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VATSTAR Training Overview and Syllabus

Introduction

Many real-world pilots use flight simulators to practice certain skills they use in actual flight; however, for countless dedicated hobbyists, flight simulation is a perfect happy medium between real-world flight and staying grounded, because they may have financial, time, or physical limitations that prevent them from experiencing the real thing.

One of the great things about flight simulation is that the entire environment can be tailored to make things substantially easier, reducing the amount of time one needs to spend studying books, manuals, and tutorials in order to fly. Instead, pilots can learn at their own pace while continuing to enjoy the freedom and exhilaration of flight.

Often, the deeper one gets into this hobby, the more elements of realism they will add into their flying – using increasingly realistic flight physics, simulated aircraft with more complex and realistic systems modeling, and environments with other air traffic to coordinate with and avoid. This eventually leads many to come to VATSIM, the Virtual Air Traffic Simulation network, so they can have the ultra-real experience of flying with other human pilots all under human Air Traffic Control.

While it doesn’t take nearly the amount of knowledge and studying to fly on VATSIM as it does to fly in real life, it takes much more than it does to fly your simulator alone or in a “casual” multiplayer environment. That knowledge, or the lack of it, can be daunting and intimidating when first considering joining VATSIM. VATSTAR’s mission is to take the intimidation factor away, and help simulator pilots achieve that level of knowledge. We don’t aim to be analogous to a full real-world ground-school or flight training program, but, we will take you from whatever point you are in your simulator piloting career to a pilot who is confident and comfortable flying around other traffic and under the direction of Air Traffic Control.

 

Format

As much as flight simulation is a balance of realism versus accessibility for all, VATSTAR’s goal is equally balanced. We know that to bring the fun of flight simulation to as many people as possible, we have to keep the lessons as easy-to-understand as we can. Like we said before, we’re not attempting to be the simulator version of a full flight school. We’re trying to give you just enough knowledge to make flying on VATSIM less scary and more fun.

IMPORTANT NOTE: VATSTAR is based in the United States, and its curriculum focuses on US-based Air Traffic Control policies and procedures. Certainly the aircraft physics and much of the "flying guts" is applicable all over the VATSIM world; but, certain particulars about routing and charts, airspace designations, proper air traffic control phraseology, and other issues local to VATUSA and VATNA will be reflected in the curriculum and testing conducted here.

Our training program is broken into six main sections:

  • VATSIM Fundamentals (VATSIM P1),
  • Flight Fundamentals (VATSIM P2),
  • VFR Flying (VATSIM P3),
  • IFR Flying (VATSIM P4),
  • Advanced IFR Flying (VATSIM P5),
  • International and Oceanic Flying (a VATSTAR in-house certification).

Each section is divided into numerous “Lessons” (the number of which will vary by section). Each Lesson covers one basic topic, and has seven parts:

  • An Introduction;
  • A quick self-test called “Can I Skip This Lesson?”;
  • A brief but explanatory list of What You Need to Know (broken into two subsections -- Vocabulary, and Concepts);
  • More Detail –- i.e., information that you don’t necessarily need to retain every nuance of, but that may be of interest to you or that may help you remember the critical pieces;
  • A Summary of what it is you need to have taken from what you read, above;
  • Additional Resources which would be videos or other online tutorials that can help walk you through the Lesson's concepts more interactively;
  • A final Quiz of the material in the Lesson -– slightly longer than the self-test at the beginning, but still just a quick assessment you can use to determine whether you learned and understood everything in that Lesson.

Then at the end of each section, after all of the Lessons, will come three appendices:

  • first, a Section Glossary, a list of the new terms you will need to have learned in order to pass the Section Exams;
  • then the Written Exam Overview, an review of all of the concepts that the written test will cover, so you can be sure you’re ready to take it;
  • finally, the Practical Exam Overview, a description of the checkride flight, the expectations for each part thereof, and how you'll be graded.

We always welcome your feedback about any part of our training, and we strive to improve it constantly based on what we hear from our students and instructors. Remember: "Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing - if you happen to be able to re-use the airplane again afterward, it's a great landing!" Fortunately in the sim world, we get to walk away from all of them. So with that in mind, best wishes for many great landings, and may you always learn something from the rest of them.

 

Prerequisites

VATSTAR employs a prerequisite system which is more stringent than the VATSIM ATO standard; that standard requires only that all pilots attain the P1 rating before attempting any other ratings. However, our written Lessons are designed to build upon one another and eliminate unnecessary repetition. For example, terminology and concepts introduced and explained in the P2 show up again in Lessons for higher ratings. Therefore, we employ the following prerequisite system:

  • P1 Rating: open to all pilots.
  • P2 Rating: open to those holding the P1.
  • P3 Rating: open to those holding the P2.
  • P4 Rating: open to those holding the P2.
  • P5 Rating: open to those holding the P4.
  • Oceanic Certificate: open to those holding the P4.

Prerequisites may be earned at any sanctioned ATO. Any Pilot Rating officially recognized via VATSIM will be counted toward access to the appropriate VATSTAR training course. If you believe you should have access to a training course that you don't seem to, contact our HR department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Training Course Syllabus

The following outlines provide an overview of the points covered in each of the VATSIM Pilot Rating training programs offered by VATSTAR.

 

VATSIM P1 Rating -- VATSIM Fundamentals

  • Part One -- Organization Info, Network Info, Getting Connected
    • Lesson 1: What is VATSIM? (network, command structure, support structure)
      • The purpose and overall mission of VATSIM
      • Components of VATSIM -- network servers, websites, discussion forums, mailing lists, social media, numerous sub-organizations
      • Structure of VATSIM (Code of Regulations) -- Board of Governors, Regions, Divisions, Centers/Flight Service Stations
      • Staffing and responsibilities at each Center/Flight Service Station
      • Conflict resolution -- feedback, supervisors, Board of Governors
      • Code of Conduct -- rules and ettiquette, VATSIM accounts, e-mail, approved software, prohibition of disrupting others, courtesy, communications, training requiement for ATC
    • Lesson 2: What isn't VATSIM? (etiquette, and things NOT to do on the network)
      • use of unapproved connection software
      • connecting on runways/taxiways, pausing mid-air, slew mode, instant replays, large amounts of idle time, unattended connections
      • use of vulgar/offensive/sensetive callsigns or language, rude or harassing messages
      • use of callsigns reserved for Center staff, Divison staff, Region staff, VATSIM staff, or network supervisors
      • disrupting others, "stunts"/"goofing off", intercepting or buzzing other aircraft, special operations not associated with a Special Operations Organization
      • willful disobediance of air traffic control or failure to be in contact with them in controlled space
      • re-enacting real-world aviation incidents, simulating a highjacking (including use of squawk 7500)
      • declaring an emergency in uncontrolled space, or demanding any priority clearance/handling for any reason
    • Lesson 3: Trickle-Down Economics (basic structure of air traffic control, "top-down" service model)
      • top-down staffing model
      • summary of ATC positions and their functions / responsibilities
    • Lesson 4: Seeing What's Up (tools for checking for available ATC services)
      • difference between controller ATIS block versus simulation of real-world ATIS
      • PC apps -- ServInfo, VAT-Spy
      • web-based services -- VATview, VATtastic, stats.vatsim.com
      • mobile applications
      • checking network activity before connecting mid-flight
    • Lesson 5: Making the Connection (pilot client software, callsigns, where to connect, restarting lost flights)
      • Pilot Client software -- SquawkBox, FSInn, vPilot
      • functions of the Pilot Client -- transit and recieve aircraft location, transmit and recieve ATC communications, retrieve weather and other aviation info, convey flight plans to network
      • displaying other pilots -- model-matching
      • choosing realistic callsigns
    • Lesson 6: Organizations Within Organizations (virtual airlines, virtual military, and other specialized flying)
      • virtual airlines
      • virtual flying clubs
      • virtual military organizations
      • clarification on rules regarding military callsigns and flights
  • Part Two -- Introduction to Flight Planning and Flying on VATSIM
    • Lesson 7: Do You See What I See? (scenery and weather differences on VATSIM)
      • default scenery limitations, freeware and payware scenery updates
      • add-on weather engines
      • simulating real-world conditions versus other conditions
    • Lesson 8: I Need a Map to the Map Store (locating and understanding maps and charts)
      • Where to find charts
      • Chart Supplement / Facility Directory publication
      • Airport Diagrams, SIDs/STARs, Instrument Approaches
      • VFR Sectionals, Enroute Lo and Hi
      • "Contact-Me" messages
    • Lesson 9: Way to Go (route selection)
      • Why ATC prefers realistic routes
      • How and where to find realistic routes
      • How to program / use realistic routes
      • How to build your own realistic route
    • Lesson 10: Stan's the Man with a Plan (filing flightplans, equipment codes, comments)
      • pre-filing
      • filing via pilot client
      • information contained in a flightplan
      • navigation equipment capability codes
      • ATC-issued route shortcuts
    • Lesson 11: Squeak and Squawk (transponder operation)
      • what a transponder does; simulation of transponder by Pilot Client software
      • Standby, Mode-C, Ident
      • ASDE-X
      • squawk codes, including special codes (1200, 2200, 7500, 7600, 7700) and their meanings
    • Lesson 12: Romeo, Romeo, Wherefore Art Thou? (air traffic control communication)
      • digits (including "niner"), the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet
      • limited vocabulary, key phrases commonly used
      • readbacks of instructions
      • checking in, altitude verification
      • checking ATIS before requesting departure clearance or checking in with Approach
      • shortened callsigns
    • Lesson 13: Out of Control (use of VATSIM's genral advisories frequency)
      • real-world CTAF and UNICOM
      • near-global VATSIM use of 122.8
      • text-based versus voice-based communications
      • position reports -- when and how, how to make them useful to others
    • Lesson 14: Mayday! Mayday! (handling in-flight emergencies)
      • sources of in-flight emergencies -- application glitches, fuel range calculation errors, pilot-induced control loss, simulated failures, simulated engine issues, "practice emergencies"
      • prohibition of priority clearance on VATSIM, disconnecting to continue simulating emergency or returning to normal flight
      • other options -- request hold, request divert to alternate, request amendment to nearby landing site
      • squawk code refresher, prohibition against hijacking emergency
  • Part Three -- Welcome to VATSTAR!
    • Lesson 15: The STAR of the Virtual Skies! (introduction to VATSTAR Pilot Training Program)
      • definition of Standalone Authorized Training Organization
      • explanation of the VATSIM Pilot Ratings
      • scope of VATSTAR with respect to which ratings are offered
      • how the self-guided P1 rating works
      • explanation of the process for remaining ratings: classroom help, exam review, written exam, practice flight, checkride flight, certification
      • VATSIM and VATSTAR prerequisites

 

VATSIM P2 Rating -- Flight Fundamentals

  • Part One -- Basics of Flight
    • Lesson 1: What Makes an Airplane Fly? (basic wing aerodynamics; angle of attack; stalls)
      • what generates lift
      • angle of attack
      • stalls
    • Lesson 2: What a Drag (thrust vs drag, lift vs weight)
      • four main forces of flight -- lift, weight, thrust, drag
    • Lesson 3: At the Center Of It All (center of gravity; weight and balance)
      • center of gravity
      • center of lift
      • aircraft design and stability
      • weight limits versus balance limits
      • changing CG due to fuel consumption
    • Lesson 4: Yaw Come Back Now, Ya' Hear? (pitch, roll, and yaw; aircraft control surfaces)
      • three axes of movement -- roll, pitch, yaw
      • aircraft control surfaces -- ailerons, elevator, rudder; also flaps and slats, and spoilers
      • thrust as it relates to aircraft control
    • Lesson 5: A Symphony of Instruments (aviation instruments and gauges)
      • Aviate, Navigate, Communicate
      • critical gaues (airspeed, altitude, attitude)
      • other gauges (turn coordinator, vertical speed, heading / HSI, engine instruments)
      • how they work, inaccuracies / other issues, failure states (causes and solutions)
      • glass cockpits
    • Lesson 6: Lights! Camera! Lights! (external lighting systems and their uses)
      • anti-collision lights -- red rotating beacon, white strobes
      • navigation / position lights (red / green / white)
      • landing lights and taxi lights
      • logo lights
    • Lesson 7: Hailing a Taxi (aircraft ground movement)
      • taxiways, markings and designations
      • appropriate speeds; groundloops
      • steering -- rudder, tiller, differential braking
      • light aircraft and recommended control surface positioning when taxiing in wind conditions
    • Lesson 8: Tying It All Together (the inter-dependence of control movement; coordinated turns)
      • left-turning tendencies in single-engine prop planes
      • pilot-induced oscillations
      • standard turn rate
      • adverse yaw and how to combat it
      • proper turn coordination, slips and skids
      • why a plane turns; why planes tend to lose altitude in turns, and how to combat it
    • Lesson 9: Fit and Trim (using trim tab settings)
      • how trim controls work, and where they are located in the cockpit
      • why and when they are useful
    • Lesson 10: Lifting Me Higher and Higher (taking off; climbing and descending)
      • takeoff roll performance charts
      • decision speeds ("V-speeds") and other critical airspeeds; proper power settings
      • the interdependency of thrust and pitch, especially in climbs and descents
      • takeoff procedure, integrating aviation with navigation and communication
      • speed limits during cruise
    • Lesson 11: Home, James (approach and landing)
      • runway designations, reciprocal runways
      • extended centerlines and localizers, glideslopes
      • approach speeds and descent rate
      • approach and landing configuration
      • flare and ground effect
      • crosswind corrections
      • aiming blocks
      • missed approaches and go-arounds
  • Part Two -- Intro to Flight Planning
    • Lesson 12: The Air Up There (effect of altitude on wing, engine, and instrument performance)
      • standard atmosphere
      • effect of altitude on lift and engine / propellor performance, mixture adjustment; effect on stall speed
      • maximum speeds / Mach numbers
      • transition altitude, and the difference between MSL and Flight Level; effects of low barometric pressure
      • density altitude and pressure altitude; effect of humidity
    • Lesson 13: Whether to Weather the Weather (wind, temperature, and other weather effects)
      • METARs and TAFs
      • airspeed versus groundspeed
      • danerous weather
      • weather simulation challenges
    • Lesson 14: Run, Run Away (runway selection considerations)
      • runway length
      • wind direction and speed
      • other air traffic, local custom / procedure
      • convenience (short taxi to or from parking, straight-in approach or straight-out departure)
    • Lesson 15: Feel the Burn (fuel considerations, planning, and management)
      • the dilemma of fuel versus weight
      • burn rates for climb and cruise
      • wind factors
      • reserves (including choosing an alternate landing site)
    • Lesson 16: Making a List, Checking it Twice (the use of checklists)
      • aircraft checklists
      • prodecural checklists
      • emergency checklists

 

VATSIM P3 Rating -- VFR Flight Planning and Flying

  • Part One -- VFR Flight Planning
    • Lesson 1: I Can See for Miles and Miles (choosing VFR over IFR)
      • pros and cons, and different challenges, of VFR versus IFR
      • conditions in which IFR is required
      • traffic separation responsibility in VFR versus IFR flight
      • VFR on VATSIM (as opposed to the real world) with respect to weather conditions
    • Lesson 2: Class Action (airspace classes)
      • description of various airspace classes
      • VFR visibility and cloud clearance minimums in each airspace class
    • Lesson 3: I'm in the Pink Blob Next to the Blue Blob (reading VFR sectionals)
      • where to find VFR sectionals
      • how B, C, and D airpsace classes are depicted
      • the various floors/ceilings for Class E and G
      • prohibited airspace, restricted airspace, MOAs, Warning and Alert Areas
      • airports and their depictions and accompanying information
      • radio navigation aids (VORs and NDBs), Victor airways
      • obstacles and minimum safe altitudes
      • towns / cities, highways, railroads, power lines, rivers / streams, terrain level changes
    • Lesson 4: At the Height of the Activity (VFR altitudes)
      • valid altitudes for direction of flight
      • minimum safe altitudes
      • realistic cruise altitude for distance / duration of flight
      • cloud forecasts, headwinds aloft
      • fuel considerations
    • Lesson 5: Point A to Point B (routes and navigation)
      • dead reckoning
      • visual references
      • radio nav-aids -- VOR and NDB stations
      • GPS moving-map displays
      • multi-modal navigation methods and cross-references
      • VFR route planning, navigation, and flight logs
  • Part Two -- Flying VFR
    • Lesson 6: Round and Round (VFR traffic pattern)
      • purpose for standard patterns
      • determining which is the standard pattern for a given runway
      • parts of a standard pattern; standard entries and exits
      • CTAF announcements
      • procedural differences at controlled fields; extended downwinds and short approaches
    • Lesson 7: All the Pretty Lights (visual landing aids)
      • general description of red/white lights and concepts used
      • more specific description of VASI, PAPI, and PVASI systems
      • information in Airport Facility Directory
    • Lesson 8: Almost But Not Quite There (low approaches, touch-and-gos, stop-and-gos)
      • closed traffic in CTAF and ATC settings
      • low approach, touch-and-go, stop-and-go, full-stop, full-stop-and-taxi-back
      • "cleared for the option"
      • common safety considerations (changing configuration, runway length and far-threshold overruns)
    • Lesson 9: Cruise Control (autopilot use)
      • brief history of flight automation; different autopilot capabilities
      • master switch
      • heading/lateral modes: wing leveler, heading hold, NAV mode, yaw damper
      • altitude/vertical modes: attitude hold, altitide hold, vertical speed hold, APP mode
      • dangers of climbing/descending via a target vertical speed
      • autothrottle
      • full flight management systems and their pitfalls
    • Lesson 10: Talking the Talk (ATC communications when VFR)
      • differences between IFR and VFR clearances
      • VFR departures
      • entering and exiting controlled airspace; radar-identification, radar service termination
      • flight following and traffic point-outs
      • VFR arrivals; contingency plans for denial of Class B entry
    • Lesson 11: Around, Over, Under, or Through? (airspace transitions)
      • routing considerations and impact on fuel planning
      • circumnavigation methods; contingency plans for denial of Class B entry; "under the shelf"
      • performance, fuel, and weather considerations, and Mode-C requirement, for going over top of the airspace
      • requesting transition through the airspace; fuel considerations for a less-than-straight path
      • published VFR Transition Routes
    • Lesson 12: Mixing It Up! (merging VFR and IFR traffic)
      • refresher on traffic separation responsibilites when VFR versus IFR
      • IFR versus VFR considerations in certain airspace classes, with or without ATC staffing
      • separation in the landing pattern with aircraft of widely differing performance
      • helicopter traffic and how it impacts VFR operation

 

VATSIM P4 Rating -- IFR Flight Planning and Flying

  • Part One -- IFR Flight Planning
    • Lesson 1: Hazy Shade of Winter (choosing IFR over VFR, VFR-on-top, SVFR)
      • traffic separation responsibility
      • IFR flight plans and clearances
      • when to cancel IFR
      • conditions when IFR is mandatory
      • conditions when IFR might be chosen, even when not mandatory
      • VFR-on-top and SVFR
    • Lesson 2: A Touch of Class (airspace classes)
      • why VATSIM IFR pilots must know where airspace boundaires are
      • description of Class A, B, C, D, E, and G airspace; TRSAs
      • examples of airspace classes as depicted on VFR sectionals
    • Lesson 3: SIDs, STARs, and IAPs -- Oh My! (reading IFR charts, SIDs and STARs, and IAPs)
      • where to find charts for SIDs, STARs, and IAPs
      • definition of SID, STAR, and IAP; description of various types of waypoints
      • top altitudes
      • "default" SIDs
      • naming of SID and STAR procedures
      • altitude and speed restrictions, versus vertical navigation planning information
      • different types of SIDs and STARs; RNAV procedures
      • importance of compliance, forks and merge points; when to break off from STAR
      • intro to IAPs
    • Lesson 4: You Can't Get There from Here (routes and navigation)
      • reasoning for requiring realistic routes
      • airways and waypoints
      • where to find real-world routes, limitations of FS9/FSX route planner
      • creating your own ATC-friendly route
      • radio navigation
    • Lesson 5: The First Runner-Up (selecting an alternate airport)
      • conditions which require an alternate to be filed
      • requirements for the alternate airport
      • alternate minimums for IAPs
    • Lesson 6: I'm So High Right Now (IFR altitudes)
      • validity for direction of flight
      • altitude restriction and minimum enroute altitude compliance
      • realistic to attain cruise for duration of flight
      • weather considerations; losing lower flight levels in low barometric pressure
      • fuel economy at altitude versus fuel needed to attain altitude; step-climbs
      • service ceilings; hypoxic effects
    • Lesson 7: Fill 'Er Up (fuel considerations when IFR)
      • balancing economy with speed
      • calculating appropriate reserves for commercial versus non-commercial IFR
      • conversion from gallons to pounds
      • various reserve categories and their meaning
    • Lesson 8: Managerial Decisions (flight management systems)
      • purpose of the FMC
      • basic operation; line-select, scratchpad
      • sequence of main screens; POS INIT, RTE, and PERF INIT; cost index
      • secondary screens; DEP/ARR, N1 LIMIT, TAKEOFF REF, calculating V-speeds
      • entering routes; route discontinuities
      • LNAV and VNAV; calculating top-of-descent
  • Part Two -- Flying IFR
    • Lesson 9: A Slippery Slope (ILS approaches)
      • locating charts
      • localizer and glideslope; Morse identifiers; DME
      • reading and interpreting information contained on charts
      • understanding minimums; runway visual range
      • IAFs, IFs, FAFs, MAPs
      • vectors to final approach course
      • flying full approaches; hold entries; procedure turns
    • Lesson 10: If at First You Don't Succeed (missed approaches)
      • rationale for their existance
      • when and how to prep; pre-setting instruments and standby frequencies
      • reading the Missed Approach Procedure on the IAP chart
      • performing the hold
      • negating the published missed
    • Lesson 11: Say What? (ATC communications when IFR)
      • general reminders regarding communication best practices
      • retreiving ATIS and indicating ATIS received to Controller
      • reminder about readbacks and acknowledgments
      • shortened callsigns
      • complete phraseology guide for a typical IFR flight
    • Lesson 12: Un-Control Freak (IFR at uncontrolled fields)
      • who to talk to
      • obtaining clearance with release
      • operating on CTAF; one-in, one-out rule; VFR and IFR traffic coexisting
      • differences between ATC-based arrival and non-towered arrival
      • custom and courtesy when cancelling IFR
    • Lesson 13: Plans Have Changed (diverting to alternate)
      • review of fuel reserve planning and weather briefing
      • diverting to filed alternate or other destination, or hold fix at pilot's discretion
      • obtaining an amended IFR clearance
      • considerations when using MSFS default GPS
    • Lesson 14: Mixing It Up... again! (merging VFR and IFR traffic)
      • ATC priorities when mixing IFR and VFR traffic
      • pilot responsibilities when IFR in non-staffed area
      • considerations and courtesies to follow in each type of space and phase of flight
      • proper CTAF use and coordination with other pilots
      • self-vectoring for approach

 

VATSIM P5 Rating -- Advanced IFR Concepts

  • Part One -- Non-Precision Instrument Approaches
    • Lesson 1: This is Getting VOR-ing (VOR approaches)
      • intro to non-precision approaches
      • LOC-only approaches
      • VOR approaches
      • reference radials instead of DME
      • timing the FAF to the MAP
    • Lesson 2: A Non-Directional Approach... seriously (NDB approaches)
      • intro to NDBs and ADFs
      • ADF display types, and relative bearings
      • terminal and non-terminal NDB approaches
    • Lesson 3: Taking the Back Roads (LOC back-course approaches)
      • review of localizers and how they work
      • real-world versus sim-world limitations
      • reverse sensing
      • increasad deviation sensitivity
    • Lesson 4: Imaginary Lines (RNAV approaches)
      • RNP versus GPS units and their capabilities
      • vertical guidance on RNAV approaches
      • different formats of RNAV (GPS) versus RNAV (RNP) approaches
      • ATC clearances for RNAV approaches
    • Lesson 5: Raiders of the Lost Arc (DME arcs)
      • position plotting via VOR/DME
      • DME arc defined and examples
      • how to navigate along the arc
      • flying the full approach with arc feeder
    • Lesson 6: Flying in Circles (circling approaches)
      • when are circling approaches used
      • generic approaches versus circling from another runway's approach
      • minimums for circling versus straight-in approaches
      • ATC communication regarding circling approaches
  • Part Two -- Holds, Instrument Failures, and Other Malfunctions
    • Lesson 7: No Holds Barred (holding patterns)
      • reasons for holds
      • elements of the holding pattern
      • speed limits
      • depicted versus impropmptu holds
      • ATC communication regarding holds
      • flying a hold with wind correction
      • hold entry methods
    • Lesson 8: Flying Blind (zero-visibility flying)
      • reliance on instrumentation over physical sensation
      • instrument scan
      • distractions and troubleshooting problems while in IMC
    • Lesson 9: Speed Demons (pitot tube icing)
      • how airspeed indicators work
      • what happens during pitot tube failure
      • fixing or preventing pitot failure
      • flying with inoperable pitot
    • Lesson 10: The Data is Inconclusive (static tube icing)
      • what is the static tube
      • what happens during static tube blockage
      • fixing or preventing static tube failure
      • flying with blocked static port
    • Lesson 11: Vacuum Sucks, and Fuses Blow (partial-panel failures)
      • what does vacuum system do
      • recognizing vacuum failure
      • flying without gyro instruments
      • ATC-directed "no-gyro" approaches
      • electrical failures; total versus singlular circuit
      • loss of avionics
      • loss of COM radios and/or transponder
      • loss of lighting
      • loss of turn-rate indicator
      • troubleshooting and/or rectifying electrical issues
      • VATSIM versus real-world emergency prioritization
    • Lesson 12: The Cold Shoulder (icing conditions)
      • VATSIM versus real-world icing considerations; AIRMETs and SIGMETs
      • ground de-icing operations
      • air temp, humidity, and cloud considerations
      • various types and effects of ice buildup in-flight
      • in-flight anti-icing and de-icing measures
      • carb icing
      • landing in slippery conditions

 

VATSTAR Certificate -- International and Oceanic Flying

  • Part One -- Trans-Oceanic Route and Flight Planning
    • Lesson 1: Take the Lat/Lon Way Home (latitude and longitude)
      • coordinate system terminology and basic concepts
      • converting between different types of coordinate expression
      • 5-character (ARINC 424) shorthand
    • Lesson 2: The Shortest Distance Between Two Points is a... Circle? (intro to global routing concepts)
      • 2-D versus 3-D map distortion and Great Circle routing
      • polar routes
      • domestic and oceanic components of routes
    • Lesson 3: Permanent Waves (permanent trans-oceanic routes)
      • overview of routes and altitudes
      • specific routes between US and select common destinations
    • Lesson 4: The NAT-ural Way (the North Atlantic Track system)
      • purpose and basic concepts
      • lettering and numbering system
    • Lesson 5: Christopher Columbus, Eat Your Heart Out (online route-building tools)
      • why US-based domestic route sources aren't useful
      • ASA RouteFinder as a route-generating tool
      • SimRoutes as a route validation and editing tool
    • Lesson 6: A Fish Out of Water (international terminology, procedures, and charts)
      • terminology differences
      • differences in units of measurement
      • procedural differences
      • locating aeronautical charts
  • Part Two -- Performing Trans-Oceanic Flights
    • Lesson 7: "Paging Captain Herman; Captain P.W. Herman..." (overview of SELCAL)
      • definitions and basic concepts
      • valid code selection
    • Lesson 8: Making Long-Term Plans (filing trans-oceanic flightplans)
      • IFR versus VFR, basic information, use of initial speed and cruise altitude values
      • notating oceanic cruise speed and altitude values
    • Lesson 9: Take a Gander at my Shanwick (overview of oceanic ATC facilities and concepts)
      • basics of ATC's traffic separation methodology
      • overview of terminology and procedural differences
      • overview of Oceanic facilities commonly used into and out of the US
    • Lesson 10: Clear Blue Ocean (obtaining oceanic clearance)
      • obtaining full North Atlantic clearance while airborne
      • obtaining full North Atlantic clearance from ground
      • US-based, ATC-negotiated Oceanic clearance
    • Lesson 11: Assuming the Position (flying within oceanic control areas)
      • basic concepts, altitudes, squawk codes, Zulu time accuracy
      • position reports
      • change of ETA, change of altitude
      • Strategic Lateral Offsets
      • abiding by the Code of Conduct with respect to cockpit absence
    • Lesson 12: Doing a Little Pond-Hopping (tips and tricks specific to the Cross The Pond event)
      • event overview and timeline
      • booking timeslots, flying as non-event traffic, route briefings
      • tips for PC prep, booting up, connecting, route and fuel planning
      • tips for coping with extra Ground controllers, Pre-Departure Clearances
      • taxiing tips, contact vs monitor tower
      • tips for coping with high ATC staffing levels, high traffic levels
      • fuel status issues, use of holds, diverting, coping with high arrival traffic levels

Direct all questions to Rob Shearman, Jr., Chief Flight Instructor for VATSTAR (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and author of all of the above lesson material.

 


Rob Shearman, Jr. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Chief Flight Instructor, VATSTAR
DISCLAIMER: all information contained herein is for flight simulation purposes only.
revised May 2017

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