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To the newbie - First Time Jitters


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I did my 2nd airline flight last night on VATSIM, flying into Halifax International for Moncton Monday.

I'm naturally a bundle or nerves, so jumping onto VATSIM has been slow going for me, but last night was a great experience. The guys staffing Montreal Center, and all the way to touchdown in Halifax were great.

A few tips for anyone doing their first few trips on VATSIM:

* Grab a pin and paper to write information down. It's a life saver for readbacks.

* Clearance is probably the most intimidating aspect for beginners, in my experience. Writing it all down, and having my SIDs pulled up for the airport helped a ton. I also developed some shorthand to get it down quicker and don't be afraid to ask for a repeat.

* Radio calls generally flow <who you're contacting> <who you are> <your location (altitude if in the air first)> and your call.

* Be comfortable with what you're flying. I flew the 727, which can be complicated, but I was way better with it than the 737-800.

* Prepare your next Com or Nav switch before hand when you can. So if you enter Montreal Centers Airspace, you can prepare the next switch for Boston Center before you get there. If you're on a VOR and you're next Nav will be the ILS, go ahead and set it as your switch.

* Use Com2 to monitor Unicom, Approach ATIS, or the next handoff. This is a sneaky good trick I learned. You don't want to switch off Center to monitor ATIS, and when approaching a handoff, it can be useful to listen to the upcoming Center as well. If it gets too much you can turn of Com2s audio, or switch it over to an empty frequency.

 

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I was just reading the other thread, "New to this Simulation and Forums".   Andras Kiss wrote:   Oh man... me too. When I found VATSIM, I was completely stoked about trying it out. It sounded e

Totally. You can even take it a step further and anticipate the clearance you will get - it always comes in the same form ("{your callsign}, you are cleared to {destination} via the {SID} departure, [

Just had my first successful VATSIM flight tonight from KLAX to KSFO in a SF-50. Took me 10 minutes to get the courage to call up Clearance, but got easier with each radio call. Navigraph saved my bac

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16 minutes ago, Mathew Thieneman said:

* Clearance is probably the most intimidating aspect for beginners, in my experience. Writing it all down, and having my SIDs pulled up for the airport helped a ton. I also developed some shorthand to get it down quicker and don't be afraid to ask for a repeat.

Totally. You can even take it a step further and anticipate the clearance you will get - it always comes in the same form ("{your callsign}, you are cleared to {destination} via the {SID} departure, [runway {number}], climb initially {altitude or flight level}, [expect {altitude} after 10 minutes}], [additional instructions], squawk {squawk code}"; some of these are optional and country-specific though), and you can usually guess almost all of it.

So go ahead, gather the information you need to do your guesswork, and write down your expected clearance in shorthand: "EDDF ARNEM1V 36L FL60 1000" (leaving a blank for the squawk code). You know that 36L is the active takeoff runway, because ATIS said so; you know you will get an ARNEM SID, because that's what you filed; and because there's only one ARNEM SID from 36L, ARNEM1V, you can guess that that's the one you'll get; you know it'll probably be FL60 initially, because that's what the charts tell you to expect; you know your filed destination; and because you're flying a mode-S capable aircraft, and the entire flight is through mode-S-capable airspace (we'll be dealing with Amsterdam Radar, Rhein Radar and Langen Radar), you can expect to squawk 1000. (If you can't guess the squawk, just leave a blank).

In other words, you already have the entire clearance written down. And NOW you go and request the actual clearance; as the controller reads it out, you just tick each item, and if you guessed right, you can rattle off the readback immediately. If you didn't guess right, correct the parts that are different, but it's rarely the whole thing.

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1 hour ago, Mathew Thieneman said:

A few tips for anyone doing their first few trips on VATSIM:

* Grab a pin and paper to write information down. It's a life saver for readbacks.

 

 

Even more effective...and quicker is to grab a pen and paper😉

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Roger Curtiss

VATGOV12

VP-Virtual Airlines & Special Ops

r.curtiss(at)vatsim.net

 

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Hoo boy! First timer story time.

I wanted to do a super simple guided flight to get started to get a feel for things, so I tried following the First Flight on PilotEdge tutorial. Unfortunately there was no one manning the frequencies in that article, so I didn't get any actual practice in. I also wasn't able to test my mic as suggested in the article (tuning COM1 and COM2 to the same frequency and transmitting), not sure if that's a limitation of VATSIM or vPilot.

After finishing that flight I looked for active towers and saw someone manning my home airport: KSNA! So I jumped in a C172 and spawned at parking with intentions to do touch and goes.
I grab the latest ATIS info and start taxing to the active runway.

The only live operation tonight was Approach and I wasn't sure if they handled takeoff/landing. Anyways, I go on comms and ask for takeoff on 20L for touch and goes with foxtrot. The controller acknowledges me and clears me for takeoff, while gently reminding me to request taxi clearance next time. Oops! I didn't realize they were in charge of taxing too! Noted.
I assume this is the top-down approach that VATSIM uses?
Is it also expected that the huge CTR controllers would handle everything down to taxing planes on the ground? 😮

MSFS2020 is my first flight sim so I have been practicing touch and goes by myself. But boy was it much different doing it "LIVE"! I'm not sure if I made all the necessary calls for touch and goes, but everything seemed to work out fine. I'd love to have a simple guide with the basic pattern of the calls to make similar to the First Flight guide I linked above.
Otherwise, It was very cool to see and hear the other traffic in the area.

Any newbie reading/watching material would be greatly appreciated! 😄

EDIT: This article was helpful in understanding the roles each level plays.

EDIT 2: Found this great guide on how to talk to ATC at all levels with examples!

Edited by Faiz-ur Rahman
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Started doing Vatsim 4 days ago, first 3 days I was only doing circuits patterns with touch and go, and now I just did a first Local VFR flight within the airspace.

Its scary, and so far taxing is the most intimidating part, but I try to prepare as much as possible before asking clearance by trying to predict the taxi path ATC will give me.

I think I'll keep doing this a bit longer and then step up for a full VFR flight from A to B.

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23 minutes ago, Pedro Henrique Ferreira Martins said:

Its scary, and so far taxing is the most intimidating part, but I try to prepare as much as possible before asking clearance by trying to predict the taxi path ATC will give me.

My recommendation is to take the airport diagram and draw the path that ATC gives you before moving. 

I will admit that I find U.S. charts easier to follow that some of the European ones but they all follow the same guidelines more or less. 

This is the taxi diagram for Orlando. If you are parked on Airside 4 and the controller tells you, "Runway 36R taxi via H4, G, E, B, B10. Then what I suggest is to convert that diagram into this before moving. If you don't understand something, clarify. If you get lost along the way, stop and look at the signs and locate yourself on the map. But overall, remember that this is a learning environment and we're all here to have fun. If you make a mistake, take it as a learning opportunity and continue. 

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Ernesto Martinez

Membership Manager - Europe/ME/Africa
VATSIM Supervisor
        
 
 
  [email protected]
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Writing technical docs for such as airport landing systems, I try to always be painfully aware of that I call a "trip" ... something that seems perfectly clear but has a snag hidden away somewhere.

I wanted to ask a specific question about clarification (see below) but found myself tripped up by the Orlando taxi diagram.
"Runway 36R taxi via H4, G, E, B, B10" ... rgr wilco.

What tripped me? the direction seemed to clearly instruct "H4 and then G" ... which would have my head spinning since after H4 one is already on G! ("H4 onto G"?)
No doubt just a n00b mistake but had me blinking!

My question ... speaking generally ... if I'm part way through that taxi and find myself (say) at X with no clear idea of how to get to Z, is there brevity for me to use calling that in for clarification?

 

p.s. apologies for the antique .sig!

Edited by bernard tremblay

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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On 9/1/2020 at 9:58 AM, Tobias Dammers said:

Totally. You can even take it a step further and anticipate the clearance you will get - it always comes in the same form ("{your callsign}, you are cleared to {destination} via the {SID} departure, [runway {number}], climb initially {altitude or flight level}, [expect {altitude} after 10 minutes}], [additional instructions], squawk {squawk code}"; some of these are optional and country-specific though), and you can usually guess almost all of it.

So go ahead, gather the information you need to do your guesswork, and write down your expected clearance in shorthand: "EDDF ARNEM1V 36L FL60 1000" (leaving a blank for the squawk code). You know that 36L is the active takeoff runway, because ATIS said so; you know you will get an ARNEM SID, because that's what you filed; and because there's only one ARNEM SID from 36L, ARNEM1V, you can guess that that's the one you'll get; you know it'll probably be FL60 initially, because that's what the charts tell you to expect; you know your filed destination; and because you're flying a mode-S capable aircraft, and the entire flight is through mode-S-capable airspace (we'll be dealing with Amsterdam Radar, Rhein Radar and Langen Radar), you can expect to squawk 1000. (If you can't guess the squawk, just leave a blank).

In other words, you already have the entire clearance written down. And NOW you go and request the actual clearance; as the controller reads it out, you just tick each item, and if you guessed right, you can rattle off the readback immediately. If you didn't guess right, correct the parts that are different, but it's rarely the whole thing.

Used this tonight and it made it even easier. Thank you!

Only issue I had tonight was the plane bugged out of Detroit and I had to disconnect because I didn't have any rudder control, and the autopilot could control it, but it wasn't working correctly either.

Mike Scott was controlling Cleveland Center, and was doing just an absolutely fantastic job. He was super calm and helpful.

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I completed my 3rd VATSIM flight today. For my very first I tried to do a few touch and go patterns at Bristol (UK). I was so nervous it took me 10 minutes to actually start talking. But then there was no way back. So I completed my circuits, nearly crashing into the ground on the downwind, saying mit callsign incorrectly 5 out of 10 times, but I made it.

I honestly thought, that I would never use VATSIM again, ever. But...I was hooked. So I decided to do a VFR flight from Edinburg to Manchester. And I did better. Still a lot of insecurity but at the end it everyone was very supportive and I found it way easier to fly longer distances, because you have more time to prepare for what is coming next.

Today I flew from Newcastle to Edinburgh and back. Newcastle tower recognized, that I was a bit clueless and was very patient and friendly. 

There are still situations where I do not know if I have provided too much or too little information or where I have to ask the controller "Say again please", but what I experienced so far gave me enough confidence, to trust in the community, that as long as I do not intentionally try to ruin someones day, everything will work out in the end. You don't have to always use the 100% correct standard phrase, sometimes plain english will do 😁

 

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Google cap 413 and go to chapter 11. Then read chapter 11. CAP413 is the UK CAA radiotelephony manual and will show yu exactly what you are supposed to say.

 

just to let you know The CAA decided on using a particular form of communication after the Tenerife air disaster. At that time there was no standardisation f radio communication whch lad to confusion by the pilots as to what they had been told to do by the ATC.

Wycliffe Barrett: C3 Controller

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"if god meant for us to fly, he would have given us tickets" Mel Brooks

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18 hours ago, Wycliffe Barrett said:

Chapter 11. CAP413 is the UK CAA radiotelephony manual and will show yu exactly what you are supposed to say.

Someone did a very nice job of transforming Chapter 11 inth a graphic style, a PDF presented as though coil-bound:
http://bentrem.net/75thr/FSEconomy/ICAODocs/CAP413-Supplement-PhraseologyGuide-ATPL.pdf
 For completeness: http://bentrem.net/75thr/FSEconomy/ICAODocs/CAP413-v22.pdf

p.s. IIRC the confound at Tenerife ("Ready for takeoff" VS "Cleared for takeoff") was amplified by a burst of static (3 seconds is a long time in real life) that evidently obliterated a key word from ATC. Point being, in my mind, no takeoff w/o having received explicit CLEARED. Brevity is the soul of clarity!

Addendum: I just uploaded this:
* ICAO "Annex 10 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation"; Communication Procedures including those with PANS status
http://bentrem.net/75thr/FSEconomy/ICAODocs/ICAO-Annex-10-Vol-2.pdf

Edited by bernard tremblay
added 3rd PDF

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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On 9/6/2020 at 3:27 AM, Ernesto Martinez said:

My recommendation is to take the airport diagram and draw the path that ATC gives you before moving. 

I will admit that I find U.S. charts easier to follow that some of the European ones but they all follow the same guidelines more or less. 

This is the taxi diagram for Orlando. If you are parked on Airside 4 and the controller tells you, "Runway 36R taxi via H4, G, E, B, B10. Then what I suggest is to convert that diagram into this before moving. If you don't understand something, clarify. If you get lost along the way, stop and look at the signs and locate yourself on the map. But overall, remember that this is a learning environment and we're all here to have fun. If you make a mistake, take it as a learning opportunity and continue. 

The problem is finding a decent airport diagram.  I usually have to Google it and the quality of the airport diagrams always vary and sometimes, my airport diagram isn't consistent with the ATC controller's diagram.  For example, I saw that OPKC airport didn't have much traffic so I went there to try it out as my first flight.  The airport diagram that I downloaded didn't show a taxiway J.  When I asked the controller to request a taxi to the runway, the controller told me J, E, A as the taxiways.  However, when I checked the airport diagram that I downloaded, there was no taxiway J. So I had not idea how to taxi (and hold short) of the runway because taxiway "J" was not in the airport diagram that I downloaded.

I wish there was a really good site where we could download good airport diagrams and it's consistent with the airport diagrams the ATC controllers use.

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1 hour ago, Richard Lee said:

The problem is finding a decent airport diagram.  I usually have to Google it and the quality of the airport diagrams always vary and sometimes, my airport diagram isn't consistent with the ATC controller's diagram.  For example, I saw that OPKC airport didn't have much traffic so I went there to try it out as my first flight.  The airport diagram that I downloaded didn't show a taxiway J.  When I asked the controller to request a taxi to the runway, the controller told me J, E, A as the taxiways.  However, when I checked the airport diagram that I downloaded, there was no taxiway J. So I had not idea how to taxi (and hold short) of the runway because taxiway "J" was not in the airport diagram that I downloaded.

I wish there was a really good site where we could download good airport diagrams and it's consistent with the airport diagrams the ATC controllers use.

This depends on what part of the world you fly in. Most people have subscriptions to navigraph but there are other good free sources as well such as https://chartfox.org (you only need a VATSIM account). 

 

What I like about Chart Fox is that if they don’t have the charts available they will link you to the source website where you can download the most updated charts. You will find that most airports in Europe and in the US are in there though. 

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Ernesto Martinez

Membership Manager - Europe/ME/Africa
VATSIM Supervisor
        
 
 
  [email protected]
  membership.vatsim.net
 
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1 hour ago, Ernesto Martinez said:

This depends on what part of the world you fly in. Most people have subscriptions to navigraph but there are other good free sources as well such as https://chartfox.org (you only need a VATSIM account). 

 

What I like about Chart Fox is that if they don’t have the charts available they will link you to the source website where you can download the most updated charts. You will find that most airports in Europe and in the US are in there though. 

Thanks.  I'll check out chartfox.org!

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16 hours ago, Richard Lee said:

The problem is finding a decent airport diagram.  I usually have to Google it and the quality of the airport diagrams always vary and sometimes, my airport diagram isn't consistent with the ATC controller's diagram.  For example, I saw that OPKC airport didn't have much traffic so I went there to try it out as my first flight.  The airport diagram that I downloaded didn't show a taxiway J.  When I asked the controller to request a taxi to the runway, the controller told me J, E, A as the taxiways.  However, when I checked the airport diagram that I downloaded, there was no taxiway J. So I had not idea how to taxi (and hold short) of the runway because taxiway "J" was not in the airport diagram that I downloaded.

I wish there was a really good site where we could download good airport diagrams and it's consistent with the airport diagrams the ATC controllers use.

There are a few good sources, depending on the country:

  • My first stop is the website of the relevant VACC. Most publish the charts they want you to use there; some even go through the trouble of adapting the official charts for flightsim use, e.g., they may add frequencies found in some sims that are no longer used IRL, or remarks about flightsim-specific procedures.
  • Failing that, find the official AIP website for the country. Many countries publish them for free; the UI is often atrocious, but you'll get what you want.
  • For the US at least, Skyvector has SVG approach plates for many airports - just hover over the airport name in the Flight Plan window, and you should see a list of charts.
  • For the airport diagrams, especially taxiways, OpenStreetMap can also provide useful information: for many airports, especially large ones, taxiways and runways are marked, and sometimes it'll even show gate numbers.
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9 hours ago, Tobias Dammers said:

There are a few good sources, depending on the country:

  • My first stop is the website of the relevant VACC. Most publish the charts they want you to use there; some even go through the trouble of adapting the official charts for flightsim use, e.g., they may add frequencies found in some sims that are no longer used IRL, or remarks about flightsim-specific procedures.
  • Failing that, find the official AIP website for the country. Many countries publish them for free; the UI is often atrocious, but you'll get what you want.
  • For the US at least, Skyvector has SVG approach plates for many airports - just hover over the airport name in the Flight Plan window, and you should see a list of charts.
  • For the airport diagrams, especially taxiways, OpenStreetMap can also provide useful information: for many airports, especially large ones, taxiways and runways are marked, and sometimes it'll even show gate numbers.

Thanks!  I'll check out some of your suggestions, especially if OpenStreetMap has some of the taxiway diagrams.

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Survived my first IFR flight today in a Beechcraft Bonanza, EGPH to EGNT. I knew the airports from previous VFR flights and I knew that EGNT Approach is super friendly to beginners like me. However, my flight plan was incorrect (EGPH-SAB-NPT-EGNT) and EGPH ground provided me with an alternate (EGPH-TLA-NATEB-EGNT). I was not sure if I could fly the SID correctly, but ATC encouraged me to fly it. I really wanted to give up, but I took 10 minutes to prepare and then requested to taxi. And although I was super nervous once more, in the end it all worked out. Just nearly crashed because of fiddeling with the autopilot right after departure. Never gonna do that again. 

 

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 Just had my first successful VATSIM flight tonight from KLAX to KSFO in a SF-50. Took me 10 minutes to get the courage to call up Clearance, but got easier with each radio call. Navigraph saved my bacon when Approach switched my landing runway as I was intercepting the localizer, I was able to find the chart quick for the new runway and made it down in one piece. Shout out to West Coast ATC. 

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8 hours ago, Brandon Emsee said:

I was able to find the chart quick for the new runway

Congratulations and welcome to VATSIM!
You can always ask for "delay vectors to prepare new approach" if you need more time to get it setup - don't forget that you are the PIC (pilot in command), you are responsible for the safe conduct of the flight, ATC is here to support you.

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9 hours ago, Brandon Emsee said:

 Just had my first successful VATSIM flight tonight from KLAX to KSFO in a SF-50. Took me 10 minutes to get the courage to call up Clearance, but got easier with each radio call. Navigraph saved my bacon when Approach switched my landing runway as I was intercepting the localizer, I was able to find the chart quick for the new runway and made it down in one piece. Shout out to West Coast ATC. 

That's a bit of a bold move, normally approach shouldn't change your landing runway after clearing you for the ILS. I'd probably reject and risk being asked to go around,  unless it was just a side-step to a parallel runway on the same approach and I was confident I'd make it comfortably.

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You still need to brief this approach: ILS frequency, localizer course, glidepath angle, final approach point, minimum, missed approach procedure, expected taxiways after landing. It's a quick thing if you have two experienced pilots in a cockpit who are based at this airport. Otherwise it will take a few more seconds to quickly review these items.

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