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Ideas for a FAQ: I want to start a VA

Ruth McTighe 824054

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OK guys (and gals), here's your chance.


Lots of VATSIM pilots come on here hoping to start a VA, often with very little experience or concept of what's involved. What would be your top tips to someone thinking of starting a VA?




Vice president Communications

Ruth McTighe

Heathrow Director, Essex Radar, Thames Radar, London Information

[Mod - Happy Thoughts]t webmistress CIX VFR Club http://www.cixvfrclub.org.uk/

Webmistress Plan-G http://www.tasoftware.co.uk/

Now not a VATanything

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I have been part of a few over the last 7 years and here would be my best tips:-


1.) Don't think too big, aim for fewer pilots as makes for a closer nit organisation.

2.) Think about trying to automate your Pilots/Pirep systems, it makes for less work.

3.) If you want to shadow a RW airline, then get permission as you don't want to be stepping on anyones toes.

4.) Try and get a top level domain, nothing is more offputting than a 'free' hosted site. (All the pop up ads)

5.) Have a fleet ready to go and try and make the livery stand out, nice to have good looking aircraft and is attractive.

6.) Keep your forum (if you have one) fairly small. It would only be confusing for new pilots to wade through loads of different categories.

7.) Have rules and stick by them, don't allow members to dictate to you.

8.) Stay on top of inactivity, nothing more offputting than a roster full of inactive pilots.

9.) Site design:- Just make appealing and don't be afraid to try something different.


That's all I can think of for now and I reckon the most important rule is to have fun with it, that's what we all strive for in the FS Community

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Make sure you keep on top of your website management. Keep it up to date and looking fresh. Running a VA is not always easy. There are aspects to running your VA that will be quite tedious and boring, such as website maintenance, route planning, sorting membership out, forum administration etc. However if you have a small team to help you out, all those tedious things fade away. Most importantly is not to aim too high first time. Start with perhaps, 1 hub or 2 and a small fleet and build it up from there. We would all love to run a large VA but if you cannot control a small one , you will have no chance. Have fun and enjoy!

Tariq Mattar





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VA's are community organizations, run your VA with a committee, where there are several people at the top to over look things, rather than using CEO's and Managing directors, submit all changes to the pilots for an open discussion, before making the changes, its the pilots VA not "YOUR" VA, Remember you need them, they dont need you.

Sometimes I think that, that is the only reason people start VA's is to have CEO or Managing director next to their name, No one ever starts at the Top.

Kirk Christie - VATPAC C3

VATPAC Undercover ATC Agent

Worldflight Perth 737-800 Crew Member


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  • Board of Governors

Know your limits. Do not try to become too big too fast. Work instead on developing quality and making it entertaining. Also be prepared for a lull after the initial newness wears off. There may be a slack period and this is where some less dedicated founders may lose heart and fold their tents.

Roger Curtiss


VP-Virtual Airlines & Special Ops




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If you need to hire a management team, only hire what you need as opposed to 10 different management posts that are unnecessary and hard to fill.

Yeah, I mean I'm starting a VA myself, and I'm not hiring any AHMs - what's the point? I mean, an AHM would only take over for him if he was sick, but how hard is it for an HM to send out flight [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ignments to his pilots? I mean, I know every VA works differently, but if you look at it that way, then there's no point lol

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Pretty simple! If you cant afford a domain, you cant afford to run your VA.




Though most are hard to find, there are a few free hosting providers that don't put any ads, pop-ups, or spyware on your site, and offer a lot of the features of paid hosting, like AwardSpace.com. Cover the address with a .co.nr domain, and you're set.


.co.nr are still free domains and everyone knows they are so they aren't covering it up.


You can get domains for as cheap as $3.99 a year, so if you can't afford that then don't go for it. As Eddie said.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

From our FAQ page. Pretty much reinforces what others have stated.

Q: What advise would you give someone considering starting their own VA?

A: Many people email VERT asking for advise on starting their own VA. We always tell them the same thing; the first, most important task you must accomplish is to figure out what your VA's "big idea" or central theme will be. Everything else flows from that ... the FS world in littered with VA websites that never really got going because they built a site, slapped up a couple of screenshots, repainted an aircraft or two, but had no solid concept of their operation to sustain them. Don't fall into that trap. Our experience at VERT has been that a very small core group (we had four to start), who are p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ionate about doing something in FS that no one else is really doing, can be successful. Once we got the main idea nailed down for VERT, the people with the needed skills just started showing up and pitching in. There is LOTS of work to running a VA, so you need to ensure the idea or theme will sustain member (and as importantly, YOUR) interest over the long haul. As a wise friend told us when we were forming VERT, "if you do it right... they will come." Good luck!


VERT Webmaster / VRT3 / VAW5740 / HC441BL

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