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New thread about realism vs. fun


Jeff Thomas
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Ok, in order to stop hijacking the VATUSA Convention pictures thread, I thought I would start a fresh one, because one of the last points is worthy of discussion in an open forum in my mind.

 

This network isnt just for the after work puts around type of individual who just want to fly with a real life person giving ATC instructions. This network is also for the ATC student, PPL student, IFR student, who is seeking the most realistic environment to run through scenarios.

 

Should the simulation be realistic? Absolutely.

 

Should it be draconian in its approach at the cost of FUN? Never.

 

I appreciate your drive for perfection, but it is simply never going to happen on this network because of people like me who 1) don't have the time nor energy to read the FAA regs to the letter, 2) just want to push tin as best we can, 3) could care less about the power trips of some of those who unfortunately get put in charge of "instruction".

 

If you want this to be a "school" for teaching real ATC procedures, then I think you are missing the point.

 

Good controlling in volume is way better than a couple "perfect" controllers. I think most pilots would prefer to have a good controller versus a perfect one, versus NO controller at all.

 

Are there times when you need great controllers...absolutely...but the truth is there isn't enough traffic to force every controller to be perfect. When we are lucky to get one controller to run an entire center and still only have 20 ops an hour...they need to be more of a jack of all trades versus a perfect controller. I would rather an ARTCC spent their time teaching center controllers how to move aircraft at all their airports versus them spending hours on end on how to taxi a plane to and from a gate as perfectly as the regs say, or months on end teaching them every nuance of an approach sector.

 

Your desire has to be tempered with the reality of the game.

 

This is, of course, my opinion. What say the m[Mod - Happy Thoughts]es?

 

Jeff

 

PS> this is a great discussion topic so please keep the insults and flames away. I think there are two pervasive ways of thinking about how real we should make it. I have my opinion, and I want to understand more about why some folks want to make this into an FAA like atmosphere.

Jeff Thomas

VP-IT

https://joinava.org

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i agree with ya jeff even while i like to keep my sim pretty realistic ive learned to be patient with newer people and adjust training to their needs and at their speeds i do however believe those instructing should know a really good deal about what they are doing but shouldnt lose sight of training each person differently because not everyone will understand this stuff the same way or take it as seriously

The thoughts and/or words or any general things that are expressed above are not a direct reflection of the views of the actual poster myself, Rey Lopez, and should be disregarded and left unread.

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It is a good topic Jeff, and I agree that I hope people can keep it civilized.

 

There's a difference between "realism" and "insanity".

 

When a student 1 puts in hundreds of hours working XXX_GND/DEL, and cannot find someone willing to teach him the skills needed to become S3, that's a problem.

 

When a facility goes so restriction happy that it can't provide CTR staffing on a regular basis because none of it's active people are "qualified", that's a problem.

 

At the same time, if a facility is letting new S1s work APP at their busiest tracon with no training or testing, that's a problem as well.

 

Bottom line is VATSIM is a hobby. It's not a job. People don't get paid. People don't put years into school or hours behind a stick to use VATSIM.

 

There's a level of skill that the network as an entity should be providing, and I believe in the vast majority of cases, we're at that level of skill. Those who say we're not are the "extremists" who want to exclude the casual user and make VATSIM a training laboratory for real world pilots and controllers.

 

Without the casual user, VATSIM would be a pretty empty place. Let's not run them off.

Paul Biderman

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Well

To tell you the truth, as a pilot flying around, I would prefer an Controller who had somewhat of an idea on knowing what he's doing, rather than a controller who has little to no idea on what he is doing and is issuing out random instructions that prolong the flight rather then get me down as soon as possible.

Yes, more staffing might be nice, but it doesn't do anything when they have no idea on what to do when they are flying. That is when you get pilots that start complaining about the service.

 

You can't have your cake and eat it too

UND ATC Major

ZAU MS

GO FIGHTING SIOUX

"Success isn't really a result of spontaneous combustions. You must set yourselfs on fire."

-Arnold H. Glasow

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Good message Jeff. Thanks for splitting it off the other thread. To be honest I looked at the VATUSA convention pictures thread once, but haven't bothered keeping up with it.

 

I'm not a real world pilot and I don't have any intentions on becoming a real world pilot. I've been flying sims since the mid 80's and love it. I'm still fascinated by watching airplanes take-off, land etc. and I've learned a lot over the past 20+ years through simming. I manage to fly in real life several times a year on business and enjoy the entire experience. While my simming experience spans more than 20 years...my VATSIM experience is very young (about 3-4 years). To this day I'm still amazed that outside of the cost for a PC, high speed internet access,Microsoft Flight Simulator....a person can logon to the VATSIM network and have the entire experience for FREE. Normally when I see or hear someone mention the word FREE I ususally think either what's the catch...or OK, but you get what you pay for.

 

I've learned a lot since joining the VATSIM network and flying online. Before signing up I didn't know how to file a flight plan (made most of my flights GPS direct before), I didn't know how to fly a SID/STAR and didn't know a lot of other things. However, with the help of other pilots I learned these things....and for the most part I'm still learning. However, I make it a practice to try to learn something new every day....it doesn't have to be related to simming...it could be about anything.

 

Anyway....sorry for the ramble. While I'm not the hardcore pilot type....I'm glad there's organization to some point on the VATSIM network. I think there must be a fine line between realism and fun. I believe for the most part (and certainly the part I see each and every time I log on) those in power at VATSIM have figured out the correct ratio between realism and fun. I have fun every time I fly online.

 

Thank you for that experience.

 

Jerry

CEO - Air Logistics

http://virtualairlogistics.org

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I'm going to let the spin monsters ride this one out for a little while before I reply again. . . with the same points of view . . . that have already been posted elsewhere. Expect a reply when this hits page 3 I'll be taking notes.

 

But real quickly, Paul. . . we also do not want to water it down so much that the "extremist", decide that it isnt the realism that they once were able to enjoy.

 

Fixed the reference to the wrong individual, sorry Jeff, I noticed you didn't call anyone an extremist, but rather it was Paul. 20 hours of no sleep is slowly starting to wear thin, hence another reason for me to reply to this later when I have had a couple hours of sleep.

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Well

To tell you the truth, as a pilot flying around, I would prefer an Controller who had somewhat of an idea on knowing what he's doing, rather than a controller who has little to no idea on what he is doing and is issuing out random instructions that prolong the flight rather then get me down as soon as possible.

Yes, more staffing might be nice, but it doesn't do anything when they have no idea on what to do when they are flying. That is when you get pilots that start complaining about the service.

 

You can't have your cake and eat it too

 

Marko, I think you missed Jeff's point. He stated "Good controlling in volume is way better than a couple "perfect" controllers. I think most pilots would prefer to have a good controller versus a perfect one, versus NO controller at all."

 

In my mind and I'm sure most others here, a good controller equates to someone who does indeed know what he is doing and would "get you down" efficiently and professionally.

 

A "Perfect" controller would do the same, but might actually use one or two correct phrases where the "Good" controller my have used some incorrect terminology, which to me gets a bit ridiculous as it is.

 

As long as both Pilot and Controller are on the same page all is well and a "Good" controller will be on the same page just as much as the "Perfect" controller.

Thank you,

Lance W.

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Hundreds of Real-World Airlines and Routes for you to fly at www.ndbair.com

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Ok

Let me try this again since there was a misunderstanding with my response.

I understand how everybody wants quantity over quality. But quantity is not always a good thing. Yes, there might be more controllers online providing services, but if they don't know how to provide services, then it defeats the whole purpose of having them online in the first case.

This is one of the reasons why VATSIM has disallowed STU1s to control Center. Yes, there might have been MORE controllers online, but it makes flying more of a pain when you are trying to get to your destionation and the controller is giving you unappropriate vectors or just does not understand the airspace or the general rules of Air Traffic Control.

While I'm not saying it take it to the FAA level where it takes years to certifiy, there should a process where you learn and get an understanding of why you do one aspect or another of Air Traffic Control.

An unwritten rule that I have taken on VATSIM is that pilots are looking for customer service. Being a staff member at an ARTCC, I get to see feedback from pilots all the time telling us that This person needs work, this person has no idea on what he's doing and should not be controlling that position.

On the other hand, I get feedback as well on controllers that have gone through the levels of training on that position, have put their time in on VATSIM and know what do to in alot of situations, and this feed back is usually "Highly competent, very friendly and helpful towards new VATSIM users" or "i fly with XXX and the crew often, and never cease to be amazed at the skill, professionalism, and patience."

From this, I take that pilots are looking for customer service, a controller that is knowledgeable and knows what he or she is doing.

I prefer QUALITY over quantity

UND ATC Major

ZAU MS

GO FIGHTING SIOUX

"Success isn't really a result of spontaneous combustions. You must set yourselfs on fire."

-Arnold H. Glasow

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From this, I take that pilots are looking for customer service, a controller that is knowledgeable and knows what he or she is doing.

I prefer QUALITY over quantity

 

What your feedback is telling you that people appreciate good controllers, and have issues with poor controllers. I too prefer a fine seared ahi tuna to greasy halibut in batter.

 

My understanding of the original question is more subtle; would people prefer no ATC at all over mediocre controllers?

 

Cheers!

 

Luke

... I spawn hundreds of children a day. They are daemons because they are easier to kill. The first four remain stubbornly alive despite my (and their) best efforts.

... Normal in my household makes you a member of a visible minority.

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Would it be fair to say that no controllers online is a failure to provide customer service? Or [Mod - Happy Thoughts]uming that some of these lesser trained controllers are online...that bad customer service is worse than none at all?

 

RJ

Richard Jenkins

richard(a)vatsim.net

"It's all fun and games until the cops show up."

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My understanding of Jeff's point is simple. Would you prefer good controlling in quantity over Perfect controlling in lesser amounts...

 

To me Good controlling is just want I want. I don't see where Marko is getting the question as poor controlling in volume? Either way, my preference is good, knowledgeable controllers who aren't limited by extremely strict training standards here.

 

Again, when I say good, I'm not saying poor. To me many good controllers == quality.

Thank you,

Lance W.

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Hundreds of Real-World Airlines and Routes for you to fly at www.ndbair.com

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I prefer QUALITY over quantity

 

I think several people say this. But what is interesting is when pilots who don't fly on Vatsim are asked why

they don't, the most common answer today is "lack of coverage", or "the controllers don't staff where I want to fly".

 

And we see this behavor online all the time, lots of pilots flying where there is no ATC at all, when other positions

are clearly staffed with little traffic. The decision of where to fly for many pilots often has more to do with where their

VA's hub is located, and where their VA schedules its routes than what controller positions are staffed at that time.

 

Myself I prefer 'competant' controllers. They don't need to be perfect, just as long as they don't vector me into

a mountain or waste too much of my time, I'm good with less than perfect phraseology or procedures. I'd prefer to see

every Center position in Vatusa staffed every night over having all controllers be as good as real controllers with 3/4ths of Vatusa not staffed.

 

Myself I rarely fly where there is no ATC, but I know not all pilots on the network are this way.

 

Regards.

Ernie Alston

Albuquerque ARTCC.

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In the next week or so you will see something that is going to help us put to rest a lot of questions around VATSIM and online flying in general. The data will help shape policy and direction of the network.

 

RJ

Richard Jenkins

richard(a)vatsim.net

"It's all fun and games until the cops show up."

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we also do not want to water it down so much that the "extremist", decide that it isnt the realism that they once were able to enjoy.

 

Only a vocal few are viewing the training standards of any region in VATSIM as being "watered down". I personally have not seen it.

 

There's a difference between providing quality training to controllers while still allowing them to work live traffic and imposing overly regimented and structured training programs for the sake of imposing overly regimented and structured training programs.

 

As I stated in my first post, when a controller has to spend countless hours (over 100 in the case of the controller I'm thinking of) working DEL & GND positions, solely because his facility won't allow him to learn the skills he needs to progress, I view that as a problem.

 

I have as many hours flying on this network as I do controlling, if not more. I've experienced every level of controller competency imaginable, from the newbie on APP who doesn't know how to talk to a plane, to the real world controllers who make me feel like I'm flying through 747 wake turbulance.

 

I've never in any post on any forum in any conversation said that VATSIM is only "for fun", or that the general training practices of the network in general are too strict.

 

Quality of ATC is as importnat to me as it is to anyone else. If it weren't, I shouldn't hold the positions I do.

 

But we can NOT sacrifice an acceptable level of quantity strictly to get the people who do plug in to achieve a level of quality, especially since many people will not be able to achieve that level of quality.

 

The vast majority of VATSIM controllers are amateurs. We've had no formal schooling, save for the training we receive on this network.

 

If the network as a whole tilts too far towards the "ultra-realism" side that some people advocate, we'll eventually find no controllers online.

 

And nobody in this thread has even addressed the quality of the pilots. Why is it that some people seem so focused on improving a perceived lack of quality in the service given by VATSIM controllers, but they seem to not bat an eye at the 12 year old kid who found VATSIM and filed GPS direct from LAX to JFK in his 747, streaking accross the country at 9,000 feet doing 600 knots.

 

Where's the screaming for better quality from the customers we the controllers serve every time we plug in?

 

VATSIM needs balance on both sides of the scope. Until we achieve that, this type of debate will continue to rage.

Paul Biderman

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As if the FS AI ATC is any alternative.

 

*turns my head and LAUGHS out loud, then turns around and gets serious again*

 

If you want realism, in any way shape or form, it's VATSIM or nothing.

 

Paul makes a VERY VERY VERY good point in his last post.

 

How about da flip side of the coin? I've dealt with pilots who are just as noob as the next man, and they're just as annoying as a noob ATC working APP for the first time (unsupervised without any training.)

Student 2

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Only a vocal few are viewing the training standards of any region in VATSIM as being "watered down". I personally have not seen it.

 

I think it's more than you realize (particularly pilots), but that's neither here nor there. I'm not going to use the term "watered down," as I'm not so sure any training program is watered down, but rather, there are training programs out there that are not teaching their students the skills they need to be successful at a given position.

 

I.e., when you have an approach student who doesn't know the first thing about approach procedures, there is a problem. That's not to say the training program is watered down, but rather deficient in teaching controllers the skills they need BEFORE upgrading them. As an example, I was flying once under an approach certified controller who did not know how to issue a visual approach clearance, or ILS approach clearance properly. I'm not talking about some minor phraseology issue either. They DID NOT KNOW HOW to issue those clearances. That to me is no good. How could that person be certified to work Approach when it's blatantly clear they don't understand the basics? How could the Training Dept. even allow that to happen?

 

What really needs to happen is a VATUSA-wide training syllabus that dictates the minimum information you need to know to work say Approach, or Tower, and when you go to check out on x position, your Instructor won't p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] you unless you demonstrate those skills. If the skillset is the same system-wide (VATUSA), we at least know that a controller coming from any ARTCC will have the same basic knowledge of each position. That's the general idea with the Training Academy, from what I can gather, but just at the beginning/basic level...at least for now.

 

As far as the fun vs. realism debate, there absolutely needs to be a balance. Instituting position restrictions just for the sake of having them is ridiculous. However, most (not all) position restrictions in existence now DO make sense, and are there for a reason. It's just a matter of finding the overly-restrictive ones and getting rid of them.

Bryan Wollenberg

ZLA!

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What really needs to happen is a VATUSA-wide training syllabus that dictates the minimum information you need to know to work say Approach, or Tower, and when you go to check out on x position, your Instructor won't p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] you unless you demonstrate those skills. If the skillset is the same system-wide (VATUSA), we at least know that a controller coming from any ARTCC will have the same basic knowledge of each position. That's the general idea with the Training Academy, from what I can gather, but just at the beginning/basic level...at least for now.

 

As far as the fun vs. realism debate, there absolutely needs to be a balance. Instituting position restrictions just for the sake of having them is ridiculous. However, most (not all) position restrictions in existence now DO make sense, and are there for a reason. It's just a matter of finding the overly-restrictive ones and getting rid of them.

 

Sir, I could not have said it better myself. I've advocated the very positions you've mentioned on the VATUSA ATM and Training forums, and yet nobody batted an eye. Good to hear I'm not the only one who thinks that way

Fred Clausen, vZAB ATM

ZAB real life

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Very well said Bryan ... I agree. There does need to be a minimum standard for each position. Somewhat akin to the PTS (Practical Test Standards) that FAA Examiners use when conducting checkrides. I hope the Training Academy brings us something of that nature ... looking forward to it.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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I think there's 2 very Extreme ARTCC's. One on the West Coast, one on the East Coast. The west coast one, is probably better off now that the Dictator is no longer in power, hopefully they will push ahead, in a more team oriented way, I don't know.

 

As for the East Coast. There's no Dictatorship, however their Insane levels to realism, makes it very hard some someone to move up the ranks. A Student is subjected to numerous tests before they can even log onto DEL, and Even then, they have to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] an OTS to do so. Fun Factor? None there. People want to come online to enjoy the controlling experience, not work a second Job, without pay. If I want to work a Job, I'll go to work. If I want to Enjoy myself, I'll do it in an ARTCC that supports that. It's no wonder, that this East coast ARTCC is empty, during peak times, they don't have the staff, to support the positions. They have Free reign. It doesn't make sense, that 2 ARTCCs right next to each other, have different extremes. Is part of it, EGO? I think so. But, I guess they are allowed, at least right now.

 

There NEEDS to be a Balance, between Professionalism and Enjoyment. I've seen ARTCCs, that let anyone in, Jump on tower and away they go. I've seen Students that don't know what they are doing in a Tower Position, that can't even give a clearance. But, on the other hand, I don't need someone that should be working APP, that isn't, because he's only DEL Certified, either.

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Let's see... Fred and Bryan... I thought we already had a basic set of tests administered from the VATUSA Certification Center?? What about those?

 

Paul, excellent point about the quality of pilots. Unless a pilot does something in total violation of the rules and you have to whallop a super, there are absolutely NO ramifications or accountability for the pilot. Example: the other day, a pilot takes off sqking standby and never called for clearance. After about 13 private messages he finally gets the point.... no clue... Where's my rights as a controller?

It's hard enough to control some of these airspaces without these types of incidents. I have seen good controllers get whipped because of these types of things. They throw of the "groove" and I have seen it spiral to the ground on so many occasions it really is a problem. I've seen controllers just loose it totally because of one guy being an idiot.

 

I help with the PRC a little. How many times have we seen people get on these forums and ask the "I'm new and don't have a clue" question? What is the solution to get these folks the experience they need so they understand that they just simply can't get in their 747 and start buzzing around with no plan or clue as to fly..??? Should there be a basic pilot's test?

 

Josh, you definitely have a point about dropping the bar too often watering down the quality. I personally don't like to fly in ZLA because you guys seem too hyped up....plus it's a pretty hard place to fly in to begin with (mountains, step down arrivals, lots of transitions, and busy, busy, busy) ...and as we've already established, I'm lazy However, you guys have some of the best controllers there are...bar none...

 

However, now you face a double edge sword. Now you have good controllers and because of that experienced pilots like to fly in your airspace which fills up ServInfo. This attracts more pilots (both new and old). Again, a very good thing. Now, your "gold" controllers, you know the ones on every night for a couple hours, burn out and leave the network for awhile.... Now you still have the traffic, but the quality drops automatically because you are now faced with having to put "less experienced" controllers in place to handle the volume to keep your stream full.

 

Anyway, sorry for rambling. I don't know the answers that's for sure. I just know that flying in Chicago, or NY, or Atlanta, or LA, or SFO without a controller is a very harrowing experience, and I would rather have a "good" controller attempting to keep the zoo in line versus going at it on UNICOM....

 

Jeff

Jeff Thomas

VP-IT

https://joinava.org

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People want to come online to enjoy the controlling experience, not work a second Job, without pay.

 

Agreed,

If we make things too difficult for beginners, they are not going to stick around, then we are only

left with the most motivated and dedicated students.

 

Which may on the surface seem good, except we simply do not have enough of those type of students to

sustain us. If we did we wouldn't have all these gaps in coverage we have with our membership levels

as high as they are. We are simply losing new students as fast as we get them.

 

When you have the luxury of having a lot more applicants than jobs you can afford to raise the standard

as high as you want. We do not have this luxury in most of Vatusa.

 

So yes we should have good controllers, but we also should retain more of them. Having a good balance

between realism and fun is the way to do it.

 

Regards.

Ernie Alston

Albuquerque ARTCC.

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