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Event Guidelines

Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 4:35 pm
by Wayne Conrad
Following is the latest and greatest club guidelines, in two sections: One for the pilot wanting to join a flight, and another for a pilot wanting to plan and advertise a flight.

Suggestions, corrections, and new ideas gladly accepted.

Wayne Conrad
Director of Milk, Cookies and Naptime
ZLA VFR Flying Club

Joining a flight

Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 4:39 pm
by Wayne Conrad
How to Join a Flight

Joining in a VFR Flying Club event is simple. Show up at the starting airport before the starting time. Join the ZLA Teamspeak server, and wait for the event leader to kick things off.

It's that simple, and that's on purpose. LA VFR Flying Club events are easy-going, fun events that are ideal for meeting friends, teaching and learning about VFR flying and enjoying the scenery. We're all here to fly, teach and learn.


"Joining a Flight" Q&A

Q: Who may fly in a ZLA VFR Flying Club event?

A: Anyone.

Q: May I fly in formation?

A: Yes. Vatsim specifically allows formation flying, provided that all pilots in the formation are willing. Pilots flying in VFR events implicitely grant permission for formation flying (but see the next question).

Q: Flying too close crashes my software. May I ask that pilots not fly formation on me?

A: Yes. Politely ask for more distance.

Q: What if ATC asks us not to fly in formation?

A: If asked not to fly in formation, you must comply immediately. It's a Vatsim rule.

Q: Can a pilot do anything they want during a VFR event?

A: Yes. A VFR event is a voluntary gaggle of pilots flying a common flight plan. However, pilots may deviate from the flight plan as they please, just as they may in real life. Nobody may require another pilot to, for example, fly a certain route or use a certain airplane.

Q: But the pilot is breaking Vatsim rules. What do I do?

A: If needed, .wallop. But first try education and reason. VFR events are a low-stress, easy-to-join way for pilots to enjoy flying together. We expect and want to get new pilots who may not know all of the rules. Be tolerant and understanding, and only resort to .wallop when it's clear that the rule breaker is a meanie.

Q: How should we communicate?

A: For voice chart, please use the ZLA Teamspeak server. If you need text chat, use 122.90.

Q: What if we have to talk to controllers?

A: Be sure not to use the private voice channel to communicate at any time the group is using ATC services: It makes it too difficult to hear ATC instructions. Also, do not make any transmissions to the group over the ATC frequency. Reserve group chatter for those times when we are not talking to ATC. Typically, talking to ATC will be only during takeoff, departure, approach, and landing at fields serviced by ATC.

Q: What if I show up late?

A: No problem. Ask the group which airfield the flight will pass over or near next. Take off there and join the flight.

Q: I won't be able to stay for the whole flight. May I still fly?

A: Of course! Fly when you can, for as long as you can. When you have to leave, bid the flight farewell. You may land at the nearest field, land off field, or just disconnect.

Q: What if the event planner doesn't show up?

A: Stuff happens. If the pilot who planned the flight doesn't show up, check the thread he created in this forum to see if the planner left notice. Also check vRoute or ServeInfo to see if the pilot is logged on. Maybe one of you is at the wrong airfield. In any case, if the planner doesn't show up after some reasonable amount of time, the other pilots are free to begin the flight. Hopefully the planner will be able to join enroute.

Q: This flight is at night, but my airplane doesn't have lights. Or I just want to see the sights.

A: No problem. Just set your time to daytime. If you've filed a flight plan, add "Daylight conditions" to it as a courtesy to the controllers.

Q: I'm at full throttle and I can't keep up with another pilot in the exact same plane. What gives?

A: Vatsim weather is not an exact science. The variety of weather programs (SB3, Active Sky) and weather settings (e.g. FSUPIC wind smoothing) will sometimes cause one pilot to have different winds than another pilot. One or both of the pilots may elect to turn of Vatsim weather. Or you could just pretend that your plane's engine is close to TBO, tired and worn out, and the other plane's engine is a fresh factory rebuild.

How to Plan an Event

Posted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 4:40 pm
by Wayne Conrad
Planning a ZLA VFR Flying Club Event

Planning a ZLA VFR Flying Club event is almost as simple as joining one. Just find a route that will be fun for you, and invite others along ("If you plan it, they will fly!").

Once you've planned your flight, create a thread in this forum. In the title, include the starting date and time and a short description of the flight. In the message, include:
  • The starting airport's ICAO code.

    The destination.

    The starting date and time, in Zulu, and in at least one US time zone. For example, 6/8 0200Z is 6/7 1900Z MST.

    The approximate flight time.

    What type, speed, or capability of plane will be appropriate for the flight. For example, "The leader will be flying a SuperCub," or "Cruise speed approx 120 knots," or "short field capability required."

    How to communicate with the group. For example, "When you show up on the ramp, tune your radio to 122.90."
For extra credit, add charts or other helpful material to the notice.

Planning Q&A

Q: What is a VFR Flying Club Event?

A: A VFR Flying Club event is an invitation from one pilot to any other pilots to join in a VFR flight.

Q: Who may plan an event?

A: Anyone.

Q: Can a pilot do anything they want during a VFR event?

A: Yes. A VFR event is a voluntary gaggle of pilots flying a common flight plan. However, pilots may deviate from the flight plan as they please, just as they may in real life. Nobody may require another pilot to, for example, fly a certain route or use a certain airplane.

Q: Should we request flight following?

A: I don't recommend it. When tuned to an ATC frequency, private text and voice communication will be either difficult or impossible.

Q: Do these events have to be flown in ZLA airspace?

A: No.

Q: What if the weather is not VFR?

A: Pilots may turn their weather off. Having the same weather as the rest of the Vatsim world is desirable because it makes the flight more interesting, it makes it easier for the group to stay together, and it can simplify ATC's life. But it is not required, especially since VFR Club flights are seldom in contact with ATC.

Q: I planned a flight, but can't show.

A: We're sorry you couldn't make it. Post reply on the end of the notice, if you can. For example, "Something's come up, and I can't be there for this flight. Please go ahead without me."

Q: May I plan a flight that requires a plan that can cruise at a certain altitude or speed?

A: Yes, of course. The rule is that no pilot may be excluded from a flight, and a pilot may fly any plane. However, that does not mean you are not required to make a flight that any plane can fly. For example, if you plan a 400NM flight cruising at 220 knots, a pilot may fly a J3 cub if he wants, but he won't be staying up with the group.

Q: May I plan a flight that requires navaids?

A: Yes. VFR navigation may be by ded reckoning, pilotage, VOR, GPS, or psychic powers. You should mention in your announcement if any navigation equipment beyond compass, eyeballs, and stopwatch is required.

[Friday Jan 1] Biplanes to Podunk

Posted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 11:56 am
by Wayne Conrad
This is a sample flight announcement.

Please join me in a VFR flight especially for biplanes.

Origin: KNWV (Nowheresville)
Destination: KPDN (Podunk)
Start time:
* Jan 2 0200Z
* Jan 1 900Z PDT
Flight time: About 1.5 hours
Best airplane: Biplane capable of 60 knot cruise
Communications: Please join the ZLA Teamspeak server

VFR Flying Club

Posted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:34 am
by Don Smith
Hey Wayne
Can I 'STEAL' your Sticky(s) to start a VFR Flying Club in Texas?
I would give you full and much deserved credit for the time and effort that you put into the format of a very good ZLA VFR Flying Club model. The wording of your plan is concise and easy to understand. The key, I believe is the clear approach with which you laid out the Rules (of Engagement), Q&A, and Flight Example. If I remember correctly, you went through several attempts and consulted various people to make contributions to the current instrument. All that contributed to the final draft would of course be recognized.
I am not saying that I would defiantly start a ZFW Flying Club, but I thought I would ask before I pursued it further.

ZLA VFR Flying Club

Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 2:31 pm
by Don Smith
Hey Wayne
NOT a problem, I will NOT be stealing your VFR Flying Club guidelines! Come to find out, ZFWARTCC doesn't even have a Forum for Pilots to use (only Controllers).
You guys (Pilots) at ZLA are really lucky to have an outlet like the Forum to express yourselves. Thanks anyway, Wayne!

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 2:31 pm
by Wayne Conrad
Don, Sorry I didn't reply in a timely fashion: I didn't see your request. To answer it, I have no problem with anyone using these guidelines as a starting point for a better idea.