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New to Vatsim - A few questions


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Hello!

 

As you may have guessed, I am a new player to Vatsim. For that reason, I would like to ask some questions since I am totally not experienced on this platform yet.

 

1st:

I am using X-Plane 11 and xPilot together, which makes me able to connect to the multiplayer mode. Well, if I am about to connect to the network, I have an option to connect as an observer. In this case, I've checked the Vatsim map and I was not visible. Well, not a surprise, this is what I wanted. However, my question would be in connection with this: am I allowed to move/fly in observer mode? Won't I disturb anybody by doing that?

 

2nd:

As I am a newbie, when I will firstly connect to the network with the goal to fly and communicate with ATC, it can easily happen that I misunderstand some things, can't do perfect readback and so on. In this case, am I risking that my account will be suspended? I have zero intention of ruining realism or the gameplay of other people, and I am a bit scared of that if I am being honest.

 

Thanks in advance for the helpful answers!

 

Kind regards,

Patrik

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41 minutes ago, Patrik Kovacs said:

Hello!

 

As you may have guessed, I am a new player to Vatsim. For that reason, I would like to ask some questions since I am totally not experienced on this platform yet.

 

1st:

I am using X-Plane 11 and xPilot together, which makes me able to connect to the multiplayer mode. Well, if I am about to connect to the network, I have an option to connect as an observer. In this case, I've checked the Vatsim map and I was not visible. Well, not a surprise, this is what I wanted. However, my question would be in connection with this: am I allowed to move/fly in observer mode? Won't I disturb anybody by doing that?

 

2nd:

As I am a newbie, when I will firstly connect to the network with the goal to fly and communicate with ATC, it can easily happen that I misunderstand some things, can't do perfect readback and so on. In this case, am I risking that my account will be suspended? I have zero intention of ruining realism or the gameplay of other people, and I am a bit scared of that if I am being honest.

 

Thanks in advance for the helpful answers!

 

Kind regards,

Patrik

answer to number one if you are operating a shared cockpit flight with someone else then it is advised that one connects as an observer onto the network. 

answer to number two no your account will not be suspended if you are a newbie. we were all once in the same position as you. just take your time and ask questions if you dont understand anything a controller might ask you to do. 

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Hello Patrik from one newbie to another! 

I totally understand your concerns, i was concerned too my first flight, which was only this week... 7 years after creating my account. 

My biggest advice as its so fresh in my memory.. pick an aircraft which you know like the back of your hand. you know where each switch is and what it does.The Zibo Mod for example is as complex or as easy as you wish for it to be.

There are some excellent guides out there on how to effectively control it, if you're not experienced already, however the FMC within the mod is simple to program and use so you shouldn't have a problem.

I found my feet by watching a well known 737 pilot stream on YouTube!(not sure if i'm allowed to name drop here). He does all* of his live streams on vatsim, so you can see what he is doing with the Mod whilst also listening to the ATC command which has made him take this action. Just be sure to try to get an update AIRAC Cycle to avoid the awkwardness i faced when a controller asked me to fly an arrival which wasn't in my FMC!...

The steps i took for my first flight was to find an airport which had an approach controller but no sector control, this meant as little frequency changes as possible. I then loaded up my sim, asked for my clearance and read it back wrong 3 times! I told the controller it was my first flight and he gave me the clearance in 3 chunks, let me set my departure, then confirmed my squawk and then finally gave me the QNH/ATIS advice. Really, Kudos to him! and his region(I've given feedback!) 

Maybe i touched lucky, and got a nice controller, but if you're in an airport which has next to no traffic, you'll probably find the controller is more than happy to help you. they're not big and scary unless you're maxing out their controlling and messing up their sector!

Best of luck, Patrik, i'm sure you'll be chatting like a pro in no time! Just remember a pen and paper.

See you in the virtual sky's, 

 

Adam McDowall.

 

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13 hours ago, Patrik Kovacs said:

I am using X-Plane 11 and xPilot together, which makes me able to connect to the multiplayer mode. Well, if I am about to connect to the network, I have an option to connect as an observer. In this case, I've checked the Vatsim map and I was not visible. Well, not a surprise, this is what I wanted. However, my question would be in connection with this: am I allowed to move/fly in observer mode? Won't I disturb anybody by doing that?

Connecting as observer is fine, especially when you do it for learning purposes. The COC states that being connected as an observer for "excessive" amounts of time is not allowed, but in practice, as long as you don't keep the connection unattended or use vatsim as a "screensaver", you'll be fine. Observers are not visible to others as traffic or active ATC (though some clients do list observers as such), so you're not disrupting anyone, even if you move / fly around. You are essentially invisible. The only thing to keep in mind is that an observer connection still uses bandwidth and server capacity, which is the reason for the "no excessive observing" rule.

13 hours ago, Patrik Kovacs said:

As I am a newbie, when I will firstly connect to the network with the goal to fly and communicate with ATC, it can easily happen that I misunderstand some things, can't do perfect readback and so on. In this case, am I risking that my account will be suspended? I have zero intention of ruining realism or the gameplay of other people, and I am a bit scared of that if I am being honest.

You will never be suspended for making honest mistakes. Even very experienced pilots will sometimes mess up, and radio communications are notorious for being hard to understand, which is why we have all this phraseology and readbacks and all that in the first place. Do your homework, familiarize yourself with the relevant phraseology, make an honest effort, but most of all, don't panic, a single mistake will never cause a disaster, all procedures are designed with several safeguards. Even gross mistakes, such as taxiing onto the active runway without clearance, will not get you banned (unless you're obviously doing it on purpose), though you will most likely get a rather stern call from ATC.

A couple tips to make your first vatsim flights easier and more likely to succeed:

  • Come prepared. Have all the charts you need laid out in order; the last thing you want is frantically look for the approach plate to find your minimums when you're already on short final.
  • Anticipate. When you ask for your IFR clearance, you know that the answer will most likely be your clearance, and that it will contain a lot of information - so have pen and paper ready before requesting clearance, and ideally, already have the expected clearance written down in shorthand. Now instead of frantically scribbling down everything the controller says, you just read along, check the parts that you guessed correct, and quickly change the parts you guessed wrong or didn't know. Quite often, all you need to add is your squawk code. And the same goes for other things. When you report "ready for taxi", expect taxi instructions, so you want to have a taxi chart at hand. During descent, expect a STAR and landing runway, so you may want to ready your STAR charts and open the relevant NAV page on your FMC. When zooming down your STAR, expect vectors, so it helps to keep the heading bug aligned with your current heading. After landing, expect a gate number and taxi instructions, so have parking and taxi charts ready.
  • Fly what you're comfortable with. This goes for the aircraft: fly a type you are deeply familiar with, something you can fly in your sleep. You don't want to frantically look for the APPR button while being vectored to final - talking to ATC, turning the heading knob, and managing your speed, flaps, landing gear, etc., will be enough to task-saturate you. Same for the airport and route: don't file anything you can't comfortably fly, and don't accept any instructions that you don't know how to follow. The only instructions you absolutely must be ready to follow are radar vectors: flying an assigned heading, altitude, and airspeed.
  • Use the magic phrases. They are: "say again", "unable", and "request vectors". It's a million times better to use "say again" than to wing it (and guess wrong). It's a thousand times better to say "unable" than to attempt something you can't do. It's much much better to request vectors to final than to frantically type a complex procedure into your FMC and hope you got it right. And each of these three phrases can reduce your workload and stress by a lot.
  • Make time. There are only a handful of moments during your flight where time is absolutely critical: takeoff / departure, short final, landing. Any other flight situation offers the possibility to buy yourself more time. On the ground, you can always hold: e.g., after vacating the runway, you usually don't have to keep rolling (just make sure you have fully vacated, tail past the bar) - just come to a full stop, set parking brake, and then calmly turn off landing lights, retract flaps, reset autobrake, and whatever else you may have on your After Landing checklist, before taxiing to your gate. And in the air, you can always ask for a hold or delay if you need time to figure things out, and, as that irritating song goes, "you can always go around" - even if it's just task saturation, any reason at all that makes you doubt a successful landing is a good enough reason to go around. Just hit that TOGA button, establish yourself in the missed approach climb, and call ATC.

This is considered good airmanship, and will most certainly not get you kicked or banned.

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8 hours ago, Tobias Dammers said:

as that irritating song goes, "you can always go around"

"Irritating"? "Irritating""!? That song freaking slaps, dude. 😄 I hum that tune on almost every approach.

Kidding aside, Tobias has got it absolutely perfect, there isn't a single thing to add.

I personally found my learning curve to be quite interesting: There is a huge bump on the first handfull of flights, as compliance with ATC instructions adds a whole new level of workload you will be completely unfamiliar with if you've only been flying offline. That's why it's imperative you are able to efficiently manage your workload aside from that when you go in, as in, fly an aircraft that you are familiar with so you don't wind up adding on to a pile of tasks you already struggle with. Maybe you even want to make sure you depart from and arrive at airports that you're familiar with for your first few flights as well. Then there's a phase where things very notably start "clicking" into place and it's quite an accomplished feeling - you'll notice you're able to anticipate instructions much better, which also lets you understand them better, the additional workload of communicating becomes incorporated into your flows very naturally and from there, you'll find your way around in the future.

Edited by Jonas Helkey
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ATC are there to serve the pilot that is their number one job, they are not the authority of the skies, if you are unable to accept anything ATC is "offering" you, then say so. I highlighted offering  because that's the way it should be. 

Https://my.vatsim.net is full of training resources, phraseology examples, videos and info on vatsimisims.

 

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Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member

956763

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