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I can't say enough about VATSIM.

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I've been away from online ATC for probably 2 years. I certainly have never flown online using FS2002 and I can't remember flying online with FS2000....I decided to give VATSIM a try just to see how it was. WELL! I am now addicted to VATSIM and refuse to fly without it. AS a matter of fact, my flights are now based on ATC being online in the sectors in which I wish to fly. I, subsequently, have flown with VATSIM exclusively over the last 30 days.VATSIM gives the final "icing on the cake" dynamic to FS2002. Gone is the canned FS2002 unrealistic (albeit decent) ATC. VATSIM+PIC/Dreamfleet+realistic scenery=total immersion the likes of which can NOT be surpassed unless you go to your local airport and rent a plane!!!!As a real world pilot, I enjoy each personality of the controllers and just like the real world each has his/her own particular style. Some are more laid back, so are flambouyant and give a bit of flair, while some are strictly business and fire off the clearances and vectors as rapidly as any FAA TRACON controller can. The suspension of disbelief in MSFS is now complete.Most valuable are the skills required to PROPERLY navigate and most importantly LISTEN and follow directions because it really affects all aircraft around you, as well as any mistakes making you feel as embarassed as you would in the real world. I now have a reason to dig into my flight bag and pull out my charts!!!Quite frankly, I LOVE VATSIM and the professionalism of the operation. As far as I am concerned, you are the offical FAA of the Flight Sim world and you have my respect as such.My only wish is that more controllers are online more often so that one could fly anywhere and have positive control for the entire trip (that would be a dream come true). But all in all, no matter how good a Radar Contact or any other ATC add-on could or would be, there is nothing like the pressure of flying in a "REAL" environment with dozens of sim-pilots watching and listening. Bust an altitude or heading using FS2002 ATC and it's okay...do it in the VATSIM environment and it is 40 lashes with the wet noodle! :-lolMy hat is off to you VATSIM. SPECTACULAR job and all in only one year! Happy Birthday and may you see MANY, MANY, MANY more!!!!:-beerchugMike T.

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Mike, if you wish to hear how fast the controllers are capable of firing off clearances, vectors etc., I suggest you drop in during a fly-in, there's usually a few each month.I still recall Operation Overload 3 as one of the highlgihts of my VATSIM "career".

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Very well said Mike. I also refuse to fly without VATSIM, as anything less just seems like a child's toy. :-)Ryan-Flightpro08 :-coolVATSIM Pilot/ControllerZLA ARTCC Controller 1 (C-1)SAN TRACON Lead [link:www.taxiwaysigns.com]Taxiwaysigns.com Scenery Designer-----------------------------My "Home Made" System Specs:Intel Pentium 4 2.2GHz ProcessorTurbo Gamer ATX Mid-Tower with 420W Power SupplyEPoX 4G4A Motherboard with Intel 845G ChipsetVisiontek XTASY GeForce4 128MB Ti4600 (Det 30.30 Drivers)512MB PC2100 DDR RAM40GB Matrox 7200RPM Hard DriveWindows XP Home Edition*No CPU or GPU Overclocking*3dMark2001SE Score: 10480

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Hi Mike:On behalf of VATSIM, thank you for your kind remarks. It's not always like it is in the real world but as you say, VATSIM sure can be realistic at times.There are a lot of dedicated ATC'ers and virtual pilots out there in all parts of the world that have worked very hard over the years. This in large part helps make VATSIM what it is today and these guys certainly add a lot to the simulation experience. It's very hard to go back to flying alone once you experience the dynamic community VATSIM offers. I'm glad you finally took the plunge and are enjoying yourself. Welcome.Best Wishes.George S. MarinakisVP Operations (VATSIM6/VATGOV2)VATSIM Board of GovernorsPS - Fellow PIC'er too!

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Do you want live ATC AND challenging approaches ?Try circling for land on rwy 17 at LGKR or rwy 27 in LGSM...How about a windy approach into LGMK ?Ever tried to land the 767 with a 25Kts crosswind in a VOR/DME approach? Try LGIR!Greece has them all. Easy ILS approaches (LGAV, LGRP, LGTS), challenging approaches in windy weather, rwys that start right at the edge of a clif and most of all, one of the most realistic ATC around.Want to give it a try?Visit our site of Hellenic virtual Area Control Center (HvACC) at http://greece.avsim.net/ and download the charts for most of the Greek airports including the challenging approaches mentioned above.Hope to see you in our skies.Fly safe,George DorkofikisAthens, Hellas

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Hey Mike - Come fly to Phoenix sometime!RyanZAB C-1 /V

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I have logged 91 hours in VATSIM over the past couple months. Do you know how many pilots I've encountered at one time at ANY airport. 3 at most. I've had one pilot behind me holding short at runways, and maybe have been behind 4, total, in ALL and tHis at LAX and SFO, not small airports. AND I try and study and track controller behavior and it kills me. There could be 10 aircraft in an area and suddenly the entire controller staff leaves regardless of time of day. VATSIM is a good idea that doesn't work very well and it's really not VATSIMS fault, nor the controllers. If I were a controller, I'd be bored. There is TOO much airspace for TOO few pilots. I can have a 20 min. wait for take off at SFO with my AI traffic, just thick and surrounded. So, except for fly-ins, VATSIM is at best a thin novelty right now and at that minimizes the real ATC world which was it's purpose in the first place. I must admit, I am addicted to the idea that you are up there with other "real" pilots but jeez, it's still like you're isolated. Nevertheless, I plug away hoping one day that I can fly coast to coast with controllers at station, not popping in and out like XMAS tree lights.

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Suggestion: Become a controller yourself on VATSIM. Then YOU can be there to service all the aircraft.We don't get paid to vector aircraft, so when the wife calls us, or it's time to go over homework with our children, or time for us to go to work - we log off.I'm not saying that the skies are full day and night, but it sounds to me like you have had unfortunate luck in timing. I fly quite regularly on VATSIM, and for the most part I have aircraft all over the place.It is pretty tough to make a flight cross the US and get ATC the whole way, but you can be sure to get ATC and traffic in many areas on any given night.Most ARTCC's in the US are staffed Saturday and Sunday. Friday nights the West Coast is lit up like a XMAS tree with traffic and ATC coverage from about 8PM Pacific time onwards. You get coverage usually from Vancouver, Seattle, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Albuquerque. Thursdays are a lock for ATC and traffic in the East - Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, Cleveland, and Washington are usually online for a few hours. Wednesdays are usually good to fly in the Midwest, with Chicago, Cleveland, KC, Dallas, and Houston online.I suggest you try and download the program called SERVINFO and use it to see where people are congregating. Don't give up on VATSIM - in my opinion it MAKES MSFS - without it I am not sure I would still fly.Ian Elchitz CYWGOakland ARTCC

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in fact I've flown my craft in your airspace during several of your shifts in the Oakland Center ARTCC and you're a superb controller. I have considered trying controlling, but my computer has this awful quirk in that my AMD processor + WIndowsXP + Roger Wilco results in random blue screen crashes, so I now avoid VOICE. One could not sign up as a controller and not have the ability to transmit voice eventually. Again, it's not lack of controllers in my opinion that is the problem, it's not enough pilots to keep controllers interested. I wouldn't want to wait around 3 hours for 2 aircraft, it would bore me. Hey, I use SERV INFO all the time, cool software, but my second problem here Ian is that I'm a purist. I fly point to point religiously. SFO-LAX LAX-PHX PHX-SEA SEA-GEG GEG-PDX, you get my point. If I'm at say, SFO and ATL is really buzzing, I "have" to fly SFO-ATL to get into the action and you guessed it, I am located on the west coast and if I fly in the evening, that makes my real time arrival for ATL controller services WAY late. Admittedly, that's my own fault or "flaw" but it's what makes it real for me, so there's no pleasing a nut like me!!! HA! .........actually, I have a lot of time during morning and early afternoon hours to fly and decided I would open my own European division and fly the Limies or Germans and take advantage of the big time zone differences. I'll still fly point to point over there but I patently refuse to hop the pond, talk about boring!!.......and oh, I NEVER increase time lapse, THAT is a HUGE NO NO >>>>>>>HA .. anyway, just you answering my whining helps Ian, it's good to know guys like you are out there!!

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VATSIM has greatly improved my enjoyment of flight simming. While I have been flight simming since SubLogic released their flight sim for the TRS-80, I did not fly online until FS2002. I think that it was the built in ATC in FS2K2 that showed me what I was missing.I too would like to be able to logon to VATSIM at any time of the day or night and find the ATC fully staffed and the sky full of other planes. However, VATSIM is a hobby for all of us and we all have lives outside of flight simming (my wife might disagree with this :-)).I use servinfo to try and plan my flights from and to areas that are staffed. However, I accept the fact that by the time I am done my 2 hour flight that the destination controller may be gone. VATSIM is a free service and is staffed and flown by hobbiests. We all must accept the limitations of this service and take what enjoyment you can from it. For me it as been a thoroughly enjoyable experience.Thank you to all the controllers I've had the pleasure of meeting online!

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SO did I and you know what........somehow, nothing today beats the raw newness and excitement I felt buying that machine then, not to mention finding that black cassette tape with the black letters (I think on green background) SUBLOGIC. God Bless Bruce Artwick!!!

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Yep, TRS-80 with the expansion module. I eventually replaced the tape drive with an enormous add on 5 1/4 floppy.. 360k disks I believe. I remeber that two disks pretty well held all the software I owned. The text based adventures, battling the Jovians (forget the name of that title) and flying my flight sim, remeber the dog-fight mode? Trying to shoot the enormous white blocks on the screen that represented the enemy planes?I replaced the TRS-80 Model I with a Colour Computer from Radio Shack. That held me over until I purchased my first PC. An XT clone running at 4.77mhz I believe. Monochrome graphics card and amber monitor, I eventually added a cga card and a colour monitor and was amazed at seeing games in 8 colours. :-)Geez, I think we are dating ourselves here! :-lol

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That's quite these days!! .. I went from my TRS-80 I think... to an Apple IIe...I never did have another Tandy Product, but I DO remember the Jovians!!! FUN GAME that!! I recall getting the latest Apple version of flight sim for my apple though, it was great!.. then I had one more version of Apple (never did a Mac, thank god) until my first XT clone, and yes 4.77 mhz of BLAZING speed and three color monior, ugly pink , horrid blue and black LOL. I never did shoot down more than one or two of those blasted bi-planes LOL!

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I'm sure there are other areas with lots of traffic too, but why don't you give EGLL shot! The Heathrow area is very often packed with aircrafts and often you have to hold for a long time due to the heavy traffic.A favorite of mine is EDDF-EGLL since the distance is quite short but you still get A LOT of traffic, the controllers are splendid and you often get 100% ATC coverage - at Heathrow you often encounter 3-4 controllers and at Frankfurt usually 3. Having the GAP package (German Airports) won't make it worse either.Best regardsKrister (who never flies without Vatsim anymore either)

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I did try a run from EGLL to EDDF and if I might say, it is a bit more fun, much more intensity due to your fuller and tighter airways. It's still a matter of timing as I am on the west coast of the US, I have to have a free mid-day to do it, but having said that, when you guys staff, you staff well!!! I shall have to continue to explore European routes, my only problem is that the vatsim european sites are a bit lacking published routes. I tried for instance to find a route from EDDF to Dublin. Neither the German site or the Irish site had a published route, but maybe you all could suggest a web site that has these

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Unitedon the Irish VACC site http://www.sateir.org/ you find routes from EIDW to EDDF. Simply click on Library on the left and then chose Navigation on the right and finally "Flight plan routes from Dublin to European Destinations". It's a downloadable excel file in zip-format. In case you don't have excel or access, here are the routes they recommend:EIDWEDDF01 TOLKA UB39 BASET UG1 KONAN UL607 NTM G1 RUDUS *EIDWEDDF02 LIFFY UB1 WAL UB3 HON UB71 BIG UG1 KONAN UL607 NTM G1 RUDUS EIDWEDDF03 VATRY UR14 STU UG1 KONAN UL607 NTM G1 RUDUS EIDWEDDL04 LIFFY UB1 GOLES UL603 GMH UB1 SIGEN B1 LIMBU V151 GED EIDWEDDF05 LIFFY UB1 GOLES UL603 ARKON UB1 SIGEN B1 LIMBU V151 GED See you in the skies over western EuropeRegards,KristerFinland

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us been at the arse end of the world (Australia) we never get such good traffic and ATC control:-(

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Chuck,A few of your mates from Australia and New Zealand find that in the late afternoon (your time) they can take advantage of late night ATC on the west coast.These blokes are easily identified on voice and by their VH, ANZ, QFA, and ZK callsigns.So, if you make it home early enough, try the West Coast of the US. Often on Friday nights the fun goes until real real late.Ian Elchitz CYWGOakland ARTCC

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for the Frankfort to Dublin routes, dont seem to show any at the German site, but I'll look again and thank you for your help!!Randy Jura, KPDX

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Randy,I used fsbuild with the latest AIRAC cycle to produce this route:EDDF-KIR2Q-BATTY-UL610-GILDA-BPK-UB3-DTY-RADNO-UB39-TOLKA-EIDWHaven't verified it against my charts or eurocontrol but it should work.Don't know if you are familiar with fsbuild but it's a great and so far free tool (it will become shareware and I'm happy to pay the price). You find it here http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/a...er1/fsbuild.htmRegards,Krister

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I really appreciate your efforts. I must fly in German airspace very soon!

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Martin,this question really should be adressed to the guys at VACC-SAG butthey have EDDF-KIR-G104-DIK-UA24-BUB-UL608-LOGAN-EGLL as the recommended route to Heathrow and I assumed the same departure point would be suitable for EIDW. So you recommend that I switch the DP then (I ask this since I like to fly EDDF-EGLL)?And Randy, Operation Onesky is coming up in a couple of weeks - I sure know what I'll be doing that day! :)RegardsKrister

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