- Current Activity
online with VATSIM
fly online with VATSIM you need to install the Squawkbox 3 pilot software or Squawkbox
2.3.5 (for Win98 or Win ME users). Assuming you have installed the SB software and
have run through the correct set up procedures here is a guide as to what
are just two things that you MUST do before the temptation to hit
the SERVER button overcomes you.
Make sure you are not sitting on a runway
you must be sitting at a gate or somewhere well clear of the runways and
taxiways. It's obvious really - as soon as you connect your aircraft would
appear on radar screens (and to other pilots) sitting on the runway. If
the airport is busy it would spoil their day a bit. Be considerate and
park somewhere safe.
in the Flight Plan
to inform other users of your intentions. This may be new to you but most
of the boxes are self explanatory. If it is just for a test then type
"Testing only" in the remarks box. That way you can go online
and play with the various settings without being disturbed by others.
You may see other aircraft moving around but no one should pay you any
do you see when you connect?
AI aircraft will be gone but if you see other aircraft moving around they
will be other online users instead of artificial traffic. It will probably
be very quiet until you tune your radio to the correct airport frequency.
Just like the real world the radio is divided up into frequencies and
so it will not spring into life until you tune to an active ATC frequency.
You can therefore take things nice and slowly and get used to the functions
of the software. Do not taxi though - either disconnect or you will have
to ask ATC for permission.
Where is ATC?
soon as you hit the Connect button don't expect to be inundated with radio
chat and controllers barking at you!.
listen to ATC you first have to tune into the correct frequency. The ATC
panel will actually show you any ATC units that are active so you always
know just how much ATC is available. There may be a few UK airports active
or there could be none at all - it depends very much on the time of day
you connect. Generally it is quieter during the day and busy in evenings
and at weekends.
Some useful rules
are a few rules for online ATC but most are simple common sense. I've
already mentioned the prime one of not starting up on a possible active
runway. Others are:
Don't be worried by ATC. We all do this
for fun and ATC are well aware that there are a lot of beginners around
- which applies to ATC too!
If you don't understand what ATC have said
then do not be afraid to ask him to repeat a message. "Say again"
is a well used phrase!
Keep all calls to ATC short. If you talk
a lot it can spoil the fun for other pilots because you stop everyone
else from passing messages. Apart from that it is all too easy to get
tongue tied if you try to say a lot in one go.
VATSIM automatically puts real world weather
into FS as soon as you connect. Whilst this is a good thing do accept
that some evening you log on the weather may be outside your capabilities!
The only solution here is to move somewhere the weather is better.
Choose flights carefully. By this I mean
relative to your knowledge of the procedures that would be required for
that flight in an ATC environment. VFR flights should be no problem but,
conversely, if you elect to fly an Airbus IFR into Hamburg be aware that
you could possibly be asked to conform to the procedures the real flight
might expect. If you can fly SID's and STAR's you'll do just fine..
up the radio "patter" by listening to what others do or by listening
to the ATC instructions more carefully in the default ATC. This patter
is quite rigid so it does not take long to build up an adequate list of
phrases for most of your flights.