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To the newbie - First Time Jitters


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Nice story, well done.

 

I am not sure if you have heard anything about VATSIM's Pilot Training Department. They offers special trainings and teach newcomers in order to get familiar with the VATSIM environment and basic aviation procedures. You may check their website for details on http://ptd.vatsim.net/

 

By the way, welcome to the VATSIM network.

Do you want your Virtual Airline to become an official partner on VATSIM or to participate in the VAA Program?
Visit https://www.vatsim.net/pilots/virtual-airlines

Tim Wong
Director of Virtual Airline Relations
VATSIM.net Virtual Airlines and Special Operations Administration
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  • 1 month later...

What a great thread this is. I'm new enough to still regularly screw up but past the hump of where I let it bother me now. I think the key thing to remember is that VATSIM is fantastic because the controllers are operating at a professional level and are very much 'in character'. This will infinitely increase your enjoyment as you get better, but it can be intimidating to start with. Most of the pilots you'll hear are experienced, so it's easy to not want to feel like "that guy" at the outset.

 

My first time, I screwed up a simple "proceed direct " command, but the controller was very patient and vectored me until I figured it out. Later, I was at FL310 at a waypoint that I should have been at 13000 for, and I had to be sent back north on a U shaped loop! As you spend longer you'll come across other pilots who are occasionally making mistakes like landing on the wrong runway and getting lost. It helps because it shows it to be a learning process that everyone is going through/has gone through.

 

My advice would be to build confidence flying a simple, frequently used real world route(for me I did Toronto-Montreal and back a few times). You gradually learn new wrinkles like receiving takeoff clearance early, taxi routes, being sent directly to waypoints up ahead etc, and you can stay relaxed because you've got a familiarity with much of the process. The other thing you develop is an "ear" for the important things you're told, like runway number, QNH etc that can be a bit hard to decipher with the audio at times.

Connect at a quiet time when the controller will have time to help with questions or screwups.

Look at the likely SIDs and read their names a few times before requesting clearance.

Look at the taxi chart before requesting taxi and try to anticipate where you'll be going.

Write or type instructions as they're issued. Chances are you'll need to look at them repeatedly.

Look at the arrival airport chart before landing to get an idea of where to exit the runway and which side etc.

 

One thing I learned over time is that the controllers are held to a high standard not only in terms of accuracy but also with politeness and patience. If a controller ever dishes out abuse it is considered a problem. Every one I've dealt with has been great, despite my misadventures.

 

So prepare yourself well, but dive in and have fun. The first "screwup-free" flight feels great and you won't look back after that.

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  • 2 months later...

Well, seems that this keeps going on and on. Thanks Bryan for your post, it is excellent and with all that the fellows added there is not much to say.

Makes me remind how in my first VFR Vatsim flight, in a lonely airport, when the ATC appeared in the screen, I got so confused that just two minutes from takeoff, my Aerostar ended in the top of a tree (and I fly Simulators since FS95).

So, I dont know if this things happen to all of us at the beginning, but when you get stressed your angle of view is reduced by the adrenalin and your attention for simple thing goes out of control. This is fatal when you are flying.

I will ad this to the post for those that star flying on line:

Dont forget this is a game, and is must be fun. Be cordial and tolerant with everybody and relax, every thing is gonna be fine, dont feel ashamed.

And keep on flying and reading until you get what you want of this game.

Good flights.

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My first time on VATSIM, (it defeated the purpose), but I had to fly cross country for a Virtual Squadron I'm in, I was hoping that i wouldn't get in anyone's way with ATC, and I didn't, so I got away with it at first

 

PS:

Just Curious, is there anyway to change your name? Or is that a seniority thing?

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image.php?u=422&type=sigpic&dateline=1426094403VFA-32 "Fighting Swordsmen" [305]

FLY NAVY / CVW3E59E368A907A8D80C5DB555A8A0C8BACF5B73D54

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Just find one at a not so busy airport and contact him or her. They're not scary and...time and workload willing...can help you through the jitters and on your way. They don't bite and don't hurt.

 

Randy

Randy Tyndall - KBOI

ZLA I-11/vACC Portugal P4

“A ship is always safe in the harbor. But that’s not why they build ships” --Michael Bevington ID 814931, Former VATSIM Board of Governors Vice President of Pilot Training

1087023

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  • 1 month later...
  • 3 weeks later...
I'm new to Vatsim and maybe soon I will go and fly there, but first I have to learn a lot

 

you won't regret it! a couple flights, and you'll have it down pat. Heck, I was full of butterflies and felt like I should quit, but now here I am, flying tricky planes (Aerosoft's Airbus and Majestic's Q400) into Friday Night Ops, and earning my P1 Rating (gonna go for more in the future).

 

So, what I can tell you (as an amateur ) is to buy a cheap payware plane with a nice FMC that can handle SID/STARS. I recommend any of the CLS planes or the Qualitywings planes.

 

http://www.fspilotshop.com/qualitywings-the-ultimate-757-collection-p-2898.html

 

http://www.fspilotshop.com/cls-md8182-jetliner-p-2657.html

 

It will greatly help you out being able to fly these arrivals and departures, rather than doing what I did and bumbling around with default GPS and a freeware Saab 340

 

Good luck and welcome!

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  • 2 weeks later...

My first time was yesterday and it was pretty awesome! I spent about 2-3 days listening and getting a feel for the environment before hoping on. When I was about to talk, I have never been so nervous in my life behind a computer screen! My heart was racing so fast, but I got some vectors and a cleared ILS APP into IND without a problem! It was overall an awesome experience and I can't wait to keep learning! See you in the skies! Or the tower...

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Just started on Vatism and have done a few flights. I am a private pilot in the real world around the Seattle area, so I am used to flying in the Bravo airspace and being on the radio alot!

There is not much Vatism coverage in the Seattle area and I fly at night sometimes. So, I Have a question, I broadcast on 122.8 instead of using the airport frequencies as directed by Vatism rules, but is that correct? It seems kinda wierd to stay on one frequency all the time when no controller is available, I am used to changing it all the time while flying around our area in real life and use Foreflight on my iPad to navigate and check frequencies.

When you approach an airport you are supposed to monitor and broadcast on the CTAF for that airport.

Can someone confirm the 122.8 requirment?

Thanks

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I broadcast on 122.8 instead of using the airport frequencies as directed by Vatism rules, but is that correct

Hey David, welcome to VATSIM. I think you are a bit confused about the use of UNICOM (122.8). If there is appropriate ATC services (Center, Approach for Bravo/Flight Following/IFR, Tower for Bravo/general when inbound) you tune to their frequency and contact them as you normally would.

If there is NOT a form of ATC service that you would call, then you broadcast (text-only) on UNICOM (122.8) with your intentions to alert other pilots of your activity as you would do in the real world. Difference with this is that (with some non-US exceptions), we use 122.8 as the only CTAF frequency and not any other published by the airport.

 

It is also important to note that VATSIM operates on a top-down service setup. This means that if you are departing Seattle and notice SEA_TWR online but no Ground/Delivery, you would contact them for Clearance and Taxi respectively. If you have Seattle Center online and no one on below (No Approach/Tower/Ground/Delivery), they more or less cover everything. Every Tower, Approach Facility, and Enroute.

 

Hope this clears things up!

Josh Glottmann
Deputy Air Traffic Manager
Oakland ARTCC
[email protected]

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Im a P1 now, is there a radio instruction and example guide somewhere?

 

So, I would text on 122.8 before takoff my departure direction and so on, then when approaching an airport text my landing intentions. Sounds simple. Can I still tune in the local ctaf and perform voice calls for practice? No one would here them anyway, so it shouldnt matter? This is, of course, when there is no atc coverage.

Thanks, Im slowly figuring things out.

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  • Board of Governors

Welcome to VATSIM! Josh's advice above is spot on, but to add a little extra color....

 

Voice unicom is not required nor officially supported on VATSIM*, so you'd make appropriate calls via text. The official rule is monitor, which doesn't specifically mandate making calls, but common courtesy dictates that calls are appropriate as you mentioned --- takeoff/departure and approach/landing when there is traffic nearby (as can be seen using one of the many situational awareness tools out there (e.g., VATSpy, Servinfo, vattastic.com). My general rule of thumb is that I won't bother if there's no traffic within 150 or so miles, but if there is, I make appropriate (not listing every excruciating detail including what I had for lunch each day in the past month, which some pilots seem to like to do.... ) calls.

 

Also, check out the VATSIM Unicom FAQ at viewtopic.php?f=84&t=38243

 

Not sure where you got your P1, but Unicom was required to be covered in P1 Rating Criteria, Topic 11. In addition to the forum posts and FAQ above, perhaps review your P1 training material as well. Chances are it will all say about the same thing, but sometimes seeing things in different forums (not talking about these forums, just forums/avenues/places in general) helps solidify concepts. Hope this helps!

 

* Note: Voice unicom is encouraged by VATPAC and VATNZ when in the Oceania Region, with the proviso that if there is someone nearby that utilizes text unicom, all must then revert to text unicom (I'm paraphrasing!); see the VATPAC and VATNZ websites/forums if you'd like more information.

Don Desfosse
Vice President, Membership

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Im a P1 now, is there a radio instruction and example guide somewhere?

I would suggest this: connect to an airport (on the ramp of course) that is fairly busy with ATC and just listen to everything that is going on. When you are ready to practice, I would suggest doing the exact opposite: connect to an airport that is fairly quiet with ATC and apply your knowledge. VATSIM does not have any guide. Although this is not VATSIM's, IVAO has a fairly good guide on US phraseology.

 

Can I still tune in the local ctaf and perform voice calls for practice?

I would not advise of this practice for a few reasons. First, if you're pilot client can't monitor two frequencies at once (or you do not know how to), you technically can't achieve the monitoring of UNICOM part. Second, non-active frequencies (with the exception of certain areas) are not able to handle any voice communications. If you want to practice making voice CTAF calls, I would just say it out loud (and pretend to be tuned to the proper frequency) while tuned into and monitoring UNICOM.

Josh Glottmann
Deputy Air Traffic Manager
Oakland ARTCC
[email protected]

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Im a P1 now, is there a radio instruction and example guide somewhere?

David,

 

Not sure if you are from or interested in the Boston area, but ZBW has developed a detailed guide on Radio Communications for our pilot members. It covers general guidelines for phraseology, words/numbers, etc., and also goes in-depth with ATC communications for both VFR and IFR flights. We've included sample transmissions and even audio recordings.

 

If you're new to IFR flying, we also offer a Pilot Ratings Program, similar to the one available in ZLA (note this is different than the P1/P2/etc. VATSIM pilot ratings). The program is a set of 20 flights (6 VFR and 14 IFR) that progressively build up the skills required to fly in the ATC environment. The program starts with VFR closed traffic at KACK, builds to a full DME arc approach to a missed and diversion (KAUG/KPWM), and then finishes back at KACK with a Charted Visual Flight Procedure. ATC will monitor each flight and provide feedback on how you did, p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ing you on each rating providing you met the test standards for the flight. It's a fun set of flights that's beneficial for anyone interested in learning more about flying with ATC.

 

Both of these resources are available for pilot members of Boston Virtual ARTCC. More info here: http://www.bvartcc.com/JoinBVA/AboutBVA.aspx.

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Evan Reiter
Boston Virtual ARTCC/ZBW Community Manager

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Martin and welcome to VATSIM.

 

VATSIM ATC works 'top down' meaning that a controller will [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume the duties of all unstaffed lower ATC positions within his/her area of juristiction. The order from highest to lowest ATC position is CTR, APP, DEP, TWR, GND, DEL.

 

In absence of a DEL and a GND controller, TWR will be [Mod - Happy Thoughts]uming DEL and GND duties, so you would need to call TWR for clearance, pushback and taxi.

Michael Mund-Hoym
Assistant to the VATSIM Vice President of Membership
VATSIM Network Supervisor


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Hello Martin and welcome to VATSIM.

 

VATSIM ATC works 'top down' meaning that a controller will [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume the duties of all unstaffed lower ATC positions within his/her area of juristiction. The order from highest to lowest ATC position is CTR, APP, DEP, TWR, GND, DEL.

 

In absence of a DEL and a GND controller, TWR will be [Mod - Happy Thoughts]uming DEL and GND duties, so you would need to call TWR for clearance, pushback and taxi.

 

thanks

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  • 2 weeks later...

The first time I ever talked on Vatsim, I don't know why, but I was just so nervous. When I filed a flight plan and I asked for clearance, the ATC handed me off to Center, I just read back what they said and logged off of the game. After that, I was completely paranoid that my account would get removed from Vatsim and that all of that work of installing everything would be for nothing anymore. I still feel bad about that, because it happened yesterday.

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I just completed my fist flight today LPPT - EGKK. I was kinda nervous and anxious at the same time, I really wanted to try being online by myself for probably a year or more, but never had the confidence and was always afraid I would do something stupid. So I spent that time watching videos on youtube and streams on twitch.tv and was a little worried because I could almost never understand the controllers. So yesterday I decided I would login at EGKK as an observer and listen to all the frequencies I could, and I could understand almost everything people said! YAY! So I decided I would do my first flight soon.

 

Today as I woke up (near lunch time) I logged in as an observer again, there I was on the fuel box to don't interfere with anyone xD. I decided I would do the flight after I got back from lunch. So there I was on FSX with Vpilot and about to submit my flight plan, nervous as I was checked my route about 3 times, and then I press the file button.

 

I was at LPPT not worried because no controller was online there, so I did my usual offline routine, preping the plane and taxing and takeoff on runway 3. I used the A319 and kept checking my fuel. no more than 10 tons , i thought somehing was wrong and that I'd run out of fuel mid flight. Some minutes in flight, I notice someone on ground frequency at LPPT was online and I was like "Phew! I got away".

I continue my flight, monitoring vattastic to see where I am and I am anxously waiting for the London Center controller to contact me. Meanwhile, because I had the checklist on, it starts telling me to descend, here I started getting more nervous, I dind't know what to do, if I should descend or wait for the controller to tell me so, but I looked and the plane screen showing I was getting close so I decide to descend. BTW because I was checking other planes on vattastic and constantly look at the chrono in the plane, I actually went ofline and changed some settings and filing the flight plan 3 times (me being a nervous perfectionist). There I was descending when Ireceive a text popping in FSX giving me the frequency, I look at it and morize the 3 firs digits before the pop up desappears "S***" I thought I had missed it, but then I see a new tab opened in Vpilot with the frequency, I could relax.I tune my com 1 and say "London Control, Air Portugal 342 with you" he then said something but I didn't understand anything, started getting really nervous, then I think about it and notice I forgot to tell him my altitude "F***" I think, also I said that cause I have been playing an ATC game and all planes say "with you" when they change frequency so I thought it was alright.

 

The guy starts talking but to other planes, he then starts saying things to me and I try to acknowledge, but end up feeling the situation is kinda awkward, when I notice it, the guy is texting me and I think "are you serious?!is my mic that bad or am I talking that bad?! sigh..." and I just text him, but later I end up being able to read back with my mic and was like "YEAH" he then p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]es me to gatwick approach and there the guy texts me. He wrote like "turn right heading 30" and I was going 90, at first I turned right, but then I realised there was some mistake and turned left, I asked "really right 30?" hoping he would noticed his mistake and say like "oh sorry" or something, but no, nothing, he just keeps giving me instructions. Then he tells me to go at 180 knots, So I did, after a minute he's like "are you sure you're at 180 knots? you're too slow on my radar" and I say "yeah my plane says I am at 180 knots" and then "well it's my first flight, I'm a little confused anyway" to which he responds ":) don't worry just keep going" and that actually calmed me down, at this point I was confused, I had never seen in a stream a controller saying that to a pilot, not that I was aware of anyway. From there on everything went smooth, I managed to land and taxi correctly, during which I had to check a chart 3 times to make sure I was on the right taxiway.

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