Using Vatsim’s own words, they are “The Virtual Air Traffic Simulation Network, known as VATSIM.net or "VATSIM" was created in 2001 by a group of individuals who came together with a goal of creating an organization which truly served the needs of the flight simulation and online air traffic control community. With an eye towards more than just providing a network of computers for users to log into, VATSIM is an online community where people can learn and, at the same time, enjoy the pastimes of flight simulation and air traffic control simulation all while making new friends from all over the world.” For WestWind Captains, VATSIM training (through the Authorized Training Organization Program) will provide one-on-one training aimed at taking a new student through the task of learning the Air Trafic Control System within the Flight Simulator enviroment, The ATO Program falls within the WestWind overall training department, specifically and directly under the WestWind Training Academy.
The above link will show you where to get started. There are four steps that you must agree to.
2. Read the VATSIM Code of Conduct
3. Sign up at VATSIM
4. Install the free software and learn how to “log on”.
You will apply and get a VATSIM ID number that you will use to log on to the virtual ATC system.
The above link is a source for a Quick Start for Flying on VATSIM.
This link shows the General Lessons provided for pilots wishing to use the VATSIM ATC system. There is a lot of information on this link and some time and attention to detail must be taken. This is probably the main page that you and your WestWind ATO Instructor will be working with. The three letter code that you will use is WWA (your own pilot’s number). For example, WWA28 is the callsign for Ed Ward, Jr. Chief Pilot, WestWind, VA. Two other sources of Instrument Flying Knowledge can be found at:
Under the Pilot’s Resources are two sources for Aviation Charts (maps)
In your flight Plan management, VATSIM offers the following link that will show you in detail how to file a VATSIM Flight Plan.
Remember to use your WestWind Call Sign when using this flight plan.
VATSIM is structured into various regions. As a WestWind Captain, you will be primary dealing with the North America Region that is accessed by the following link.
The VATUSA menu (on the top of the page) gives the following selections of interest to WestWind Captains.. Although this area is mostly for Controllers the Pilot Tools section is of interest to WestWind Captains.
1. Pilot Tools, that includes weather, routes charts and events calendar
2. VATUSA HQ, that provides access to VATUSA members / Staff, VATUSE ACE TEAM, VATUSE Supervisors, VATUSE Major Airports, Training, and VATUSE Partners.
3. A VATUSA forum. Please note that the forum is the best place to go for questions if your WestWind Training Academy Instructor cannot answer.
4. A support ticket request.
The above link is for the VATSIM Pilot Training Department. At the moment the VATSIM Pilot Ratings that are offered are P1, VATSIM Online Pilot, and, P2, VATSIM Flight Fundamentals. P1 and P2 Training is done through the WestWind Authorized Training Organization (ATO) under the supervision of the WestWind Training Academy. .
ARTCCS (Air Route Traffic Control Center) are divided into four areas. They are the Western Region, Northeastern Region, Southern Region and Oakland Oceanic. This organization is mostly for controllers, but a WestWind Captain should know which sector they are flying through. This might be of importance, during lost communication (VATSIM goes off line) and you reconnect later on your flight. If this were to occur there is a possibility that you may have flown into another ARTCCS when you reconnect.
Conflict Resolution is addressed in full via the above link. Every VATSIM member should look over this link and comply with all requirements. It must be remembered, that VATSIM is an organization, that are staffed by volunteers who devote their time and energies for the enjoyment of the virtual flying community.
One last thing again, using VATSIM’s own words.
1. “We have supervisors who are here to help you. When contacted by one, allow them to help you.”
2. “If you need a supervisor, for just about anything, use the .wallop command and one will come to you and provide help.”
Good luck in your training, and please report any non-responsive (dead) links.
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