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First IFR Airliner Flight - what an experience! JFK to BOS

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Firstly - I just want to start by saying thank you to all the awesome folks online last night, controllers and pilots alike.  The experience I had last night wouldn't have been possible without this community!  Beware my lengthy and possibly rambling post!

So brief backstory - a friend and I have been doing shared cockpit airliner stuff for awhile now, and I mainly used Pilot2ATC for atc because I guess it was just easier.  My friend started his flight training, so then we switched primarily to the Piper warrior as thats what hes training in IRL.  After some shared cockpit stuff with that, I looked up vatsim again, and said hey why don't we give that a shot.  I plan on starting my training next spring and the comms seems to be that area there's no way you can really practice properly offline, which in turn makes it the thing I struggle with the most.

Fast forward to last night after a few weeks of GA VFR and we decide to give the 738 a shot JFK to BOS.  Most all of the appropriate controllers were on so seemed like it would be a good time.  Started off with about an hours worth of smart copilot issues, which we thought were sorted out (they werent).  I handled the comms, called for clearance, pushed back, and passed control to my friend to perform the takeoff.  For some reason - more smart copilot issues.  Throttles wouldnt work.  He passes control back, everything's fine on my end.  We decided I'll do the flight at this point since it was getting late, he could work the AP, tune radios, and enjoy the flight since were both in VR anyway and thats an experience in itself.

Onward to taxi, literally everyone was going JFK/LGA/EWR to BOS tonight.  There's a fair amount of air and ground traffic, about 3 behind to depart and 1 in front.  Controller tells us to line up and wait.  As I sat on the runway its at this moment I realized I may have chosen the wrong career...  Sitting on the runway, seeing 3 other company planes waiting to go, in VR, it really was an experience.  Anyway, departure clearance obtained and off we go, so far uneventful.  

So far so good, cleared for the Robuc3 to 04r.  Controller requested to keep speed up a little higher than I filed for as there was a lot of traffic to maintain separation.  Starting to descend, I started about a minute later than I wanted.  As I was cleared for the approach, we got rain and reduced vis, as well I was a little higher, with a little extra speed than i wanted.  I hear the controller tell the (I believe Cessna) to pick up the speed, a 737 was approaching hot from behind (not realized it was me just yet).  Cessna asks what speed, "Best forward speed Sir".  5 Seconds later, Delta 4780 - cancel approach,maintain 3k, turn right heading 100, your about to run over other traffic!  Oh boy, I now see the other aircraft about a mile in front.  Following ATC instruction, things really got interesting.  Smart copilot decided to have some fun, A/T kicks off.  AP becomes unresponsive.  Ap showed on for me, off for my co-pilot.  Decide lets just turn it all off and fly manually.  Few missed calls during this madness from ATC as I was managing the plane but all worked out.  Controller vectored me back to approach, and landed successfully, being handed off from center, approach, tower and ground all successfully.  

All in all aside from the smart copilot chaos, it was quite an experience dealing with the controllers and hearing/seeing other traffic.  My only regret is I didn't join this network sooner.  

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Hey Chris, glad you enjoyed the experience! 

I'm not 100% sure but I think your callsign sounds familiar. I might have been one of the controllers you spoke to. If I'm remembering this situation correctly, the Cessna in front of you might have paused and/or had a glitch while on the runway, prompting the go around? Either way, I'm glad you had a great experience and hope it's one of many.

If you ever have feedback about ATC and/or your experiences, most airspaces publish a link on their website where you can provide comments about the service.


Evan Reiter
Boston Virtual ARTCC/ZBW Community Manager


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