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Mark Kusiak

Proposed Updates to VATSIM Pilot Ratings

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The decision to update pilot ratings and "change" ratings of existing pilots is "wrong".  Pilots who earned ratings from registered ATO's regardless of when should have been grandfathered into the change.  While modeled to follow the "real-world" idea of flight training, changes made by bodies like the FAA would respect existing ratings of pilots who had accomplished the ratings under a different system.   It is not understood why VAATSIM would apply a policy in such a heavy-handed manner.  I am one of many members who are affected by the change.  I have a PPL, "real-world".  My license is granted for life.  I can reactive through a check-ride at any time, but I still have the rating.  Your change is making it mandatory for any new pilot to adhere to the new requirement, and should leave existing pilots as is!

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It will leave existing pilots as-are; hence why you will be given a non-P0 pilot rating when the change is done (which -if any- depends on your current rating), it will just have a different name and different meaning. But why is your rating being changed? Mainly because the ratings and their "definitions" are also being changed, so if you were left with your current rating, it would "say" that you had fulfilled some requirements, when you had never fulfilled them.

If that still doesn't convince you, think about it as a "percentage bar": Lets say right now the maximum pilot rating you can achieve is "P9" (in other words, P9 = 100%). After the change, the highest achievable rating will be "P4" (so P4 will = 100%). If you were left with your "P9" rating, that would mean you fulfill 180% of the requirements for what will be "P4". As you can see, this just doesn't make much sense, so therefore members will be granted an equivalent rating so that "percentage of fulfillment" stays as similar as possible to how it is now.

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Néstor Pérez
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My forecast is that, in around 5 years, the number achieving ratings will be little different🤕


Cheers, Richard

https://my.vatsim.net/indicators/0843615

Win10, P3Dv4, PMDG747 & 777, ASP4 + ASCA, vPilot, PFPX, ChasePlane

You are the music, until the music stops. T.S.Eliot

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On 4/28/2020 at 7:14 PM, Nestor Perez said:

It will leave existing pilots as-are; hence why you will be given a non-P0 pilot rating when the change is done (which -if any- depends on your current rating), it will just have a different name and different meaning. But why is your rating being changed? Mainly because the ratings and their "definitions" are also being changed, so if you were left with your current rating, it would "say" that you had fulfilled some requirements, when you had never fulfilled them.

If that still doesn't convince you, think about it as a "percentage bar": Lets say right now the maximum pilot rating you can achieve is "P9" (in other words, P9 = 100%). After the change, the highest achievable rating will be "P4" (so P4 will = 100%). If you were left with your "P9" rating, that would mean you fulfill 180% of the requirements for what will be "P4". As you can see, this just doesn't make much sense, so therefore members will be granted an equivalent rating so that "percentage of fulfillment" stays as similar as possible to how it is now.

Hello Fellow Members,

So I currently have a P9 and according to the statement above mentioned, when this new system comes online I will automatically have a P4, it that what I am to understand?


Sean H. Fox

 

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I will leave it to the PTD Department to reply to your question. Looking back at the announcement it is true that ratings >P5 are not mentioned anywhere. Looking forward to an answer myself now haha


Néstor Pérez
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Thank you for your quick reply and I will wait to hear from the PTD Department on this particular subject.


Sean H. Fox

 

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Just curious: How, where and when did you get the P9 rating? Been looking all round and can't see anywhere to "obtain" it


Néstor Pérez
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I obtain the rating back in 2013 when I worked for the Pilot Training Academy.  Right now I think unless you are an instructor with the PTD it is not otherwise available.


Sean H. Fox

 

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Hello all, 

I will try to answer and address everyone’s questions and concerns in one response. 

Re: 

On 4/28/2020 at 6:27 PM, Mark Kusiak said:

The decision to update pilot ratings and "change" ratings of existing pilots is "wrong".  Pilots who earned ratings from registered ATO's regardless of when should have been grandfathered into the change.  While modeled to follow the "real-world" idea of flight training, changes made by bodies like the FAA would respect existing ratings of pilots who had accomplished the ratings under a different system.   It is not understood why VAATSIM would apply a policy in such a heavy-handed manner.  I am one of many members who are affected by the change.  I have a PPL, "real-world".  My license is granted for life.  I can reactive through a check-ride at any time, but I still have the rating.  Your change is making it mandatory for any new pilot to adhere to the new requirement, and should leave existing pilots as is!

Correct, FAA or ICAO would likely do so, but also they haven’t added or changed anything regarding these items besides ATP minima for a long time. Meaning we don’t know what they would do in reality. If you have a PPL real world, you will be able to convert your license into our new system once it is live. See further new releases for updates regarding this. 

For the record, just because you have a certification/rating does not actually mean you may use it forever in the United States. It must be accompanied with a current medical and is contingent on currency also.

The old ratings are simply being merged to where they fit into the new system. I think people are only seeing a change (or lowering) of a pilot number and feel like they are being downgraded. In reality everyone is being place where they fit into the new pilot rating system. Fit meaning what skills/competencies they would have demonstrated under the previous ratings. Additionally, it’s only fair to those who will put in the work to earn the additional ratings under the new system moving forward. P5’s today have only completed up to what a P2 in the new system would have done meaning the new ratings are much more extensive in content and skills. 

We have offered ATOs the ability to apply for their pilots to receive a P3 transition if they completed all of the multi engine items under the new P3 MCS. 

TL;DR The pilot ratings are being converted into where they fit competency wise into the new system. The new system is more challenging and has more skills and areas of knowledge to be covered which is why you don’t see a conversion directly to P4 or P3 (unless an ATO is able to file for an exemption). 

Re: Sean Fox P9

Sean we looked into this and the P9 (as far as my knowledge goes) has never existed. Oddly it has never been given out to anyone besides you on the network. The rating was a possible project that was going to be pursued in the future, but has never had any formal introduction to the community. Feel free to drop me an email [email protected] and we can iron out what exactly is going on here. 

 


Ethan Hawes

VATSIM Board of Governors

Vice President Pilot Training Department

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Ethan,

Thank you very much for that detailed explaination.  I think that will most definately satisfy the doubt of many if they had any.  I will send you an email.


Sean H. Fox

 

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From https://www.vatsim.net/news/restructuring-pilot-rating-system:

"VATSIM’ [sic] Authorized Training Organizations are already working hard to implement these new changes in their training programme,..."

VATSTAR's response, March 5:

"Starting April 1st, you will not be able to book training for P3 or P5. We will keep the material online but there will not be any Written Exams or Checkrides, and we won't be providing certifications for them any longer. P1, P2, and P4 we will continue, as always.  We are not closing our organization; But with the changes VATSIM is making, training P3 and P5 do not make sense anymore."

BVARTCC's response, April 5:

"Sadly, the A-Team has been working with the PTD to sort out the changes and it's been determined that, as of June 1, we'll be terminating our status as an ATO. The new ratings program VATSIM has designed requires in-aircraft instruction (as it covers things like stalls, steep turns, and other actual flying skills). This is not aligned with our program, which is designed to teach how to safely operate an aircraft within the ATC system. We feel that's a much better use for a flight simulator than trying to assess a pilot's ability to "fly" without force feedback."

VATSIM postponed implementation of the new pilot rating system - for whatever reason - from June 1, 2020 to September 1, 2020.

VATSTAR's P3/P5 remain unavailable; BVARTCC is keeping its ATO status open until "later this year".

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This process in some shape or form has all been public knowledge for almost a year and a half now. We have worked individually with each ATO through each step of the way and adapted where we could while maintaining our intent and goals of new system. 
 

We’ve only lost a few ATOs since this process began which I consider a huge success given the large change in direction of pilot ratings. I spoke with Evan at BVA and we tried to come to an agreement but unfortunately could not. They (BVA) present a great product to the community though that I encouraged them to still provide ATO status or not. It is important to remember that these pilot ratings are optional and will be designed for those that truly wish to challenge themselves and learn aspects of each pilot certificate/rating than a level deeper than before .

6 hours ago, Kevin Finch said:

VATSIM postponed implementation of the new pilot rating system - for whatever reason - from June 1, 2020 to September 1, 2020.

This is due primarily to the world wide on-going pandemic. Didn’t think I’d need to explain that one. 
 

I’m attempting to keep my patience here guys while being transparent with answering questions and supporting our ATO community. Bottom line the changes are happening and the ship is leaving port. Either you’re on that ship or not. Obviously I hope you each are, but at this point I need to focus on the overall mission and guarantee our community received  the support that it needs and is successful in the future. You’re never going to make everyone happy, and that is something I’ve learned to accept.

 

Enjoy your weekend,

Ethan

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Ethan Hawes

VATSIM Board of Governors

Vice President Pilot Training Department

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13 hours ago, Kevin Finch said:

VATSTAR's response, March 5:

"Starting April 1st, you will not be able to book training for P3 or P5. We will keep the material online but there will not be any Written Exams or Checkrides, and we won't be providing certifications for them any longer. P1, P2, and P4 we will continue, as always.  We are not closing our organization; But with the changes VATSIM is making, training P3 and P5 do not make sense anymore."

 

Let me just speak to this briefly as I am the CFI at VATSTAR. We decided to no longer offer the P3 or P5 as after the transition a P2 and P4 is sufficient to receive the new ratings. Instead we have hired additional staff and streamlined our training program to get all of our students certified within a reasonable timeframe. We currently have 1,140 members on our Discord server and in April issued 150 certifications. This is a 416% increase from the the same period last year. We are in the process of changing our offerings to the new curriculum and will be ready on September 1!

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Tomas Hansson

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From the Boston Virtual ARTCC perspective, I wish we could have found a way to remain aligned with the PTD's vision but the reality is that what our ATO was designed to do really doesn't involve in-airplane instruction. As Ethan says, we have a great offering and it will continue to remain freely available to the community once our status as an ATO is terminated. However, adding components to it that involve checking a pilot's "hands and feet" skill in the simulator just doesn't make sense. 

The existing PRP we have works so effectively because we use the existing resource of air traffic controllers -- who already receive specialized training -- as the "instructors". In today's world, the controllers monitor the progress of each ratings flight and then issue certifications on that basis. If the pilot doesn't know how to fly the correct airspeed...well, we'll probably catch that if they suddenly gain/lose altitude or even groundspeed. We're clear that our ATO won't teach you how to fly: it will teach you how to navigate a traffic pattern, fly VFR routes, read instrument charts, and correctly navigate approaches. So if you fly 10 knots slow we might miss it. But if you fly 10 knots slow while turning the wrong way and entering the unprotected side of the hold, we'll know about that, and let you know about it when we give you the chance to try it again. To me, learning instrument procedures and demonstrating navigation is the best use of a simulator. And it is built to give pilots the very skills they'll need to fly effectively within the VATSIM ATC system.

Trying to fit that into the box of the new ATO standards didn't make sense. We're glad Ethan has demonstrated strong leadership and is moving the PTD in a direction he and the network feel is the right one. Although we don't fit it, we're excited for the creation of the P0 rating, the entrance exam, and the extent to which the new standards will (hopefully) raise the bar for pilots on the network. We know there are plenty of other ATOs that will adapt to offer the new ratings and hope pilots continue to avail themselves of these incredibly beneficial, free resources in the future.


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Evan Reiter
Boston Virtual ARTCC/ZBW Community Manager

 

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