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Messages - Mark Hubbert

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News / Re: Our New Region Managers!
« on: November 29, 2020, 09:40:00 PM »
Good Stuff.  Congratulations.

News / Re: Introducing your new VATUSA Training Services Team!
« on: October 26, 2020, 08:09:13 PM »
Awesome Selections.  Congratulations.

News / Re: Fort Worth's New Air Traffic Manager
« on: September 21, 2020, 03:17:25 PM »

News / Re: Deputy Division Director Appointment
« on: September 08, 2020, 09:21:36 PM »

News / Re: VATUSA Division Director Appointment
« on: September 05, 2020, 10:52:11 AM »
Congratulations Mani!!!!!

News / Re: Retirement
« on: August 19, 2020, 10:45:51 PM »
Thank You All

News / Retirement
« on: August 14, 2020, 08:45:38 AM »

I’ve always believed that family and personal matters come first.  Recently, I have had events occur in my personal life which made me reflect on what my priorities should be.  I have had a family member hospitalized and in need of care at home.  Additionally, last week, a tornado touched down very close to my home.  These events have made me reevaluate my role as your Division Director. 

I have decided it would be best to retire and pass along the torch to my Deputy Division Director, Mani Manigault during the interim.  Mani and I have worked together for the last year and I’m confident he is prepared to take the reigns.  He is a leader who is well-equipped, well-spoken, and passionate for this Division’s future.  Rest assured, VATUSA is in the best of hands.

It has been an absolute honor to serve this vibrant community.  I’ll still be around, cheering from the sidelines, wishing this Division all the best. 

Thank You,

Mark Hubbert

News / From the Division Director
« on: July 30, 2020, 11:00:44 PM »
Dear VATUSA members,

Over the past 24 hours, members have made it clear: you’re unhappy with the direction leadership is taking VATUSA. The primary concerns include 1) The Division has lacked a clear vision, 2) Division initiatives are not transparent, 3) leadership is uncommunicative, and 4) decisions regarding COVID-19 came quickly without explanation. Simply put, Division leadership needs to be better at communicating with and serving you, the VATUSA membership.

After taking some time to reflect, I would like to address your four concerns.

In a forum post earlier in my tenure, I mentioned VATUSA’s vibrant community. The vibrance was certainly reflected in discussions on the VATUSA Discord Server. I wish to express my gratitude to the members who have voiced their concerns to make this organization better. All your concerns cannot be addressed overnight, but I’m committed to listening and acting on your feedback.

VATUSA’s vision is to grow our membership, expand our Division capabilities, and most importantly, foster a community centered around fun. Decisions made within the organization should support this vision while emphasizing doing the greatest good for the greatest numbers and reducing bureaucracy. Every member needs to commit to this vision to move our organization forward.

As seen through your feedback, I need to be more transparent with Division initiatives. VATUSA has been working on several initiatives to improve the Division, including: a Traffic Management Unit (TMU) Program, reestablishing the C3 rating, centralizing training records, standardizing our training program, and creating a pilot program.

The TMU Program is in progress. The goal is to have a functioning Traffic Management Command Center to mitigate traffic during peak periods, while maintaining the flexibility to scale down as needed. There is more to come about this program, but we aim to have it operating by September 22, 2020.

The plans to reestablish our C3 Rating Program are complete. I will release the program in its entirety to the Air Traffic Managers soon, then release the program to the general membership.

The centralized training records system is a top priority for our Data Services Team. While there is no official date of release, all indications show this will be complete in the very near future. In addition, our Training Department is roadmapping a plan to standardize our training program.

VATUSA is also seeking to initiate a Pilot Program that would increase the awareness of our pilot community, and offer various resources to pilots including skills training. Most importantly, this program would bridge any gaps between the controller and pilot communities.

With regard to items submitted to me from working groups, please know my team and I are working diligently to implement recommendations quickly in the most feasible and practical manner possible. I do know being busy with regular life commitments is a tired excuse, but I ask for some leniency in this area due to pressing personal issues I am facing. Expect news on these proposals soon.

I hope this gives you greater visibility into our initiatives. We’d also like your help and feedback on these projects to ensure they meet the needs of the Division. If you’re interested in helping, please let me know.

I am committed to improving communications within the Division. I am hopeful to use a variety of strategies to clearly convey our Division’s work and decisions. Per our Division Policy, official Division communications will come via email and the forum.

To show my commitment to improving communications, I am reinstituting the Communications Director position. Petey Shivery, current ATM for Jacksonville ARTCC, has been appointed for the role. Petey has professional experience in marketing, and currently manages digital marketing functions for a Fortune 500 company. His expertise will be instrumental in improving communications for our membership. He will continue to serve as the ATM of Jacksonville for an interim period to ensure a smooth and streamlined transition of leadership.

In responding to COVID-19, Division leadership troubleshooted ways to manage overwhelming event traffic and accommodate the large influx of controllers. I hope you understand that actions were taken with the Division’s best interests in mind. We recognize our role of not being clear in providing the rationale behind these decisions.  We will do better moving forward.

The increase in controllers had a detrimental effect on training departments who were already overburdened. I extended a General Order on the Suspension of Visitor Training to lighten the training load at all ARTCCs. I felt it was in the best interest of overburdened ARTCCs to act quickly in light of the pandemic.

I also extended a General Order on the Suspension of Live Events. Here, too, I acted quickly because we need to keep our membership safe. Our organization cannot facilitate gatherings that could potentially contribute to community spread or violate local, state, or federal regulations. I take my responsibility to ensure our community’s wellbeing very seriously, and look forward to a time when resuming live events will be possible.

. . .

In summary, I must express gratitude to Division members who have contributed feedback that will help us move forward. As your Division Director, I want the same thing as you: the betterment of our community. Thousands of members in this Division means we have thousands of ideas to choose from to improve our community.  Please know your ideas are important to me.

Finally: Remember we are all on the same team. Every ARTCC is unique, but we’re all working toward the same vision. We should strive to better one another, and better each others’ experiences. When we log off, we should leave our Division better than we found it. Remember the importance of respect, thoughtfulness, and community when interacting with others. Let’s improve our home together.

Kind regards,

Mark Hubbert
VATUSA Division Director

« on: July 23, 2020, 08:37:37 PM »
VATSIM is delighted to announce two major news items today.

The first is our new branding and logo as seen above. We will be rolling out more information on the logo in the coming days as well as a branding guide to our members that have a need to use our new look.

The second is that we have been working with the team at Microsoft and Asobo Studios for some time and are happy to announce that VATSIM will be compatible with Microsoft Flight Simulator upon launch on August 18th, 2020.

As we celebrate the next generation of Flight Simulation with Microsoft, we're announcing the start of VATSIM's next chapter with a fresh new look. Over the next few weeks, we will be announcing some amazing updates to our community that will really drive the meaning of our new tagline, "Aviate. Educate. Communicate."

I heard. Not too happy about it. Facilities should be given the choice of what kind of FNO to have (group, solo, etc.).

For the record, ARTCC's were given the choice of how they wanted to proceed with the way FNO's are done.  The ATM's (Who are in charge of the ARTCC and were asked to consult with their staff) voted on this and 57% which carried the largest majority voted for the current format. 

General Discussion / Friday Night Operations
« on: April 29, 2020, 12:41:06 AM »
Fellow Aviators,
It has been a long standing tradition at VATUSA to facilitate Friday Night OPS Events on Friday Nights.  Recently we have seen a tremendous increase in traffic during these events which has overloaded facilities causing lengthy ground delays and holds in the air.  Now with people at home practicing self-isolation during the COVID-19 Pandemic the traffic levels have increased even more.  With that in mind the VATUSA Division has decided to change the format of Friday Night OPS to better accommodate the volume of traffic.  We will be doing a couple of different things.  We will host events in two formats.
1.)  Open Mic Night - We will not feature any airport in particular but the ARTCC's will staff up to their ability.  This offers a unique opportunity for pilots to see who is online and plan a flight.  There should be multiple facilities staffed which should create more options for the pilots to select their flight.
2.)  Regional Nights - Where 3 ARTCC's and more fields are staffed.  Once again creating additional opportunities for pilots.

We realize these changes are sudden and we have replaced some already scheduled events with these changes.  We appreciate your cooperation and understanding.  Our hopes for the future are to improve the Friday Night OPS events and try to cut back on the Ground Delays and Holds in the Air to the best of our ability.  We are asking pilots to check to see how much traffic is at a given facility before logging on and select a departure and destination that is not over-saturated with traffic.  If we can work together (Controllers and Pilots) hopefully we can make the Friday Night OPS Events more enjoyable for all.

May 1, 2020 - Open Mic Night FNO
May 8, 2020 - OPen Mic Night FNO
May 15, 2020 Southern Region FNO 
May 22, 2020 Northeast Crossings III FNO
May 29, 2020 Open Mic Night

We all need to put our egos away and put our heads together to try to make the most out of the opportunity that we’ll have in the coming weeks. We can either run some of the worst, clustered, screwy events the network has ever seen... or we can methodically put a plan together that will heighten the experience for everyone.We’ve already seen that these conversations push people away from the network, and the last thing id want to see is everyone sitting at home in quarantine, but choosing not to go on vatsim because we aren’t handling this the right way.

Shane, I truly appreciate your thoughts which I have put into quotes.  Many people have asked for a response from the VATUSA Division.  Jackson had a meeting with the EC's to get their thoughts and he listened and put together a plan based off of their thoughts to try to meet immediate needs.  In the background there is a poll for the ATM's where I asked them to consult with their staff and members and put to vote what they thought.  Jackson's plan may or may not work, we do not know.  We need to gauge the effectiveness of this change with an open mind and definitely without a negative attitude.  There will be some sort of plan beyond Jackson's to hopefully address mid term needs and hopefully longer term.  I feel this is a unique opportunity for us as a Division to accomplish a lot.  First of all you are right put way the egos and come together.  In talking with Dhruv recently, he mentioned a "Grass Roots" effort by all.  I am using Dhruv's words as inspiration because I think a Grass Roots effort by all is exactly what we need.  I think it is time for all members to consider themselves as VATUSA Controllers instead of XYZ ARTCC.  Nothing wrong with pride in your facility in fact I encourage it but I feel that if people will take ownership of VATUSA in their current role ie.  VATUSA Controller who controls at XYZ ARTCC we can bridge many gaps and come together more in a Grass Roots effort.  The other opportunity is positive change.  I am hoping that the ideas that get tested during this period will do one of several things.  Yes this is great and this is how we should do things from now on; or two this is no better than what we were doing but if we add this or take away this it may just work and even better maybe a variety of ways to do things,  Spice up FNO Nights instead of Hey Pilots Fly to KXYZ Airport (Congo Lines, overburdened controllers, Senior Controllers bored out of their mind as they hold 45 aircraft over one fix.

In conclusion, you and I have talked before, lets do it again and I may just break out my bottle of Bookers and have a sip with you.

General Discussion / Re: Changes to FNOs for the time being
« on: April 13, 2020, 09:50:07 AM »
I do hope that VATUSA takes a bigger stake at this issue of FNO's. You will hear a lot of "Let the ARTCC's decide what is best for us..." Well unfortunately its been that way for years and one ARTCC might do a good job, while another one does not resulting in many fluctuations of users experience from pilots to ATC. We are in a unique time period right now for us and we need to adapt, even if its temporary. I think sometimes we forget we are here to provide a service to the pilots (ATC) and we should all try and work together to make sure of a good pilot experience.

Looking forward to what you all come up with.

Matt, I appreciate and value your comments.  There are some difficult decisions to consider, what works for one ARTCC may not for another.  There are things that I would love to see in the Division that I think could potentially help but finding the manpower to accomplish these things is the challenge.  I am hopeful to begin doing additional research and look more in dept to the challenges that we face.  I just hope moving forward that people will approach this with as much of a positive attitude as possible.  Negative attitudes makes the challenge even greater and we are blessed in that we have a lot of people who are very intelligent and have real world backgrounds.

General Discussion / Re: Changes to FNOs for the time being
« on: April 13, 2020, 02:30:15 AM »
Hot take: lets just get rid of FNO. I've been on this network for a long time and the story is always the same, some FNO got jacked up, people are mad, how do we fix it, we don't, rinse and repeat. We bang the same drum every so often and nothing fixes it, what's the point? We've done regional FNO's, we've had crossfires, here we still are, it's not a solution. Either accept that these events draw a lot of traffic and something bad is bound to happen or get rid of it. It's that simple. Until we have the right traffic management tools and policies, and dare I say training, FNO will always be an unorganized free for all that leaves somebody with their panties in a twist.

Ryan, you bring up some good points.  I would hate the long standing tradition of FNO's go away.  I do think that as a Division, we need to look at making some changes to how we promote and manage FNO's.  The first thing that I want to say is that when I mention "As a Division", I think that each ARTCC needs to look at themselves as a member of the Division.  Not trying to take away from an individuals pride in their respective ARTCC but the Division exists because of the ARTCC's and each ARTCC is a spoke in the big wheel.  I recognize that each ARTCC is different and each ARTCC has unique challenges.  If everybody could just come together in a grass roots effort and work together to identify challenges and also ideas that could be a solution, I think the Division (All ARTCC's) would truly benefit.

While the network is about having fun.  It is about having fun simulating as realistic as possible a scenario as possible.  ATC on the network are not allowed to deny you any service at all, however you are required to follow their instructions.

B8 - A pilot must comply with all agreed (read-back) air traffic control clearances and all issued instructions, or notify air traffic control without delay if unable to do so. Additionally, compliance with the following ATC instructions is mandatory, unless operational safety (e.g. TCAS conflict resolution) is compromised:

This is from the Code of Conduct.  So technically if a controller informs you that he cannot accommodate practice approaches due to traffic volume then the pilot is expected to comply.  This is not about airline traffic over GA traffic but just like in the real world a Cessna 172 who has an approach speed of approx 70 knots is going to create a safety issue if he is cycled in between airliners who will probably hit the outer marker at twice that speed if not more. 

In conclusion, I hope that this situation is not discouraging to you and I am hopeful that you understand why the controller did what he did.  I hope you will enjoy the first class service that the VATUSA controllers provide in the future.

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