Welcome to VATSIM, the Virtual Air Traffic Simulation network. 

Let us give you an idea, what VATSIM is:

Flying with a computer

The main attraction of a flight simulation in real simulators or on your own home PC is the adventure, which is for most of us far away: to steer an aircraft safely from A to B. But when the first desktop simulators were created back in the late 70s, nobody ever expected, that they would be seen as an evening or weekend hobby.

Of course, the first sims for "home computers" were far away from a graphical adventure of today. But the developer of the 1st flight simulator, Bruce Artwick and his company Sublogic created a "real" simulator on a home pc. The first flight simulator looked a bit like the right picture. If you click on it, you will be hovered to Flightsimulator History, where you can follow the whole story.

The development then is history, shortly told: Microsoft saw the potential of Artwicks program, bought Sublogic and developed out of Sublogic historical master piece an own simulator. And over the years of development of hard- and software, the software became more and more popular, since it consequently shows a complete different "game": a simulation.

But nobody of these early stages could have seen the real potential of the simulation. Beginning with Microsoft's Flight Simulator Version 5.0, we could simulate flying to many parts of the world. Flying, however, was a very lonely proposition. There were no other airplanes in the skies while we flew enroute and our arrivals at major airports were like landing in ghost towns. There was dynamic scenery and beginning with Microsoft's Flight Simulator 98, multi-player capability to keep you company. But other than that, Flight Simulator, as wonderful a program as it has been throughout its history, fell flat when it came to simulating air traffic control.

Various organizations were established to bring order and structure to this new wrinkle in the hobby. Maybe it started with the legendary Compuserve Flightsim Community, who started on this early (and exclusive) Blogging portal to exchange informations. Out of these groups the idea arose to connect Flight Simulators via a network to exchange the position and simply to fly together.

In 1997, all of that changed with the introduction of a "SquawkBox", an add-on program for Flight Simulator 95/98, and "ProController", a stand alone program. Over time, SquawkBox has been revised several times and works with all major Flight Simulation programs including Microsoft Flight Simulator, Precision Simulator and the Fly! series of programs. Through the use of ProController and the internet, people operating as air traffic controllers could track and control aircraft in real time as they flew in Flight Simulator by utilizing a simulated radar screen. Pilots, using SquawkBox, could now talk to and receive air traffic control from people using ProController. 

An enthusiast's network

The Virtual Air Traffic Simulation Network, known as VATSIM.net or "VATSIM" was created in 2001 by a group of individuals who came together with a goal of creating an organization which truly served the needs of the flight simulation and online air traffic control community. With an eye towards more than just providing a network of computers for users to log into, VATSIM is an online community where people can learn and, at the same time, enjoy the pastimes of flight simulation and air traffic control simulation all while making new friends from all over the world.

VATSIM is not just for individuals who have experience in online flight simulation and ATC. It is perfect for both the new user, and the long time "simmer".

For someone who has just learned about online flight simulation and air traffic control and is interested in real world procedures, VATSIM and its members, many of whom bring real world experience and expertise to our community, offer an ideal environment to learn real world skills.

For pilots, you'll be able to fly with radar service by air traffic controllers who issue instruction and assistance in all phases of flight from getting your clearance to arriving at your destination airport.

For air traffic control enthusiasts, the entire world is simulated meaning you can work ATC virtually anywhere from a general aviation airport to the busiest airports in the world. Nearly all of the real world positions are available for you to choose and learn to work.

What's your benefit?

The best part of all of this is that VATSIM brings real people together who share with you the  passion for flight and air traffic control. When you contact that controller or pilot, you aren't contacting a computer generated voice or image - you will be communicating with a real person who shares the same interests as you!

And VATSIM is even more then that. It is a world wide community of approx. 200.000 members who share the idea, the fun and the adventure of flight simulation. The local communities around the world are really good places to meet and to share informations, and of course: not everything we are talking about is about this hobby. The communities are real life member communities.

You can be a part of VATSIM

All it takes is a few moments to register and join VATSIM. Once you do, prepare to learn and be rewarded with friendships that will span the globe. In addition, you'll receive the appreciation and thanks of the online flight simulation and air traffic control communities.

So why not head over to the VATSIM Members page and sign up? It is free of charge but not free of time. You will love flying in our environment.