Over the past week, VATSIM has seen two huge records broken: for the first time ever, our community saw 2,500 unique members online at the same time and we also saw 10,000 different VATSIM members connect to the network over a 24 hour period.

These are huge figures for the network which has seen significant and steady growth in popularity since the release of Audio for VATSIM last year. It also comes at a time when the network is ramping up for further upgrades to enhance the user experience, including a total overhaul of the pilot ratings system which will include brand new learning material and a basic online knowledge check for new pilots as part of the joining process. VATSIM has also revealed its plans to implement a global events and ATC booking system this year to make it easier for pilots and controllers to plan their online sessions.

These new records come at a time as the community gears up for the biggest online flight simulation event anywhere: Cross The Pond, which takes place on VATSIM this Saturday, 4th April. The technical team have been working hard to ensure the network’s servers are ready for the unprecedented numbers expected this weekend.

Finally, our local VATSIM communities across the world have been ramping up their activities. You can find a summary of planned VATSIM events here.

Reading this and wondering what VATSIM is?

VATSIM is the Virtual Air Traffic Simulation network, connecting people from around the world flying online or acting as virtual Air Traffic Controllers. This completely free network allows aviation enthusiasts the ultimate as-real-as-it-gets experience. Air Traffic Control (ATC) is available in  our communities throughout the world, operating as close as possible to the real-life procedures and utilising real-life weather, airport and route data. On VATSIM you can join people on the other side of the planet to fly and control, with nothing more than a home computer.

Many flight simulators are supported by our pilot software including P3D, X Plane and Microsoft FSX. Our Air Traffic Control software is provided free, as is training wherever you wish to become a controller. For those that would like to start flying or would like to improve their skills, training is available as well as plenty of resources and guides to help you get started.

Whether you're new or an experienced flight simmer, VATSIM looks forward to welcoming you to the community and a fantastic hobby. If you wish to join VATSIM, the process is quick and simple. If you wish to know more you can read about the VATSIM network, or have a look at our community forums. As VATSIM is a global flight simulation network, our Region and Divisions around the world have many more websites, resources and community links that you may be interested in.