New User - Protocol

New User - Protocol
« on: August 12, 2019, 01:56:29 am »
Hi,

I am a new user and also a virtual VFR student pilot, and am definitely willing to be humbled.  I would like to learn about VATSIM and am trying to get my feet wet, stay out of the way, and listen and observe to start learning.  I am only using text for communications. I am using VATSPY and VPilot.  I am studying a course on VFR communications with my current emphasis upon uncontrolled airport departure and arrival.  My strategy for now is to fly only between uncontrolled airports in rural locations generally below 10,000 MSL, and usually lower depending upon terrain.

On my first flight under such conditions in text only mode I announced my departure and arrivals on the solitary active center frequency.   I was outside the controlled airspace on the map.  I was referred to use only Unicom on 122.8 under the circumstances and moved immediately to that frequency with appreciation for the help.  All appeared to be satisfactory at that point and the flight was completed without additional Center communication.

On my second flight, I have tried and intended to operate under similar conditions.  I have set the COM TX & RX frequency to Unicom on 122.8.  I have set the second radio to RX only under the active Center frequency.  My flight was from MT30 (Trapper Creek MT) to KSMN (Salmon ID) at approx. 10,000 MSL.  Seattle Center was active but my flight is outside the control area shown on the map.  I filed a flight plan with this information.

I am including two attachments.  During the flight I observed text communication in VPilot which I presumed is for an entirely separate flight, as I did not see my callsign referenced (N2K5A).  The communication also references a flight plan from Portland to Seattle which had no correspondence with my flight plan.  I did not respond to the Center communication as it seemed to have no relevance to me.

After about 10 minutes or so, it appears that I was disconnected from the server.  I am still not sure if the message given applies to me, as I saw no call given to my flight to respond.  I have included two attachments that capture most of the information such as location and the VPilot communication.  My internet connection remained active during the entire event, and only the connection to VATSIM was severed.


Can anyone please point me in the correct direction to continue?  Did I violate protocols and if so I will follow the lead you give me.  I do not intend on connecting with VATSIM again until I have learned what occurred here, especially if I have erred.

I thank you very much for any assistance.  I realize that I have a great deal to learn but also know at some point I needed to jump in, as listening and observing are no doubt important to the learning process.

Thank you, CEC


Karl Mathias Moberg

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Re: New User - Protocol
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2019, 03:16:06 am »
Clifford, the disconnect you experienced was because of a network error and vPilot lost the connection to VATSIM. You are able to reconnect at any time.
Karl Mathias Moberg - SUP/I1 - 908962
Air Traffic Manager
NYARTCC


Re: New User - Protocol
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2019, 12:28:36 pm »
Karl,

This is really helpful, thank you for this information. That helps me to understand that it indeed was not directed towards me.  I will assume I can continue observing and flying under the conditions described.  At some point the next challenge I will want to introduce myself to will be flying between two Class E transitional airspace airports that briefly crosse an actively controlled region, such as Seattle was last night.  At this point I am somewhat unsure if I should still confine myself solely to Unicom communication, but I will be seeking that answer as I continue to observe, read and study about VATSIM.  My understanding is that I would still confine myself to Unicom, but any pointers on that are certainly going to be a good lead for me in my next stage of advancement.

Thanks again for helping me out here, it is much appreciated.  Best regards, CEC

Kenneth Haught

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Re: New User - Protocol
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2019, 04:52:02 am »
Karl,

This is really helpful, thank you for this information. That helps me to understand that it indeed was not directed towards me.  I will assume I can continue observing and flying under the conditions described.  At some point the next challenge I will want to introduce myself to will be flying between two Class E transitional airspace airports that briefly crosse an actively controlled region, such as Seattle was last night.  At this point I am somewhat unsure if I should still confine myself solely to Unicom communication, but I will be seeking that answer as I continue to observe, read and study about VATSIM.  My understanding is that I would still confine myself to Unicom, but any pointers on that are certainly going to be a good lead for me in my next stage of advancement.

Thanks again for helping me out here, it is much appreciated.  Best regards, CEC

Hi Clifford, welcome to VATSIM...and let me say I truly appreciate the amount of effort you're putting into learning how to do things "right" rather than just blundering along! With that said, I'll take a stab at your question :)

First, although you are probably aware of the airspace classifications and the requirements to operate in each...I'm going to post a link to a wikipedia page in case others stumble by here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airspace_class_(United_States)).

Next, to answer your direct question, if you remain in class E (or G) you would stay on UNICOM for the duration. If however you are transitioning a controlled area (class D/C/B) then you would contact the controlling facility for transition clearance/approval.

The most likely given what you've said so far would be transitioning a class D area... simply call whoever is operating the tower for the field without your callsign, ac type, and location (from the airport is best) and "request transition <direction> at <altitude>". Very similar for a class C transition, no clearance necessary just establish 2-way comms and you're good to go! (2-way comms is defined as ATC using your callsign, unless they issue specific instructions to remain clear of the controlled airspace). For VATSIM all aircraft are equipped with a Mode C capable transponder via the pilot client...so that doesn't really apply.

The most complex of course is transitioning a class B airspace...where you need specific clearance to enter that zone. Again, the call to ATC is very similar...but entry isn't permitted until you receive a "clearance" into the airspace. An important difference between what you'd expect to hear from ATC for the various classes of airspace is that when transitioning a class D/C area you'll likely never hear the word "cleared", instead typically you'll hear "approved" or something similar. Conversely, to operate in class B you must hear the word "cleared". (That word has very special meaning in aviation :)

Anchorage Deputy Air Traffic Manager
VATSIM Senior Supervisor (Team 1)
Have a question or concern? Email me at k.haught@vatsim.net.

Re: New User - Protocol
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2019, 01:40:11 pm »
Kenneth,

This is a perfect answer for me, thank you very much.  You have read my intentions for future learning sessions exactly right.  And indeed, a transition across Class D looks like exactly where I would be headed next.  I notice now on the sectional that I have already incurred upon Class E transitional at KSMN (if I have interpreted that properly) so I am already working my way into that it seems.  From what I can gather no radio communications are required in E even though it is controlled airspace, and that weather minimums are a major player there.  So next move will be to work with Class E transitionals or surface on both ends of the flight, understand the weather minimums, and try to learn the communications properly.  Then I will move on to class D just as you are saying and you have set me up perfectly to start taking that on, thanks much.

From what I gather, VATSIM does not seem to encourage full communications (e.g., pattern leg announcements, etc) on Unicom, so my communication efforts are much more restricted than it seems like it should be in real life.  I don't want to congest the frequency in any fashion and apparently that is a factor on VATSIM from what I read.  Text is pretty artificial already, I know voice in compliance with standard Unicom announcements is what I need to simulate properly; I can take care of that offline as apparently is best.

Thanks for this info in addition to that given by Karl above, this is exactly the information I needed in both cases to move through the next phases.  I am studying for Drone cert and am paralleling with a private pilot ground school just for my own education and pleasure.  I soloed three times a a student pilot many years ago, but that is another lifetime.  Consider me a newbie at this stage with no assumptions of anything being made.  Simulators have advanced nicely since I was last introduced to the sim aviation world; quite the pleasure.  Best regards, from Clifford

PS I have now also located this VFR series at Aviation Pro that looks to be a valuable contribution, and hopefully it will also answer some of the questions that are repeatedly asked:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtO_n5SzuAac33eXjoxj6_aqgVTcTpquO
« Last Edit: August 13, 2019, 02:53:01 pm by Clifford Carnicom »