Τετάρτη, 16 Μαΐου 2012

10 years of VATSIM [EN]

In 2011, VATSIM has completed 10 years of operation and offer in on-line flight simulation field. The VATSIM network is the most organized network of the world with more than 200,000 members.

VATSIM is a disinterested, international flight simulation network. Members can log in either as pilots or as air traffic controllers depending on their rank and the education that they have received and get involved by conducting the most plausible procedures.  VATSIM has been distinguished for the high education level of the staff and the realism it provides. Worth noticing is the fact that in 2006 the organization was front page of Wall Street Journal.  As far as the participation of the public is concerned, it is indicatively referred that on 3 September 2009 there were more than 209,000 active members recorded. There are two Greek-speaking branches of VATSIM· the Greek and the Cyprus Virtual Area Control Center, where volunteers with enthusiasm and a great deal of knowledge provide exceptional services for free to all members. 


The stand of VATSIM at the flight simulation conference.





The view of a VATSIM Air Traffic Controller.

Objectives

The main aim(ή purpose) of VATSIM is to maintain the high level of realism as far as procedures and phraseology are concerned. That made the organization very popular among trainee pilots that had ATC communication problems and among pilots that would like to further improve their capabilities. Furthermore, there are provided training sessions free of charge at which everybody can take part. 
Imitating reality, VATSIM is divided into geographical areas, the Virtual Area Control Centers. Those centers provide pieces of information [Flight Information Regions (FIR)], the Civil Aviation Authority of each country [Area Control Centers (vACC)] and the Air Traffic Control sections [Air Route Traffic control Centers (ARTCC)].

In addition there are six major zones, which are:
  • Africa and Middle East
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • South America
  • Oceania
  • North America



History


VATSIM network was created after the dissolution of the Simulated Air Traffic Controllers Organization (SATCO). SATCO organization split into two separate communities, one of which is VATSIM.

Simulated Air Traffic Controllers Organization (SATCO)

After the middle of 90s, on line community providers started being created and every single one could cooperate with people from the whole world through Internet. Because of the more and more growing number of aviation enthusiasts, SATCO community was created, chaired by Randy Whistler. AVSIM wanted to donate it’s provider for the needs of the community. In December 1998, IVAO was split from SATCO due to disagreements and by this way gained its current form. After this event, AVSIM withdrew its donation after a disagreement with the board of SATCO in 2000.  On 7 June 2001, the vice president of SATCO, Harvey Stein, resigned due to lack of transparency in the donations of members. More resignations followed and there were made requests for the publication of financial data. In the next few days, SquawkBox (a program used by pilots to log in on line) creator , Joe Jurecka. After a while, SATCO was dissolved.


Foundation of VATSIM

Former members of SATCO began the immediate foundation of a brand new organization, chaired by Harvey Stein, the former vice president. The VATSIM organization officially started operations on 12 July 2001. Mr. Stein was later elected chairman of the VATSIM board. The board signed a contract with Randy Whistler, former chairman of SATCO and VATSIM was recognized as the official SATCO following.

Software

Flight plan in VATSIM
VATSIM is supported by sophisticated systems and software to ensure network operation. Those systems make flight and scenes very realistic. Members use special applications (like Squawkbox or FSInn) for simulators (like Microsoft Flight Simulator or X-Plane) for pilots, or Virtual Radar Client (VRC) and Euroscope for air Traffic Controllers. All those applications are free and provided by VATSIM.

Internet services are provided by different sources from all around the world and all of them communicate between them. There is also software of other sources/ providers, that even though aren’t so necessary, provide important information about available routes, ATC positions, weather conditions and flight history.



Training

All users, in order to connect on line, have to be members of VATSIM and being aged 13 years old or more. There are no charges for connecting to VATSIM.
VATSIM doesn’t require from pilots to be trained before their first flight, but air traffic controllers receive mandatory training before being able to open any position. In 2005, Israel Airways (El Al) requested from pilots to take some exams via computer before joining the company.

VATSIM has two boards· the Board of Governors and the Executive Committee. Present chairman is David Klain. All operations are supported by volunteers and donations. Using the network is free of charge and there are no indications for charging fees in the future.  



A video about flights on VATSIM network, 
a kind offer by the Hellenic Imperial v

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