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Topics - Don Desfosse

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NOTAMs / RIP Ira Robinson
« on: February 26, 2024, 10:13:43 PM »
It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Ira Robinson. Amongst numerous roles with VATUSA and VATSIM, Ira served as my Deputy Director (VATUSA2) from 2016 to 2018. Ira also served our community as the VATUSA DCRM, ZNY ATM, VATNA Deputy Director, and served the VATSIM Membership Department. He loved VATSIM, VATUSA, the community and his family. Ira was a wonderful man and role model, and will be missed by many.

NOTAMs / RIP Curley Bryant
« on: February 07, 2023, 07:00:38 PM »
Sadly, Curley Bryant, a member of SATCO, an original member of VATSIM, a former VATUSA Deputy Director, Seattle ATM, and also held other roles within VATUSA, has passed away.

Events / Assume there is an Open Mic Night tonight?
« on: April 30, 2021, 08:31:04 AM »
Quick question -- there's nothing on the calendar for FNO tonight -- so I assume it's an Open Mic Night, but you know what assume means... :)  Is that correct?  Would there normally be something on the calendar to specify Open Mic Nights, or are we no longer doing that?  Thanks!

General Discussion / RIP Richard Green 810012
« on: February 14, 2021, 09:09:15 PM »
Sadly, Richard Green (810012), one of VATSIM's first members, has lost his battle with cancer and passed away.  Richard had served as a VATUSA staff member from VATSIM's inception through 2006, as a VATSIM Supervisor, as a founding member of the team that organized the weekly VATUSA Friday Night Ops (FNO event), and VATSIM's Cross the Pond events.

Richard's love for VATSIM helped ignite his passion to fly in the real world, becoming an airline pilot in 2007.

Richard will be missed.

Events / Cross The Pond Westbound 11z-...
« on: March 30, 2018, 09:46:36 AM »
The next edition of this long standing event will take place on Saturday 14th April 2018 with departures beginning at 1100z.

Departure Airports
London Heathrow (EGLL)
Amsterdam Schiphol (EHAM)
Warsaw-Chopin (EPWA)
Barcelona El-Prat (LEBL)
Vienna (LOWW)

Arrival Airports
Calgary (CYYC)
Toronto Pearson (CYYZ)
Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson (KATL)
Washington Dulles (KIAD)
New York John F. Kennedy (KJFK)
Miami (KMIA)
Chicago O’Hare (KORD)

More information:

Events / 9 out of 10... Nice!
« on: March 20, 2018, 07:47:56 PM »
Just noticed something...  Starting this Friday evening, there will be events on 9 out of 10 days in a row.  Nice!

General Discussion / Western coverage
« on: February 08, 2018, 05:56:53 AM »
Great to see!

USA Division Updates / Thank you for the opportunity to have served you!
« on: February 02, 2018, 01:00:12 PM »
Team USA,

As I round into the home stretch of my assignment as Division Director of one of VATSIM's top, finest Divisions, let me say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the opportunity to serve you, VATUSA, and VATSIM, in this pivotal role.  I can't believe it's been five years in this role.  Honestly, some days, it still seems like almost yesterday when I started. 

It's truly awesome to see where we've come from over the last 5 years, where we are now, and to know where we're going in the future.  In the last 5 years, VATUSA has grown its active member base by 20%, both from an ATC and pilot perspective.  Our online presence has also grown dramatically.  I attribute a lot of this to having an aligned, unified VATUSA vision and strategies we've employed to pursue our vision over the last 5 years.

Our vision continues to be

- Fun, Team, Family, Excellence
- Create the Magic
- Inspire Passion

- Training and Events are key
- Eliminate training bandwidth bottlenecks
  - Focus on updated, self-study materials, and additional training bandwidth based on workload sharing, augmenting resources, and sharing resources

- leading to our ultimate goal: Every facility staffed with a good quantity of quality controllers and a good quantity of quality pilots during peak times, at all major airports and facilities, and as many other times and facilities as possible, while having a really good time doing it

We have certainly come a long way.  And we still have a long way to go.  Our improvement should be a focus of every member in the community, every day.  Our drive, dedication and passion for improvement should be relentless.  Most importantly, we should be developing and driving a fun, family-like community culture.  Promoting our hobby as a mainly-realistic simulation vs. a game is hard work for pilots, students, controllers and staff alike.  And the only way to relentlessly pursue greatness without burning out or questioning return on investment is by doing what we do within a community that we not only like, but that we love.  It takes a culture of acceptance, family and the pursuit of greatness to help make that happen.  We've come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.

I'm really excited seeing Mark Hubbert stepping up from the Division Training Director role into the Division Director role.  We have spent the last month working on an aligned, seamless transition.  I'm heartened to know that he plans on continuing to promote the Division's vision moving forward.  He and the USA Division team will continue to build upon the hard work we've done and the successes we've earned, and the decisions that they are making as a team during this transition have been excellent.  I ask you to give Mark and his team all the support and more than you've given me.

VATUSA is in good hands.

I also can't thank enough the phenomenal team I have now, and have had in the past.  Each member of my team has brought his own unique flair to the role, and has brought a passion and dedication to excellence, growth, and fairness that I could not have imagined.  From the bottom of my hear, thank you.

I've been popping into as many Teamspeaks as I've been able to over the past couple of weeks and saying my thank yous to as many people personally as I could.  If I've missed you, I'm sorry to have missed you!

In closing, I can't thank each and every member enough for all of your contributions to our hobby, VATUSA, and VATSIM as a whole, past, present and future.  I encourage you to all keep going with a passionate, relentless pursuit of culture, retention, growth, quality and improvement.  I thank you all for your support over the last 5 years, and wish you all the best moving forward!

Don Desfosse
Director, VATUSA
03 Feb 2013 - 03 Feb 2018

General Discussion / Happy Holidays!
« on: December 24, 2017, 05:45:54 AM »
It's that time of year again...  Too much food, too much egg nog and too much of that Aunt we try not to talk about.  Just enough time has passed to forget what she did at Thanksgiving....

I'd like to share with you an old aviation tome that puts a smile onto my face every year when I read it.

Thank you for all you do to make your facilities, VATUSA, VATSIM and our hobby better, every day!

You have my sincerest and best wishes for a very safe, healthy, peaceful, blessed and joyous holiday season!

A retelling of the 19th-century story, especially for aviators.  This has been floating around the Internet for years in various forms -- and probably was passed around as photocopies for years before that.

'Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,
Not an airplane was stirring, not even a Champ.
The aircraft were fastened to tie downs with care,
In hopes that -- come morning -- they all would be there.

The fuel trucks were nestled, all snug in their spots,
With gusts from two-forty at 39 knots.
I slumped at the fuel desk, now finally caught up,
And settled down comfortably, resting my butt.

When the radio lit up with noise and with chatter,
I turned up the scanner to see what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and snow,
Called for clearance to land at the airport below.

He barked his transmission so lively and quick,
I'd have sworn that the call sign he used was "St. Nick."
I ran to the panel to turn up the lights,
The better to welcome this magical flight.

He called his position, no room for denial,
"St. Nicholas One, turnin' left onto final."
And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a Rutan-built sleigh, with eight Rotax Reindeer!

With vectors to final, down the glideslope he came,
As he passed all fixes, he called them by name:
"Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now Trini and Bacun!
On Comet! On Cupid!" What pills was he takin'?

While controllers were sittin', and scratchin' their heads,
They phoned to my office, and I heard it with dread,
The message they left was both urgent and dour:
"When Santa pulls in, have him please call the tower."

He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,
Then I heard, "Left at Charlie," and "Taxi to parking."
He slowed to a taxi, turned off of three-oh,
And stopped on the ramp with a "Ho, ho-ho-ho..."

He stepped out of the sleigh, but before he could talk,
I ran out to meet him with my best set of chocks.
His red helmet and goggles were covered with frost,
And his beard was all blackened from Reindeer exhaust.

His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale,
And he puffed on a pipe, but he didn't inhale.
His cheeks were all rosy and jiggled like jelly,
His boots were as black as a cropduster's belly.

He was chubby and plump, in his suit of bright red,
And he asked me to "fill it, with hundred low-lead."
He came dashing in from the snow-covered pump,
I knew he was anxious for drainin' the sump.

I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,
And I filled up the sleigh, but I spilled like a jerk.
He came out of the restroom, and sighed in relief,
Then he picked up a phone for a Flight Service brief.

And I thought as he silently scribed in his log,
These reindeer could land in an eighth-mile fog.
He completed his pre-flight, from the front to the rear,
Then he put on his headset, and I heard him yell, "Clear!"

And laying a finger on his push-to-talk,
He called up the tower for clearance and squawk.
"Take taxiway Charlie, the southbound direction,
Turn right three-two-zero at pilot's discretion"

He sped down the runway, the best of the best,
"Your traffic's a Grumman, inbound from the west."
Then I heard him proclaim, as he climbed thru the night,
"Merry Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight."

General Discussion / Discussion: ATC Timetable
« on: December 14, 2017, 06:23:36 AM »
All, there seems to be more and more discussion in the community regarding ATC timetables so pilots can have an approximate idea of when ATC might be on.  Arguments have been made for years about "not wanting to feel pinned down", it would feel like a job/commitment", etc.  But some of our facilities do it regularly and don't seem to suffer any ill effects. 

So I figured I'd start a discussion. 

Would you be in favor and why, or not and why, of having an ATC timetable that folks could post their intended staffing times to, assuming that timetable could be edited at will and is certainly non-binding?

Groundrules that the community would see would include:

The timetables is designed to give pilots an approximate idea of where and when to expect controllers online. This information is intended as a general guideline; controllers will often sign in without advance warning. Controller availability may change with little to no advance notice. Furthermore, even if there is no controller signed-up, drop-in ATC is often available during our peak hours.


News / Support ticket system degraded functionality [Resolved]
« on: November 29, 2017, 12:36:35 PM »
We have just become aware that since the evening of 11/27, our support ticket system has been undergoing some significant "challenges", including our inability to close tickets, and no emails going out when tickets are opened, replied to, or their status changed.  Our data team has been alerted, but as of this writing, there is not currently an ETA for the system being restored to full capability.

General Discussion / Happy Thanksgiving!
« on: November 22, 2017, 03:10:53 PM »
For those of you who celebrate it as a holiday, and also for those that don't, I'd like us all to take a moment to give thanks.

I'd like to give thanks...

... to our families.
... to those that have in the past, those that do now, and those that will in the future, keep us safe from harm's way.
... for being as fortunate as we are. If we have a computer and high speed internet access, we are doing so much better than so many in this world who struggle to keep a roof over their heads and food in their mouths.
... for those that share peace and love in this world.
... for those that have brought, and continue to bring us VATSIM, free of charge to us (even though they pay a considerable amount every year for our enjoyment).
... for being part of such a wonderful team as we have within VATUSA. We ebb and flow, but we consistently get stronger over time, and we are generally made up of a great group of people and come together as a strong and wonderful family.  We continue to develop an open, welcoming, professional, growth-oriented culture of hobbyists, passionate about doing an excellent job, teaching those that want to be taught, growing our hobby, and caring deeply for it and its members.

I would also like to thank each and every one of you, the members of VATUSA, especially the staff, for what you do for the network every day.  We wouldn't be here or have a purpose without you.  For many, this is a hobby, perhaps one of many that you engage in.  For many others, particularly the training staffs, ARTCC staffs, and the VATUSA staff, your motivation and dedication to the hobby transcends the normal; you devote an important part of who you are for the success of the members and the network.  For that, I applaud you, and am deeply grateful.

May the turkeys you see at your Thanksgiving celebrations be only the ones you eat, not the ones you share a meal with.

More importantly, may we all be thankful, grateful, loving and sharing, and may we all have a safe, healthy and Happy Thanksgiving.

News / Position Posting: Division Director, VATSIM United States Division
« on: November 15, 2017, 03:41:20 PM »
POSITION POSTING: United States Division Director, VATUSA1
REPORTS TO: VATSIM Regional Director for North America, VATNA1

Applications are now being accepted for the position of Division Director for the United States Division.

The Division Director is an important link between the "front line" of the network and the VATSIM North America Region. The duties listed below are intended for further delegation, in part, but ultimate responsibility lies with the Division Director. A Division Director is expected to be able to commit to at least 2 years to the job, and must take this into consideration before applying.

RESPONSIBLE FOR: Management of the VATUSA Division, including but not limited to the following duties:

• Providing strong leadership, direction and vision to Division staff
• Monitoring, reviewing, and enhancing all existing division programs, including training and membership
• Inviting applications and appointing qualified personnel to fill vacant staff positions
• Work to continuously improve the infrastructure of the Division, including the website and social media
• Regularly reviewing ATC progression, and ensuring that upgrade recommendations for qualified candidates are acted on promptly
• Ensuring that an online presence of ATC is maintained which encourages maximum coverage, looking for growth opportunities
• Establish and maintain partnerships with Virtual Airlines, developing relationships for continued collaboration
• Ensuring that events are arranged regularly, both within the division and in cooperation with adjacent divisions and regions
• Compile quarterly Division reports to the Regional Director for North America

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS: An applicant shall meet the following minimum standards:

• A familiarity with Unites States ATC operations and regulations
• A familiarity with pilot operations
• C1 rating, minimum, and be in good standing on the network
• Staff experience at the senior ARTCC level (ATM, DATM, TA), or above
• A commitment to maintain a strong online presence throughout their appointment, in addition to a minimum of 5 hours per week working specifically in the role of Division Director
• The ability to communicate clearly and professionally through various mediums to people of different experience levels and cultures
• Fluent in the English language
• Be readily available to respond to E-Mail

Applications will be accepted until 2359Z on 10 December 2017. Any applications received after this deadline will not be considered. All applications shall be e-mailed to [email protected].

General Discussion / Thank you, veterans!
« on: November 11, 2017, 10:03:39 AM »
Veterans Day is a time when we honor those who have exhibited selfless service and sacrifice for our Nation and our way of life. 

I'd like to take some time to say thank you for your service to every veteran, and their families who also sacrifice much in the name of our country.  You made daily sacrifices for the sake of serving America and your fellow citizens.  I am proud to have served our country, our families, and our freedom, and I know you are too.  This day allows us to recognize and appreciate those who have served to protect our lifestyles and freedoms, as well as remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice; those who never came home.  We remember and honor our teammates who sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom, and we honor their families who remain behind.  All gave some, and some gave all.  Please think about, and pray for, our wounded warriors who bear the scars of combat and those who bear mental scars as veterans.  I ask you to pause today, Veterans Day, and remember our veterans.  Thank every one that you can find.  Go out of your way to do it.  We never asked for any thanks when we made the commitment to our country, our citizens, and our freedoms.  But your appreciation is very welcome.

To every man and woman who preserved our liberty this year, and for all who have ever proudly worn our Nation's uniform, join me in a resounding, Thank you!

The following is an excerpt from a published public letter from Kyle-Ann Shiver.  I have reproduced the paragraphs that I wished to say, but that she said so much more eloquently than I could.

For the dozens of freedoms that we ordinary citizens have enjoyed every single day of our lives in America, we are grateful to you.  We take it all for granted, you know, and only express our thanks one day a year.  I'm ashamed of that, truly ashamed.

We hardly ever stop to even consider the sacrifices you have made and are making this very day in far away places, with scant comfort, if any at all, and yet you don't complain.  You just continue to serve and give and demonstrate genuine love for us every day.  Day in and day out.  In danger.  In fatigue.  In strange places all over the world.  We are more indebted to you than we will ever even comprehend.

And it is also true, that unless one has been in battle, one does not truly understand the depth of your passion for liberty.  To families that have borne no soldiers, you are an enigma.  To cowards, you are a shaming presence, a constant reminder of their weakness.  To your parents, you represent both the mountaintop of pride, and the deepest valley of concern that mothers and fathers can ever know.  And to most of us ordinary citizens, you are the unseen, under-appreciated protectors of all that we hold dear.

I have lived in America all my life, and every single night when I have laid my head upon my pillow, you were somewhere watching over my safety.  For every single one of those nights of peaceful rest, I simply say, "Thank you!"

You serve and fight for the greatest Nation in the history of civilization.  There has never been a grievous wrong that good Americans have not sought to rectify.  There has never been a just cause on which America has turned her back for long.  You, our soldiers, have been and continue to be, the greatest force for freedom and human rights ever gathered.  You have raised our flag around the world, not for domination, but to bring greater liberty and a better way of life.  You are the reason America remains a beacon of hope to the entire world.     

You seek neither glory nor riches, nor even fame.  You are our best, our brightest, our bravest.  Please always know that even when we don't show it, we love you.  We appreciate you.  We thank you.  And we will never forget you or forsake you.

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