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Vatsim needs more controllers...


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On 9/23/2022 at 8:14 AM, Don Desfosse said:

Get more students to at least a foundational level where they can get on position faster, and allow the mentors to provide on the job training (OJT), tips, tricks, feedback and support. 

 

Jesus Christ on a pony.  I almost fell off my chair when I read this.  I've been preaching this for two years!

Let me tell you a story Don.  I personally witnessed this.  I was at an ARTCC during an event observing.  The event was understaffed.  There was a kid who still hadn't passed S1 observing as well.  The tower and ground controller knew him somewhat well, and were making fun of him for it, mostly joking around.  The tower and ground controllers then started badgering him to work DEL, even though he wasn't certified.  They were relentless.  At one point, the kid disco'd, and left the event because of pressure to work the event.  He came back, and to shut them up agreed to work DEL, but only if the CIC of the event signed off on it.  The CIC did.  This kid then started on the DEL position, and after about 10 minutes of in the moment mentoring from tower and ground, was up to speed.  He made a few mistakes, but they were learning moments, in the moment.  He ended up doing a very good job.  It was a great example of giving people the basics, then doing OTJ training.  That type of experience appeared to be more rewarding to the kid, who was gushing about how enjoyable it was after the fact, and it also appeared to be less work, and more fun for the two "mentors in the moment" controllers.

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On 9/20/2022 at 4:47 PM, Luke Kolin said:

If I was to require teachers to have a PhD in the classics to teach kindergarten and they get frustrated and switch careers, should I blame the children?

We've had a continual mismatch in VATSIM between the skills required to control at a meaningful level and where we are at with pilots. If we require an exam and then 5-10 hours on mentorship over several days or weeks just to control GND, I'm not surprised in the slightest that the vast majority of new controllers leave when they discover that what they imagine ATC to be about will require months or years of training and drudgery. Our ATC organizations are filled with people who put up with that and don't see anything wrong with it - survivorship bias at its best.

Complaints about pilot proficiency have been a constant on VATSIM for over two decades now. We've kept raising the bar for controllers and it seems like VATSIM is now adjusting for pilots by requiring payware navdata and weather add-ons rather than a saner balance between the two. If one's description of one's hobby (whether ATC or flying) involves the word "casual", VATSIM isn't the place for you no matter what we may think.

If only software and its interoperability here was treated with the same passion 😄

cheers

I think you've summed it up nicely.  VATSIM reached a fork in the road about 15 years ago.  The controllers saw it, the pilots saw it, but the BoG's did not see it.  The controllers went left into "we going to try to be just like IRL controllers" land.  The pilots went right into "I've worked all week, now I'm going to enjoy my hobby that's not my job" land.  The BoG's stopped at the rest area just before the fork in the road, and took a nap.  The further these forks in the road diverge, the worse it is for VATSIM, and the community at large.

You mention survivorship at it's best.  I agree.  That's what I meant by VATSIM controller training being like a frat house.   "I got hazed, so you're gonna get hazed" mentality.  Nobody wants to be the last group to get hazed, and not be able to pass it forward......Hahahahaha. 

I think from now on, I'm going to refer to VATSIM as ΒΑΤΣΙΜ.  Come pledge Beta Alpha Tau!

Look at it like this.  Over the past 15 years, the pilots skills, expectations, wants, and needs, haven't changed much, if any.  Over the past 15 years, the controllers skills, expectations, wants, and needs, have changed, moving to an ultra realistic, labor intensive, attempt at replicating the IRL airspace system.  The only way to close this gap, is to make the controller side of the equation more hobby-centric, less an attempt at replication of the IRL airspace system, and more accessible to hobbyists that want to control.....like it used to be. 

 

 

TL;DR version:  The further away from each other that the controllers, and pilots get, based on what they want from VATSIM, and the hobby in general, the worse things will get.  

 
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I think you have to look at the history: Why did one organization split into two: IVAO and VATSIM? All the arguments given by TIm is an almost 1-to-1 copy of those arguments from the past. VATSIM chose to focus on quality rather than quantity. If you like to use the sim as a game, then IVAO is arguable the better choise. If you are more serious with your hobby, then I prefer VATSIM.

A number of reasons why VATSIM needs more controllers are given. And it would really be nice, if we had more controllers (and more pilots btw.). But as mentioned countless of times these are hard to get (or perhaps rather maintain). When looking at many of the contributers in this thread, I regrettably see some, who use harse words on the BoG, attacking the policy, but have not contributed with a lot of controlling time, inspite having a controller rating. Perhaps they should start controlling and give some room for the guys, who both mentor and control. It's far to easy to come with statements as " The controllers went left into "we going to try to be just like IRL controllers" land.  The pilots went right into "I've worked all week, now I'm going to enjoy my hobby that's not my job" land.  The BoG's stopped at the rest area just before the fork in the road, and took a nap."

Perhaps that kind of attitude is reason 347.   

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Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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Perhaps I may be a bit biased 🙂 , but though I may have agreed with the "BoG sleeping" argument many years ago (no slight meant to those who were in place back then), I can tell you that these days there are quite frequent and fruitful discussions regarding trying to find the right balance between quantity and quality to dramatically improve both recruiting and retention.  The challenge, of course, is that there are a LOT of variables in play...  Which means a lot of variables to tweak.  We're also trying to be more agile as well.  We're not perfect, but we are a lot faster at tweaking and reacting than we have been in the past.  We've accomplished a lot as a network in the past few years and endured a lot (think dramatic influx of people due to the pandemic and MSFS, as examples) as well.  The current BoG is paying close attention to driving the right quality/quantity balance to dramatically improve controller retention, mainly through raising overall pilot quality and capability amidst the changing demographics (based on the above factors, generational differences/expectations, etc.).

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Don Desfosse
Vice President, Operations

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On 10/2/2022 at 9:25 AM, Tim Simpson said:

...This kid then started on the DEL position, and after about 10 minutes of in the moment mentoring from tower and ground, was up to speed.  He made a few mistakes, but they were learning moments, in the moment.  He ended up doing a very good job.  It was a great example of giving people the basics, then doing OTJ training.  That type of experience appeared to be more rewarding to the kid, who was gushing about how enjoyable it was after the fact, and it also appeared to be less work, and more fun for the two "mentors in the moment" controllers.

I can tell you that understaffing during major events (e.g. FNOs, Cross The Pond) pushed me to take a similar course many times....  Put a trainee up in a position we needed badly to be staffed but wasn't so crazy-busy that they'd be crushed, and within 10 minutes working major event level traffic, these guys were performing, not perfectly, but much better than if they had "just a normal" practical test.  They rose to the occasion, the facility was staffed well enough, a shiny new certification and/or rating was earned, and the entire network benefitted.  For anyone reading, if you haven't considered it, try it.  Chances are, if you approach it with a healthy attitude, are willing to take a small amount of risk, but mitigate more severe risk, everyone will win.

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Don Desfosse
Vice President, Operations

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On 10/3/2022 at 3:12 PM, Don Desfosse said:

Put a trainee up in a position we needed badly to be staffed but wasn't so crazy-busy that they'd be crushed, and within 10 minutes working major event level traffic

But this is against the rules in certain VACCs. Hence, those rules need to be changed.

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I guess that I have been a VATSIM member for 14+ years and have logged 6000+ VATSIM hours as a pilot. I started with an expectation to pass as many exams as required to become proficient at flying and controlling.

However, I quickly found that the pilot training was not very good and the controller training rather bureaucratic. So, my enthusiasm for passing exams quickly diminished. Nearly all of my VATSIM flying training was done 'on the fly'. I am now a P1 pilot of long standing and have an S1 to my name, neither of which I find an asset. 

I have 3 concerns over training in general:

  1. The training requirements for pilots are sketchy and quite incomplete. Several times I have offered to develop an online pilot ground school using the many resources available from YouTube. Mostly I felt brushed off by those with VATSIM titles, and the mention of an existing software product to use was generally dismissed as 'not invented here'. 
  2. The training for controllers seems to be excessive for a hobby. Sure, I like to be controlled by competent staff, but the training of controllers is taken unnecessarily much further than for pilots. We then not only have an insufficient supply of controllers, but also a yawning gap between what pilots are expected to be able to do and what controllers are allowed to do.
  3. Not until controllers' hard-learned skills can be spread more generally around the globe will the shortage begin to be alleviated. This would require controllers to be trained to VATSIM standard procedures regardless of position. If pilots are accepted because of their general flying abilities, then why not the controllers?

I hope that this is a positive contribution

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Cheers, Richard

You are the music, until the music stops. T.S.Eliot
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1 hour ago, Richard McDonald Woods said:

I guess that I have been a VATSIM member for 14+ years and have logged 6000+ VATSIM hours as a pilot. I started with an expectation to pass as many exams as required to become proficient at flying and controlling.

However, I quickly found that the pilot training was not very good and the controller training rather bureaucratic. So, my enthusiasm for passing exams quickly diminished. Nearly all of my VATSIM flying training was done 'on the fly'. I am now a P1 pilot of long standing and have an S1 to my name, neither of which I find an asset. 

I have 3 concerns over training in general:

  1. The training requirements for pilots are sketchy and quite incomplete. Several times I have offered to develop an online pilot ground school using the many resources available from YouTube. Mostly I felt brushed off by those with VATSIM titles, and the mention of an existing software product to use was generally dismissed as 'not invented here'. 
  2. The training for controllers seems to be excessive for a hobby. Sure, I like to be controlled by competent staff, but the training of controllers is taken unnecessarily much further than for pilots. We then not only have an insufficient supply of controllers, but also a yawning gap between what pilots are expected to be able to do and what controllers are allowed to do.
  3. Not until controllers' hard-learned skills can be spread more generally around the globe will the shortage begin to be alleviated. This would require controllers to be trained to VATSIM standard procedures regardless of position. If pilots are accepted because of their general flying abilities, then why not the controllers?

I hope that this is a positive contribution

I feel for controllers & the higher expectation but lowering the standard would be a bad idea.  When a pilot screws up, it mostly affects that pilot & creates headaches for the controller.  If a controller screws up cuz lack of training it creates a snowball affect.  Flight simmers freak out over the pettiest lil thing.  Imagine the feedback from the community in that scenario.  Let me give an example as someone who flies non RNAV; my understanding is that controllers receive very lil training on non RNAV routing, procedures, & capabilities & it shows.  It creates a snowball affect.  We can always tell who's new when the non RNAV group requests clearance, gets told direct to, or rerouted.  I'm not saying this to complain or start a fight.  I'm just pointing out what happens.  We end up working together & they basically get on the job training in that field.  We're a small group in grand scheme of things but we are a substantial size of the community that can unintentionally break up a flow of traffic cuz a controller doesn't know that aspect of navigation.  Imagine if controller training was less stringent in other areas?  What would they cut out?  What would happen if they did?  Again, I feel bad for controllers & appreciate everything they do.  I could never do their job.

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Hi Ken,

I am unsure what you mean by non RNAV. But whatever, if there is a need for further controller training, then let's get it done. A problem here is what time would it take to establish across the globe?

My requirements are for:

  1. A common controller training process worldwide so that scarce resources can be spread more widely (qualified controllers would be able to control in all airspace). This would entail dropping the very expensive (in simmer resources) training processes for particular FIRs in the drive for real-world processes. I know that some may howl at the lowering of controller local procedures, but we either have highly developed local skills for FIRs or we have a greater coverage by controllers - we have proven over and over again that we can't have both. 
  2. An attractive ground school process so that pilots are encouraged to have a detailed knowledge of how to be a safe pilot. Before or during a pilot's training, accepting that growing flying capabilities are what is at the heart of an engrossing hobby. 
  3. A much more open attitude towards newer developments using the expertise available in our community rather than hiding behind grandiose job titles and treating most others as supplicants.

When can we get started?😍

Cheers, Richard

You are the music, until the music stops. T.S.Eliot
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1. Are you suggesting that a Tower controller at, say, JFK would be immediately able to control in that position at Heathrow?

2. Why do you think that this is not happening?

3. That sounds like you have a grudge. What prompted that view?

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Alistair Thomson

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

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Hi Alistair,

Do we have a comprehensive and simple-to-use controller training process common to all Vatsim users that significantly increases the number of available controllers? No, not that I see.

Do we have a comprehensive and simple-to-use pilot training (ground school + flight training) process common for all Vatsim users? No, not that I see.

To your points:

  1. Yes! I suggest lowering the barriers to qualification for general use, and then when stricter qualifications are required, as in a fly-in, to allow bookings by qualified controllers. Otherwise, everybody is excluded except those qualified. I am attempting to significantly expand the controller population allowed to practice their developing skills.
  2. Unfortunately, I feel that there has been either a lack of agreement on what training should be available or pressure to succeed. 
  3. No grudge at all, just frustration of a lack of progress. Years of experiencing slow or no progress on the training topic leads me to feel that the many office holders have made relatively little progress.

I hope this helps. 

Cheers, Richard

You are the music, until the music stops. T.S.Eliot
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5 hours ago, Richard McDonald Woods said:

Hi Ken,

I am unsure what you mean by non RNAV. But whatever, if there is a need for further controller training, then let's get it done. A problem here is what time would it take to establish across the globe?

My requirements are for:

  1. A common controller training process worldwide so that scarce resources can be spread more widely (qualified controllers would be able to control in all airspace). This would entail dropping the very expensive (in simmer resources) training processes for particular FIRs in the drive for real-world processes. I know that some may howl at the lowering of controller local procedures, but we either have highly developed local skills for FIRs or we have a greater coverage by controllers - we have proven over and over again that we can't have both. 
  2. An attractive ground school process so that pilots are encouraged to have a detailed knowledge of how to be a safe pilot. Before or during a pilot's training, accepting that growing flying capabilities are what is at the heart of an engrossing hobby. 
  3. A much more open attitude towards newer developments using the expertise available in our community rather than hiding behind grandiose job titles and treating most others as supplicants.

When can we get started?😍

I mean /A, /W/, /I VOR or INS navigation.

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6 hours ago, Richard McDonald Woods said:
  1. A common controller training process worldwide so that scarce resources can be spread more widely (qualified controllers would be able to control in all airspace). This would entail dropping the very expensive (in simmer resources) training processes for particular FIRs in the drive for real-world processes. I know that some may howl at the lowering of controller local procedures, but we either have highly developed local skills for FIRs or we have a greater coverage by controllers - we have proven over and over again that we can't have both. 

This is not really feasible for a number of reasons. I'll use myself as an example. I'm on the staff and an instructor at vZNY so I know the New York area, airspace, and procedures very well.

I went to go visit at Boston, literally right next door facility-wise. I was already familiar with a decent amount of their procedures (the ones that feed New York) and since it's also simulating an FAA facility, all the phraseology and general aviation rules are the same. Even with all of those advantages, it took me about 6 months to become proficient at controlling at Boston. While many basic ATC skills are transferable, a huge amount of controlling is local knowledge that is not generalizable even to the next facility over, to say nothing of going to other countries or across the ocean.

I would be completely lost trying to log on as a controller anywhere in Europe. Many of the basic aviation rules are different, along with phraseology and best practices, to say nothing of the local knowledge required. I'd guess that much less than 50% of what I currently know from controlling in the US is transferable to controlling in Europe.

Overall, the solution is not to lower controller standards. It's to raise pilot expectations and standards.

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Instructor // ZNY/ZWY Facility Coordinator

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As @Alex Ying points out every airspace is unique, so while many controlling techniques are similar (at least nationally), local knowledge is a must, when controlling: How is the airport layout, which runways are normally in use, how interfere nearby airports traffic with eachother, how is the top-down split made, what is the LOA between nearby facilities ... the list goes on. There is a reason why controllers in real life need rating for the specific airport/airspace they are controlling. For better or for worse this reflects back onto VATSIM. 

Let's do a though experiment: In order to maximize the positions a controller can man, VATSIM introduces a kind of "generic" atc - this would be a lot like the AI atc found in several of the sims used on VATSIM. While the communication is between real people, the result would be comparable to the AI atc. Would that be a way to go? My answer is clearly a big NO. There's a reason why many pilots stops flying offline with AI atc, even if on the plus side we can have almost Real World traffic instead of the sometimes rather sparsely populated VATSIM airspace.

With todays availability of aviation related resources the pilots (mostly) want to fly/do the procedures, as they can find them on the internet. This reflects back to us controllers, but in more convoluted ways than most pilots are aware of. I'm sure mentors can expand further on this.

The need for more controllers are real, no doubt. We need to strengthen the training facilities at the various ARTCCs. And on-the-job-training as mentioned several times can help speeding up the process - if care is taken. But proficient mentors are key. Alas they can be a scarse ressource in some places. A good streamlined organization needs to be behind all of this. An every person, who've got a controller rating should man some position - preferably on a regular basis. In the beginning not much traffic might be there, but over time....

The weekly Vectors to Copenhagen event monday evenings startted some 4 years ago, with rather small numbers in traffic. Today we handle as much traffic as Copenhagen Airport does in real life  -sometimes even more! It is the persistency, which is key. A steady group of controllers and influx of new controllers pays off.

Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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2 hours ago, Alex Ying said:

Even with all of those advantages, it took me about 6 months to become proficient at controlling at Boston

I think that Richard is suggesting that you don't need to be proficient. After all, It's only a game, right?? And every time someone says it's only a game, I cringe.

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Alistair Thomson

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

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No, he's  not saying that. He's just saying that "cleared to land" in Antarctica has the same meaning as it has in Mongolia. Sure, there is always some local knowledge required, but this can be learned "on the job". I also have my doubts that it is necessary to simulate all real world rules to the dot. In the real world, visual approaches may not be allowed at some airport due to "noise abatement". We can ignore this rule at VATSIM, because there is nobody who would be exposed to any "noise". Yet, some virtual places still implement these regulations, "because it is on the book". Please use some common sense.

And forget about the majority of pilots acting professionally. It's NOT going to happen. Ever.,

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4 hours ago, Andreas Fuchs said:

We can ignore this rule at VATSIM, because there is nobody who would be exposed to any "noise

And nobody would be exposed to death by crashing either. Or even expensive aircraft damage. It's all about one's belief system. If you believe that VATSIM should be "as real as it gets" then you have one perspective. If not, you're welcome to hold another one. But these polarized perspectives don't make for happy families.

Maybe another split in the VATSIM ranks is now required? Have a game-orientzted philosophy for one group and a realism philosophy for the other? Of course, that wouldn't work because then you'll very quickly get sub-splitting and disagreements about the nitty-gritty between the subsets of the membership.

So do we abandon the mantra "as real as it gets" and substitute something else? And if we do that, what happens to the "Educate" term? What would the basis for education become, if not the real world environment?

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Alistair Thomson

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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 never achieved the "as real as it gets" thing. Yes, people are trying to and that is fine. But I and not few other members have the feeling that it went a bit too far. To the point that some book-reading kids are telling real ATCOs and real pilots how their jobs should be done. The ATCOs who I know personally have dropped out of this Kindergarden for exactly this reason. As a consequence we have lost some precious sources of information how it actually is done and not just what the books say.

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Hi Andreas,

Thank you for your contributions. At least I am not on my own.

Somehow, we have to decide whether 'as real as it gets' is ever going to get the numbers of experienced and valuable controllers to a satisfactory and maintainable number. After many years of personal experience, I very much doubt it.

Demand and supply of skills must be balanced if we are to stop the ever-recurring and fruitless arguments of the extremes of the arguments, however honestly held. Those extremes being not going online because there is little benefit and trying to enforce real world local procedures at all times. 

I feel that once again I am approaching the situation where it is not possible to have balanced and fruitful discussions about the way forward to satisfying both controllers and pilots. I may just remain quiet and continue to use Vatsim controllers, but only rarely. :classic_sad:

Cheers, Richard

You are the music, until the music stops. T.S.Eliot
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10 hours ago, Alistair Thomson said:

And nobody would be exposed to death by crashing either. Or even expensive aircraft damage. It's all about one's belief system. If you believe that VATSIM should be "as real as it gets" then you have one perspective. If not, you're welcome to hold another one. But these polarized perspectives don't make for happy families.

Maybe another split in the VATSIM ranks is now required? Have a game-orientzted philosophy for one group and a realism philosophy for the other? Of course, that wouldn't work because then you'll very quickly get sub-splitting and disagreements about the nitty-gritty between the subsets of the membership.

So do we abandon the mantra "as real as it gets" and substitute something else? And if we do that, what happens to the "Educate" term? What would the basis for education become, if not the real world environment?

Let me challenge that "as real as it gets" a bit and maybe suggest "as real as reasonable possible" instead. As VATSIM is structured it will never reach "as real as it gets" for one obvious reason. In real life, controllers are not voluntary but are paid to control, so the lack of continuous and constant coverage is the biggest giveaway for "ARAIG". When I fly in the morning/noon time, I am mostly flying on Unicom, which is very far from what is real. 

One other very distinct difference is that in real life, even the individual centers are often split up into several frequencies. I can't remember the exact number, bit I believe that around 3-4 center controllers would be needed just to cover Denmark. For some of the larger areas in the US, it would be even more. But usually, we only have one or two center controllers online at a given time, unless there is an event. In reality, this would mean that the center controller would have to transfer pilots between several frequencies that he controls. VATSIM has, obviously, chosen not to implement such a system.
One other thing that I have noticed VATSIM Scandinavia has begun to do around EKCH (which I suggested on the Discord, to great dismay for some of the controllers there) was to put the names of the STAR's you could expect. While this is not something that is done in real life, because there would always be a center/approach controller to vector you in, this is not the case on VATSIM. So, when you see a controller comes online at EKCH, you can check what approaches to expect in the ATIS. 
I honestly also think that VATSIM should consider making one big unified way to train controllers where the basics are applicable for all of VATSIM and then after this, the individual divisions can give the controllers a more specific introduction to the area they wish to control. 
Again, the scuffing over calling VATSIM a "game. Well, it certainly ain't professional controller/pilot training, so there is that. I think that VATSIM in general should remember one very important and specific thing. Whether it is meant to be a "game" or a "true to life imitation", it is certainly meant to be fun and if it ain't fun to control/fly or train to become a controller/pilot, it will be hard to attract people into training and retain them as controllers. 

One personal thing I can mention is that with the training as VATSIM Scandinavia, I am expected to observe one or more controllers for collectively 10 hours and while they do give some good suggestions on what to take notice of, my experience is that observing something controlling doesn't really give me anything. I learned a lot more by actually having my hands in the "dirt" at IVAO for the couple of times I could sit as a Delivery controller at EKCH. Maybe giving people a quick and dirty introduction as how to sit as a DEL controller (with a possible multiple choice exam) and then let the rest of the training be "learning by doing". 
While some may rightfully claim that sitting as a DEL controller is not easy, it is the lowest step in the top-down coverage, so you won't have less work to do as a GND controller or higher. 

These are my 2 cents. 

Cheers.

 

Edited by Michael Flemming Hansen
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Problem of not trying to do it as real as possible/practical: Who, then sets the bar? It's shouldn'd be a free for all. We just can't do it as in real life, but could you please come up with atc rules used at VATSIM, that are too restrictive for you?

To the example given by Andreas on allowing clearences for visual approach into an airport, which IRL doesn't utilize it, I agree that this is not a big deal - of cause the controller can give permission for such an approach on VATSIM. And you can also fly the Concorde at FL650 at supersonic speed over land.

But how to deal with now closed airports like Hong Kong Kai Tak or Berlin Tegel. In some cases the controller can deal with it, in other circumstances mayby not, if traffic into/out off now closed airports conflicts with the traffic patterns of airports in use today. The Hong Kong Vatsim should be the agency, which sets our the rules - not an individual pilot. If they want to do the old Kai Tak approach,  you can do it off line. Or Vat Ger for Tegel.

The only measuring stick we can use to try to deal with these situations, is to look how real controllers deal with them - and then try to implement them in our virtual world. Should we allow VFR traffic above FL190 in Denmark (which is not permitted IRL) - or in Class A airspace in general in the US or UK? We can all start to argue for our individual ideas that suits us best. But how much of a simulation is this then, when rules can be invented by anyone? We could ask the BoG to lay down even more rules and regulations, but in my view the best rule set to comply to is the rules in the real world. This yard stick is made by proffessionals - and while we can't use them all (this is after all a hobby), some common ground needs to be set.

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Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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@Michael Flemming HansenWe all learn in different ways. But a training scheme needs to be put out for everyone. Do we have ressources to match training to individual needs? While I am a member of VATSIM Scandinavia, I'm not a member of the training staff, so I can't tell you. 10 hours may sound like a lot of time, but in reallity, it's "only" 2 - 3 sessions on a Monday evening.

And while DEL is the "lowest" position on VATSIM, it is not the easiest. Isolated speaking, I would argue that Tower is the easiest position in normal circumstances. How hard is it to give takeoff or landing clearences on a normal evening? Not a big deal - and if you're even able to give a Go Around instruction to a plane now and then - well, you're good to go.

In VATScandinavia we (as you know) do not use S1, but go directly to S2. So your training relects this (or should). Knowledge of the different SID is naturally important - whichone are for JETs, which are for PROPs. What altitudes are relevant for the clearence of different planes on different SIDs?
I'm sure you know what I mean. The mentor you have, should be able rather quickly to evaluate your abilities to sit on such a possition. Have a talk with him. And remember to be critical on your on abilities as well. We all do have our weak spots.

Many years ago I was sitting at EKBI Twr, very new, very green. Not much was happening - it is after all a relative small airport traffic-vice on VATSIM. My mentor was controlling at Copenhagen Kastrup and asked, if I wouldn't join him as DEL at EKCH. And of cause I would. This was one of the biggest mistakes/learning lessons I had in my career. What he had'n anticipated was the arrival of a new EKCH scenery for FS9. So suddenly all hell broke loose (so it seemed to me at least), with many pilots calling in for clearence at more or less the same time. While I knew what to say and give them as clearence, I totally lost the overview of the situation. In the end I simply had to disconnect to get my bearings again. I couldn't blame my mentor (he knew I knew the SIDs etc), he couldn't have anticipated the sudden influx of pilots. I had my self to blame to be overconfident and saying yes to man a position I'd rarely tried before. Situational awareness in overload situations are hard to handle - and could have led to me having to resign as student controller, if we (my mentor and I) didn't have a long talk about what happend and how I could deal with it in the future.

I don't know your proficiency level, but I advise you to tak to your mentor and be selfconsious on your ability to handle overload situation - because they will happen at some time. Hope to see you on the roster.

Edited by Torben Andersen

Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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32 minutes ago, Torben Andersen said:

this is after all a hobby

Exactly! Not a game. There is a huge difference even though both are fun. In a game there are winners and losers and the pursuit is more trivial than a hobby, which also involves learning and study in order to get the best from the activity.

I nite that no one has suggested what the locus of education is in having a single unified set of global rules. Sure, members can be taught the rules, but with the current realism level at least some of that learning is transferable to the real world and comments have been made may times that that has been a valuable contribution to real world flying training.

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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