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VATNZ loses one of its members

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  • Board of Governors

It is with much regret that I announce that one of our VATNZ members, Brett Collings, was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident near Taumaranui yesterday.


Brett, from Wellington, was one of the original founders of SATPAC, the precursor to the current VATPAC and was a staunch supporter of VATNZ when the division was formed coming up two years ago.


Brett and I have been great friends for a number of years before the SATCO days and used to connect to Flight Sim multiplayer over a 14.4k dialup connection. We joined SATCO in early 1996 in the early days of its inception and later that year decided that we needed a division in New Zealand to represent our part of the world. At the same time, Terry Scanlan, David Kings and John Golin were in Australia looking at setting up an Australian division. We all got together and the rest, as they say, is history.


Every Sunday, week in, week out, Brett and I would log onto ProController, the first of the Controller clients, and provide ATC for the three or four aircraft that would fly the New Zealand skies. Brett, a real world Commercial Pilot, taught me how to vector, taught me all about 30° intercept angles and so many more things about flying and he was my inspiration. This was really the birth of our current Sunday Night Operations.


Frustrated by the lack of ability to see other traffic on the SATCO network, Brett and another kiwi, Sean Galbraith, created the Common Shape Library (CSL) for Squawkbox 2.0 and worked with the then developer, Joe Jurecka, to release this to the world. CSL brought online flying on the SATCO network to a new dimension as it allowed users with the models installed to start seeing other aircraft while flying online. This was the first step in what today sees us able to see hundreds or aircraft online and makes events such as Worldflight that much more authentic. Brett and Sean's idea, in my opinion, was probably one of the single biggest advances in online flying of its time.


Although not online for some time, Brett has always been a supporter of VATSIM and its goals and of VATPAC and VATNZ. Brett spent many years as a Supervisor on SATCO but stepped down to a Senior Controller due to real world commitments. Brett has quietly monitored the progress of VATSIM over the years and we regularly speak on the phone about the where things are at and the advances from the early days.


Brett leaves behind his partner Kari, and two sons.


A sad day indeed for VATSIM.





Mark Richards (811451)

Vice President Operations (VATGOV2)

Auckland, New Zealand



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