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2 hours ago, Jack Parsons said:

Oh that’s a great idea. Thanks for that. Is it a tutorial or just more understanding?

There is more behind. Supervisors are always live monitoring the event in case someone need an help, this in case this support is required from any reason from a pilot, or if the ATC's has detected that a pilot have issues. However these aren't the only one opportunities provided from the network about how to learn to fly: there are also fligth schools.

Sometimes things get complicated. ATC on VATSIM as Milano Radar (LIMM_N_CTR) Twitch channel https://www.twitch.tv/italianalien21

 

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1 hour ago, Jack Parsons said:

Oh That's amazing thanks. Unfortunately, I live in the UK so 02:57z isn't going to be a great time for me. Are there alternatives?

Yes, these events happen regularly and the event-times are shifted every time to make sure all parts of the world have one at a suitable time locally.

Are you a member of VATSIM UK? If not: do it. They are a helpful bunch and they also operate a Teamspeak-server (or have they switched to Discord?) where you will find like-minded persons who might be able to direct you to the right information.

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First Wings was recently held in the UK (second or third time it has) and I'm sure will be back there again - or within Europe/Eastern US at some point also.

What issues did you have at Stansted?  Perhaps knowing a little more would mean just that one post here would highlight something to do that would make things fall into place for you.  Additionally, the UK has been very busy today with the Division's longest running annual event - Mid Summer Madness.  As such, there were a lot of aircraft vying for attention which wouldn't have helped.  

Trevor Hannant

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Hi Trevor,

 

Many thanks for the clarification. I shall keep a look out.

 

I think the issue with my flight yesterday is I didn't really know how to fly the aircraft. So, when adding other this in like SID's and STARS plus ATC protocol, I just crashed and burned. However, I am learning something new every day and will be taking part in the summer madness tomorrow flying to frankfurt. I feel confident to give it a try and not be a massive burden on everyone. I will be swating on all RNAV ATC procedures and studying  the route so I know every step of the Journey. I may do a return leg in the afternoon. Callsign BAW236 in case you want to avoid me.

 

Regards

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Hi Jack,

The self deprecation here is only going to keep you into a limited mindset that will make it harder to learn and feel comfortable on this network. I promise it's not nearly as bad as you may think 🙂

I suggest you go into your aircraft of choice and do some repeat flights on the same route to practice all of these things you're struggling with. Either do this offline, or during a quiet time, so that ATC is able to help you. Avoid London for this if you can.

Something that helps me when learning a new aircraft is to follow a streamer VOD alongside or a proper tutorial alongside my own flight. This gives me points of reference for major steps in flying the aircraft.

Good luck with your VATSIM journey! 

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Liesel Downes
she/her/hers

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To add to what Liesel and Andreas said, please don't fly out of Mid Summer Madness today if you don't know how to operate the aircraft with confidence.  This is a busy event with over 340 movements yesterday during opening hours, three stacks in use for most of the event, stack swaps and additional en route holding.  The controllers simply won't have the time to help you out with any issues.

As Liesel says, practice offline or when a sector is quiet and get confidence in the aircraft you're flying first.  I've got nearly 6,500 hours as a pilot on the network and still took the MD80 in MSFS up offline for a few flights first to get familiar with it despite already owning the P3D version.  it will help enormously and serve you well.

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Trevor Hannant

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Besides all the above, which all are excellent suggestions and without knowing exactly what you are struggling with, let me give you a couple of pointers that really has helped me.
 

  1. Have pen and paper nearby. 
  2. Have pen and paper ready!
  3. This may seem a bit dumb, but tune in to liveatc's different stations (cld, gnd(apron),twr, dep,arr, etc) again, depending on what you are struggling with, and listen to what is being said. Personally, I struggled a hell of a lot with the readbacks, so I did it the hard way and invested in Pilot2ATC (also because I often need to fly offline, due to personal circumstances) to train the readbacks. The point being, while listening to a clearance, ground or tower channel, try to hook on to one of the exchanges and write down for example the clearance given. Try to find a good way to write it down quickly enough, while still being readable. Then read it back.
  4. Always remember that clearances, taxi instructions, etc. always have the same basic structure. Departure clearances are usually something with: 'callsign' is cleared to 'destination' via 'SID'. Expect departure runway xx. Climb to xxxx, expect higher clearances xx minutes after departure. XXXX frequency is xxx.xx, squawk xxxx. The text in italic is not always said, because they are implied in the SID. So, write down in short form. Destination (you already know that), SID (you don't always know this, but at least in Europe, it is usually named the same as you entry waypoint. For example, if I ask for the SIMEG8C departure at EKCH, my route starts with Simeg. If the runway is changed, you can still expect a SID with SIMEG in it.), Next frequency (which of course can be 122.8, unicom) and finally the Squawk. Sometimes you can even read the departure frequency on the charts. So, essentially, the only things you don't know is the exact SID and the squawk
    I usually write down like this. Let's say I want to fly from Kastrup (EKCH) to Naples (LIRN) with the SIMEG8C departure for rwy 22R as SAS2681.
    Naples
    SIMEGxx, (xx rwy, xxxxx alt, xx min)
    Next: xxx.xx(in case I get a next frequency)
    sq: xxxx
    Then I can quickly fill out the missing parts and I know how to read back. Scandinavian 2681 is cleared to Naples via the SIMEG8C departure, after departure monitor unicom 122.8, squawk 2671 or if I am giving the altitude (which rarely happens at Kastrup) and new runway: Scandinavian 2681 is cleared to Naples via the SIMEG1E departure, climb to FL120, expect higher clearances 10 minutes after departure, after departure contact Copenhagen Center on 129.475, squawk 3158. 
  5. The same goes with taxi instructions. You can usually get an idea on where the ATC will have you go. Again, write in shortform. If the ATC instructs me to: Taxi to runway 22R via Q, F, Hold short runway 12, then A to holding point A1, I write: Q,F,HS12,A, HPA1. Then I can read it back quickly in that order. 
  6. The rest is relatively simple, because they are usually short instructions like "Climb to xxxxx" or turn right/left heading xxx, although when given both altitude and directions to fly, I can mess up the two numbers. But the final part that might be a bit tricky, is the arrival clearance, bug again, remember that is always has the same basic structure, similar to the departure clearance. You already know the exitpoint of your route, meaning that your STAR will usually have the same name. Meaning that you can write down this clearance the same was as the departure clearance.

These are suggestions I have found out works for me. What is really going to help you out, is developing your own system for writing these things down. I can promise you, after doing this the first 5-6 times hacking your way through it with a lot of "eh" and "uhm", it will quickly become easier. 

Hope you can use this.

Sincerely,

Michael 
 

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Hi Guys,

Sorry for the delay in responding. Thank you so very much for your advice and support. 

 

Firstly, Trevor, many thanks. I have joined VATSIM UK  and created a ticket to sign up to the pilot training. Fingers crossed I hear back soon.

 

Michael, wow thank you for your explanation. I guess its the same as anything really. Competence will come from experience and practice. I do listen to the offline ATC but tend to get a little scared when talking to real people. I have managed to gain enough confidence in Clearance, push & start, taxiing and takeoff. I got a little nervous the other day after tuning to approach and then centre as I was vectored slightly away from the SID. I rely heavily on autopilot and the FMS at the moment. However, I have bought some FS academy modules so I'm working my way through them at the moment. I'm thinking of doing a transatlantic on Saturday. Not sure if I'll do that on VATSIM or not though.

Anyway, thank you so much for your help and wisdom guys. I really appreciate it.

Regards

Jack

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Trust me, I know. I actually logged off one day (some time ago) because I saw that EKCH Departure/Approach came online. The issue with Vatsim and similar virtual systems will always be 1: that it is voluntary and 2: that there is top-down controlling, but not bottom-up. Meaning, that you will enter the controlled phase somewhere in the middle of an approach, unless center is online. Then they will guide you all the way. 
Again, for example, at Kastrup we exclusively use vectored approaches, unless ATC instructs otherwise. This have given me some issues where I see that ATC is not online when I start a flight and therefore plan a full RNAV SID and then ATC comes online and wants me to change it. In real life there is no real need to plan for full RNAV at Kastrup, because there will always be a controller to vector you in.

On another note, what is important to remember here is that ATC will not just let you hang out to fly. They know the altitude you must be at in order to safely capture the glideslope (assuming you do ILS landings) and localiser. When the ATC vectors you around, you really just need to trust that person. For one, they are doing it keeping in mind you need time to get the plane stabilised on the approach and secondly, they are doing it to separate you from the other traffic. In fact, that is the primary role of the ATC. To separate IFR flights for safety and efficiency. 

And if everything else fails, let the ATC know that you need to do a go-around and if you can't perform the standard go-around in your plane yet, ask the ATC to give you vectors from the get-go.

The most important thing here is to let the ATC know what is going on with you. You don't have to write him/her a novel about it, but if you aren't sure about your landing, say it (maybe not exactly in those words), but maybe something like "'atc callsign', 'your callsign'. Non stabile approach, request vectors for go-around". Then you can get an initial instruction something like: " 'your callsign', climb to 7000 feet in runway direction, then turn left heading 275.

One other thing I forgot to mention, but is just as important. Practice all of this offline. When you are comfortable with handling all of the little nuances of your favourite plane, you will have more ressources for performing the instructions given by the ATC. One thing, for example, that I have consistently trained way too little, are go-arounds. 

Cheers,

Michael

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1 hour ago, Jack Parsons said:

Hi Guys,

Sorry for the delay in responding. Thank you so very much for your advice and support. 

 

Firstly, Trevor, many thanks. I have joined VATSIM UK  and created a ticket to sign up to the pilot training. Fingers crossed I hear back soon.

 

Michael, wow thank you for your explanation. I guess its the same as anything really. Competence will come from experience and practice. I do listen to the offline ATC but tend to get a little scared when talking to real people. I have managed to gain enough confidence in Clearance, push & start, taxiing and takeoff. I got a little nervous the other day after tuning to approach and then centre as I was vectored slightly away from the SID. I rely heavily on autopilot and the FMS at the moment. However, I have bought some FS academy modules so I'm working my way through them at the moment. I'm thinking of doing a transatlantic on Saturday. Not sure if I'll do that on VATSIM or not though.

Anyway, thank you so much for your help and wisdom guys. I really appreciate it.

Regards

Jack

 

No problem Jack!

Sometimes, for expediency or for separation purposes, a controller will take you off a SID to make things easier - or maybe just faster for you!  To help yourself if it happens again, try the following offline so you get used to the airframe you're flying when online:

- plan a flight and go through all the setup as you would - just don't connect
- say to yourself, in your head or out loud with your headset on, your request for clearance then all your ground movement parts (push/start, taxi)
- take off as you would normally but....
- halfway through the procedure, pretend you've been taken off the SID and given a heading*

So, the first thing you want to do here is set the heading bug on your autopilot - no need to fly it manually!  Good tip first though - set this, on the ground, to the runway heading so if you get given "climb straight ahead", your autopilot is already set up for that and you only have to press the HDG button.   If you get given a different heading, it won't be too far off where you already have it set.  Once you've settled on that heading for a couple of minutes, use your FMC and route direct to a point.  Practice going to your DIR page, finding that point then select it and send your aircraft there.  I don't know what aircraft you're flying so can't be more specific than that..

This will give you some confidence that you can actually do this - and without the pressure of ATC watching you on their scope, it'll feel easier for you.

*Also try this step with simply cutting out a few points and going direct to a point down your route.

Hope this helps also!

Trevor Hannant

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