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Hi folks, very newbie here wanting to understand what the primary aircraft types that Vatsim is focused on; what type of pilot.  Is it primarily heavies or are there also GAs?  As a fairly new XP11 pilot, I’m flying twin engine prop and jets and wanting to stay that way for quite some time, especially as I go through PTD training.  
 

Which brings up my second question.  I’m on the West Coast of US and want to go through that training.  Any recommendations on which ATCC I should use?

Thanks , Brian

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The majority of activity on VATSIM is air transport ops (large jets,) but GA is highly encouraged as well. I've gotten into some VFR GA flying recently and have had a lot of fun doing so.

 

I'm not qualified to answer your ARTCC question, but I hope someone else here can.

Ryan Austin

ZMA S3 

joinAVA.org CAT V

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14 minutes ago, Ryan Austin said:

The majority of activity on VATSIM is air transport ops (large jets,) but GA is highly encouraged as well. I've gotten into some VFR GA flying recently and have had a lot of fun doing so.

 

I'm not qualified to answer your ARTCC question, but I hope someone else here can.

As Ryan said, the VATSIM network mainly is composed of pilots flying commercial aircrafts for Virtual Airlines ( VA's ). But I believe that it is better for a new pilot, to start with GA. GA communications are different than commercial flying, so if you can master flying small C172's and doing pattern work, flights with Flight Following ( FF ), and or VFR work in general, you will have no problem advancing into the airline department later on. As for ARTCC's, I am apart of ZOA, which I personally love. All the west coast ARTCC's are great, so it's kind of hard to say, but it truly depends on what your preferences are. For west coast, your best three options are ZSE, ZOA, and or ZLA.

ZSE - https://zseartcc.org/

ZOA - https://www.oakartcc.org/

ZLA - https://laartcc.org/

Hope this helps you. Good luck!

~ Jake "JL"

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Posted (edited)

Thanks Jacob.  My goal at this point is to get more proficient at the technical aspects of flying: flight planning, navigation, ground procedures, ATC for example.  The idea of tackling a thousand buttons, dials, indicators, screens, etc in the bigger planes is daunting - so don't have a desire to go there currently.  I also learn more slowly at this point in life so the time and energy expenditure to get to an airline pilot status is beyond me I believe.  

So I guess my question is, can I be that guy hanging out in VATSIM with my smaller craft and a) not be a pain in the ass b) have fun c) not be expected to progress to the larger aircraft.  If I'm one of a handful of GA pilots then perhaps it's not for me.  

I would really like to go through the training - at least P1-3 I think.  Is that overkill for just flying around in a modern twin engine jet?  And does the Oakland group support that training?  I don't see it on your website. 

Anyway lots of questions - thanks.  

Edited by Brian Price
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1 hour ago, Brian Price said:

So I guess my question is, can I be that guy hanging out in VATSIM with my smaller craft and a) not be a pain in the ass b) have fun c) not be expected to progress to the larger aircraft.  If I'm one of a handful of GA pilots then perhaps it's not for me.

There are quite a few passionate GA-pilots at VATSIM and you should not feel awkward for not wanting to fly an Airbus or a Boeing, don't worry! The basic training should be compatible with all types of aircraft, probably it is centered on IFR-operations and if you fly a twin engine jet, IFR will be your principal field of operations, so yes, go ahead!

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11 hours ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

There are quite a few passionate GA-pilots at VATSIM and you should not feel awkward for not wanting to fly an Airbus or a Boeing, don't worry! The basic training should be compatible with all types of aircraft, probably it is centered on IFR-operations and if you fly a twin engine jet, IFR will be your principal field of operations, so yes, go ahead!

That's great Andreas - I appreciate that information and will proceed with VATSTAR.  

11 hours ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

There are quite a few passionate GA-pilots at VATSIM and you should not feel awkward for not wanting to fly an Airbus or a Boeing, don't worry! The basic training should be compatible with all types of aircraft, probably it is centered on IFR-operations and if you fly a twin engine jet, IFR will be your principal field of operations, so yes, go ahead!

 

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8 hours ago, Josh Glottmann said:

I think there was some confusion, ARTCCs provide training for ATC. Some have pilot training programs, but those are usually self-guided. What you're looking for is an ATO - I recommend VATSTAR.

Hi Josh - I thought I read somewhere that pilots going through the training had to sign up with an ATO for supervision/testing etc.  I know that Seattle has that from their website, but could not find a reference to that on the Oakland group site.   

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13 minutes ago, Brian Price said:

Hi Josh - I thought I read somewhere that pilots going through the training had to sign up with an ATO for supervision/testing etc.  I know that Seattle has that from their website, but could not find a reference to that on the Oakland group site.   

Yeah, Oakland does not have any pilot training. More than welcome to fly in the airspace, but joining ZOA will only provide you with training to become an Air Traffic Controller.

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Brian, I know you're looking for west coast flying but...

https://forum.bvartcc.com/bvaportal/communities/prp/

That program is a pilot-specific training program that offers many of the points you've asked for, structured in a series of flights that starts at VFR closed traffic ("pattern") and builds up to complex IFR procedures like holds and diversions. It also gives a nice tour of the New England area. The first 20 flights in particular are entirely focused on GA flying and encourage the use of old-school navigation using VORs and NDBs, although you're also welcome to use GPS and modern-day technology too.

I believe ZLA used to have something similar although I'm not sure it exists anymore.

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Evan Reiter
Boston Virtual ARTCC/ZBW Community Manager

 

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6 hours ago, Evan Reiter said:

Brian, I know you're looking for west coast flying but...

https://forum.bvartcc.com/bvaportal/communities/prp/

That program is a pilot-specific training program that offers many of the points you've asked for, structured in a series of flights that starts at VFR closed traffic ("pattern") and builds up to complex IFR procedures like holds and diversions. It also gives a nice tour of the New England area. The first 20 flights in particular are entirely focused on GA flying and encourage the use of old-school navigation using VORs and NDBs, although you're also welcome to use GPS and modern-day technology too.

I believe ZLA used to have something similar although I'm not sure it exists anymore.

That program looks great.  Given my situation do you think I would get more general pilot training than the VATSTAR which seems quite oriented towards that particular environment?  I guess it doesn't matter to much where I learn, and if I'm being 'supervised' periodically, I'm retired so the time difference wouldn't matter that much.  

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I think there's a lot of value in both concepts. We're proud to list VATSTAR as one of our partner organizations and regularly staff up in support of their ratings/certification flights. 

As I understand it, the VATSTAR program is more of a one-on-one, in-person style training program that allows you to work and train actively with an instructor. Our Pilot Ratings Program is self-study: you read the materials and then (when ATC is online) complete the flight. ATC monitors your flight against the Test Standards that are prescribed for each module and, assuming you meet them all, issues you a rating. If you don't, you'll be given feedback on what happened and usually offered the chance to try again right away.

I don't view the programs as mutually exclusive and, assuming you have the time, think you would benefit from both. The nice thing about BVA's PRP is that no commitment is required (other than signing up for a free membership at www.bvartcc.com). If you try one or two flights and then stop, no worries. And if you like them, more power to you. You can do them at your own pace and there's no expiration.

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Evan Reiter
Boston Virtual ARTCC/ZBW Community Manager

 

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Brian --

I think Evan's summary is spot-on.  I'm no longer associated with VATSTAR but I developed most of their training and testing materials, and he's correct in his assessment that it's designed to be worked through one-on-one.  But it requires the logistical mechanics of scheduling mentors / instructors.  BVA's program is more self-study but can be done almost anytime Boston Center is staffed.  There are pros and cons to both programs.  For the truly well-rounded experience, why not do both?  There are things that VATSTAR covers in more depth than BVA, and surely vice-versa. 

The other thing to note is that the entire VATSIM Pilot Ratings program is being completely restructured effective June 1st, so any program you start now might be designated something else by the time you finish it. 

Also, don't forget that Pilot Ratings are voluntary.  There's no type of commercial or recreational flight you aren't allowed on the network today, right now.  Only certain types of military or government flights require any training.  But especially if you're new to aviation, Pilot Ratings are a great way to learn the basics. 

Cheers,

-R.

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Wow thanks for this.  I’ve taken your and Josh’s advice and have started or applied to the VATSTAR and Boston based training.  I’m trying to decide if I do both concurrently or one after the other.  I’m retired and due to age and other Covid risk factors probably house bound for a long time.  So lots of time available to do both, but perhaps better understanding and retention one at a time.

Again thanks to you and everyone else!

 

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