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is it me or has there been a severe decline of VATSIM users?

 

I have been with VATSIM now for a little under a decade and when i used to fly there were controllers as far as the eye could see every Friday and Saturday nights and most of the time at weekends. Now however I seem to be able to fly for hours around the UK and not find a single controller anywhere and many a weekends i used to see well over 1000 pilots/controllers online every weekend and now im lucky to see half of this.

 

I have been doing some surveys on this and have noticed and I want to make this perfectly clear that i will not be leaving but just to point out that there are more controllers on IVAO now then VATSIM.

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It comes and goes. It's summertime in the northern hemisphere, that kills a lot of activity. The only thing I've noticed as far as larg scale tendencies goes, is the influx and inflation of new and unprepared pilots due to the eased access to flight sims (Steam, P3D) recent years, on the look for big MP servers.

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Whilst activity is pretty cyclical on VATSIM (more or less activity at certain times of year), when I gave a short talk last year at a VATSIM meet up I pulled some stats which show there isn't any significant trend in either direction. Speaking very broadly, the total gross number of hours connected to the network is fairly stable as is the unique number of users who connect over x time.

 

Of course this doesn't account for regional variances, where I have personally seen huge changes. In my experience a consistent and sustained ATC presence in an area will lead to a positive multiplier effect, more planes, more ATC, and so on. This continues happily until the dedicated staff member(s) who helped to bring about this "surge" doesn't have the time or has a change of circomestances, and activity dies down a little. This happens everywhere and should be expected in a hobby environment like ours.

 

GUNNAR LINDAHL 
President
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  • 1 month later...

I think the local season plays a huge role, as well as weather. A nice sunn summer's day will render far less connections than a dreary winter day, but it's to be expected.

 

Number will probably cycle as they have before, some "old dogs" might be faced with new circomestances in their life which may reduce or totally remove the amount of time the can alot to simming.

 

Also worth mentioning, the UK is usually pretty heavy on traffic, that will demand more of controllers once they open up the scope, as well as more training.

Patrik Yngvér

VATSIM Thailand vACC Deputy Director

C3 ENR Controller

ESNO, Sweden

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As has already been mentioned -- the real-world weather plays a huge role.

 

We had an exceptional few weeks in June weather-wise in the UK, and the last couple of weeks, whilst not quite as good, have been reasonable too. Our VA members collectively logged over 1,000 fewer flights in June compared with May -- ultimately, when it's 30 degrees outside people are less inclined to spend their evenings (or days!) in front of a PC (especially when it's hot and stuffy). Plus it's been the time of year when many younger members are busy with exams, people are starting to go away for their summer holidays, etc... this time of year is always a bit quieter on the network.

Vice President, Pilot Training

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No one is disputing that there are seasonal cycles and other unpredictable highs and lows. What I am (and presumably others are) curious about are the long-term, year-to-year statistics. I get that May to June is an apples-to-oranges comparison, but what about June 2017 to June 2016, or even June 2007?

Cheers,

-R.

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[Also posted on the Vatsim Facebook page]

 

I don't ask for perfection or even advanced competence in from Vatsim pilots. I am also very willing to take the time to help pilots from behind the scopes.

 

So in the saga of, we'll just call it, "today", I had one pilot ask for an IFR clearance (we'll call it that), then when provided, opted to taxi and depart with no further contact despite multiple attempts. I have had one aicraft just sitting at the ramp for over an hour connected. There isn't a supervisor to be found on the network to address primarily the first issue. If we want to evaluate why there is declining numbers and lost interest in controllers, let's start with some accountability from the other side.

 

This is just a micro-example of what is happening every hour of every day on the network. With the new influx of simulator products coming in, the sim user base is no doubt increasing. We have and continue to open this network to virtually anyone with no basis for basic competency. This is especially valid on the pilot side.

 

I enjoy the interaction here. I enjoy being on both sides of the network. I have since it was SATCO. More and more however, I just find myself wanting to log off, not log back in, and shift to a more commercial environment either interactive or non-interactive where at least there is some live accountability. Let's get it together!

 

Nick

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