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Letter from VATSIM President Tim Barber

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  • Board of Governors

Dear Members,


I would like to start by thanking everyone who took a few minutes to offer congratulations on my election to the position of President of the VATSIM Network.  My colleagues on the Board of Governors have put their faith in me, and I look forward to working with them, and all of our volunteers in leading this network into the future.  


Under the leadership of Gunnar Lindahl, VATSIM has reached levels of membership and technology that previously were thought unattainable.  Among the best tributes I have read described him as the most “stable, influential, and consequential President we ever had to date”, and this is especially true considering the challenges this world threw at us during the latter part of his four year tenure.  This is certainly not to take away from the Presidents who came before him - Founders Harvey Stein and Richard Jenkins, followed by David Klain, Steven Cullen, and Kyle Ramsey...I truly walk in the footsteps of giants, and we all owe a lot to the six Presidents who preceded me.  To them, I offer my heartfelt thanks for all you did, and continue to do to make VATSIM what it is today.


During my time as a member of this network, I have always enjoyed hearing about the various “VATSIM histories” of our members.  It is interesting to find out what brought someone to this network, and what keeps them involved.  Many of the members I consider friends have taken their VATSIM experience and turned it into an aviation career, while others have started streaming content thus raising the visibility of our network.  Some, like me,  have brought their aviation careers to the network.  This is my story - records show that I joined VATSIM in August of 2001, but my involvement in flight simulation dates back to 1983 when my father opened the first personal computer store in our town.  It was at that store that an employee introduced me to Microsoft Flight Simulator v1.0, and I was hooked.  By 1990 at the age of 18, I had my Private Pilots Licence, and in 1997 I graduated from an aviation college with a fresh CPL and a job towing advertising banners and flying traffic patrol over the cities of Toronto and Vancouver.  In 1998 I returned home and over the next 9 years I earned my ATPL while flying a Cessna 421B on predominantly air ambulance missions across the Province of Ontario - with some charter work thrown in for good measure.  I have some really good stories from my work as a pilot, so just ask if you are ever interested.  When I retired from piloting in 2007, VATSIM took a more important place in my life by keeping me involved in, and feeding my passion in all things aviation.  This, in turn, led me to roles within VATCAN, VATNA, and then the Board of Governors.


VATSIM is a simulation network, not a game - there, I said it.  This really should not be a polarizing statement because that was the intent of the Founders of this network when they created it a little over 20 years ago.  For many it is a passionate hobby, for others a place to learn, and for still others, a place to teach.  Above all however, VATSIM should and must be a safe place for all members, regardless of background or personal history, to feel safe, protected and welcome while celebrating all that virtual aviation has to offer.  For me, there is simply no compromise on this. Membership in VATSIM is a privilege, not a right, and those people fundamentally incompatible with the network are simply not welcome.


There are many exciting projects currently under development for our network, and I look forward to sharing more about them in due time.  As a group, your leadership team is always looking for ways to enhance the experience for our members, and we are also always open to hearing your suggestions.  If you have an idea we should consider, please email me at president(at)vatsim.net and I will make sure we have a look at it. 


Next week I will be in San Diego for FSExpo and I invite you to please come and introduce yourself if you see me wandering around.  If you catch me at the right time, you may find me sharing a couple of bags of In and Out burgers with the other VATSIM members and volunteers in attendance. (IYKYK)  Also, if you see me online controlling in my two current homes of ZYZ or ZMA, or flying in my favourite study level sim, please don’t hesitate to say hi.


Again, thanks to all for the honour of leading this network.  Let’s continue to enjoy it together.

  • Like 26

Tim Barber

VATSIM President

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