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disco79stu

Newbie question about Vatsim

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Hi there,

I have a maybe stupid question about vatsim, as I‘m preparing to dive into it soon: when I use Apps to check the available ATCs, I often find that only one or two airports/areas are covered by controllers, yet hundred of planes are in the air all over (in this case) Europe, not even close to ATC covered areas and airports. 

My question is why? Why fly on Vatsim when there is no ATC „working“ for your route/destination/arrival? What are they doing? All typing every step into unicom? This is not a rhetorical question, I honestly don‘t know. 
 

Thanks for any insight,

Stu

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1 hour ago, disco79stu said:

My question is why? Why fly on Vatsim when there is no ATC „working“ for your route/destination/arrival? What are they doing? All typing every step into unicom?

The new VATSIM allows for voice Unicom, so no longer necessary to type unless the pilot wants to. 

As for no ATC, your situation is fairly normal. 

If you want full or mostly full coverage then you can limit yourself to events only or peak periods, but I think that most of us accept that we'll have spotty coverage and fly in hopes that a controller, preferably Center, will logon.

You can also use VatSpy or other tools to see what controllers are online and plan your flight accordingly. Unfortunately there is no guarantee the controller will remain online and could disappear prior to or during the flight.

Just the nature of a volunteer endeavor.

Ernie

BTW, I fly under those conditions because of the possibly of having to interact with other active aircraft at airports.  The alternative is an ATC program and AI.

 

 

Edited by airernie

Ernest Pergrem

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Hi Ernie,

thanks for your reply. I get that there can't be ATC everywhere at any time, I was just curious why so many people fly on Vatsim anyway. But I guess it might also be a sense of community and flying in a "living space". :) 
 

Stu

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I'm curious how to handle a flight with no controllers. Do you file a plan as a best guess and then just fly it? I assume no need to contact clearance, ground and tower before takeoff? How does one know when a controller logs on if you're cruising along in the middle of a flight? Does he contact us? Or do we have to keep watching Vatspy? I'm very interested in learning more and to get started but there are gaps in the tutorials in this regard - or maybe I just can't find them. Any help appreciated.

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Best practice is to properly plan a flight using Simbrief, for instance. Once you have a valid route you can pre-file it. Simbrief has an option for this after you generated your flight plan. If you do not use Simbrief, go to https://www.vatsim.net/pilots/file-flightplan . If you do this well ahead of your flight there is a chance that a controller might notice it and provide ATC. When you are at the airport and do not have ATC coverage, go to 122.80 and announce your intentions whenever you are moving. For instance, announce pushback, announce taxi to runway XY, takeoff runway XY, climb to FL XYZ, announce descent and so on. The general idea is to make your actions predictable for other pilots near you.

However, if there are no other airplanes at your airport, you don't really need to announce pushback etc. since nobody is there to read or listen. You can announce it anyway, or you can just remain silent. The same holds for any part of the flight when there are no other aircraft around. I usually remain silent when there is no airplane closer to me than about 150 nm. 

Regarding the question of the OP: there are many reasons why one may fly on Vatsim without coverage. A common one is that quite a few virtual airlines require their pilots to fly on Vatsim. I sometimes use an ATC program while flying on Vatsim when there is no ATC coverage. I just follow the ATC directions of the program and switch it off when a Vatsim controller goes live.

Peter


(P3D v4, i7-3820CPU @ 3.6 GHz, GTX 1070, 16 GB ram)

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