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Guest EvanG

Virtual Airlines?

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Guest EvanG

I was looking at some virtual airlines for FSX. Its getting me interested in them for FSX. Um, is it for experinced pilots? Would i take orders for them or what? What are the bennefits? And can someone explain to me the simple things i would have to do on a virtual airline? Thanks.

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Depends what VA it is, some are more structured than others. There are some real world pilots who fly for VAs, but it's certainly not a prerequisite for joining one. As far as taking orders goes, any VA where you had to take orders from people would probably not last very long. The advantages are of course many, being everything from a sociable club, to allowing you a more structured way to fly your virtual flights. Many VAs also have 'jobs' within them too if you fancy getting more involved, such as hub manager, training pilot, official repainter etc.To give you an example of a typical VA, I'll detail how things work at one of the oldest and biggest VAs there is - WestWind - which you can find on the net here: http://www.flywestwind.com/You apply to Westwind and when accepted there are several 'test' flights you make, where you have to fly a certain route and make a report. These are not especially difficult, since there are tutorials and guides available to members. Typically, these flights will be made in something small, such as a Beechcraft 1900. Once you've done that, you can be a full member of the VA and are assigned to a hub, of which there are several around the world, based at major airports. There is a list of flight schedules for each hub, and you simply pick and choose which flights you want to make and log the time, then each month you file a pilot report with your hours and as your hours mount you go up through the ranks until you reach the senior rank. Each rank is allowed a certain MTOW for the types of aircraft they fly, so a trainee captain might be able to fly anything up to medium-sized turboprops, whereas a senior command captain will be able to fly a B747 or Concorde or whatever. Most FS aircraft can be flown, either default stuff or fancy payware, and there are a number of aircraft or special airline repaints that can be downloaded for free. Often there are online events and such, but it is entirely up to each member how involved they get, and so long as you file an hours report each month, you'll stay as an active pilot and progress through the ranks (although there is a test flight to be made for each promotions), so you can be as involved as you like. They are not too picky about what routes you fly, so you can fly routes from other hubs or invent your own routes if you like, as the main thrust of WestWind is to have fun and be sociable on their forums.If being in a VA all sounds very serious, then I can assure you it is not, and really rather fun, as evidenced by this tongue in cheek promotional video I made for WestWind a few years ago, which was good for a laugh on the WestWind forum: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efl_sjJY6GoAl


Alan Bradbury

Check out my youtube flight sim videos: Here

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Guest wims

Basically a VA provides some structure and purpose to the otherwise very open nature of flightsimming. There's a wide variety of VAs out there having very different goals. Some requires experienced pilots while other have no requirements. Some are very restrictive in what youre allowed to fly while others are more relaxed. The one I'm in is an online only VA that have no experience requirements, however if youre not experienced they require you to go through a small training program. My VA simulates the operations of the real world airline with the same name, meaning that the VA provides us with real life routes that has to be flown with the apropriate aircrafts. This means that certain aircrafts are not allowed to be flown. We are only allowed to fly online. We also have a feature that allows us to fly fantasy routes, provided that we fly with the aircrafts used by the real airline. We have a flight log system where all our flights get logged with various info like flight duration and route. My VA arranges events from time to time where we fly online with each other. This is a pretty big advantage, because online traffic is way less than real world traffic. If you participate in a flyin event with your VA you are assured there will be plenty of traffic for the route you are flying. For example, tomorrow we're going to have an event where we simulate the real world flights from one of our hubs, so far we have over 150 flights planned! There's going to be chaos :D The biggest advantage in my opinion is that its a great way to learn to know other people who have the same passion for airlines as you have. We have a discussion forum where we share our thoughts and ideas and if somebody has a technical problem or anything like that its easy to get help from other perhaps more experienced virtual pilots. Its our own little community in the world of online flying. Other virtual airlines might have a totally different profile and purpose, for example some VAs simulate military operations with formation flying, search and rescue missions, airlift missions etc. There are also general aviation VAs that operate more like a real world flying club where you can meet up with a few friends and go for a nice and relaxing VFR flight. There are also offline VAs that allows pilots to fly offline if that is more your cup of tea. Take a look at a few VAs websites and see if you find one that suits your interests. Give it a go, you could always quit if it was not what you thought it would be.edit: writing this reply took some time, chock managed to reply way before me in a much better way :(

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Guest 747-fan

My VA is a bit different. It doesn't confine you to a single airline or type of flying, you earn "points" for anything from forum participation, winning screenshot contests, showing "good spirit", flying unscheduled bush planes or long haul IFR with real life schedules or anything in between. You can fly offline, on IVAO or VATSIM, or combine them. FS9, FSX, XPlane, use whatever platform you want, whichever plane you want, whichever locations you want. You can also be a member of any other VA in addition to this one if you want to. Everybody's welcome, but we've limited our VA to no more than 500 members at a time, and right now there's 498 of us, no waiting in line. Usually there's a bit of a line, but not right now. The only membership requirement is registering a flight once a month. You can put yourself "on leave" for a while if something comes up to prevent that. Slots open up as pilots go inactive. Click on my sig to check it out.

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VAs can be very rewarding, especially to those like me who don't have the time for online play due to family etc. However do I find that many fictional VAs do not keep their library of repaints up to date for current payware planes, and leave a lot to be desired in terms of FSX repaints. Some seem content to use 5 year old FS2004 planes with no VC and low-res 2D panels made to work in FSX. Available FSX repaints make or break a VA for me. Another irritating thing can be silly rules like no sim pausing, which as anyone who is not single or doesn't have kids knows, is completely impractical.I guess my advice would be to read carefully the conditions and VA rules, and also check out the available FSX repaints before you join to avoid disappointment.

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If you are interested in charter flying (destinations of your choice) and a loose structure, check us out at the link below.


Dan George (woodhick)
Check out Greenbrier Aero Club, the VA for and about the GA pilot.

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