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Messages - Anthony Santanastaso

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The Classroom (Controller Tips) / Re: atc test
« on: July 20, 2023, 05:14:13 PM »
Please look at the VATUSA Knowledgebase/FAQ for why 2 questions are ungraded. This is by design.

USA Division Updates / 2022 Reflection
« on: December 30, 2022, 02:55:26 PM »
Dear VATUSA Members,

As we countdown the remaining hours of 2022 and ring in the new year, I wanted to express my thoughts on the previous year and provide a general preview on all the amazing things to come. While I do tend to write a lot, I wish to keep this relatively short and to the point.

VATUSA had many goals listed in the “VATUSA 2022 Initiatives” post by Mani Manigault, the former Division Director. Although many of these goals haven’t been fully completed, I am happy to report that mostly all of them have seen progress. Of note has been our continued outreach to the pilot and VA community as well as our efforts to work more collaboratively with each sub-division.

Four about seven months, the staff dynamic remained volatile as we continued to explore the dynamic of working with Regional Manager positions. In addition, as our Discord and social media communities actively grew, we experienced growing pains with how best to address a variety of concerns that arose from growing teams and the addition of a new policy. We began to fracture as the end of summer drew near and it was obvious that an adjustment to our trajectory was necessary. Once in the Division Director role, I decided to focus our attention on building a more cohesive and collaborative community that would be built upon a foundation of effective communication and transparency.

To achieve our new goals, we thought that it was necessary to reduce middle management positions. The Regional Manager position, which was by some considered to be a Super Air Traffic Manager role in charge of several sub-divisions, was no longer applicable. In its place would exist a Deputy Division Director of Air Traffic Services position that would share some of the burdens of the Division Director and work together to forge a more productive, meaningful, and efficient relationship with all the sub-division senior staff.

In addition, we saw the removal of two more HQ positions. Integrating both the Communications and TMU roles into the Deputy Division Director of Support Services was our answer to further reduce management while encouraging the use of teams. While we are in the beginnings of this transition, both roles are in the process of earning their wings and are destined to take flight in the new year. In fact, we have just finalized a group of volunteers to assist with our social media initiatives and are looking forward to some exciting new projects that include educational videos to assist both our controllers and pilots.

In November, we launched two surveys and gained some very useful insight. Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing some of this information with you and look forward to incorporating many of your suggestions into our future objectives. Please be on the lookout for another shorter and more focused survey sometime this summer.

Lastly, I think the most significant and substantial accomplishment of this year has been our ability to lay the groundwork for a more empathetic, sympathetic, and professional environment. Determined to reframe our mindsets and establish a better overall culture, we have begun to listen to each other, respectfully disagree, and show more compassion for our fellow member. We established our Value and Vision Statements that help to guide our decision making and conduct, and we have begun to administratively operate under the Culture of Support and Accountability.

For a detailed summary of the administrative groundwork that took place, please look at the October staff meeting presentation:

As we enter 2023, I want you all to know how fortunate you are to be a member of this division. You are witnessing the beginning stages of an amazing journey wherein the division will work in concert with all its constituents to make VATSIM an even greater resource to aviation enthusiasts. The significance of this past year’s accomplishments cannot be adequately stated, and I promise you that it will all be vividly clear in the new year.

I challenge everyone to work together to make all our aspirations and goals become realities. Do not be deterred by the speedbumps along the way. Persevere and overcome all challenges.

To quote Winston Churchill:

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”

Let’s make this coming year one to remember!

I am proud of you all and will continue to be in awe of your incredible talents. Thank you for your support, friendship, and encouragement. I wish you and your families good health and happiness.

Most Sincerely,

Anthony Santanastaso

(Formatted for distribution:

News / VATUSA Status Update
« on: December 14, 2022, 01:21:57 AM »
Greetings everyone, I hope that this message reaches you and your family well. As we embark on the upcoming holiday season and new year, I wanted to give you a quick update about VATUSA.

ATC Update
Since it's restructure, VATUSA Headquarters (HQ) has successfully redefined its relationship with sub-division staff. Like any new relationship, it has encountered growing pains but demonstrated an overall successful ability to maintain positive and frequent communication and collaboration. One of the key hurdles we sought to overcome was the ability to connect overarching and globally relevant initiatives with the more specific needs of each sub-division. Empowering the support assets within HQ and minimizing the roadblocks to the Division Directors has proven to be the necessary first steps. Continuing to adhere to our value and vision statements represents our next step as we aim to change the overall culture for how we operate and interact with each other. And lastly, refining how we select our leaders is incredibly important to make sure we engage the most appropriate people for the job. To this end, beginning with the selection process for the recent HQ hire, we implemented a hiring committee comprised of various constituents within the community. All in all, the pathway to a great future is upon us so long as we collectively choose to put away differences, accept each other's strengths, lend support to overcome each other's weaknesses, and constantly remind ourselves that we're all on the same team.

Pilot Update
Last month, a survey was given asking for feedback. The results were enlightening though we had hoped for some more responses. Over the next few weeks, we plan to study the results and prioritize the means by which your feedback will be addressed. Please be on the look out for social media, Discord, and Forum posts that involve such activities as training opportunities, sub-division events, and other useful resources.

General Update
Due to a mixture of personal reasons and time constraints, I will be stepping down as Division Director. This is by no means indicative of the current state of affairs, as I have previously expressed that the division is moving in the desired direction. I will remain at the helm until such time a new Director is appointed. Due to the holiday season, the selection process might take a couple of months. More information from VATGOV3 will follow in the very near future. If the situation permits, I welcome the opportunity to remain as a member of HQ as I believe I have more to give back to this community. Business will continue as usual and you should expect further developments to occur, though a reasonable slow down is to be expected as we enter the holidays.

Thank you all for your support and dedication. It's an honor and privilege to work besides you.

News / VATUSA Pilot and Controller Surveys
« on: November 07, 2022, 08:44:54 AM »
Hello everyone, thank you very much to those of you who already submitted a response to the Controller and Pilot Survey. In reading through some of the comments, one mentioned the fact that I neglected to post the links here in the Forums. I apologize for this oversight and wish to rectify it by extending the deadline to Saturday, November 19, 2022 at 1600Z.

If you're a pilot that flies throughout VATUSA airspace and/or are a VATUSA controller, please take the time fill out one or both of these surveys and provide us with valuable feedback. Your opinions and experiences are greatly valued and will help to inform our future decisions. A revised (and shorter) version of each survey will also occur sometime in July. Please be on the look out here, in Discord, and on our Social Media channels.

VATUSA Pilot Feedback Survey

VATUSA Controller Feedback Survey

News / VATUSA HQ Staff Updates
« on: October 19, 2022, 11:30:41 AM »
With a mixture of emotions, I would like to share with you some important information regarding HQ and VATUSA. Throughout September, I took the time to carefully consider options and individually speak with senior facility and HQ staff. I provided guidance to each group to express their thoughts and concerns about every aspect of our division and its operational status. Coupled with my own observations, it was clear that we needed to move in a different direction fueled by a culture of more collaboration, communication, and support. October welcomed in the time for action and we've begun to take steps toward a future wherein the start of the aforementioned culture could materialize and continue to flourish.

Operating under the belief that HQ had become too large for its own good, we've decided to scale back the staff positions to just 9 members. The reduced size will help to increase the activity and effectiveness of each remaining position while also making the support structure clearer for the division to know who to turn to for guidance. The reduction of middle management will enable the voices of division staff to be heard more clearly while at the same time ensuring that the messaging and communications from HQ equally remain consistent and not misconstrued. As the division continues to grow, we will make it a point to analyze how well the leadership is working. Operating by a culture of support and accountability, we will make necessary adjustments and be sure that we always operate in accordance with our organizational statements:

To create a more cohesive and collaborative hobby environment wherein its members challenge pre-existing standards, embrace growth, and aim to positively influence the entire VATSIM network.

Through effective communication, collaboration, and empathy, we treat each other with dignity and respect. We are open to various types of members and acknowledge that no one is above the learning process. With each new day we strive to be better versions of ourselves.

To be determined by senior leadership teams at our upcoming staff meeting.

Unfortunately, the consequence of this decision meant saying farewell to four dedicated and devoted volunteers. Rick Rump, Ray Salvagnini, and Nick Watkins have respectfully resigned from their positions in advance of the 11/1 reorganization deadline. Jeremy Peterson will remain until 11/1 as we transition his duties to be a part of a larger, more collaborative team. All four have spent countless amounts of hours expending energy for the sake of the division. Their positive contributions shall always be remembered and I cannot thank them enough for their efforts. The difficulty and emotion involved with approaching them about my decision to scale back HQ was perhaps the most challenging leadership task I have had to execute. Brandon Barrett will remain as the Deputy Division Director of Air Traffic Services and Nick and Jeremy were offered an opportunity to continue their work and expertise with Brandon Wening being their direct report as Deputy Division Director of Support Services. We are still going to value the marketing and TMU initiatives and in fact make it so that either are more adaptable and influenced by the opinions of the whole division.

Lastly, I want to welcome Brin Brody to HQ as the Assistant Training Services Manager. A former ATM and active instructional team member, Brin was hired by a committee of 9 people comprised of 3 ATM's, 3 TA's, and 3 HQ members, not including myself. The process for his selection made sure that we selected the best candidate for the job. I am confident that Brin will work on behalf of the division and assist in the advancement of training projects and initiatives.

At present, the magnitude of work on the plate of Training Services helped to reinforce the need to maintain the existing structure. ATC training represents a significant part of our operations. Likewise, pilot outreach and education does, too. That's why you will notice that the new HQ is slanted more toward Training and Support Services. As the needs of the division change, we will continue to re-evaluate our decisions.

Thank you to everyone for all that you do for VATUSA. I am both honored and humbled to have this opportunity to serve you and will do so the best way I know how.

Events / Re: [10/25/2022 2300z - 0100z] Tuesday Nights in New York
« on: October 07, 2022, 04:33:35 PM »
This is a terrific initiative and a great way to create dependable coverage on a weekly basis. Particularly for training controllers, it provides a regular opportunity to staff up positions and gain valuable experience.

FYI, to any keen eyes and unsuspecting pilots, there’s a bit of tongue and cheek humor in our event posts. Consider it part of the tradition of event positing! Beginning a flight and hitting the pillow during cruise is of course a no-no and may result in a suspension. Obviously, the CoC is still enforced. I say this just in case anyone read the synopsis literally, and to help newer members unfamiliar with proper procedures.

Enjoy NY airspace and be sure to stop by and say hello!

News / Re: POSITION POSTING: Assistant Training Services Manager (VATUSA14)
« on: September 28, 2022, 01:56:05 PM »
Good afternoon, everyone. Friendly reminder that the deadline is fast approaching for this posting. I'm extending the time to Saturday, October 1st at 1600Z.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you once again for your interest.

NOTAMs / VATUSA ATC Training Update
« on: September 13, 2022, 09:22:30 PM »
For the past few weeks, I've been meeting with the senior staff from each facility as well as each member of ZHQ. I've held the position of VATUSA3 (Deputy Director Training Services) until such time Meg, Nathan, and I had a chance to meet and discuss their future plans to work with us as a division.

I am pleased to officially announce my departure from VATUSA3 and the appointment of Meg Bruck as the Deputy Director of Training Services and Nathan Forste as VATUSA13, Training Services Manager.

In light of an effort to encourage increased collaboration and communication around the division, as well as the predictable goals that will be established as a result of my meetings, we've shuffled around the responsibilities of VATUSA3, VATUSA13, and VATUSA14 in order to better suit the team and attend to the needs of the division.

Instead of VATUSA14 simply being affiliated with the Academy, their general role and responsibility will be to assist with the creation and development of new training initiatives, as well as to manage teams of volunteers that will tackle specific division training goals. While Meg and Nathan will continue to handle existing concerns and routinely collaborate with instructional staff throughout the division, VATUSA14 will primarily focus on the progression of outstanding projects that require completion. We anticipate that with this redefined sense of purpose, we will be able to see all of our desired tasks completed in a timely fashion.

Training is a vital component of our overall operation and we must continue to treat it with respect and dignity. What we do as teachers makes or breaks us as a division, and we all know that it is not an easy obligation to fulfill. Through various hurdles of unavoidable adversity, we continue to pick ourselves up and support one another for the sake of this network's future. It is because of volunteers like you that we continue to exist and VATUSA as a whole continues to place itself at the forefront of progress and innovation. The tide is changing and we're affecting change that is felt all the way to the very top of the organization.

Meg and Nathan have repeatedly demonstrated their passion, expertise, and willingness to bring us to new heights. Now we call upon everyone in VATUSA to continue to help them on their journey, participate in future projects, and forge pathways to a more successful, sustainable, and profitable future!

News / POSITION POSTING: Assistant Training Services Manager (VATUSA14)
« on: September 13, 2022, 09:00:50 PM »
VATUSA is currently seeking an Assistant Training Services Manager (VATUSA14) who will assist the VATUSA instructional team and take part in the successful implementation of division training initiatives.

Key Accountabilities:

  • Reports to the Deputy Director of Training (VATUSA3) and Training Services Manager (VATUSA13).
  • Assists with the creation and development of new training initiatives.
  • Assists with the development of effective training programs for VATUSA that enhance and support the vision of VATUSA.
  • Manages teams of volunteers to complete division training goals.
  • Assists with the continued monitoring and evaluation of completed training goals.
  • Assists with the regular communication and collaboration of facility training staff.
  • Assists with the onboarding and training of new training staff members.
  • Maintains an active online presence throughout the division and on the VATSIM network.
  • Functions as VATUSA staff member and attends meetings as necessary.

Core Requirements:

  • Demonstrated project management skills
  • Adheres to deadlines
  • Able to effectively lead in a team environment and encourages group collaboration
  • Able to effectively lead others through influence and motivation
  • Strong interpersonal relationship skills
  • Receptive to feedback and alternative opinions
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Active member of the network in good standing for at least 12 months
  • No significant disciplinary record or history of unprofessional behavior
  • Minimum VATSIM rating C1

Desired Skills and Capabilities:

  • Demonstrated possession and utilization of a high degree of energy, commitment and dedication.
  • Demonstrated qualities of understanding, patience, maturity, and an attention to detail.
  • Familiar with the Fundamentals of Instruction (FOI).
  • Current or previous instructional experience, either as an I1, I3, or mentor.

To be effective and successful, the Assistant Training Services Manager must devote a considerable amount of time to the position; candidates must commit to devoting the time required. In addition, it is strongly encouraged that candidates possess a contagious exuberance and determination to complete division training goals with the help of other training staff members. The candidate must work well with others. Only those who fully understand and meet the requirements and will make the appropriate commitment should apply. Candidates can expect an initial evaluation of their application after which they may be contacted for a comprehensive interview.

Interested members must provide the following:

  • A cover letter, including an applicant's full name, active email, and CID.
  • A resume that outlines the applicant's qualifications and experience.
  • A list of references.
  • (Optional) Letter(s) of recommendation.

Complete applications shall be submitted to Anthony Santanastaso at [email protected] by October 1st at 1600Z.

News / Letter from VATUSA1 (8/15/22)
« on: August 15, 2022, 07:52:07 PM »

I want to sincerely thank each and every one of you for your warm reception and congratulatory messages; I appreciate you more than you know. For the past several weeks, I have given much thought about what I would do immediately after being selected as VATUSA1 and, after careful consideration, I want to explain the first part of my vision and goals. I hope this insight into my thought process will shed light on the type of leadership I wish to demonstrate.

No matter what particular facet of my life, I operate by four basic principles: communication, collaboration, respect, and empathy. In addition, I strive to always listen before I speak (and I’ll be the first to acknowledge that I must continue to do this better) and place myself in another’s shoes before passing judgment. My approach towards problem solving is straight-forward and utilizes my “WWH” method: what is the problem, why is it a problem, and how can we fix it? I do not desire to create solutions for non-existent problems, nor do I desire to make solutions that do not properly address the problems at hand.

To do all the above, I must continue to recognize you all as human beings, not as avatars or handles. Human beings are complex and certainly have about as many faults as they do excellences. I will be the first to acknowledge that I have several faults, but through metacognition, self-reflection, approachability, and receptivity to feedback, I will mitigate the negative effects of my faults. It is my hope that you are willing to join me on this path of enlightenment and empathy, where we treat each other more respectfully, cordially, and professionally. Not because our titles or positions demand that to be the case, but because our actions toward each other earn us that dignity and right.

We cannot escape nor are we above politics, drama, and immaturity. We are like any other institution that inevitably falls prey to such negative behaviors. To say that we will rid ourselves of any of these things would be a false promise and an unrealistic goal. What we can do is adjust how we react to each other when such instances occur and learn from our mistakes. What we can do is prevent the circumstances that surround that particular behavior from happening in the future, and breed renewed energy and hope into the concept of growth and maturation. We will make mistakes; more importantly, I will make mistakes. My hope is that during my tenure, when mistakes happen, we approach each other with respect and professionalism and never lose sight of our integrity.

My philosophy about this network hasn’t changed for the past 20 years. Due in part to my complex background of experiences, I have been able to strike a balance between ultimate realism and simulation. It is my firm belief that this network has an enormous opportunity to introduce and invigorate teenagers and adults alike to enter the world of aviation and perhaps make it a part of their reality. Countless members have gone on to become air traffic controllers, pilots, mechanics, ramp agents, and every other type of industry profession or recreation. It is outright praiseworthy how many of those members still continue to give back to this community even though they’re performing the job in real life.

We must also recognize that many engage in this hobby because they would not realistically be able to engage in aviation at all. Whether it’s because of their cognitive or medical disposition, age, or personal choice, they are here to role play and manifest a life that would not otherwise be possible or practical. How we operate and the choices we make must always remain open to both of these types of members. Sometimes that will mean bending an aspect of reality, while other times it will mean members must step up and understand that this hobby is one that is built around a complicated skill set requiring a particular degree of aptitude. The only unforgivable and undesirable offense is to not try to be a better person, controller, pilot, student or staff member than who we were yesterday. Come prepared to training sessions, acclimate yourself to your aircraft offline before connecting to the network, and continuously strive to learn something new each day. No one, especially myself, is above the learning process. The day you stop acknowledging this concept is the day you should reevaluate your expectations.

Over the next few weeks I will be meeting individually with members of ZHQ (VATUSA Admin) and senior facility staff. Together, we will determine the next steps we need to take in order to move our division forward. I hope to have an update shortly thereafter. In the meanwhile, please carefully consider all that I’ve said and reflect upon your overall receptiveness and willingness to move forward with me under this philosophy. As the school year approaches, my availability will become more finite, but I will be certain to be as visible as possible. Please feel free to reach out via email if you ever have any questions or concerns. Thank you once again for this tremendous opportunity and I look forward to seeing VATUSA thrive and flourish!


The Power of EMPATHY

The Power of TEAMWORK

Admiral William H. McRaven 2014 Commencement Address
Transcript of Admiral William H. McRaven’s Address

General Discussion / Re: Retired ATCS
« on: August 14, 2022, 06:49:18 PM »
Thanks. Will do. When I was at VNY we were the 7th busiest airport in the US and the busiest GA airport in the world. Loved working there. There were times I left work and could not have worked another airplane because I was exhausted.
BUR area of SoCal would definitely be interesting as would SBA.

Hi Tony, send me an email at your convenience, please!

The Flight Deck / VATUSA Pilot Resources Padlet
« on: August 04, 2022, 02:29:33 PM »
VATUSA Pilot Resources

One of the most inspiring and amazing aspects of our community is the amount of talent and knowledge that exists among all of its constituents. Tapping into these amazing resources, we invite you to offer tips to others on how to navigate this environment and become better participants in this hobby. This resource can be referenced by future generations and act as a crowd-sourced FAQ that will guide users through their training and offer help with a variety of concepts and skills.

If you're not familiar with Padlet, it is a terrific online resource for uploading and discussing ideas. By clicking on the link above, you will gain access to the VATUSA Pilot Resources and you can post a tip that you believe would be helpful to others.

The tips are separated into the following categories:

  • Weather
  • Charts & Routes
  • IFR Tips
  • VFR Tips
  • Airspace & Communications
  • Flying Tips

All tips are welcome and everyone may contribute. Posts are moderated by the VATUSA Training Department and reviewed for accuracy. Our goal is to create an environment in which we can all work together and figure out ways in which we can make a meaningful and sustainable impact on flight training and performance throughout the division.

Hello! I'm currently taking the S1 exam and on question 17 it asks to state weather a part of a flight strip/plan is correct or incorrect. The first part is asking if the callsign is correct. In the question, it is worded as "DELTA12". Technically this is how it's said, but the real callsign is "DAL". I'm not sure weather the answer to the question would technically be correct since it is said the same, or wrong since it would actually display DAL instead of DELTA. Thanks!

Hi Matt, unless the question is asking about phraseology, do not read into it further than how it is presented. In this case, you are correct that the phraseology of "DAL" is "Delta," but the question did not ask you to determine that fact. Under this circumstance, you are to simply identify the correct presentation of the callsign as it would appear in the flight plan.

The Control Room Floor / Re: Becoming ATC
« on: March 21, 2022, 01:02:04 PM »
Don, I have been a C1at both ZLC and ZDV, but have been away for about 4 years, and the pathway to the S1 test appears to be a bit littered with good information, but seems to have a lot of side-steps as you try and proceed. I have also encountered mixed information on the new ways of setting up audio and the scopes in VRC from the past. Change is good, but a simpler path to get to the initial plateau might be useful. Thanks!

I don't quite know what you mean by side-steps, so if you could, please email me some more detailed information and we can continue this discussion.

The VATUSA Academy has specific courses for how to setup the various radar clients. Four years ago, Audio for VATSIM was not a thing; therefore, the setup process is different now. Until new clients build into it the capability of working with VATSIM's new voice infrastructure, there will exist two applications that will require setup. As mentioned, we provide guidance in the Academy and offer new users opportunities to interact with many experienced members in the VATUSA Discord for some semblance of synchronous instruction.

The Classroom (Controller Tips) / VATUSA Training Tips Padlet
« on: March 10, 2022, 09:22:37 AM »
VATUSA Training Tips Padlet

One of the most inspiring and amazing aspects of our community is the amount of talent and knowledge that exists among all of its constituents. Tapping into these amazing resources, we invite you to offer tips to others on how to navigate this environment and become better participants in this hobby. This resource can be referenced by future generations and act as a crowd-sourced FAQ that will guide users through their training and offer help with a variety of concepts and skills.

If you're not familiar with Padlet, it is a terrific online resource for uploading and discussing ideas. By clicking on the link above, you will gain access to the VATUSA Training Tips Padlet and you can post a tip that you believe would be helpful to others.

Here are a few examples about which you should consider posting:

  • Memorization tips and tricks
  • Suggestions on how to approach tricky topics
  • Point out particular pain points in regards to a skill or practice
  • Offer study habits or ways in which you have prepared for upcoming training sessions
  • Offer specific methods for working traffic in a particular scenario

All tips are welcome and everyone may contribute no matter their rating. For the time being, posts will be moderated by me and reviewed for accuracy. Our goal is to create an environment in which we can all work together and figure out ways in which we can make a meaningful and sustainable impact on training and performance throughout the division.

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