Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
icewater5

Your experiences and thoughts of Vatsim

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

Hello all, ūüôā

Basically i am very interested in your experiences of Vatsim (which is one of the most socially interactive parts of all world flight simulation).

 

I have seen 2 pro social media videos and Vatsim was all i hoped it would be. Absolutely brilliant.

That said,  a few members here have correctly pointed out that so much airspace/ATC centres are frequently unpopulated across the world. When it works, though. it works really good.

And why is the uk and west europe generally busier atm ?

Be great to see higher numbers elsewhere.

 

Edited by icewater5
too off topic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think VATSIM is awesome! Nothing tops it when it comes to immersive and realism. It’s free, controllers have to complete training, and it’s exactly what I experience when flying real world IFR. It’s such an amazing tool for those who want a taste of RW flying and even training!

 

But yes, there are times where I don’t use it like flying in airspace where it’s offline or completely dead. 

  • Like 6

/ CPU: Intel i7-9700K @4.9 / RAM: 32GB G.Skill 3200 / GPU: RTX 3080 10GB /

Kyle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't use Vatsim very often, usually GA VFR.

On one occasion I flew the PMDG 737-800 from Faro to Gatwick and the ATC was very good until I got to Gatwick.  I was just about to turn onto finals on 08R when Gatwick Tower said they were clocking off and told me to go to Unicom.  To say I was furious is an understatement, I flew all the way from Faro to Gatwick having a good Vatsim experience which was totally wrecked by this Tower Controller saying they could not be bothered allowing me to land under Vatsim control.  I brought my dissatisfaction to the Vatsim forum and was told quite 'tersely' that Vatsim controllers are volunteers and could sign off whenever they wanted to.  I fully appreciate that, but having a pilot on finals why couldn't he remain in the Control Tower until I had landed, this is a hobby for both ATC controllers and Pilots.

I might be over reacting but after this incident my enthusiasm for Vatsim quickly declined, both with the Controllers actions and the reply I got from the Vatsim forum.

  • Like 4

Glen
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was on Vatsim years ago. I used it all the time until I discovered it's problems.

1. I fly all over the world especially now with MSFS, Almost always, there are no controllers anywhere near where I am flying could be launching a flight in San Francisco and the nearest controller is a ground controller in Dallas Texas, for instance. Take a ;look for yourself, right now there are almost zero controllers on duty in the entire US.  I have already done two flights on the West coast this morning for my VA. http://www.vattastic.com/

2 You decide to fly somewhere, where there are controllers, you see one, you set up a flight near where that controller is, you start the flight and just then the controller signs off. Back to Unicomm

3. You are on approach, and the controller who happens to be a ground controller has no idea of how to get you to the approach course. 

4 Many times you take off using unicomm hoping a controller will sign on near where you are, and finish the flight on Unicomm.  Total waste of time, talking to yourself on Unicomm. 

 

I purchased several ATC programs over the years, and for the last several years I have used PF3. I get ATC from ATIS, to Clearance, to Ground, to tower, to departure, to center, to approach , to tower and to ground, on every flight, no matter where and what time I am flying. Can't beat it. 

  • Like 5
  • Upvote 2

spacer.png

Bob Cardone         MSFS 2020 , Fenix A320, Milviz C 310 , Kodiak , Simple Traffic  

TrackIR   Avliasoft EFB2    ATC  by PF3    FlyVirtual.net  CLX PC

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, GAJ52 said:

I don't use Vatsim very often, usually GA VFR.

On one occasion I flew the PMDG 737-800 from Faro to Gatwick and the ATC was very good until I got to Gatwick.  I was just about to turn onto finals on 08R when Gatwick Tower said they were clocking off and told me to go to Unicom.  To say I was furious is an understatement, I flew all the way from Faro to Gatwick having a good Vatsim experience which was totally wrecked by this Tower Controller saying they could not be bothered allowing me to land under Vatsim control.  I brought my dissatisfaction to the Vatsim forum and was told quite 'tersely' that Vatsim controllers are volunteers and could sign off whenever they wanted to.  I fully appreciate that, but having a pilot on finals why couldn't he remain in the Control Tower until I had landed, this is a hobby for both ATC controllers and Pilots.

I might be over reacting but after this incident my enthusiasm for Vatsim quickly declined, both with the Controllers actions and the reply I got from the Vatsim forum.

Been through that same scenario many time. I have been told that a TV program or a sporting event they liked was about to start, and away they went. 


spacer.png

Bob Cardone         MSFS 2020 , Fenix A320, Milviz C 310 , Kodiak , Simple Traffic  

TrackIR   Avliasoft EFB2    ATC  by PF3    FlyVirtual.net  CLX PC

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vatsim can be very excellent.  However please remember that everyone is just a volunteer, skill level will vary from controller to controller.

Best staffing is Fri-Sunday afternoon into evenings local time.  There are frequently events which are more realistically staffed.  I know USA used to do (not sure if they still do) Friday Night Ops, and for example Boston center and NY center would be online with the associated TRACONs and tower/ground/clearance for the focus airports (say they were JFK and BOS).

Outside of those events and weekends you're generally going to find poor coverage of controllers.  And if you do find a controller it will probably be one voice working a center you pass through - or maybe you pickup your clearance on the ground with that center at a busy airport (when normally it would be with clearance or ground control).

Still it's enjoyable - mostly for IFR jets.  If you're doing VFR the quality declines somewhat depending on which area you fly.  Some centers/FIRs are just as good as handling VFR vs IFR though.

At any rate it's all free for you!  

One noteworthy item - be confident with your aircraft.  It's not a place to learn your new PMDG 737 hehe.  Vatsim also isn't a place to connect and fly loop de loops over London lol.  Also never start on a runway - always a gate or ramp.

  • Like 5
  • Upvote 3

| FAA ZMP |
| PPL ASEL |
| Windows 11 | MSI Z690 Tomahawk | 12700K 4.7GHz | EVGA GTX1080 Ti | 32GB 5600 MHz DDR5 | 500GB Samsung 860 Evo SSD | 2x 2TB Samsung 970 Evo M.2 | EVGA 850W Gold | Corsair 5000X |

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, GAJ52 said:

I don't use Vatsim very often, usually GA VFR.

On one occasion I flew the PMDG 737-800 from Faro to Gatwick and the ATC was very good until I got to Gatwick.  I was just about to turn onto finals on 08R when Gatwick Tower said they were clocking off and told me to go to Unicom.  To say I was furious is an understatement, I flew all the way from Faro to Gatwick having a good Vatsim experience which was totally wrecked by this Tower Controller saying they could not be bothered allowing me to land under Vatsim control.  I brought my dissatisfaction to the Vatsim forum and was told quite 'tersely' that Vatsim controllers are volunteers and could sign off whenever they wanted to.  I fully appreciate that, but having a pilot on finals why couldn't he remain in the Control Tower until I had landed, this is a hobby for both ATC controllers and Pilots.

I might be over reacting but after this incident my enthusiasm for Vatsim quickly declined, both with the Controllers actions and the reply I got from the Vatsim forum.

i could see your reaction as reasonable if vatsim was a payware/subscription service, but this is an all-volunteer thing... that controller was a) experienced enough to provide realistic ATC, which is a rarity in itself and b) was willing to share his experience in a fun way with the vatsim community. if they need to sign off, they need to sign off.

if i was that controller and i logged into the vatsim forum only to find some user absolutely irate that i disconnected, i'd probably never bother providing my skill, experience and freetime to the (free) vatsim service ever again.

JMHO though. ūüôā

Edited by molleh
  • Like 5
  • Upvote 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would only add a response to the OP that coverage and traffic typically peak on weekdays during the evening in local time wherever in the world you are. So if you're flying in the afternoon and located on the US east coast, coverage will be best in Europe, while an evening flight might best be flown in your own time zone.

With regard to signing off, I was trained (a) not to sign on for less than a one hour shift and (b) always to provide at least 15 minutes of warning before signing off. I do that by making an announcement on frequency and raising a "break" flag on my position ID which will light up my position on the vPilot client in light red color. If I know that someone is landing in my coverage area, I try to juggle my schedule to stay on longer, but as you can see that runs the risk of disappointing the next person when I sign off.

As to a ground controller not knowing how to provide radar service, I'm not sure how to get around that problem. We are trained in the order DEL/GND/TWR/DEP/APP/CTR/FSS and also given extra training for major airports that require deeper levels of knowledge. So a GND controller won't be able to provide even TWR service until certified to do so. This can take dozens of hours and the radar positions even more.

This is a great opportunity for those who are keen on having the best in ATC services to play a constructive role by joining VATSIM and volunteering for training as a controller. Even as an IRL PPL IFR pilot, I learned an enormous amount about the ATC system. It's quite demanding and you'll find out why the VATSIM training system is called the Sweatbox. If you're looking for immersion, here's you chance.

  • Like 6
  • Upvote 2

John Wiesenfeld KPBI | FAA PPL/SEL/IFR in a galaxy long ago and far away | VATSIM ZNY C1/PILOT P2

i7-11700K, 16 GB DDR4 3.6 GHz, MSI RTX 3070ti, HD video (eventually 2K)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love it. Yes, sometimes there are no controllers. But when there are controllers, I have had awesome experiences. As a RW pilot, I find it very immersive, and most controllers are super professional. The other day the controller at YVR even knew that the ILS is U/S for the summer for the install of the RESA on the north runway. Very cool. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, GAJ52 said:

but having a pilot on finals why couldn't he remain in the Control Tower until I had landed

Maybe he was already over time and had time go for family/work reasons. Maybe he was fit to burst and HAD to go, literally. 

To be furious is way over the top. You use a service that you KNOW is not fully staffed all of the time. You were on finals so didn't exactly miss out on much.

If it is imperative for you to have all positions manned all the time, perhaps you could investigate PilotEdge?

  • Like 6

Intel i9-10900K @ 5.1Ghz,  Nvidia 2080ti 11Gb, 32Gb Ram, Samsung Odyssey G7 HDR 600 27inch Monitor 2560x1440, Windows 11 Home

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say: There's nothing to lose with Vatsim. It's a bonus. Plan your flights as you would (like Bob I do them all over the world), and if there's ATC on Vatsim, great, if not, you do whatever you would do without Vatsim (like offline ATC or whatever). It's not a either/or decision, you can always connect in the middle of your flight and land with Vatsim, when a controller got online.

Since MSFS user count (and controller count) has exploded on Vatsim, so you'll find ATC almost everywhere (except Africa) if it's evening at local time over there. Generally Western/Central Europe (esp. Germany and UK) are filled with controllers almost all day long.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Flying on Vatsim with a full compliment of controllers from departure to arrival is Vatsim (and MSFS) at its best IMO, but I want to put in a good word for Vatsim unicom flying.  I've been in many situations where the pilots communicate with each other to "pseudo" control the airspace and they can do a decent job of it, even to the point we can get a string of lights set up on final approach.  That aspect can be challenging and a lot of fun and is probably similar to flying into/out of busy, uncontrolled airfields IRL.  Even at times when pilot activity itself is light in an area you're flying through, well...a live Vatsim pilot is worth 10+ AI pilots IMO (and I have a lot of experience programing AI pilots).

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Clipper Ocean Spray said:

Flying on Vatsim with a full compliment of controllers from departure to arrival is Vatsim (and MSFS) at its best IMO, but I want to put in a good word for Vatsim unicom flying.  I've been in many situations where the pilots communicate with each other to "pseudo" control the airspace and they can do a decent job of it, even to the point we can get a string of lights set up on final approach.  That aspect can be challenging and a lot of fun and is probably similar to flying into/out of busy, uncontrolled airfields IRL.  Even at times when pilot activity itself is light in an area you're flying through, well...a live Vatsim pilot is worth 10+ AI pilots IMO (and I have a lot of experience programing AI pilots).

I disagree, at least where I fly normally. No one bothers using Unicom. I have noticed however that it's a bit different in the US, so cheers to all of you over there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to u all a lot for your information. Great stuff.

Ill look up Unicom  (not heard of this )

 

Just a quick fyi for interest. .I was able to visit a control tower once as a kid , and i think some of that experience has stuck.  lol.

3rd party programs (e.g atc pro and others) look good too. That said you have basically confirmed (despite its shortfalls) what i was hoping about Vatsim . 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Tom Allensworth,
    Founder of AVSIM Online


  • Flight Simulation's Premier Resource!

    AVSIM is a free service to the flight simulation community. AVSIM is staffed completely by volunteers and all funds donated to AVSIM go directly back to supporting the community. Your donation here helps to pay our bandwidth costs, emergency funding, and other general costs that crop up from time to time. Thank you for your support!

    Click here for more information and to see all donations year to date.
√ó
√ó
  • Create New...