By Richard Jenkins 800012
#264460 Image

November 5, 2008

An Open Letter to the VATSIM Community

Dear VATSIM Members:

We, the Founders of VATSIM, wanted to take a brief opportunity to address the Members on certain matters which have developed within the community recently and which we have been quietly watching. Before we get into the specific topics we want to address, we wanted to do something that we don't do nearly enough and that is to thank all of you. VATSIM has grown and matured in a way that none of us ever anticipated. There are so many of you that are passionate about VATSIM and make it a part of your daily lives that it is truly awe inspiring. From the thousands of you that have selflessly volunteered and served in staff positions over the years to those who bring their real world experience to members eager to learn right down to the pilots and ATC that interact with one another on the network on a daily basis; we could not begin to thank you. This is the community we envisioned when a small group of us broke away from SATCO and decided to set out on our own.

For the most part, we think that everyone has done a remarkable job in the creation and raising of VATSIM from its infancy to what it has become today. As with most things, however, VATSIM is not perfect and we have noticed certain undercurrents developing recently which we have quietly been watching. We feel that we can no longer remain silent about these matters and that they must be addressed before they get any stronger and begin to affect the greater community. While some of you may think this letter to be some sort of crisis of confidence in leadership, we want to dismiss that notion immediately. We feel that the vast majority of staff are pursuing the founding principles of VATSIM in the way we envisioned or, at the very least, honestly believe they are doing so. However, to use an analogy that most of you can relate to, every ship needs minor corrections from time-to-time to make certain that it stays on course. Such corrections don't mean that the ship is not sound. It is with this in mind that we write this open letter to the community.

While most of you may know and occasionally see some of us online, you also know that throughout VATSIM's 7 ½ years of existence, we have kept a hands off approach when it comes to the day-to-day running of the network. It was never our intent to become involved in such matters. We decided a long time ago that we would vest such responsibilities in the Board of Governors, the Executive Committee (Regional Directors) and other staff, choosing instead to give them some broad guidelines and principles to follow.

The core principles of VATSIM are found in the preamble to the Code of Conduct. Above all else, VATSIM is supposed to be an environment which is fun and, at the same time, educational and a realistic simulation of real world aviation. VATSIM is supposed to be an INCLUSIVE rather than an EXCLUSIVE community. That means that the entertainment, educational and realistic simulation aspects of VATSIM have to work together and otherwise complement one another. No one aspect should have any greater importance over or be pursued to the detriment of any of the other core principles.

This also means that while we strive for realism, we must be willing to make compromises in that regard. The reason for this is that there is an important difference between the real world and the VATSIM world that some in our community are failing to grasp or choosing to ignore. The real world aviation community comprised of real world pilots and ATC is an exclusive community. No one is permitted to legally fly or control in the real world before they have undergone extensive training. That is simply not the case in VATSIM as we are an inclusive community.

There will always be people of differing age, backgrounds and starting knowledge about piloting and ATC when they join VATSIM. We are observing a growing trend of intolerance towards new members who are not as educated in piloting and ATC as other senior staff and members might be which goes against the inclusiveness aspect of VATSIM. Further feeding this unwanted fire are those staff members who are openly creating a culture of exclusivity through the implementation of overly stringent rules and training regimens for ATC, all in the name of realism. What this has in fact resulted in is a shift away from the fun and educational aspects of VATSIM (i.e. removing the balance we tried so carefully to create) towards a more heavily weighted realism aspect. The perception and/or justification is that this is a great benefit to VATSIM as we are making things “as real as it gets”. While this might be acceptable if this resulted in no effect on the fun and education aspects, this has clearly not been the case.

It is with these thoughts in mind that we focus on and wish to address the following matters. We could easily cite the specific instances which have raised our concerns and prompted us to write this letter. However, it is not our intent to call any particular group or person out publicly. Instead, we will identify the general behavior that is troubling and then present our proposed solutions which will, hopefully, address the issues once and for all.

1. Lack of Inclusivity

As we briefly mentioned above, there is growing evidence that tight-knit groups of members are getting into staffing positions at the local level and then proceeding to create their own little exclusive clubs within their virtual airspace. Certain of these individuals then perpetuate this atmosphere by putting into place rules and procedures which severely limit the ability of general members to advance through the ATC ranks. These problem areas are typically evidenced by the following:

• Next to no promotions for long periods of time in their area
• Imposition of impossibly difficult “over-the-shoulder” exams
• Unreasonably high controller standards which are not supported by network traffic levels
• Imposition of requirements of unreasonably high hours prior to consideration of advancement of ATC ranks
• Testing periods which take months and even years (in extreme cases)
• Staff who agree to volunteer for positions and then fail to perform

2. Intolerance for New(er) Members by Both ATC and Pilots

There seem to be a growing number of real world ATC students and longtime VATSIM members who don’t hesitate to berate and belittle pilots in forums. They label these fellow members as “clueless” and don’t hesitate to suggest that they should go elsewhere and otherwise avoid “their” airspace. Through their actions, these members try to remold VATSIM into their vision of an exact recreation of the real world. As we stated briefly above, striving towards realism is only one of several fundamental principles in VATSIM. We are not, however, willing to sacrifice the entertainment, educational and inclusivity principles that the network was founded upon in the name of “realism”.

Pilots are also not immune from this “intolerance”. We have read threads in forums (thankfully removed by moderators in most instances) where ATC are called out by name for allegedly poor service. There have been other instances where pilots have openly complained about a lack of service.

3. Abuse of Authority by Staff

We have seen instances where certain staff members seem to be creating their own little “virtual kingdoms” in their airspace. These staff members volunteer for positions and then proceed to become overbearing with members of their staff and abusive with the authority they have been given by VATSIM. They have the mentality that their airspace is “their property” rather than belonging to the entire VATSIM community. We have documented incidents of abusive behavior where local level staff have engaged in unauthorized downgrades of ATC ratings based on inactivity. Even more disturbing, we have evidence of downgrades made for no apparent reason at all other than an explanation that “the Code of Regulations did not prohibit me from doing so”.

These staff members see a void in the Code of Regulations and Code of Conduct (i.e. the lack of an expressly prohibitive rule) and take it upon themselves to fill this perceived void with overbearing local rules and actions which violate the fundamental VATSIM principles we have previously talked about. In extreme cases, they use these rules and their “authority” to intimidate and bully other members, creating (depending on your point of view) a “clique” (at best) or a “gang” (at worst). What this typically leads to is a “turf” mentality where these staff members “protect” their airspace through these rules and their actions, typically by using the “realism” argument as a justification.

We don’t want to give the impression that we feel that this has become the new “norm” in VATSIM. To the contrary, we think that the vast majority of staff and members appreciate and respect the fundamental principles upon which VATSIM was founded. We believe that the issues we have identified above are isolated instances. However, the fact that they ever took place is of great concern to us and we feel that we must take steps to ensure that such things don’t become the “norm”. Therefore, we feel compelled to take the following extraordinary steps to correct these recent developments and to bring a renewed focus on all of VATSIM’s fundamental principles:

1. There will be an immediate moratorium put into effect on all downgrades of ATC ratings.

The Founders believe that once a member achieves a given ATC rating, the only way to lose that rating is through a disciplinary proceeding under Article VI. of the VATSIM Code of Regulations (under the authority of and through procedures established by the Conflict Resolution Department) or to correct an error (under the authority of and through the procedures established by the Membership Department). No other basis may be used by any other staff members to perform downgrades.

The BOG has already begun the process to amend the Code of Regulations to better protect a member’s rating’s achievements from abusive staff who use downgrades as a means of achieving personal agendas.

2. The Global Ratings Policy (GRP)

Much of the recent rule making at the local level has been in response to the implementation of VATSIM’s Global Ratings Policy at the beginning of 2008. The Founders recognize that the basic idea of the GRP was an admirable attempt to protect members from abusive practices but it is apparent that the exact opposite is taking place in certain instances. The Founders believe that much of the initial resistance to the GRP is a result of it being difficult to understand and implement and somewhat contradictory in its terms.

There was an initial inclination among some Founders to suspend the GRP. However, upon further consideration and being mindful of the hard work and good faith effort by many staff members from around the world to bring local policies into compliance with the GRP, we believe that a more prudent course at this point in time is to undertake a comprehensive review of it in the first calendar quarter of 2009 (i.e. by March 31, 2009). By the end of 2008, the GRP will have been in place for nearly one year. This will allow us to conduct a meaningful review of both its pros and cons. It would also allow for input and suggestions from staff on how it may be improved.

Members should keep in mind two important points about this particular decision. First, the GRP is not going to go away. It is the Founders’ belief that a uniform global ratings policy is in VATSIM’s best interests and protects members against some of the abuses we are seeing. Second, we want to make clear that no region, division or local level ACC/ARTCC or FIR will be permitted to allow the ATC “cliques” and “gangs” we are addressing here to develop or continue to exist through the creation of artificially high ATC standards, testing or rules from this point forward.

This doesn’t mean that a particularly rigorous program is immediately doomed to be found non-compliant. We realize and appreciate that there are staff around the world who have worked very hard at not only developing such programs but at the same time, also making sure that they are fairly administered. The degree of difficulty alone will not be the sole determining factor of compliance. All training programs must balance striving for realism with treating members fairly and maintaining the fun and educational aspects of VATSIM. Local level ATC must ensure that any difficult standards are first justified by the level of air traffic and then are offset by a willingness to educate prospective members, to test members for advancement in a timely manner (i.e. within a reasonable time frame), to maintain reasonable hour requirements for members and to, in general, treat everyone fairly.

3. The Pilot Training Program Will Go Into Effect by the End of 1Q 2009 (March 31, 2009).

The Founders firmly believe that the Pilot Training Program is a major step forward in VATSIM's evolution. While we believe that the Pilot Resource Center ("PRC") is a useful tool for new members to the community, it doesn't provide the same level of "hands-on" experience that a Pilot Training Program will eventually offer. This program will go a long way towards bringing new, inexperienced pilots up to speed much quicker than the methods the online community has used up until now. We hope that the program will also have the effect of beginning to address concerns some ATC have expressed about the present inequality between ATC and pilots (the former are required to undergo training while the latter are not).

Once again, members should keep a few things in mind regarding the pilot training program. First, the program is not to be considered a completed work. Rather, it will be a continuing "work in progress" for the foreseeable future, much in the same way that ATC training was in its early days on SATCO. Part of the reason that the rollout of the Pilot Training Program has been delayed for so long is that it is a huge project. Most likely, the administrators of the program felt that they would be held up to the same expectations that membership has of current ATC training programs. The Founders realize that it took many years for ATC training to evolve into what we have today. The same will be true of the Pilot Training Program. Members should be patient with this program as it develops.

Second, participation by VATSIM pilots will be voluntary. The Founders believe that the evolution and maturity of a program of this scale must be gradual and that forced participation at its outset would be a mistake. In order to have as many pilots as possible use the program, all pilots (both new and existing) will be urged to undertake the courses. We could also offer meaningful incentives for those agreeing to go through the program as well as take other steps to encourage voluntary participation. However, in order to see where we might want to take the Pilot Training Program, we must actually roll it out and start using it.

Finally, the Founders are aware that some local and divisional level voluntary training of pilots has already begun in the community. This is an admirable achievement which has been welcomed. However, much as is the case with ATC ratings, there needs to be a degree of uniformity of basic standards among all such programs with VATSIM's Pilot Training Program in order to avoid repetition of the same mistakes which have been made in the past. Therefore, any existing and all future local level pilot training programs must be reviewed and expressly approved/authorized by the Pilot Training Department. Only those receiving such approval may continue (subject to the continuing review of the Pilot Training Department).

4. Renewed Effort Encouraging Use of the Pilot Resource Center

While we don't believe that the PRC can be the equivalent of the Pilot Training Program, there is still great value in it as a sort of "Quick Start" type of training material. There will be a renewed effort to strongly encourage all new members to read through the PRC. We will also examine the practicality of making the PRC more prominent in the welcoming material and creating a "quick start" guide within the PRC itself which highlights the issues most frequently encountered by new members.

5. Increased Oversight

The Founders believe that there is a need for a general increase in oversight of the various staff levels throughout VATSIM to ensure that the issues we are trying to address here are corrected and do not reoccur in the future. As we stated, we realize and appreciate that members who agree and are appointed to staff positions are volunteers. However, volunteers must understand that other members (both general and fellow staff) are reliant on them to perform the duties agreed to. When staff members fail to perform those duties and then insist on holding on to their position rather than stepping down, they create unnecessary pressure on their fellow staff members and the affected general members. If staff members fail to live up to their promises regarding performance of their duties, they can expect to be removed. This level of oversight to ensure performance of duties will range from local level staff to the BOG, without exceptions.

Conclusion

As we stated, all ships from time-to-time need minor corrections in order to maintain a steady course. Even though we are taking note of some disturbing trends and incidents, we still have the highest confidence in VATSIM’s staff and we are certain that they will continue to help guide the network and to uphold its fundamental principles.

Some of you may take this letter to mean VATSIM is “dumbing down” or is intent on becoming less realistic. You may even decide that VATSIM can no longer provide the level of realism you want or demand. While we hope you do not reach this conclusion, that is something that each individual member will have to decide for themselves. What we feel strongly about is that striving towards realism has always been and always will be an important goal for VATSIM. Over the past few years, VATSIM has received attention from several real world entities who draw upon a simulation with which we are uniquely able to provide in an unparalleled online environment.

While quality of the simulation is certainly a driving force behind this recent attention, we believe that quantity is equally important. If there are an insufficient number of (for lack of a better term) “quality” members, then VATSIM becomes less attractive to not only these real world entities but, more importantly, to the members themselves. It is crucial that a balance be struck between “quality” and “quantity” as each of these aspects is reliant upon the other. Such a balancing point in a dynamic environment such as VATSIM is not static which means that at any given moment, one or the other may be trending up or down. Such a situation, however, is a short term effect. What is more important is that over the long term, the balance is achieved. In order for that to happen, the Founders feel that the inclusiveness, educational and fun aspects of VATSIM’s fundamental principles must be considered as important as realism.

The issues we address in this letter are beginning to adversely affect this important balance. As we stated, we want to shift slightly back to the original vision of the network so that each of these fundamental principles have an equal importance and compliment one another rather than over focusing on any single aspect. We strongly believe that keeping this balance will ensure VATSIM stays on course for many years to come.


Sincerely,

The VATSIM Founders
By Matt Bromback 816206
#264496
The core principles of VATSIM are found in the preamble to the Code of Conduct. Above all else, VATSIM is supposed to be an environment which is fun and, at the same time, educational and a realistic simulation of real world aviation. VATSIM is supposed to be an INCLUSIVE rather than an EXCLUSIVE community. That means that the entertainment, educational and realistic simulation aspects of VATSIM have to work together and otherwise complement one another. No one aspect should have any greater importance over or be pursued to the detriment of any of the other core principles.


Then please define this "medium" when does it become too realistic?? or to relaxed?? I see the need to clearly define this area otherwise in my opinion there will be nothing that is or will be changed.
By Richard Jenkins 800012
#264501
Matt Bromback 816206 wrote:
The core principles of VATSIM are found in the preamble to the Code of Conduct. Above all else, VATSIM is supposed to be an environment which is fun and, at the same time, educational and a realistic simulation of real world aviation. VATSIM is supposed to be an INCLUSIVE rather than an EXCLUSIVE community. That means that the entertainment, educational and realistic simulation aspects of VATSIM have to work together and otherwise complement one another. No one aspect should have any greater importance over or be pursued to the detriment of any of the other core principles.


Then please define this "medium" when does it become too realistic?? or to relaxed?? I see the need to clearly define this area otherwise in my opinion there will be nothing that is or will be changed.


If you look at some of the criteria we listed in the "Lack of Inclusivity" section and you see things that remind you of your facility, we'll be in touch shortly and discuss what can be done to correct the situation.
Last edited by Richard Jenkins 800012 on Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
By Johnathon Neilsen 955672
#264509
Ivan Kovacevic 920456 wrote:Those are some valid points brought up in that letter. Very interested to see how things proceed from this point on.


+1 It seems we have a very interesting future ahead! :wink:
By Richard Jenkins 800012
#264511
Johnathon Neilsen 955672 wrote:
Ivan Kovacevic 920456 wrote:Those are some valid points brought up in that letter. Very interested to see how things proceed from this point on.


+1 It seems we have a very interesting future ahead! :wink:


Actually, probably not. I would estimate 98% of the users are not going to notice or hear anything. Now those 2% are probably going to have a lot of heartburn in the coming days and weeks. Some will be invited to leave VATSIM and others may need to find other aspects of VATSIM to enjoy away from their current positions.
By David Neil 1016109
#264518 By maintaing a fun and understanding environment (this will ensure quantity), this then creates a positive place to learn (this will lead to quality) - These go hand in hand!
By David Zhong 1027224
#264521 If you make the pilot training fun like the ones SoCal (I think) have, I would do it without any other incentive! :D
By Wycliffe Barrett 895867
#264524 One of the major aspects of our community is that it's actions become it's performance indicators, as such it would appear from the detail of the post that some of the prformance indicators are in the negative.

This is a bad position to be in for any organisation and as rightly pointed out by the founders "ships need course correction" sometimes.

An interesting analogy that I use when facilitating performance management courses is that of a transatlantic sailing race. The captian doesn't set off from Southampton (UK) to New York and not speak to his crew at all.

Throughout the whole race he will constantly be checking with his crew, to ensure that they are all sailing (working) in the right direction. He will check that his crew have run up the correct sail for the prevailing wind, that all the ropes on deck are stowed safely, that his mess crew are cooking food that will sustain the strength of his crew he will consult his charts and listen to the radio, passing that information to his crew members

He will be permanently checking that they are all going in the right direction. That they all working together that they want to get the boat to the finish line, that they want to win.

This is what the founders have done with this open letter and I for one welcome it.

I hope that all members view this post with the intent in which it was offered to the community.

Wycliffe
By Arjun Murthy 1051343
#264526 We should all take something out of the message from Richard.

Also kind of reworded but this has been said by someone before, an important thing on vatsim

"When everyone stops getting on top of others and putting them down and instead be nice to each other and bring up each other, the place will be much better"

(something around those words)
We should remember
By George Marinakis 800006
#264548 Hi Everyone.

David Neil 1016109 wrote:By maintaing a fun and understanding environment (this will ensure quantity), this then creates a positive place to learn (this will lead to quality) - These go hand in hand!


That's exactly what we are trying to say in the letter David. These aspects should not be mutually exclusive. They must complement one another and this is the idea we are trying to get back to. It's a more "middle of the road approach" rather than drifting to one side or the other.

David Zhong 1027224 wrote:If you make the pilot training fun like the ones SoCal (I think) have, I would do it without any other incentive! :D


Hi David. We want to get back to making VATSIM more fun, including the pilot training side. We think the pilot training that ZLA has been doing has been a positive for the community but we just need to make sure that all such programs are on the same page with the VATSIM Pilot Training program. We have no reason to think that it will be otherwise.

Wycliffe Barrett 895867 wrote:One of the major aspects of our community is that it's actions become it's performance indicators, as such it would appear from the detail of the post that some of the prformance indicators are in the negative.

This is a bad position to be in for any organisation and as rightly pointed out by the founders "ships need course correction" sometimes.

An interesting analogy that I use when facilitating performance management courses is that of a transatlantic sailing race. The captian doesn't set off from Southampton (UK) to New York and not speak to his crew at all.


Hi Wycliffe. You are exactly right...a Captain needs to speak to his crew and I might extend the analogy a further step to say that a Captain cannot pilot the ship without the crew. Ultimately, the decisionmaking rests with the Captain as does the responsibility that the ship stays its course and he needs the crew moving in a common direction for this to be accomplished. Fortunately, we don't feel that VATSIM's ship is going down or that the entire crew is bad....far from it. We are, however, noticing problem areas that we feel need to be addressed before it becomes impossible to do so.

Arjun Murthy 1051343 wrote:We should all take something out of the message from Richard.

Also kind of reworded but this has been said by someone before, an important thing on vatsim

"When everyone stops getting on top of others and putting them down and instead be nice to each other and bring up each other, the place will be much better"

(something around those words)
We should remember


Hi Arjun. I don't know who said those words but what you are talking about is one of the things we started to notice. There was too much of the former and not enough of the latter. In a community of this size, you are bound to see instances of people putting others down. That's bad. What you may also see is people getting into positions of authority and then imposing systems which perpetuate that sort of atmosphere. That is much, much worse. As Richard said, it's only isolated instances of this taking place but it is alarming enough to us that we feel the need to address it now before it gets out of hand.

What we have here is a wonderful community where people who share a common interest can come together. Those people may not necessarily know as much as you or I but does that mean we should not try to "bring them up"? The vast majority of members still understand and practice this philosophy. There are, however, some who do not and selfishly think that VATSIM is here just for THEIR entertainment.

The responsibility is on each of us to help other members learn. It is through this inclusivity that we can both grow in size and in quality.

Kerry Cutting 943279 wrote:How can I help?


Hi Kerry. I saved the best for last. We all can get frustrated with newbies. But if you take a deep breath when this happens and do something different, you may be surprised. Let me put it into context. On a recent early morning weekend, I took a brief flight. There was no ATC and I announced my intentions on UNICOM. There was one other aircraft on the ground taxiing and he wasn't announcing anything. As I was departing I pulled up his callsign on ServInfo and I saw that he had no flight plan and a freshly minted ID number. I kept flying my departure and within a few minutes, this other pilot private messaged me asking me where I was headed to. I told him and he replied "That's where I'm going too!" I looked at ServInfo again and he had changed to my destination and had an incorrect flightplan using departure and arrival procedures that had expired probably 4 years ago.

Here is where the "do something different" idea comes into play. My first inclination was to groan and think "Great! All I wanted was a nice quiet flight and now I'm going to have a newbie tagging along pestering me." How many of you have had the same thought as an ATC or a pilot? It's where our minds go to immediately. That's where you can help...by "doing something different". I had just been working on this Community Letter and I stopped in my tracks. How hypocritical would it be if I didn't practice what I was preaching? So instead of telling this guy that I didn't really want to chat or wanted to be left alone, I chatted with him. I pointed him out to a few websites where he could get a better flight plan and up-to-date charts. We chatted about add-on aircraft and FMCs. I basically tried to steer him in a direction and give him information that would make him a better pilot. In chatting with him, I found him to be eager to learn and absolutely enthusiastic about VATSIM. He had enjoyed every minute of his membership and wanted to start flying in the U.S. so he was just trying his best to learn. What would he had done if I had decided to be selfish and ignored him or asked to be left alone? Maybe he would have had the resolve to continue trying to learn and not let a bad experience (or a mean person) get in his way. On the other hand, he may have had a similar experience beforehand and decided "why bother"? If you read these forums, you know that either result could occur.

I worked a basic landing pattern (downwind - cross - final) at our arrival airport, taking care to announce what I was doing all along so my unexpected flying partner could follow the approach. I landed first and waited for him to land. We thanked one another and I logged off.

Looking back, it was a simple act on my part. I just decided to be nice to the guy and pass on a little knowledge that would help him to learn. What a novel idea right? Actually, most of us know that it isn't and that it happens a lot on VATSIM. It just doesn't happen as much as it should and there are those out there who are not accepting of such members. That's what we are trying to change. So what can you do to help? Just remember to give a hand to those newbies and point them in the right direction. Give them a good memory of a VATSIM flight. To you, it may be a minor thing. It's just another flight or session behind the scope no different than the countless others you have had or will have in the future. But to that new member or the guy who is trying to learn what you know, that moment is something they will remember.
By Pete Holske 833650
#264585 November 5, 2008

Dear VATSIM,

I was assuming this was an open letter for all to respond to since it is on the forum. Let me just say VATSIM is a good place, but has not reached its full potential.

I find this post rather troubling, we are warned of Inclusivity issues, Intolerance, and Abuse of Authority. Also realism is always the big debate, do we operate more realistic or include everyone?

The problem gentlemen, I understand everyone wants to have fun. I am the KING of FUN. I also am a real world corporate pilot, and there is a time and place for both. Where I see people getting upset about new pilots or new controllers is when they argue or are adamant that they are right, and they have never stepped a foot in a real aircraft for a living.

In Real world some pilots and controllers take longer to comprehend a subject. A pilot or controller shouldn't put a time period on completing their training. Some people learn faster, or slower then others. We should not be owed the ability to be in a position, we should earn that ability. You earn ability through determination, and persistence in completing the task at hand.

I have run into this problem with my virtual airline. Run a training process or not? With the training process my numbers lack, with out it we have pilots that have no comprehension of what we are doing but the VA numbers sky rocket. My opinion was, I would rather have SERIOUS, dedicated, and pilots who WANTED to learn. Westport has opened a virtual flight school for new pilots, and it has been utilized by a half dozen guys. Westport has utilized our members, including myself who are real life instructors also. This is just to help the overall health of the network.

Secondly, the abuse of power of officials is not just in th e ARTCC, its in Virtual Airlines, and VATSIM government itself. The work does not just lie on the shoulders of the Virtual Airlines and ARTCC's but there needs to be more influence from VATSIM on their own people. To be honest, I believe VATSIM can be a great tool, to enhance pilots abilities in real life aviation, build interest in a career I love, and create a great simulation of the real world aviation. I just believe like you said Richard, we have people with their own agenda's making a point to be always right, and it goes throughout VATSIM.

I will throw a for instance. People get really upset at my Virtual Airline, Westport Virtual, because we tinker with the Class Bravos. I do not have my pilots do this to screw with anyone. It is done to teach my pilots about airspace, and what they can do to navigate around, under, or over that airspace. If anyone on here has flown in the North East, especially New York. They know a VFR under, or over the Class Bravo saves 25 minutes, even in a jet. Thats why I do this, and everyone gets upset, and thinks we are jerks. Teaching is not being a jerk, and thats an attitude that goes through the ARTCCs, Governance, and Pilot base. I have 4300 + real hours, and I do not know everything. We have many great teachers on the networks, and most of them are the ones being singled out as over bearing.

Richard, I am not saying you are wrong here, and I am not sure I am even disagreeing with you. What I am saying is the Network is still the same Network it was 5 years ago. The problem is the network has somehow changed the people in the last 5 years. We have come to the point where no one wants suggestions, and no one wants to learn. I don't care if you have been controlling zLA, zMA whatever it maybe, or you have flown on VATSIM for 5 years. There are people out there that know more then you, whether its VATSIM or real aviation. The problem is that in life, aviation, and I guess you could say vatsim nothing is stagnant. An individual or organization can only get better or get worse. I feel if we continue the wars and the current path of the network, VATSIM is on the course of getting worse. I am in the hobby to help young pilots get better, get jobs, and create an interest in this field, because that is what this career path needs. So I am in it for the long run, the question is, How many of you want to make this work correctly?

Thank you all for your time.
By Richard Jenkins 800012
#264588 Peter,

I think we are somewhat on the same page. Let me ask you a question about something that really happened on VATSIM a few weeks ago.

A student was taking his S1 practical exam and failed. Okay, this can happen. The guy needs to go back with his instructor or mentor and brush up on the things he missed and give it another go. So you ask why did this guy fail? Well, he actually did nothing wrong procedurally. He was just not efficient enough according to the tester.

Is that where we want to be?

That is where we are at in some places now and we are going to stomp it out. We have begged and pleaded for years for people to be reasonable. Now they can either adjust or they will not be part of VATSIM.