Here are some very important rules to follow when connected to VATSIM. Please take a moment to thoroughly read through them. This lesson serves as a guide, the official rules can be found in the “Code of Conduct” and “User Agreement” on the VATSIM website.

  1. In order to not disturb flight operations in any way, pilots on the ground must make sure that they are not on a runway or taxiway before logging on to the VATSIM network.
  2. Before logging on to the VATSIM network, pilots who are in the air need to make sure their Flight Simulator program is not paused, except with permission to do so by a relevant controller.
  3. Pilots need to check regularly whether they are flying through controlled (live staffed) airspace. Pilots shall ideally make contact with ATC before entering controlled airspace, or as soon as possible if a controller logs on while crossing through that controller’s airspace.
  4. Not all air traffic controllers or pilots have a voice program. Pilots need to accept any ATC using text-only communication, and all UNICOM messages are to be transmitted in text. There is no obligation to use voice on VATSIM.
  5. While not being in contact with an air traffic controller, pilots must monitor the UNICOM-frequency 122.800.
  6. Pilots shall not use an active ATC frequency for private conversations. This avoids disturbances for other traffic. Please use private messages for personal communications!
  7. Simulations of emergency situations are not forbidden. However, air traffic controllers have the right to deny the simulation of an emergency and pilots must stop the emergency if requested to do so. If the pilot is unable to stop the emergency, the pilot must log off the network. It is strictly forbidden to simulate real world aviation accidents and tragedies, hijacking situations, or other illegal or criminal operations under any circumstances.
  8. The GUARD-frequency 121.500 must not be used under any circumstance except in the event of an emergency while a pilot is not turned to an active ATC-frequency. Any pilot in controlled airspace must declare any emergency to the Controller. The controller has the right to decline the emergency, in which case should the pilot be unable to override the emergency in the simulator, they should disconnect from the Network. 
  9. Pilots flying inside staffed (live controlled) airspace must not leave the cockpit unattended at any time without authorization. If a pilot needs to leave the flight unattended for a few minutes, the pilot should request the planned absence with the relevant air traffic controller. The beginning and the end of the absence must be announced by the pilot.
  10. Pilots flying outside of staffed (live controlled) airspace are required to log off of the network if it is anticipated that they will be away for more than thirty (30) minutes. If you are found to be unresponsive for more than thirty minutes or become a conflict with other traffic sooner than thirty minutes, you will be subject to immediate removal from the network. Repeat offenders will be subject to suspensions and/or expulsions. One thing to note is that staff is not always required to give you the full thirty minutes. If you fly into controlled airspace and are unresponsive, you can be removed immediately. The point to remember is that if you intend to be away from your computer for more than 30 minutes or you find yourself suddenly needing to leave, take a brief moment to disconnect from the network.
  11. Log on to fly or observe, not to chat. Logging on with a non-active callsign is not allowed. 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. However, new members are encouraged to observe how things operate on the network. This helps to learn both procedure and phraseology (a fancy word which means how ATC and pilots speak to one another). Keep in mind that legitimate observation to learn will always be encouraged as it is a necessary practice to become comfortable with using and functioning within the VATSIM environment. It is only when you cross the line between legitimate observing and using VATSIM as a chat program that you will be in violation of this rule.
  12. You are not allowed to have more than one connection to the VATSIM network at a time. If you wish to get information about your flight status please use the programs ServInfo or Whazzup. You can find links to them in the VATSIM 104 course.
  13. Pilots flying under the control of a student controller are kindly requested to be patient and fair to this new member of the ATC community!
  14. Generally speaking: respect other individuals on the VATSIM network. This is just a hobby so do not overdrive in terms of realism and seriousness! To keep VATSIM a pleasant place, everyone is kindly requested to respect these rules. They make sense because they guarantee a common base to operate on VATSIM, to keep it free of charge and to make everyone feel comfortable using VATSIM.