Earlier this week the Board of Governors released their meeting minutes for the fourth quarter of 2019, and with that unveiled the long-awaited new pilot rating system for the VATSIM Network. This new system is designed to match its real-life counterpart and follows a realistic progression in a pilot’s evolution of training, but also a clear-cut set of standards that must be completely met to proficiency in order to earn these new pilot ratings.

With this we are also pleased to announce a completely new rating we call “P0”, which is an all new automated training program that each new VATSIM member must complete prior to being able to sign into the network. This is for new registrations only; existing VATSIM members will automatically be awarded the P0 rating. It will be hosted by the Pilot Rating Department and is designed to teach and ensure that members understand the very basics of how to be a good member of the VATSIM network before signing on. It will also direct those who want to learn more to pursue their VATSIM pilot ratings with Authorized Training Organizations and use other Pilot Training Department resources under the new upcoming VATSIM website and member portal.

VATSIM’ Authorized Training Organizations are already working hard to implement these new changes in their training programme, and the new system is planned to launch September 1st. The new ratings will be as follows:

  • P0: Basic VATSIM Member
  • P1: Private Pilot Licence (PPL)
  • P2: Instrument Rating (IR)
  • P3: Commercial Multi-Engine Licence (CMEL)
  • P4: Airline Transport Licence (ATPL)

What does this new rating structure mean for the old pilot ratings? In order to make this process fair, we weighed numerous options and felt that it was most fair to only award members with what skills they (should) have demonstrated in the past to earn their P1-P5. We looked heavily at the unclear outlines of P1-P5, assessed what tasks members were required to do for each pilot rating, and then placed those tasks into where they fit into the new system. The result of this is as follows:

Existing P1 pilot ratings:

  • Will be granted a P0 under the new system given the consensus no real flying skills were tested in this process as it was a theory only examination.

Existing P2-P3 pilot ratings:

  • Will be granted a P1 (PPL) in the new system under the consensus only basic VFR flight skills and knowledge was examined in these ratings.

Existing P4-P5 pilot ratings:

  • Will be granted a P2 (IR) in the new system under the consensus only basic IFR skills and knowledge was examined in these ratings.
  • Additionally, current P5's that utilized a multi engine aircraft should check with their ATO about be awarded a P3 under the new system, as only certain ATO’s will be able to offer this.

The ATO’s have been briefed with these new requirements and a Membership Certification Standard that will ensure that all ATO’s follow the same educative principles and will collectively start the new training program on launch. Due to this restructuration, there is a possibility that currently ongoing pilot training might be affected.

Closer to the launch date we will publish more details regarding this new change, that we hope will encourage new and seasoned members to pursue a pilot rating on VATSIM!