simple, like 15+ years ago. These days it is often not possible for pilots to understand all the different sectors, when several of them are active. Yes: I am writing this from a European perspective! Those of you who are calling for pilots to be hit with disciplinary action for such a thing, should not do so until you have operated in busy European airspace yourselves. Until then, you are simply not qualified to make such statements, sorry for being so blunt. Fly from London to Frankfurt, for example. And tell me exactly who you will have to contact when. It's often impossible, simple as that. On the other hand, and this is the encouraging part, vATCOs will not cry a river over having to ping pilots who have no clue whom to call at what point in time. In conclusion: effectively, you will not see any "disciplinary action" taken against such evil violators of VATSIM regulations. Don't get scared by statements, just fly and do your best in finding out whom to contact. If you are unable, ATC will ping you. Easy.
    10 points
  18. Dear Members, We are lately experiencing various cases (positive and negative) with Eurocontrol, and are have now decided to start a "Potential Project" in order to determine the future of Eurocontrol. In order to do such we need your feedback! Please follow this survey link and fill it out (will take 5-10 minutes of your time): https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XD3NZJD NOTE: This survey will NOT determine the immediate future of Eurocontrol, it will give us an idea of which direction to point our work to. Many thanks for your cooperation and fairness! Regards
    10 points
  19. Here's a crazy idea. Remove the policy from GCAP altogether and let each subdivision create their own activity policy as they see fit. If a controller is unhappy with an activity policy at a particular subdivision, they can move to a subdivision with a more lenient policy. One size fits all policies like this are not the solution with a global network like VATSIM.
    10 points
  20. VATSIM is not political and you can perform your flights "as you wish". Of course, stay respectful and reasonable with your choice of flight route.
    9 points
  21. I don't know about the other mods, but I'm not deleting it.... 😉
    9 points
  22. I was trying to set up a new computer and you're right I think most ATC are a nuisance, ergo I'll no longer fly here.
    9 points
  23. This is an example of parts of the BoG being completely out of touch with the sub-divisions. It is not reasonable to say to me, as a sub-division leader that when a visitor wants to branch out beyond the confines of their home facility that I need to tell my instructors to prioritize them over an OBS who hasn't even touched the scope. VATSIM is and always has been a hobby of specialization, from what I can tell the goal of this community is to have an accurate simulation of ATC around the world. When VATSIM comes to it's membership and says "We want to break down borders and let it all go" it's makes us think that VATSIM wants to be more like IVAO where there is significantly less oversight of controller training and standards. I am not gonna sit here and say there needs to be no restriction because some accountability is useful, but 14 days? From a network wide policy, this reaches too far. I personally thought 90 days was fine as a division wide policy, that prevents people from sitting too long and waiting and also gives the divisions the latitude to shorten that time for their sub-divisions. It makes no sense to me that a visitor from another region can come to my facility and demand a comp check within 14 days of joining, when I have OBS-S3s who have been waiting months to steal a precious second with my instructors because they are so off the wall busy. Yes I am going to stick by Comp checks need to happen, but this huge oversight from the BOG is absurd to me and needs to reevaluated. Even from not my perspective, if say I a VATUSA controller, visited VATUK and then demanded they evaluate me to the minimum standard within 14 days, are the 40 OBSes that have been waiting a year for a intro session going to be happy? Of course not. I'd be livid, and I'm sure they would be too. My official proposal is restore it back to 90 days and put language to allow divisions latitude to shorten. This document is trying to do the job of too many division staff members at once. Let your divisions make policies that are most beneficial to them. The bestest regards, Shane
    9 points
  24. Luke, you have perfectly summarized my feelings about the Pilot Rating restructuring. I was CFI of VATSTAR at the time, and I felt very strongly that the old Pilot Ratings system was much more suitable for VATSIM's needs than the present one. Plus the notion that we had to take down everything we had spent YEARS building, and completely restructure it, felt like a kick in the gut. I had stepped down from my post there for other reasons before all that became final but it still felt like a slap in the face to what we had done, all to achieve an unnecessary fixing of something that wasn't broken. Most VATSIM pilots want to fly airliners. So why disassemble a training program built with VATSIM pilots' needs in mind, and replace it with something like the real world which forces you to start GA? In the real world starting GA is mandatory (military notwithstanding). In VATSIM, since Pilot Ratings are completely optional, a system which forces pilots to do something they DON'T want before letting them do what they DO want seems like a recipe for failure. I don't have stats to know whether the proportion of pilots with vs without ratings has changed since the shift, but I'm guessing it's still the case that most pilots who participate in Pilot Ratings programs are NOT the ones who really need the training as they probably already have the basics that WE need down. I.E. they already know what procedure charts are and how to fly what they are cleared to do.
    8 points
  25. I've made another major design change for CRC, this one even more impactful than the last. So it's time for another development update. Ever since I developed vSTARS and vERAM and learned a lot about how the real STARS/ERAM systems work, I've wanted to build my own server that the clients would connect to, instead of connecting directly to the VATSIM FSD network. This server would in turn connect to the FSD network in order to get a feed of all aircraft locations and their flight plans. This architecture would allow me to simulate how the real systems work to a far greater degree of fidelity. After numerous discussions with other developers that are helping with this project, and discussions with many VATUSA ARTCC staff members, I've decided that I'm going to take this approach with CRC. All logic for radar data processing, flight data processing, controller command message processing, conflict detection, etc. will be moved to the server. The CRC client will not have any "logic" at all, it will just be a UI showing the state of things on the server. The following is a list of some of the main benefits that this new approach will provide: Users will sign into positions, not callsigns. - FEs will define positions within each of their facilities, and CRC users will choose which position they are signing into. Users will not need to type in a callsign or primary frequency, as those things will be determined automatically by the server, based on the selected position. Multiple users can be signed into the same position. - This is to facilitate shift change, observing, and student/instructor scenarios. When one user makes a change such as initiating/accepting a handoff, that will be reflected on any other scope for the same position. Even small changes like the position of a data block will be mirrored across all scopes for the same position. Just like how the real systems work. Shift change will not require handoffs. - When you sign into a position to relieve another controller, you automatically have track control of all their aircraft, because it's the same position. No need for the first controller to hand off aircraft. All data blocks will be in exactly the same position for the incoming controller as they are for the outgoing controller. When the incoming controller is ready to take the position, they will enter a command or press a button to declare "my control". It'll be just like the real world when a relieving controller sits down at the same physical scope for the relief briefing. Track state will be properly shared. - All track state data (ERAM CID, scratchpads, ERAM 4th line data, temporary altitudes, handoff state, pointout state, etc.) will be stored on the server, within the simulated STARS/ERAM "computer". Track state data will be shared among positions within the same simulated computer, and will only transfer to other facility computers where it is appropriate and realistic for that to happen. You will be able to see a handoff occurring between two other controllers, just like you can in the real systems. Realistic beacon code assignments. - The server will assign beacon codes based on the real world NBCAP. (National Beacon Code Allocation Plan.) TRACON facilities will have their own internal code banks for flights originating and terminating within the facility. Recovery after unintentional disconnect. - If you lose your connection due to a client crash, brief power failure, etc. you will be able to reconnect and all your tracks with all their state will be intact, because it will be maintained on the server while you were disconnected. If you aren't able to reconnect and sign back in, another controller can sign into your position and take over, or the system will automatically drop your tracks after a certain period of time. Third-party tools can connect to the server. - Tools such as a simulated EDST or FDIO can connect to the server and sign into a position, allowing e.g. ERAM controllers to have a "D-Side" console using software external to CRC. You will even be able to provide D-Side services to another controller. The third-party applications will have full access to the server data, without needing a regular FSD connection. Server-based radar simulation. - The server will have a map of radar coverage for each facility. This map will be pre-generated based on real world radar site locations, facility surveillance coverage areas, and terrain. If an aircraft is flying in a valley where there is no radar coverage, you won't see it. This surveillance coverage map will also incorporate real world ADS-B coverage. That's a list of things that will be in the initial release version, and this new architecture will pave the way for many more highly-realistic features in the future. This probably goes without saying, but this is a very significant increase in the scope of work required to bring CRC to an initial release version. I was originally targeting an initial release date some time in the summer of this year, but with this change, I think an initial release is more likely to be toward the end of the year or even early 2023. It's very hard to say how long this will all take, because it's such a major change, but late 2022 or early 2023 is a good guess as to the absolute earliest time frame for anyone to expect release. As with any sizable software project, that date is likely to slip multiple times. I hope you'll all agree that the benefits listed above will make it worth the wait!
    8 points
  26. The conroller is here to control, and if taking you off the STAR is required for how they plan to operate their airspace, then follow the instructions, if you want to fly, with out controller intervention, go offline. Im trying to create a list of what controllers arent allowed to do, so far it looks like this; Don't log off when i'm inbound, Don't stream snipe, Don't log in where i'm already flying, Don't alter my flight plan.
    8 points
  27. A prime example in the Scandinavian countries
    8 points
  28. Good luck with that. The problem is that sectorization in Europe is a complex 3D+ issue - not simple 2D. The lateral boundaries of a specific online controller AoR (Area of Responsibility) is for most center sectors and many approach sectors different depending on the altitude, so we're talking three dimensions. So every tool that just shows one lateral outline for a controller is in part lying to you. To make things even more complicated, the actual AoRs also depend on which specific stations are actually online at the same time. This will result in a single controller's AoR to dynamically change (lateral and vertical) depending on surrounding controllers coming online/offline. This makes a 3D problem a 3D+ problem. The only tool that I know of that has the whole picture of those complex interdependencies and 3D sectorization is the EuroScope ATC client, provided to it via ESE files describing all the complexities and dependencies (over here built automatically from a central metadata database). But even EuroScope can't (it doesn't have to - it's not a mapping tool) display a real 3D map, it displays a "compromise" 2D lateral boundary for the current controller's AoR. The controller still has to know in which areas in which level bands he/she/it is responsible for, and that can be quite complex, even involving things like tactical temporary delegations of airspace (in Germany often called "XYZ phase"). So, unless you have your shiny large (structurally) trivial sector with a single lateral boundary GND-UNL, all VATSIM tools fall flat telling you the truth, by design. They don't even have the required information to do better. And even if they would have, that map would become very very complex over here, trying to display complex 3D airspaces in 2D form on a display. I could show you map examples from real-world LoAs (letter of agreement between ATC facilities) which do that, I assure you they are not fun to "read", but unfortunately those are non-public. I can only agree with Andreas Fuchs. Especially in places like central Europe, the ancient VATSIM CoC rule makes no sense and controllers want to pull vpilots coming from uncontrolled airspace via "contact me" at the vATCO's pace and timing, instead of having them call in from randomly uncovered positions. Best regards, Daniel
    8 points
  29. It's pretty disingenuous to refer to it as "stream sniping," too, when a VATSIM controller logs on to provide ATC services, whether or not he targeted the time and location because you were there. I watched the stream in question, Daniel. All he did was clear your partner on the exact route he already filed and prepped, before you got annoyed and disconnected without even calling him up. So it wouldn't have even required any real effort on your part if you had just stayed on, gotten your clearance, and went on about your flight normally. I hope you never experience true "stream sniping" but I'll tell ya -- this ain't it.
    8 points
  30. Speaking from a division where we were known in the past for "rating tourism" I can tell you that this 100 hour requirement before transferring will make an effect. We had several members from multiple divisions notably from VATEUD and VATUK in the past come here get training in the small quiet places and then transfer out after 50 hours and 90 days have passed. Some quiet vACCs would love to train more people so they get activity I think these quiet vACCs need to be recognized. Not everyone is VATEUD or VATUK in terms of activity, if a vACC wants to retain it's member then this is one way to do it in my opinion. Controllers need to think thoroughly before pressing the "transfer" button. Am I going to stay here for a prolonged period of time? Am I going to contribute significantly to this vACC? Am I just here for the rating? There are several factors in the back as well. I think everyone would agree here that wasting people's time especially during mentoring someone whether it is a new controller that will then leave or a controller that just transferred in for a specific rating and then leave. We had an issue as well where in the past during this period people were not trained to the standard that was required this has been changed since I've come in. But that is another story for another day. We recently combated the "rating tourism" issue since I've come on board and things have gone down a bit with these sort of members. This will make the member think twice before transferring. Like Collin mentioned above my mentors and instructors are proud of the students that they train and see them progress throughout their division/sub-divisions ranks. I'd rather see this then a student I've trained pretend to contribute to our little community and then transfer out after 50 hours and 90 days have passed. If we take into account the C1-rated members in the Emirates vACC I think you'd be all shocked. The only C1-rated members that we have within the vACC are the staff members themselves and part of the divisional staff including myself. We had lot's of C1s back in the day but those were people that would come in specifically for the rating only and then leave after 50 hours and 90 days. I'd rather want member retention then someone that leaves especially in a vACC in the Emirates vACC where we really need C1 rated controllers for events that require the capacity such as Cross the Land etc... At the moment we have lot's of committed S1, S2 and S3 controllers in the ranks that have contributed their time to the community, division and sub-divisions. We value these members truly and thank them for their participation in staff-up, events and so forth.
    8 points
  31. Your entire statement just proves, that you prefer low quality, all-around-annoying incompetent ATC, rather than single departure of this kind of person, who is refusing to improve, lol. Because of the decisions as per above, you save a single, incompetent departure from the network, making tons of people dedicated to the network going off, because they are driven nuts by these kind of people.
    8 points
  32. GCAP is the perfect opportunity as far as I'm concerned to "reclaim" what a C3 should signify and to set some baseline standards for attaining the rating. The problem that it needs to fix is that the C3 rating is so inconsistent across the network in what it signifies and represents. Anecdotally speaking, there are places on the network where they are given out with almost no requirements, and others where there are multiple stringent measures in place to ensure that the rating is seen as a proper achievement. The policy does a good job in places of trying to set some sort of a standard, but as it stands, the C3 requirements couldn't be further from that. I've already stated that I don't agree that a course like this is needed, let alone mandatory. My reasoning for this is that leadership is not shown or learnt by completing an eLearning course, it's shown by committing to your vACC, putting in countless hours working more than the average member and helping everybody out. @Matthew BartelsI really like the idea of wanting to promote leadership qualities for the C3s, but I'm not convinced an online course is the way to go. In VATEUD, there are requirements that have to be fulfilled before you can be put forward for the CPT. The thing that EUD does well here is that there are various avenues which people can go down in order to be put forward. However, my main point is not the fact that I disagree with the idea of the course, it's that the eligibility criteria need to be standardised to some extent. Otherwise, the rating continues to lack substance across VATSIM. In VATEUD, C3 candidates can use ATC experience coupled with mentoring sessions, staff time or other factors to become eligible and receive a recommendation. In this sense, it is accessible to almost everybody who deserves it and doesn't exclude anybody as there are multiple streams you can go down to qualify. If people do feel that if the course will be mandatory regardless, a compromise with some other standardisation would be appreciated. I would propose the network adopts a policy whereby controllers can get their C3 through multiple avenues. This would include (at minimum): Documented time spent mentoring or Time spent fulfilling staff duties or Time spent contributing to your vACC in other ways (documentation etc.) and A minimum amount of controlling time. Why does C3 need to have these criteria when other ratings don't? The other ratings are all defined by examinable criteria, the C3 is not. In the same way that GCAP defines (in detail) criteria for the other ratings, this advanced rating needs to have some criteria set out in my opinion so that over time, the C3 rating can become a solid, well-recognised and respected rating. Some things are best left up to Divisions to regulate, but for a recognised rating on the network, I do feel that a standard network-wide approach is the best option.
    8 points
  33. I don't particularly have an issue with standards varying across the world - it doesn't make much sense training someone for extreme traffic levels if they're in a division/sub-division which gets very little traffic. In an ideal world everyone would be trained to the same high standards, but I think it's more worthwhile to train 3 students to the required standard in that area than 1 student to real world standards. It's also worth noting that a lot of people struggle to learn the practical aspects of controlling, in the real world very few people make it through the selection processes and to the end of training. Having quieter areas allows members who struggle in high workloads to have a chance at getting a C1 rating and makes the network as accessible as possible. The vast majority of controllers will happily train and control in their home division - I wouldn't want to visit Portugal and control Lisbon badly in the same way Andre doesn't want to come to the UK, the issue is with a small minority of people who have no qualms about transferring everywhere to avoid training queues and visiting multiple division/sub-divisions without any intention of learning the local procedures. There should really be some way to safeguard against this and only allow in people who have put in a genuine effort.
    8 points
  34. Hi All, Firstly I'd like to say that GCAP is a big step forward from GRP and brings some exciting new possibilities. I know a policy like this takes a lot of time to create and you will never be able to please anyone - my thanks/thoughts go out to those involved with this project, however I'd like to throw my two cents in regardless. Most of GCAP seems to remove a lot of red tape from GRP which is naturally a good thing since the VATSIM world is extremely varied and a one size fits all approach will never work, however the visiting controllers endorsement does seem a little bit too prescriptive in my opinion. In the vast majority of cases, visiting controllers do not take the time to learn local procedures and I don't believe GCAP does enough to remedy this. Members from divisions with high standards of training generally see visiting other places as a bit of a joke and a chance to have a mess about, whilst members from divisions with lower training standards see visiting as a way to traffic chase and control busier positions. Allowing visiting controllers to control any minor airport will mean divisions and sub-divisions will respond by making as many airports and as much airspace restricted/major as possible which goes against the general theme of GCAP making controlling on VATSIM more accessible. It makes sense for divisions and sub-divisions to be able to choose which airports are available for visiting controllers, thus preventing traffic chasing, and allowing visiting controllers to learn the local procedures on a smaller airport/position without affecting the experience of other pilots/controllers. Alternatively, allowing divisions to implement competency checks for visiting controllers would make sure effort has been put in to learn local procedures. I'm also curious as to where visiting controllers will sit in the waiting lists for training. Generally speaking, the areas on VATSIM with the most traffic have higher controller standards which means longer training times and higher demand for training. This seems fair, in that if you want to control the busy positions then you accept you will need to wait longer to get through your training. The issue with visiting controllers being able to control any minor position, and then request training on major/restricted airspace is that certain members will exploit this system to get from OBS to C1 as fast as possible in a small sub-division, and then (for example) visit the Netherlands, UK, and Ireland to request training on the 3 busiest airports in Europe. I don't think it's fair that the training of home controllers should be slowed to accommodate visiting controllers, however if visiting controllers are placed at the bottom of the list for training then in many cases none will ever receive training due to the length of the waiting lists. The simplest solution would be to allow divisions and sub-divisions to choose whether or not visiting controllers are able to control major/restricted positions. I know I'm a Brit so I'm somewhat biased as we love our queues, but having visiting controllers 'push in' to the list of home controllers waiting for training will only lead to friction between these two groups. With GCAP, there is no longer an incentive to train at the division/sub-division you want to control in as members are better off finding somewhere with the shortest training times and then visiting their desired region afterwards. I'd be interested to know what other people think below, I know visiting and transferring controllers can be quite divisive so please try and keep it civil!
    8 points
  35. Huh, cool! Give me a minute, and I'll connect as SY_APP or CTR, since no SUP will remove me, we'll see how that goes. As for the rest of the statement: I'm sorry, but I completely disagree and I base that opinion on my own experience not controlling for that amount of time then coming back, but also on being on senior staff for ZNY for 10 years in total, and seeing what happens when most people rejoin. It's not 2 out of 10 that are not proficient, it's 8/10. And those two? Yeah, sorry, they need to waste an hour to do a checkout, but we do that to ensure that we don't end up with a bunch of controllers who don't know what they are doing anymore.
    8 points
  36. Hi Matt, My question is, why are the BoG are taking a hard line stance at this while the majority of people who control on the network are against it? Would you be able to give us some insight on: What actual number of active membership does this actually affect? At the core of this policy, why are we lowering the standards for controlling hours? I understand this has been addressed on another section but my guess is that it only affects a small subset of membership, and that it is scattered throughout the network. This seems like a "micro management" policy. Each division and subdivision on VATSIM has unique characteristics that are specific to each area. Throwing in a blanket requirement that will handcuff day to day management of divisions will only increase workload on the staff. Wouldn't this be contrary to your point that people have real world obligations and those who make the time and commitment to the network would be loaded with more administrative duties when these issues arise. In real world interactions, the board of directors of a company sets a vision for the company and guides the executives in their vision, they don't get into the granular details that the lower level managers deal with on a day to day basis. Successful companies TRUST in their people to follow that. They have controls in place that would prevent mistreatment or abuse to the employees. You have the pulse of the controllers right now and right here, we're giving you the feedback that we believe would be the most beneficial for all. No one here is saying that they will just cut people from the roster without throught to the indivudual, and evidenced by senior staff that posted here, they take every available measure to ensure someone stays current. This policy, as it stands, will not only create more work for the all volunteer staff and quite frankly to put it bluntly, its a slap in the face to the people who put the time and effort in make this network what it really is when the overall tone has been pretty dismissive about the suggestions. It seems like this policy will cause more issues and dissent among the people who put in the time and effort, who are probably your most active controllers on the network. I've been around long enough to see good management and bad management policies. If you're seeing this much pushback on this from respected members of this community, then holding onto something so unpopular will only create more problems than it aims to solve. 12-24 hours in one year as a minimum is a good starting point, your middle ground can be every 6 months as most policies are geared towards that anyway. Let your local administrative teams determine their own policies. No one here wants to gut their entire roster and have minimal ATC coverage which in effect will attract less pilots. We just want quality controllers who still have the desire to do this. In my short time on the network, I've seen controllers come back from hiatus and NONE of them balked at the prospects of getting remedial training, the majority have even welcomed it. Don't we want controllers who are proactive in providing good service to pilots? In today's age, bad controllers get highlighted on social media and repairing that takes time. I'm not saying that it won't happen with current and active controllers but you're opening up the door for more mistakes and bad publicity for the network. Listen to the people who are on the ground who do this on a day to day basis, I'm not discounting the work that you all do in the administration of this, but you yourself have said that you've been busy with life and free time has been taken up with administrative duties and you've controlled for 20 or so hours for the year. I just can't see the justification with 1 hour per year when someone who's self admitted that you're busy have controlled 20x more than that. Your actual return on this policy, as far as I can tell, is just inflated numbers. Unfortunately, and we can all see this, will cause more issues with your controllers than any benefit. VATSIM is about aviate, educate, and communicate. We're communicating to you that this is a flawed policy. This isn't a hill to die on, give a 12-24 hour yearly requirement, and let the divisions manage how it's split and let them do what they do best and manage their people the best way they know how, and have been doing for years now. This is your actual middle ground between what current policies are versus your proposed policies. I urge you not to cause more issues than this policy aims to solve.
    8 points
  37. Hi all, after checking the new draft I've not found any specific rule about the language and like Lars and Todd say, I would like seriously to have an official answer / specific rule. Here at VATSIM Spain for the visitor controllers is a requirement to know basic spanish fraseology in order to give ATC service also in Spanish for local pilots. As far as I remember we have this rule since 2015 more or less. In the past we had a short period without it, and we had very very bad situations between ATCs and pilots. We have had during these years some meetings with VATSIM /VATEUD staff regarding this subject, and always the answer was the same: we will take a decission about the language requirement in the future. Until then, nobody have poined us oficially saying "You can't apply this". And if I receive it I will ask where is the point where it says English is mandatory (in VATSIM) for pilots (mandatory... must.. not should). I've discussed my opinion a few months ago in some staff channels in the VATEUD discord so for me this discussion is a dejavú. I'm not going to defend the spanish in our division because spanish ATCs in real life know Spanish and English nor because it is a ICAO language or any other reason. For me it's more simple: we have local pilots who don't speak english. This is hobby, this is a network for fun and if you can't speak english and you prefer to fly only in your country but you receive ATC only in english, you won't be able. I'm agree that with this decission there is a discrimination with the person who wants to be a visitor, but if you let to control without knowing the local language (again, basically for give ATC service; not to mantein a conversation with me) the discrimated will be the pilot. So, whom must to be discrimate, the pilot or the ATC? The ATC maybe can apply in other country but what are the options of the pilot? Again, whatever will be the decission, seriously I would like to have one finally.
    8 points
  38. Writing policy by implication is the wrong idea. If you want something to be in policy, write it down. Gray area has no room here.
    8 points
  39. I thought this was a public review/input period. Apparently my legitimate suggestion is being dismissed by the Marketing and Communications VP. What amazing communication skills. My suggestion nowhere said "if you don't like it, leave". It suggested allowing subdivisions the latitude to determine their own activity requirements, and allows all controllers the freedom of choice.
    8 points
  40. Ive seen quite a bit of people in europe use the callsign starting with SHT... I mean amagain controllors trying to say that with out saying the S word! what do you guys think? .wallop them? or not allow it on flightplans. theres a couple online now SHT8A and SHT8Y i personally dont like to swear and think its wrong and should be banned on the nettwork. what do you guys think? I would like to hear any suppivisors commets too! best regards DANIEL B. FARIA-FILHO site owner: www.prayorbeprayedfor.com www.alexandrerezende.net
    7 points
  41. ... or, I log on intending to control 3 hours, but 90 minutes in there's absolutely no traffic... now I'm gonna get bad feedback from the one person who was enroute from hundreds of miles away if I log off and decide to fly instead?
    7 points
  42. I hope this issue is still up for discussion. Despite having over 20 hard-working volunteers on my training staff, my facility is still experiencing 2+ month backlogs for home controllers requesting training. Requiring a competency check to be completed in 14 days for visiting controllers will cripple the ZBW training department. I am willing to concede that transfer controllers should be prioritized because like Matt said, they don't have anywhere to control. But I am pleading with the BoG to please reconsider the 14 day requirement for visitors. I have serious concerns that this will create even more delays for our home controllers who are wanting to earn new ratings. We are currently getting our visiting controllers checked out in about 30-45 days; they are given the same priority for assignment of a mentor/instructor as home controllers, which we feel is only fair. Please allow us to continue in this way.
    7 points
  43. I have just been IRL to a smaller (backcountry) airport in Egypt. The local TWR controller was not able to understand and say much more than the basic English phraseology... unfortunately, sending .wallop Need some help in HExx did not help on our ACARS 😄
    7 points
  44. Hello all, On behalf of Russian-speaking community I want to say some things here. There was said all members should know English. Well, I agree it's necessary for reading and understanding VATSIM documents, but not all pilots, especially newbies, know English as good as it needed to communicate with other people. Documents can be read with translator. Basic phases when flying? Ok. But what about non-routine situations. Newbee, coming to VATSIM, often knows only basic things on their native language. We are educational network, isn't it? How we can learn pilots, if controller in their home airport don't speak their language? There are a lot of special, technical things that pilots must understand before they start to fly in VATSIM. It is really hard to understand something on technical English, if your native language is Russian, Spanish, French or any other. If in Russia we let control non-Russian-speaking controllers, we've just lose a huge part of pilots. It's important to understand that not all people can speak English well to communicate with foreign ATC. Russians who don't speak English well can't understand fluently English, especially native speakers. A lot of Russian pilots fly only over Russia and CIS because are still learning how to fly in VATSIM on their native language. Of course, all our controllers can provide ATC in English, we certify them. But all of them also speak Russian well. Many pilots (and it's a big part of community), especially at the east from Moscow, can't speak English well. We think we would let local vACCs and Divisions introduce restrictions about the ATC language "as real". Only English-speaking controllers all over the world will lead to losing a huge part of community. Thanks.
    7 points
  45. I guess we'll have to agree on disagreeing on this one. I can't see a point in wasting hours of training for situations that will not happen to the majority of controllers. Many places have enormously long training queues, are we going to delay everyone even more by spending hours teaching something that will not be needed? And let's just assume everything is being taught properly, and everyone worldwide learns how to do all types of parallel runway operations during their S3 training. If someone then stays for 3 years in their sub-division which has not a single airport with parallel runway, are we going to say "Oh, yes. He must still knows what he learnt 3 years ago during a single sweatbox session, and which he hasn't used since. Let's put him on Heathrow Director during Midweek Madness!"
    7 points
  46. And how would I go about learning parallel runway operations in a country that doesn't have an airport with parallel runways? There are a few specific procedures that need to be taken into account when controlling parallel runways, it isn't just saying 03L and 03R instead of only saying 03. And then there are airports where you can have aircraft approaching in parallel without any sort of restriction, as the runways are far enough away from each other to allow it, whilst other airports have them too close to each other, so specific separation on final is needed. If a sub-division has none of these airports, why would they train their controllers on how to control them? It isn't something they're going to be needing. If I want to make pasta for dinner I don't also look for a steak recipe just because my neighbour is cooking a steak.
    7 points
  47. Having given this a bit of thought, I believe the 50% rule must return, in a clear and direct way, unless the sub-divisions get the power to remove someone from being a home controller. As it stands right now, what is stopping someone from doing all their training in sub-division A, but doing all their controlling in sub-division B? Imagine sub-division B is the place at which someone really wants to control. But their training queues are long, extending into many months. A person would be visiting country A, doing all their training there, as it is really fast with virtually no queue, quickly getting their S3, and applying for a visitor endorsement at sub-division B. Once they eventually begin doing their C1 training, what is prohibiting them from only controlling at sub-division A for the training sessions, not controlling there at all with the S3 rating, whilst putting in countless hours in sub-division B, the place they wanted to control at in the first place? Sub-division A, as it is spending their resources training this person, should be entitled to having at least half their controlling time be with them. If not we'll see even more rating tourism then we are seeing today, with sub-divisions training people who will never control.
    7 points
  48. Thank you Matt for all of your explanations and I truly appreciate you taking the time to answer several questions for VATUSA staff last evening. Many of my thoughts have been echoed by previous posts, so I will aim to keep this direct and to the point. Also, please note that any disgust or disapproval is aimed at this policy, not at anyone in particular. Playing to the lowest common denominator doesn't work. While some people, like Matt himself had referenced, might be able to get on the bike after not riding after a long while and with little failure, the fact is that this skill set is cumulative and requires consistent practice across the board. The vast majority of people with whom I work (especially and in particular nowadays) have no concept for how much time and effort it takes to become a believable controller (notice I said believable, not real world). Through a series of frequent interactions with aircraft and teachers, students of all levels and experiences eventually gain enough momentum to relax some amount of their frequent input, but still require consistency and frequency in order to maintain a level of proficiency that does not detract from the experience of the other people playing with them on the network. While this is a game, or a hobby, it is one built around a skill that requires some more attention than GTA or Call of Duty. Bottom line is that some people are cut out for being ATC, albeit virtual, while others are not - and that's OK! The world goes round with people engaging in different activities that suit their level, ability, and commitment to the hobby, activity, job, or relationship of which they find themselves a part. (As an aside, and to be taken with a grain of salt, having spent an entire week working with several IRL Oshkosh ATC, without having had the practice we afforded them these past two years, it would've made it slightly more challenging to be as comfortable with the lingo this upcoming week considering their training is traditionally in the form of a rather boring PowerPoint presentation. These are RW controllers who spend the rest of the year working and they acknowledge the importance of some sort of contact time on a regular basis. I know we aren't RW and dealing with RW controllers, but for them to throw a nod at consistency, I think it's pretty telling or at least indicative of the possibility that lesser herculean individuals such as us might indeed require more than 1 hour a year to provide some level of believable service.) To address an argument that we should be a place for everyone at any level, I answer with a direct example from my full-time profession. I am a secondary music teacher. I believe the opportunity to play music in a performing ensemble should be for everyone. That is exactly the way I run my program, and I am proud to say that I have had many great success stories over the many years that I have been teaching. Alternatively, several times over the years I have actively conferenced with students that they should find an alternative elective. In these circumstances, it was because the students did not follow the very reasonable and fair performance and participation guidelines of the class and expressed zero effort to improve. Any day of the week I would rather have a fairly poor sounding instrumentalist in my band who has a great attitude, gives me all their effort, and appreciates and follows the class guidelines, versus someone who may sound great but does nothing. (To expand, I very rarely have a circumstance where the student who does nothing sounds great. Often, they too are incapable of meeting the minimum performance requirements of characteristic sound and technical ability.) I reward and acknowledge demonstrated effort and commitment. I hang around our Discord often. The emotional maturity and overall disposition of many of our newer members is a lot more inexperienced and of a lower level than I had remembered it being the case when I started on VATSIM nearly 20 years ago. So true is this description of my student encounters on a regular basis on my job. We are continuing to embark in an educational environment that is striving for minimal input for maximum output. It's particularly difficult for teachers of courses that are fundamentally designed around the development of skills that require continued persistence and effort. Trust me, if I could play my primary instrument to even an acceptable standard without having to practice weekly or daily, I would choose that option without hesitation. But, the fact is that my instrument requires, at a minimum, some form of maintenance to be performed. With reference to the aforementioned state of emotional maturity, I fear that a system that willingly solicits the minimum amount of input will enable enough of our current and perspective users to abuse this network as a mere playground of sorts and not contribute enough to the spirit of why many of us (especially the older, more RW experienced of us) have stuck around in the first place. Unlike Matt's example above, I fear that they'll accept the guidance right out of the gate (pre-S3 or C1) and find some random airport at some random time that has no traffic that will fulfill their one hour in twelve months just so that they can remain on the roster and hang with their friends on Discord and TeamSpeak. Lastly, and from the standpoint of my role as the division training manager, I wholeheartedly believe that the severity of this currency rule will result in a significant decrease in our teacher's return on investment (ROI). Our teachers work hard to address the GRP standards let alone our division specific curriculum. Not that the GRP standards are overwhelming in and of themselves, but the fact is that some (or most, recently) of the students with whom we have had contact have had little to no background in aviation, let alone air traffic control. Starting from nothing, there's a vast amount of information to address without leaving so many holes in the foundation that make building their contributions to the next level an almost impossibility. One example comes from a student with whom I most recently helped who failed our OBS/S1 exam several times. I specifically addressed this student and offered my help to try and find out why they were so challenged in passing the exam. I came to find out that their study skills, testing and study behaviors, and prior knowledge were all factors that contributed to the chain of causation for them failing the test numerous times. They had expectation bias about certain topics because of information gleaned from fellow Twitch streamers and used their assumed knowledge to answer questions instead of carefully reading our study material. Needless to say, after our training session and putting to play several suggested study and testing habits, they went on to pass the test with flying colors (100%). My ROI was tremendous. I, just like the real world, felt like I made a difference in this student and had an optimistic outlook for the continuation of their training. Our (VATUSA's) teachers experience this on a daily basis with students who continue to show up, practice, and engage. I fear that opening the door to a policy that permits, and thereby encourages, passive versus active engagement will lead to an increase in teacher burnout due to the decreased ROI. Finally, I want to emphasize that my thoughts on currency pertain to proficiency, not necessarily rostering. In the examples listed above this post about people who have complex or complicated lives, I accept that their not being around for a period of time does not mean that they do not ever want to contribute. But, their return to service, if you will, should be with a 1:1 orientation session with a teacher prior to plugging in just like I'd never lose my PPL but at some point need to fly with an instructor in order to regain currency (notwithstanding all the other nuances, I'm just stating it as simply as possible). To avoid the 1:1 session, the currency/competency/proficiency rule must be stricter than one hour every twelve months. Thank you very much for everyone's time and careful consideration. I wish to especially thank the members of the BoG and many consultants who spent hours in creating this document. Please feel free to contact me for further discussion as I would be most happy to continue this conversation with you. Sincerely, Anthony
    7 points
  49. Time for an update on CRC design and development progress: I've been making a lot of progress over the last couple months. Here's what is currently complete: The ability to create profiles and add/remove displays. All the UI for configuration/settings. The ability to import ARTCC configuration data from the ARTCC web site with a single click. Automatic updating of ARTCC configuration data when the FE releases a new version. Automatic updating of nav data and aircraft data. The ERAM, STARS, and ASDE-X radar modes. STARS fusion mode. (Still 5 second update rate though.) The controller list. The tabbed messages area. The flight plan editor. Assigning CIDs from the "CRC Server" so that everyone in an ARTCC sees the same CID for a given aircraft. Here's what is currently under development: Assigning beacon codes from the CRC Server from the NBCAP or from beacon code banks that are internal to a given terminal facility. (FEs will maintain these code banks by uploading a data file through the ARTCC Editor.) This will eliminate issues we've had in the past with duplicate beacon codes due to non-overlapping vis ranges. I'm about 50% done with this feature. Here's what remains to be done: Aircraft list. This was originally going to show arrivals and departures, but it will likely only show departures since that is what is most needed operationally. (Some users said they like to see arrivals in the aircraft list in VRC so that they can gauge upcoming traffic levels, but there are other tools for that like any of the mapping tools.) The aircraft list will also show anyone that is on your reminder list or that have a countdown timer running. One second update rate in STARS and ASDE-X modes. Flight strip bay. Tower Cab display mode. (More on this below.) Tower view proxy server. A big change, design-wise, is that I've decided not to have a Generic display mode in CRC. The original reason for including a Generic mode was for situations where it wouldn't make sense to use ERAM, STARS, or ASDEX mode, such as when you're working a cab position (DEL/GND/TWR) at an airport where there is no ASDE-X in the real world. However, as I started to think about how the Generic mode would work, and how to make it flexible enough for use across all levels of controlling from DEL up to CTR, with all the varying needs for video maps, data blocks, etc, I realized that it would be a lot of work for not much payoff in the long run, because a lot of the work would be duplicating functionality that already exists in the other radar modes. So, instead of Generic mode, I'll be making a Tower Cab mode that is focused specifically on providing whatever a controller needs when working a cab position. The design concept is that it replaces the real-world controller's ability to look out the window and actually see the aircraft. As such, it will have aircraft icons (similar to ASDE-X) so that you can see which direction the aircraft is facing. It will have a 1 second update rate initially, and ultimately it will have a real-time update rate using Velocity data. I'm not sure yet what the data blocks will look like, but I might provide a few options that the user can choose from, such as the Simple, Ground, and Tower data block types from VRC. When creating and maintaining ARTCC data files for CRC, FEs will create a video map for each towered airport in their ARTCC. This video map will include the ground diagram (either in outline form or using filled polygons, at the FE's discretion) as well as any surrounding features such as coastlines, visual reporting points, extended centerlines, etc. This video map will be used when the user selects Tower Cab mode for the display. This all means that ERAM will be the only option for working center positions, and STARS will be the only option for working Approach/Departure positions. I know there are a few users that won't be happy about that fact, and they just want to use VRC and don't care about the realism of ERAM/STARS. I've heard from one or two such users already since I announced that VRC will be retired. However, I've heard from a far larger number of users that have reluctantly moved to vERAM/vSTARS and found it to be nowhere near as difficult as they assumed it would be. I am confident that any controller that has progressed to the ability to work APP and CTR will have no problem getting used to the ERAM/STARS interfaces for working traffic. Indeed, the syntax for the most common functions is nearly the same as VRC. This leaves the issue that vSTARS and vERAM can be a little clunky when working top down. I was planning to address that through new/modified functionality in the ERAM and STARS modes in CRC. That has not changed. It remains a primary design goal of CRC for it to be suitable for comfortably and efficiently working top down from a single screen. For example, you'll be able to see ground targets in top down mode anywhere, not just ones that are near one of the airports in the STARS airport list. You'll be able to call up the flight plan editor for any aircraft, even ones that are airborne and not yet squawking their assigned code. And you'll have the aircraft list which doesn't exist in vERAM/vSTARS. Lastly, I'll be adding functionality to make it easier to start track on aircraft when you first plug in on a position, or if you come back after an unintentional disconnect. I'm not sure yet how this will work exactly, but it's definitely an issue that needs to be addressed. There will be some way to do a single-click track similar to VRC, regardless of whether or not the aircraft is squawking its assigned code. That's it for now ... feedback welcome!
    6 points
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