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Guest FS_freak

Thankfull Newbie

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I have completed my first ever live ATC flight in the KMIA area (as AWE257) and I would really like to thank all the controllers that "flew" with me on this epic journey. After over 7 yrs of serious, every day simming, I have come across another of the very few true breakthroughs in the flight sim experience, comparable only to the feeling of putting together your "dream machine" from the excellent freeware planes, panels and sounds that are out there. This is definitelly a hobbie that will acquaint us with the most giving and colaborative bunch of people that stand out in an ever decaying and self-centered world.I have followed carefully Daniel Hill's tutorial and have been able to pin down most of the technical issues. Great work Dan! However, I am stuck with the different alternatives for building a flight plan. Unfortunatelly the link Dan Hill provides for a tutorial on using SB's built-in FMS doesn't seem to work and I definitelly cannot figure it out without help. For the time being I have filed my plans according to coordinates and waypoints given to me by the default FS2K2 flight planner. Yesterday though, a very kind DC_APP controller told me I had to use preferential routes (this did not happen in the MIA area)and offered to send via email the correct f/p to KLGA. Given my very poor connection I ended up flying off line, something that really hurts once you have tasted live atc. Is there any way I can access these preferential routes at least for the east coast and southeast? Another issue I came across is the private msg option on ATC. Being a newbie I had a couple of questions to ask my controller and didn't think it was right to post them openly on ATC. After another fellow pilot instructed me on the usage of the .msg command, I tried to address MIA_V_CTR privately only to find myself badly repremmended :'(I still would like to know the difference between GMT, ZULU, UTC and the meaning of the term "Foxtrot" (suppose it is not "F" like "alpha" stands for "a" or is it?)Sorry for extending myself and once more thanks to all you guys that make Live ATC flight possible. (My native lang is spanish so bear with me)Mauricio :-newbie

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Mauricio,First of all - welcome to VATSIM.There are literally dozens of places to get your routings from. Your best bet is to check the ARTCC website for where you are flying out of or to.You can find a list of all the VATUSA ARTCC websites from www.vatusa.org - look on the right side of the page for links. Some websites have better flight plans than others.For charts - I recommend you use echoplate located at http://www.edj.net/cgi-bin/echoplate.plAnother great place for flight plans is http://www.simatc.comIt takes a little time to figure out how to read all of the procedures, but in the long run it is worth it.Now you do not HAVE to use preffered routes - but us controllers would "prefer" that you do . When traffic gets heavy we like to have things orderly.I think your decision to use the private message feature is the way to go for questions, as it allows the controller to answer it at his or her discretion. I have no idea why you were "reprimanded" and would ask you not to assume that most other controllers would handle a private message the same way (If I was too busy to help you I would just tell you that).I'm no expert on time, so I will let someone else handle that question.When you ask what Foxtrot is.. it really depends on the context. You are right to assume that Foxtrot is the phonetic representation of the letter F. It could be a taxiway (Taxiway F = Taxiway Foxtrot). It could also be the current information code for the ATIS. Basically, if you read a controller's ATIS when you connect to it, it may have some information in it such as weather, special instructions, or landing and departing runways. At the end of it, it should have a code such as "Foxtrot", "Lima", "Tango". You can then check in with the controller and say "we have information (Lima/Tango/Foxtrot)" which let's the controller know that you have all of that information.I hope that helps you somewhat. There is a LOT of info to know.. and you can expect to learn new things each and every time you come on to the network. In 2 years not a day goes by where I do not learn something new. It's a great bunch of people for the most part, and we are glad to have you join us.Sincerely,Ian Elchitz CYWG

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I am no expert on time either. But I'll take a stab at it:GMT (Grenwich Mean Time)UTC (Universal Time CoordinatedZULU (Not sure if it stands for anything except the letter Z)all mean the same thing, the time at Grenwich, England. It is used so no matter where you are in the world you can have the correct time. For every 15 degrees Longtitude East of Grenwich you add 1 hour for your local time. For every 15 degrees Longtitude West of Grenwich you subtract 1 hour. Daylight Savings or Summer Time must also be considered The free program Servinfo allows you to find out the correct local time based on your location.There is a lot more on the subject but I better let others who probably know more than I do jump in. Bill

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Thanks guys for your prompt response. I was wondering about the time issue because I had booked a flight on CAL Screaming 6 and did not know how to interpret the pushback time. However I never left the ground last sunday. My dial up connection just couldn't handle the job and the west coast was popping with air traffic so the servers were saturated.Ian, I downloaded a bunch of flight plans for the Miami and New York areas. The MIA plans all have the extention '.sbp' which means that I can load them into the buit-in FMS in SB. After doing so, how do I get my aircraft to use the info on the SB FMS for GPS hold? The default FS2K2 GPS/planner does not show the waypoints loaded into the SB FMS. Regarding the New York plans, they all end with the extention '.pln' and therefore can not be loaded directly into the SB FMS. What am I supposed to do with these plans?Thanks again and sorry for the inconvenience.Mauricio

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Hi Mauricio,Welcome to the wonderful world of VATSIM flying.ZULU, in relation to your question about time, is an old UK military term (AFAIK) and is still used a lot in the UK and maybe in Europe, but it means the same as GMT & UTC, just shorter to write :-)The flight plans you mention with the .pln extension are for the default Flight Sim planner, put them in the flightsmyflts folder so that you can use them with the default flight planner.You mentioned that you got reprimanded for sending a private msg on VATSIM, you also mentioned that you took part in CalScream 6.If that private msg was sent during CalScream I suspect the controller was so busy with traffic that he did not have time to deal with private messages, so you got a rather blunt reply.Two things I ask newbies to consider.1) Put something in the SB flight plan remarks box to indicate you are a newbie, something like 'Newbie', 'student pilot', 'pilot under training'.That way a controller can see you are new and can allow extra time and understanding for you to help you become a more proficient pilot in the on-line environment.2) Do not attempt a major fly-in on your first few flights, do some local flights where there is less traffic but still has ATC.I don't care how good you think you are flying off line, the move to on line flying is a big jump both in work load and skills.Start easy and learn the different way of doing things, then move up to bigger local fly-ins. That way you will enjoy the experience and not be intimidated.HTH

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Hi Vulcan,I appreciate your advise. Fact is I was flying form KMIA to KMCO a couple of days after CalScream 6 when MIA_V_CTR asked me "vigorously" not to private msg him on ATC. There were no more than 3 or 4 pilots in the sector. No problem though, I understand now that private messaging is allowed on ATC. Thanks.Mauricio

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Hi Mauricio,I'm sure you've received enough time information by now but, just in case you're still interested, here's a little more on Zulu time:"The world is divided into 24 time zones. For easy reference in communications, a letter of the alphabet has been assigned to each time zone (less the letters "I" and "O"). The "clock" at Greenwich, England is used as the standard clock for international reference of time in communications, military, maritime and other activities that cross time zones. The letter designator for this clock is Z. Times are usually written in military time or 24 hour format such as 1830Z. To pronounce this, the phonetic alphabet is used for the letter Z, or Zulu. This time is sometimes referred to as Zulu Time because of its assigned letter. It's official name is Coordinated Universal Time or UTC. Previously it had been known as Greenwich Mean Time or GMT but this has been replaced with UTC."Frank

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>>ZULU, in relation to your question about time, is an old UK >military term (AFAIK) and is still used a lot in the UK and >maybe in Europe, but it means the same as GMT & UTC, just >shorter to write :-) Actually, the term ZULU comes from the fact that Greenwich time zone is part of the Z time zone as shown on a time zone map (see attached)Where I live on the East Coast of Australia , we are in the K time zone (called KILO) .Barry

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Ok guys, I think we can turn this post into an extensive first class tutorial on time interpretation. It would help a lot of people out there who might share my initial concerns. Anyone up to the job?Thanks again for the excellent and complete response on this subject.Mauricio

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Welcome to VATSIM, i have the same experience of reaching a new level of enjoyment and reality when after my first flight on VATSIM.Please see this link for a website of time zone converstion. I found it is very useful to find out the accurate time in different places. If u want to join the VATSIM event in Europe or Japan and you want to know when to log in to the event, the website is helpful.http://www.timezoneconverter.com/cgi-bin/tzc.tzcEnjoy and see you in the sky soonBryanCYVR

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Ian = The Flight Plan Master.Listen to him :-)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 29.42 WHQL Drivers)512MB PC2100 DDR RAM40GB Matrox 7200RPM Hard DriveWindows XP Home Edition SP1*No CPU or GPU Overclocking*3dMark2001SE Score: 11298

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Encoutered him first in one of my many OAK Center travels, I'm not surprised he is the king of routes. I love this thread!!.. I bookmarked SimATC, I didnt even know it existed!! I agree, a fly-in is NO place for a Newbie to start. I well remember my first excursion on vatsim. It was on a "normal" Friday night western regional from KPDX into KLAX. The last 20 min. made me sweat!!, I had no idea it was so intense, and that wasn't a fly-in!!

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I agree with you guys, Ian is indeed very willing and available to us newbies. About the thread, United, it is really comforting to know that my first post on this forum was such a success and has brought forward so much usefull info for many people.I would like to comment on newbies participating in mayor fly-ins. Despite what Vulcan said a couple of messages back, I think previous off-line experience is invaluable to anyone who wonders into live ATC. Truth is I had been flying for Livewire on FS2000 and the off-line Radar Control ATC (Fleetwood) is very close to what I have seen so far in Vatsim. In fact, most of my few live-atc flights have been identical to what I had already encountered while flying for Livewire. Of course the delivery and ground clearances are much more realistic on Vatsim, as well as the weather and ATIS parameters. But once you are in the air and are told to continue own navigation, things pretty much go back to what we see in other non-interactive ATC's including default FS2K2. After flying a couple of hours without hearing much from your controller and only two or three more pilots in the vicinity, you get descent instructions and approach vectors and finally a clearance to land after which your flight plan is terminated without specific instructions on taxiing to parking or gates. By contrast, on RC I even had a flight district attourney ##### to me about speed and altitude transgressions once my doors were open.Last night on a flight from KDAL to KABQ, at one point after a long silence ABQ_CTR terminated radar services stating that ABQ didn't show, although my whole flight plan was in a green sector. Being a newbie I privately asked what that meant but got no answer. I wasn't handed over to another controller either. I went back to ATC directory and found ABQ_APP on line. I contacted him getting an answer when I was about 15nm from KABQ at my cross restriction altitude of 15000ft and 250kts (set by the long gone ABQ_CTR controller). ABQ_APP cleared me direct to rwy 26. I had to ask for vectors to rwy 8 because I was way to high for the direct approach to the specified runway. After that I was very well guided by ABQ_APP via the normal vectors to rwy 8 and ended my flight on the runway as usual. While on approach I unadvertedly descended to 8000ft at well over 320kts without getting any negative feedback from my controller. Stepped on the brakes (speed brakes full, flaps 10 and gear down) and I think ABQ_APP didn't even notice :-halo All this is just to say that I think a bit of flying in heavy traffic would really make this experience worthwhile for me. I would have to d/l SID, SD and STAR charts as well as preferential route plans but that is all part of the fun. I really don't think newbies should be discouraged about flying in mayor fly-ins. It all depends on how much off-line ATC experience they have had. Sorry to disagree Vulcan and United, but a bit of sane debate doesn't do any harm. Anybody want to join in on this discussion? Cheers.Mau

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>>when MIA_V_CTR asked me "vigorously" not to private msg him on ATC<>>With luck MIA_V_CTR or a colleague will see this thread and >explain why. I'm not a colleague, but I'll try to shed some light.If a controller is incredibly busy, and controlling text AND voice targets, that would probably be the reason why. Especially if he is using ProController.Why? Because anytime a controller is "PMd" on the system, the chat box pops up and takes focus over everything else (including another chat box he may be using to issue instructions to another controller on, or even issuing commands to a text pilot). So while he may be typing to one station, when you're chat box pops up, all that text he is typing in all of sudden gets transferred to wherever your chat box is.It's gotta be one of my biggest pet peeves during a period of heavy traffic or a flyin to have pilots PM me, especially when I'm working center and already have about 12 chatboxes open, trying to keep those sorted out is a pain as it is.Maybe that sheds some light on why he "vigorously" requested you not to PM him.

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Many thanks for that reply Hoss.Not being that side of the scope I had no idea a private msg caused such problems, even *I* wil be more careful with the next time :)

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Guess not, :-( Well, I'll take back everything I said on my last post. Last night I managed to get myself into some really crowded airspace over in Atlanta. Did I say Fleetwood RC? Did I say off-line? What was I on? This is trully "as real as it gets". I even sat still at the taxiway just to watch DAL1102 touchdown right behind me. ATL_TWR granted me permission for this despite being extremelly busy with all the other traffic. That's what I call interactive. Guess I was spending too much time in lonely skies. Now my question: Can I come to sunday's fly-in? Can I? huh? Can I? :-ukliam

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Hi Mau,I still stand by what I said a few msgs ago :-)A major fly-in is not a place to start learning to fly on line.In your post you say you would have to d/l SIDs & STARs which suggests to me that you don't need those in RC. BTW I bought RC when it first came out and think it is an excellent program but have not used it in quite a while because a lot of my flying is with VATSIM.Also do you have to taxi accurately to a specified stand in RC?Although your experience to date seems to have been getting vectors for T/O and approaches most controllers, especially during heavy fly-ins, expect you to be able to 'fly the charts' so you need to be competent in that. In Europe it is even more important because most airports have SIDs from the runway to the transition unlike in the States where most major airports have DPs which are mainly vectors.BTW When you think you are good, especially with ground charts, try a flight into Schiphol (EHAM) at night, and don't tell me you didn't get lost :-lol To finish, I was not trying to put newbies off, just suggesting things are not quite as easy as off line flying, even with RC or similar programs ;-)I would think, and know from experience, that a complete newbie at a major fly-in would be put off more doing that than having a few familiarisation flights in a less crowded environment.I'm sure you will enjoy your flying with VATSIM, and who knows we may cross at FL350 :-)Fly safe

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I just flew online on Vatsim for the first time this past weekend and found it to be a very enjoyable experience. I started digging through this forum this morning and found this thread, which has also been very helpful and educational. Thanks FS_freak for starting this thread. You have helped another newbie by starting it. Also, thanks to Ian for posting the addresses. They are also very helpful.KP

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