Over the past few weeks, I have noticed an increase of some pilots not cooperating with the controllers and purposely causing conflicts. As it has always been, the main focus of ZOTSOT is to aid the student in training, not make it difficult for a controller to run the position or be in fear the moment someone logs on. Some have taken the entire aspect of controlling on VATSIM out of proportion when they fly. If you would not see it during a regular online session, nobody wants to see it in any student’s session. I do not appreciate it nor does the student.
Here are some of the “tricks” I have seen ZLA pilots pull in the last few weeks:
-Turning in front of a B737/B752/B744/A388 from downwind when the aircraft is a mile ahead, in plain site. Unless the goal is to ruin a pilot’s landing after a long flight, this makes absolutely no sense at all. Same applies to cutting in front of someone in the pattern.
-Playing “speed up, slow down” while on downwind so both pilots can wave to each other. C172s travel at the same speeds…
-Getting three pilots to fly the pattern for fun, demanding the same side, best of all, at KLAX. Go to BNG and enjoy yourselves on unicom.
-Being a complete and utter know it all on frequency. Do not defeat the purpose of training, regardless if you know it or not. If a student tells someone to turn to a frequency, humor everybody and do it.
-Turning from downwind to final within half a mile of the runway (half the time pilots have to crash-land to make it).
-Flying up north to purposely penetrate another controller’s airspace. Sadly, a majority of these people are tower controllers themselves, which only makes it more pathetic.
None of these are teaching a student, to any extent. It is setting up a student for failure, which is the opposite of what a “real” pilot would do when flying for a student’s session.
As a general rule, if a instructor/mentor has something specific, they will advise you what they would like to do. However, good judgment needs to be taken when deciding what to do yourself. If there are two pilots already flying in the pattern, perhaps a short IFR hop to BUR will be beneficial for a student rather than sticking a third pilot in the pattern. If there is already a pilot circling south of the field to land, maybe consider calling SOCAL and performing a practice ILS approach so the student can practice with IFR arrivals. During sessions - tower sessions in particular - we look for variety of traffic, not the same stuff over and over. If you think your helping a student by joining the “going south” limbo behind three other pilots, in the end it is always equivalent to one.
Any traffic for a student is beneficial. Every session we get countless ZLA members who help out, but their are still a few who still do not understand what helping is. Use common sense while flying, if you do not want a pilot doing it to you during your session, do not do it to them.