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Events / vZDC regional right ft.ACY
« Last post by Gia Pham on March 12, 2024, 11:54:36 PM »

Come fly into the heart of the gambling world on the East Coast, Atlantic City (ACY). Whether you like craps, poker, blackjack, or just playing the slots, you're sure to find what you desire at any one of our casinos here. Or maybe you've already blown the kids' college fund and need to head back home.ZDC controllers will be staffing up positions to provide coverage for incoming/outgoing or just through traffic. Bring your favorite jet or GA to join the fun or just to donate the the electricity cost to the casinos. COME ON DOWN

April 15,2024 | 7pm - 10pm Eastern | 2300z - 0200z
Events / ZDV ZAB Blazing Blizzard FNO
« Last post by Martin Pease on March 12, 2024, 07:07:34 PM »

Wow, it's scorching in Phoenix and Albuquerque, but Denver is pleasantly cool! Why not seize the opportunity for a quick getaway? Whether you're seeking relief from the heat or craving some warmth, gather your passengers and embark on an adventure as we embrace the arrival of Spring! Join us for the Blazing Blizzard FNO, hosted by ZDV and ZAB ARTCCs. And remember, regardless of where you're headed, check density altitude!

March 29th, 2024 2259-0300z
Ft Fields: DEN PHX ABQ
Events / Re: [03/29/2024] ZLC, ZDV FNO
« Last post by Martin Pease on March 12, 2024, 06:03:56 PM »

Wow, it's scorching in Phoenix and Albuquerque, but Denver is pleasantly cool! Why not seize the opportunity for a quick getaway? Whether you're seeking relief from the heat or craving some warmth, gather your passengers and embark on an adventure as we embrace the arrival of Spring! Join us for the Blazing Blizzard FNO, hosted by ZDV and ZAB ARTCCs. And remember, regardless of where you're headed, check density altitude!

Thank you for the thoughtful response. I truly do admire your level of self awareness in this topic. I'm grateful that it appears that you learned something at the event.

This IS a hobby. I completely agree. But the reality is our hobby is unbalanced. The air traffic controller side of this hobby requires hundreds of hours of training and self study to become proficient enough to work event-level traffic well. Controllers are equally entitled to network enjoyment as the pilot that messes up procedures. The problem is, the pilot that messes up the procedures is affecting the enjoyment for not only the controller that they're talking to, but every adjacent controller, and every other pilot on frequency that has to listen to the controller hand-hold.

I do not expect VATSIM pilots to operate at the level of a real world airline pilot. My expectation for every VATSIM pilot is the same expectation I set for myself when I was 13 years old and scared to start flying on the network: To be good enough that I wouldn't need to be taught procedures on the frequency. That took exactly 10 minutes per flight pre-briefing my route. Anything that looked weird would be researched until I figured it out. Heck, sometimes I would file a flightplan as /A (no GPS) because I was scared to be assigned a new route and unable to change my FS9 flightplan in the GPS. I worked within my means. I didn't go to busy events at first because I wasn't confident that I could participate without getting in the way other other participants. Sometimes I would look at a weird chart and get so flustered that I'd run back to the FSX online server and just do barrel rolls and buzz the tower in my Extra 300.

We are working traffic levels that sometimes exceed real world right now. I was watching the real LAX while I was at work tonight and there wasn't a single moment that they had to merge two FULL streams of traffic on the ANJLL and HLYWD arrivals. We were doing that almost all night during the FNO. It gets so precise that mistakenly going direct HUNDA actually messes up the spacing on the final. Us controllers volunteer our time so that pilots like you can enjoy events like this. If we don't hold ourselves to higher standards, you will not continue to have competent controllers for years to come. We will get burnt out, and we will find other hobbies faster than we can train the next generation of controllers.

Some people knit for their hobby. Do you think it would be fun to knit a sweater that doesn't stay together for more than a day?

Some people fix cars for their hobby. Do you think they would be satisfied if they did an oil change on their 69 Corvette and put the wrong oil in it because they didn't bother to look up the right oil?

Some people find a hobby in baking. Would a hobbyist baker be happy if they forgot to set a timer on the oven and burnt their bread?

Some people do VATSIM for their hobby. Why wouldn't we want to be good at our hobby?
Maybe it's just a difference in perspective, but I don't think it's reasonable to expect pilots on Vatsim to perform to the same standards as actual instrument rated pilots.

However, the exact opposite is expected for controllers.

Your comment of "It's a game. Games are supposed to be fun" is only mostly true. Games have rules. When people don't follow the rules of the game, the game is not's unfair. The rules on VATSIM are very clear (CoC) and are intended to keep realism at a high level. For pilots, the key rules we are talking about here are in B8:

Code: [Select]
B8(a) A pilot must be familiar and proficient with the operation of their aircraft prior to connecting to the VATSIM network and shall comply with all agreed (read-back) air traffic control clearances or instructions. Where unable to do so, such as where operational safety is compromised (e.g. TCAS conflict resolution), air traffic control must be notified without delay.
B8(b) A pilot is expected to undergo reasonable preparation for their intended flight and potential diversions. This includes basic familiarization with arrival/departure airports, departure/arrival procedures and their planned route. This includes familiarization with airspace structure to prevent infringement of controlled or restricted airspace.
B8(c) A pilot shall be expected to promptly comply with basic air traffic control instructions that are applicable to their flight rules. These include:
(1) Holding position on the ground at an airport
(2) Flying a speed, heading, altitude or flight level
(3) Approach to land, either visually or flying an accepted instrument approach procedure
(4) When IFR, fly a cleared route by use of navigation aids / waypoints and fly to unplanned navigational aids / waypoints when instructed
(5) When IFR, fly a holding pattern

The expectations are clear. The rules are clear. The "FUN" level for controllers and pilots alike is tied directly to everyone following these rules in the VATSIM CoC.

Does it take practice? Yep. Is this stuff generally hard and complex to someone who doesn't train IRL for either a Pilot Cert and Instrument Rating and/or an ATC specialist job? Yep! But with the VAST resources (free and available online), along with time and patience, the skills are learnable -- both in the virtual flight deck and behind the virtual scopes.

And, I respectfully submit to you that taking the time to do it right and to play by the rules instead of just hacking through it, is VASTLY more rewarding!
Ok , perhaps I'm playing devil's advocate a touch, but I have to put this out there. First and foremost, I'm gonna raise my hand and call myself out as one of the pilots who screwed this up. I went direct HUNDA on the ILS25L following SEAVU and got called out for it, then vectored to intercept the localizer outside of range (going through it again because out of range) before I got a clearance for the visual. A proper hot mess. All completely my fault, no doubt. I'm not here to say otherwise. But I would like to point out the reason I messed up, since there is I think more nuance here than just "read the **** charts". I have been around Vatsim for years, and logged 500+ hours flying, 300+ controlling, and am a C1 rated controller. Far less than many to be sure, but hardly new to things. I had the charts up, on a second monitor while flying. I was looking at the ILS25L plate, but personally was under the impression that it wasn't necessary to fly the entire approach since we so very infrequently do on Vatsim. I was under the (false) idea that an approach clearance basically allowed me to go to any point prior to the FAF. I have since actually looked it up and realized my error, the difference lies in being vectored to the final approach course vs flying the entire approach from an IAF. I was unaware this was something I needed to look up, until I realized there was something I did not know. My point however, is if a 500 hour pilot can make this mistake while looking at the chart, perhaps we're pushing the limits of what we can reasonably expect on the network. I have neither the time nor the disposable income to pursue an instrument rating IRL. If I did, I probably wouldn't be flying here.

On the flip side of this as a controller, I go into an FNO *knowing* that this kind of mistake is going to happen all night long, and regard my responsibility as a controller to adapt accordingly. Surely this mistake didn't just start happening during the event. Frequent controllers of this airspace must have known that this was a common mistake, and likely to be a problem. If that had been me, I perhaps would have been assigning headings off the IAF's as opposed to just giving cleared approach. (eg: instead of "At SEAVU, cleared ILS 25L" I might have done something like "Depart SEAVU heading 245 (or whatever it actually is, I don't have a protractor handy) cross <Whatever fix is appropriate> at or above <some altitude> cleared ILS 25L"). While I get that this does take a touch more time on frequency, and isn't what you would hear in real life; it takes the routing out of the pilots hands. Regardless of what they're flying or how their FMC is programmed, I know that the vast majority can twist a heading into the autopilot and engage heading hold. I know reasonably well at that point what they are going to do. Plus, this is easily followed by even the simplest of default aircraft with no navdata or even no RNAV at all. And yes, I know, there are still going to be pilots that don't actually know where SEAVU is or mess up the turn, but those pilots are going to mess it up no matter what I say, and at least (I hope) it will be a shorter list. Heck, this is why we seem to default to vectors to final in the first place, right? I'd bet the time taken on frequency to give slightly more verbose clearances is offset by the number of pilot mistakes I won't have to fix.

Maybe it's just a difference in perspective, but I don't think it's reasonable to expect pilots on Vatsim to perform to the same standards as actual instrument rated pilots. I would pose the question of a pilot flying into perhaps their first serious event on the network, who is given instructions that leave them thinking "Cool, I can do that!" and smoothly getting to their destination vs. getting grilled by a controller on frequency and disconnecting, or called out in the forums: Who had the better experience? Which one is going to stick around and listen and learn, and (hopefully) improve? Which one is going to become the basis for the next generation of controllers, and how are they going to handle the same situations when they are on the other end of the scope? Are they going to give the same instructions they hear on LiveATC because "That's what the *real* ATC does!" or "The SOP says so" without regard for the situation, or are they going to realize that maybe by changing things up a bit they can make things a whole lot easier both for the pilots as well as themselves, and improve everyone's experience?

And I strongly disagree with the attitude I all so often hear that if a pilot is new or less skilled they should avoid events entirely. Not in your post specifically, but anyone who has spent any amount of time hanging out with controllers has heard this time and time again. This is precisely the kind of gatekeeping and exclusivity that I think we all ought to be working hard to eliminate. To every single person on Vatsim I ask: What would you have done in this situation on your first few dozen flights online? Would you have perfectly understood the subtleties of the situation? Do you think you should have been barred from participating in events as a result?

So, to answer your questions:
-Most Vatsim pilots will mess this up. Are you one of them? Yes, until last night, I was.
-Was I unsure of how to fly the clearance I was given? No, I didn't realize it differed significantly from what I was accustomed to. I lacked that knowledge. I wasn't unsure, I was uneducated.
-Can I fly assigned headings, altitudes and airspeeds with a 100% success rate? Yes, I can.
-Can I disconnect the A/P and hand fly assigned headings, altitudes and airspeeds? Yes, I can, and do if I realize the airplane is doing something I did not expect. In this case, it did exactly what I told it to do (in error, but unknown to me at the time)
-You have no excuse for not having the chart: I did have the chart.
-It was embarrassing the number of pilots who messed up their routing. I am not embarrassed at all. In fact, I am willing to out myself in a public forum, not as being a terrible pilot or a child of the magenta; but as someone who learned something new that they did not previously know, and who will not make the same mistake again. As someone who is simultaneously thankful for the learning opportunity, and disappointed by the attitudes that seem to run rampant questioning anyone who would dare fly into an event and *gasp* make a mistake!

You are a real world IFR pilot, and air traffic controller. I am not, nor will I ever be, either of these. I applaud your dedication to your career, but understand that your career is merely my hobby. I will never *ever* be able to operate at the levels of knowledge, skill and proficiency that you posses. I simply lack the ability to put that level of time into something which is for me, just a way to relax and unwind. I'll probably catch some heat for this, but at the end of the day we're playing make believe airplanes on the internet. It's a game. Games are supposed to be fun. So maybe just a bit less worrying about exactly what actual certified professional controllers and pilots do, and a bit more having fun.
The Flight Deck / MOST VATSIM pilots will mess this up. Are you one of them?
« Last post by Shane VanHoven on March 09, 2024, 10:57:54 AM »
Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

I wanted to take some time to write up a debrief on following approach clearances properly. I spent over 2 hours on SoCal approach yesterday during FNOscars, and it was EMBARRASING the amount of pilots messed up their routing onto the ILS to 25L and 24R.

I am going to run through how these procedures specifically are meant to be flown, but please remember a few cardinal rules of VATSIM that apply to ALL procedures, during ALL flights, in ALL regions of the world:

1. Familiarize yourself with your filed or cleared route. Verify that the route loaded in your FMC is INDENTICAL to the route that you filed or were cleared via. Remember it may change during your flight.

2. If you receive a clearance that you are unsure of how to fly,  ASK for clarification. Do NOT just assume you can figure it out. 

3. Familiarize yourself with the automation of your aircraft. If you are unable to fly assigned headings, altitudes or airspeeds with a 100% success rate, you should avoid flying into events of any type until you are able to do so. 

4. If your autopilot is not doing what it is supposed to do, you should be able to disconnect it and hand fly almost as good as the autopilot would be able to. We can accommodate automation failures just fine, but there's very little we can do if you are unable to fly headings, altitudes or speeds as assigned.

Now to the fun stuff:

LAX Approach plates: These are publicly available for FREE for all airports in the US. Therefore: You have NO EXCUSE for not having the chart.

ILS 24R:
ILS 25L:

All jet arrivals from the east to LAX are either on the ANJLL arrival or the HLYWD arrival. The ANJLL ends at CRCUS, and the HLYWD ends at SEAVU.

Notice, approaches to both 25L and 24R have those two fixes on them. Meaning you will receive a clearance such as "At SEAVU cleared ILS runway 24R". This clearance means you are cleared to proceed from SEAVU, Direct SKOLL, then via the localizer and glideslope down to the runway 24R.

You are NOT cleared to proceed from SEAVU direct MERCE. This is a common problem that would be solved by following rule number 1 above.

These charts are designed to be very easy to read. Literally just follow the arrows. Every fix you are meant to fly to is shown on the map view with arrows connecting them together. If something doesn't make sense, follow rule 2 above, and ASK.

Here is another helpful graphic:

QUIZ time!

You are descending via the ANJLL arrival. You check on with approach and they tell you, "SWA123, SoCal approach, information P is current, at CRCUS cleared ILS runway 25R."

a) What should the next waypoint after CRCUS be?

b) What altitude and speed should you be at CRCUS?

c) What altitude should you be at the fix after CRCUS?

If you've made it this far, thank you. You are contributing to the improvement of VATSIM. If you know anyone who needs help with this stuff, feel free to send the link and have them participate.

Remember, VATSIM has decent resource to learn this stuff too. Next time you're bored at cruise, take some time to explore. You might learn something accidentally. I'm a real world IFR pilots and air traffic controller, and even I find stuff in here that I didn't know.
Events / Re: [03/09/2024 0100z-0500z] The FNOscars
« Last post by Jovan Brooks on March 07, 2024, 10:41:08 PM »
This will be HUGE!
Events / [6/25/2024] Subway Series: METSS vs YNKEEs
« Last post by Daniel Sirota on March 06, 2024, 08:06:00 AM »

Join the New York ARTCC at the heart of the action as our controllers take home plate at Kennedy (JFK) and LaGuardia (LGA)!

Channeling the spirit of the iconic New York baseball rivalry, this event promises a thrilling showdown between JFK and LGA, with controllers showcasing their expertise in managing the bustling airspace. Whether you're a seasoned pilot looking to “SKORR” some more hours or a first-time batter wanting to get in on the excitement, this competition guarantees a high-flying, fast-paced challenge that captures the essence of the Subway Series in the virtual aviation world.

Don't miss out on the chance to be part of this unique and adrenaline-pumping event!

Event Fields: KJFK, KLGA
Date & Time: Tuesday, June 25th, 2024, 7:00pm → 10:00pm Eastern (2300z - 0200z)
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