Choose one of the following categories and discover some useful tips for your flights on the VATSIM network!
VATSIM is a professional network in which flights from A to B are simulated with high realism. All this is done in an environment where pilots fly on the network using their Flight Simulators and where Air Traffic Controllers provide realistic ATC service by using radar scopes. Simply by pushing the push-to-talk button you can communicate with another person, just like in a real aircraft!
Now, flying on the VATSIM network can be hard, as most of the times you are flying an airliner alone, while in the real world there are always two pilots which share the workload. Here are some tips to make your flights easier, as they will reduce the workload when flying as a single pilot.
- Make sure you know how to operate your aircraft! This is especially true for airliner addons, such as PMDG or iFly products. Do not start flying on the VATSIM network with these aircraft until you know how to operate them!
- Of course, you can already start flying on the VATSIM network by using a small General Aviation airplane. This will help you to get used to communicating with ATC while flying in your flight sim!
- Do not be afraid to make mistakes. Make sure you remember or note all your mistakes down you made during a flight. Make sure you review them and correct them in your next flight. Not a single flight is perfect, you will always make mistakes, especially because you are flying the aircraft all by yourself. That does not mean you cannot learn from them. By learning from your mistakes you will become a more professional pilot and eventually you will only make small mistakes that passengers or ATC won’t even notice.
Watch this video for some tips to make your flights easier!
I still remember how excited and quite frightened I was when I was about to make my first flight and I was about to push the push-to-talk button for the first time. But once you have done it, it’s a great experience, even though you will make many mistakes on your first flights and you will not know all the procedures immediately. It is a learning process which you will have to go through.
Of course, when you want to start flying on the VATSIM network, I can highly recommend to follow the P1 Pilot Rating program!
Some general tips when flying on VATSIM for the first time:
- Again, know how to operate your aircraft! Know how to operate the FMC and make sure you master the basics of IFR like flying an ILS approach, flying direct to a VOR station etc.. YOU WILL NEED THESE BASICS!
- Start small and slow, start at small and not-busy airports by using a general aviation theme. Practice VFR circuits for example while communicating with ATC. This will make you more comfortable.
- DO NOT join an event at an big airport immediately when joining VATSIM. Only do this when you are very comfortable with doing so.
- Once you have made a few VFR flights and when you know how to operate an airliner addon like iFly or Level-D properly, start to make your first IFR flights from A to B. Use short routes like EHAM to EDDF or EGLL to EBBR, so you can make many takeoffs and landings in just a short amount of time. Make these flights at evenings when it is NOT BUSY. This will prevent you from stressing out, because there would be a lot of other people on the frequency who want to talk as well. This will also allow ATC to help you better if you are in trouble, because at not busy evenings he or she will have more time for you to help.
- Listen to Live ATC streams, for example at LiveATC.net or ATCbox.com. Of course, in reality they communicate very quickly, but by listening to those streams you can get used to the speed of communication in the world of aviation. Use a website like Flightradar24.com next to it to follow a specific flight and change frequencies accordingly via LiveATC.net. This is a very good practice for when you make your first IFR flight with an airliner!
- There is a HUGE amount of information available on the VATSIM website itself. Make sure you study all this material. Do not watch videos only! You can find all this information HERE.
- Be sure to join your own VACC or regional division. For example, if you live in the UK, join VATUK, or if you live in Germany, join VACC Germany. There, other members of your local community can help you out if you have any other questions.
Make sure you watch this video with 10 essential tips for new VATSIM pilots. A must-watch if you are starting to fly on the VATSIM network!
VATSIM uses voice servers which allow you to communicate with ATC and with other pilots. This is quite different compared to the radios used in the real world. Real world radios are fast and quite clear, while voice over the internet has a reduced quality and you do not transmit instantly when you press your PTT button. So: there is some delay and the quality is not comparable to real world VHF radios.
Here are some tips which allow you to understand ATC and other pilots better and which will help you to communicate better:
- Contribute to better audio quality on the network by buying a good headset. Allow yourself to spend about 25 dollars on a headset, or even more. Make sure your headset has a good microphone, so ATC and other pilots will understand you better!
- It is wise to let all your flight simulator sounds run through the speakers, but let the ATC sound run through your headset. This will allow you to control the volume of the ATC, which might differ sometimes, because some people speak very softly and you can barely hear them when you have an enormous amount of engine sounds running through your speakers. Again, with a good quality headset the sounds will be of higher quality.