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Topics - Evan Reiter

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General Discussion / TMU Maps
« on: April 08, 2021, 04:53:49 AM »
Are we aware that the TMU Maps aren't displaying any aircraft? I assume there's an update needed due to the datafeed changes.

The Control Room Floor / What are facilities doing about the Concorde?
« on: January 07, 2021, 08:19:34 AM »
How are VATUSA facilities treating the Concorde? I've seen that aircraft on the network with increasing regularity and will get requests from departures to "accelerate" or "exceed Mach 1.0". Obviously, this isn't a scenario that happens in real life anymore, although it's getting closer (see below).

What are facilities doing with these requests from pilots? I don't see much in the 7110, presumably because it's been 20+ years since we've had to deal with civilian supersonic flight. Do we have any standard across VATUSA?


The FAA recently published an updated rule for approving supersonic aircraft for test flights. In their press release from January 6:
Today the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a final rule to facilitate the safe development of civil supersonic aircraft. The rule streamlines and clarifies procedures to obtain FAA approval for supersonic flight testing in the United States.
“Today’s action is a significant step toward reintroducing civil supersonic flight and demonstrates the Department’s commitment to safe innovation,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
This rule will help ensure that companies developing these aircraft clearly understand the process for gaining FAA approval to conduct flight testing, which is a key step in ultimately bringing their products to market.
The rule rule doesn't (yet) change 14 CFR 91.817 ("No person may operate a civil aircraft in the United States at a true flight Mach number greater than 1 except in compliance with conditions and limitations in an authorization to exceed Mach 1 issued to the operator under appendix B of this part.") although if supersonic flight does return to civil aviation that will happen at some point.

The Control Room Floor / VATUSA Traffic Management Unit: Launch
« on: August 28, 2020, 06:35:53 AM »
I didn't see a thread here with discussion on the new VATUSA Traffic Management Unit so I thought I would make one.

In this post, I'm advocating that OPLEVEL3 needs to be re-thought and either be:
1. Scaled back significantly if it's going to apply to all FNOs
2. Re-defined to only apply to larger, 3+ ARTCC FNOs

I'm not ARTCC staff so perhaps there's a discussion I've missed. Specifically, I wanted to know if there has been any discussion from ARTCCs about some of the staffing requirements. From reading the PDF, it seems to me that VATUSA expects (or, at least wants) Tier 1 facilities to staff a dedicated TMU position any time there is a neighboring event (Page 18). Using the sample ZTL FNO that's described, that would mean Indy, Washington, Memphis, Jacksonville, and Houston would all be expected to staff not only Center but ALSO TMU. And then beyond that, there are going to be two representatives from the "national" level. That means we are going to go from having 0 required TMU controllers today to having 8 dedicated TMU positions. Doesn't that seem like a pretty big jump?

How many of our events really go that far "down the tubes" that 8 dedicated people are required to work TMU? As of today, I'd just be happy to have each of my neighboring facilities staffed with 1 controller!

Later in the document, using the same example, it says USA96 would cover the TMU function for facilities "where staffing isn't available". That seems to imply a facility should be trying to cover TMU. Speaking for myself, not as ARTCC staff, I would not feel comfortable assigning a controller to work a TMU position to support a neighbor's event. That is going to be a very boring 4-5 hours for whoever gets that assignment. Having worked plenty of "support" for neighbor ARTCCs, I can say that almost never does ZDC traffic get overwhelming for us to manage. Every now and again a ZNY event gets busy (because of the popularity of New York airports) but in those scenarios, we would much rather split Center than have one person working TMU watching the Center controller drown in managing the holding stack. 

Expecting someone to "sit and watch" on TMU during a ZDC FNO is unrealistic and disrespectful. I can't imagine anyone wanting to do that on a regular basis.

Particularly if the limit on the centralized training program for TMU controllers is a maximum of 6 per facility, it seems there will be a challenge to find certified individuals who want to do this work.

Similarly, asking all Tier 1's to attend a meeting the night before an FNO seems a little over the top. You're going to take about 10 people away from potentially controlling on-network for a planning meeting. Again, I wonder how necessary this is, or if some of this could just as easily be managed via a Discord discussion the evening before.

I know we're striving for realism in our operations but not every FNO is CTP. I suspect if you did a poll of VATUSA controllers, you'd find that only a few really are interested in TMU as a subject area (if they have done 1-2 events as a TMU before; it does seem interesting before you do it the first time). ZBW has historically staffed a TMU during any of what you're calling "OPLEVEL4" events: Cross the Pond, Boston Tea Party, etc. Everyone who has ever done it hates the fact that they have to effectively sit out the event and not control. We rotate it and live with it because, during those events, it's a necessary evil. But I can't see how that's justifiable while we're called to staff up for a neighbor's FNO.

The overall theme of this post is: this should be fun, for us and the pilots. There's a risk to layering the TMU stuff on so thickly the enjoyment a pilot gets in flying in this airspace becomes diminished. Yes, sitting on the ground is better than holding in the air. But there's a risk we start creating significant ground delays and no lineup at the other end. I think most pilots would prefer to fly to a busy, but manageable, airspace than to wait for 20 minutes and have a completely quiet arrival experience. Likewise, a lot of controllers do this because they enjoy the experience. Let's not take that away by mandating TMU time. I'd much rather spend an evening controlling on-network than participating in an hour-long planning meeting with a neighbor two doors down, particularly when I'm probably only going to work 20 of their airplanes.

There are absolutely, without question, some airports and some events that require a concerted TMU effort, particularly with the increases in traffic we have seen lately. For "OPLEVEL4" events...sure, let's have a TMU rep from each facility that's participating (as we've always done with CTP). But expecting or even asking ZBW to staff two separate Center-rated controllers, one to work traffic and a second to be TMU, for a ZDC event, is ridiculous.

There are good concepts here and many of them would be strong additions to the event lineup. But I challenge you to explain what problem you are really trying to solve when you say that two people, a Center and a TMU, are going to be requested from every Tier 1 for every FNO. I would advocate for removal of the OPLEVEL3, scaling it back significantly if it is going to apply to FNOs, or only categorizing some larger FNOs (like those involving 3+ ARTCCs as event facilities) as OPLEVEL3 and then leaving others as OPLEVEL2. Regardless, there should not be a requirement or expectation for neighbors to provide TMU staffing or pre-event discussion for a simple, single-airport FNO. Let's focus on getting the neighbors staffing their airspace first.

The Flight Deck / Boston Virtual ARTCC Launches Wings Over New England
« on: August 16, 2020, 01:12:59 PM »

Boston Virtual ARTCC's (BVA) new self-paced pilot training program is now live! Starting today, members of BVA can fly any of our 30 Wings Over New England (WINGS) flights on VATSIM to learn more about safely operating aircraft within the U.S. ATC system. 

If you are:

- Looking for more information about flying VFR through complex American airspace;
- Wanting tips on speaking with air traffic control;
- Hoping for guidance on flying full approaches, holds, and other complex IFR procedures;
- Interested in finding out more about RNAV;

WINGS may be for you! From VFR closed traffic at Nantucket (KACK), a back course instrument approach at New Bedford (KEWB), airline operations at Boston (KBOS), and RNAV approaches in the Adirondack Mountains (at KSLK), WINGS will take pilots on a scenic journey across the northeastern United States while offering engaging, self-paced learning along the way.

The program is designed for pilots who already know how to fly their aircraft; it won’t cover flying skills like using flaps or making turns. For that, we'd recommend going through an official VATSIM ATO like VATSTAR. Instead, WINGS addresses skills that apply to online flying in both VFR and IFR environments, making the most of what an at-home flight simulator can teach. It includes structured, self-guided training lessons that do not rely directly on an instructor, allowing pilots to learn at their own pace and in a comfortable environment. WINGS is not affiliated with the VATSIM Pilot Training Department.

Every WINGS flight contains a series of tasks. During the flight, ZBW controllers monitor progress to ensure each of the tasks is completed correctly. If a pilot successfully meets the standards, a rating is issued and the pilot progresses to the next flight. Pilots can choose to complete all 30 flights in sequence or focus on specific subsets like “I’m new to online flying”, “I want to learn about VFR operations”, or “give me an intro to RNAV”. 

To participate in the program, pilots must complete a free application to join Boston Virtual ARTCC. Once approved for membership, flights can be completed any time air traffic control is online in the Boston Center (ZBW) area. A schedule with expected air traffic control coverage is posted at

Pilots can fly WINGS using any aircraft, provided they can meet the standards for the applicable flight. While a slower, piston or turboprop is recommended, private jets and even airliners are welcome too. The first half of the program specifically covers “low and slow” General Aviation operations like VFR pattern entries, helicopter and Class B transition routes, and visual navigation. The entire program is flyable with conventional navigation (i.e., VORs only), though pilots that have RNAV capability will gain more from the later flights.

For more information, visit

Posted with approval from VATUSA12.

The Control Room Floor / Handoffs: Think Frequency, Not Callsign
« on: August 11, 2020, 05:21:57 PM »
When flashing a datablock to the next sector, we should be looking for the specific sector, not a particular callsign, to hand off to. Check out the two Boston Center controllers in this example:

In this scenario, BOS_CTR is working 134.70, and a student BOS_S_CTR is listening (unprimed). In a few moments, they'll swap positions. If you're an adjacent controller getting ready to switch an airplane to Boston Center, the pending controller swap should be irrelevant to you. All you need to know is that your handoff is to 134.70.

Use the keyboard commands (not the mouse) to initiate the handoff and it won't matter whether BOS_S_CTR, BOS_CTR, BOS_NW_CTR, or any other callsign is working 134.70; it will end up in the right place.

We recently ran an event that involved rotating positions (so controllers worked about 1.5 hours of each sector over the course of the 7-hour event). That meant we signed in using BOS_1_CTR, BOS_2_CTR, etc., and the callsign to hand off to was constantly changing. For the first hour, your handoff might have been to BOS_1_CTR on 127.97. Then, the first rotation hit and BOS_2_CTR started working 127.97. However, the frequency to hand off to was always the same and if you were handing to 127.97 instead of "BOS_1_CTR", you wouldn't even have noticed.

If you use vERAM or vSTARS, switching aircraft by reference to a sector is already second-nature to you. In VRC, resist the temptation to use the mouse. Instead use the key command "F4 -> sectorID -> asel" (where the sectorID is, in the picture above, "37") and you won't have to ever worry about adjacent controller callsigns again!

General Discussion / Pilot-Focused Ground School Seminars from BVA
« on: June 11, 2020, 10:37:59 PM »

Boston Virtual ARTCC is proud to announce the return of Ground School: focused, 1-hour training seminars designed to offer discussion around common virtual aviation topics. The sessions, which will take place via Google Meet, are open to all VATUSA members, and are specifically designed for pilots (recently certified S1 or S2 controllers may also find the subject matter valuable).

Ground School topics include VFR Procedures, Weather, RNAV, Radio Communications, Holds, and much more! The sessions will be hosted by real-world flight instructors and VATSIM controllers Alec Liberman and Krikor Hajian. Each is designed to offer new pilots and experienced VATSIM members learning opportunities about flying within the air traffic control system.

The first session is scheduled for Wednesday, July 15 at 8:30pm ET, with sessions continuing weekly on Mondays and Wednesdays. Recordings of each session will also be published on BVA's YouTube channel for those who are unable to participate in the live discussion.

2020 Ground School Topics and Dates
Schedule Subject to Change

The Google Meet link for each seminar will be posted below approximately 15-30 minutes prior to each session.
  • Radio Communications - Wednesday, July 15, 8:30pm ET
  • Weather - Wednesday, July 22, 8:30pm ET
  • VFR Procedures - Wednesday, July 29, 8:30pm ET
  • IFR Clearances - Monday, August 10, 8:30pm ET
  • Oceanic Procedures - Monday, August 17, 8:30pm ET
  • Holds - Monday, August 24, 8:30pm ET
  • Instrument Approach Procedures (Part 1 of 2) - Monday, August 31, 8:30pm ET
  • Instrument Approach Procedure (Part 2 of 2) - Monday, September 7, 8:30pm ET
  • RNAV Procedures - Monday, September 14, 8:30pm ET
This topic was posted with the approval of VATUSA1.

The Control Room Floor / Squawk Readback Correct
« on: February 13, 2019, 05:46:45 PM »
I've heard the phrase "squawk readback correct" from a few students, and I understand it's presented as procedure in the VATUSA CBT (see below).

However, I can't find it (or even any relevant guidance for IFR clearance readback procedures) in the 7110.

Anyone have any perspective on the use of the term "squawk readback correct" for pilots who choose only to readback the squawk code in an IFR clearance. Is that even an acceptable readback?

General Discussion / FlightSimExpo Announces 2018 Date and Location
« on: December 08, 2017, 04:00:20 PM »
Posted with the permission of the VATUSA Events Coordinator and VATUSA1.

As many of you may know, a team of members from Boston Virtual ARTCC has launched FlightSimExpo, North America’s only community-driven flight simulation conference. With support from Orbx, X-Plane, and almost 30 other flight simulation organizations, FlightSimExpo is proud to be an event created by the flight simulation community.

Our team will be working closely with Matt from VATUSA to welcome ARTCCs from across the division to the event, and give interested controllers and VATUSA members the opportunity to participate in live controlling from the venue.

I encourage you to check out our press release (below), and to visit the conference on social media. Please follow FSExpo on Twitter and like the conference on Facebook for updates. Or visit our newly-released website at

I’d welcome any questions, input, feedback, or ideas here on this thread, or by email at [email protected].

Interest in the first annual FlightSimExpo has taken off – with more than 25 organizations expressing initial commitment to making the new event in Las Vegas a huge success. Interested attendees are encouraged to follow the conference on Twitter (@FlightSimExpo) and ‘like’ the conference on Facebook ( to stay up to date.

LAS VEGAS – December 8 – FlightSimExpo 2018, a new, community-driven flight simulation conference, will be held the weekend of June 9-10, 2018 at Flamingo Las Vegas Resort. Located in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip and minutes from the airport, Flamingo Las Vegas Resort has newly-renovated rooms, modern meeting space, a great rewards program, and features a Caribbean-style water park and tropical wildlife habitat.

FlightSimExpo 2018 will feature a variety of interactive exhibits, and a host of educational and informative seminars from professionals across the aviation and flight simulation industries. In addition, there will be social events after conference hours for networking and connecting with other simulation enthusiasts, aviation professionals, and developers from across the simulation industry.

The conference was formed by a group of community organizers from Boston Virtual ARTCC who have years of experience in flight simulation, aviation, and event planning. FSExpo plans to bring simulation enthusiasts, current and former aviation professionals, and anyone else who has an interest in flight simulation or aviation together to witness the advances and developments within the industry. This conference is truly community-driven: the venue, host city, and activities have all been determined by feedback from the community and developers. Early support from Orbx, X-Plane, and almost 30 others have helped turn this event into a reality.

In addition to Orbx and X-Plane, the following exhibitors and sponsors have confirmed planned participation in the event: Aerosoft, AirDailyX, Boston Virtual ARTCC, FlyTampa, FSFX Packages, FSElite, HiFi Simulation, iBlueYonder, Infinite-Flight, Javiator, Jetline Systems, Just Flight, PilotEdge, PILOT’S, Prepar3D, POSCON, TFDi Design, VATSTAR, and more!

“One of our biggest goals for this conference is to foster collaboration, and connect members of the flight simulation and aviation community that might otherwise not have the opportunity to come together,” noted Evan Reiter, one of the conference organizers. “Las Vegas provides an unbeatable backdrop for the first edition of the conference, and gives attendees and partners alike access to world-class dining and entertainment all weekend,” he continued.

Early bird registration will start at just $50 for the weekend, and a 3-night stay at the FlightSimExpo special event rate will be approximately $135/night, including all taxes and fees.

Visit for more information about the event and venue. Interested attendees are also encouraged to follow FSExpo on Twitter (@FlightSimExpo) and like the conference on Facebook ( for updates.

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