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A Strong Case for a Mandatory P1 for Pilots


Tom David
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Ernesto, are you stating that there is absolutely no difference (to allow a member to register) between an "I agree to the terms and conditions" box vs 5 multiple choice questions that probe sections of the Code of Conduct?

 

I think not.

 

The first option is a blind click that we all make, a few times a day. The latter is a small brain exercise that will trigger the user to go back and double check a few things (because they have to) to submit their application.

 

I agree with the point that if controllers should be trained, pilots should have some level of training too, even if it's a simple 5 question quiz on registering OR the full P1 rating.

 

Also, people can't keep blocking any new ideas with "they won't change, your speaking to people with fingers in their ears."

 

The members of the board have changed recently and I personally know 2 of the new board members. I believe that they would not brush such as issue aside without some sort of investigation.

Zach Biesse-Fitton
VATSIM Developer and Supervisor | VATPAC Division Director

vatSys Development Team

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Users are already required to select whether or not they have read the info. If the thinking is that having a few more boxes to further state the same thing, is going to change things, we're fooling ourselves

If we're going down that road, we might as just suspend people as soon as the violate a single rule.

Now that won't achieve anything good, and I'm not suggesting that we do that at all. But as it's been stated a handful of a times, a 5-10 question quiz to make sure they've actually read the COC is all we need.

 

And just a random thought... perhaps we should make the COC available in other languages (and also the quiz that is being proposed)? It just occurred to me now that for members who speak little to no English, the COC may be very hard to understand. Google translate doesn't handle aviation-speak that well.

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

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The latter is a small brain exercise that will trigger the user to go back and double check a few things (because they have to) to submit their application.

 

In every Western jurisdiction that I'm aware of before getting your basic driver's permit you need to p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] a basic examination to ensure you understand the rules of the road. Now spend a half hour on the highways - it's pretty obvious that dozens of rules are violated every minute. There's a great deal of truth to the adage that a cop can pull you over for something after following you for five minutes.

 

A basic test is not going to eliminate the vast majority of issues beyond that of spawning on a runway, any more than a driver's test eliminates speeding, changing lanes without signalling or not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign.

 

I agree with the point that if controllers should be trained, pilots should have some level of training too, even if it's a simple 5 question quiz on registering OR the full P1 rating.

 

The problem with VATSIM is that we train the controllers too much. The level of commitment and dedication required to do anything meaningful (beyond takeoff/landing clearances or repeated taxi clearances) is so great that only the most p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ionate and determined individuals survive the process, and their commitment and dedications is so high that they cannot but be frustrated with the level of pilots that are on VATSIM. It's akin to requiring a doctorate in pure mathematics in order to teach addition to first graders. Almost everyone capable of meeting the requirements would be driven insane by the task ahead of them.

 

We train controllers to handle things they wouldn't need to deal with in real life, never mind 99% of the time on VATSIM. A pilot with a few dozen hours could handle a lot of CTR duties when things aren't busy (ie. most of the time). We worry about standard routings and LOAs with other sectors, when in most cases these things don't matter much - there's usually no other traffic within 50 miles. When I got started, I had controllers following a group flight switching from position to position across ARTCCs. Good luck with that now. But it was fun, welcoming and got me attracted to online flight.

 

When I look around the forums and Facebook group, I see complaints from controllers about people logging off, improper equipment codes or ICAO versus FAA flight plans. To suggest this is "inside baseball" is an understatement. Even something as simple as whether a controller should .contactme a pilot or reverse turns into an inconclusive [dung] show that neither provides clarity nor closure.

 

To anyone looking at this network from the outside, it is many things. But fun is not one of them. It drives away the casual but not obsessive, leaving only the ignorant and disruptive who do not care about you.

 

Posters here are correct - I've been hearing controllers complaining about pilot quality for a decade now. I suspect my demise is more imminent than their claims of the network's. But their point is valid - VATSIM as a network is sick, both from a technology perspective as well as a user experience perspective. I've not seen anyone in the VATSIM leadership make any significant moves to rectify these problems.

 

Also, people can't keep blocking any new ideas with "they won't change, your speaking to people with fingers in their ears." The members of the board have changed recently and I personally know 2 of the new board members. I believe that they would not brush such as issue aside without some sort of investigation.

 

You confuse the BoG with people who can make a difference. They can't. They're the hired help.

 

The people who can make a change in VATSIM are the Founders, and no one else. They've clearly demonstrated by their action and inaction over the past decade to be the most destructive influence on the network they created. We've had technical roles on the BoG open for months and in some cases years, and the network technology hasn't appreciably changed since 2001.

 

If you want change, do what VATSIM did to SATCO. It's about a decade overdue.

 

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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A basic test is not going to eliminate the vast majority of issues beyond that of spawning on a runway, any more than a driver's test eliminates speeding, changing lanes without signalling or not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign.

This is the problem here. People (like you) have the mentality that if we can't fix it entirely, we can't fix it at all. But if we can fix it a little bit, why don't we just do it?

 

The problem with VATSIM is that we train the controllers too much. The level of commitment and dedication required to do anything meaningful (beyond takeoff/landing clearances or repeated taxi clearances) is so great that only the most p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ionate and determined individuals survive the process, and their commitment and dedications is so high that they cannot but be frustrated with the level of pilots that are on VATSIM.

If I was just giving takeoff and landing clearances in the most basic form, I would be pretty annoyed when I had "CESSNA172" connected on my runway taking off into my arrivals with no flightplan and not responding. I think there is something to be said about reading and proving that you read the rules. Even the most basic things boil down to accepting and adhering to the rules.

 

We train controllers to handle things they wouldn't need to deal with in real life, never mind 99% of the time on VATSIM.

I chuckled here.

 

To anyone looking at this network from the outside, it is many things. But fun is not one of them. It drives away the casual but not obsessive, leaving only the ignorant and disruptive who do not care about you.

I beg to differ. If this was not fun, then no one would be on here. I don't think anyone spends their free times voluntarily doing things not for fun at their own free will. A simple exam, testing the rules that they agree to when they sign up, is not something that screams "fun killer." It's sole purpose is for verification that someone read the rules. Refer to my previous post about the YES/NO button.

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

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But if we can fix it a little bit, why don't we just do it?

 

That implies that an entrance exam would fix things. Right now that's merely an unsupported [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ertion without any data.

 

Wait, that's not true. I have data, going back over a decade and a half - and an entrance test has provided absolutely zero correlation between someone's ability to play nicely in a social environment and their ability to regurgitate rules.

 

If I was just giving takeoff and landing clearances in the most basic form, I would be pretty annoyed when I had "CESSNA172" connected on my runway taking off into my arrivals with no flight plan and not responding.

 

Then you need to seriously relax. In most cases you're controlling at an airport that has more free runways than inbound traffic.

 

I think there is something to be said about reading and proving that you read the rules. Even the most basic things boil down to accepting and adhering to the rules.

 

As you point out, people will figure out the equivalent of the "YES" button and repeat back the correct answers, then do what they were going to do anyways. There's a reason (if you look back at my analogy) that we don't give drivers' licenses to people solely based on a written test.

 

I chuckled here.

 

Good. Now do that when CESSNA172 and AIRFORCEUNOTRUMP!!!!!ONE1 spawn on one of your four runways.

 

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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as Luke pretty much says, you guys are focusing on something like its some magic fix. guarantee you its not. people already cheat on tests on VATSIM, including ATC and Pilots exams, which you quickly find out when its their turn to apply that book knowledge and fail.

 

tests are not magical in any way, they will not do what you believe. tests cannot control an individuals behavior, far from it. youll still end up with the same individuals running around, just more test answers being shared. just count the last time someone asked a question thats clearly in an addons manual, if you've lost count, thats the answer lol

 

hell ill give ya an even better one, i work for a major airline, regular tests are required to stay employed. do you have any idea at the cheating level that occurs? take the test over and over again, youll get it right, share answers etc..

 

the only true way you guys are going to actually get rid of those types, and it wont even cover all the issues, which already works on the ATC side, is practical exams, we already know we cant keep up with that demand. and even further we already know even that doesnt weed out the misbehavior, have had my fair share of encounters with such ATC,(last time i remember CoC was part of that initial training, which again goes to further show it doesnt work)

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The tests don't remove laziness. Laziness is what you are really complaining about.People doing whatever they want. The test questions will be easily googled and the same pilots you complain about will still be here. Lukes comparison to a learners permit is a perfect example. We have more rules and laws for driving than ever and drivers are worse than ever. You can only control what you control. Turn off crash detection for those wrong way pilots and the ones that don't announce their intentions. I get frustrated with the same pilots hogging the comms first with their radio checks, then with not understanding their clearance even if its the one they filed. Having the ATC repeat the waypoint they want them to go direct to and then saying they don't have that waypoint but in reality its the first waypoint on the STAR THEY filed. You just have to accept it for what it is and find your enjoyment. I have stopped flying events because of the pilots that bring any flow to a grinding halt flying the wrong way on a departure (LOOP6), missing calls, taking forever to do a readback, walking on others comms and the list goes on.

 

 

This subject has come up multiple times a year for my 13+ years I have been on this network. Change simply doesn't happen here on VATSIM. It seems it's not allowed.

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This subject has come up multiple times a year for my 13+ years I have been on this network. Change simply doesn't happen here on VATSIM. It seems it's not allowed.

 

As a 13+ years controller too, I can say this is valid.

 

Sorry folks, you can huff and you can puff but you ain't to going to blow the house down.

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The tests don't remove laziness. Laziness is what you are really complaining about.People doing whatever they want. The test questions will be easily googled and the same pilots you complain about will still be here.

 

See, sometimes ALL that is needed for the offending pilot is to google something. But as of right now, the pilots that we have problems with sign directly onto the network as soon as their CID is [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned and they didn't take the 3 seconds to google ONE thing that would help with their success.

 

I don't understand why pilots don't have a drive for success... I LOVE flying on my simulator, just like probably everyone else here. But that enjoyment comes form bettering MYSELF as a virtual pilot. I like being the best I can be. We all drive for realism and immersion, and I don't know what better way to achieve that realism than by just taking the initiative to learn and better yourself as a virtual pilot. An entrance exam could SIMPLY kickstart that desire to learn. If a new pilot can take an easy test and p[Mod - Happy Thoughts], then maybe, just MAYBE, there was a question on that exam that sparked some interest. "Wow I kinda want to know more about that now." And in a perfect world, they continue research on these topics and find new things to learn about, then every time they make a mistake online, they take it as a learning experience instead of discouragement. Utopia? Maybe.

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Relax, it is not all that bad. As I control Langen Radar/Frankfurt APP/TWR, I feel your pain, but on the other hand there are not sooooo many pilots who know next to nothing. I normally tell them to visit VATSIM's Pilot Resource Center and ask them what they CAN do, what instructions they are actually able to follow. We are not flight instructors, we are air traffic controllers. If a new joiner has no clue about navigation, I give them headings and outside my airspace I tell them to follow their own navigation on unicom. If they screw it up, tough luck, it is their own problem and the only hope is that it will make "click" in their heads at some point. Let them understand that we are playing a ballgame at a different level here and that they are welcome to be part of it, but the effort has to come from their side.

 

That's why I would actually favour a system where we grant new joiners a "temporary licence", valid for 2 months. Within this time-frame they need to take some written "entry-level exams" that cover the Code of Conduct and some basic questions about pilot-ATC-interaction and navigation. If they p[Mod - Happy Thoughts], they'll get their full licence, otherwise they can only be online as OBS until they p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] their "entry-level exams". This can be automated, so not much work for SUPs.

 

This needs to be understood as an encouragement to show a newbie's commitment to learn or to join with a certain level of skill. Both are very welcome and I think that VATSIM should be proud to have certain expectations towards its members.

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If you want better pilots, then where is the training? I see a lot of instructors for ATC, Where are the instructors for pilots? Where is there detailed information on the Vatsim website that tells how to read star charts, sid sharts, ILS approach charts, how to ask for an IFR clearence or a vfr clearence through cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] b airspace. Vatsim needs to start training their pilots. I do not see that on vatsim. Go over IVAO and look at their training program for pilots. It is very good. Vatsim training for pilots sucks.

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VATSIM already offers pilot training, and one of the reasons why it was designed as "open sourced" as i call it where the community can be part of that training instead of it relying 100% on VATSIM to provide the training (which is already strained on the ATC side) was to get more people involved. sadly that hasnt happened. a lot of complaints, but not many take on the challenge to be part of a solution

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Relax, it is not all that bad. As I control Langen Radar/Frankfurt APP/TWR, I feel your pain, but on the other hand there are not sooooo many pilots who know next to nothing. I normally tell them to visit VATSIM's Pilot Resource Center and ask them what they CAN do, what instructions they are actually able to follow. We are not flight instructors, we are air traffic controllers. If a new joiner has no clue about navigation, I give them headings and outside my airspace I tell them to follow their own navigation on unicom. If they screw it up, tough luck, it is their own problem and the only hope is that it will make "click" in their heads at some point. Let them understand that we are playing a ballgame at a different level here and that they are welcome to be part of it, but the effort has to come from their side.

 

I tend to do the same, and it can be great to see pilots who appeared hopeless when you first encountered them online improve rapidly within weeks. Lack of knowledge is generally not a problem, but I think many new pilots don't know where to start, so they end up online without being prepared for the flight they want to do (you want to take your brand new PMDG 747 into EGLL during a fly-in but you don't know how to use the radio or FMC? Good luck!).

 

The bigger problem is with some pilots who don't play along, or simply lie to your face (well, into your headphones).

 

Example 1:

 

Me: "NEWBIE1 cleared to destination ABCD via SIMPLE1A departure, squawk 1234, QNH 1020."

NEWBIE1: "Cleared ABCD squawk 1224."

Me: "NEWBIE1, confirm SIMPLE1A departure, squawk 1234, QNH 1020."

NEWBIE1: "To SIMPLE squawk 1224."

Me: "Are you able to fly a Standard Instrument Departure?"

NEWBIE1: "Yes we are able to fly SID."

Me: "OK, cleared SIMPLE1A departure, squawk 1-TOO-TREE-4, QNH 1020."

NEWBIE1: "SIMPLE1A, squawk 1234."

Me: "Correct, just confirm QNH 1020."

NEWBIE1: (silence)

Me: "NEWBIE1, you have to read back QNH. I say again QNH 1020."

NEWBIE1: QNH 1020

Me: "Thanks, report ready."

 

Now there are many ways for this example to continue... NEWBIE1 could line up and takeoff without having been cleared to. He most likely will not follow the level restriction of the SID, even though this is written in my Controller Information (and of course on the SID chart, but I'm not expecting him to have charts). After takeoff it's not unlikely that he won't follow the SID at all but simply go straight ahead or maybe turn directly to his first waypoint. It leads to the question: Why not admit that he is not able to fly a SID? If you don't understand the instruction, don't pretend like you do! You WILL get caught out, to much more embarr[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ment than admitting that you are not familiar with a certain instruction.

 

Example 2:

 

Me: "NEWBIE2, I have sent you a private message."

NEWBIE2: "I'm flying X Plane, how do I find a private message?"

Me: "Sorry, I haven't used XSquawkbox so I can't help with that."

 

Sometimes it's the other way around, that the pilot knows how to send a private message but has no idea how to come onto the frequency. I'm happy to help if I can, but if the pilot is using software that I'm not familiar with, or I have another 20 aircraft to talk to, I won't be able to help.

 

Sorry if this post turned into a bit of a rant, but these are examples that I as a controller encounter on an almost daily basis when being online. Luckily most pilots are really good and make the experience enjoyable. It's the few bad apples that ruin the fun so the question is what can be done about this (enough with the "nothing will ever change" please).

 

I have no doubt that both NEWBIE1 and NEWBIE2 can "grow up" to be good and responsible VATSIM members. How can we help them to make sure that happens, instead of them being stuck at the bottom of the learning curve or leaving VATSIM altogether?

Martin Loxbo

Director Sweden FIR

VATSIM Scandinavia

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Oh, so ATC training is more important than Pilot training?

We require ATC to have training. Pilot training is optional. There's less demand in the market because it's not required. If every pilot on VATSIM wanted training/needed training to be able to fly, I'm sure there'd be much more of an interest in pilot training. For the time being it's completely optional, pilots can choose where they want to train, and it's pretty successful/efficient already for those who choose to train.

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

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Well I seen some very poor controllers in vatsim also. Quit complaining.

And to this, there is a way to leave feedback for controllers. Have a bad situation?, think someone is not entirely qualified? (I would say finding a 'piss poor' controller is extremely rare), leave feedback. And then the controller will be addressed, re-trained, and the problem is solved.

When we get pilots that are constantly violating the rules (I should say that it's not easy to compare a pilot connecting on a runway to a controller being unqualified), you can wallop them, but will that help much... probably not. I've seen a handful of pilots who can't even figure out how to respond to a SUP telling them to get off the runway. That's the problem we have here.

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

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Oh, so ATC training is more important than Pilot training? Everyone in here are ATC complaining about pilots. Well I seen some very piss poor controllers in vatsim also. Quit complaining.

 

It is MUCH easier to criticize poor controlling and actually get it fixed than it is to record and file feedback to pilots. Not a valid comparison.

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If you want better pilots, then where is the training?

https://ptd.vatsim.net/atos

 

I see a lot of instructors for ATC, Where are the instructors for pilots?

https://ptd.vatsim.net/instructors

 

Where is there detailed information on the Vatsim website that tells how to read star charts, sid sharts, ILS approach charts, how to ask for an IFR clearence or a vfr clearence through cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] b airspace.

https://www.vatsim.net/pilots/training

https://www.vatsim.net/pilot-resource-centre

 

Vatsim needs to start training their pilots. I do not see that on vatsim. Go over IVAO and look at their training program for pilots. It is very good. Vatsim training for pilots sucks.

 

Just because not all pilots voluntarily participate in VATSIM training does not mean it is not available to them via training organizations, online training material, etc. I have not read this entire thread, however, from what I can tell, it seems that what is being argued is that the P1 rating/training should be required because not enough pilots voluntarily enter into it, which results in issues on the network.

 

For someone who has been around since the SATCO days, i'd think you'd be more constructive in your comments, concerns, and suggestions rather than simply stating that VATSIM rules are "BS", VATSIM training for pilots "sucks", and that you've witnessed some "piss poor" controllers. Please watch your language and remain civil.

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  • Board of Governors
If Vatsim begins testing people before they can join, Will not happen, they just go over to IVAO. I have been here from the beginning of Vatsim and before this it satco. A break off from IVAO's US division is the story I got.

 

Gentlemen, This will kill vatsim.

 

Why is it always pilots, pilots, pilots? Everyone forgets that there is another half to this network, and that is the part of the network that is dying.

 

As of 17:30z on 2/6/2017, I see 628 pilots connected and 41 controllers. Only 9 of those 41 are centers. Those numbers used to be higher, even in off peak times. The fact of the matter is some of us have higher tolerance for newbie antics than others, but it wears on everyone. If it doesn't, then you're either lying or a saint.

 

I'll confess that many an ATC session has been cut short just because I could not take the onslaught of pilots that could not handle the basics of aviate, navigate, communicate anymore. You can only do so much hand holding, repetition, or correction before it becomes unenjoyable. Once there's no enjoyment in it for me, it's time to end the session lest violate CoC A1.

 

I know controllers who check VATSPY or other tools prior to their session just to gauge traffic. If they see a lot of incompetency coming in (very easily identified by callsigns and routes) they just don't bother to sign on. Not worth the headaches. I know even more great controllers that have hung it up completely for the same reasons (Not enjoyable anymore, not worth my time).

 

Like Shane said, make someone google something. Cheating can be easily avoided. Make a bank of 20 or so questions. Rotate questions and answers per exam. Make sure that 1 or two extremely important ones are always on the test. The trolls will give up making dupe accounts if they actually have to do some work to get that dupe account. A pilot that really has a keen interest in VATSIM should have no problem looking up a couple of things and that starts them positively down the path. The pilot's that can't be bothered to answer a couple of questions, well quite frankly, they weren't going to be good contributors to the network anyway with that attitude.

 

Here's an example of how easy we could make it.

 

1. If ATC is online at your departure airport, you should contact the lowest ATC online in this order Clearance Delivery (DEL), Ground (GND, Tower (TWR), Departure (DEP), Approach (APP), Center (CTR). T/F?

2. When connecting to VATSIM on the ground, you should be parked at a gate or parking ramp and not connect on a runway. T/F?

3. An ATC instruction, if issued is a suggestion and it is your choice whether to follow it, unless it is a safety issue. T/F?

4. The best place to conduct your first flight on VATSIM is at a major airport during an event with lots of traffic and a busy sounding controller. T/F?

5. When complying with an ATC instruction, you priority should be to fly the airplane (aviate), then do the instruction (navigate), then read back the instruction to the controller (communicate). T/F?

Matt Bartels
VP: Marketing & Communication
## vpmkt (at) vatsim.net
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Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own and not representative of the official opinion of the VATSIM Board of Governors

 

 

 

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Well, that is a barrier that should work but keep in mind that one could easily answer to the test with browser open.

 

I've read some posts ago on this thread an interesting comparison with driving licence.. I don't know how it works around the world but in my country (Italy) young drivers have the opportunity to get a permission to drive which lasts 6 months (called pink card..). During these months they are allowed to drive only if on the right seat they have a person who has a driving license and more than 10 years of experience and, during these months they have to study and p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] the exam.

If they succeed they get the driving license, otherwise they are not allowed to drive (unless they apply again and so on...)

 

Back to our situation, wouldn't it be more feasible give the newbies a sort of "free p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]" of 6 months during which they are allowed to fly freely and they are encouraged to join a school and get a rating?

If, in 6 months they are able to get at least P1 they are allowed to stay, otherwise.. well, probably if they cannot even get P1 maybe they are not interested in learning and so they are out of VATSIM scope so I think VATSIM would be on the right side avoiding them to connect to the network.

 

Of course 6 months is an example, it can be reduced to 4 months or a different period..

Lorenzo Stobbione

P1 Rating - VATSIM Online Pilot

P2 Rating - VATSIM Flight Fundamentals

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