Jump to content

Warning!! Random stupid newbie questions

Recommended Posts

Hi Vatsim


Sorry all another stupid newbie with a long stupid post asking stupid questions!,


A little background.. I’m a UK member. I’ve signed up yesterday. I’ve spent the most of today reading through all the information held on vatsim and the forums (which are all excellent, I’ve learnt lots and maybe I should stop reading for today!). I’ve installed FSInn. I’ve sat at Biggin hill (UK) for a few hours (well 7!) and with the kind help of James at Thames approach earlier today we managed to get me to take off and land at Rochester (and have been sitting there listening if you’ve noticed me – sorry eglc-tower for having the wrong squawk setting!), I’ve just got a few questions as I’m really nervous of flying on vatsim (more now as its got really busy) and as this seems far from a game!

And I really don’t want to screw up anyone’s flying on here and if required I’ll just have to carry on flying without using vatsim but really think I will become quite good…?!!


I’d like to think I’ve got a lot of experience using flight sim , I started at fs 95 and now have fsx, I have completed a few non stop flights to Australia and the US/Canada in the past (I think my log is about 600 hours), however I have had big gaps in flying but hope I know how to fly (thinking differently now though!).


I hope a lot of my questions are purely to gain an understanding of how vatsim slots in with normal fs. (but please I’m sorry if really am a real amateur! (please try to direct me to urls then!)


What I generally do is fly IFR long haul in the 737, however I only follow what the built in atc tell me(following my flight plan created in the built in flight plan software) and once they tell me an approach I use the built in map to get the ils frequency, set the course and land manually. I have never used any charts and although spent a few hours looking at the geocites site which explains how to read them, have got confused even more as the uk charts seem to be different than the us ones. (I’m happy for the time being to stick to CAA Rules until I am comfortable!)


This is my first question, Does the controller on vatsim line me up with the ILS and allow me to fly straight in (as I haven’t got a clue how to read charts and fly procedural approaches as I can’t make sense from the charts) or do I really need to get my head round reading the charts and print of a chart for each airport I fly into? And what happens if there is no controller for my destination airport? Do I need to revert back to the MS ATC? Or just guess the approach (I think I know the answer.. learn the charts!)

Do I whilst in flight use my normal built in gps and (which I guess may answer my question) use the approach settings in the gps (I don’t normally use the gps approach as atc take me off my approach at 80 miles with a turn?!) Sorry this may be a really dumb question but I’m a bit overwhelmed by what works and what doesn’t in vatsim!


I think I understand that Unicom is as Microsoft atc put it simply a generic traffic frequency.. and I need to use this when there’s no atc. (but I’ve noticed that this is normally quite so does this not normally get used?)


I normally fly vor to vor (IFR) for domestic and eu flights but for transatlantic flights I’ve been flying direct gps, which I notice isn’t aloud on vatsim, I’ve tried to create a flight plan using the built in flight plan for high level airways (which I guess vatsim wants me to use?) but these seem to send me down to the azores then back up toward st johns (Canada) simply to cross the Atlantic which I guess can’t be right!. Is there something I’m missing I notice a piece of software called fsnavigator is this the best thing to use? Or is there a freeware piece of software or am I missing a tool on fsinn.


At the moment I haven’t got a microphone (Its on order!), I’m really nervous about communicating because although the atc speak is very similar to microsofts built in atc something’s are completely new, whilst I’m learning I guess I will improvising? Is this ok or will I do I really need to spend hours learning the correct lingo? (how pissed with atc be if I keep asking what things mean (I asked James what something meant on my first flight transmission!) Will I be corrected if make a mistake, or will atc request additional info as required? Any advise on this would be great!!!


For the time being I’ll probably just do a few VFR flights in a Cessna (which is more difficult to fly than a 737 in my opinion!), what I understand of VFR rules (on vatsim and real life) is that I need to log a flight plan so I can be seen (I haven’t done much vfr flying before cause its boring and slow!) I guess I can create a plan and use my instruments?, I guess I need to call the nearest controller and request take of clearance? and I guess I would need to request clearance though restricted airspace (if theres an atc online if not then I don’t need to do anything?) when coming into land I need to request landing permission? or use Unicom to state my intentions.


I know there’s a uk newbie flight training next Tuesday, but I’m concerned to ruin anyones flying then and would like to have a few flights before then if there’s a process of someone helping me with a one by one for an hour or so I would be very grateful so I can ask more stupid questions!.


I’ll go before this gets even longer, but keep up vatsim it’s the best think since the internet!


Many thanks in advance,


Alan Hathaway

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Alan,


welcome to VATSIM! I think the best way of getting all these questions answered is to make use of the New Pilots Night and the one-to-one mentoring on VATSIM-UK, otherwise we're going to end up writing out all the stuff in the Pilot Resource Centre on here, as well as trying to answer all the questions that aren't in the PRC! You won't ruin anyone flying on the New Pilots Night, because it's there specifically to let new pilots ask questions and try things out under supervision.


I'd start with flying in the UK, and get used to that before venturing across the Atlantic, and trying to learn other counties' ways of doing things. In particular if you are flying the Altantic you need to follow the NATS tracks (details on the VATSIM-UK website). It's not worth trying to use the built-in flight planner, as it isn't very good, and comes up with some bizarre flightplans at times.


You don't need to be able to fly procedural approaches as if there's a controller online he will almost always vector you to the ILS, and then you can land in the way you've always done. But if you are flying IFR you will need to know how to fly both a SID and a STAR.


VFR has its own set of rules. It depends on the type of airspace, the type of service from the airfield,and whether there's a controller online. You are asking such a range of questions it's not possible to go into all that detail here. There's some good stuff in the Pilot Resource Center www.vatsim.net/prc about how to do both IFR flights and VFR flights, but as you've obviosuly been doing a lot of reading I think it's time to log-on and get some practical experience.


Use the Pilot Resource Center pages on ATC phraseology, and the ones on First VFR flight and first IFR flight to show you the basics of what to say. ATC won't mind if it comes out a bit wrong, and will prompt you for missing bits, but we do need you to have some idea of what you are doing. A quiet airport like Biggin Hill is a good place to start, as the controller can spend time explaining things. If you turn up there on a Friday night, the Cix VFR club will be flying, and you can listen in and watch to see how it all works. There's some very useful UK specific training docomeents on their website at http://www.cixvfrclub.org.uk/


For one-to-one mentoring e-mail new.pilots [AT] vatsim-uk.co.uk They may not be able to help before Tuesday, but certainly will be happy to help.




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

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Ruth,


Many thanks for your prompt reply, i agree with your advice, stay in the uk for now!. I think I'll certainly wait and join in on tuesday evening with the new pilots night to start getting some experiance. Your post has also answered a few of my questions so many thanks for that. Thanks too for the link to cix flight club, i'll give them a try too. Also i've noticed on this page theres a link to a navigation section of vatsim which is very useful.


Can't wait to get airbourne!.


Thanks for your advice.





Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...