If you are in the United States of America, there are two incredible resources available to you: VATUSA and VATNA
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 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:
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
Bill Morris – 811950
Brian Pryor – 810138
Alex Lehman – 1244594
Greg McCormick – 964079
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
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
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.