What is VATSIM?
VATSIM (short for the Virtual Air Traffic Simulation Network) is a completely free online platform which allows virtual pilots, wherever they are in the world, to connect their flight simulators into one shared virtual world. VATSIM also simulates air traffic control in this virtual world, creating the ultimate as-real-as-it-gets experience for you, the virtual aviation enthusiast.
With over 76,000 active members in 2014, connecting your flight simulator to VATSIM allows you to join hundreds of other pilots in our virtual skies, flying all kinds of aircraft all over the world. As a VATSIM member, you can join our many communities across the world to enhance your flying skills and flight simulator experience in a shared virtual airspace. You can also become a virtual air traffic controller, adding that extra bit of realism for you and your fellow enthusiasts. The real beauty of VATSIM is that it caters people who are completely new to the hobby as well as to the seasoned flight simmer.
VATSIM was founded in July 2001 by a group of individuals who came together with the idea of creating an online community which truly met the needs of flight simulator enthusiasts across the world. As well as providing a common network for flight simulation enthusiasts to connect to, VATSIM aimed to create a global community for learning, sharing experiences and pursuing new opportunities in the virtual world. That original group of individuals are now referred to as the VATSIM Founders, and help to steer the direction of the network.
VATSIM is led by the Board of Governors, a group of individuals who each take on a specific specialism on the network to lead. The Board of Governors are supported by an Executive Committee, who represent the Regions of VATSIM, who are in turn supported by local staff structures. Everyone is a volunteer.
The VATSIM world is divided into Regions, then Divisions and finally local facilities, which take on a number of different names depending on where you are in the world. These structures help to build and maintain communities across the globe, providing resources, training and a place to share the experience of VATSIM wherever you are. VATSIM is also the main network for many established Virtual Airlines and other virtual flying groups, whose pilots populate our skies every day with hundreds of flights.
The most important part of the network is you: our members. You are free to enjoy VATSIM in the way you want to enjoy it, by flying, controlling, or both. VATSIM is a network for all to enjoy, and it can be whatever you make it. Welcome.