P3: VATSIM VFR Pilot
  1. P3: VATSIM VFR Pilot Rating Criteria

    1. Introduction to Visual Flight Rules

      1. What is VFR?

      2. VFR and VATSIM ATC - Tips for Success

      3. Interpreting This Requirement

        1. The student shall be able to describe the key differences between VFR and IFR flight and ATC services on the VATSIM network and why the pilot might choose to fly VFR.

        2. The material in this section should be at a high level and brief as the deeper knowledge is defined below. The key is understanding the main differences between VFR and IFR and what ATC services a VFR pilot can expect on VATSIM to paint the 'big picture of VFR' for the student.

        3. Tips for Success should be focused on passing the experiences and lessons learned of the ATO's staff that any VFR pilot would like to know when flying VFR on VATSIM. The tips should be positive in presentation to the student.

    2. Weather and VFR

      1. What weather allows for VFR flight in the ATO's Area Of Operations

      2. How to read a METAR and TAF, and other available aviation weather products in the ATO's Area Of Operations

      3. Where to get weather relevant to the ATO's Area Of Operations

      4. Interpreting This Requirement

        1. The student shall demonstrate the ability to retrieve real time weather from local or international automated sources and translate METARs and TAFs into common local language.

        2. The student shall be able to describe how to get VATSIM weather and why it may differ from real time sources, and how the VFR pilot should use VATSIM weather while connected to the network or coordinate weather differences with ATC.

        3. The student shall demonstrate the ability to decide if the weather at the airports of departure and arrival and all airspace planned for enroute is and will remain VFR for the duration of the flight the aircraft will be in that area

        4. The student shall be able to discuss making departure go/no go and enroute divert VFR decisions when faced with deteriorating weather



    1. Charts for VFR flying

      1. How to read appropriate VFR-oriented charts relevant to the ATO's Area Of Operations

      2. Where to find charts in your division or ATO.

      3. Interpreting This Requirement

        1. Using VFR charts common to the geographic area, the student shall demonstrate the ability to interpret chart diagrams and features that affect VFR flight and ATC interactions.

        2. The student shall be able to use the charts to plan and execute a VFR flight with online VATSIM ATC



    1. VATSIM ATC Services for VFR Flights

      1. Basic transponder usage, squawking VFR and IDENT feature.

      2. Conducting VFR flights with or without basic radar service from ATC

      3. Towered and non-towered VFR operations (what to say, when to say, and why)

      4. Clearances from controlled and uncontrolled airports; to file or not file as VFR

      5. Communications, Voice and Text - Controlled and Uncontrolled Airspace

      6. Interpreting This Requirement

        1. The student shall be able to describe the expected ATC service from airport and enroute situations for VFR flights

        2. The student shall be able to obtain a VFR clearance for departure from controlled and uncontrolled airports or enroute ATC

        3. The student shall be able to execute a VFR flight between two airports at least 100 nm distance using online VATSIM VFR ATC services

    2. VFR Flight Planning

      1. VFR cruising altitudes and enroute clearances

      2. Fuel requirements and ETE planning

      3. Completes a documented VFR flight plan including, for each leg, calculated values for:

        1. ETE

        2. Fuel Burn

        3. ETA

        4. Heading

        5. Track

        6. COMM and NAV frequencies and bearings

      4. Able to plot a VFR flight on an appropriate VFR chart with legs that correspond to the flight planning document in 6.5.3 above

      5. Able to file an appropriate VATSIM VFR flight plan; VFR comments

      6. Remaining VFR through the whole flight

      7. Departure, enroute, and arrival ATC planning

      8. Interpreting This Requirement

        1. The student should be able to properly fill out and file a
          VATSIM flight plan for the geographic location relative to VFR flight to include subject matter listed above.

        2. The student should be able to complete a multi-leg VFR flight log document with a corresponding VFR map detailing the pilot's plan of execution for the VFR flight on the VATSIM network

    3. Local to the Airport Procedures

      1. Ground procedures

        1. Controlled and Uncontrolled Airports

        2. Ramps, Aprons, Taxiways

        3. Taxi to and from ramp

        4. Crossing Runways

      2. Taxi and Take off Procedures

        1. Controlled and Uncontrolled Airports

        2. Entering and Leaving Runways

      3. Departing and Arriving at controlled and uncontrolled airports

      4. How to fly a traffic pattern, starting on the ground, or by departing or arriving on any leg in the pattern

        1. Controlled and Uncontrolled Airports

      5. Merging VFR and IFR traffic at controlled and uncontrolled airports

        1. What IFR pilots expect of VFR pilots

        2. What VFR pilots can expect of IFR pilots

        3. What ATC expect of VFR pilots

        4. What VFR pilots can expect of ATC

        5. What VFR pilots can expect from other VFR pilots

        6. Helicopter departure and arrivals around airports

      6. Communications, Voice and Text

        1. Controlled and Non Controlled Airspace

        2. UNICOM Best Practices

      7. Airport Facilities

        1. Visual Landing Systems (PAPI/VASI, etc.)

        2. Windsock

        3. Ramp/apron, taxiways, runways, markings and lighting for VFR operations

        4. Weather Services and Information

        5. Starting and Ending the VFR Flight

          1. Where should I connect to begin my VFR flight?

          2. Who should I be contacting?

          3. Where do I taxi to for parking at the arrival airport?

      8. VFR Landing and Take Offs, Off Airport

      9. Interpreting This Requirement

        1. The student shall be able to describe the airport ground environment, signage, charts, and aircraft movement requirements and procedures on ramps, aprons, taxiways, and runways as they pertain to the local ATO Area of Operations and VFR operations.

        2. The student shall demonstrate proper positioning of their aircraft prior to connecting to minimize start up disruptions and maximize their VFR experience.

        3. The student shall demonstrate a full VFR pattern under online ATC for a controlled airport

        4. The student shall demonstrate a full VFR pattern and UNICOM text announcements at an uncontrolled airport

          1. For a. and b. above the student shall enter and exit the pattern while airborne; touch and go, low pass, or full stop on the runway is an ATO option

    4. Airspace and Airports

      1. Class A/B/C/D/E/F/G and VFR

      2. Transitioning different airspaces.

      3. What airspace are we in now?

      4. Can we fly VFR in this airspace?

      5. Communication requirements?

      6. Interpreting This Requirement

        1. The student shall be able to identify on charts or other automated retrieval of airspace information the various types of airspace encountered in the local area and their impact on VFR flight including:

          1. Communications

          2. Weather requirements

          3. Navigational and transponder equipment required

        2. The student shall always know the airspace they are currently in and be able to list the VFR requirements for that airspace.

        3. The student shall demonstrate the ability to transition from enroute into and out of complex controlled airspace in proximity to a major airport

    5. Enroute procedures and ATC interactions

      1. ATC services appropriate for VFR Flight in the ATO's area of operation

      2. Flying VFR Around or Through Busy Airspace

      3. Network connections enroute

        1. Procedure to connect from a VFR enroute position

      4. Interpreting This Requirement

        1. The student shall demonstrate the use of online flight ATC services and communications during the enroute portion of VFR flight.

        2. The student shall demonstrate the ability to transit VFR through complex airspace in the vicinity of a major airport with live VATSIM online ATC radar coverage for departure or approach including communications

    6. Navigation

      1. At a minimum, VFR ded (dead) reckoning and GPS or VOR/NDB Navigation

      2. Other Navigation methods ATO optional

      3. Interpreting This Requirement

        1. The student shall demonstrate through VFR flight online on the VATSIM network the ability to properly track a radio or GPS navigation track to facilitate following proper local procedures for VFR flight by flying DIRECT TO a radio station or GPS waypoint. The student shall use a written VFR log for each leg to track and update ETAs while enroute

    7. These skills shall be demonstrated while flying on the VATSIM network:

      1. At least 1 ATO-supervised and graded VFR flight over a minimum of 150 NM total distance, involving:

        1. Three landings at different airports

          1. A full stop landing and take off from at least one ATC Approach and Tower controlled airport with VATSIM ATC online

          2. A full stop landing and take off from at least one non-controlled airport with VATSIM ATC online for the controlled portion of the flight.

            1. Enter and depart the VFR circuit pattern per local custom or regulation; must fly a full pattern consisting of all pattern legs in total

          3. A full stop landing and a take off at an airport of the ATO's choice

        2. Demonstrate pilot to ATC communications for all portions of this VFR flight

        3. Demonstrate VFR navigation skills

          1. Navigate on a consistent course to a significant visual point at least 30nm away using only dead (ded) reckoning

          2. Navigate on a consistent course from there using a navaid to a radio station or waypoint at least 20nm away

        4. Each flight shall require ATO approval for the following before the required flight is started by the student:

          1. Aircraft selection for flight

          2. Preflight planning and preparation

          3. VFR Flight Plan Filing

          4. VFR Flight Log

          5. VFR Charts for the flight

        5. The ATO shall use this flight to highlight some of the things interesting about VFR flying with VATSIM ATC in the local airspace.

        6. All procedures and materials should be ATO locality-appropriate and customary to the greatest extent possible and in alignment with VATSIM VFR ATC services provided.