View Full Version : Vatsim and online flying

Steve A
11-14-2009, 04:40 PM
I installed squawkbox and joined vatsim, as a novice pilot i decided to just sit at a parking gate at manchester and listen to the atc and pilots as recommended by vatsim pilot guide(?)

Wow! how daunting is that for a inexperienced pilot, I dont think im quite ready :oops: The pilots and controllers sound so real and professional, i just think i'll make a complete a**e of myself lol.

In fs2004 is online flying the same as offline? like can i still use progressive taxi as it helps me a lot especially at unfamiliar airports?
Other than that im quite excited about being instructed by real human beings, albeit like a bag of nerves :mrgreen:

11-14-2009, 05:20 PM
i just think i'll make a complete a**e of myself

You most likely will, but so did the rest of us;). I'll share my story with you to illustrate how I completely blew it on my first flight. Living in Denmark at the time, I decided to fly from EKCH to EGLL -- a nice short flight. In those days, I was flying Level-D's 767 for realism. I had done this so many times before.

Anyway, I get it all fired up and I talk to Ground in EKCH. I was, like you, totally overwhelmed with everything going on and I for the first time in my life really understood why there are two pilots in the cockpit. Anyway, clearances received, I taxied out to the runway, and was quickly given the permission to take off. That done, I had to switch frequencies just after take off, and that is when the seed of my undoing was planted -- obviously, I did not know this yet.

So, climbing out, I noticed that things were noticably slower than they used to be. Having flown that route many times, I knew roughly how long it would take me to reach cruise level of FL360. I was handed off to Bremen Radar and still things were going slow. After Bremen came Amsterdam and that is where I noticed that something was severely wrong: My engines were working overtime, but airspeed and vertical speed were abysmal -- somewhere over the middle of the Netherlands, I was barely getting to FL230! Being frustrated and all, I decided to take a look at things from the outside.

I should have done that earlier! I had in the confusion and stress forgotten to raise the gear! No wonder I could not get any airspeed and reach my cruise altitude! So, I quickly raised the gear and I managed to climb the last 10000 ft or so pretty quickly.

My problems, however, were just about to begin (imagine here that said as only Discovery say it): Upon starting my initial decend into EGLL, I realized that I would probably run out of fuel before making it to the runway. I informed the controller, who unlike all of the other controllers was using text only, and asked for an emergency landing. I don't think he understood that. Then I asked for a priority landing (having heard that this is what it is sometimes called in England). That also did not work. I told him that I was not about to do holding patterns at all for him today, and that I was about to land. He finally allowed me to land, but not on the runway that I was heading for -- the parallel one. As it was too late for me to sidestep, I aborted the landing and started the go-around procedure. After reaching 3000 ft, I had one engine flame out. I managed to restart that one in flight, after which the second engine flamed out followed by the first one again. No restarting this time...

I crashed a couple of miles from the runway because I ran out of fuel and my beloved airplane transitioned from being a multi million dollar airplane to a multi million dollar rock. When FS reset me in London, I send a "kind" greeting to the controller in London and signed off.

I today laugh when I tell this story. That night, I did not laugh at all. I was very frustrated with my self and with the controller in London. I ended up seeing this as a challenge and I took "revenge" the following evening. I think since then, I flew almost every day for about 3-4 years. Unfortunately, now I have not flown online in almost 5 years, but I am gearing up to get back online and I will most likely do something completely stupid in the first few attempts at this again. Also, in the meantime, I have moved to USA and I imagine that I will have to do some unlearning and releaning of concepts:p

Hope this has given you some consolation :D Above all, remember that this is a simulated world, so if you crash, the blood stays on one side of the screen, and that your multi million dollar airplane will be as good new with a few clicks of the mouse:D

Joe Lavery
11-14-2009, 07:51 PM
How true all this is, I've yet to use Vatsim but I have a UK private pilots license so I'm familiar with ATC etc.

To further put your mind at rest Steve, it's exactly the same in the real world; particularly the first time you have to give ATC a call. I remember stumbling through my first in transit call to London FIS. After giving what I though was a pretty good attempt my instructor said, "that was fine you told him who you are, where you are and where you're going; but you forgot to ask for the flight information service. which was the whole point of the call.

So my advice would be to have a go, real controllers will generally put you right if you make a mistake, so I imagine the vatsim guys (and gals) would do the same. :wink:

Good flying

Geremy Britton
11-14-2009, 09:51 PM
"that was fine you told him who you are, where you are and where you're going; but you forgot to ask for the flight information service. which was the whole point of the call.

I think we've all done that at some point or another :)

11-15-2009, 05:16 AM
Steve, as someone who like you is only just sarting with online flying (only 2 flights) I would say it is awesome. Manchester,Gatwick,Heathrow are tough places to start I expect. You do not have the use of progressive taxi but instead need to have the airport charts to find your way to the runway. What I did was choose a smaller airport(I use Cardiff EGFF) where there is only one runway/taxiway and very good and understanding controllers. It is stressful and quite busy because it is "live" but great fun. On my firstflight I forgot to switch on my "IDENT" and departure couldn't locate me for a while!! We all make mistakes. I haven't yet tried a landing at a "controlled airport" - that will be fun also!

Steve A
11-15-2009, 11:17 AM
I think i might give it another couple of months, no need to rush in any part of this hobby lol

11-16-2009, 03:28 PM
To add to the topic I discovered a forum thread on the Vatsim site a few months ago. It currently has about 361 posts about people's experience on their first flight on Vatsim. It is located on the Vatsim forum with the subject: "To the newbie - First Time Jitters". Here is the link: http://forums.vatsim.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5251.

Steve A
11-16-2009, 04:12 PM
That looks like a good read, thanks Fritz

11-16-2009, 05:00 PM
Hi Steve,
Just put in your details that you are a NEWBIE or first online flight please help me.
Once you do it once you will be fine, pick somewhere easy, come to Australia and fly, we are real layback here and everyone will help you, just tell them on the radio that you are new.
Start by flying somewhere online without ATC, pick a nice remote area (Australia) during the day, you might find a lonely controller that will help you out, or just fly along on Unicom and transmit your intentions.
Don't be intimidated it is just a GAME :D

11-16-2009, 05:09 PM
Prepare Squawkbox and mic, install sceneries and we will fly together online from Cyprus to Greece in few weeks!!!

Eddie Armaos

11-16-2009, 05:11 PM
but....... if you can't wait, i can be online as ATC at LCCC or LCLK or any LGGG airport, for make your first steps at online flights.

Are you ready? Let's say, Larnaka approach?


11-17-2009, 10:16 AM
This thread got me to remembering some of the great times that I used SB back in FS98. At the time in FS2002, SB wasnt really working so great and so I quite using it and then along came all the great AI packages. Anyhow, I tried a flight last night on VATSIM using SB and I couldnt figure out how we are supposed to see the message window within the simulator- it was windowed and how do I get it to show on my FS full screen window?

11-17-2009, 11:56 AM
Do you have FS2004 or FSX?
Anyway at Fs2004, you have to run SB from the menu inside the FS (Modules menu) and all the windows will be inside the FS window ;)


11-17-2009, 12:02 PM
HI there

I have both but was trying to use it with FS9. I did see the option there in Modules but didnt think to try that method, thanks!

I didnt see it mentioned to use that method in the documentation so thanks again.

11-17-2009, 12:13 PM
If i remember well, with PM, there is also an option to display these text messages from FS to EICAS display.


Steve A
11-17-2009, 12:42 PM
Ha ha Eddie, funny you should say that as Paphos to eleftherios venizelos is one of my favourite flights ;)

12-15-2009, 06:55 PM
I've flown VATSIM a few times but I've been afraid to fly it outside my home country. My main problem with vatsim is that the controllers I usually run into (between Chicago and Orlando) talk too darn fast.

I hear "dfsddslkgjdsfghsdflkghguisrgtuer83476534rfdgnkdjfngsdfngjskadhg" have a good day. and I'm like uhhhh, what do I say?? So I overcome the "everyone's gonna think I'm some kind of dummy" feeling and ask for a repeat. (sometimes I even ask for slower (and if they don't go at the same speed, they go faster!)

That isn't the case with real world controllers, if you go to a website such as http://www.liveatc.net/ and listen to the controllers, even in a very busy airport like SFO, JFK or ORD, you'll understand everything that they say.

But usually the people who control are great, and there are experiences that you won't see in MSFS ATC.

An example of that was during a Friday Night Ops that VATUSA was running, was was supposed to leave Chicago Midway for Atlanta Hartsfield. Well the weather wasn't wonderful, and a blanket gate hold went out to all of the airports in the Chicago area. So I was sitting at the gate, engines off on a gate hold until the wind died down a bit. Nice because I was talking back and forth through teamspeak with my VA buddies. Eventually the gate hold was lifted and I started engines and taxied out. Then about 5,000 ft we hit awful wind and turbulence, and I had to go to procedures just to keep in the air. It was great! seriously one of the most realistic flights I ever had.

There are pluses and minuses. Just like anything else. the only way to get better is to go out and do it. Put "New online Pilot" on your comments section of your flight plan, and use a plane that you are very familiar with and you'll be a pro in no time. Before long you'll be breaking in the new controllers. :D

12-15-2009, 09:23 PM
I hear "dfsddslkgjdsfghsdflkghguisrgtuer83476534rfdgnkdjfngsdfngjskadhg" have a good day.

I know the feeling. It is quite daunting for someone to fly on a different continent even, I think. All of my flights so far (and as I stated in the initial response I haven't flown online in close to 5 years now) occured in Europe. I think getting back in the air will require more than just accepting pressure in inches mercury as opposed to hecto pascals :o

I will get to it, though!