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About skelsey

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    Broadcast journalist and BAVirtual Director of Training.

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  1. skelsey

    who stole the plane

    Al - I hope that the information you have provided in good faith does not end up biting you. As you will know, condensing a subject one doesn't fully understand in to a sentence or two often causes much subtlety to be missed. The thing which concerns me is that as far as I know still there is a lack of any evidence to confirm he even owned a copy of MSFS, let alone any addons, so by definition any piece on the subject is nothing more than speculation. (Incidentally - all on this thread and across Avsim should probably be mindful that there's likely more than just one journalist reading these threads and you may find your words up in lights whether solicited or otherwise).
  2. skelsey

    Mild complaint about the P3D platform

    Exactly as James says above: it is Jeppesen/Lido's presentation of the data which is copyrighted, not the data itself. They actually provide the data in anything but a "raw" format in the true sense of the word - the whole point of their existence is to editorialise and present the generally not-very-pilot/cockpit-friendly raw data provided by national ANSPs in a manner that is the most user-friendly for their customers. So FMC navigation databases will have custom waypoints and procedures added at the behest of customers, some data deemed extraneous or surplus to requirements will be removed etc. Likewise the chart design and presentation is what they are protecting, not the details of the navaids shown. The Michelin Guide analogy is a good one, or perhaps a dictionary: one can't copyright all the words in the language, but one can copyright the work done to compile and present a selection of them in a user-friendly/aesthetically pleasing way.
  3. skelsey

    who stole the plane

    Faintly amused by the number of people on this thread quite happy to speculate and talk very definitively about what software this gentleman may or may not have owned or had access to, who I am sure would be very quick to criticise the media if there were headlines about the role of desktop flight simulators before any official source had confirmed that.
  4. skelsey

    Mild complaint about the P3D platform

    Not that I am particularly 'in the know', but what I would suggest is that scenery and aircraft are two very different ball games. Scenery, ultimately, is just data: conversion from one format to another is not necessarily a major issue, it doesn't really care about 32 bit/64 bit and so on. We have seen this already with many sceneries converted for different platforms, updated for P3Dv4 etc very quickly (indeed many legacy sceneries work in v4 right off the bat). (Of course, creating a product properly optimised for and taking advantage of all the features available in a particular platform is another matter). Aircraft, on the other hand, are far more complex in the way in which they interact with the sim and it is mostly simply impossible to just 'convert' an aircraft to another format. There's just too much going on behind the scenes.
  5. skelsey

    RW Airline seniority system qustions.

    As Matt says -- whilst it sounds good in theory, the problem with that approach is that by definition, every active pilot at an airline has met (and is required to demonstrate every six months that they still meet) the standards required to do the job safely. In which case the airline is confident that they are competent to handle any situation they might reasonably come across. If the airline is not confident that a particular pilot is competent to do that, then arguably they shouldn't be flying at all! Thus, in a situation where you have a large pool of people who are by definition at equally competent by virtue of having successfully completed all the required training and checks on their current aircraft, it is rather difficult to start ranking them by saying that one is more competent than another (see above). Modern airline selection is very much based around aptitude and personality traits (CRM) at the initial stage. It is interesting that you mention the idea of "jet jockey from the military" perhaps having a better chance; arguably the evidence suggests that the people absolutely most likely to have CRM 'issues' are ex-single-seat fighter pilots who are typically a) very confident in their own ability by virtue of the sort of selection and training process they would have gone through in the military, b) formed by a strictly hierarchical military system where senior officers do not expect to be questioned and c) are used to flying on their own with no other crew members to 'keep in the loop'. Outstanding 'stick and rudder' pilots they may well be, but not always well-suited to an airline role where it is much more about management, not just of the aircraft but of the entire crew as well (an A380 Captain, for instance, has overall responsibility for a team of perhaps 22+ cabin and flight crew, plus 400+ passengers and a £300m piece of equipment, as well as being the company's representative authorised to make commercial decisions that could cost the company hundreds of thousands of pounds). Not to say that there are not many excellent airline Captains from that background -- but it is important to remember that excellent flying skills alone do not necessarily an excellent airline pilot make. As Matt says, although seniority allows a pilot to bid on to a particular fleet, they still have to pass the course -- no pass, no seat. Likewise for FO to Captain upgrades, seniority provides the opportunity but they still have to pass a command course to actually get that fourth stripe -- a very intensive process which is NOT easy and which many people fail for many varied reasons. As mentioned above it is quite possible to swap fleets and seats at the same time (and for most legacy airlines operating a range of aircraft types, probably fairly typical) and the length of the conversion course will vary (so for a new Captain converting to a new type, they will first obviously have to pass the standard type rating course, plus do a number of line training sectors (but less than, say, a brand-new trainee FO), plus some extra command training sectors on top as part of the command course, whereas an FO upgrading to Captain on the same fleet will only have to do a smaller number of sectors focussed mainly on operating from the LHS and command training). The result is that the most popular fleets and bases will be very senior whilst the less popular fleets and bases will be quite junior. So, for example, a pilot might start as a short-haul FO on the B737 for four or five years (or more) by which time they may have the seniority to bid for an FO seat on, say, the B777. Short-haul commands tend to be more junior than long-haul commands, and (generally) there is a pay/pension incentive to become a Captain as early as possible (most airlines, as far as I know, have an incremental salary scale that goes up each year, but FOs pay is capped at a lower level than Captains so once you have reached the top of the FO pay scale that is it until you change seats). Of course, lifestyle comes in to it as well and some may choose to stay in the RHS on a long-haul aircraft for a longer period of time despite this -- not least because as an FO high up the seniority list on a long-haul fleet they will more or less be able to pick and choose whatever trips they want. However, most pilots will bid for a command as soon as they have the seniority to do so and so are likely to end up back on a short-haul fleet (say the A320, to continue from above) where they will likely be very junior in comparison to other Captains on the same fleet and therefore end up with lots of "blind" assigned flights and less flexibility for a time. Then, again, because long-haul tends to be more attractive many will bid for a long-haul command eventually (say, the B744) but again it may be a toss-up between being a very senior Captain on a short-haul fleet with lots of flexibility vs going back to the bottom of a long-haul seniority list and ending up seeing lots of Lagos for a few years. It is possible to go straight from the RHS on a long haul aircraft to the LHS on a long haul aircraft but that will often have involved a long time sat at the top of the FO pay scale! Of course, the other side of seniority is that if the airline expands quickly or when fleets change it can be possible to gain a command or get on to a particular fleet extremely quickly if one happens to be in the right place at the right time!
  6. skelsey

    Glideslope callout on take off

    Well - surely it is useful to know what the DME reading at the threshold is going to be in order to make an accurate assessment of one's height vs range to check the glide path and for an accurate indication of distance from touchdown? Of course, the DME could read anything at all provided it is a known figure... but 0 would seem to me to be the most logical choice resulting in the least mental gymnastics :).
  7. skelsey

    Bank Angle Switch

    Which lateral mode are you in? I assume the NG is the same as the 767 and 744; the Bank Angle selector only affects HDG SEL. It has no effect on bank angles in LNAV.
  8. skelsey

    POSCON online flying

    Is it anything that surprising? Just a thought: an organisation which reacts to VATSIM's "thanks but no thanks" to a ridiculous offer ("you hand everything over to us and then after that we'll think about putting some cash in") by using a media outlet they control as a propaganda vehicle to post screenshots of private conversations whilst throwing their toys out of the pram on their own Facebook page? Sure sounds like a nice bunch of guys to be involved with... As I say, I'm far from a defender of the way the VATSIM BoG have operated in the past but it is ultimately an organisation set up so that anybody who wants to get involved in running it can - it's not "owned" by any individual.
  9. skelsey

    Question on descent for real 737 Drivers.

    (snip) I can't speak too much to the 737, but in general my experience of VNAV is that it is dumb and as such it will do dumb things like get slow on one segment, put a load of thrust in and then get high on the next segment because all that extra energy it added by pushing the thrust levers up now has to "go somewhere". The idea of most modern STARs seems to be toward a continuous descent with near idle thrust - so it is necessary to watch the VNAV carefully and intervene if it starts doing dumb things like the above. It's all about energy management - imagine a rollercoaster. If you shallow off the descent you will bleed off some speed but if the next segment is much steeper you'll end up at the bottom of that segment much faster. You always have to be thinking several steps ahead and making a judgement about whether on a shallower segment you really want to be adding more energy to the equation (ie - am I high *now* or overall - remember the V/DEV pointer is very much instantaneous so you have to cross-reference the total track miles to run and use the three times table to establish where you are overall). Varying the speed is an excellent way to adjust the descent profile but obviously not always possible with ATC requirements in which case it becomes very tricky and really all you have to play with is drag. Use whichever modes get the job done, but if you are not using VNAV then it is wise to be defensive in how you set the MCP (ie don't set it below the next restriction until you have passed it or are just about to pass it and it will clearly be met) in order to avoid busting any levels. Personally I'll almost always use all three modes at some point during every descent - VNAV, FLCH and V/S depending on the requirements at that moment (and frequently in that order - VNAV initially, FLCH a bit closer in and V/S to finesse the final stages of the descent and glide slope intercept). V/S is a particularly useful mode when you need to slow down gradually whilst keeping a consistent rate of descent going as opposed to FLCH which will near level you off if you wind the speed right back.
  10. skelsey

    POSCON online flying

    I'm not technical enough to fully understand but I imagine the 'codec' per se is the easy bit and I suspect "develop a codec" is actually shorthand for "develop the infrastructure to support a different codec". The difficulty is in integrating that with VATSIM's existing infrastructure in such a way that one doesn't leave non-FSX/P3D users, for instance, out in the cold (no actively developed client for FS9 -> change the voice codec and FS9 users are plunged in to silence - I don't know what the status of XSB for X-plane is) so some sort of dual-running system is necessary.
  11. skelsey

    POSCON online flying

    How? What would X thousand pounds do? It's not like they could go out and buy a pilot client/network system off the shelf. Money, I would imagine, is not really an issue here. VATSIM owns very little - the servers and bandwidth are donated as far as I know, so there's no great infrastructure cost to meet. The issue is expertise and willing volunteers. I suppose with a significant amount of cash they could hire some professional developers, but I can't imagine $50k, or even $100k, stretching terribly far in that regard. It's also simply not how VATSIM, or IVAO for that matter, have ever worked -- they have always been community-led organisations with freeware developers donating their time for the benefit of all. Some of us remember why VATSIM came about in the first place, and why the BoG and the Founders have little appetite for soliciting financial donations. As I say, the prior BoG certainly didn't display a lot of gumption -- something which has changed with a change of leadership. Would it have been better if the previous Board had been more pro-active? Definitely, but unfortunately one can't change the past. I still maintain that there's never been anything to stop any of the 80,000+ members from putting their hand up over the last decade and saying "I think the voice codec could do with updating -- can I help with that?", but very few did and the BoG didn't push them to so, again, there's nothing that can be done to change the past but things are changing going forward and that was a process that started well before people were talking about POSCON.
  12. skelsey

    POSCON online flying

    In fairness - as I recall (and correct me if I have got the timeline wrong) that announcement was made very soon after Gunnar took over. Between then and now, there has been a concerted drive to recruit to the tech positions, open up the infrastructure and encourage more development, get rid of the NDA etc and a number of appointments have been made to fill the technical VP positions that were vacant for a very long time. As such my understanding is that the project is very much under way - I don't think Gunnar ever promised anything instantly but I think it's clear that the wheels are in motion and one would hope that will soon start to bear fruit. Having said that - I don't think it's ever been a secret that nothing gets done in VATSIM unless someone sticks their hand up to do it -- it's never been a greatly centralised organisation, but anyone taking a look at the staff pages over the last eight or nine years would have been able to see that the technical VP positions were vacant. I'm certainly not saying that the prior leadership did everything right -- far from it and the fact that Gunnar has come in and grabbed things by the scruff of its neck is long overdue -- but equally as members of the community we can't just place all the blame on the leadership. It's all of our network and it's up to all of us to contribute and make it better, whether by helping out on a local level with training/documentation/admin/helping new members etc right on up to coding and development for those with the skill base and it shouldn't just be a case of waiting to be asked (although for sure it's not a bad thing for that prompt to be put out there).
  13. skelsey

    POSCON online flying

    Haha - absolutely not!
  14. skelsey

    POSCON online flying

    Unfortunately, it is the training process which produces those professional controllers - other networks may wave people through quickly but the result is that the quality suffers. In fairness to VATSIM UK, the training process is anything but "who you know" -- it is quite scrupulously not that. The issue is that there are literally hundreds of people signing up to be controllers in the UK every single month and there simply isn't the capacity to train them all at once. What I would say is that whilst your criticisms are valid - the problem is that "VATSIM" isn't really in a position to "do" any of this. VATSIM is a community driven by volunteers - it's not like Gunnar can just snap his fingers and instruct someone to develop a new voice codec, or code a new client etc. With 80,000 active members one would think that there would be an abundance of people with the technical know-how to do this stuff, but in practice hardly anyone ever comes forward to actually do it. As with pretty much all such organisations, the vast majority are happy to take out the enjoyment but quite reluctant to step forward and contribute. As someone might have once said, "ask not what your network can do for you, but what you can do for your network".
  15. skelsey

    EIN 104 Vs KJFK ATC

    I read somewhere that this is exactly what happened immediately after this event, though I haven't had the opportunity to absolutely verify that yet. I wasn't there, but I think it's clear that there was some weather around; the previous departure had to deviate as well,and if the cell(s) were moving then it's entirely possible that a gap which was available a few minutes previously might have closed up by the time the EIN departed. Just because other aircraft went through before doesn't automatically mean it is safe -- remember a Learjet was just three miles ahead of DAL191 at DFW with dramatically (and tragically) different outcomes, so I'm a little uncomfortable with the assertion that "everybody else was flying through it so it must be OK". However, I do agree with you that in general terms some manipulation and interpretation of the radar is necessary to establish the difference between a dangerous cell and a mere heavy rain shower. However, as you say not the best way to resolve the situation on either side. On the crew's side, runway heading for 15 nm at JFK is probably an unreasonable request and perhaps a different heading might have been possible, but the controller didn't offer much in the way of alternative solutions either. Another aspect which stood out about this was the R/T... "You're gonna turn right to 080, if you're unable a heading of 080 you're gonna continue to hold right there." "Do you want me to turn right to 080?" "You have to follow GREKI." "Just to confirm - you want me to turn right now to 080?" "All the way, all the way around 080" What's wrong with a clear and unambiguous "EIN104, turn right heading 080"? (or even "EIN104, can you accept heading 080?") Yet again, non-standard phraseology = confusion. I wonder where we've heard that before? Or perhaps the Irish crew's standard of English just isn't good enough to fly in the USA?