[jhb_airlines] Re: Online Flight

  • From: "bones" <bones@xxxxxxx>
  • To: <jhb_airlines@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2007 02:46:21 +0100

VATSIM evolved from SATCO. I used to control on SATCO at lot and I wrote
some of the very early sector files for them (along with Andrew Espeland).
Trouble at SATCO (politics) saw it rebranded as VATSIM - much the same way
that IVAO.AERO has evolved from ICAO.ORG.

I moved over to VATSIM as did everyone else but a few months later I rebuilt
my PC and the software went weird - I could never establish a proper
connection to their servers for longer than three or four minutes. I gave up
for a while but as it was the time I was working on the VFR England and
Wales scenery the period of absence extended for several years. It was only
after another PC rebuild that I was able to get back into VATSIM but, by
that time, things had changed a lot.

The trouble was that VATSIM had grown enormously and was handling traffic
levels that were getting silly. To process this traffic the system had
become complex and procedures were incredibly detailed. In effect it was
like being at work rather than fun and so I stopped enjoying it. Add to that
the fact that the staff were  constantly asking if I'd join the team and
take up a training or mentoring position and I couldn't see any future with
the organisation.

Peter may disagree with me but here's what I think of VATSIM. It's about as
close to real world ATC simulation as anything - that is why so many real
world pilots use it to pre fly a new route they may be assigned. Adherence
to real world procedures is pretty good - great for seasoned aircrew but
more difficult for beginners. If, like a real world pilot, you are prepared
to start off at a small airfield and learn the local procedures first then
you are likely to enjoy the simulation. Flying to bigger airports or flying
IFR requires more knowledge and so, like a real pilot, you have to learn
about navigation and airspace limitations and the procedures for operating
in these areas. It takes a while to build up this knowledge in real life and
the same is true at VATSIM - you can't learn it all overnight.

If you are more interested in IFR operations than VFR it takes longer to
know all the extra rules and regulations. If you try to fly in VATSIM at a
level that is outside your comfort or knowledge zone then it's likely that
any errors may result in a retort from the controller. For this reason users
have reported VATSIM as unfriendly and difficult to settle in to. In a way
they are right but it is also true that running a simulation at such a level
of accuracy means there is less tolerance of errors. Look at it from the
controller's point of view - if he is vectoring in a sequence to a major
airport he needs to concentrate, and his expectation is that all pilots he
is working know what they are doing (some real airline pilots). Add a pilot
who has lousy R/T and is unsure about what he is doing and doesn't respond
correctly to ATC instructions and you can see why the controller will be
less than happy. Again he doesn't have time to help the newbie because his
workload is too high so the easiest option is to get him off the frequency.
It's sad but high workload situations don't allow for friendliness.

I left VATSIM because it was getting too like my work and it had evolved
into a mainly IFR environment. There was little support for VFR operations -
few controllers actually knew HOW to handle VFR traffic - and so it denied
VATSIM the ability to have new pilots join in the fun and learn in a
progressive manner from VFR newbies to IFR professionals. Peter says it has
changed but I'm not convinced that this is other than in small pockets.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not against VATSIM - but it tends to support pilots
who are aiming to learn the full procedures for correct real world
operations. This isn't a bad thing and it can be very rewarding for pilots
who are happy to go through the full learning curve - but it isn't for


-----Original Message-----
From: jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Alan Sutherland
Sent: 09 July 2007 19:04
To: jhb_airlines@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [jhb_airlines] Re: Online Flight

Hello All,

It is me again. Sorry I do not contribute very much to your discussions but
I do not seem to have much to say on some topics.

I would like your opinions on VATSIM especially in the UK. It is very mixed
at the moment with ATC coverage, if a few of the major airports are covered
by approach then the TMA and area controllers come out of their boxes.

Alex, how did your flying on VATSIM go?

----- Original Message -----
From: "bones" <bones@xxxxxxx>
To: <jhb_airlines@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, July 09, 2007 6:54 PM
Subject: [jhb_airlines] Re: Online Flight

> I'm back on their list and have grabbed the IVAO controller software -
> and
> I
> also found Pro Controller still on their site. That's good because I could
> try and run the FSD server with it, just like the old days.
> bones
> -----Original Message-----
> From: jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Peter Dodds
> Sent: 09 July 2007 18:35
> To: jhb_airlines@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Cc: pdodds@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: [jhb_airlines] Re: Online Flight
> You beat me to it - I'm off for a look at IVAO tonight - although
> perhaps only to see what they do "Over The hedge" <g>
> Peter

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