VATSIM is an online community created for enthusiasts of flight simulation and air traffic control. One of the main goals of VATSIM is to create an environment which is fun and, at the same time, educational and a realistic simulation of procedures followed by pilots and air traffic controllers everyday around the world. To further these goals, members of VATSIM must comply with the following Code of Conduct. This Code sets forth how members are expected to conduct themselves.
The amendment history to this Code of Conduct may be found in Appendix "B" of the VATSIM.net Code of Regulations
A. General Rules of Conduct
- Members should, at all times, be courteous and respectful to one another.
- To use VATSIM, you must first register as a member of VATSIM at vatsim.net. Only registered members in good standing of VATSIM may fly online as a pilot and provide ATC as an air traffic controller.
- The VATSIM identification number and password which is provided to you is your exclusive VATSIM membership identification. You may not give permission or knowingly allow your identification and password to be used by anyone else.
- During the registration process and each time you log onto the VATSIM.net network you must use your real FULL NAME. Nicknames, callsigns or abbreviations, except where used as callsigns, are not permitted.
- During the registration process, you must provide a personal e-mail account for VATSIM registration purposes. You must also maintain the e-mail account you registered with in order to remain in good standing with VATSIM. This means that you must notify VATSIM membership staff of any changes. This will ensure that your VATSIM account information is kept up-to-date. Any e-mail address submitted to VATSIM will not be shared outside the VATSIM.net organization without your express prior permission. Failure to maintain your e-mail address is grounds for immediate revocation, without notice, of your account with the VATSIM.net network.
The requirement to provide and maintain an ISP-based e-mail account may be waived at the sole discretion of the VATSIM.net Vice President of Membership.
- You may register for and hold only one VATSIM registration and you may hold only one VATSIM identification number and password.
- To log onto the VATSIM.net network, pilots must have downloaded and installed approved pilot client software and controllers must have downloaded and installed approved controller client software. Approved software is listed and a download link is provided on the VATSIM.net website. Each of these programs comes with operating instructions. In addition, there are many tutorials that have been developed which instruct in the use of these programs. Since flying and providing ATC are extremely intense activities, a person should become familiar in the basic use of these programs prior to logging on to the VATSIM.net network.
- (a) Except as provided for by part (b) of this section, a member is permitted to make only one connection at any one time under his or her account number (CID) to the VATSIM.net network. Multiple connections, either as a pilot, controller or a combination of the two are not permitted.
(b) A controller logged on to the VATSIM.net network as a facility which is permitted to provide a Voice Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS) as provided for by Paragraph C(11) of the Code of Conduct may create a second connection using his or her CID for purposes of providing ATIS to pilots. The first connection shall be used as a "Controller" connection and the second connection shall be used exclusively as an "ATIS" connection. Under no circumstances may such a controller create more than two connections.
- When logging on to the VATSIM.net network, a member is not permitted to leave his or her connection unattended for a period in excess of thirty (30) minutes. If a member is unable to comply with this requirement, then he or she must log off of the VATSIM.net network. A member who is found to be unresponsive for more than thirty (30) minutes is subject to immediate removal from the network. Members who are found to repeatedly leave their connections unattended are subject to the terms of Article VI. of the VATSIM.net Code of Regulations.
- Since this is a learning environment, there are times when a pilot may encounter a new air traffic controller who is in the process of learning his airspace and/or general air traffic control procedures. The same may be true of the controller who may find himself issuing ATC to a pilot flying online for the first time. Everyone should remember to exercise patience and courtesy to these new pilots and controllers.
- Members are prohibited from publishing, posting, distributing, disseminating or using any kind of defamatory, infringing, obscene, vulgar, profane, unlawful or other such types of communications materials or information through the use of online chat boxes, ATC text channels, voice ATC channels or the official internet forums, newsgroups and mailing lists utilized by VATSIM.net and its officially recognized regions, divisions, ARTCCs, ACCs and FIRs. Individuals violating this rule are VATSIM Code of Conduct subject to the procedures set forth in Article I of the VATSIM.net Code of Regulations which could result in removal from VATSIM and revocation of their certificate number.
- Members are prohibited from using online chat boxes, ATC text channels, voice ATC channels or the official internet forums, newsgroups and mailing lists utilized by VATSIM.net and its officially recognized regions, divisions, ARTCCs, ACCs and FIRs to threaten, harass, abuse, intimidate or stalk others or to otherwise violate the legal rights of others, including expectations to the rights of privacy and publicity. Individuals violating this rule are subject to the procedures set forth in Article VI of the VATSIM.net Code of Regulations which could result in removal from VATSIM and revocation of their certificate number.
- VATSIM does not care to engage in the constant policing of its Members. If a problem should arise online between two or more Members which cannot be resolved by the parties in a quick manner or if it affects the enjoyment of VATSIM by other Members or could hinder the operation of the network, the parties involved should check to see if a Supervisor or an Administrator is online to help resolve the matter. If any Members feel that the matter was not adequately resolved by the Supervisor or Administrator, then such member may submit his or her grievance in writing to the Vice President of Conflict Resolution. The decision reached by the Vice President of Conflict Resolution shall be final in all such matters.
- Members may not log on to the VATSIM.net network with non-active callsigns for excessive periods of time. Non-active callsigns are defined as callsigns which are unrelated to any pilot, air traffic control position, instructor or designated staff engaging in administrative duties. This rule applies to cumulative periods of use of any type of non-active callsign. Members who violate this rule shall be subject first to a warning. Members who are found to repeatedly violate this rule are subject to the terms of Article VI. of the VATSIM.net Code of Regulations.
- Members, without a right or privilege to do so, are prohibited from logging on to the VATSIM.net network with any pilot or air traffic control callsign and/or callsign suffix which is reserved for or generally used by Founders, Members of the Board of Governors, Members of the Executive Committee, Supervisors, Instructors or any staff members. In addition, Members without a right or privilege to do so are further prohibited from logging on with any callsign and/or callsign suffix which is intended to or will likely result in other Members believing such member is a Founder, member of the Board of Governors, member of the Executive Committee, Supervisor, Instructor or any staff member.
- Members shall only connect to the VATSIM network as a pilot, air traffic controller or as an observer. No other connection is permitted. Pilots may freely engage in civilian flying activities. Military, paramilitary or civilian government agency activities are defined and governed by the VATSIM Special Operations Policy and members may not freely conduct any activities that are expressly governed by this policy without affiliation to an authorized VATSIM Special Operations Organization. Prior to conducting any military, paramilitary or civilian government agency activities, the VATSIM Special Operations Policy should be reviewed by visiting the VATSIM website.
B. Pilot's Conduct
- Prior to logging on to VATSIM, a pilot on the ground should position his or her aircraft so that it is not located on a runway or a taxiway. This will prevent interference with operations that may be occurring at an airport when the actual log-on occurs.
- Prior to logging on to VATSIM, a pilot in the air should have his aircraft in flight and not paused unless the pilot has first obtained permission from the responsible air traffic controller to log on while paused. This will prevent interference with operations that may be occurring in the air when actual log on occurs.
- A pilot must at all times check for appropriate air traffic control coverage for the airspace he is crossing at any given time. If there is an appropriate air traffic controller available or upon request to make contact with an appropriate air traffic controller, then the pilot should immediately contact such controller.
- Except while on the ground prior to making initial contact with ATC or upon request of ATC, a pilot should not squawk standby. A pilot should not squawk standby while flying to his destination, even when there is no appropriate Enroute air traffic control available.
- Not all air traffic controllers use voice to provide services. Such controllers are limited to using text. When using VATSIM, a pilot must accept air traffic control services that are made in text instead of voice.
- Pilots should not carry on private conversations between themselves or controllers on the active communication frequency or on the "guard" frequency (121.50). This interferes with providing ATC services to other pilots. The guard frequency should only be utilized in cases of emergency and under no other circumstances.
- Pilots flying through uncontrolled airspace should set their VHF radio frequency to 122.80 or other designated "Unicom" frequency and monitor until they come under air traffic control coverage.
- Pilots are permitted to declare in-flight emergencies only when under positive air traffic control. If there is no air traffic controller providing services to the pilot and surrounding traffic, declaring an in-flight emergency is not permitted. If, for any reason, air traffic control requests the pilot to terminate the emergency, then the pilot must do so IMMEDIATELY or log off of VATSIM. Pilots are not permitted to simulate, in any manner, an unlawful act while logged onto the VATSIM.net network including, but not limited to, declaring a hijack by statement utilizing either voice or text or by entering a transponder code of 7500.
- Two or more pilots are permitted to fly in formation. If, for any reason, air traffic control instructs pilots to separate, the pilot(s) must immediately comply with the request or log off of VATSIM.
- A pilot, to the best of his or her ability, should make all attempts to comply with valid air traffic control instructions.
C. Controllers Conduct
- Controllers who are new to the hobby or are otherwise unfamiliar with an airspace should educate themselves, whenever possible, by first observing operations and/or studying procedures used in the region. Information is usually available at the appropriate regional web site and generally includes procedures, frequencies, appropriate positions and charts.
- Controllers who choose to work in regions other than the one they requested assignment to must follow the rules and procedures in effect for such regions.
- When logging onto VATSIM as an observer, an individual should have a callsign which ends as follows: "_OBS". Prior to the underscore an individual may use any letters such as initials or airport identifiers. By logging on as an observer, an individual must not communicate on any open text or voice frequency with pilots. In other words, an observer is prohibited from providing air traffic control services. They are restricted to observing operations. An observer who provides air traffic control services is subject to removal from VATSIM and revocation of his or her certificate number.
- In general VATSIM recognizes the following abbreviations for air traffic control positions. These abbreviations are to be preceded by either the three or four letter identifier for the airspace
a. XXX_DEL - Clearance Delivery
b. XXX_GND - Ground Control
c. XXX_TWR - Tower Control
d. XXX_DEP - Departure Control
e. XXX_APP - Approach Control
f. XXX_CTR - Enroute (Center) Control
These abbreviations may be modified, amended and otherwise added to by local Centers, Flight Information Regions or divisions to reflect common ATC practice and procedures utilized in those local areas. Controllers should not utilize any abbreviations not generally accepted by VATSIM or not used at the local level.
- Positions are occupied on a "first come" basis. If the position a controller wants to work is already occupied, then another position should be found.
From time to time, a controller who has occupied a particular position may lose his or her connection to the VATSIM network or to the internet. If another controller takes such a position and thereafter the original controller logs back on and advises that he or she had lost their connection, the second controller should relinquish the position to the original controller.
- A local division and/or region may restrict certain positions in general or during specific times to those controllers who have achieved a particular rating. Controllers should consult the local rules to see if they qualify to work a particular position prior to logging on at such a position.
- Controllers should only use the frequencies which are authorized for use at their particular position by the particular division or region in which they are working.
- Voice is the preferred method of communications on VATSIM. However, not all pilots use voice to communicate with ATC. When using VATSIM, a controller must at all times be prepared to provide text-based air traffic control services to a pilot. Controllers must never restrict themselves to only working with voice capable pilots.
- Controllers should not carry on private conversations between themselves, pilots or other individuals on the active communication frequency, the ATC channel or on the "guard" frequency (121.50). This interferes with providing ATC services to other pilots. The guard frequency should only be utilized in cases of emergency and under no other circumstances. Controllers are encouraged to use private chat boxes for carrying on private conversations.
- Since voice is the preferred method of communications on VATSIM, all controllers, regardless of their ATC rating, are encouraged and permitted to use voice whenever possible. There shall be no rules preventing or otherwise restricting the use of voice by air traffic controllers. Pursuant to Code of Conduct Rule C(8) above, all controllers must be prepared to provide text-based services to pilots who so desire and no pilot may be denied such service for any reason.
- Voice Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS). As provided for in Paragraphs A(8)(a) and (b) of the Code of Conduct, a controller is permitted to create a second connection to the VATSIM network using his or her CID for the sole purpose of providing voice ATIS to pilots. A controller wishing to provide voice ATIS MUST meet each of the following requirements:
- The controller must have an S1 rating or higher
- An ATIS may be created only for facilities which have a real-world ATIS;
- There must be a controller providing local control (tower) services at the field for which the ATIS is being created. This can be an overlying center or approach controller;
- There can be only one voice ATIS per controller and the recording must be limited to one airport;
- The maximum length of the voice ATIS must not exceed one minute and the only audible sound must be the controller reading the ATIS. In addition, the controller must provide only that essential information which is typically found in a real world ATIS for the location. This would include weather, active runways and operational information directly relevant to pilots operating at the field. Controllers are expressly prohibited from providing any other non-relevant information including, but not limited to, event announcements or personal information about the controller or others;
- Whenever a controller chooses to create a voice ATIS, he or she must also provide the same information in the form of a text ATIS; and
- A controller may provide a voice ATIS in his or her native language. However, if a controller chooses to do so, then the required text version of the ATIS must provide the same information in English.
- Visibility Range.
All Air Traffic Controllers are required to set an appropriate visibility range for the position they are manning. The maximum ranges for a given position shall be based on the following table:
- Clearance Delivery:20 Nautical Miles
- Ground Control:20 Nautical Miles
- Tower Control:50 Nautical Miles
- Approach Control:150 Nautical Miles
- Departure Control:150 Nautical Miles
- Enroute (Center) Control:600 Nautical Miles
- Observers: 300 Nautical Miles
Controllers are not permitted to set visibility ranges higher than the maximum ranges set forth in the above table unless they have prior written approval from the VATSIM.net Board of Governors, Network Administrators or Network Supervisors. Controllers found violating this rule shall be first warned to lower their visibility ranges to the maximum range for their ATC position. Controllers who repeatedly violate this rule are subject to the procedures set forth in Article VI. of the VATSIM.net Code of Regulations which could result in removal from VATSIM and revocation of their Certificate Number.
Approved Flight Service Stations, as specified in Appendix B of the VATSIM Global Rating Policy (http://www.vatsim.net/documents/global-ratings-policy). Network Supervisors and Network Administrators operating in furtherance of their duties are not subject to this rule.
Remember, the primary goals of VATSIM are to educate, to provide a realistic simulation of flying and air traffic control and, most importantly, to provide a fun environment for everyone to enjoy our hobby. By following the simple rules set forth in this Code of Conduct, everyone is ensured of learning and making new friends from around the world.