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These are my thoughts on VATSIM...what are yours?


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In the real world we come across other pilots who are almost inaudible (volume-wise), because they probably left their headset somewhere in the lavatory or in the galley. When challenged by ATC, they suddenly come through much better, because they then position their microphones close® to their mouths. VATSIM is not that unrealistic in this respect.

 

The most important thing at VATSIM is that people setup their headsets and calibrate their microphones correctly. Yes, this is antiquated, but it is a reality. With the new voice codec this will hopefully be a thing of the past!

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Yep, really looking forward to the new audio codec as well as the new swift client! The way I understand it, they will go a bit hand-in-hand release-wise.

 

What is most important on VATSIM though based on what has been discussed here, IMO, that is for pilots to learn from what has been said here on how you don't interrupt ongoing communication, wait for a couple of seconds before you speak to make sure you won't interrupt etc.

 

To me, that is much more of a problem vs the audio quality itself...or lack thereof.

Richard Åsberg

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Thanks Mike!

 

In the end, it's about all of us being able to fully enjoy the amazing environment VATSIM is for anyone interested in simulating flight in a realistic way.

 

Let's hope those who take decisions listen and take what has been discussed here under consideration.

Richard Åsberg

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I also believe there should you be some sort of mandatory testing for new pilots.

 

An idea could be:

 

- Limit new pilots to certain ‘newbie friendly’ geographic areas/routes which have low volumes of traffic and ATC with the time to help/educate.

- Create an online training academy in video format (attention spans are dwindling..), to cover the most important basics and supplement the PRC.

- Mandate a simple multiple-choice written exam, a heavily simplified virtual-PPL theory (What is a transponder? What is a VHF radio? What frequency is UNICOM/CTAF on?)

 

Just thinking aloud.. but I do think it would be fair enough for VATSIM to require a bit of time investment from new members, it would raise the bar and keep the network fun yet professional.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Chiming in a little late.

 

It's been 3-years since I last flew on VATSIM and I'm working up to start flying again in the next few months.

 

My first flight was in August 2011 and my last in May 2016, am[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ing 974-hrs (probably much more counting discos) and a ZLA I9 Pilot Cert.

 

The primary reason I stopped flying on VATSIM was due to the shenanigans by new members. My ARTCC was ZLA and its controllers expected you to know how to fly the equipment you were operating and understand SOP. There had always been a push on the forum by pilots and controllers to institute mandatory "basic" flight training to be able to fly on the network, IIRC leadership was against it due to not wanting to alienate new members.

 

I remember the straw that broke my camel's back; My co-pilot/wife and I were on the ramp at KCRQ pre-flighting our Learjet 23 and monitoring Los Angeles Center freq. The controller who was VERY good (and had an appreciated reputation for for being intolerant of pilot stupidity) was working a pair of guys flying "Navy" P-8's. After vectoring them to Catalina Island (they were planning to land on AVX's 3000' runway) they then decided to head for KLAX and requested vectors to find it. With one engine started we called for our IFR clearance and taxi to runway 24 at KCRQ (this took several minutes to receive due to the controller explaining to the P-8 pilots what a STAR was, which they gladly/ignorantly accepted their clearances).

 

A bit about the Learjet 23.. For its size it's a fast and capable performer- due to it's turbojet engines; on the ground it's sucks down Jet-A at 2-3 times the rate as it does at FL30. My SOP was by the time I called in "holding short and ready to go"; We were ready to go without delay.

 

During a break on the frequency I requested departure clearance and was told to "stand by" (as the controller was explaining to the P-8 pilots that no they can't simply just land at LAX and no they can't do a fly-by) I looked at my wife and she said "really"? I called for clearance again, and again was told to standby.. At least 10-15 min had elapsed since we we're "ready to go" and we knew that we were now going to have make a landing to re-fuel to make it to our destination. I taxied down the runway, returned to the ramp, and shut down "Two Romeo Kilo"s engines.

 

After that episode I flew a few more times on VATSIM.. Though due to pilot quality (lack of) on the network and the controllers seemingly new "kinder and gentle" handling of blatant ignorance or plain goofing off by pilots; I called it quits.

 

Those were my thoughts on VATSIM then.

 

I'm now looking forward to getting back in the virtual air and revisiting all of the ARTCC's as Janet and I had the pleasure of getting to know a LOT of GREAT controllers on the network ("Boston Don", Janet says "Hi Don" ).

 

"So long for now" from Learjet 2RK

_________________

Chad Vienna - KCRQ

ZLA Pilot Cert I-09

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"The important thing in aeroplanes is that they shall be speedy." — Baron Manfred Von Richthofen

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Thanks for sharing your interesting story!

 

I'll keep my fingers crossed implementing some kind of mandatory and basic test for pilots will be revisited by the management. Not just to increase the overall quality on the network, but also to hinder spammers only online to mess around and spoil the fun for the rest.

Richard Åsberg

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Hi Chad,

 

we surely know your name. Welcome back and don't let this kind of event get too close to you. I simply would have refuelled at the holding point to make it a flight without a landing in between. It is also an ATCO's responsibility to learn to prioritize traffic and we surely should invest the majority of our time into pilots who know their stuff and then use our spare-time only to explain what a STAR is. Luckily, here in Europe at least, I rarely come by pilots who don't know these basic things.

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I'm a long time flightsimmer but I have always been too intimidated to go online. I have p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed countless hours as OBS to try and listen TWR & APP but always feel that I do not understand the command enough to be 'good enough'. I did just 1 vatsim session and found the experience wonderful. But not being able to understand enough stopped me from 'spoiling' it for the others.

 

I would like to find more 'newbie' events once the new codecs are up and running. I would gladly sign up for formal VATSIM training & limited 'newbie' airspace sessions. I am sure I am not the only one nor is it a barrier to entry into the community.

 

Until then, its back to Pilot2ATC flying.... I must stop having the copilot doing auto-replies.

 

I dread the day I must do a complete a real repeat of the delivery instructions. So fast, so must stuff to write down...

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Hi Vincent,

 

we all have been there and the only way to overcome this situation is by getting yourself RIGHT into it. In the beginning you WILL make mistakes, but you WILL learn from them and improve. That's why it is advisable to start with easy flights, for example take a Cessna 172 (or another light and slow aircraft) and fly circuits at some smaller airfield, of course online. Dial in UNICOM 122.800 and make your standard reports. When you feel comfortable with this, look for small airport with active ATC and not too much traffic. Park somewhere on its apron, connect to VATSIM, file your VFR flightplan and leave a remark "RMK/BEGINNER FIRST ONLINE FLIGHT". You can also open a private chat with the controller there and let him know that you are really new, ask for slow commands so you can follow. The ATCO will understand and will hopefully help you.

 

Do you have a program that shows you who's online where? There are some really cool applications around, my personal favourite is still Qutescoop, but you may also like or prefer VatSpy.

 

Don't worry about "spoiling it for others", just go ahead and jump into the cold water, don't delay it. The best way to learn this is by doing it. Have a pen and paper ready, maybe a docomeent that contains the standard phraseology and sequence of a VFR flight and go ahead.

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Nice to see someone who really wish to fly online and learn the required communication!

 

What you suggest having events where people new to online flying and communication could learn seems like a great idea to me! This in combination with some courses and training. As mentioned before, there's already that for ATC. And has always been to the best of my knowledge. So would be great to have the same for new pilots.

 

IMO, people like you who are new to online flying but are willing to learn is certainly not the big problem here. Quite the opposite really. This since the more people we are, the more fun will it be for everyone on the network

 

The main problem IMO is rather people not interested in learning and just toying around without any thoughts on how their behavior affects others. Or even worse, people who create multiple pilot accounts and use them to connect for one single purpose...causing trouble and spoiling the fun for everyone else.

 

One very clear example of this is how flightdeck2sim, a well-known YouTube streamer and also a real 737-800 captain, has been exposed to this on pretty much every stream. I believe I pointed this out in my initial post in this thread. Also mentioning my fair the result will probably be he won't bother being online on Vatsim going forward. And I'm sorry to say that is exactly what it has come to now since the management/moderators/supervisors on Vatsim still haven't been able to shut this guy/bot off from the network on a permanent basis. Here's an example from his latest stream where he simply just chooses to disconnect from Vatsim as soon as this happens. Too bad for all of us loosing a real 737-800 captain from the network when he's both willing and kind enough to share his knowledge with us. He's now started considering going to some of the other online networks instead because of this to see if the experience will be better over there.

 

 

And here's another example from the same stream where he speaks about how he sees things right now due to this spammer. A real shame!

 

 

And again, if a newly created pilot account would not be able to connect to the network until they p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed some form of basic exam, this would not happen and spammers like this one wouldn't be able to have their "fun" anymore. Hard to spam if you can't get onto the network... And I highly doubt these kind of people would care to go through any form of training/test just to be able to connect. Result...we wouldn't have to bother with these kind of people on the network anymore.

 

So...to those in position to make things happen and change on Vatsim for the better...time to act...

Richard Åsberg

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Better voice system = coming

Pilot entry exam = coming

 

I dread the day I must do a complete a real repeat of the delivery instructions. So fast, so must stuff to write down...

A very important tip for being able to rattle off those clearances is to have yourself a preset form or other place to jot it down where you already know what order it's going to come in. CRAFT is the acronym -- cleared to, route, altitude, frequency, transponder.

 

Here's an example of a simplified version of my own flight planning spreadsheet, if it helps:

Cheers,

-R.

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Vincent,

 

I'm a licensed (non-IFR) private pilot and flying in controlled airspace can be intimidating at times.

 

When I joined VATSIM I spent the first week or two logged onto the service sitting at LAX, and at the FAR end of the ramp listening to VATSIM controllers and pilots. I figured that if I could learn to operate IFR in and out of LAX; I could probably handle anything.

 

My advice (wanted or not);

 

1. Be very familiar with the aircraft you intend to fly. I had hundreds of hours in my Cessna 421 Golden Eagle before knew that VATSIM existed.

2. ONLY fly into and out of airports/airspace that you fully understand the procedures for and are appropriate for your aircraft type.

3. If you're serious about this hobby (and it sounds like you are); Join a training program. VA's (Virtual Airlines) might offer training, as I was "GA (General Aviation) type" pilot I trained through ZLA's (Los Angeles ARTCC https://laartcc.org/ ) training program, which appears to have now been replaced by VATSTAR http://www.vatstar.com/index.php.

 

#4, and most importantly have FUN! I unintentionally lost one of my engines in my Golden Eagle when I was on 5-mile final at my first VATSIM "Fly In" Event flying into KFFL (Ft Lauderdale). There's not too many things (When flying on VATSIM) more "exciting" than having ATC request "best forward speed" there's a "737 behind you" while you're trying to feather a prop.

 

Hang in there with VATSIM Vincent, It's well worth the effort!

 

CAVU,

 

Chad & Janet

_________________

Chad Vienna - KCRQ

ZLA Pilot Cert I-09

d_8855.jpg

 

"The important thing in aeroplanes is that they shall be speedy." — Baron Manfred Von Richthofen

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