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Hello all,

 

I'm just wondering, is there a place and/or time that people like to fly GA aircraft? I understand that most of the traffic around VATUSA are IFR airliners, but I find it hard to believe that every pilot out there flies a heavy and files an IFR flight plan. I prefer to fly smaller GA aircraft, usually VFR, but a lot of the time I find myself flying into big Int'l airports just to get the ATC/traffic experience. If there's a time and place where pilots fly out of smaller, more GA friendly fields (and possibly controllers who would like doing something like Charlie or Delta airspace over Bravo), by all means please let me know.

 

Thanks,

-R

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There are almost no limitations on GA sized airplanes. Some of the big CL[Mod - Happy Thoughts] B airports are somewhat restricted to VFR flights in the real world but in VATSIM most of them can accomodate you, or suggest an alternate airport within their airspace if their main airport is jammed up with Big Iron.

 

Short answer, load up your GA airplane and have a ball.

 

If you'd like to have a unique GA experience that works quite well with VATSIM, try FS Economy at www.fseconomy.com

 

Kyle Ramsey

Kyle Ramsey

 

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I should clarify. I don't mean GA unfriendly airports, since usually the big airports are willing to (and often happy to) accomodate smaller aircraft. Rather, I should say GA appropriate airports; fields that GA aircraft would usually fly from.

 

Thanks for the link, Kyle. I'll look into that.

 

To be more specific about my original question, is there a group of pilots or an area (or airport) that GA pilots tend to congregate to? I've never really noticed anything like that, so I thought I may as well ask everyone, because it's more exciting to fly out of a smaller field (something that doesn't serve 747's, if you get my drift ) with similar type aircraft than to chase heavy jets into a huge runway you could land on without looking twice out the window.

 

-R

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I am certain there are some other VA's, but the one I joined can be found here. http://www.mountain-air.org/ Come join me in Alaska if you want, or you can join one of several other hubs. Our Mission? Short Hops, Light on Rules, Have Fun!

 

If you don't want to join our hub, you are still more than welcome to check out the flights. Some really good ideas for bush flying.

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I'll chime in on my GA (online) flying. I usually load up a Dreamfleet Baron or Bonanza or the Digital Aviation PA-31 Cheyenne. I'll find an approach or departure controller that is online, and go to one of the satellite airfields nearby the main one which they are controlling. I'll pick another airport and look for the same thing on the arrival end. For example, ZMP was up and running during the "Touch-Em-All" event, so I flew the DF Baron from Richard Bong Field (KSUW) near Duluth, MN to C[Mod - Happy Thoughts]elton Regional (5N8) near Fargo, ND. I like to be the person doing something different. It gives me the challenge of not always having an ILS to follow and gives the controller the challenge to balance his attention between 2 or more different airports within close proximity to each other.

 

Give it a shot sometime. Look on airnav.com for the main airport that the controller is serving, and then go to the bottom of the page to find other airports nearby. Usually, if the other airport that you have never heard of is within 20 NM, it will be serviced by the approach facility of the primary airport. File a flightplan and have at it; see if the controller knows how to work arrivals and departures into and out of non-towered fields. The more people doing this, the more the controller will have to learn and know (procedure wise) and VATSIM will become a more realistic environment on the whole. I know people will continue to fly their 737 from DCA to JFK or a 757 from LAX to LAS, but as a controller, I'd love to see more GA to GA only airfields.

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That's exactly what I do, Travis. I usually fly around Florida, so I pick a small field near a controlled airport and fly to another near a controlled airport so I have the ATC experience with smaller, more "realistic" fields. That works alright, but generally all you do is get airspace permission and maybe a vector to the airfield.

 

What I would love to see is a controller pick up a smaller Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] Delta airport, and more pilots flying the smaller birds. I can see how flying the heavies across the continent can be fun (and likewise controlling them), but GA aircraft (and VFR) is a different game. In fact, even if pilots flying GA aircraft gathered around a noncontrolled field and utilized UNICOM, that would be enough for me (since that's most GA fields out there in real life anyways).

 

I wonder if there's a way to set up "GA events." I know I've seen stuff like that before, but it's always been overseas. Not that that's a problem, but being a US pilot, I long to fly with other pilots at a common US airport.

 

-R

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There is the Cascades Virtual Pilots [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ociation up near Seattle. I fly GA with them when I can. Seattle ARTCC has been very good to staff up some of the smaller airports for us, including OLM, and I even saw EUG_APP up on Saturday. Seattle has also trained their folks pretty well on VFR operations. Further, Seattle has a wealth of little and big airports, many underlying the Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] Bravo, some not - Paine Field, Tacoma Narrows, Renton, Boeing Field are four fields that are often covered by Approach and are all used heavily by the little guys in real life. CVPA pilots fly everything from Cessnas to Cirri to Maules and Columbias.

 

If you want some place to fly (and can see, sometimes VFR can be a little....erm....hard up in the Pacific Northwest sometimes) there are a metric butt ton of tiny airfields in the mountains, one runway gr[Mod - Happy Thoughts] jobs in the Seattle Area, and the San Juan Islands, most of which have at least one small tight runway with a very picturesque approach. You can even swing up to beautiful Victoria or Vancouver for the afternoon if you want to try your hand at Canadian controlling (which has always been stellar up there in Vancouver).

 

Come to www.vwss.ca/cvpa to see what we're about and say hi.

 

If you like Business Jets and want to fly them into airports big and small, you can also check out Virtual ExecJet by clicking my signature. We're having some server problems we're working through just now, so excuse the mess - it will all be cleaned up very soon.

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Russell-

 

You know, I've learned VFR flying anywhere in VATSIM really comes with a pre-planned gathering of pilots.. I too enjoy a quick VFR trip around my state (Utah) from my home town to other places and sometimes neighboring states.. But if I don't plan to fly with someone else, you usually fly alone.. (or if a fellow pilot sees you online already and they jump on to join)[:(]

 

But a good friend of mine, Fred Shepherd, used to get a group of VFR flying buddies online every Saturday morning and criss-cross the US over Winter time.. I believed he called it VFR Winter Ops.. We had blast.. Sometimes you'd get about 5-8 planes and other mornings you'd get close to 15 planes all in the air, calling positions, and sometimes running into Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] Airspace where a Controller would be on!!

 

It would be cool to do that again, even if it's not criss-crossing the US, but just flying some VFR to a destination about an hour to an hour and a half away.. I would, but my Saturdays are not always free to be the lead aircraft every weekend..

 

As for what airports, I fly the Western States the most (and the majority of Utah airports when I fly VFR), I'd say hit airnav.com, search by states, and if you've never heard of an airport in a list, hit it! A lot of the times, as accurate as FS9 and now FSX is, you'll be surprised what you find! hehe

 

Just my two cents on the subject..

 

Happy 'VFR' Flying!

 

Matt

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I do a lot of VFR flying around norcal and socal, and sometimes around the mountains east of Seattle. Not to sound like a broken record, but the ZLA Pilot Cert program actually requires pilots to START OUT with VFR flights. Consequently, VFR activity around ZLA has gone up quite a bit recently, and it wasn't too shabby to strat with. If you're interested, the site is here: http://pilotcerts.laartcc.org

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Seeing this thread gave me the nerve to post a rather long ramble and request I had on my mind, regarding general aviation flying challenges: http://forums.vatsim.net/viewtopic.php?p=106558#106558

 

Seems like you guys would likely have some great suggestions, so if you'd be willing to take a peek and offer ideas, I'd much appreciate it.

Running X-plane in Windows XP on a MacIntel... Why do things the easy way?

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VFR can be a little....erm....hard up in the Pacific Northwest sometimes

 

Oh, I know that fact all too well. I was born in Vancouver, B.C., and grew up in Portland, OR. The weather there can be a gloomy mix of overcast skies, showers and constant rain. But, then again, that does make things interesting. I'll check that site out, thanks.

 

You know, I've learned VFR flying anywhere in VATSIM really comes with a pre-planned gathering of pilots..

 

Yeah, I was afraid of that. I've done similar things myself, just getting a couple friends to fly around with, but that never happened often. Just like there are several large airports that almost always have airliner traffic and controllers (MIA, ATL, JFK, LAX, etc), I was kind of hoping that there was a similar situation for GA aircraft.

 

I do a lot of VFR flying around norcal and socal, and sometimes around the mountains east of Seattle. Not to sound like a broken record, but the ZLA Pilot Cert program actually requires pilots to START OUT with VFR flights. Consequently, VFR activity around ZLA has gone up quite a bit recently, and it wasn't too shabby to strat with.

 

Thanks for the info, Keith. Maybe if some kind of "popular GA aircraft area" was developed, it could be around SoCal and the Seattle area. I wonder if anyone has the experience to maybe set up something like that for us GA'ers on Vatsim.

 

-R

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Russ,

 

I've been flying strictly GA aircraft and mostly VFR for the past while on Vatsim. Southern BC, NorCal, and specifically SoCal are fantastic places to fly and have all of the things I am looking for:

 

- Challenging VFR and IFR navigation

 

- Lots of other GA traffic both IFR and VFR

 

- Regularly staffed, often by multiple controllers - with high VFR knowledge and experience

 

- Lots of selection in terms of where to fly from/to

 

- Excellent scenery available for all simulators both in terms of terrain and airports

 

- Lots of IFR traffic, and not just into one field - they generally hit 4-5 fields on a regular basis.

 

Ian.

Ian Elchitz

Just a guy without any fancy titles

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Russell-

But a good friend of mine, Fred Shepherd, used to get a group of VFR flying buddies online every Saturday morning and criss-cross the US over Winter time.. I believed he called it VFR Winter Ops.. We had blast.. Sometimes you'd get about 5-8 planes and other mornings you'd get close to 15 planes all in the air, calling positions, and sometimes running into Cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] Airspace where a Controller would be on!!

Now that would be fun!

N029TY

ASUS M3A79-T Deluxe | Phenom 2.3 Quadcore | 4G OCZ Reaper 1066 | 3870X2 (2) Crossfire | 1000W OCZ Power Supply

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Thanks for your input, Ian. Looks like the West Coast is probably one of the better places to fly GA on Vatsim. Next time I'm on I'll check that side of the country out and see if any "NXXXX's" are flying around.

 

Now all we need to do is convince some controllers to ditch those big airports... at least sometimes.

 

-R

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Russell,

 

Just about every ARTCC in the USA has VFR-centric events at one time or another. Some places even have regularly scheduled VFR nights (as does the UK). Also bear in mind that certain positions work multiple fields...for example, LAX_APP covers BUR, SNA, ONT, LAX, SAN and LAX twrs. The first 3 are cl[Mod - Happy Thoughts] C fields that really do lend themselves to pattern work and general GA fun.

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