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To the newbie - First Time Jitters


Thomas Parker
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Hello Ricardo,

 

Welcome to VATSIM and the addiction that is online flying. I believe you were arriving into Gatwick while I was mentoring a student on London Control. Your flight didn't stand out (which is a good sign) and if that was your first flight then you did well. The frequency was very busy so at times in order to ensure instructions are understood (and avoid having to repeat) then the controller may sometimes back up voice instructions with text. This isn't anything to do with ability but more to ensure that the ffrequency keeps flowing.

Regarding your speed into Gatwick. Do you use XPlane if so then the sim speed is dependant on your frames per second. You need to ensure you adjust your settings to maintain about 20fps or greater otherwsie the aircraft will slow down (sometimes considerably). If you are using Microsoft Flight simulator or Prepar3D then it may be you were using default weather as opposed to a weatehr add on so having different wind speed affecting your aircraft.

 

Well done on your first flight.

 

Phillip

VATSIM UK Divisional Instructor

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Ah I see. Well before I did the flight I did as many offline flights as possible and read docomeentation and played an ATC game to make sure I knew exactly what I need to do. I am relieved to know that happened in the Control, i thought it was weird as I know my mic worked well when I configured it on Vpilot.

 

I am using FSX and FSrealWXlite as the weather engine, I was really confued on the speed issue and didn't know what to do, I'll try to find out.

 

And thank you, no doubt that's a boost in my pilot confidence

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  • 2 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!

 

I have been training alot now and the time is coming closer to join VATSIM and fly

 

Those paywares look very good and I'm also thinking maybe PMDG MD-11, but I have heard that is quite hard plane, but I'm willing to learn!

 

And thanks alot from your answer Mike

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  • 1 month later...

Oh man, my first flight... That was one heck of an experience, to say the least. Actually, that's a M[Mod - Happy Thoughts]IVE understatement.

 

Okay, before we begin the story of my first flight, here's some background information. I'm from the Macau SAR, meaning that for my entire childhood I never heard anything about flight simulation. I thought that you had to be a pilot and go get training to even touch a flight simulator. A few years ago, I discovered FSX.

 

Wow. You mean you can get in whatever plane you want and fly anywhere you want?! AWESOME!

 

After maybe half a year or so, I got bored of flying with default ATC and GPS direct and headed over to a "multiplayer community" - basically taking advantage of a special server client (FSOpen) and FSX's built-in LAN multiplayer function to byp[Mod - Happy Thoughts] the loss of Gamespy. While there, I learned a bit about IFR flying - waypoints, altitudes, flight levels and transition altitudes, mainly. Anyway, that was my main flight sim fix for maybe a year and a half - I still fly there sometimes just for fun.

 

Anyway, after that year and a half, I'm getting bored. That multiplayer community claimed to be 'fully realistic', yet I felt like I was missing something. After a few Google searches, I found VATSIM. After poring through the PRC, my jaw was completely detached from my facial region and about a kilometer underground. I was afraid I would screw up - M[Mod - Happy Thoughts]IVELY. I decided that if I ever wanted to get online, I needed to practice. A lot. I purchased my first payware aircraft - the Aerosoft A320/A321 - and began flying mock VATSIM flights in singleplayer mode. By poring through the PRC page after page and familiarizing myself with the radio protocol (some of which I was familiar with from the 'multiplayer community' of mine), as well as repeating every step of a flight from radio-check to parked in the sim, I was finally ready for VATSIM.

 

At least, that's what I thought.

 

Since I saw a few guides online advising new users to log on and listen in, I loaded up in the default C172 and connected in a spot where I knew there was ATC (Thanks, VATTASTIC!).

 

Wow. What the heck are these guys saying?!

 

I wasn't even flying, and I was already sweating bullets. How do I do this?! Anyway, I kept on listening in, and as soon as I cleared my head, I could actually hear things that I had learned. Oh, United 902's asking for clearance! American 22's asking for an altitude change! So Cactus 129's flying that SID I practiced! After a few of these sessions, I loaded up in the Aerosoft A320 in Spirit Airlines livery and loaded up at KBOS for a quick BOS-JFK hop. I logged on to VATSIM, filed my flight plan with the obligatory "New pilot" in the remarks, and got my aircraft ready.

 

Okay, let's go back a bit. Remember that I said I was sweating bullets while listening to ATC? Well, in that case, I'm sweating nuclear bombs by the time I was ready to ask for clearance. I slowly keyed in my mic on my joystick and said,

 

"Uhm...Bos-boston Center, Sp-Spirit Wings 9120 request clearance to K-Kennedy as filed."

 

"Spirit Wings 9120, welcome to VATSIM! Cleared to Kennedy as filed via the LOGAN7 departure, initial altitude 5000, expect FL280 5mins after departure, squawk (don't remember the squawk code)."

 

After that transmission, I was re[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ured that these VATSIM folks actually weren't out to kill me with stress. My nerves literally disappeared and I read the clearance back smoothly. The rest of my flight was uneventful, except for the takeoff. Man oh man, I'll never forget that exhilarating feeling of getting cleared for takeoff by a real person on a truly realistic network. Now, several hundred hours later, I'm flying Concordes across the pond regularly and am enjoying it, thanks to the helpful ATC and the friendly pilots!

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Jonathan,

 

Excellent post and it captures the "awe" that should be everyone's first experience on VATSIM. What an outstanding narrative.

 

Welcome to VATSIM. You're gonna love it here.

 

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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While I had my first connection to VATSim a few days ago, today I had my first real flight. It was meant to be a short one and I wanted ATC coverage for at least a part of the flight. I don't have a microphone yet, but I used text and had my headphones plugged in, so the sound quality was better than through my speakers.

 

I opened Servinfo and saw that there was a lot of ATC online in Hamburg. Great, I thought by myself. Filed a flightplan for 2015Z and joined through vPilot. Still have a lot of model mismatching, so I really need to look for a solution instead of manually downloading all World of AI airliners.

 

I use the PMDG 737NGX (-800) and have flown only a few times. I actually had my first real complete flight (Gatwick to Schiphol) only today, offline ofcourse! I'm not a professional with that plane yet, but I can decently fly it yet. I set the plane to start in the Cold & Dark panel state, so I have to realistically start everything. It took a bit longer than expected and I had to file a new flightplan with a corrected time of 2045Z, 30 minutes after my original schedule!

 

It started to get really busy on the airport. I thought by myself, "Hopefully I don't screw stuff up right now and that others aren't annoyed by my precense." Got my clearance and pushback. Accidentally pushed back in the wrong direction, so had to taxi a short curve.

 

Had to hold short, because of runway 15 is for arriving aircrafts. Asking clearance to cross from tower, had to follow a Lufthansa 737 (there wasn't any visible!) and were number three in sequence for departure runway 05. And then it happened... Takeoff time baby!

 

Communication was fine. Almost every controller used the chat and worked fine. I flew to Berlin-Tegel and had to go around because of a failed landing (remember, still new to this aircraft).

 

And then it hit me... I accidentally joined an event at Hamburg, while beginning pilots are recommended not to join them, because it is extremely busy. I have to say, I did quite allright.

 

Thank you Hamburg Clearance, Hamburg Ground, Hamburg Tower, Hamburg Departure/Arrival, a lot of Bremen Radars, Tegel Approach and Tegel Tower!

 

Tomorrow I'll plan another flight.

 

KLM6578.

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ACCNL5 (Assistant Training Director) - Dutch VACC

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I accidentally joined an event at Hamburg, while beginning pilots are recommended not to join them, because it is extremely busy.

Nothing wrong with that. I actually plan my first flight with ATC during some sort of event or at least a busy hour. The thought of being alone with a controller and having all his attention concentrated on me makes me triple nervous. I'd rather blend in with the crowd. And hearing other pilots talk calms me down.

 

Love this thread, btw. So many stories that make me laugh and cry at the same time.

KntU2Cw.jpg
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I both agree and disagree with your post.

 

While I understand that it can make you less nervous if you're not the only one with the controller online, the controllers also have less time for you. Meaning that the learning curve is slower. If you're alone and have a patient controller, (s)he can help you with learning new things. If it's really busy, the controller kind of expects that you know what you're doing, so the traffic flow won't get disrupted for every other player.

 

But I enjoyed the event yesterday and it went allright.

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ACCNL5 (Assistant Training Director) - Dutch VACC

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There. I accidentally made my first controlled flight today.

I usually use the morning hours while the controllers are still sleeping (of course, 2 p.m. is no longer morning ).

I messed up my flight in just about every possible way:

1) forgot to file route

2) stalled my plane at the TOC

3) drifted off course

4) missed my descent

5) while trying to correct my mistakes I missed the fact that Schiphol Approach had come online, so got a .contactme. Now that I think about it, I'm actually happy about missing it because it spared me the nervousness of waiting for the inevitable which is worse than the thing itself. So because it was unplanned everything went much better than I would have thought and I was just moderately nervous.

The communication with the controllers was a joy. Many thanks to Gustav Kauman and Marc Eijkens for handling me professionally and friendly. I'll be grinning for the rest of the day.

KntU2Cw.jpg
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  • 3 weeks later...

Like to share my first experience in Vatsim last Sat.

 

At first I am hesitate to try Vatsim, as I usually don't speak much to any person whom I don't know much, lol. But I took the plunge.

 

Starting from my home airport WSSS and WSSS_APP was online, what a great opportunity for me! Somehow it made me nervous too. Nevertheless, I spoke for the first time in Vatsim and what a moment for me when the ATC responded to my message. Had some embarr[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ment moment when I nearly forgotten my callsign. I were glad the ATC typed his instruction in text to help me, all I need was to read back his instruction, very helpful indeed. I appreciate.

 

I made a blunder and taxi to the wrong runway, as I forgotten to reprogramme my FMC to the instructed runway. I were really upset, but fortunately the ATC re-instructed me to the correct runway. Good job for WSSS_APP, hope I don't screw up your operation too much.

 

I reckon I will fly more in Vatsim, instead of flying aimlessly offline. Hope to see you guys in the virtual sky soon.

vafs_status.php?cs=SVAG1110
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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm a little bit, well maybe a lot bit, confused about entering the type of aircraft I'm flying into vPilot. I can only find an equipment suffix. Tonight was flying a DH8D and the Boston Controller was nice enough to add that to my display. I did put in the remarks but that isn't the place to put it, Ive been led to believe. Yep only been here a month or so , learning that the controllers aren't as bad as they used to be to the point of scaring me away from VATSIM some years ago. When you're 70 it takes a lot of time for this dog to learn new tricks. Anyone care to clue me in?

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For vPilot, you enter the ICAO aircraft type code (e.g. DH8D) into the box that should appear after you click the Connect button:

 

ConnectWindow.png

 

If you've recently flown the same callsign and aircraft type combination, you can select it from the dropdown list. Otherwise, just enter both pieces of information in the boxes below.

 

Welcome (back) to VATSIM!

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I first joined VATSIM in 2001 and even after around 6000 hours online, I still feel nervous. I have made my mistakes and continue to make more. Most of the ATC I encountered, are very polite, helpful and understanding of mistakes. If you are a new to VATSIM, I strongly recommend a traffic sp[Mod - Happy Thoughts] area controlled by an ATC with a clear microphone; someone preferably who is not speaking as if he is in the auctioneer in a cattle sale.

Regrettably, I am finding that more and more ATC these days are very difficult to understand. This is either because they [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ume that everybody has English as their mother tongue ; they speak very fast [Mod - Happy Thoughts]uming that this is "professional"; or they have very bad microphones. Sometimes it is all of these or a combination thereof. I keep a spreadsheet of all the controllers I encounter, rating them on their Communication skills, their controlling abilities and their manners. I consult this spreadsheet before I fly in a certain area. I also offer feedback on the particular site whenever I can.

 

I would hasten to add that I admire the dexterity and abilities of many ATC on VATSIM who remain calm and "controlled" when handling large volumes of traffic or during an event. It is something that I will never be able to do myself. I say this because I can understand how certain controllers get upset at mistakes that the pilot may make. I think however that there is little excuse for having a bad quality microphone or speaking unnatural fast when you are supposedly directing airborne traffic. There is also no excuse for bad manners of course. I believe that as a controller one should have not just the skills but also the ability to communicate these effectively and politely. The ATC requirements should reflect this in their promotions.

I did not mean to be so critical because I have nothing but admiration for the people who staff VATSIM at their own expense and time.

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Whats up professional pilots?!

 

I am new here and I just got FSX Acceleration installed on my Laptop

 

Please I need your help on how to link it with VATSIM.

 

What do I need to do?

 

Thank you.

 

Welcome! First, I'd suggest that you read the PRC (Pilot Resource Center) here to get an idea of what to do on VATSIM. Next, download a pilot client (I recommend vPilot - get it here) and download the 'FSX Default Aircraft' model matching rules, so that aircraft can be displayed properly with the default FSX planes (ignore the other model matching settings for now). Set up your audio and put in your VATSIM ID and p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]word, press connect, and voila! You're online! First, I recommend just spawning in a Cessna at a remote parking spot ('stand' in Europe; 'gate' in the US/Canada) at a small/mid-sized airport with some ATC, so you can listen in on how they do things. After getting your confidence up, you can log on in a bigger plane and fly on VATSIM

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, I'm an extremely confused newbie. Could someone explain to me how the ATC here works (I know I have to download software)? I tried to become part of the USA division, but it wouldn't accept my ID, and said I had to wait a day or so, is this normal? One last question, does playing the role of ATC involve me speaking into the mic, or am I just clicking stuff?

 

Thank You!

You best do what I say when I'm controlling. Get the picture?

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Hi, I'm an extremely confused newbie. Could someone explain to me how the ATC here works (I know I have to download software)? I tried to become part of the USA division, but it wouldn't accept my ID, and said I had to wait a day or so, is this normal? One last question, does playing the role of ATC involve me speaking into the mic, or am I just clicking stuff?

 

Thank You!

Hey Manav! Welcome to the VATSIM Network. If you are having trouble connecting to the network, thats ok, I spent a day trying to work out where VATSIM was on the FSX multiplayer list until I realised that it wasnt ! You will need a pilot client, the most popular and easiest one to use is vPilot (find it here). That should help you get started.

The USA is split into several divisions called ARTCCs. There are about 35 different ARTCC's around the US so I recommend choosing the one respective to your area (not necessary, I'm an Australian and I fly and control in New Zealand). If you have any issues, contact the ARTCC director.

If I understand your third question correctly, you cant just 'play' ATC. We pride ourselves on training the best controllers on the flight sim network. Each division or ARTCC has its own training policy and minimum requirements to get a rating, but you can ask the division's training director if you have any queries. If you want to get an idea about what controllers see on their screen when they control, I recommend you take a look at some of the later posts in this thread here.

I hope this helps you and answers your questions!

Andrew

Andrew Ogden
Gander Oceanic OCA Chief
Vancouver FIR Senior Instructor

Visit us: https://ganderoceanic.ca
Contact: [email protected] 

CZQO LogoCZVR Logo

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  • Board of Governors

Hi Manav, and welcome to VATSIM! In addition to the excellent advice you've received, above, I'll try to answer another of your questions.

 

I tried to become part of the USA division, but it wouldn't accept my ID, and said I had to wait a day or so, is this normal?

Yes, that is normal. There are multiple organizational echelons within VATSIM. VATSIM is at the highest level, and if you remember from when you signed up, you joined a Region and then a Division. The Divisions get your information from VATSIM via server synchronizations. As stated on the VATUSA "Become an ATC" page, it can indeed take up to 24 hours for VATUSA to receive the information that you have joined VATSIM and that you have selected VATUSA. Then, the relevant pieces of your member data get populated into your VATUSA member database. Once that happens (it happened for you during our scheduled server synchronization at 06Z, less than 10 hours after you joined VATSIM), you can then continue with the Become an ATC process with VATUSA, because VATUSA now knows who you are and that you've opted to join VATUSA.

 

I hope this explanation helps.

Don Desfosse
Vice President, Operations

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Thank you to everyone who answered my questions, lucky for you, I have more!

 

After p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ing the basic exam, do I download the appropriate software?

 

Do I speak to pilots, or type (by speak I mean speak in to the mic)?

 

Thank you to everyone again!

You best do what I say when I'm controlling. Get the picture?

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Thank you to everyone who answered my questions, lucky for you, I have more!

 

After p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ing the basic exam, do I download the appropriate software?

 

Do I speak to pilots, or type (by speak I mean speak in to the mic)?

I think you might still be confused. You cannot start controlling right away. Unlike being a pilot, becoming a controller requires training, pssing exams, and ultimately physical ratings awareded appropriately by the respective ARTCC/FIR which you belong to.

 

VATUSA has 22 different ARTCCs which you can join, [Mod - Happy Thoughts]uming you want to control in the US. Once you join, you'll likely have to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] another exam and then you'll be able to being your training with you (and help you download the appropriate software).

 

We do communicate with voice, however text can be utilized by pilots and can never be a denied form of communication. I'd like to say a majority of pilots use voice, but there is a large amount that only use text as well.

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

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I know I can't control right away, that I need to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] exams. I finally have my questions in order. When I joined VATUSA, I was directed to study for a basic exam, what happens after that? Just out of interest.

 

After I do complete all training to start controlling, then what.

 

Sorry about three rounds of questions, I have newbie jitters.

You best do what I say when I'm controlling. Get the picture?

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I know I can't control right away, that I need to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] exams. I finally have my questions in order. When I joined VATUSA, I was directed to study for a basic exam, what happens after that? Just out of interest.

After I do complete all training to start controlling, then what.

Sorry about three rounds of questions, I have newbie jitters.

After you p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] the basic exam, you need to join an ARTCC. From there, you can begin your training and such.

At the point at the respective ARTCC's instructional staff finds you are ready to control on the live network, they will give you a certification which allows you to connect as an S1 controller (Ground & Delivery). They'll give you much more information that I am now, with certain procedures you will have to follow.

 

At one point we all had newbie jitters... hence, this thread :wink:

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

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Soooo... After a while of flying on the network with just text, I decided to finally use voice. I was sooo nervous when I connected to Gatwick Delivery. It was like "Okay, I'll do that radio check when the next person is finished talking. Oh, he is finished. I'll do the next one." etc.

 

It was like this for like five minutes and I was extremely nervous. I finally did it. "Gatwick Delivery, goodday. KLM..... request radio check." And when I got a "KLM...., Gatwick Delivery, readability 5." back, all the nerves were suddenly gone. I don't know how, but I suddenly wasn't nervous anymore.

 

Ofcourse I still made mistakes. My number one mistake was forgetting to use my callsign or use a wrong callsign. Whoops

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ACCNL5 (Assistant Training Director) - Dutch VACC

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That's fantastic, Thimo! I love seeing stories like this.

 

When I'm controlling, if I see a comment in the flight plan like "new member", "first time on voice", etc., I usually try to slow down and be extra careful with that pilot. I imagine the same thing happens around the world. I would encourage anyone who's trying out something new to let the controllers know (either in the flight plan or via voice) if you'd like a bit of extra help.

 

The other piece of advice for those new to the network and/or voice is to try to find airports or airspace that aren't quite as busy. Sometimes if you find a controller who himself or herself is brand new, and you can learn together. After all, that's the point of flying online.

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Evan Reiter
Boston Virtual ARTCC/ZBW Community Manager

 

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