This Blog Post was originally published on adagia.org.
Recently I found back to Microsofts FlightSim 2020. A youtuber and twitch streamer I discovered through the algorithm, a german pilot, sparked my interest again.
You can find him here (Youtube) and here (Twitch).
So I thought to myself, let's mount my FlyHoneycomb Gear again and make a short trip inside Austria. Easier said than done. Microsoft Flightsim greeted me with a 100 GB update. No flying this evening.
While it was updating I was continuing to watch videos from riiiva and found out he was flying on vatsim (https://www.vatsim.net/), a network that connects FlightSim enthusiasts so they can fly together. Sure MSFS has an online multiplayer but Vatsim is different.
It not only connects all current flight simulators (MSFS2020, X-Plane, FSX, ...) it also has people on it that provide ATC (Air Traffic Control) Services. This means you have to radio just like in the real world (well not as strict as the real world, but really, really close).
Since I got my radio certificate a few years back, while I was still doing my private pilot licence, I thought to myself: hey, I should know the phrases I need to say, why not try it?
The next day MSFS was finally finished updating and I reconfigured my flight gear as the configuration was messed up after the update. After a short trip from LOAV to LOWW (Bad Vöslau to Vienna), I decided it was time to try out Vatsim myself.
Almost three hours later I finished my first flight on Vatsim in Vienna. It was a great experience and definitely not the last time I was flying on there. But boy was it exhausting. Although flying is mostly done by autopilot, you still have to tune in the frequencies for the radio communication yourself and also have to talk yourself. So besides overwatching the plane, there is now also the added overhead for transmitting your intentions. But the fun is worth it.