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A Strong Case for a Mandatory P1 for Pilots


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Man I agree with this concept.There should be a P1 rating mandatory for all pilots.But before that,let's look at the state of the training-In any ATO,the P1 does not really TEACH you anything,the training is based on preexisting knowledge of the person.There is no way a newbie would really understand what's going on in any session with a mentor conducting P1 for any candidate. P1 training does not begin from scratch and this makes it extremely tough for any beginner.

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Man I agree with this concept.There should be a P1 rating mandatory for all pilots.But before that,let's look at the state of the training-In any ATO,the P1 does not really TEACH you anything,the training is based on preexisting knowledge of the person.There is no way a newbie would really understand what's going on in any session with a mentor conducting P1 for any candidate. P1 training does not begin from scratch and this makes it extremely tough for any beginner.

 

I'm not sure I understand what you mean. The P1 training doesn't include mentors at all - it's the most basic level of training. It's intended to teach someone with no knowledge of ATC procedure or good online practice the most basic and important information that they need to know to fly online. Perhaps you're mistaking the P1 with the P2 or anything else?

 

By the way, it's been discussed earlier in the thread that a 'mandatory P1' isn't really what we're going for -all we want is a mere short multiple choice (or even yes/no) question quiz that pilots take about basic online etiquette (e.g. whether or not to spawn on a taxiway/runway, what frequency UNICOM is, top-down priority of ATC stations, etc.) before being permitted to log onto the network. A link to the quiz and relevant information ( VATSIM PRC) would be included in the welcome email. The quiz would have infinite retakes and no time limit as well as no time between retakes. We don't want to reduce the inclusivity of VATSIM, we merely want to help teach the newer pilots what to do.

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  • 1 month later...
What about dedicating one day every week, possibly on a smaller area/airport, as "beginner friendly", where pilots and/or controllers are allowed to make more mistakes than what would be expected at other airports, at other times? (Or staffing two airports to enable simple A->B flight plans for beginners)

It could also lower the barrier to entry for beginners. Some people who are genuinely interested in learning how to fly properly on VATSIM may be intimidated by the prospect of getting yelled at for doing things wrong, or ruining the fun for others.

 

I 100% agree with this. I joined over a week ago. I have followed the rules and remained parked in the general aviation area and "observed" for hours. Part of the joy of having an online community like this is so we can enjoy learning, and flying. I love the realism, that's an enormous part of the draw for me personally. However; I do find that I'm afraid to take to flight for fear of being ridiculed for saying the wrong thing (thanks to the start of this thread for making that point for me).

 

I've flown 3 ATC flights so far. I wait until the radio chatter is practically non-existent, and then I request a short VFR flight between 2 airports about 50 miles from one another. I don't always understand the directions given to me in the air, and yes I ask for an instruction to be repeated on occasion. But, one of the most intimidating parts of this is how difficult it is to understand the mumbling and fast talk that happens over ATC, and other pilots. Heck, I'm even nervous about doing flights from uncontrolled towers for the same fear. What if I just want to fly from an uncontrolled tower right back to the same airport that I left? I feel compelled to talk to ATC even in those scenarios despite not knowing if it is really necessary. What if I just want to fly in a standard pattern and do touch and go's?

 

Having a specific time and place to fly under these circomestances, where I can speak a little less formally and at the same time learn to become a better pilot...that seems to me to be a fantastic idea, which should alleviate all these concerns. IMHO.

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As a follow up to my previous post. I am 100% in favor of learning. I welcome it. I could just fly around offline all day and night if I didn't want to learn to use ATC in an online community. I'm sure you're right that there are many children who want to sign up and do inverted fly-bys just to annoy. I would hope that most newbies, like me, have no desire nor intention of such nonsense.

 

Something I saw the other day (was either a YouTube video or forum) was a great idea. It was to fly offline, and treat it as if it were a real ATC flight. I have tried it, and it's helping. I simply ask for clearance, act as if I have been given instructions, follow the instructions, taxi, ask to depart, listen for clearance, on and on and on. It only helps with those instructions I already understand, but feel overly anxious to perform. But, it definitely will help with the confidence that'll be necessary when flying in VATSIM under many other scenarios as well.

 

Thanks for your patience, and please know that I fully intend to become a well educated flight simmer.

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I know this is off-topic for the conversation, but:

 

> "What if I just want to fly in a standard pattern and do touch and go's?"

 

Look at your airport on a VFR sectional ([Mod - Happy Thoughts]uming it's in the US). If it's magenta, it's not towered; have at it, but monitor 122.8 for any traffic in & around the same airport.

 

If it's blue, it's towered. Call up the Tower controller (or APP/DEP or CTR as appropriate via top-down coverage rules) & say:

 

"{facility name}, {callsign}, at {location}, request taxi to the active for VFR closed traffic," then follow the instructions you're given.

Cheers,

-R.

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Welcome to VATSIM, Chris.

 

The OP suggested a P1 is all one needs and should be made mandatory; I notice you haven't gotten one yet. I can recommend Rob's organization, VATSTAR as a great place to get that rating and others as well that will put you on track to ne very good at talking to ATC. VATSTAR has both online learning and humans if you need one. you can also get the P1 at the Pilot Training Academy fully automated, and there is a full Pilot Resource Center with numerous articles that are helpful to first time pilots on VATSIM.

Kyle Ramsey

 

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Welcome to VATSIM, Chris.

 

The OP suggested a P1 is all one needs and should be made mandatory; I notice you haven't gotten one yet. I can recommend Rob's organization, VATSTAR as a great place to get that rating and others as well that will put you on track to ne very good at talking to ATC. VATSTAR has both online learning and humans if you need one. you can also get the P1 at the Pilot Training Academy fully automated, and there is a full Pilot Resource Center with numerous articles that are helpful to first time pilots on VATSIM.

 

Kyle, I actually joined VATSAR last night after my post. I started working through the P1 lessons. Luckily, it is not difficult to follow at all since I've spent a good deal of time listening to the ATC, listening to real ATC on websites like LiveATC.net and so forth, and of course reading through all of the pilot resource center on vatsim.net. Thanks for the advice. Chris.

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  • 2 weeks later...

and back to this topic...

 

I finished P1 and P2 this week through VATSTAR. I would actually follow up with the original post by saying a P2 would probably be worthwhile not just on VATSIM but in ANY online flight sim community. I didn't realize that P2 was about the basic mechanics of flying, what causes lift, what barometric pressure means, and so on. Luckily, these weren't subjects in which I needed to be taught.

 

However; if one doesn't even understand what makes your aircraft "go", then how does one intend to have success with ATC while also learning how to keep a heading and altitude?

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have read this post with interest having returned recently from the Connexion 2017 conference and had a number of conversations about this very topic.

 

I have no silver bullets. But I have two observations (coming from my RL experience as a pilot and my virtual flying and controlling experience over the past 4 years):

 

1. New pilots (particularly those with little familiarity with real-world flying technique and/or English-as-second-language issues) experience meaningful "mic fright".

 

2. Controllers often want to sound like real-world NY Approach controllers (or characters from Pushing Tin).

 

I don't blame anyone for these two very human facets of our interactions on VATSIM. But I think we need to be mindful of them and try always to do better from the controller side whenever we sign on to a position.

 

In my experience, controllers can do a great deal to retain pilots and encourage them to self-train (or seek out the ratings program) by moderating where appropriate our own approach and catering to the needs of new pilots. And, as Kyle has said, if a troublesome pilot is plainly in need of "sorting out", .wallop is always there ([Mod - Happy Thoughts]uming adequate Supervisor availability). I'm not talking about being anything less than professional. But often the WAY we ask "can you accept a SID" has a meaningful impact on the pilot.

 

I appreciate that there is a breaking point for all controllers. Yet I feel like we all need to lead by example whenever we can, preach patience, demonstrate empathy and cultivate those pilots who show even a glimmer of hope that can move into the ranks of those who we want----we NEED----to fly so that we can enjoy the hobby we all love. It is not a perfect solution by any stretch, but reinvigorating our own effort to create the right supportive learning environment for new pilots (and in how we train new controllers) can't possibly hurt.

 

And none of this requires a new codec or translation into Cantonese!

 

Blue skies,

 

Frank Miller

S-3 / ZSE

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I learned in the VATSIM Pilot Academy that VATSIM Founders will not make available pilot ratings a mandatory thing. To keep it optional. Each pilot and ATC are responsible for following the Code of Conduct, mindful to the regulations of what may come of them if disciplinary repercussions may warrant. I wouldn't take them for granted. They look to be designed to keep VATSIM a peaceful and fun learning environment. P1 is really worth the time. I agree with the founders of VATSIM.

 

We must never argue with those who aren't following rules. Sign on to the nearest ATC and let them know about it, of course if no supervisor is online. If supervisor(s) are online just .wallop (msg here)

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Just been reading about the idea that every user have a P1.

 

There seems to be no mention of real world pilots of which I am one and am fully IFR rated. Surely It would not be a requirement for persons such as me to have to sit this mandatory P1 qualification.

 

Not sure how this can be solved as the exams I sat in my opinion more than satisfy the requirement.

 

Kind regards

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The P1 is fully automated, go take it and let me know if you didn't learn something you didn't know. Pilots are used to being evaluated, this is just another one of those, and if you know your stuff it isn't difficult. The P1 is far more about how to be successful on VATSIM than technical flying stuff anyway and I have had multi-year members tell me they learned something they didn't know when they took it.

 

There were plenty of rw pilots who developed the ratings, and plenty of non rated dedicated folks too.

Kyle Ramsey

 

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There seems to be no mention of real world pilots of which I am one and am fully IFR rated. Surely It would not be a requirement for persons such as me to have to sit this mandatory P1 qualification.

 

Not sure how this can be solved as the exams I sat in my opinion more than satisfy the requirement.

Many of the P1 questions are VATSIM-specific (e.g. top-down control, use of unicom, .wallop, connecting on runways etc.), so if it was mandatory (which it isn't and isn't planned to be made), you'd have to take it and you'd be no different from others. It's not an exam, though (except in the UK where you have to do a practical flight). It's a multiple choice 20 question test and I've suggested before to call it a test or quiz because the word 'exam' evokes wrong [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ociations for people. The aviation questions are so easy that I don't know what a real world pilot could be worried about.

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There seems to be no mention of real world pilots of which I am one and am fully IFR rated. Surely It would not be a requirement for persons such as me to have to sit this mandatory P1 qualification.
Many of the P1 questions are VATSIM-specific (e.g. top-down control, use of unicom, .wallop, connecting on runways etc.)

Agree 100%. VATSTAR's P1 also covers things like what to do when your weather doesn't match what the controller is seeing? What to do when your scenery doesn't match what the controller is seeing?

 

David, do the exams that you sat for in the real world address either of those things?

Cheers,

-R.

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