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VATSIM in an airline pilot interview?

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Hi, I'm hoping to join an aviation academy such as CTC wings or OAA to gain all my type ratings,examinations, licenses etc etc. Both of the following schools need, an interview. I go on VATSIM a lot and i always fly the best payware aircraft what is on the market, so its pretty close to realsim, and because of VATSIM i have a very good knowledge of aviation and ho it works. So i was thinking if i go into the interview should i mention VATSIM? Or would they think i'm a blibbering idiot, and it'll be there joke of the day? What do you think?

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This is an interesting point. If you would have asked that question ten or fifteen years ago, I would have said whatever you do, don't mention using Flight Simulator. Back then FS was viewed by many professional pilots and air traffic controllers as little more than an entertaining diversion for wannabes, even though the emulation of the Cessna's instruments was actually quite realistic even in the first version of FS. But FS nowadays is a very different story thanks to the likes of PMDG, Level-D etc, and whilst you'd would still have been hard pressed to find a professional pilot admitting to colleagues that he or she used personal computer flight sims 15-20 years ago for anything other than fun, a good many professional pilots are more than happy to be associated with that kind of thing these days on a much more serious level, as evidenced by people such as ex United Airlines Captain, Mike Ray, with his books on how to fly airliners in Flight Simulator. That is also true of VATSIM, where many professional air traffic controllers take an interest in matters and can see the benefits of flight simulation as more than mere entertainment. For example, you might have noted in a review I did for AVSIM last year that the FS scenery add on for Malta Airport is in fact produced by a guy who is an air traffic controller at that airport in real life.All this stuff is especially true with the advent of more and more realistic systems emulation on FS add-on airliners, since these can be used to examine real world operations now that flying an airliner is more about button pushing than wrestling with the stick, and in parallel with that, the advent of good VOIP hardware and ample internet bandwidth means VATSIM and other similar operations are an equally valuable asset for training and familiarisation with general concepts, not least of which is the overcoming of many people's propensity for being 'mike shy' when first confronted with having to use radio communications.Nevertheless, I would be sure to stress that your interest in FS and VATSIM is borne out of an interest in real-world procedures (and not the other way around), and I would also be at pains to point out that many real-world airline pilots and air traffic controllers take an interest in it too for the same reasons, something which I am sure those at your interview will be well aware of.Some airlines prefer to train pilots from the ground up, rather than have eager enthusiasts turn up at their door waving a PPL and claiming they know how to land a PMDG 747, but as far as commercial flight academies go, since you are paying to be there, enthusiasm, knowledge and simulated experience is more often than not regarded as a plus. So as long as you broach the subject in a professional manner, it is likely to be seen as a good thing with professional motives behind it, and if you gauge the mood of the interview and feel it adds weight to what you are saying, then go ahead and say it.Al


Alan Bradbury

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My view differs somewhat from Jeremy's.I have a longish history of flight simulator interest, and now hold a frozen ATPL, multiengine instrument rating plus all the required extras.Having used the sim with many complex addon aircraft and having a good overall picture of the concepts and basics helped me tremendously especially in studying for the ATPL theoretical exams and even with IR procedures. So it is good, it can help you get a getter grip on theory. It's a great aid also when you're getting to know a new area or an airport.Still, I have to admit that I would still keep my mouth shut about flight simulators in an interview and even in discussions with other real-world pilots, unless I know them. If asked, I might admit having used them as a training aid for theoretical concepts or basic IR procedures, but in no case would I mention having sat in front of the screen for ten hours doing an oceanic crossing in VATSIM with all the required paperwork (not that I have done so).Why? Not based on anything specific, just my overall picture of the opinion in the field. The " flight sim enthusiast" stereotype is at worst still regarded as the obnoxious nerd that likes plane spotting, has a huge camera, only flies his desktop computer, but likes to boast on his knowledge of oceanic procedures and the MCDU of an A320.Another good point Jeremy mentioned is the clean slate some companies prefer. They might not want someone on their Boeing type rating course that has already messed their head self learning the Airbus philosophy and SAS cockpit procedures. They want to, and will teach you everything you need to know on their specific operations.So, I'd be a little careful mixing the real world flying and flight simulator enthusiasm together. Not that there is anything wrong with flight simulator enthusiasm, usually the opposite, but if you know your RW stuff, why take the risk as there aren't many gains in mentioning it.


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I agree with Al on this one. I'd probably mention it in the sense that it has helped me learn some basic stuff about aviation. DON'T: Claim you are somehow "proficient"at complex airliners. Say you spend too much time in the sim (like the fellow above me who made his point with "crossing the Atlantic on a 10 hour flight logged on to VATSIM. Boost your ego up just because you think you know too much about certain complex aircraft. Talk about it too much or mention it too many times.DO: Say to interviewer that using FS and the internet has helped you to understand basic procedures in aviation like, instrumentations, basic stuff about aircraft engines, aerodynamics and such. Be humble about it! Don't classify yourself as a 10000 hour ATPL holder just because you land the PMDG 747 in FSBottom line, don't make that topic the center of your interview. The topic should always be your enthusiasm in becoming an airline pilot and how much you'd love to fly for a living. Just mention the FS as something that has boosted your enthusiasm up a notch and that it has helped you to learn a couple of things. That's it.Just my 2 cents.Best regards


Ed Ocampo
Staff Reviewer
AVSIM Online
eocampo@avsim.com

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Print out your fsx logbook and show them your 5000 hours in the 747
Oooh, no, don't dare to do that! :(

Ed Ocampo
Staff Reviewer
AVSIM Online
eocampo@avsim.com

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Fly DC Jets

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