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VATSIM Tutorial - Part 1 Getting Started.

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This is the first of a few tutorials for those of you who would love to fly online with VATSIM, and experience the thrill of flying with live, real Air Traffic Control, but have never really go started.

'What's VATSIM', I hear you cry. VATSIM.net stands for Virtual Air Traffic Simulation Network, and is an online community of virtual pilots and controllers who all share a passion for simulation. VATSIM enables the pilot to fly in a real-time, realistic environment with live ATC and other pilots connected from around the world, from Cherokees doing circuits, Concordes trans-Atlantic and Typhoon air displays, you can do it all.

This first tutorial is all about getting registered and ready for your first flight.

It must be noted that the VATSIM Pilot Resource Center has some very good material on getting started, and that I am only offering my own personal point of view. It would be advisable to visit http://www.vatsim.net , and on the left hand side of the page you will see in red 'NEW PILOTS START HERE'. Click on this and you will be taken to the PRC (Pilot Resource Center).

Scroll down and click 'Click here to join VATSIM'

Read the Code of Conduct (It's good to do this to help you become a well respected pilot online)

Click yes, and the fill in the registration which follows.

On your 'prefered region' you should fill in where you come from, or are likely to be flying most. For example, if you are from the UK you would choose Europe; the USA would be North America, and so on.

As per usual when signing up, you should have your user ID displayed and your password sent to the e-mail address you registered with. Make sure your anti-spam filters are set accordingly.

It is a very good idea to make a note of both of these numbers and keep it safe and accesible as you will need them at various stages along the way.


Now you're registered, you're going to need to have your computer set up ready to fly. These are the applications I use and would thoroughly recommend, and I will say more about each in further tutorials:

vRoute - An all-round planning facility that has many features to let you create routes, see who else is online, see ATC coverage of your route, see weather info and access aerodrome charts.

Download from http://squawkbox.ca/downloads/ Download from one of the mirror sites. Again, this is a free application.

vasFMC - This is a stand-alone flight management computer that will allow you to follow a formal route using VORs, NDBs and Airways with freeware aircraft that may not come with an FMC. It's very useful should you be flying an aircraft without a built in FMC.

Charts - NATS. It is always a good idea to have the relevant charts for you flight, including SIDS, STARs and Aerodrome charts. For the UK, the site is

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Good job, Phil. I think a lot of folks are interested and just a little intimidated by the front end. Your work should help ease the fears and help people through it. Looking forward to the rest.


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