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A Strong Case for a Mandatory P1 for Pilots


Tom David
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Why don't we start by having everyone already in VATSIM get a P1, and beyond, then when new guys show up it looks odd to not have one. Maybe if the demand is high enough the ATOs will build through those tech and cultural issues.

 

This is actually a decent idea, except that most people don't even know of the P1's presence. Practically every newbie I've met, even those who have read the CoC, welcome email and more, have zero knowledge of the pilot rating program. If we want more existing members to get P1s, we need more members to know that it exists in the first place.

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Practically every newbie I've met, even those who have read the CoC, welcome email and more, have zero knowledge of the pilot rating program. If we want more existing members to get P1s, we need more members to know that it exists in the first place.

 

It is in the welcome email with a link. What else can we do to point it out to people?

Kyle Ramsey

 

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It is in the welcome email with a link. What else can we do to point it out to people?
Make people go through the Pilot Resource Center and ask them 10 basic questions before issuing them a VATSIM ID.

 

As I said previously there are both technical and cultural reasons that this won't work today. My personal vision is all new folks will have either a P1 or a S1 in hand prior to getting a CID, but we have to wait on the tech to catch up. However, as I also previously said, this will solve a small portion of the 'new pilot' issues, others we need to use our Supervisor staff to help them out and resolve real time issues anyone may be having with a new member.

Kyle Ramsey

 

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As I said previously there are both technical and cultural reasons that this won't work today.

What are the current technical boundaries?

And what cultural reasons are limiting something like what Andreas proposed? We have a huge community here (50,000+ active members) from around the globe, and I'm sure we could find people willing to help translate certain things into a different language. English, Spanish, Russian, German, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Arabic, Hebrew, Mandarin, Cantonese - all from people I know personally on VATSIM. It would require a lot of work, but I am certain it could be done.

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

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Great, here's a list to get started, but I suspect you're missing a dozen or more other languages too:

 

CoC

CoR

UA

PRC

All test questions (which requires making sure the context, not just the words, are correct for that language and location)

All P1 material in the Academy

 

Then we need a CERT rewrite to accommodate this new system.

 

And, do keep in mind, this is unlikely to solve the OP's list of issues so get ready to do the same for all the other ratings, not that this will solve the OP either but it would be cool to have all the ratings in 20-30 languages.

Kyle Ramsey

 

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Hi Kyle,

 

at least it would be a start. I agree that we do NOT want to bombard potential joiners with unrealistic stuff that will deter too many. But there must some smart way to filter new joiners and keep those who are prepared to make an effort to adapt, to learn and to be courteous. There will never be a 100% success rate, but we should at least try to filter a little bit. Why do we need all those languages? If you want to take part in this hobby you will need to understand some basic English. And those who not speak sufficient English, but are smart enough, will run the registration page through some translator and get their way through. That would show that they REALLY want to join. That would be another filter.

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I'm torn on the languages to be honest. As a rw pilot I get English is the main aviation language. Except it isn't so much anymore as in China they are quite OK with nobody speaking English there. That may be a moving target going forward, or it may be in the end we recognize having a single language for all aviation really does promote a higher degree of safety for everyone.

 

On the other hand the model of a hobby in my mind is to meet all new members at their local level. Web sites should be local language, procedures, pilot training, also local. If I go take flying lessons in Germany it wouldn't surprise me that my instructor would most likely give instruction in German to a guy who's never going to fly beyond the borders of Germany, even if both of them also spoke English. In Israel all VFR material is in Hebrew in the rw but they are pretty worldly and if a non Hebrew speaker showed up I think they could accommodate them, although I don't know where they'd find charts not in Hebrew. As a local pilot decided he or she wanted to be less local and stretch their wings, go do some of that fun CTP stuff, then they would then have to step up their game and get on board for English.

 

To be successful anything we put in a new member's way needs to not be a barrier to them getting on the network relatively quickly, that is kind of the gold standard we need to meet. A P1 test in only English does not p[Mod - Happy Thoughts] that test.

 

And a mandatory P1 won't stop bad pilots. It is guys like yourself, Andreas, who are the thin line of supervisors who to me are the real answer to that. A great supervisor who is available to answer a .wallop is in my mind the first and last line of defense.

Kyle Ramsey

 

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Hi Kyle,

 

ok, I agree that we need to have most learning material in this world's major languages, but I would not go too far. For a start we could limit the languages to the official ICAO languages: English, French, Russian and Spanish. Surely local languages will be spoken in many countries, but even this is changing more and more in the real world. Aeroflot now speaks English when flying in Russia, which sounds odd to us frequent visitors to Russia And there are lots of ex-pat pilots who fly for Chinese airlines, so ATC will have to speak English. Nobody expects them to start off with perfect language skills, but some basic understanding should be there already.

Asia/China is a huge market with potential and we should do is try to include them by offering training material in Mandarin and Cantonese, I can subscribe to that.

 

Sure, us SUPs are trying our best to help new and old members to progress, to improve. But there's a limit to manpower. We do need a more organized way of human interaction with new members and members who do have a question. What about a live chat system where regular members, who volunteer to take part in this, will be available for such chat sessions. VATSIM UK have such a function on their Community, except that there you can see a pop up window, indicating that now a member of staff is available for questions. I kind of liked that. Couldn't we implement something like this, just that instead of staff we have volunteers, who take pride in guiding new members to their first successful login/flight, for example? You surely know that we have a volunteer based system at VATSIM Germany, which has become so successful that it has become more organized. Basically new members make a request for [Mod - Happy Thoughts]istance/guidance on our forums and they will get picked up by one of our coaches. After making an appointment, they'll meet on Skype or Teamspeak or whatever and our coaches will take these new members under their wings, as a one-on-one session.

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Divya Patel in the last BoG meeting announced we had broken through 10,000 pilot ratings issued, so only 90,000 to go.

 

I'm curious what percentage of active VATSIM pilots are flying with a Pilot Certification. Wait, I can calculate that.

 

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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  • Board of Governors

My short opinion on languages. While we want to accommodate people, we are an international community that needs to be able to communicate with each other. To register, you agree to the CoR, CoC, UA, etc. One of the requirements in the CoR is to be able to converse/provide ATC in english, the accepted aviation language. Yes you can participate locally in your language, but as a community, you should be able to converse in English as well. However, should we offer training material in other major languages? Yes but we don't need to go overboard as they should know English anyway. My 0.02.

Nick
Vice President - Supervisors
VATSIM Board of Governors

Contact the Supervisor Team | Could you be a Supervisor?

Vatsim-color-tagline.png.afe5bb8b98897d00926a882be4e2059c.png

Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own and not representative of the official opinion of the VATSIM Board of Governors

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My short opinion on languages. While we want to accommodate people, we are an international community that needs to be able to communicate with each other.
Yes. And no. If you have an entire region that has more potential users than North America, South America and Europe together, then the organization itself should accommodate to this fact, otherwise we will miss a big opportunity. At some point those members will want to virtually fly to other places in the world and they'll have to up their English knowledge.
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Gents,

 

I feel inclined to mention several points here.

 

1) If a person has connected to the VATSIM network along with his mic set up, he has invested significant effort. I think we can all agree that if a person does that, he has p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed the initial barriers, which are usually the most difficult. The fact that this person comes this far highlights the fact that he is really interested in learning, and when there is interest, there is effort.

 

2) We all start out somewhere. I remember logging on to London without knowing what SIDs are. The controller was kind enough to explain politely that he could not let me fly and referred me to the knowledge centre. From there on, I invested effort to get familiar with the network.

 

Therefore, the main solution to this problem has and always will be the understanding nature of our controllers and supervisors. This is a friendly network where people are invited to learn. Today, I am a commercial pilot, and I am glad to have joined VATSIM years earlier. Remember, every veteran vatsimmer was a junkie once who had no idea of anything.

Best Regards

 

Fahad Usmani

Director Events & Public Relations - VATSIM Pakistan

http://www.vatpak.net | events_pr(at)vatpak(dot)net

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Remember, every veteran vatsimmer was a junkie once who had no idea of anything.

 

The first time I flew on VATSIM, not only did I not know what a SID or STAR was, I also didn't know how airline code and flight numbers were used to create callsigns. I think my first callsign was "LAX101" because I was flying in or out of LAX ...

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

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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Remember, every veteran vatsimmer was a junkie once who had no idea of anything.

 

The first time I flew on VATSIM, not only did I not know what a SID or STAR was, I also didn't know how airline code and flight numbers were used to create callsigns. I think my first callsign was "LAX101" because I was flying in or out of LAX ...

 

I rest my case

 

I remember messing up a Lambourne departure out of London once (LAM is a really busy VOR), even though the controller told me to stay cautious beforehand. He was pissed. Needless to say, I disconnected

Best Regards

 

Fahad Usmani

Director Events & Public Relations - VATSIM Pakistan

http://www.vatpak.net | events_pr(at)vatpak(dot)net

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Because it is a hobby, we will always have a membership of widely varying levels of interest in simming. We should neither make the initial training work too onerous, nor manadatory, nor limit the training available because of our limited training resources. We should draw people into our hobby through our demonstrable enthusiasm in flight simming rather than strictures on their entry qualifications.

 

Current pilot training certificates are an excellent way to provide pilots with the basic knowledge they require to enjoy their flight simming. However, the mentoring workloads involved are quite considerable, and will limit our ability to offer mentoring with greater numbers of students.

 

In the interests of VATSIM, we must continue to offer the best opportunities for simmers to further their flying knowledge and interests. So the challenge is to maximise the training available whilst minimising the administrative workloads involved.

 

In the real world, of course, the training required to qualify as a private pilot is considerably greater. Ground and flying schools exist to get their students past their examinations, set by either the FAA, EASA or other competent authorities. The schools require a level of mentoring that is far beyond the voluntary capabilities of VATSIM divisions.

 

There is, though, an alternative path that we may follow. We could offer training based on real world standards but with the mentoring element entirely replaced by automated processes. A trial of such a mechanism has already been completed which demonstrates the process is feasible.

 

I am interested in taking a leading role in the development of a computerised pilot training process, implementing EASA regulations and avoiding almost all divisional workloads. The missing element to further development is a lack of voluneers to further develop the system.

 

So this is a call to find simmers who would be prepared to help develop such a pilot training system. Are you the one to enable this development to proceed

Cheers, Richard

You are the music, until the music stops. T.S.Eliot
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Because it is a hobby, we will always have a membership of widely varying levels of interest in simming. We should neither make the initial training work too onerous, nor manadatory, nor limit the training available because of our limited training resources. We should draw people into our hobby through our demonstrable enthusiasm in flight simming rather than strictures on their entry qualifications.

 

Current pilot training certificates are an excellent way to provide pilots with the basic knowledge they require to enjoy their flight simming. However, the mentoring workloads involved are quite considerable, and will limit our ability to offer mentoring with greater numbers of students.

 

In the interests of VATSIM, we must continue to offer the best opportunities for simmers to further their flying knowledge and interests. So the challenge is to maximise the training available whilst minimising the administrative workloads involved.

 

In the real world, of course, the training required to qualify as a private pilot is considerably greater. Ground and flying schools exist to get their students past their examinations, set by either the FAA, EASA or other competent authorities. The schools require a level of mentoring that is far beyond the voluntary capabilities of VATSIM divisions.

 

There is, though, an alternative path that we may follow. We could offer training based on real world standards but with the mentoring element entirely replaced by automated processes. A trial of such a mechanism has already been completed which demonstrates the process is feasible.

 

I am interested in taking a leading role in the development of a computerised pilot training process, implementing EASA regulations and avoiding almost all divisional workloads. The missing element to further development is a lack of voluneers to further develop the system.

 

So this is a call to find simmers who would be prepared to help develop such a pilot training system. Are you the one to enable this development to proceed

 

It would be a great idea to have a comprehensive system like that for people to voluntarily sign up for. A network like PilotEdge is a glowing example of that. Their practical exams have a challenging appeal.

 

However, I would like to emphasise the word "voluntarily". If we put in place a mandatory comprehensive training program for every newbie to go through, half of them would be too demotivated to continue.

Best Regards

 

Fahad Usmani

Director Events & Public Relations - VATSIM Pakistan

http://www.vatpak.net | events_pr(at)vatpak(dot)net

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I have been following this topic with a great deal of interest. Not much in here has swayed me either way against or toward a mandatory P1. Both sides of the coin have made good points and not so good points. Personally I have no preference and neither way the wind blows will upset me. However...

 

The controller was kind enough to explain politely that he could not let me fly and referred me to the knowledge centre.
(emphasis mine)

 

This upsets me! Controllers don't have...or at least shouldn't have...that option. Hopefully this was an embellishment of the event by Fahad, but if not...

 

Also...

 

even though the controller told me to stay cautious beforehand. He was pissed.
(again, emphasis mine)

 

Why? I know that is the controllers' main reasoning, I think, behind a push for a mandatory P1. Trained means fewer mistakes and more fun. But how far do we take it? The concept of DPs/STARs is not even taught until the P4.

 

The concepts taught in the P1 get you in the air, that's it. When I took it from VATCAN a few years ago a supervised flight from London, Ontario to Montreal was required course material, but the way I understand it, not any more. The majority of the complaints I see from Pilots and Controllers alike are not that the "other pilots" cannot fly. It's that they cannot fly the DP or do not fly the STAR correctly. P1 ain't gonna help there, so "ticked off" controller number 2 and "polite" controller number 1 would still be exactly in the same situations even with mandatory P1. In both cases a pilot with the mandatory P1 would a) "not be allowed to fly" and 2) the controller would still be "pissed off".

 

Having a mandatory P1 is one item checked off a "VATSIM bucket list" from a pretty full bucket of things that make controller lives' miserable. Seems to me mandatory Conflict Resolution and Human Interaction Course are what we need, not mandatory flight training. Mistakes happen, even among the most experienced and I include myself in that list of "mistake-makers" despite almost 4,000 hours and a Z-11 from LAX and P4 from vACC Portugal.

 

Is this how it's going to go down...

 

"Dadburnit, I told you fly the RNAV departure, climb and maintain, turn left heading, proceed direct, etc, etc...oh, wait, never mind. I apologize, I see you have a P1. It's all good. Resume own navigation."

 

No, it's not! That Controller 1 and Controller 2 in Fahad's examples are still going to be frustrated and/or "pissed off" whether the new pilot has that magical mandatory P1 or not. So if mandatory P1 comes to fruition better get some therapy sessions for Controllers 1 and 2 above because mandatory P1 is not going to solve their issues.

 

CTP is coming up and if you listen real close you will here the mumbles. "They" don't like what "that" person did one bit. Go learn how to "fly/control" and come back in six months. It's thankfully not often and thankfully when it does happen it gets nipped in the bud rather quickly, but it happens...every year. P1 ain't gonna fix that either. I saw a post in a different thread that reminded everyone...in so many words...CTP ain't for newbies and to bring your "A" game.

 

Mandatory P1 is not a magical salve that is going to heal this problem. It's a start toward the healing process, but human interaction has to change as well. That new pilot who worked hard (despite how easy the rating is to earn) to get that mandatory P1 so he or she can fly is not going to be any happier then than the controllers are now if he or she is told they cannot fly if they don't know SIDS/STARS and if they botch one up and the controller gets "ticked" we're gonna lose that new pilot anyway.

 

Conflict Resolution and Human Interaction Courses among some of our more "experienced" will get that new P1-toting pilot a lot farther than the P1 alone ever could...

 

Randy

Randy Tyndall - KBOI

ZLA I-11/vACC Portugal P4

“A ship is always safe in the harbor. But that’s not why they build ships” --Michael Bevington ID 814931, Former VATSIM Board of Governors Vice President of Pilot Training

1087023

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Screw SID/STAR/Procedures. I want a quick and easy test that makes sure the pilot grasps the fact that if he/she doesn't know what a comp[Mod - Happy Thoughts] or an altimeter does, an hour on Wikipedia MIGHT be a thought. A "Did you read the stuff we said you should read" tick-box won't do that.

 

(Wouldn't hurt if this short questionaire could underline the fact that the top-down coverage system isn't the side-by-side system. Neither EHAM nor EGLL lies within ENOR FIR.....)

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I want a quick and easy test that makes sure the pilot grasps the fact that if he/she doesn't know what a comp[Mod - Happy Thoughts] or an altimeter does, {...}

Agree. A baseline of basic knowledge is essential for any hope that a new member can use the network cooperatively with ATC and other pilots.

 

(Wouldn't hurt if this short questionaire could underline the fact that the top-down coverage system isn't the side-by-side system. Neither EHAM nor EGLL lies within ENOR FIR.....)

I think that in order to keep our advocacy focused, we should concentrate on issues like the first thing you mentioned, and caution ourselves from straying away from matters of basic required knowledge and into matters of "ATC pet peeves."

Cheers,

-R.

fvJfs7z.png

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I want a quick and easy test that makes sure the pilot grasps the fact that if he/she doesn't know what a comp[Mod - Happy Thoughts] or an altimeter does, {...}

Agree. A baseline of basic knowledge is essential for any hope that a new member can use the network cooperatively with ATC and other pilots.

 

I completely agree with this. Nowadays, I'm seeing pilots who have no idea what transponders, headings, radio frequencies, altitudes, etc. are at all, which completely disrupts traffic flow and disrupts enjoyment to other users significantly (think a 747 taxiing through buildings, taking off without clearance in front of a large queue of pilots on approach and waiting for takeoff and turning and changing altitude VERY erratically in busy airspace).

 

I don't care if you can fly a fancy RNAV SID or STAR with your shiny new Navigraph LIDO charts and PMDG 747 v3 or if you're just in the default Cessna 172 or Learjet 45 with only the default GPS to help you navigate - what matters is if you understand the basic principles of flying on VATSIM so both you and existing members can adequately enjoy the network.

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The main demotivating factor for me are not simply those who are new or clueless, these I am happy to help provided workload is not too high, it is rather when people are ignorant and do not seek help and put no effort whatsoever to improve. I now control a lot less.

 

Is obligatory P1 a feasable solution? I don't think so. But a voluntary rank system would be something to consider. Like flown hours, it could be something to brag about and at the same time encourage improvement.

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