P4: VATSIM IFR Pilot
  1. P4 VATSIM IFR Pilot Rating

    1. VATSIM IFR Pilot Rating Scope

      1. This rating is focused on VATSIM's predominate flying member, who is most likely to be flying a passenger or cargo airliner airframe in a domestic route using full cockpit automation and primary navigation by FMS, INS, GPS and precision instrument approaches.

      2. VATSIM offers an advanced IFR rating for graduates of the VATSIM IFR Pilot rating contained here, or those who by real world experience and/or concentrated self study, that includes flying the aircraft solely by instruments and non precision approaches follows in Section 9 below (once section none is built)

      3. Demonstrated tolerances for this rating:

        1. Headings + 10 degrees

        2. Altitudes + 100 feet

        3. Airspeeds + 10 knots IAS

        4. Tracking a CDI + 1/2 needle deflection

    2. Introduction to Instrument Flight Rules Flying

      1. What is IFR?

      2. IFR and VATSIM ATC - Tips for Success

      3. Interpreting This Requirement

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

        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 IFR and VFR and what ATC services an IFR pilot can expect on VATSIM to paint the 'big picture of IFR' for the student.

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

    3. Local IFR operations regulations and customs

      1. Local regulations governing IFR flight

      2. Non regulatory local customs for IFR flight

      3. Interpreting This Requirement

        1. The student shall be able to find any publically available local regulations and customs and apply them to VATSIM online flying decision making, and be able to find answers to questions online using VATSIM Supervisors and offline using means such as forums to find answers to questions about regulations and customs.

        2. ATOs may choose to place the regulatory and customs content within the appropriate subject area in lieu of a stand alone section of regulations.

    4. Weather and IFR

      1. What weather conditions requires IFR flight in the ATO's Area Of Operations

        1. What other options are available

        2. Special VFR, VFR On Top, etc. requirements, if applicable within 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. Weather Decision Making

        1. Go or No Go

        2. Alternate airport weather requirements

        3. Weather differences when flying on VATSIM and how to resolve them

      5. 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 IFR 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 IFR decisions when faced with deteriorating weather below minimums

    5. Charts for IFR flying

      1. How to read appropriate IFR 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 IFR charts common to the geographic area, the student shall demonstrate the ability to interpret chart diagrams and features that affect IFR flight and ATC interactions.

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

    6. VATSIM ATC Services

      1. Basic transponder usage, squawking IFR codes and the IDENT feature.

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

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

      4. Filing IFR flight plans and getting clearances from controlled and uncontrolled airports

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

      6. In-flight Emergencies

      7. Interpreting This Requirement

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

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

        3. The student shall be able to describe how to get approval for an appropriate declared emergency from VATSIM ATC and be able to demonstrate appropriate emergency procedures per local regulations and customs

          1. Emergencies are never declared in uncontrolled airspace while connected to the VATSIM network per the VATSIM Code of Conduct

        4. The student shall be able to execute an IFR flight between two airports at least 150 nm distance using online VATSIM IFR ATC services for a minimum of 30 minutes

    7. IFR Flight Planning

      1. IFR cruising altitudes and enroute clearances

      2. Fuel requirements and Estimated Time Enroute (ETE) planning

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

        1. ETE

        2. Fuel Burn

        3. Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA)

        4. Heading

        5. Track/Course

        6. COMM and NAV frequencies and bearings

      4. Able to plot an IFR flight on an appropriate IFR chart with legs that correspond to the flight planning document above

      5. Able to file an appropriate VATSIM IFR flight plan

        1. Where to get accurate routes and how to read them

        2. How to program an FMS, INS, RNAV or GPS with the filed route

        3. Including diversion planning when appropriate

      6. Departure, enroute, and arrival ATC planning

      7. 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 IFR flight to include subject matter listed above.

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

    8. 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

        5. Taxiway and runway signage and markings

      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

        1. Departure and Arrival Procedures

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

        1. What IFR pilots expect of VFR pilots

        2. What VFR pilots expect of IFR pilots

        3. What ATC expect of IFR pilots

        4. What IFR pilots can expect of ATC

        5. What IFR pilots can expect from other IFR and VFR pilots

        6. Helicopter departure and arrivals around airports

        7. How to avoid and resolve conflicts

      5. Communications, Voice and Text

        1. Controlled and Non Controlled Airspace

        2. UNICOM Best Practices

      6. Airport Facilities

        1. Weather Services and Information

        2. Starting and Ending the IFR Flight

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

          2. Who should I be contacting?

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

        3. Opening and closing IFR flight plans

      7. IFR Landing and Take Offs

        1. Instrument Landing Systems (ILS)

        2. Arrival and Departure procedures

        3. ATC communications

        4. UNICOM for IFR flights

      8. 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 IFR operations.

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

        3. The student shall demonstrate a published departure procedure and arrival procedure using FMS/INS/RNAV/GPS linked autopilot guidance

    9. Airspace and Airports

      1. Class A/B/C/D/E/F/G/H

      2. How to determine the airspace

      3. Airspace speed limit

      4. Airspace altitude and distance limits

      5. Transition altitudes

      6. VFR flights in the area

      7. Interpreting This Requirement

        1. The student shall always know the airspace they are currently in and what limits exist within that airspace.

        2. The student shall be able to follow VATSIM ATC instructions or successfully coordinate with other pilots in the absence of VATSIM ATC.

    10. Enroute procedures and ATC interactions

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

      2. Network connections enroute

        1. Procedure to connect from an IFR enroute position

      3. Interpreting This Requirement

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

    11. Navigation

      1. Navigation for this rating is focused on automated navigation tools linked to autopilot guidance systems including ILS with and without Glide Slope.

        1. FMS

        2. INS

        3. GPS

        4. RNAV

        5. ILS

      2. Other Navigation methods ATO optional

      3. Interpreting This Requirement

        1. The student shall demonstrate through IFR flight online on the VATSIM network the ability to properly track the filed route including departure procedures, enroute, arrival, and ILS systems with Glide Slope and without Glide Slope

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

      1. No less than 1 ATO-supervised and graded IFR flight over a minimum of 150 NM total distance and two IFR airport landings, and

        1. Two different of either RNAV, GPS, or ILS landings at two 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.

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

        3. Demonstrate IFR navigation skills

          1. Following programmed departure, enroute, arrival, and landing procedures

          2. Handling diversions as requested by ATC

        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. IFR Flight Plan Filing

          4. IFR Flight Log

          5. IFR Charts for the flight

        5. The ATO shall use this flight to highlight some of the things interesting about IFR 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 IFR ATC services provided