04 December 2020

 The Founders and Board of Governors would like to take a few moments to thank our controllers and controller staff members for their hard work thus far in 2020 and their continued selfless contributions to our network.

VATSIM would not be the best online aviation network in the world if it were not for the contributions and sacrifices our members who pursue air traffic control ratings make daily. The countless hours one puts into training for a new rating, providing air traffic services on the network for the pilots, and going even further above and beyond by training and mentoring our new controllers do not go unnoticed by the network’s senior leadership. We owe the continued success of VATSIM to each one of you. Your contribution, passion, and professionalism for providing air traffic control on VATSIM is a huge reason why so many pilots come back to our network!

We understand that 2020 has brought its challenges to controlling for VATSIM with increased traffic, busier than normal events, and varying experience levels due to a renewed interest in flight simulation from the general public. You have handled these challenges with grace and professionalism, which is necessary as you are the face of VATSIM to a new member and key to the transition of a new member into a seasoned VATSIM veteran!

Whilst we can never require a general pilot to go through nearly the same amount of training to fly on VATSIM as you did to control, we are looking at ways to increase both the mandatory and recommended training footprint for pilots on VATSIM. We started this process in August with the rollout of the “P0” rating and new member orientation course which all new members have been required to complete before connecting to VATSIM. This module provides the new member with the basic knowledge needed to complete a flight on VATSIM and it is now expected that all members should know this material.

We have revised and updated the materials in the Pilot Learning Center on myVATSIM which provides information on many basic and advanced topics regarding flying on VATSIM. This is a great resource to point pilots when they need some help. We also have a direct link to the PLC which is https://vats.im/plc. Our newer members want to learn how to fly correctly on VATSIM and in various mediums they have stated their fears such as mic fright and not wanting to make a mistake which would detract from everyone else’s experience. It is on all of us to help ease those fears, educate, and get them flying. We thank our pilot mentors, ATO staff, and senior pilots who already have taken newer members under their wings and given help and advice.

At the global level, we are working on ways to make training resources easily accessible. Some of these are short training videos on key topics, connecting people with training opportunities via the community discord server, social media discussions on scenarios, and masterclasses from real-world professionals on various best practices, and exploring ways to provide constructive controller feedback to individual pilots in a non-intimidating manner.

We understand that it can be frustrating for a controller to experience pilot deviations. We hope that new pilots will take advantage of our revised training materials and pursue further pilot ratings. You can point a pilot towards the Pilot Learning Center found on myVATSIM if you feel it would help. We just ask that you do so in a respectful and discrete manner, such as in a private message. Remember that you are the first contact many users have with VATSIM and it is an immense responsibility! You hold the future of VATSIM in your hands every time you control!

Again, we thank you for everything you have done and continue to do to support VATSIM.  

Best Regards,

VATSIM’s Founders and Board of Governors