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Nick Johnston

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  1. Cross the Ditch 18: Only a day and a half to go! Check out the details at the official Cross the Ditch website Apply to provide ATC Book your Flights now! View the Full Event Schedule Check out the Virtual Airline Leaderboard Grab the recommended add-on scenery for each of the event airports Get the official promotional material and promote Cross the Ditch within your community/organisation/contact list! Two Day Weather Forecast The latest forecasts suggest relatively dry conditions in Auckland and Christchurch, with showers in Port Vila and Adelaide, and rain in Hobart. The Pilot Briefing mails that will be sent out tomorrow will contain detailed forecasts for each airport along with the expected active runways. Pilots - Briefing Mails go out Tomorrow! Pilots should book your flights now to ensure you get the landing/departure slots you're after. All pilots who have booked flights by Saturday 0200z will receive the Pilot Briefing mail providing routing and weather information for you specific flights.
  2. Cross the Ditch 18 is this weekend! Check out the details at the official Cross the Ditch website Apply to provide ATC Book your Flights now! View the Full Event Schedule Check out the Virtual Airline Leaderboard Grab the recommended add-on scenery for each of the event airports Get the official promotional material and promote Cross the Ditch within your community/organisation/contact list! Weather Forecast As predicted, the weather forecasts for the event are evolving quite quickly as the event day nears. The large anticyclone that was prominent in the long range forecast is now expected to be weaker, and there is an increasing chance of wet weather in Auckland and Hobart. The other airports look to remaining clear. The Pilot Briefing mails that will be sent out the day before the event will contain detailed forecasts for each airport along with the expected active runways. Pilots - popular slots running out Pilots should book your flights now to ensure you get the landing/departure slots you're after. All pilots who have booked flights by Saturday 0200z will receive the Pilot Briefing mail providing routing and weather information for you specific flights. ATC Roster Out Now The CTD18 ATC Roster has been sent out. Thanks to everyone who applied - with three dozen controllers on the roster, this has been one of the largest controller turn outs we've had in years. If you applied to provide ATC and haven't received a link to the roster, please contact Eric via the Contact page on the Cross the Ditch website asap.
  3. Cross the Ditch 18 is next weekend! Check out the details at the official Cross the Ditch website Apply to provide ATC Book your Flights now! View the Full Event Schedule Check out the Virtual Airline Leaderboard Grab the recommended add-on scenery for each of the event airports Get the official promotional material and promote Cross the Ditch within your community/organisation/contact list! Long Range Weather Forecast The first long range weather forecasts are in, and they are showing a relatively calm situation for most of the event airports with a large anticyclone stationed over most of the Australian mainland and the the Tasman. Only Hobart shows significant chance of adverse weather. Of course, that said, long-range forecasts are notoriously unreliable, so watch this space: I'll update the post with a fresh forecast towards the middle of next week. Pilots - Claim your slots now! Pilots should book your flights now to ensure you get the pick of the landing/departure slots. History has shown that over the final week leading up to CTD, the bookings tend to explode as pilots firm up their plans, and slots for the busier times of day start to run out. Now is your chance to lock in the slots you want before they're gone. ATC Roster Out Soon The first iteration of the CTD18 ATC Roster will be out shortly. Controllers wanting to join in the fun and spend some time behind the scope should register their availability via the ATC page on the Cross the Ditch website as soon as possible to make sure you don't miss out.
  4. Hi there, Kevin, Picking the airports and scheduling the routes is one of the toughest parts of the CTD planning process. There's really three major airports on the Australian eastern seaboard and three again on the New Zealand mainland, so as I'm sure you'll appreciate, it's a challenge to make sure that we don't repeat ourselves too often - especially when most CTD events have five separate sectors! (When we do revisit routes, we try hard to ensure we do so at a different time of day so that pilots for the same part of the world won't be forced into flying the same route again.) The different stakeholders in the event have different priorities as well - each participating division wants to maximise the time spent in their airspace, and may have strong preferences for the type of event and for which of their airports are used; whereas the CTD organisers might have other preferences focussed more on how an individual CTD event fits in with the previous incarnations. Ultimately, as the event organiser, the final decision is mine, but it is always made in coordination with the hosting divisions. We work extremely hard to balance everyone's desires/visions for the event, and as a result the negotiations around format and airports typically takes several weeks. The format and schedule decisions for CTD18 were made some time ago, and at no point was any request for using Melbourne raised as part of that discussion. (For the record, Melbourne was excluded because we've been to the Greater Melbourne area in three of our last four events; it's currently tied for third most visited CTD airport, featuring in 10 of 17 previous CTD events.) I'm sorry this wasn't better communicated to you - you and I have never had any communication outside of this thread, and I'm not sure what conversations you've had with the individual divisions. We very much appreciate the support that our event has received from the VA community over the years; we added the Virtual Airlines Leaderboard to the CTD site a few years back precisely to acknowledge the contribution that VAs make to the successful running of the event. I'd invite you (and any other VA that is interested) to contact me directly - either here or via the Contact page on the CTD website - to discuss what you'd like to see in future CTD events. The format and scheduling decisions for the December event will likely be finalised in September, and while I can make no promises about honouring requests, I would be more than happy to include and present any input from VAs in the planning for the event. Nick
  5. Details on Cross the Ditch 18 are available in this forum and at the Cross the Ditch 18 website. If you're flying for Virtual United Airlines (or any other VA), make sure to mention them when you book your flights so that your support will show up in the Virtual Airline Leaderboard. Look forward to seeing you all on the day: we've got a great series of flights lined up for this edition of the event.
  6. Cross the Ditch 18 is just over two weeks away! Check out the details at the official Cross the Ditch website Apply to provide ATC Book your Flights now! View the Full Event Schedule Check out the Virtual Airline Leaderboard Grab the recommended add-on scenery for each of the event airports Get the official promotional material and promote Cross the Ditch within your community/organisation/contact list! Pilots: Bookings are running ahead of where they usually are at this point in the lead up to a Cross the Ditch, so it looks like we're on track for a record turn-out. Move quickly to book your flights and make sure you get slots that suit your plans. Your bookings help us better allocate ATC and as a reminder, they also ensure that you'll receive all of the briefing material for your intended flights in the days before the event. ATC: The initial cut of ATC Roster will be getting drawn up next weekend so please be sure to apply to provide ATC as soon as you can. We try to cater to everyone's preferences as best we can, but all else being equal, the early applicants will get first preference. Mark your calendars, book your flights, and join us as we celebrate the shortest day of the longest year by taking to the skies to CROSS THE DITCH!
  7. Cross the Ditch 18: Winter 2020 Winter has returned to the Southern Hemisphere, and even as the nations of the South Pacific begin their recovery, the region's skies are eerily quiet. But on VATSIM, pilots from around the world will once again pack Oceania's skies as they continue their mission to Cross the Ditch! Check out the official Cross the Ditch website Apply to provide ATC Book your Flights now! View the Event Schedule Check out the Virtual Airline Leaderboard Grab the recommended add-on scenery for each of the event airports What's it all about? For twenty hours this June, the skies over the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand will be filled with aircraft all on a mission to Cross the Ditch. An example of that typical down-under understatement, this "ditch" is over 1100nm wide. The flight routes all range from three to four-and-a-half hours flight time. Throughout the event, the Oceania region's two divisions – VATNZ and VATPAC – will be providing full ATC coverage, in the Southern Hemisphere's premiere oceanic event. This is a great opportunity to experience Oceanic flying without the need to commit to an eight-hour flight! If you're new to Oceanic Flying, our reporting tool makes taking part a breeze. Event Times This twenty hour event is timed to allow pilots from all over the world join the fun: UTC: Saturday 20th June 2020 18:00 - Sunday 21st June 2020 14:00 AEST: Sunday 21st June 2020 04:00 - Monday 22nd June 2020 00:00 NZST: Sunday 21st June 2020 06:00 - Monday 22nd June 2020 02:00 Waves This season's event is organised in waves. Each airport will have a two-to-four hour departure window, during which time flights will be able to leave for the next destination. As the window closes, the departure window will open at the next destination. Given each of the flights is 2 - 4.5hrs in length, the previous wave's flights will be arriving at the same airport as the next wave departs, maximising the amount of traffic at each airport. NOTE: in order to ensure that you have ATC coverage throughout your flight, you MUST fly the wave route that is active at the time of your departure. The individual routes are designed to ensure as much opposing traffic enroute as possible. Each flight passes from one Oceania division to the other, and the result is six mini-flyins over the course of twenty hours! The Waves for Cross the Ditch 18 - Winter 2020 are: Wave Flight Departure Window UTC AEST NZST 1 Auckland, New Zealand (NZAA) to Port Vila, Vanuatu (NVVV) 1800-2000 0400-0600 0600-0800 2 Port Vila, Vanuatu (NVVV) to Hamilton, New Zealand (NZHN) 2000-2330 0600-0930 0800-1130 3 Hamilton, New Zealand (NZHN) to Hobart, Australia (YMHB) 2300-0300 0900-1300 1100-1500 4 Hobart, Australia (YMHB) to Christchurch, New Zealand (NZCH) 0300-0700 1300-1700 1500-1900 5 Christchurch, New Zealand (NZCH) to Adelaide, Australia (YPAD) 0530-0930 1530-1930 1730-2130 Calling all Pilots and Controllers Flight plans are available from the Flight Plans section. Book your flights now from the Flight Bookings page. Bookings made on this site help us plan for the event, and will also show up in vroute. Controllers wanting to get in on the action can also apply now at the event's ATC Applications page.
  8. Cross the Ditch 17 is underway! Our tenth anniversary event is on right now. Wellington Weather As is often the way, Wellington has defied the weather forecasts and thrown up some spicy flying conditions: NZWN 142300Z AUTO 36022G37KT 9999 BKN032/// 18/11 Q1009 NOSIG It's not too late to come and join the fun - head over to the Cross the Ditch website to grab the official flight plans and get in on the action. Check out the details at the official Cross the Ditch website Apply to provide ATC Book your Flights now! View the Full Event Schedule Check out the Virtual Airline Leaderboard Grab the recommended add-on scenery for each of the event airports Get the official promotional material and promote Cross the Ditch within your community/organisation/contact list!
  9. Cross the Ditch 17 is in two days! Our tenth anniversary event is this weekend. Weather Update The three-day weather forecasts are still suggesting relatively calm, warm, and sunny weather. This is pretty much in line with the long-term forecasts above. The only noteworthy change is that the Canberra forecast is now showing Smoke Haze from the nearby bush-fires, which could significantly reduce visibility for pilots at the end of the event. A final weather forecast will be sent to all pilots who have booked flights, as part of their flight briefing emails, around this time tomorrow. Get your flights booked before then to ensure you receive the briefings. ATC Roster Out The CTD17 ATC Roster was published earlier this week. If you applied to help out with ATC and have not received a copy, please contact Eric or Sam to get a copy and to confirm what shifts you've been allocated. Pilots - Book your flights now! Pilots should make sure to book their flights within the next twenty-four hours to ensure you receive the flight briefing mails when they are published tomorrow. Bookings remain open right up until the event, so be sure to book your flights and reserve the departure and landing slots for the flight segments you wish to operate. Check out the details at the official Cross the Ditch website Apply to provide ATC Book your Flights now! View the Full Event Schedule Check out the Virtual Airline Leaderboard Grab the recommended add-on scenery for each of the event airports Get the official promotional material and promote Cross the Ditch within your community/organisation/contact list!
  10. Cross the Ditch 17 is this coming weekend! Our tenth anniversary event is less than a week away. Long Range Forecast Having posted last time about the wild weather that Wellington has been experiencing of late, the long range weather forecast for the this weekend's event is suggesting near perfect flying conditions not only in Wellington, but in the three Australian airports as well. Wellington's forecast is for a fine day with relatively light northwesterly breezes. What cloud there is will remain offshore affording pilots fantastic views of the mountain and coastal scenery of central New Zealand. Brisbane is forecast to be hot (35c) and sunny with light north-easterly winds. Avalon is the outlier in terms of weather with the event's only forecast cloudy conditions. Temperatures should be mild (20c) with light south-westerly winds. Canberra is expecting a hot day (30c) with strengthening westerlies during the event. Obviously, much can change between the long-range forecasts and the event, so we will be providing an updated weather briefing heading into the weekend. Pilots should ensure they have booked their flights through the Cross the Ditch website to ensure that they receive the pre-flight briefing mailed to them. ATC Roster Out Tomorrow The CTD17 ATC Roster is due out tomorrow. There is still time from controllers wanting to take part in the event to register their availability via the ATC page on the Cross the Ditch website. Pilots - Claim your slots now! Pilots should book your flights now to ensure you get the pick of the landing/departure slots. History has shown that over the final week leading up to CTD, the bookings tend to explode as pilots firm up their plans, and slots for the busier times of day start to run out. Now is your chance to lock in the slots you want before they're gone. Check out the details at the official Cross the Ditch website Apply to provide ATC Book your Flights now! View the Full Event Schedule Check out the Virtual Airline Leaderboard Grab the recommended add-on scenery for each of the event airports Get the official promotional material and promote Cross the Ditch within your community/organisation/contact list!
  11. Cross the Ditch 17 is just ten days away! Excitement is building for our tenth anniversary event. Why Wellington? For the first time ever, we're running the Wave format with a single airport on the VATNZ side of the Tasman - each of the five waves starts or ends in Wellington. One of the questions we've received was why we chose Wellington to be the focus airport. There's a number of reasons, including the availability of quality scenery for the airport across all of the major sims, but the largest factor is that Wellington is one of the most exciting airports to fly into across the entire Oceania region. Its relatively short runway for an international airport, and the fact that Wellington sees gale-force winds more than a hundred days out of the year makes flying (and especially landing) there an exciting experience for p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]engers and pilots alike. As if to prove our point, this week Wellington has seen winds of over 100km/h on three of the last four days (the other day only registered a paltry 98km/h!). It peaked at 113km/h (61kts). One of the local news websites published a video of a landing during the gales shot from onboard an Air New Zealand A320. Looks like fun! We'll have a post here with the seven day forecast for the event coming up in a few days. ATC Roster Out Soon The first iteration of the CTD17 ATC Roster will be out at the beginning of next week. Controllers wanting to join in the fun and spend some time behind the scope should register their availability via the ATC page on the Cross the Ditch website as soon as possible to make sure you don't miss out. Pilots - Claim your slots now! Pilots should book your flights now to ensure you get the pick of the landing/departure slots. History has shown that over the final week leading up to CTD, the bookings tend to explode as pilots firm up their plans, and slots for the busier times of day start to run out. Now is your chance to lock in the slots you want before they're gone. Check out the details at the official Cross the Ditch website Apply to provide ATC Book your Flights now! View the Full Event Schedule Check out the Virtual Airline Leaderboard Grab the recommended add-on scenery for each of the event airports Get the official promotional material and promote Cross the Ditch within your community/organisation/contact list!
  12. Cross the Ditch 17 is three weeks away! Check out the details at the official Cross the Ditch website Apply to provide ATC Book your Flights now! View the Full Event Schedule Check out the Virtual Airline Leaderboard Grab the recommended add-on scenery for each of the event airports Get the official promotional material and promote Cross the Ditch within your community/organisation/contact list! Join us as we celebrate TEN YEARS OF CROSS THE DITCH!
  13. Cross the Ditch 17: Summer 2019 Celebrating ten years of Crossing the Ditch! All eyes are on Wellington, as VATSIM's pilots connect New Zealand's capital to three great Australian airports. December is the time for all pilots to taste the Southern Summer and Cross the Ditch! Check out the details at the official Cross the Ditch website Apply to provide ATC Book your Flights now! View the Full Event Schedule Check out the Virtual Airline Leaderboard Grab the recommended add-on scenery for each of the event airports Get the official promotional material and promote Cross the Ditch within your community/organisation/contact list! What's it all about? For twenty hours this December, the skies over the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand will be filled with aircraft all on a mission to Cross the Ditch. An example of that typical down-under understatement, this "ditch" is over 1100nm wide. The flight routes all range from three to four hours flight time. Throughout the event, the Oceania region's two divisions - VATNZ and VATPAC - will be providing full ATC coverage, in the Southern Hemisphere's premiere oceanic event. This is a great opportunity to experience Oceanic flying without the need to commit to an eight-hour flight! If you're new to Oceanic Flying, our reporting tool makes taking part a breeze. Event Times This twenty hour event is timed to allow pilots from all over the world join the fun: UTC: Saturday 14th December 2019 17:00 - Sunday 15th December 2019 13:00 AEDT: Sunday 15th December 2019 04:00 - Monday 16th December 2019 00:00 NZDT: Sunday 15th December 2019 06:00 - Monday 16th December 2019 02:00 Waves This season's event is organised in waves. Each airport will have a set departure window, during which time flights will be able to leave for the next destination. As the window closes, the departure window will open at the next destination. Given each of the flights is 3 - 4hrs in length, the previous wave's flights will be arriving at the same airport as the next wave departs, maximising the amount of traffic at each airport. NOTE: in order to ensure that you have ATC coverage throughout your flight, you MUST fly the wave route that is active at the time of your departure. The individual routes are designed to ensure as much opposing traffic enroute as possible. Each flight p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]es from one Oceania division to the other, and the result is six mini-flyins over the course of twenty hours! The Wave Route and Departure Windows for Cross the Ditch 17 - Summer 2019 are: Wave 1 : 1700-1930z : Wellington (NZWN) to Brisbane (YBBN) Wave 2 : 1930-2330z : Brisbane (YBBN) to Wellington (NZWN) Wave 3 : 2230-0300z : Wellington (NZWN) to Avalon (YMAV) Wave 4 : 0200-0630z : Avalon (YMAV) to Wellington (NZWN) Wave 5 : 0500-0930z : Wellington (NZWN) to Canberra (YSCB) Calling all Pilots and Controllers Flight plans are available from the Flight Plans section. Book your flights now from the Flight Bookings page. Bookings made on this site help us plan for the event, and will also show up in vroute. Controllers wanting to get in on the action can also apply now at the event's ATC Applications page. Cross the Ditch is brought to you by VATNZ and VATPAC.
  14. Cross the Ditch 16 is this weekend! Latest Update: 14 June 2019 0600z Controllers: The revised ATC roster was published this afternoon. There were a few changes so please check your shifts again to make sure you know where and when you're expected. If you have any problems, please contact Eric via the website ASAP. Pilots: Flight bookings have more than doubled in the last few days! There are still a selection of good flights available, so make sure you Book your Flights to claim your spot before they're all gone. Weather Forecast This weekend is shaping up as a good one for flying. Most of the event airports should be relatively clear with calm conditions everywhere except (surprise, surprise) Wellington, which is likely to see moderate winds. The forecast is suggesting that there could be rain on the Gold Coast during the afternoon, and a few showers earlier in the day at Queenstown. We'll be issuing a more detailed weather forecast tomorrow as part of the flight briefing mails that will be sent out to all those pilots who have booked flights. Flight Briefings Another reason to book your flights ahead of time is that as always we will be mailing out Flight Briefings to all pilots with bookings approximately 24 hours before the event. These will include an updated and more specific weather forecast for each airport along with a run-down of likely active runways and event procedures. Nick Cross the Ditch 16 Links: Check out the details at the official Cross the Ditch website Apply to provide ATC Book your Flights now! View the Full Event Schedule Check out the Virtual Airline Leaderboard Grab the recommended add-on scenery for each of the event airports Get the official promotional material and promote Cross the Ditch within your community/organisation/contact list!
  15. Cross the Ditch 16 is now less than one week away! Latest Update: 9 June 2019 0700z Controllers: The initial ATC roster was published on Friday. If you haven't received a copy, please contact Eric via the website. The roster is pretty much full however there are usually a few changes that take place in the final week leading up to the event, so if you want to be part of the controller team for the event, please make sure to contact Eric as soon as possible. Pilots: Flight bookings have accelerated in the last few days, and are likely to surge again as everyone's schedules for next weekend firm up. There are still a number of good flights available, so make sure you Book your Flights to claim your spot before they're gone. Long Range Weather Forecast The seven day forecast (see chart below) shows a relatively clear and calm day for Sydney, Gold Coast, and Melbourne with most of Australia nestled beneath a large high. Several models are forecasting a shallow trough centred over New Zealand's South Island during the event. There is the chance of the odd shower for Christchurch, Queenstown, and Wellington, although at this stage winds are forecast to be light and there is a very real possibility that we could be heading for our first ever fully dry Cross the Ditch in sixteen events! No matter which airports you're visiting, the forecast suggests great flying conditions! The caveat here of course is that this is the seven day forecast and, given the relatively low speed with which the weather systems are expected to be moving, the forecast may well evolve over the course of the next week. Flight Briefings Another reason to book your flights ahead of time is that as always we will be mailing out Flight Briefings to all pilots with bookings approximately 24 hours before the event. These will include an updated and more specific weather forecast for each airport along with a run-down of likely active runways and event procedures. Nick Cross the Ditch 16 Links: Check out the details at the official Cross the Ditch website Apply to provide ATC Book your Flights now! View the Full Event Schedule Check out the Virtual Airline Leaderboard Grab the recommended add-on scenery for each of the event airports Get the official promotional material and promote Cross the Ditch within your community/organisation/contact list!
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