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Dealing with Newbie/Problem Pilots


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Hello everyone,

 

I wanted to make a topic on this to kind of express the ideas and opinions of controllers on the network and thoughts on this topic even though this has been brought up plenty of times. Dealing with new pilots/problem pilots can be very difficult for any controller especially when they are busy, but I noticed that controllers have their own philosophies on what to do and usually I hear "call a supervisor" or advise them they need to know how to fly before connecting. There is also the philosophy that I go by is to attempt to assist them or show some sort of patience according to the VATSIM COC. But, I have been begun to question both of these philosophies as one they usually cause disagreements on the frequency or you may not have the time to show patience to pilots who are having issues or are brand new to the network. The network was intended to provide as a hobby for pilots looking for a more realistic experience for free, but also as a learning place for virtual pilots looking to learn real world procedures. I honestly don't know what I should be doing for pilots for are experiencing issues other than to "express patience". 

 

Daniel Kormendy

ZLC ARTCC

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First of all, there is a difference between a pilot that is just new and is learning to fly under VATSIM ATC, and a pilot that is ignorant and is learning to fly on VATSIM.

When dealing with the former, I do my best to help him (if workload permits). The latter is often requested to continue the flight offline.

I find the ignorant pilots to be simply disrespectful towards the ATC and other pilots online. If you can't follow basic instructions, can't handle the aircraft - do not try doing that online (especially during a busy event).

Recently, during quite a busy CPT, I was covering ACC and did have a pilot that was unable to follow the direct-to instruction, even though he previously confirmed the STAR. Not to disrupt the traffic I requested the pilot to continue offline (CoC B8) as the last minute change to vectors could be disruptive to the CPT in place. Had he called sooner that he was unable to perform the STAR, the non-standard arrival would be coordinated.

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5 hours ago, Dawid Reszel said:

First of all, there is a difference between a pilot that is just new and is learning to fly under VATSIM ATC, and a pilot that is ignorant and is learning to fly on VATSIM.

When dealing with the former, I do my best to help him (if workload permits). The latter is often requested to continue the flight offline.

I find the ignorant pilots to be simply disrespectful towards the ATC and other pilots online. If you can't follow basic instructions, can't handle the aircraft - do not try doing that online (especially during a busy event).

Recently, during quite a busy CPT, I was covering ACC and did have a pilot that was unable to follow the direct-to instruction, even though he previously confirmed the STAR. Not to disrupt the traffic I requested the pilot to continue offline (CoC B8) as the last minute change to vectors could be disruptive to the CPT in place. Had he called sooner that he was unable to perform the STAR, the non-standard arrival would be coordinated.

I like the way you put it, because you are being somewhat patient by assisting the pilot when workload permits, but if they still can't figure it out reference Coc B8 and ask them to disconnect. My ARTCC recommends that we assist all new pilots, but I quite frankly think that we aren't a flight school and that we are a service to pilots who understand how it works. 

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1 hour ago, Daniel Kormendy said:

we aren't a flight school and that we are a service to pilots who understand how it works

There is a definite move by VATSIM to demand more knowledge and understanding of pilots than previously (see Tim's post at the top), and that is welcome. But knowledge and understanding are only stepping stones towards expertise and many mis-steps will surely occur. I hope that ATC will help to catch the stumblers whenever possible.

So, yes, ATC IS a service, but by its very nature, all of VATSIM is a school. Maybe a middle school but with support for elementary education, so ATC may hope that in future the elementary stage will be past by the time a pilot starts to learn with ATC. We're not there, yet, but I'm confident that we'll get there!

Alistair Thomson

===

Definition: a gentleman is a flying instructor in a Piper Cherokee who can change tanks without getting his face slapped.

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VATSIM has a tendency though of being both a school for pilots and a place where pilots get yelled at for making mistakes. There are plenty of controllers who lose it or yell at pilots on frequency because they aren't doing the right thing and then there are controllers who actually spend time helping pilots. While I have seen posts that Tim has made, it contradicts the previous "Aviate, Educate, Communicate" part of VATSIM because the original goal in the new year's message post was to make VATSIM open for newbies because of the new MSFS 2020 sim that came out.

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Simply put, a controller under no circumstances can tell a pilot to disconnect. Someone cited CoC B8 as their rationale. Compelling a pilot to disconnect under that CoC reference is enforcement of the CoC and that authority lies solely with the supervisor group. The controller needs to .wallop as opposed to telling someone to disconnect.

As far as educating pilots and being tolerant of mistakes, every controller should be willing to help when circumstances dictate and only to a certain point. When it is quiet, a controller absolutely should be more accommodating and help out users. But on the other foot, the new user does need to be steered away from things that are above their current skillset, such as events.

Finding this balance and creating realistically enforceable policies are things the BoG is hard at work doing so we can grow the network, keep it enjoyable for pilots and controllers (and we get that it’s simply not fun for a lot of controllers these days,) and ultimately come out of this transition period with a much stronger community. 
 

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You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.

Forever and always "Just the events guy"

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  • 2 months later...
On 6/25/2022 at 11:23 AM, Matthew Bartels said:

Finding this balance and creating realistically enforceable policies are things the BoG is hard at work doing so we can grow the network, keep it enjoyable for pilots and controllers (and we get that it’s simply not fun for a lot of controllers these days,) and ultimately come out of this transition period with a much stronger community. 
 

All the ATC I encountered during my first ever VATSIM session yesterday were helpful, understanding, and processional. When I ran into difficulties, the ATC at KMEM was super supportive. Ending my session was the best option for me as not to impact any other pilots. ATC said "No worries, hope to see you here again soon." Now that is the right way to do it!

Some of us are mature and respectful adults learning to fly in our Cassena 150 while enjoying a more realistic experience of seeing and hearing real people as pilots and controllers. We want to learn not only how to fly the plane but also how to give and take communications with ATC. Learn the proper way to ask for clearances, landing, departure, etc. All of that is part of learning to fly for me. Please don't let a few "ignorant pilots" ruin that.

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11 hours ago, Jeff Krueger said:

All the ATC I encountered during my first ever VATSIM session yesterday were helpful, understanding, and processional. When I ran into difficulties, the ATC at KMEM was super supportive. Ending my session was the best option for me as not to impact any other pilots. ATC said "No worries, hope to see you here again soon." Now that is the right way to do it!

Some of us are mature and respectful adults learning to fly in our Cassena 150 while enjoying a more realistic experience of seeing and hearing real people as pilots and controllers. We want to learn not only how to fly the plane but also how to give and take communications with ATC. Learn the proper way to ask for clearances, landing, departure, etc. All of that is part of learning to fly for me. Please don't let a few "ignorant pilots" ruin that.

Fortunately, I haven't run into an issue of pilot's not being able to comply with certain instructions as much as all members are now required to know how to operate their aircraft even before connecting. I myself control at vZME ARTCC from time to time as I have many friends/colleagues that I know from that facility and they are all great people, but it's not even the pilots sometimes. It's even the controllers and I can say the same for myself, I have run into times where I'm too busy and I lash out pilots scaring others pilots off the network. Fortunately, I haven't been in a situation like that and I plan to keep it that way so members of the community can have an enjoyable time on the network. I even had to experience of this pilot side recently and it wasn't directly my fault and really it was on the controller's end for messing up.

I just think that a push for a pilot-deviation system/pilot feedback system would be put in place, so we can directly discuss with the pilots what they did was wrong and how to fix it. We shouldn't make it where it's like a DCRM system because VATSIM is a learning environment and everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but it should at least tell the pilot how to be better in the future instead of having to explain everything over the network on frequency.

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On 8/30/2022 at 11:44 PM, Daniel Kormendy said:

a pilot-deviation system/pilot feedback system would be put in place, so we can directly discuss with the pilots what they did was wrong and how to fix it. [...] it should at least tell the pilot how to be better in the future instead of having to explain everything over the network on frequency.

Something like this is currently in active development.

No timeline for deployment that I am yet aware of.

Cheers,
-R.

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