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To the newbie - First Time Jitters


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Amazing to see that 29 pages of jittery pilots exist..... Now I don't feel so alone....

 

I was recently in KATL area and only ATC available on SB was listed as "Delivery" ---- I presumed as he was alone, he was handling all basic duties for the airport including taxi and departure for my VFR flight out. I got yelled at repeately when trying asking for [Mod - Happy Thoughts]istance with "taxi for VFR departure straight-out" from my existing parking position, saying that I obviously don't understand his role & how stupid I was. I informed him I had received no taxi instructions and just figured that tower & ground services were not online, he could [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ist..... Nope, he just continued to yell at me.

 

This was my 2nd day ever on VATSIM and just 2 days ago total.

Luckily, I stuck with it.....and learned something to boot.

 

How stressful, but realistic it truly is. Great times for ASEL pilot with limited ATC experience.

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Amazing to see that 29 pages of jittery pilots exist..... Now I don't feel so alone....
Here there buddy!

For the record: I've just leaned into it more and more. Now I've done a lot of tech stuff in my life, professionally and hobby wise (licenced VO1LQ in 1973; I'm VE6IU now) but *w000f!* this ain't easy or simple.

 

And because I'm not interested in flying GPS I get to learn all the "old fashion" navigation! (Which, BTW, I really enjoy.)

 

I was recently in KATL area and only ATC available on SB was listed as "Delivery" ---- I presumed as he was alone, he was handling all basic duties for the airport including taxi and departure for my VFR flight out.
Uh-oh, I would [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume that too.

/me flips through his docomeents one.more.time

 

I got yelled at repeately when
Woa, full stop.

 

No way, no how, not allowed.

NotAcceptable.

 

Someone tries that on me I'll drop the transaction and ask for his VATSIM number, then read it back to him. FullStop

 

see you in the skies!

intersections.gif

If you look to see how the system works

Likely you will find that it doesn't.

1018262.jpg

@bentrem - FSX SP2 | AMD Athlon II 630 2.8GHz X4 | GA-MA785 | Radeon 5770 | 6GB DDR3 | XP Pro | Saitek X52

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Hey guys! Here's my newbie experience

 

As a child, I was always interested in aviation and when I found out about Flight Simulators, I would daydream about what it would be like(At the time, I thought every single house in the world was in the game ). After years of daydreaming, I finally had a PC powerful enough to run FS 2004.While I had some initial fun with it, I soon lost interest. Years later, I get FSX and am impressed with the new graphics, but I still only do a flight every couple months.So fast forward to about 2 months ago, I find out about VATSIM. I was on vacation and had nothing better to do, so I start reading the PRC with a p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ion and also this very thread to hear about people's experiences.

 

So I arrive back from vacation, fire up FSX, get sqwakbox and prepare to do some REAL flying.For a couple nights, I sat at CYYZ(Toronto) while ATC is there to get a feel for how things are. So one Friday night, when there was a full set ATC at Toronto(App, Dep, Grd, & Twr), I decide to try my luck with a flight to Vancouver in my trusty LearJet ("trying my luck" is the key phrase, I didn't end up flying that night).I sent in a flight plan through SB.Not knowing who to go to, I tune to Twr.

 

Me:(presses PTT button, waiting for some sort of audio cue to tell me I'm live)

Twr:Go ahead with transmission

I guess it works?

Me:(shakey voice) Toronto Tower....This is uhh Alpha Kilo 165, requesting IFR Clearence to Vancouver International as filed.

Twr:Alpha Kilo 156, please tune to Toronto Departure and file a flight plan.

Me:Sorry, tune to who?

Twr:Alpha Kilo 156, tune to Toronto Departure and file a flight plan.

Me:Okay

 

I was confused at this point cus I thought all controllers could see my flightplan. So I minimize FSX, refile the flightplan online but when I try to return, FSX froze. That night, I gave up.

 

I had been looking for a evening where I had a couple hours free to do a real flight but didn't find a good enough opportunity until last Thursday night. So at 11pm EST, I check the Who's Online stat and see there aren't any controllers in Canada. I refresh the page at around 12pm and see a Controller at Edmonton Intl. So I look up a quick flight from Edmonton to Calgary(less than a hour) made sure I had all the info I need, load up to Edmonton and connect to VATSIM.

 

I tune to the controller's frequency and decide to try a circuit first.

 

Me: Edmonton Center, this is LJ165, requesting to do a quick circuit around the airport

Controller: LJ165, you are cleared for a circuit. Expect runway 31, winds are blah blah blah(I don't pay attention to Wind even though its important :p), altimeter is blah blah blah( see the pattern?), squawk 1522.Pushback when ready

Me:LJ 165, cleared for circuit, runway 31, squawk 1522.Pushback when ready

I fiddle with the comms to try to set transponder..but its not really working out.

 

Me: Edmonton Center, I'm having trouble setting my transponder.

Controller: LJ165, it is okay, there aren't any other planes in the area.

Me:Okay ,request progressive taxi.

 

So I take about 10 mins to taxi since I didn't know this airport at all and was becoming lost by the taxi lights rather than guided.

Controller:LJ 165, you are cleared for takeoff, winds are blah blah blah, contact when in the air.

Me: Cleared for takeoff, contact when in the air.

So I take off and get a really satisfying feeling. I contact him when I'm in the air and he vectors me for the circuit.As he tells me instructions, I configure the Flight Director to help guide my flight. I turned on the AP to hold the heading but when he gives me a new vector, I take over while am trying to reprogram the AP. To say the least, I was overwhelmed. I ended up CRASHING into the ground, but made my way back up. I felt so embarr[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed and imagined the controller laughing himself dead while watching me

 

The rest of the circuit went pretty normal. After I land, I was ready to call it a night but he asks me if I want to do another...and I say hell yes.So I get back into the air, awaiting vectors for the circuit.About 5 minutes go by and I don't hear any instructions and am wondering whats going on.Finally,I hear something.

 

Controller: LJ165, you are pushing Edmonton airspace, would you like to go on with your flightplan to Calgary?

I take a look at my GPS and see that I'm pretty close to the flightpath anyways.

Me: Ill go to Calgary as per my plan

Controller:Okay, would you like to go higher than 6000 then?

Me:Uhh sure...FL20 as finled okay?

Controller: LJ165, That is fine.

Me: Will there be another controller when I arrive in Calgary?

Controller: No I will follow you throughout.

I get a smile on my face that I don't mess up anyone else's airspace :p

 

While flying to Calgary, I fiddle some more with my transponder and end up figuring it out and giving the controller my squawk code. Its a good thing I found out how to do that, because soon after, my AP began acting funky and trying to induce me into a stall. So, for about 45mins, it was all hand flying. As I got closer to Calgary International, the controller asks me what runway I want. I look up my GPS for approaches and decide to try runway 30 since it has ILS(which I barely knew how to use). I follow the vectors he gives me and I cannot see the airport...that is until I see it behind me :p

Controller:LJ165, looks like you missed the airport.Ill vector you back in for runway 30

Me:Thanks

Long story short, he vectors me in and I intercept ILS and make a VERY ROUGH landing.After I taxi to the terminal, I thank the controller for his patience and for the great flight (THANKS AGAIN MARK!)

Already did my second full flight tonight

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I was recently in KATL area and only ATC available on SB was listed as "Delivery" ---- I presumed as he was alone, he was handling all basic duties for the airport including taxi and departure for my VFR flight out. I got yelled at repeately when trying asking for [Mod - Happy Thoughts]istance with "taxi for VFR departure straight-out" from my existing parking position, saying that I obviously don't understand his role & how stupid I was. I informed him I had received no taxi instructions and just figured that tower & ground services were not online, he could [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ist..... Nope, he just continued to yell at me.

Seeing as nobody has corrected this misconception yet, or lest anyone think that this was just due to an ornery controller:

 

While he shouldn't have been yelling, he is not allowed as a Clearance Delivery controller to offer taxi, runway, or departure control services. Controllers handle, workload permitting, positions underneath them, in a hierarchy like this:

CTR

DEP/APP

TWR

GND

DEL

 

This is explained in the Pilot Resource Center—which everybody on VATSIM should read when they're starting out—under Airport ATC Procedures in General Lessons: http://www.vatsim.net/prc/prc-genlession/airport-atc-procedures/.

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...

Long story short, he vectors me in and I intercept ILS and make a VERY ROUGH landing.After I taxi to the terminal, I thank the controller for his patience and for the great flight (THANKS AGAIN MARK!)

Already did my second full flight tonight

Thanks for the story, Andrew. I've been "hand flying" many hours, usually landing on small strips on the BC/Washington coast or in the Rockies, but have yet to try online w/ATC. So I needed this.

I fully expect to hit a snag and hear, "Read the sticky at the top of the forum". heh

 

cheers!

intersections.gif

If you look to see how the system works

Likely you will find that it doesn't.

1018262.jpg

@bentrem - FSX SP2 | AMD Athlon II 630 2.8GHz X4 | GA-MA785 | Radeon 5770 | 6GB DDR3 | XP Pro | Saitek X52

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Thanks for the story, Andrew. I've been "hand flying" many hours, usually landing on small strips on the BC/Washington coast or in the Rockies, but have yet to try online w/ATC. So I needed this.

I fully expect to hit a snag and hear, "Read the sticky at the top of the forum". heh

 

cheers!

 

Hey man, its good to hear my story has inspired you, the stories in this very thread made me confident enough to do my first flight!

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Thanks for the story, Andrew. I've been "hand flying" many hours, usually landing on small strips on the BC/Washington coast or in the Rockies, but have yet to try online w/ATC. So I needed this.
Hey man, its good to hear my story has inspired you, the stories in this very thread made me confident enough to do my first flight!
Yaa, that's the stuff ... common sense stories take the voodoo out of things.

 

blue skies!

 

p.s. I just did a lovely controlled landing w/AH-16 near Jasper. This rather decent controller has transformed my experience.

intersections.gif

If you look to see how the system works

Likely you will find that it doesn't.

1018262.jpg

@bentrem - FSX SP2 | AMD Athlon II 630 2.8GHz X4 | GA-MA785 | Radeon 5770 | 6GB DDR3 | XP Pro | Saitek X52

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  • 2 weeks later...
I was recently in KATL area and only ATC available on SB was listed as "Delivery" ---- I presumed as he was alone, he was handling all basic duties for the airport including taxi and departure for my VFR flight out. I got yelled at repeately when trying asking for [Mod - Happy Thoughts]istance with "taxi for VFR departure straight-out" from my existing parking position, saying that I obviously don't understand his role & how stupid I was. I informed him I had received no taxi instructions and just figured that tower & ground services were not online, he could [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ist..... Nope, he just continued to yell at me.

Seeing as nobody has corrected this misconception yet, or lest anyone think that this was just due to an ornery controller:

 

While he shouldn't have been yelling, he is not allowed as a Clearance Delivery controller to offer taxi, runway, or departure control services. Controllers handle, workload permitting, positions underneath them, in a hierarchy like this:

CTR, DEP/APP, TWR, GND, DEL

 

This is explained in the Pilot Resource Center—which everybody on VATSIM should read when they're starting out—under Airport ATC Procedures in General Lessons: http://www.vatsim.net/prc/prc-genlession/airport-atc-procedures/.

Yes, it may be true that the procedures are all mentioned in the PRC (which I've read several times), but I'm not sure it is thoroughly spelled out, nor do I think it always ends up this way on VATSIM. Example? I'm a pretty recent newb, and I tend to fly in uncontrolled airspace with the nearest tower/center and UNICOM tuned in to listen to the radio calls and learn procedures. About two weeks ago, I'm flying VFR from St. Barth's to St. John's in a Cessna. I'm on the ramp and call up the St Maarten tower for clearance....they are extremely close and on a departure from St Barth's, it seemed like it would be a good idea for someone running approaches to St Maarten to know about traffic so close. I got a gentle scolding because he did not control the St. Barth's tower. That was reasonable, and I understand now that he was not controlling St. Barth's, but my departure could have taken me right through the St. Maarten approach.

 

It was the end of this flight that made me wonder exactly how I know who and when to contact. To land VFR at St. John's I needed to come fairly close to Santo Domingo center, but I was VFR and VAT-Spy showed I was clear of the center (I know now that the blue borders on VAT-Spy are more a suggestion than real). So, anyway I'm on the DW leg, and I get a fairly abrupt call from Center asking me what I was doing and why (flight plan was filed). Sort of a "why are you being stupid" call but with a little less impatience. I learned later that the center was also controlling the towers in the Virgin Islands.

 

Last example was yesterday. I was at an uncontrolled airport in west Texas planning a VFR flight to another uncontrolled airport in north Texas about 60 miles north of DFW. Because all of this was under FW Center (and based on my Caribbean experience) I thought maybe I needed to call up the center to ask for VFR clearance...mistake. Of course FW center was great after he figured out why the heck I was calling him for clearance out of an uncontrolled airport 200 miles away from him. Later on in that flight, my flight path was taking me about 10 miles north of the Regional approach for DFW. Even though I was VFR to an uncontrolled airport out of his airspace, it felt A LOT like I should have been in touch with him since I was pretty much p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ing right under one of the main approach paths to DFW.... in the end I chickened out and diverted north. No one from Regional approach or FW center said a word.

 

My point in all of this? The nerves that the newbies feel are being caused by not knowing exactly who we should be talking to and when. If the PRC had a page that said, when doing this, you need to talk to this, I think it would be extremely helpful. I've studied the real-world regulations and have a slowly growing understanding of airspace and what needs to happen, but I'm having trouble integrating that into VATSIM. I'll close with this...

 

I fly around the north Texas area because it is near my real home, and I work on X-Plane scenery at airports near here. I am planning to fly out of Addison (KADS) which according to DFW sectional chart is very much in Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airspace, and to me it makes sense that both regional approach and then FW center will need to know I am there. Even though I am flying VFR, they are going to need to make sure I am not a bug splattered on the windshield of some 777 on final. My thinking is that if there is no one in the tower at KADS, then I call up regional approach for VFR clearance. If no one is at regional approach, I call center for clearance, but I'm not entirely sure, and it's this feeling that we newbs are "not quite sure" what the rules are (and have trouble finding them) that makes us disconnect.

 

Wayne Crannell

KSWI

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My thinking is that if there is no one in the tower at KADS, then I call up regional approach for VFR clearance. If no one is at regional approach, I call center for clearance, but I'm not entirely sure, and it's this feeling that we newbs are "not quite sure" what the rules are (and have trouble finding them) that makes us disconnect.

In terms of bubbling up from the bottom, that's correct, with the exception that there is no VFR clearance, per se, just taxi and takeoff clearances. Remember that airspaces aren't just horizontal, they're differentiated vertically as well. If you're in an uncontrolled airport departing VFR, just go ahead and depart. Before you climb into the airspace controlled by approach or center, you should be contacting him, but that's why their airspaces have floors—so VFR pilots can skirt below them if they don't want to / need to talk to anyone. The charts should be clear about which altitudes are the floor and ceiling of each airspace, and who to call for each one.

 

VFR from St. Barth's to St. John's in a Cessna. I'm on the ramp and call up the St Maarten tower for clearance....they are extremely close and on a departure from St Barth's, it seemed like it would be a good idea for someone running approaches to St Maarten to know about traffic so close. I got a gentle scolding because he did not control the St. Barth's tower. That was reasonable, and I understand now that he was not controlling St. Barth's, but my departure could have taken me right through the St. Maarten approach.

St. Maarten approach isn't St. Maarten tower, though. Responsibilities bubble up, not down, so approach handles tower beneath him if he can, but tower doesn't handle approach airspace. If you're flying through St. Maarten's CZ, contact St. M. Tower; if you're not entering it, there's no need to call him. If you're going to enter approach airspace, contact approach, but don't bother otherwise, 'cause he'll just tell you he's not controlling the airspace you're in, similar to the experience you mentioned. I'm not familiar with the airspaces you mention in particular, but that's generally how it works on VATSIM.

 

As far as what the rules are, they're the same as real-world, except that if a lower position isn't online, you contact the next higher position whose airspace includes the lower one, horizontally speaking. If you're at an unmanned controlled airport, you'd contact someone higher up for IFR clearance or taxi or takeoff, but if you're at an uncontrolled tower, you don't need to contact anybody—it's uncontrolled. In the case of say, an approach controller online without tower beneath him at a controlled airport, he will (workload permitting, as always) [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume the tower's airspace and the responsibilities that go with it, but if the airport is uncontrolled and beneath his airspace, he won't be dealing with you until you climb into that airspace.

 

The charts are really the final arbiter of who to call and when. There's usually some room for fuzzing the borders a bit, though, 'cause sectorfiles and real world charts can differ, and charts change over time as well.

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My thinking is that if there is no one in the tower at KADS, then I call up regional approach for VFR clearance. If no one is at regional approach, I call center for clearance, but I'm not entirely sure, and it's this feeling that we newbs are "not quite sure" what the rules are (and have trouble finding them) that makes us disconnect.

In terms of bubbling up from the bottom, that's correct, with the exception that there is no VFR clearance, per se, just taxi and takeoff clearances. Remember that airspaces aren't just horizontal, they're differentiated vertically as well. If you're in an uncontrolled airport departing VFR, just go ahead and depart. Before you climb into the airspace controlled by approach or center, you should be contacting him, but that's why their airspaces have floors—so VFR pilots can skirt below them if they don't want to / need to talk to anyone. The charts should be clear about which altitudes are the floor and ceiling of each airspace, and who to call for each one.

 

VFR from St. Barth's to St. John's in a Cessna. I'm on the ramp and call up the St Maarten tower for clearance....they are extremely close and on a departure from St Barth's, it seemed like it would be a good idea for someone running approaches to St Maarten to know about traffic so close. I got a gentle scolding because he did not control the St. Barth's tower. That was reasonable, and I understand now that he was not controlling St. Barth's, but my departure could have taken me right through the St. Maarten approach.

St. Maarten approach isn't St. Maarten tower, though. Responsibilities bubble up, not down, so approach handles tower beneath him if he can, but tower doesn't handle approach airspace. If you're flying through St. Maarten's CZ, contact St. M. Tower; if you're not entering it, there's no need to call him. If you're going to enter approach airspace, contact approach, but don't bother otherwise, 'cause he'll just tell you he's not controlling the airspace you're in, similar to the experience you mentioned. I'm not familiar with the airspaces you mention in particular, but that's generally how it works on VATSIM.

 

As far as what the rules are, they're the same as real-world, except that if a lower position isn't online, you contact the next higher position whose airspace includes the lower one, horizontally speaking. If you're at an unmanned controlled airport, you'd contact someone higher up for IFR clearance or taxi or takeoff, but if you're at an uncontrolled tower, you don't need to contact anybody—it's uncontrolled. In the case of say, an approach controller online without tower beneath him at a controlled airport, he will (workload permitting, as always) [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume the tower's airspace and the responsibilities that go with it, but if the airport is uncontrolled and beneath his airspace, he won't be dealing with you until you climb into that airspace.

 

The charts are really the final arbiter of who to call and when. There's usually some room for fuzzing the borders a bit, though, 'cause sectorfiles and real world charts can differ, and charts change over time as well.

 

And all of that is brilliantly explained by your post (especially the part noting that airspace has a floor, although I'm not sure everyone flying on VATSIM is learning to use charts or even has any real charts)....better than several of the study guides I am using. My overall point, which probably didn't need my long winded post, is that if what you just posted was somewhere accessible on the VATSIM PRC, there might be fewer terrified newbies. While I'm completely obsessed and am studying real guides and charts until I get it (if only because I might someday pursue a private pilot's license), I can imagine that there are a number of people who want to fly online, want to be correct, but don't have the time nor inclination to master what is essentially the written portion of the Private Pilot Exam.

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And all of that is brilliantly explained by your post (especially the part noting that airspace has a floor, although I'm not sure everyone flying on VATSIM is learning to use charts or even has any real charts)....better than several of the study guides I am using. My overall point, which probably didn't need my long winded post, is that if what you just posted was somewhere accessible on the VATSIM PRC, there might be fewer terrified newbies. While I'm completely obsessed and am studying real guides and charts until I get it (if only because I might someday pursue a private pilot's license), I can imagine that there are a number of people who want to fly online, want to be correct, but don't have the time nor inclination to master what is essentially the written portion of the Private Pilot Exam.

Let's see what happens with the more advanced pilot ratings that are heading our way... could be just what the doctor ordered.

 

Maybe if I can reword my post in a less sleepy and slightly less redundant fashion, we can see about having some more details included in the PRC. It is pretty shy on specifics, I agree.

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Thanks Wayne.

 

Yaa, that.

 

In the past 5 days I've done 28 flights with FSEconomy (about half into/out of small fields with not so small planes; total 2.7K NM). I wouldn't have minded doing "the right thing" with ATC. In fact I would have really liked to.

Juggling so many different airframes (probably 8, and always different panel layouts ... makes a person nutz!) and so many different fields (almost 20)

But second guessing myself on yet.one.more thing? CYVR, CYEG, over-flying CYYC, then KCFA and smaller. When to call who ... it's not clear to me.

That's no diss ... I appreciate what folk are doing here, and will be flying online "real soon" now, but heh at the moment I'm working on stuff like how to land a Goose without having the engines sputter out half way to rollout.

 

It's another layer of complexity. If there's amibiguity or inconsistency, then I'm going to hesitate yet again.

intersections.gif

If you look to see how the system works

Likely you will find that it doesn't.

1018262.jpg

@bentrem - FSX SP2 | AMD Athlon II 630 2.8GHz X4 | GA-MA785 | Radeon 5770 | 6GB DDR3 | XP Pro | Saitek X52

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having sectional charts helps on the "who to contact" deal. easier gotten in some places then others.

 

for the US, digital sectionals are free! can also get them at skyvector.com. if you want paper sectionals, its as easy as visiting your local FBO. some will happily give away old charts, they cant use them anymore. ask and ye shall receive

 

other places in the world it tends to get harder but atleast online the divisions have done a pretty good job providing that info.

 

its pretty much impossible for the PRC to cover all of the who to contact info as airspace varies greatly from place to place. the PRC can only guide you.

 

using addons like vatspy, servinfo, and several of the other online traffic displays also will help you out in finding out who you should contact

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having sectional charts helps on the "who to contact" deal. easier gotten in some places then others.

 

for the US, digital sectionals are free! can also get them at skyvector.com. if you want paper sectionals, its as easy as visiting your local FBO. some will happily give away old charts, they cant use them anymore. ask and ye shall receive

To give a northern addition to Ernesto's advice: in Canada, the VTA (VFR Terminal Area) charts are great for clearly showing airspaces. I picked up a new one for about $16. Excellent purchase, as was a real, paper copy of the CAP2. As a controller, they helped me a ton, so they're not just for pilots

 

As with many things on VATSIM, try your best to understand things, but don't let a complete lack of knowledge hold you back from flying. All I wish for personally is that people spend some time doing their homework, but I don't expect you to know everything—I sure don't.

 

There's so much to learn, you couldn't possibly get it all down pat without any experience in the air actually doing it. As long as you learn something on every flight, you're doing fine. I haven't been controlling all that long, really, and I've already seen some amazing progress in pilots' abilities.

 

Don't fly too much outside your ability, but by all means, fly, and push yourself. The great thing about VATSIM is that the lessons often come the hard way—and thus you rarely forget them.

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come fly with us. the best way to learn is by doing. 99.9% of controllers are friendly and will help answer you questions as best we can. the other .1% a quick click of a feedback link or an email to the Staff of the Artcc in question will make the training staff aware of the potential issue and correct things as needed.

Richard Gerrish

Developer, STM Applications Group

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It's another layer of complexity. If there's amibiguity or inconsistency, then I'm going to hesitate yet again.

It's just that—another layer. One layer at a time, and you'll do fine. Just let us know in your flight plan's remarks where you're at, layer-wise, and we'll do what we can to help. You can read all you want about it, but sometimes you just have to get up in the air and get a feel for it. As this thread has so amply portrayed over its many pages, it's just the anxiety that you have to get over, and the rest will follow.

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It's another layer of complexity. If there's amibiguity or inconsistency, then I'm going to hesitate yet again.
It's just that—another layer. One layer at a time, and you'll do fine.
Yepp. Is what I'm counting on.
Just let us know in your flight plan's remarks where you're at, layer-wise, and we'll do what we can to help.
But, from what I've read, it seems that's the problem: that well-formed FPs haven't served that base purpose.

 

You can read all you want about it, but sometimes you just have to get up in the air and get a feel for it.
Just exactly what I'm doing right now. Just not online w/ATC.

 

As this thread has so amply portrayed over its many pages, it's just the anxiety that you have to get over, and the rest will follow.
Absolutely.

FWIW from what I've learned the past week (flying VFR through the Rockies with broken clouds in a plane that doesn't have AP ... great fun!) is that landings (apart from "flying" and "take offs") are fully half the fun!

intersections.gif

If you look to see how the system works

Likely you will find that it doesn't.

1018262.jpg

@bentrem - FSX SP2 | AMD Athlon II 630 2.8GHz X4 | GA-MA785 | Radeon 5770 | 6GB DDR3 | XP Pro | Saitek X52

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  • 2 weeks later...

Another newbie to the online flying experience, just recently joined Vatsim using X-Plane. Been a simmer for years but never really had a clue as to the REAL way to fly. Read the PRC’s and thought I had it all figured out…..sooo….setup my A320 at one of the gates in Heathrow, filed a flight plan to and from EGLL, put “newbie-observing” in the remarks and sat at the gate and watched and listened. Didn’t hear anything, but watched a fair number of aircraft taxiing and departing the airport. Then I started to hear a lot of radio chatter that I [Mod - Happy Thoughts]umed was the online ATC at the airport..so I turn everything up and paid closer attention thinking “this is GREAT! REAL ATC!!!” It probably took about 10 minutes before I realized they kept saying the same thing over and over. Thought,“hmm, something’s not right”. I found out later that I had to disable “radio chatter” in X-Plane itself. Thinking that I wasn’t really online at this point, I started to taxi to the same runway I saw everyone departing from. While approaching an intersection, I saw another plane with ID hovering over it taxiing towards me and we meet at the taxi intersection, facing off. Both of us stopped dead. And waited. Finally I thought, well, maybe this is like being in a car….so I reached up and flashed my taxi lights at him…..and he proceeds to continue taxiing past me. I thought “WOW, did he really see that and take that as a go-ahead?COOL!” Then I started thinking, “well if HE’S here and I see him, then I MUST be connected to Vatsim after all! So where is ATC?”

 

So I quickly send a flight plan to fly to Orly, line up, and then take off to Paris. Approximately 90 miles out, I decide, “ahh, I’ll just fly back to Heathrow and land there”, so I reprogram the FMS and turn around to intercept the flyback. Probably a couple minutes later…a box opens up in front of me with the message to tune to “xxxx.”

Tune my radio to the frequency requested and immediately get this box on my left….with a message “state your destination please”….Still not sure what to do, I type in “Heathrow”, he p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]es me on to Heathrow, I tune that….STILL not having a clue what I’m doing….I don’t know if the chatter is for me or for someone else, I continue to Heathrow. Do a circuit and land on the runway I watched everyone else land on. Suddenly I’m cleared to depart runway and taxi to ramp…..so I stop dead thinking “what ramp?And who the heck said that???” So I stop dead on the taxiway. Then I get another voice message telling me that “perhaps the next time I approach the airport, I could use the appropriate STAR”…….STAR??!!....it’s broad daylight, how the heck do you navigate with STARS??!!! At this point I knew that I had HORRIBLY botched the whole flight up and quickly disconnected. THEN went back and REALLY read the PRC’s. Ahh, SIDS and STARS, so THAT’s what they mean!!! So, I studied and practiced SIDS and STARS for about 3 days. Last night I flew out of Montreal to Toronto, but there was no ATC online, so I stuck with Unicom until I got to CYYZ. No traffic either so it gave me a chance to quickly ask some questions from the Clearance gentleman who did come online at YYZ and who was VERY informative and helpful. Wished him goodnight….and went BACK to my PRC’s yet again! Learned about route planning, SIDS and STARS, and downloading routes from/to wherever you are going. Flew out of YYZ this morning to YOW..that’s another story. But the gentleman who took the time out last night to quickly chat and explain, gave me the courage to actually attempt a controlled flight…and I just wanted to say thanks. I think I might like it here..ALOT!

 

By the way, how long can I leave “NEWBIE” in the remarks section of my flightplan?

 

Sorry this was so long winded

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  • Board of Governors

Great post, Grant. You identified a lot of opportunities to learn, and the good thing is that you're interested in learning! Great to see that. You'll find lots of folks very happy to help you learn what you need to along the way.

 

You can leave /newbie/ in there as long as you want -- there is no set rule. My guess is that most people leave it in until they feel relatively comfortable making all phases of flight with ATC online (clearance, taxi, takeoff, cruise, descent, approach, landing, taxi). Depends on the person and their experience. You might remove it after 10 flights, or 20, or ???. It's all up to you. Heck, the lore goes that a very experienced real world airline captain, when goofing something up and getting a small admonishment from ATC, replied, "Sorry, student pilot." I'm sure that was good for a laugh.

 

Welcome to VATSIM and enjoy!

Don Desfosse
Vice President, Membership

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Thanks for the welcome!...I do have one more question. When cleared to taxi, if my map says to hold at certain points during the procedure, but clearance makes no mention of it, should I hold anyway and request further clearance?

 

thanks again, this community is going to provide me with a lot of enjoyment I think.....my kids think I'm a total geek now though...lol

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When cleared to taxi, if my map says to hold at certain points during the procedure, but clearance makes no mention of it, should I hold anyway and request further clearance?

Holding points when taxiing? Not sure what you mean. Regarding the holding points in the air (mostly on STARs), generally you only have to perform those if requested by ATC; and unless traffic's especially heavy (maybe during an event) you probably won't see that much.

 

If you mean holding points on the ground map, though, which I myself am not familiar with, I would just ask -- "Ground, LearJet 1MD, verify you want us to hold at {loc a} or are we cleared straight through to {loc b}?" Just by asking the question you're demonstrating that you've taken the initiative to look at a chart or a map, and that's sure to make them happy.

Cheers,

-R.

fvJfs7z.png

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Hi Grant, welcome to the club.

 

"C/S, taxi to holding point Rwy 32R via Tango 4, Foxtrot, Hold short of Bravo" or "taxi to holding point 25 via A, L, F, F9, report ready for departure" could be an european style clearance, which means you are free to move your aircraft to the holding point on the designated path. A "hold short xxx" means you have to stop there until atc clears you for the rest of the path. Also a "give way to" means you have the full taxi clearance but simply have to wait until the later preceding traffic is in sight (and you are able to follow him). Some airports have it a bit shorter, maybe "KLM 234 via B and W5 to runway 36L”. The phraseo differs a bit (see http://www.eurocontrol.int/eec/gallery/content/public/docomeent/eec/report/2009/002_Standard_airport_taxi_route_study.pdf )

 

In the FAA area, the phraseo changed a bit end of June: http://www.ifalpa.org/downloads/Level1/Safety%20Bulletins/2010/11SAB07%20-%20FAA%20Taxi%20instruction%20phraseology%20changes.pdf

 

So, there are a bit of differences depending where you are taxiing around. And certainly there are differences in atc comms. They will drop a bit with the time (e.g. the "position and hold", faa, will move into "lineup and wait" End of September...

 

But thats part of the fun.

 

Flo

Florian Harms

VATSIM Europe Division / DCRM

Supervisor

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e.g. the "position and hold", faa, will move into "lineup and wait" End of September...

Slightly OT and just my personal opinion but I am annoyed about this pending change. I feel as though "Line Up and Wait" is an instruction you give a cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] of kindergartners. Guess I'll write my congressman.

Cheers,

-R.

fvJfs7z.png

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Guess I'll write my congressman.

 

hehe,

good idea, but just remember back to that JFK ground controller who went nearly nuts while communicating with foreign pilots, a hard time for him, an all time goodie for us and a very clear sign, that we need an international phraseo...

 

Flo

Florian Harms

VATSIM Europe Division / DCRM

Supervisor

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