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Utter Newbie here...

Dominik Dietrich

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I am completely new to VATSIM and would like to learn how it works. The problem is that reading a bunch of guides which contain millions of walls of text isn't really helpful for me. The best way of learning for me personally is someone who is patient and kind enough to teach me and explain to me, both in theoretical and practical terms, in detail how stuff works here. I know some basic stuff about flying. I played FSX a lot before buying FS2020 and continuing playing that until I fall asleep in front of my monitor (well, not really). I would still call myself a newbie, however, because of my deficit of knowledge about f.e. the FMS, patterns and go-arounds and stuff like that.

In terms of language barrier and stuff like that: You should be capable of explaining everything in English, maybe German would be even better. But English would also do just fine.

It is really important that you're patient. Really patient! I tend to take a long time for learning new stuff and to really get into the matter.

If someone would be so friendly and has some free time for this, I would really appreciate it a lot!

Edited by Dominik Dietrich
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Barring the advice of joining the mentoring program of your local VATSIM chapter, which is of course an excellent idea, some hints:

  • While the overwhelming majority of traffic on VATSIM are commercial IFR flights, you don't have to do those right away, starting with short local VFR hops is absolutely fine. Which means you can, for the time being, skip FMS handling, instrument navigation, STARs & SIDs, ILS, etc., and you don't need to know about airways either.
  • When planning your first flight, pick a mission that keeps you in your comfort zone: fly between airports you know well, use an aircraft you can fly in your sleep, and fly in an area where things are calm. EGLL-EHAM in a 747 on a Saturday evening is not a great idea; traffic patterns at your home base in whatever GA aircraft you've been practicing in are fine.
  • Connecting in observer mode is highly recommended: just spawn on the GA parking at a staffed airport and listen in on the traffic. This should get you a better feel for radio communications.
  • Practice critical parts of your flight offline before doing it online. This goes for routes, approaches, departures, navigation, but also for operating the aircraft. Again, fly an aircraft you are deeply familiar with on VATSIM; a C172 or similar is about perfect, and it's what real pilots start with too.
  • If English isn't your strong suit, you may want to fly VFR in Germany (assuming that German is your native language) - ATC in Germany will provide service in German as well as English.
  • VATSIM Germany also organize regular VFR events, which is a great opportunity to put your hand-flying and visual navigation skills to the test. Some of these events are focused especially on beginners, so you can expect extra attention there.
  • When flying VFR, you still need to be familiar with basic procedures, but there aren't a lot of those, and there is plenty of information online about those things. Youtube is a particularly rich source of information on these things, lots of flightsim enthusiasts and actual flight instructors explaining stuff. The good news is that VFR procedures are quite simple - they are all basically "fly the traffic pattern, and climb and descend as needed".
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And: watch videos of people who are flying online at VATSIM. There are quite a few streamers on Twitch and on YouTube.

On Twitch there is a German pilot who flies for a large airline in Germany as his job, but he's also user of P3D, X-Plane 11 and now MSFS.

Take a look at his VATSIM videos: https://www.twitch.tv/blackbox711


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