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Guest Woodman

What is the procedure for flying where there are no controllers?

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I'm a newb when it comes to Squawkbox/Vatsim flying so I just want to make sure I'm doing a few things right. I did my first flight 'online' yesterday and things went fairly well. One thing I did come across which I imagine will happen alot is large stretches of flying time where there is no 'active' controller around. What should I do here? Last night I just went to the 'default' ATC Directory frequency and typed in my status every once inawhile. Is this correct?Also, using ServInfo to get a list of controllers etc, how do I find out enroute, if there is a controller in the area?? The only thing I could think of was to keep ALT-TAB'ing to ServInfo (pausing the FS!)and doing a check of my current area....then going back to FS and unpausing it. This doesn't seem very efficient to me, and was just wondering if there's something easier or more seamless?Thanks for any and all tips and feedback!Cheers,Jeremy

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Hi Jeremy,First of all - Welcome to VATSIM.I know that there it seems like a lot of information to digest - but you can take it one step at a time - and I guarantee you it will be worth it in the long run.If there is no controller, you should announce your intentions over the Unicom (122.800). You don't need to give updated position reports once you are in level flight at an acceptable cruise altitude for your direction of flight.If you are on the ground or starting an approach to an airport - that is a good time to announce your intentions on the unicom frequency - e.g.,

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wow, what a great and thorough response! Most of that info is basically what I had thought to do so that is great. I do use FSNav too, but wasn't quite sure what you meant by using it to see who's airspace I'm in. Do you mean using the 'area rings' around an airport, and then cross referencing that with ServInfo or is there something easier?Thanks again,Jeremy

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Jeremy,From FSNAV you can select Options - Settings - Map and check Airspace Boundaries A and B. This will tell you what ARTCC (Air Route Traffic Control Center or "Center" as it is called in the US) or FIR (Flight Information Region as it is commonly known in most of the world).The Area Rings will show you other things like Class B, C, and D airspaces.After some time online you will get more accustomed to figuring out who's airspace you are in. Even veterans fumble onto the wrong frequency or end up in someone's sky without realizing it every now ans then so don't worry about it.Here's a good guide for the type of facilities you might be in and their naming conventions.Most ATC callsigns on the network consist of 3 sections. The first is the Station Identifier, the second usually identifies the controller voice, an instructor, or a student, and the last section tells you the position they are working.For example: LAX_V_CTR.LAX means they are working Los Angeles.V means they are on voice.CTR means they are working the center position.CHI_VS_APPCHI means they are working Chicago.VS means they are on "V"oice and are a "S"tudent which could either mean that they are learning to control using voice - or are learning to control that specific position.APP - means they are approach control.There are exceptions to every rule - but you will eventually get the hang of it - here are a set of common suffixes:DEL - Clearance DeliveryGND - Ground ControllerTWR - Tower ControllerAPP - Approach ControllerDEP - Departure ControllerCTR - Center ControllerFSS - Flight Service Station (usually for Oceanic Control only)Other common non controlling callsignsOBS - Observer (Don't bother calling these people for ATC they are watching/learning)INS - An Instructor. Usually they are online actively instructing controllers or conducting tests.SUP - A VATSIM Supervisor. If you have any problems these are the people you should ask for help.Hope this helps.

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I think common sense prevails when in uncontrolled airspace. If you are taking off and/or landing and you see no planes on TCAS and Server Info shows no planes close to you for 300 miles then you have the option of whether you will accounce on Unicom.On the other hand if you are landing at Heathrow with no controller and their are 6 other planes very close to you then you must announce and in many cases contact specific planes via private message (.msg function) to work out the spacing, landing runway, etc.Mark.

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