When you have mastered the basics of flying the simulator, you may, as the Club's founder members did all those years ago, find yourself wishing that you could see other aircraft in your simulated world; aircraft actually piloted by human beings, that is, not just those generated by the "artificial intelligence" (AI) inbuilt feature of the simulator. But you are all alone. However, when you join the Club, you join a world inhabited by around a hundred thousand flight simulation enthusiasts - real people. We no longer fly alone (which was one of the Club's early slogans, by the way.) Club members fly "on line" by joining one of two (or both) online communities; VATSIM and IVAO.
Online Air Traffic Communities
VATSIM is a contraction of Virtual Air Traffic Simulator.
IVAO stands for International Virtual Aviation Organisation. Members
of these two organisations join as pilots or as virtual Air
Traffic Controllers (or both). Pilots, including CIX VFR Club
members, interact with other pilots and with Air Traffic Controllers
(ATC) using special Pilot software. The virtual ATC members
log in at an airport and, as in the real world, direct pilots
on the ground to the correct runways; in the skies to avoid
collisions and supervise landings and take-offs, using special
Setting up your VATSIM System
Getting started with VATSIM requires installation of a special
application to connect the pilot to the VATSIM servers via
Flight Simulator´s inbuilt multiplayer function. There
are three "Pilot Client" programmes available - "Squawkbox", "FSInn" and
a more recent one "vPilot". Which one to use boils
down to personal preference. New members will probably prefer
vPilot simply because it is an up-to-date application. Links
to download the VATSIM Pilot Client software can be found on
Installation and connecting to VATSIM is not difficult if
the instructions are followed carefully. The links here lead
to two documents which describe the set up procedures for flying
with the Club and VATSIM: Using
It is well worth looking at, and bookmarking VATSIM's own Pilot
Resource Centre, which contains all you ever need to
know about VATSIM, and more.
Setting up your IVAO System
Getting started with IVAO, like VATSIM, requires installation
of a special application to connect the pilot to the IVAO servers
via Flight Simulator´s inbuilt multiplayer function.
IVAO has only one Pilot Client - "IVAP". The link
to download IVAP can be found on the Software
Downloads page. IVAO´s website is organised differently
so it is best to start at the IVAO Home
page and browse the menus. Of particular interest (and
importance) initially would probably be "About
IVAO/Rules and Regulations".
Much of the fun - perhaps even 50% of the fun - is in planning
your flight. Even before you decide where to go, you need to
plan things like:
What aircraft am going to fly?
Does it carry enough fuel to get there?
Can I land there, even if I can get there?
These questions and many others are covered in a number of links
and downloads on our Preflight
A useful exercise for those with previous experience of flight
simulator but new to the Club and VATSIM is to work through
Online training course. This is a series of ten tutorials
prepared by the Cix VFR Club which takes the new pilot from
a "sitting, watching and listening" exercise, to flying into a major
regional airport, on line and with live Air Traffic Control.
The course introduces members to online ATC and enables them
to learn at their own pace how to use it. Each lesson consists
of a Groundschool section on aviation law and theory, (not
heavy, but essential for flying on line), a discussion on flight
planning, and a practical exercise to fly using the information
in the lesson. Don't worry that the lessons are tailored for
VATSIM - they are equally valid for IVAO.
Talking to Air Traffic Control
The use of voice communications adds a great deal of realism to the Flightsim world. Pilots feel the same pressure to perform properly
as do real world pilots. To help members, we have produced a comprehensive manual of
Air Traffic Control information for VATSIM pilots.
It is much more than just a list of what to say and when to say it (and the replies you can expect from Air Traffic Controllers).
It is based on the latest real world practice, adapted for use on VATSIM and IVAO. Every Club pilot should have his own copy!