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VATSIM Cross The Pond: Eastbound 2020


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Welcome to Cross The Pond: Eastbound 2020!

Airfield voting is closed, your votes have been counted and the results are in; here are the airports for Cross The Pond: Eastbound 2020! 

This year we are setting new standards, with no fewer than 16 participating airports! We are excited about the results, making up a staggering 54 city pairs across the North Atlantic ocean! 

With no further ado, here are the airports that will facilitate your flights on November 14th!

Departures:

  • CYYZ (Toronto Pearson intl.)
  • CYYC (Calgary intl.)
  • KATL (Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta intl.)
  • KBOS (Boston Logan intl.)
  • KJFK (John F. Kennedy intl.)
  • KMCO (Orlando intl.)
  • KORD (Chicago O'Hare intl.)
  • TJSJ (Luis Muñoz Marín intl.)

Arrivals:

  • EDDH (Hamburg Airport)
  • EGLL (London Heathrow Airport)
  • EHAM (Amsterdam Schiphol Airport)
  • EIDW (Dublin Airport)
  • ESSA (Stockholm Arlanda Airport)
  • LEMD (Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport)
  • LOWW (Vienna International Airport)
  • LSZH (Zürich Airport)
     

We all look forward to joining you on a long-haul flight across the continents on November 14th. Stay tuned for more information!

 

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== UPDATE 1 ==

 

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Important information for participants for Cross The Pond: Eastbound 2020

VATSIM is looking forward to welcoming you to the next bi-annual Cross The Pond event, which takes place on Saturday 14th November 2020.

Cross The Pond has been a VATSIM tradition for many years, and over this time it has grown in popularity, making it by far the busiest day in the VATSIM calendar. This growth has also brought challenges for controllers, pilots and the organisers alike. It is obvious that our community wants the event to continue, so for this reason we are making some changes to the event, which you can read about in the five sections below.

 

1.  Slot Allocation

For the first time ever, the organisers of Cross The Pond will be trialling a lottery system rather than slots being allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. The present system has always been controversial, with pilots rushing to grab slots, technical issues making certain pilots unable to book their slot in time, as well as pilots in certain time zones having a natural advantage when aligned to the times that slots are released.

In an effort to make it more fair for our users and put less strain on our web systems, we are changing the way event slots are assigned.

Once the booking opens, you will be able to select your three most preferred city pairs, as well as your two most preferred departure time slots. Note that you are not able to select the same option twice in either category.

When the bookings close, the responses are processed in a randomized order and bookings will be allocated by matching your selected preferences to currently available slots.

NOTE: Applicants unable to secure a slot for this year’s event be given priority booking for future events!

 

2. Flying without a slot

In previous events, flying without a slot has become the norm for many pilots and non-event Oceanic positions have been staffed where resources are available to provide a service to as many pilots as possible. However, with the event continuing to grow in size and resources in Oceanic airspace continuing to be stretched, it is obvious that continuing to encourage this will make the event less enjoyable for all participants.

Therefore, we have decided that we need to focus our Oceanic resources to provide the best service possible, so for this event we are asking you to refrain from flying transatlantic if you do not obtain a slot for the event. We cannot enforce this – because as usual, all VATSIM pilots are welcome to fly where they wish, when they wish. Even so, it is important that our community understands that we will not be able to cater for pilots without a slot in the oceanic airspace, and as such, ATC coverage can not be provided for non-event participants, and pilots flying without an event slot may face extensive delays on the ground and in the air. By choosing to fly in a different part of the world on this date, you will help to balance the workload on our controllers and reduce overall congestion - making this event more enjoyable for all parties.

 

3. Oceanic Separation Methods

In order to align with modern current procedures and to reduce workload, we will be trialling ADS-B separation during Cross The Pond in Gander and Shanwick OCAs. [This is already simulated in Iceland, New York and Santa Maria] This means that we will simulate each aircraft automatically sending its position and other information as they do in the real world, although for the purposes of VATSIM this will be done as normal through the FSD architecture. This means that controllers will be able to see where you are, your speed, flight level and estimated progress and thus position reports when on the NAT will not be required. This will free up Oceanic track frequencies for invoking separation, flight level changes and other requests. In addition, ADS-B allows the applied separation between aircraft to be significantly reduced, increasing the capacity on the NAT-tracks. Oceanic clearance will still be required and will be completed via the NATTrak tool, which will be explained in an upcoming video.

 

4. Pilot Capability

Cross The Pond is an exciting and immersive event, and we have many VATSIM members who we look forward to welcoming on the 14th November.

This event looks set to be extremely busy with thousands of pilots attending the last event, so it’s critical that controllers have enough capacity to handle traffic efficiently.  Therefore, it is important to note that you may not get the enjoyment you were expecting out of this event if you are a brand new VATSIM member who is still learning the ropes. Section B(8) of the VATSIM Code of Conduct sets the minimum requirements for what instructions must be able to comply with; for this event we also require pilots to be able to:

  • File, understand and fly a compliant transatlantic flight plan
  • Route direct to waypoints which may or may not be in the pilot’s flightplan
  • Fly published and unpublished holding patterns if instructed

We will have Supervisors online throughout the day to assist members – they will provide support to anyone who needs it. Their priority, first and foremost, will be to help any pilot who is having difficulty. However, where the pilot is in busy airspace, Supervisors will need to also consider the strain on the controller and enjoyment of other pilots, and may recommend continuing the coaching offline. Your assistance and compliance to these instructions are appreciated.

 

5. Community Discord Channels

The Marketing & Communications team have created exclusive Cross The Pond channels, where you can communicate with other event participants and receive critical information directly from the planning team.

If you haven’t already, join the official VATSIM Community Discord, and grab the Cross The Pond-role in the #role-selection channel.

--------------------------------------------

These new guidelines are implemented to ensure everyone will have the best experience possible. We are expecting substantial traffic for this event, and the planning team are working hard with controllers and pilots to make sure everything will go as planned on November 14th.

Event bookings are set to open October 28th at 20:00z, and any changes to this will be announced on the VATSIM Social Media channels, as well as in the #ctp-announcements channel on the official VATSIM Discord. The bookings will be open for 7 days, before closing on November 4th.

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  • 2 weeks later...

== UPDATE 2 ==

T-3 Days - NEW INFORMATION FOR PARTICIPANTS

1.  Slots now allocated

All event slots for Cross The Pond have now been allocated via the lottery system - congratulations if you secured one! If you entered the lottery and were not successful, please note that you will be considered first in any future Cross The Pond lottery. The reason for the change to the lottery system is to recognise the advantage some members had because of slots being released in preferential timezones, meaning that some of our members were consistently missing out. This method is fairer because it treats each member equally.

If you have a slot secured, you will receive an email on Friday, late evening (UTC), detailing your route and assigned flight level. You must file your flightlpan as per the instructions given - the details will also be available when you login to the Cross The Pond website.

If you are still looking for a slot, you can keep checking the Cross The Pond website for dropped slots. You can also trade or pick up slots in the dedicated CTP Slot Trading channel (#ctp-slot-trading) on the official VATSIM Discord server.

2.  If you don't have a slot

If you have not secured a slot for this event, for the first time ever, we are asking that you do not fly transatlantic on Saturday in order to support the enjoyment of pilots and controllers, and ultimately ensure the longevity of this event. Cross The Pond has grown hugely in popularity over the years and we are at the point where we need to pause that growth, and if possible reduce the footprint to make the event manageable and enjoyable for all.

If you do choose to fly transatlantic without a slot, please note that metering will be in place across North America for translatlantic flights, meaning that each airfield will be authorised to depart a certain number of transatlantic aircraft per hour. Aircraft with slots will get priority, and this means that pilots without a slot may face long delays where demand exceeds capacity. This metering on the ground is designed to ensure that our domestic and Oceanic sectors are presented with a manageable level of traffic every hour. A team has been assembled between VATUSA and VATCAN to co-ordinate this activity and will be liaising with ARTCCs and FIRs across the United States and Canada.

Domestic flights are not affected, but you should expect delays on departure due to the heavy traffic levels expected.

3.  Oceanic clearances and position reporting

This year, a number of enhancements are being made to reflect evolving technology in the real world in Oceanic airspace and reduce the workload on our controllers. The Gander Oceanic team have been working hard on uplifting the capability of vNAAATS, a Euroscope plugin that allows controllers to process clearance requests, track aircraft position reporting and highlight future conflicts. They have also developed NATTRAK, a web-based tool, to interface with vNAAATS via a CPDLC-like interface. This means that pilots will be able to request and receive their Oceanic clearance via CPDLC in NATTRAK.

In addition, and as announced above, ADS-B separation protocols will be applied in Gander and Shanwick OCAs. This means that position reports will not be required. Pilots will check in via voice initially, and further correspondence is only required (through voice or through NATTRAK) where a request is made by the pilot, or a restriction applied by the controller, and finally when the pilot is handed off to the next controller.

Final testing is taking place on various features described above, and a full guide for pilots will be released in the next 48 hours.

Please note that the above applies specifically to Gander and Shanwick OCAs. The other Oceanic sectors may have different ways of operating, and will make this method clear through their Controller information during the event.

4.  Keeping up to date

Cross The Pond is a busy event, and we want to be able to communicate important information to you during the event, as well as seeing your screenshots!

All important information prior to the event will be posted in this thread - please bookmark it and keep checking it prior to the event! You can also ask any questions in this thread or in the #ctp-discussion channel on the official VATSIM Discord server.

On the day, the event team will communicate with participants via the #ctp-announcements channel in Discord, and via our dedicated Twitter feed. We'd love to see your screenshots.

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