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With the apparent demise of VATSAF, what next for the Africa region and it's pilots? We have always felt like we were the poor cousins of VATSIM and the demise of the various regions in Africa have only reinforced that belief.

I would like to know from you, Vatsim, what is the cause for the disintegration of Vatsim in Africa? What do we pilots and controllers do now? Where do we get training and ratings? What does Vatsim plan for the future of our regions? We have functioning and active VA's that are growing but without a structured network to support our activities on Vatsim we are left with very few options.

We all chose to be on Vatsim as it enhances our flight Sim experience to levels we believe does not exist elsewhere and that is why we are deeply concerned about the future of our region on the network. We have seen North Africa be swallowed by VATAME and when WAF was taken over by VATSAF we thought there was at least hope that things could grow. Now... we're at a loss.

Flight Sim is a hobby for all of us pilots, controllers and administrators but is one I believe we all invest a lot of time in as it is something we all enjoy immensely. We do not expect too much from anyone except the basic commitment and support. At this point, in the Africa region, we feel as there is none if the above.

Cheers

Mark Tunkara (GBYD)

https://airliberiava.com/v3/

Mark Tunkara
GBYD Hub Manager
Liberty Virtual Airline
www.libertyva.org
 

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  • Board of Governors

Hi Mark,

As you know, VATSIM is driven entirely by its community's base. We have structures that allow our network to govern itself - rules, procedures, leadership structures etc, but ultimately our network can only succeed when our communities in local facilities drive growth and activity - as happens all over the world.

Our membership base in Africa has always been smaller, but it is nevertheless significant with over 3,000 members. I am very willing to meet with anyone and everyone who has ideas of what tools you guys need, which you feel you aren't currently getting, to drive your growth.

I passionately believe that with VATSIM's leadership structure changing, we will see a great improvement in communications between local communities and the rest of the network. EVERY division will finally have a seat at the table, with every Division Director being directly supported by a member of the Board of Governors. Africa currently shares one seat on the Board of Governors with the rest of the entire VATSIM world (VP Regions) and that will shortly be split into three, which means that the VP representing the African continent will be in a much better position to champion the great work you guys do. I note right now there is a well-attended shuttle event between the ME and SA!

I don't have the details of what the issue is at VATSAF but my team have reached out to them this morning. Needless to say that we will ensure the situation is rectified with urgency so that our great South African community can continue to enjoy the network.

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GUNNAR LINDAHL 
President
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Hi Gunnar,

I really appreciate the quick response. I completely appreciate that VATSIM is a community that is driven by us, its members. It is up to us to be involved and make our regions  function that serves users and also make them more attractive to drive traffic here for all Vatsim members.

I have been flying for many years and have long wanted to spend more time on this region and recently through my involvement with Liberty Virtual and other VA's here I have been fortunate to do so. Another Vatsim member and I had reached out for a while to get ATC training to staff West African airports and that's when we realised the issues that were affecting Vatsim in the Afrcia region as we were bounced around various VACC's in our quest. We had sent emails to VATSAF, opened tickets on the VATAME site and we even started usuing Twitter to get noticed by tagging Vatsim in screenshots of our activities here but not once was a tweet "liked" or RT'd by VAtsim or VATAME accounts. So it was not through a lack of trying on our part to raise the profile of the region but it seems as if the VACC's were not interested in raising the region's profile.

I look forward to seeing how with the new leadership structure that communications between VATSIM and the members improves as that is good comms is critical to the success in any organisation. 

As you can tell, I'm quite passionate about this and I assure you I know many others who are ready and willing to do our bit to support the Board in this region and we would be greatly pleased to know how we can help the region serve not only our members here but the Vatsim network as a whole.

Cheers

Mark Tunkara (GBYD)
https://airliberiava.com/v3/

Mark Tunkara
GBYD Hub Manager
Liberty Virtual Airline
www.libertyva.org
 

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This is very true, I have spent a lot of time in this region developing VA and keeping the area active. 
I have also been  S2 for the longest and the only controller jumping ICAO to provide coverage. 

Liberty Virtual is a group of creative minds, developers, sector builders, scenery, livery and all things VA, we create it for Africa and we keep the area active. We are professionals. 

We have the drive and ability to hit CTR but no support. If we can have more coverage the activities will go up. 

" Without a ROAD, no one goes there " Give us a path please. 

we have the competence to staff without being bias, to be fair and support everybody else. 

Eldred Kyne (GLR)
https://airliberiava.com

 

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2 hours ago, Mark Tunkara said:

I have been flying for many years and have long wanted to spend more time on this region and recently through my involvement with Liberty Virtual and other VA's here I have been fortunate to do so. Another Vatsim member and I had reached out for a while to get ATC training to staff West African airports and that's when we realised the issues that were affecting Vatsim in the Afrcia region as we were bounced around various VACC's in our quest. We had sent emails to VATSAF, opened tickets on the VATAME site and we even started usuing Twitter to get noticed by tagging Vatsim in screenshots of our activities here but not once was a tweet "liked" or RT'd by VAtsim or VATAME accounts. So it was not through a lack of trying on our part to raise the profile of the region but it seems as if the VACC's were not interested in raising the region's profile.

I look forward to seeing how with the new leadership structure that communications between VATSIM and the members improves as that is good comms is critical to the success in any organisation. 

As you can tell, I'm quite passionate about this and I assure you I know many others who are ready and willing to do our bit to support the Board in this region and we would be greatly pleased to know how we can help the region serve not only our members here but the Vatsim network as a whole.

I'll add my two cents to the situation, I understand your points and yes it may take a while to get ATC training depending on the availability of your vACC that you are in. VATNAF was quite "dead" for some time as some of the staff have slowly dozed off VATSIM hence this caused the inactivity and no one was really pushing the vACCs to push forward. With the recent changes with the divisions and North Africa now being part of the Middle East we are now trying to push activity in our areas and support them as best we can. 

In terms of South Africa, I'm not too familiar with the area so I'm not going to comment on that. With VATAME we recently had a change of regional directors and to be quite frank the support and activity that you would have liked wasn't there from the previous director. With the upcoming changes that are happening at the start of October explained by Gunnar things will surely improve for divisions. 

We just have to see what will happen with VATSAF in the coming weeks and what they are planning to do with the division. I'm pretty sure they will post a vacancy for the division director position in the coming weeks or find another solution. For now I would suggest you note down all your concerns and when a new leadership comes in place you can then forward that list to them and hopefully something will improve in the future for your area.

Lets hope for the best and hopefully Africa will continue to strive!

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CHRISS KLOSOWSKI
Division Director (Acting)
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I'll address Chriss and Mark's comments.  After the previous regional director resigned and Alan Cooke as EC chair stepped into look after things until the current restructure is completed, as there a new regional director would only be in place for a matter of weeks before the region is represented by a member of the Board of Governors.  He examined in depth how things in each and every division was functioning.    VATNAF was, to be perfectly blunt, completely dysfunctional.  No effective leadership,  and we could find only one functional vACC (which is actually doing very well).  All of the other parts of the Division appear to have vanished.  Trust us, we tried to get in contact with people for several weeks, Including Alan spending hours controlling the FSS stations looking for people so he could chat to them and ask them if they knew of anyone who was in charge.  He found no one.  The single remaining divisional staff member resigned shortly after Alan took up the reins.  Faced with this we looked at all the available options, and we took what we thought was the best one, which was to pass the northern half of the division into the care of VATME, and the southern half to VATSAF.  This does not have to be a permanent change.  It should be noted that this division has come and gone in the past, at one point it was combined with VATSAF into a whole of Africa division.  We considered that option as well, but in speaking to the VATSAF team they felt that were unable to deal with the entire continent right now, and the changes that were made were made with the full collaboration and co-operation of the other two divisions.  They were made with the intention of having the area in the care of people who could actually promote it and raise it's profile.  And if the appropriate team with the dedication and drive to revive any vACC or even the whole division make themselves known we'll be only too happy to help them do so.  Which makes the charges that have been raised that we "killed" VATNAF rather galling. 

The current situation in VATSAF has emerged rapidly.  I am trying to talk to the key players, and I've organised a face to face meeting with them later today.

 

Regards,

Jackson

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Vice President Regions.

VATSIM Board of Governors

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Hi Chriss & Jackson and thanks for your valuable insight into this affair,

It does seem as if that the divsions in our region have been plagued by a certain amount of mismanagement and disorder which is unfortunate for all of us as if one takes up a responsibility one should at least try and execute it to the benefit of the staff, pilots and ATC.

As I said, there are some of us who are not only dedicated to our VA but we are ready to do our part in ensuring that there is a strong Vatsim footprint in Africa & especially in West Africa as as you can see, we have increased the traffic here and we are doing what we can to grow that even more. 

We look forward to working with the Vatsim Executive going forward to doing what we can to help put proper structures in place to making Africa an attractive destibation on the Vatsim network.

Cheers

Mark Tunkara (GBYD)
www.airliberiava.com

 

Mark Tunkara
GBYD Hub Manager
Liberty Virtual Airline
www.libertyva.org
 

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Good morning,

I have just seen a post in a WhatsApp group saying that VATSAF have resolved their issues with VATGOV and that current members will be continuing. It also mentions that "the new ACCWAF members will have access to the new discord server and this will be done via official invite, once we are happy everything is done." What is ACCWAF? Is that a VAC for West Africa? I even see ACCWAF advertising an event. 

While this sounds like a positive development for VATSIM members in Africa, I still have concerns regarding the support from VATSAF (for example, my ticket I opened with them for ATC training was closed with no feedback) we here will get?

Our VA is planning an event in the next few weeks and I want to understand which VACC we should be talking to with regards to ATC coverage etc before we post it on the forums so it'd be great if we know where thisngs stand.

I think we would all appreciate some further clarification on the situation from VATGOV.

Cheers

Mark Tunkara (GBYD)
www.airliberiava.com

Edited by Mark Tunkara

Mark Tunkara
GBYD Hub Manager
Liberty Virtual Airline
www.libertyva.org
 

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Yes, ACCWAF is vACC West Africa: https://www.westafricavacc.org/ 

 

I am also happy to see that the conflict seems to have been resolved! Africa, being such a huge continent with relatively few pilots and controllers being available due to real world circumstances (our hobby at VATSIM is almost exclusively done by people who have the luxury of owning a computer with reliable electrical supply and stable internet, enough time on their hands), does not have an easy stand. The only way to get things moving will be by collaborating across the continent and by thinking outside the box. Maybe start an ATC career at VATSAF and then also control somewhere else in parallel. Clarification: I do not want to promote "rating tourism": go somewhere else, get the training and rating done and then disappear from there - this would be a dis-service to the coaches/mentors you invest a considerable amount of time.

 

Believe it or not, but we had something similar happen in Europe! But that time it was not possible to mend the rifts and the result was the birth of this other network, IVAO! More than 20 years ago, when SATCO/VATSIM were new, it was very US-centric due to the fact that all network founders and staff were from North America - that's understandable. I remember 1998, my first steps on SATCO were sitting on tower and approach control in Chicago O'Hare. KORD was THE airport in the entire world where all the action happened. Later on, the network had grown, some Europeans started to become active at their home continent. Those, who were in charge there did not like the "American rules and regulations" that they perceived as hindering them in developing Europe and it all led to a big clash that resulted in some staff members leaving SATCO/VATSIM and create IVAO. Just because of stubbornness on both sides, back in the old days. That's how it happened, more or less. Imagine had this conflict been solved back then, we'd have one major network now, not just two big ones.

But this is history and you will understand that I am happy that in this case both sides were able to find common ground, shook hands and continued! We need to collaborate, not split up. Talk to each other.

 

I suggest to get in touch with the persons in charge at ACCWAF and VATSAF - on the mentioned Discord it may be much easier to get this done.

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2 hours ago, Mark Tunkara said:

Good morning,

I have just seen a post in a WhatsApp group saying that VATSAF have resolved their issues with VATGOV and that current members will be continuing. It also mentions that "the new ACCWAF members will have access to the new discord server and this will be done via official invite, once we are happy everything is done." What is ACCWAF? Is that a VAC for West Africa? I even see ACCWAF advertising an event. 

While this sounds like a positive development for VATSIM members in Africa, I still have concerns regarding the support from VATSAF (for example, my ticket I opened with them for ATC training was closed with no feedback) we here will get?

Our VA is planning an event in the next few weeks and I want to understand which VACC we should be talking to with regards to ATC coverage etc before we post it on the forums so it'd be great if we know where thisngs stand.

I think we would all appreciate some further clarification on the situation from VATGOV.

Cheers

Mark Tunkara (GBYD)
www.airliberiava.com

Hi Mark

Hope all is well

Please can you get hold of me. I am looking for the person responsible for Events in West Africa.
If you could kindly get me in touch with him.

Warren Smith
Vatsaf 5
Events and Marketing Director
[email protected]

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Don't think so. I also brought up the issue with Warren of there being 4 vACC's in this region (Cape Verde, Niger, Senegal & Vaccwa. Make no sense as none if them are seemingly active and we need just one, well structured and active vACC here. I'm told that it's being looked at though in then wake of the VATSAF issue.

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Mark Tunkara
GBYD Hub Manager
Liberty Virtual Airline
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Hello Folks,

I'm the Communications Director for vACC WAF (West Africa Virtual) and wish to share some information on our Unit. Operating since 2018, we currently hold 98 members in total. We have Executives and their deputies managing the Unit (Director, ATC Director, Membership Director, Web/Creative Director, Technical Director, Marketing Director, Pilot Director and Communications Director). Our aim is to provide aviation enthusiasts the best of exposure and experience within our airspace.

Our vACC conducts a major event every month, and weekly minor Mid-week Hop events and Sunday City Pair. We usually schedule pilots to also take part in our events from other divisions as a way of giving our pilots some exposure and gaining confidence. Our ATC team is working hard to train more people as that has been a challenge.

We had been a vACC under VATAME for sometime until the recent restructure to VATSAF and all the issues.

Currently we have been fishing for answers and the way forward to no avail. In reference to the trail of messages above, we are open to engage on the way forward.

Thank you and keep safe.

Kwasi Adjei

[email protected]

www.flywva.westafricavacc.org, @VACCWAF

 

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On 9/6/2020 at 2:59 AM, Jackson Harding said:

It should be noted that this division has come and gone in the past, at one point it was combined with VATSAF into a whole of Africa division.

Before this VATSAF existed as a division on its own and had a very distinct identity and a reasonably active community and even though resources were spread thin, we still managed to operate effectively. The imposition of the Africa merge regrettably stretched thin recourses even more and to a certain degree  adversely affected the sense of community. Personally I think that the division needs to revert back to its previous model and re-establish its identity and sense of community. 

 

Deon Mathews

VATSIM Marketing & Communications Team

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On 9/16/2020 at 8:46 PM, KWASI ADJEI said:

Hello Folks,

I'm the Communications Director for vACC WAF (West Africa Virtual) and wish to share some information on our Unit. Operating since 2018, we currently hold 98 members in total. We have Executives and their deputies managing the Unit (Director, ATC Director, Membership Director, Web/Creative Director, Technical Director, Marketing Director, Pilot Director and Communications Director). Our aim is to provide aviation enthusiasts the best of exposure and experience within our airspace.

Our vACC conducts a major event every month, and weekly minor Mid-week Hop events and Sunday City Pair. We usually schedule pilots to also take part in our events from other divisions as a way of giving our pilots some exposure and gaining confidence. Our ATC team is working hard to train more people as that has been a challenge.

We had been a vACC under VATAME for sometime until the recent restructure to VATSAF and all the issues.

Currently we have been fishing for answers and the way forward to no avail. In reference to the trail of messages above, we are open to engage on the way forward.

Thank you and keep safe.

Kwasi Adjei

[email protected]

www.flywva.westafricavacc.org, @VACCWAF

 

Hi,

I am actually suprised to hear that VACCWAF is so well structured as I have tried to contact the divison via email etc for info on joining for the purpose of ATC training etc but never received any response. My VA (Liberty Virtual) is small but extremely active online flying all over West Africa but I don't recall being approached by VACCWAF for their events etc. In fact, just last week I sent a mail to your official address to invite your pilots and ATC to our event tomorrow but again no response. I also wondered why I never see any ATC from your division outside of Nigerian airspace which is a bit weird for a truly West African VACC methinks.

Also suprising is that I was directed to join VATSAF for ATC training and not VACCWAF!

My felow VA pilots, officials, scenery developers and livery painters are all eager to be a part of an well run, active and inclusive VACC in the West African region to be part of the growth and future success of VATSIM in Africa. Please let us know how we can help achieve that goal.

Cheers

Mark Tunkara (GBYD)

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Mark Tunkara
GBYD Hub Manager
Liberty Virtual Airline
www.libertyva.org
 

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5 hours ago, Mark Tunkara said:

Hi,

I am actually suprised to hear that VACCWAF is so well structured as I have tried to contact the divison via email etc for info on joining for the purpose of ATC training etc but never received any response. My VA (Liberty Virtual) is small but extremely active online flying all over West Africa but I don't recall being approached by VACCWAF for their events etc. In fact, just last week I sent a mail to your official address to invite your pilots and ATC to our event tomorrow but again no response. I also wondered why I never see any ATC from your division outside of Nigerian airspace which is a bit weird for a truly West African VACC methinks.

Also suprising is that I was directed to join VATSAF for ATC training and not VACCWAF!

My felow VA pilots, officials, scenery developers and livery painters are all eager to be a part of an well run, active and inclusive VACC in the West African region to be part of the growth and future success of VATSIM in Africa. Please let us know how we can help achieve that goal.

Cheers

Mark Tunkara (GBYD)

Hello Mark,

Great, we can make some progress from here. I just took over as Communications Director this month.

Part of the reason we may have missed your emails could be technical since vACCWAF was moved from VATAME to VATSAF. We have not been able to gain access to mails or VATSAF.

We have lodged complaint with VATAME our former division and to VATSIM but no support.

For now we are willing to make progress on our own and with your message already shared with my other Executives, we are excited and propose the following;

1. Have a zoom meeting as soon as possible to meet, greet, co-create the collaboration and we roll.

2. Please contact us through my private email [MOD REMOVED] for now till vACCWAF either gets access to our official email or set up a new one.

 

Your thoughts?

 

Regards

Kwasi

 

 

Edited by Nestor Perez
Removed personal email
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Hey Kwasi, it's not a good idea to give personal data (like emails) on publically-viewable forums. I have removed it from your post.

You may want to use the forum DMs to send him your contact or look for his VA's contact address and email him there.

Néstor Pérez
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16 hours ago, KWASI ADJEI said:

Hello Mark,

Great, we can make some progress from here. I just took over as Communications Director this month.

Part of the reason we may have missed your emails could be technical since vACCWAF was moved from VATAME to VATSAF. We have not been able to gain access to mails or VATSAF.

We have lodged complaint with VATAME our former division and to VATSIM but no support.

For now we are willing to make progress on our own and with your message already shared with my other Executives, we are excited and propose the following;

1. Have a zoom meeting as soon as possible to meet, greet, co-create the collaboration and we roll.

2. Please contact us through my private email [MOD REMOVED] for now till vACCWAF either gets access to our official email or set up a new one.

 

Your thoughts?

 

Regards

Kwasi

 

 

Hello Kwasi,

Congratulations on your appointment and hopefully with the restructuring of VATSAF your email woes will be no more. 

I am trying to understand that if there is a vACCWAF then how come it does not cover and be the organisation for all of West Africa instead of seemingly mainly Nigeria and Ghana where I see your pilots and controllers are more active? The vACCWAF site lists a number of countries but not all of West Africa? As I said above, I can't quite understand why there are apparently vACC's in Senegal, Cape Verde & Niger when we have a vACCWAF? I think it would serve the region better if we had one inclusive body to represent all West African countries. On the new VATSAF Discord it says regarding vACCWAF staff that " Countries part of this vACC: Nigeria"? So is vACCWAF just for Nigeria? If so then the name is a misnomer in my opinion.

I hope that the powers that be at VATGOV will look into these issues and engage us to see how we can create an enabling and effective West African region on VATSIM so that we, as interested, driven and creative members can play our part in growing the traffic in West Africa on the network.

What I (and my fellow VA members) would like to know is how can we get more involved in organising in our area rather than just flying as we have a desire to be a part of the growth of our community. 

What are your thoughts on this?

Please contact me on my VA address: (gbydATlibertyvaDOTorg) to exchange ideas.

Regards

Lassana Tunkara - GBYD

PS. Don't forget our event is tonight at 21:00z 😉

https://www.vatsim.net/events/new-hub-connection-glrb-gbyd

 

Edited by Mark Tunkara

Mark Tunkara
GBYD Hub Manager
Liberty Virtual Airline
www.libertyva.org
 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thigs are looking up! We have a new VP.  Congratulations Simon.

Quote

Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa Region  Simon Irvine

Current VATSIM Europe Region Director, Simon Irvine, has been appointed to the VATSIM Board of Governors as the Vice President, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Simon will be responsible for all the divisions within the new Europe, Middle East and Africa Region, with Division Directors now reporting directly to him. Formerly, Simon was appointed to the position of Europe Region Director in 2019, and has also served as the Division Director of VATSIM UK. Outside of VATSIM, Simon works for British Telecom and spends his spare time on gadgets, reading and following his football team, Dundee United (albeit remotely at the moment).

 

Mark Tunkara
GBYD Hub Manager
Liberty Virtual Airline
www.libertyva.org
 

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