Noticeable issues related to CoC A16 and B8(a) these days...

Jeffry Babb

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See subject.  Very draining on controllers.

Brad Littlejohn

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Re: Noticeable issues related to CoC A16 and B8(a) these days...
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2023, 05:12:50 PM »
See subject.  Very draining on controllers.

It may be worth explaining what these issues are, as well as the context around them. This is very vague.

BL.

Jeffry Babb

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Re: Noticeable issues related to CoC A16 and B8(a) these days...
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2023, 08:50:18 PM »
A16 - many, many pilots using 122.800 as a chat line.  I remind folks and then I just wallop.
B8(a-c) - so many folks are unable to operate in the airspace with respect to following a /L or /Z flight plan.  Lots of wet nursing taking place on the part of the controllers.

Mandatory training for pilots please.

Brad Littlejohn

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Re: Noticeable issues related to CoC A16 and B8(a) these days...
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2023, 05:42:37 PM »
A16 - many, many pilots using 122.800 as a chat line.  I remind folks and then I just wallop.

You're doing the right thing here in .wallop.

Quote
B8(a-c) - so many folks are unable to operate in the airspace with respect to following a /L or /Z flight plan.  Lots of wet nursing taking place on the part of the controllers.

Mandatory training for pilots please.

Ongoing issue on this one, as it has been an issue since RNAV was implemented over 20 years ago. Back then, those that filed RNAV were still waiting to be vectored, meaning that they had no clue about the concepts of RNAV or what was supposed to be done when it is filed. Now that RNAV is the norm, they still don't know..

Back then those who filed RNAV knew what they were doing and didn't need to be vectored. Now, those that do not file RNAV appear to be the ones that know what they are doing and respond properly when vectored.

Unfortunately, this may be an issue bigger than VATUSA can handle; the BoG has routinely stated that this is a learning environment, and as such, training for pilots has been optional, while training is required for controllers. This has resulted in some turnover of controllers which is a result/byproduct of being stuck in this position. I wish there were a solution for it, but until VATUSA and VATSIM come to an agreement for what should happen, this problem (pilot competency) will continue.

BL.

Jeffry Babb

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Re: Noticeable issues related to CoC A16 and B8(a) these days...
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2023, 06:47:14 PM »
A16 - many, many pilots using 122.800 as a chat line.  I remind folks and then I just wallop.

You're doing the right thing here in .wallop.

Quote
B8(a-c) - so many folks are unable to operate in the airspace with respect to following a /L or /Z flight plan.  Lots of wet nursing taking place on the part of the controllers.

Mandatory training for pilots please.

Ongoing issue on this one, as it has been an issue since RNAV was implemented over 20 years ago. Back then, those that filed RNAV were still waiting to be vectored, meaning that they had no clue about the concepts of RNAV or what was supposed to be done when it is filed. Now that RNAV is the norm, they still don't know..

Back then those who filed RNAV knew what they were doing and didn't need to be vectored. Now, those that do not file RNAV appear to be the ones that know what they are doing and respond properly when vectored.

Unfortunately, this may be an issue bigger than VATUSA can handle; the BoG has routinely stated that this is a learning environment, and as such, training for pilots has been optional, while training is required for controllers. This has resulted in some turnover of controllers which is a result/byproduct of being stuck in this position. I wish there were a solution for it, but until VATUSA and VATSIM come to an agreement for what should happen, this problem (pilot competency) will continue.

BL.

The learning for pilots is unstructured, at best.  Meanwhile, controllers must work to become virtually 7110.65 capable, trained on limited volunteer time and then operate on their own volunteer time - ditto administrative staff.

As an example of how tests for competency can be helpful, I participate in a community that runs a very niche train simulator called Run8.  That community made me complete both a check ride and a knowledge test before I could participate and I am grateful for it.  I'm not implying that VATSIM is a no-rules environment like FSX multiplayer was, but the disparity in the "cost" of entry between the effort controllers must undertake to demonstrate competency and the effort required of pilots is borderline egregious.  I think everyone would benefit from higher standards for entry and/or some reflection and testing that actual "learning" occurs.

As it stands I feel we are witness to the following controller life cycle: enthusiasm, rigor of training, accomplishment of performing with approximate fidelity to the actual processes of a paid controller, operate on the network in the face of myriad challenges related to the disparity I have characterized, become jaded/tired/frustrated and/or just participate in events, and (perhaps often) then just wither away.  I offer, as anecdotal evidence, the turnstile of staffing at the some of the ARTCCs.

The Code of Conduct is a very solid document and all of the ARTCCs seem to be very diligent and legitimate volunteers and I am grateful to use the network every time I do.  However, the barriers to entry create a potentially bad situation where many pilots are on the network who cannot aviate, navigate, and communicate to a sufficient level that they are not a burden to the rest of the users.  At busy times, controllers are suffering through the burden of those who are underprepared.  Many controllers logon and their ARTCC has a provision for them to receive feedback for improvement, where is this provision for pilots?

IRL, if a pilots screws up they are given a number and an opportunity for a conversation.  In our case, we just have .wallop.  So, I now have to become a snitch on a neighborhood watch as opposed to my fellow pilot demonstrating his competency with some basic entrance requirements.

I accept the learning environment premise, but learning a two-way process and is often accompanied by assessments of learning so that progress towards competency can be marked.  If these things are not in place, as they are for controllers, then we are just simply hoping for learning rather than ensuring it.

In any case, I am sincerely grateful for all of the competent and patient controllers.

Don Desfosse

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Re: Noticeable issues related to CoC A16 and B8(a) these days...
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2023, 06:07:03 AM »
Please note that the BoG has been listening and actively revising the New Member Orientation program to try to find a better balance between "thou shalt be perfect" vs. "some people think 'learning environment' means 'preschool free-for-all'"....  Finding the true sweet spot in the middle for the entire community is challenging, especially as one person's "perfect balance" is very likely to be different for many other folks.

That said, in addition to the aforementioned training improvements, the BoG is currently considering and working on drafts of what additional IFR training and certification requirements to operate on VATSIM would look like.

Also, please note that VATSIM is in a beta phase of a pilot referral program (currently known as the Pilot Accountability Project), kinda like "I've got a number for you", where controllers can request assistance from a Supervisor (via .wallop), explain the problem the pilot has, and either suggest (or the Supervisor will just refer) that the pilot be referred to Pilot Training for additional training.  Right now, that program is available only through reaching out to Supervisors, as the team working on the project architects how to make it more widely available to the whole community.

The community is definitely being listened to, and we are very actively trying to implement improvements to address the pilot knowledge gap (general reference, obviously not directed at all pilots) that have drained the patience, good nature, and occasionally will to live of so many controllers (myself included, at times...). 

Nothing moves fast enough, and of course one person's perfect is different than many others', but we're trying!!!

I hope this helps shed a little more light/perspective.
Don Desfosse
Vice President, Operations, VATSIM (VATGOV2)
Division Director Emeritus, VATUSA

Robert Shearman Jr

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Re: Noticeable issues related to CoC A16 and B8(a) these days...
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2023, 10:25:40 AM »
Yep -- I cringe every time I read "We need a mechanism for Pilot Feedback" because I know firsthand how long a project to bring about exactly that has been underway.  At first, it was great to be able to reply to those pleas and say, "One is in the works!"  But as time has dragged on it has simply became another example of VATSIM moving at the speed of VATSIM.  I hope it sees light of day soon because it's one of those things that, if implemented properly, could be a true game-changer for the network.  Fingers crossed.
Cheers,
-R.