Welcoming BVATC to VATUSA

Welcoming BVATC to VATUSA
« on: July 13, 2015, 09:33:30 pm »
I'm pleased to announce that the membership of the Boston Virtual ATC organization has decided, as a whole organization, to join and migrate to VATSIM.  We anticipate that this will bring approximately 35 new controllers and nearly 1000 new pilots to VATUSA/VATSIM.

I could go on for pages, but in the interests of a Reader's Digest summary (Seeley is now saying, "this is brief??!!??"):

BVATC operates mainly (though not exclusively) in the ZBW area, and currently uses exclusively the FSX multiplayer platform and TS to operate and communicate.  With the introduction of FSX:SE and P3D, BVATC realized that the user base that relies only on the FSX (think boxed-version-only) platform is diminishing, and precious few new members would be seeking out the FSX boxed version vs. newer/other options.

BVATC ATC members are highly trained, much like VATSIM, and their training/operation is very clearly based in the 7110.65 and RW SOPs.  Their ATC certification program has ratings that are very much akin to what VATSIM already uses.  From what we've seen of BVATC controllers that have already dipped their toes in VATSIM waters, testing it out before their formal vote, many/most BVATC controllers are either at or near GRP standards already, so ZBW has been able to perform some training on the VRC client and differences training, and then a quick checkout akin to what one might expect to give a visiting controller or transfer. 

BVATC, by definition, is based in Boston/ZBW.  As such, I imagine ZBW will see the biggest benefit.  However, legacy BVATC members are excited about the prospects of flying around the country, and the world, and receiving plenty of ATC while doing it both during and outside of events.

BVATC is a very tight-knit community of both pilots and controllers.  Their existing culture highly values both.  They focus a lot more on GA than we normally see in VATUSA (/VATSIM), so adding a bunch more GA ops will only add to our effective simulation of Virtual Air Traffic, and the addition of a lot more airliner/freighter/etc. traffic is exciting to the BVATC folks.  By combining the airline traffic common on VATSIM with the general aviation-focused traffic on Boston Virtual ATC, ZBW airspace (and beyond) will offer a more realistic mix of traffic in a more routinely busy environment. The increase in general aviation and internal ZBW traffic, including from Cape Air Virtual, will give controllers new opportunities to practice their craft, and pilots more ATC to enjoy. Controllers will train and work together to manage what will become one of the busiest airspaces on VATSIM. Meanwhile, the combined ATC training staff will be larger, allowing controllers to benefit from more training opportunities and staff who have a multitude of experiences on various networks.

BVATC folks have a very highly defined culture that they value very much, and one of their major concerns is they are able to keep their tight-knit community culture largely intact.  One the challenges of any merger of organizations is valuing the people and culture while new, aligned norms are determined and adopted.  ZBW leadership, BVATC leadership and I are committed to ensuring that the combined ZBW/BVATC organization can morph into a culture that is highly effective and prized for the entire membership.

Because BVATC, though based in Boston/ZBW, has hosted events outside ZBW in the past, and their membership highly values that flexibility, I anticipate that the legacy BVATC community will likely either start approaching ARTCCs and requesting ATC for their flying events (think of their community as part-VA), or perhaps even asking that some of their controllers be granted visiting controller permission, either as a "regular" visiting controller or for short-term stints (maybe even just one evening) to support their event.  I'm going to ask ATMs and facility staff to consider the possibility of keeping an open mind and allowing some short-term or event-only visiting privileges.  At worst, maybe your airspace sees a little extra traffic for a small-scale event.  At best, more facilities pick up more reasonably-well-qualified visiting controllers.  In either case, I recognize that a request for a one-time allowance of visiting privileges to facilitate an event will be weird in legacy-VATUSA norms, but would encourage ARTCCs to be open-minded and either offer to use your own staff to staff the event (much like you'd do for any VA's event), allow them to control themselves with short-term visiting privileges, or (best of both worlds) both!  And then let me know how it works out!

A transition team has been developed between ZBW and BVATC to determine best practices with respect to training/certification, SOPs, etc.  This will take some time to get nailed down (think several months), but the leadership from both organizations are committed to mutual, ergo combined, success. 

The fact that BVATC has chosen to come join the VATUSA/VATSIM community is new (announced just a few hours ago), and there are a lot of details that still need to be worked out.  The fact that VATUSA is welcoming hundreds of additional good controllers and pilots is great for our community and hobby.  The key is that the combined leadership of ZBW and BVATC is committed to mutual success, as is VATUSA and as am I.  Please join me in welcoming the members of the Boston Virtual ATC organization, controllers and pilots alike, to VATUSA.

For reference only: Some (updated) selected slides from the preliminary talks:  www.vatusa.net/files/VATUSA%20BVATC%20Alignment%20Opportunity%2020150713%20selected%20slides.pdf
« Last Edit: July 13, 2015, 10:20:42 pm by Don Desfosse »
Don Desfosse
Vice President, Membership, VATSIM
Division Director Emeritus, VATUSA

Kyle Sanders

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Re: Welcoming BVATC to VATUSA
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2015, 10:37:54 pm »
I think this is GREAT! I hope the transition is easy for these guys and I would love to see them branch all the way to our west coast!

I know they would be welcome at ZLC!
Best Regards,
Kyle Sanders

Tony Jeppesen

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Re: Welcoming BVATC to VATUSA
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2015, 10:10:09 am »
The more the merrier welcome to VATSIM!
Tony Jeppesen
Depurty Division Director - VATUSA