In the USA?

If you are in the United States of America, there are two incredible resources available to you: VATUSA and VATNA

 


VATUSA

This is a resource that you can learn a lot from, whether you are new to the virtual flight community or an old timer. This website can help keep you update on what is new and exciting in virtual flight simulation. They will often post up news articles pertaining to our community. They will also post when there are meetings or conventions in an area for virtual flight enthusiasts.

You can also sign up to become an air traffic controller. This will require time and training however, and you will need to go through the necessary steps for approval. Not anyone can just decide they want to be an air traffic controller, log on, and start giving directions. This helps to keep things organized and people from being confused.

There are quite a few policies on their website that you should look into as well. If you are thinking that this is starting to sound too complicated, remember this is a simulation of the real world! It means that you should act as if human lives are at stake. However, remember to also have fun and enjoy the trip!

VATNA

VATNA is specifically targeted at the countries in North America. They actually oversee VATUSA. You can find country specific links on their website which will direct you to the correct country for your needs. Their website is not entirely user friendly, but you should be able to find the resources you need. If you need to get in contact with someone, here are the people you need to know:

Regional Staff

Nicola Felini – 1020845
Regional Director (VATNA1)

Tim Barber – 819096
Membership Director (VATNA3)

Ira Robinson – 1100092
Director of Strategic Development  (VATNA4)

Regional Conflict Resolution Panel

Steve Good – 878593
Chairman

Bill Morris – 811950
Member

Brian Pryor – 810138
Member

Alex Lehman – 1244594
Member

Greg McCormick – 964079
Member

VATNA also has very serious policies which you should read and follow.

They have a pilot resource center where you can look view current certification offerings, as well as those pilots who have been recently certified.

If you so desire, you can join right through there website! They provide the correct links to VATSIM to register VATNA as your region.

Remember, this is a real life simulation. We have pilots who fly everyday in real life, who come onto this system to train and hone their skills. Please be courteous and respectful to other aviators on the system.

Virtual Flight Simulation

Have you ever wanted to fly an airplane but haven’t had the time or money to get lessons, or maybe you don’t want to purchase and maintain your own aircraft, but you still want to fly? Now you can, with virtual flight simulation. All you need is a computer and you can start flying today. With an internet connection, you can fly with thousands of other virtual pilots around the world, in real time! Never before have we had such an opportunity like this. It is truly a great time for aviators all over the world.

You can fly almost any airplane on any airline that you have dreamed about. Most airplanes have already been developed and added to the virtual reality. This is an ultra realistic virtual reality, a simulation of real life, so don’t expect it to come easy. If you haven’t had any training in flying, be sure to start studying now. You will need to know it when you join the simulation.

If you haven’t heard of virtual flight simulation, check out VATSIM for more information:

Quote from their website:

What is VATSIM?

VATSIM (short for the Virtual Air Traffic Simulation Network) is a completely free online platform which allows virtual pilots, wherever they are in the world, to connect their flight simulators into one shared virtual world. VATSIM also simulates air traffic control in this virtual world, creating the ultimate as-real-as-it-gets experience for you, the virtual aviation enthusiast.

With over 76,000 active members in 2014, connecting your flight simulator to VATSIM allows you to join hundreds of other pilots in our virtual skies, flying all kinds of aircraft all over the world. As a VATSIM member, you can join our many communities across the world to enhance your flying skills and flight simulator experience in a shared virtual airspace. You can also become a virtual air traffic controller, adding that extra bit of realism for you and your fellow enthusiasts. The real beauty of VATSIM is that it caters people who are completely new to the hobby as well as to the seasoned flight simmer.

The beginning

VATSIM was founded in July 2001 by a group of individuals who came together with the idea of creating an online community which truly met the needs of flight simulator enthusiasts across the world. As well as providing a common network for flight simulation enthusiasts to connect to, VATSIM aimed to create a global community for learning, sharing experiences and pursuing new opportunities in the virtual world. That original group of individuals are now referred to as the VATSIM Founders, and help to steer the direction of the network.

Our Structure

VATSIM is led by the Board of Governors, a group of individuals who each take on a specific specialism on the network to lead. The Board of Governors are supported by an Executive Committee, who represent the Regions of VATSIM, who are in turn supported by local staff structures. Everyone is a volunteer.

The VATSIM world is divided into Regions, then Divisions and finally local facilities, which take on a number of different names depending on where you are in the world. These structures help to build and maintain communities across the globe, providing resources, training and a place to share the experience of VATSIM wherever you are. VATSIM is also the main network for many established Virtual Airlines and other virtual flying groups, whose pilots populate our skies every day with hundreds of flights.

The most important part of the network is you: our members. You are free to enjoy VATSIM in the way you want to enjoy it, by flying, controlling, or both. VATSIM is a network for all to enjoy, and it can be whatever you make it. Welcome.

Browse around our site to learn more about the flying opportunities you have always dreamed of!

Common Health Issues From Air Conditioning Overuse

The extreme weather conditions have made the air conditioning a paramount system in most homes. Other than relaxation created during extreme weather conditions, keeping an air conditioning unit running round the clock poses some significant health effects besides the high electrical bill it also brings along with it.

Common Health Issues From Air Conditioning OveruseActually, over exposure to the conditioning is harmful and hazardous to your health. Indoor discomfort can be attached to the particular illnesses especially with overuse. Some common diseases associated with the central air conditioning includes:

Indoor Air Pollution

Research has it that indoor air pollution has a far much greater effect compared to the counterpart outdoor air pollution. Poorly ventilated homes or those that happen to contain allergens can bring with it headaches, itchy eyes, nasal issues, difficulty in breathing or even dizziness. Pneumonia and Asthma attacks can also arise in extreme conditions. Persistent pollution leads to more gross and severe conditions.

Nasal passages and Dry Skin

Exposure to the central air conditioning for longer hours associated with drying of the skin. Adequate miniaturization of the surface aids in the reduction of itchy skin.

Respiratory illness and Colds

Alert from dry skin, the mucous membrane also tend to be dried out. This state further creates vulnerability to upper respiratory infections. Fatigue and a whole lot of other related infections can also occur.

Heat Intolerance

Long-term exposure to the air conditioning creates heat intolerance should one go outside the house. Exhaustion may also arise as a result of the outdoor heat. Persons spending lots of time in air-conditioned rooms tend to experience headaches, dizziness, heat stroke and even breathing difficulties.

Ear irritations and Worsened Allergies

Individuals suffering from allergies can have experience worsened symptoms due to constant running of the air conditions. Such environment is worse for people with poorly maintained symptoms. Mold circulation in the atmosphere leads to accumulation in the folds of the ears hence the drying out. The possibility of bleeding can also not be ruled out. For poorly maintained conditioners, the constant noise is also capable of causing hearing damages.

Common Causes

Uncleansed duct works and vents, dirty filters and overall poor maintenance are the possible causes of mold and the other contaminants responsible for the pollution and hence the hazards.

Safe Use of the Air Conditioning System

According to the manual provided by the manufacturer, the air filters units should be cleaned appropriately or replaced when need be. C.

Excellent ventilation is also a necessity to curb the menace of indoor pollution by the allowance of fresh air into the house. Opening the windows as well as turning off the conditioning system is suitable for maximum air circulation.

If nobody is at home and in the night, it’s advisable to put out the system as this helps in the reduction of flow of harmful particles, should they exist.

Constant exposure to the air conditioning system coupled with poor circulation is attached to a whole lot health hazards for both the adults and children, calling for professional maintenance to reduce as well as eliminate the possible health risks.

The Right HVAC Systems for Your Home

In general, HVAC or heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems are designed to offer a comfortable and pleasant indoor atmosphere. However, most typical residential HVAC systems are fundamentally flawed from their conception.

HVAC SystemHow hard any air conditioning system needs to work relies on the design of the home structure, mainly the enclosure and the use of the building. It is worthwhile to know what an ideal HVAC system should be, and this article defines the features of a perfect HVAC system for both single-family single-zone residential and multi-zone housing applications.

Small Residential HVAC Systems

In practice, it is viable in small residential systems to use an air handler and air-conditioning duct system to distribute ventilation air all over the house. This combination of functions (ventilation and distribution of air conditioning) requires advanced controls to work and careful design to avoid unnecessary energy use. But it can work very well for a single-zone system like small single-family apartments and homes.

The primary concern in areas with humid climate is the lack of humidity control provided by standard HVAC systems. They can dispense only a random amount of dehumidification if and when the cooling works for long enough to let water to accumulate, build up on coils, and then drain down and away. This system takes about 15 minutes of a constant cooling process before dehumidification initiates. Therefore, a separate dehumidification device is essential for the perfect HVAC system. A lot of suppliers of dehumidification ventilation equipment or outdoor air unit are now available to help resolve this issue.

Together, these solutions offer the perfect practical demonstration of a residential HVAC system; that is ensuring a fresh air stream while regulating humidity, easy to manage and troubleshoot, and energy-efficient.

Larger Multi-Zone HVAC Systems

In bigger multi-zone housing, dispersing the much larger quantities of energy all throughout the building needs huge ducts and the related larger inter-floor spaces to lodge. Large pipes from central AC units also penetrate numerous zones of occupancy and fire separation, triggering all kinds of expense and performance complications. Hence, by separating the control of ventilation from the control of temperature and monitoring of dehumidification, simple to control but very robust and energy efficient systems result.

Similarly, it is ideal to make use of more practical approaches that offer equally effective performance. For instance, low-velocity fan coil units with ECM motors and dry coils that take air from the space and blends conditioned air back are now available. Not only are these more economical than radiant systems, but they also have a quicker response time.

To give neutral temperature ventilation air independently of heating or cooling in a single large zone or multi-zone spaces, make use of DOAS or dedicated outdoor air system. Such a system will correctly combine some form of ERV or HRV.

Consequently, as the demand for comfort, better indoor air quality, and energy efficiency grows, the combination of simple direct-coupled controls and decoupling the different required functions becomes imperative. Such systems are inexpensive to build, easier to commission and operate, and can save substantial amounts of energy, given good building enclosure design.

 

HVAC System Types for Homes

Conducting energy assessments in your home and installing additional insulations are regular practices a homeowner needs to know. You need to decide the best HVAC system type for the home that will best suit its purpose. Latest HVAC systems provide numerous options as compared to their previous inventions which were designed to perform one or two specific functions. Therefore, which is the best HVAC system type for your home?

  1. HVAC System TypesCooling systems

Present day air conditioning systems come in a variety of types and sizes. The kind of air conditioner you decide to choose will depend on the climate of the area you live in as well as the already installed system. Individuals residing in the south would probably want to condition the whole house, calling for a whole-house air conditioning unit. Northern habitats, on the other hand, would opt for a portable air conditioning unit that can be placed on the window and moved at any other time. Present day air conditioners only consume between 50 and 70 percent energy to produce the same outcome as the olden day cooling units.

  1. Single-stage or Multi-stage

Single stage cooling systems are more prevalent in areas with hot and humid climates while heating systems are best used in areas with colder winter climates as compared to Multi-stage systems. Single-stage systems have one major disadvantage which is, they operate at full capacity all year round, thereby limiting the user’s ability to control them. However, multi-stage heating and cooling systems are manufactured with fan speeds that vary so as to create an air flow that changes. You may not feel a great difference between the two systems, but one is most definitely much better than the other.

  1. Zoned systems

With zoned HVAC systems, you can selectively set the specific areas or rooms in your home where you need to heat or cool. With zoned systems, you are guaranteed of efficiency and effectiveness with as little energy as possible.

  1. Humidity control

For areas with humid climate or drier conditions, humidifiers and dehumidifiers are two control systems that need not miss on your list of HVAC system upgrades. With these methods, one can easily control the levels of humidity in their homes by using a few buttons. However, you can only be able to monitor the levels of humidity when your air conditioning unit is on.

  1. Heating systems

The U.S department of energy highlights that modern day heating systems have the ability to attain maximum efficiency by converting fuel to useful heat energy for use in your home. Heating systems including furnaces, electric heater and pumps.

  1. Retrofit options

There exist numerous ways that you can opt to use for repairing or fixing your heating systems. These are ways that are much more efficient as well as cheap. For instance, a crude oil and gas-fired furnaces and boilers; you can close off and prevent the loss of air by adding a vent damper.

  1. HVAC Overhaul: Deep energy retrofit

Tweaking aquastats for heated water boilers would modify high water temperatures to match with the external environment sparing up to 10% of the costs of fuel. The procedure by which such overhauls work is somewhat complicated. However, they can be integrated with most cooling systems and pumps.

Hazards from HVAC Refrigerant Homeowners Should Know

Taking safety measures when working with HVAC refrigerant can help avoid hazardous circumstances and injuries. If not dealt with promptly, some HVAC systems issues can trigger an explosion. Though an old furnace isn’t exactly a ticking time bomb, it isn’t a toaster also.

Hazards from HVAC RefrigerantAdditionally, obvious hazards such as electrical wiring, sharp metal, and climbing ladders, the technician or homeowners who are DIY novices that intend to clean or repair their HVAC system need to be aware of the safety risks that refrigerants pose.

If the refrigerant remains confined in the cylinder, then it presents little danger to people. The risk occurs when the refrigerant comes out of the container, often fast and suddenly. Thus, regular maintenance and safety checks should be regularly implemented to avoid potential health risks and damages.

Consistent inspections on containers and systems for holding pressure, and preparing safety procedures and equipment to lessen personal exposure after sudden releases should help prevent any damage or injuries when handling refrigerants.

Refrigerant hazards from fall into three categories:

  1. flammability/combustion/decomposition
  2. toxicity
  3. pressure

 

  1. Flammability/Combustion/Decomposition

Combustible refrigerants present an immediate peril when released into the air. The refrigerant can mix with air at atmospheric pressure and ignite, producing a flame and perchance an explosion to happen. The utilization of flammable refrigerants is limited to controlled environments that have the explosion-proof equipment, monitors, proper ventilation, and mostly few people near the system because of the apparent hazards.

  1. Toxicity and personal exposure

Before being released for air conditioning use, most refrigerants go through extensive toxicity testing. Testing includes a range of exposure levels and times to define any likely effects on test animals.

Brief exposures at high concentrations show any acute health risks such as irritation, sensitization of the heart or adrenaline and lethal concentration. Likewise, experiments that expose animals for extended periods of time, such as three months to two years, are intended to show chronic problems. These can include changes to cells or mutagenicity, effects on organs or carcinogenicity, and reproductive problems.

1,000 ppm is the maximum value for any chemical, though many refrigerants have presented no negative results in toxicity tests in much greater volume than that. Other chemical producers have related exposure level indexes based on the similar criteria. These are the WEEL or Workplace Environmental Exposure Limit set by the AIHA or American Industrial Hygiene Association; PEL or Permissible Exposure Limit established by OSHA; as well as AEL or Acceptable Exposure Limit utilized by DuPont.

To the HVAC technician, what all of this data means, however, is that refrigerants, in general, are safe enough to use provided you don’t inhale too much of them.

  1. Physical hazards

One of the most obvious risks of refrigerant is the fact that it’s a liquefied gas under pressure. Unexpected, sudden release of pressurized refrigerant can result in personal injury.

Moreover, liquid refrigerant will flash and boil to vapor when suddenly released from high pressure to atmospheric pressure. As you would expect, the temperature of the refrigerant will descend rapidly to the boiling point and the refrigerant will absorb heat fast and can cause frostbite if it touches your skin.

The best way to avoid pressure-related risks is always to use cylinders and system components that have the defined pressure rating for the refrigerant you’re using. Pressure ratings for system components must be selected based on the expected service loads for the intended purpose. Constantly check for signs of excessive wear or damage before filling recovery cylinders, buying new refrigerant cylinders or installing new parts to a system.

flight sim cockpit

Building Your Own Flight Simulation Cockpit

You can Do-It-Yourself

A home-built flight simulation cockpit is a dream for many flight enthusiasts. It can be as elaborate or as simple as you want. It can be as expensive or as cheap as you want. Essentially, a home-built cockpit, is all about what you want in a cockpit. In this article, we will give you some ideas to consider as you plan out your cockpit build.

How big?

You can build the cockpit to whatever size you want and can accommodate. You can turn an entire spare bedroom into a life size cockpit if you wanted. That would be impressive. From the moment you open the door, you are immersed into the airplane cockpit, ready to fire up the engines and go on a long flight.

Of course, you could build a small cockpit, something that will sit on your desk, and fill most of your peripheral vision. This is a much cheaper option, and much more viable for most people. Depending on your desk, you may be able to really get into flight mode with something as simple as this.

Materials

You should be able to find all the materials you need at your local hardware store. You could build the walls out of almost any material, good cheap options would include: plywood, fiberboard, or styrofoam. You can frame it with PVC to give it some structural integrity and connection points.

Hardware

If you have come this far, you probably already have a computer and a monitor. Do you have multiple monitors? Look online at examples for 3 monitor setups. You may already have the flight controls you need as well. On the list should be: rudder pedals, a yoke, and a throttle quadrant. There are many more accessories you can get, but these are the essentials to have a really great time. If you feel so inclined, you could even build a virtual reality helmet!

Get in that cockpit and start training!

That is all that is left to it. You need to put some time in the seat. All the fancy gadgets and gizmos in the world won’t make you a better pilot until you put in your seat time! It may take time getting used to a new cockpit, but it is well worth it. The better ergonomics can help a great deal, as well as having a specific area that will help you focus. Good luck out there!

Getting Started with Flight Simulations

So you are ready to dive into the world of flight simulations? Well it won’t be an easy journey, and it takes hours of your life away. But it is worth it. Flight time in real life isn’t cheap, so you want to be prepared when you finally get up and out there. With a flight simulator, you can hone your skills to new levels. You can remove the fear of flying. You can get comfortable behind the controls. In the end, it may take over your life, but that is a risk you must be willing to take. Here is what you will need to get started flying in the virtual world:

  1. Software

    You will need some sort of flight simulation software installed on your computer. There are actually many different types of software now available. The highest quality simulator we can recommend is FSX. It includes training tutorials which can really help you get the basics down. There are other options, such as X-plane, which is not nearly as user friendly. Microsoft Flight and Prepar3d don’t offer any more than FSX.

  2. Joystick

    Yes, you will need a joystick at minimum. This is part of what makes flight simulators so enjoyable. It makes it easier to really get in the simulation and feel like you are flying. You may also want to invest in some other equipment as well. Consider a set of rudder pedals and a yoke, check out Saitek for quality products. Then your next investment would be something like TrackIR

  3. Learning Resources

    There are many videos on youtube that can help give you an idea of what you will be facing. You will also need some sort of flight planning to help you navigate the world. You will also need information about the different airports. Most of this information can be found freely on the web.

No one said this was going to be an easy journey. You will need to spend a lot of time training and preparing to become an adept pilot. Hopefully this list will help you get started on the road to success. If you have any questions please let us know, and we will do our best to help you on your journey.