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What I would like please is as many views of online flying, specifically with VATSIM as possible. With fewer online ATC's and Pilots than the "offline" version, do you find it realistic. And how have you found the community there? Looking at the forum, they seem quite intolerant of the kind of mistakes any newbie would make, and spend a disproportionate amount of space making disparaging, catty comments about each other. I would like to fly online, but find the idea a bit intimidating. What standard of pilotage is expected?

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Hi, Whoever!If you face any intolerance around VATSIM, it is mainly towards people who think it is a place to learn flying and have fun for half an hour. If your attitude is like that, do not join the network, it is not for you.If, however, you want to practise ATC procedures close to reality, you are open for study and well-prepared in the sense of operating your aircraft, VATSIM will give you tones of satisfaction. Some VATSIM controllers and real world pilots or ATC. The level of realism is then very high. I would recommend that you try. But first be sure the aircraft you are going to fly is the one you know well. Then get some up-to-date airport charts (especially the departure and destination airports you are going to use). You may also need enroute charts for planning, but having FSNav and/or using Route Finder ( http://rfinder.asalink.net/free/ ) the last one is not essential.Before joining the first session you also need to learn the basic ATC procedures you will be using. There are a lot of websites to help you with that, including VATSIM's own. A good idea is to launch ServInfo plus RogerWilco (log in as an observer) and listen to active pilots and controllers for some time. You will learn much this way.And soon the day will come when you have your mike ready, your charts, you have a flight plan, you have FSInn ready and mastered (or SB3 alternatively) and you get ATC at an airport. Go and try! For the beginning do not tak part in mega fly-ins. Use a nice small or medium aerodrome with active ATC. Use NEWBIE in your pilot's remarks and I am sure the controller will help you with everything, seeing that you are open for learning and basically prepared (you know what you are doing).Sure you will meet an unfriendly contoller or pilot from time to time, but that is life and cannot be avoided anywhere. No reason to worry, anyway.Have a lot of fun and study with VATSIM!Best regards,Rafal

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>What I would like please is as many views of online flying,>specifically with VATSIM as possible. With fewer online ATC's>and Pilots than the "offline" version, do you find it>realistic.Yes, very realistic. When ATC is on-line.When they are not on-line you chat on 122.80.It works well but you do have to type the message without the voice ATC.And how have you found the community there? Looking>at the forum, they seem quite intolerant of the kind of>mistakes any newbie would make, and spend a disproportionate>amount of space making disparaging, catty comments about each>other.In your filed flight plan indicate eg. "first flight" or "newbe" and the controllers will slow down and guide you. Feel free to ask questions about IFR problems ... I would like to fly online, but find the idea a bit>intimidating. What standard of pilotage is expected?Practice IFR flight using MSFS,... when you finish the training there go on-line and do a flight ... see how it goes. Keep learing that way .. back an forth MSFS, then VATSIM.ATC is intimidating .... until you "know" what you are doing .. then it is as real as it gets. We are all "learning" something new on each flight!In the end ..... you will like it!

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Been Flying online for a Year now and could never go back to offline flying. when I bought my trackir I thought things couldn't get any better, then I found VATSIM. The only issue people have is when new users jump in without reading up on procedures and thinking it works like default ATC. What I did was parked in a remote stand at heathrow and just monitored the frequencys for a few day's to get a feel for things. Then I planned flights between airports with no tower,delivery or ground so I only spoke to enroute control, after that I plucked up the courage to to do full flights with clearance ground tower and approach and it's easy after a few flights. If no ATC is online just monitor unicom on 122.80 if your in busy airspace.Rob

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VATSIM also has a great Pilot Resource Center (PRC) for anyone just starting out all the way to those of us who have thousands of hours on the network.

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Hi,I fully agree with the other posts.Flying online (I do it for many many years now) doubles your Flight Sim fun.Why? Because it's cool to be controlled by real people and see real other people/aircraft at airports and in the sky.Also people make sometime mistakes, radio communication can sometimes be unclear (noise, garbled, etc) just like in real life.All this makes it very rewarding to go flying online.Sure it can be intimidating in the beginning but you will learn quickly. By all means don't give up after a few flights, you will get the hang of it.

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>Looking at the forum, they seem quite intolerant >of the kind of mistakes any newbie would make, >and spend a disproportionate amount of space >making disparaging, catty comments about each >other. the MAJOR MAJORITY of VATSIM members never visit nor post on the forums. there is a sub-set of folks (like any group) that love to debate the rules (and how VATSIM should use r/w v. the network policies).DON'T let this discourage you from flying on the network!if you wish to fly following r/w policies VATSIM is the place. the controllers are helpful and understanding. as already posted, note in your flightplan you are new. the controllers will understand and help!the debates on the forum about 'new' flyers revolves around those that wish to do tower buzzes and crash other flyers. there are also those that don't communicate their intentions (unicom, etc) or follow the 'rules of the road.'you must read the VATSIM training documents (http://www.vatsim.net/prc/ )and if you have any questions just ask in the forums. yes, there will likely be some debate over interpretation where you as the pilot/captain will need to follow what seems logical and correct. what a VATSIM moderator/officer states is policy (regardless what others may say).so, if you want to fly 'real' VATSIM is great. if you want to fly circles in the air ... VATSIM ain't.--

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I agree with the folks above. It is very intimidating the first time you key that mic, but it so very rewarding. My advice is to not start at a place like LAX due to the sheer number of folks. Generally, a controller will be much more patient if he's not pushing 100 other planes around the airspace. As suggested, download Servinfo, find a quiet spot, and give it a shot. Nothing to lose!Good luck!Jeff HepburnKDEN

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My only add to the sound advice already given is what my first instructor pilot told me at the beginning of USAF pilot training..."aviate, navigate, communicate" in that order...applies in the VATSIM realm as well.Thoroughly impressed by the level of professionalism from both controllers and pilots in VATSIM (95%). Once you get your feet wet, highly recommend any number of virtual airlines out there. It will take your FS experience to another level.Good luck!F15Driver

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Thanks for your replies. I've installed the software, registered and will go to a new pilots night VATSIM UK are doing next week and give it a shot. I've downloaded the charts for the Airport, and will sit in the parking ramps at a couple of places and listen in before then.

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I was wondering if there are any servers or plans for any servers to hook into real air traffic something like Tile Proxy does for scenery. FlightAware.com is live tracking of air traffic in the continental US which has a feed from ATC for their mapping. I don't see why it couldn't be interfaced with flight sim. Same thing for the car racers. If the broadcasters can track each car on the track during the race why couldn't someone who is into sim racing join the real race in real time?

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VATSIM and other online ATC services is feast or famine. From a "feast" perspective, online ATC is the most realistic, engaging and rewarding experience available in FS. The massive immersion factor and requirement to know and understand real world rules without deviation is spectacular. Hearing other pilots and knowing that they are real along with commands from ATC from real trained controllers simply cannot be beat.From a "famine" perspective, controllers tend to be few and far between most times so one finds themselves alone for most of their flights unless you restrict yourself to areas where live ATC is active. So, one cannot simply choose anywhere in the world to fly or else one will find themselves alone. Also, traffic density at all major airports becomes completely depleted unless there is some type of fly-in to a specific airport. One will find themselves all alone at any given major airport in the world.For me the minuses outweigh the pluses due to the lack of flexibility of locations to which to fly as well as the sparse nature of the ATC coverage and other pilots online.If you are going to dabble in online ATC, FIRST understand the phraseology as well at the basic rules of IFR and VFR flight. While controllers will help when necessary they are not there to teach you everything you need to know about ATC and will lose patience with you after some time (especially when they are busy with other aircraft). Do YOUR homework first offline, practice readbacks to what offline ATC is telling you and at least come to the table with basic knowledge and it will make your online time MUCH more enjoyable.Regards,Mike T.

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I dont think I was ever as scared as I was the first time I called the tower and asked for IFR clearance. The whole thing was such an andrenalin rush! Now, i dont think I could fly offline again - the interaction just adds another dimension to our hobby and I recommend it to everyone. Dont go by the forums - every forum (including this one) gets catty. There are a lot of keyboard-heroes out there! The people I've dealt with online are professional to the core. I started flying online with VATEIR, the Irish vatsim people because, well, I lived there at the time and as well as that, it is a reasonably quiet airspace which means the controllers have the time to give you help and advice. Learn your a/c (know how the autopilot works, learn how to fly a holding pattern etc etc), learn the phraseology, learn the airspace you're flying through and above all: pay attention! enjoy!

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He wanted all kinds of opinions so here's mine.I agree with Mike T.I'd say you only get the most realistic experience if you restrict your route to an area in central Europe or North America. Outside those areas, especially Asia or Africa, you're pretty much on your own.With new software like Vroute it is very easy to check for ATC availability and bookings along your chosen route. This is part of the preflight I do every time before deciding whether to fly online or not. I might even cancel a booking if I see there is very little ATC available. 100% coverage is not required, say lack of an area control (under whose control you spend most of your flight) is not such a big issue if there is a nearby control sector you can tune into for ambience. However if the approach control is missing, I might as well disconnect when I get closer.I know it's a "chicken or egg" situation as there would probably be more ATC available if there were more flight bookings, but they way I justify the way I do it, is that the ATC services are easier to set up than a flight. Properly preflight planning, pulling your charts and papers, setting up the sim, wx, squawkbox and all can take a lot of time, which I think is all wasted if you spend your time flying at empty skies.One additional problem I have with online flight is that the software, SB3 eats into my resources big time, meaning the fps goes down by maybe 25%.. which is a lot if you are talking about 17 fps to begin with. Even with higher numbers the performance is somewhat "choppy" or stuttery.All this may sound negative, but it's not - at it's best like Mike said, it is a very rewarding and realistic experience, a feast. You really feel like you've done some brainwork afterwards! You will get this kind of experience almost every time if you restrict your flying to the mentioned areas at peak times. There are fly-ins with full ATC happening almost every day and they are easy to find from VATSIM event pages or from Vroute.

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Hello,By all means try your hand at VATSIM, you may find it very enjoyable. Till you get really proficent at IFR, you can do VFR with Flight following, most US controllers welcome you with open arms, You can fly in central Africa as well, VATDRC is on alot of times.You don't have to be doing mach.87 to join in, I do VFR, and IFR as needed with single engine props all the time. I have as much fun as anyone.D Baker

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