If any of these policies are in conflict with any other VATSIM policy, please notify VATCAR1/2
- VATCAR Staff
- Flight Information Regions (FIR)
- FIR Policy & Regulations Revisions
- Use of Text and Voice
- FIR Events
- Operations, Frequencies & Airspace Changes
- Conflict Resolution
- Special Task Assignments
- Login Callsigns
- Rating Restrictions (RR)
- Emergency Reports
- Military Operations
- FIR Transfer Policy
- Rating Advancement Policy
- VATCAR/FIR Website Policies and Procedures
- VATCAR Mentor Policy
- VATCAR Instructor Ratio Requirements
- VATCAR Instructor Policy
- Air Traffic Controllers & Hours
- Leave of Absence Policy
- VATCAR TeamSpeak Policy
Record of Changes
July 25th, 2017 – Mentor Policy Added, Instructor Ratio Requirements Added, Instructor Policy Amended. VATCAR3/Alex Long
VATCAR Staff members (Callsign “VATCARx”, where x denotes the staff position) are listed on the Division’s Staff page.
All Staff regardless of Division or FIR level; Must be a home controller and recognize VATCAR as his/her home Division.
In the absence of the Division Director of VATCAR (VATCAR1), The Deputy Director shall assume all duties and responsibilities of the division.
The FIR is the local organization serving a specific area within the Division, and established within VATCAR to perform the following roles:
- Coordinate training of new members
- Maintain archives of required material for Pilots and ATC within their airspace
- Coordinate ATC operations within their airspace
- Organize events
- Brief visiting pilots on procedures, and Communicate with VATCAR regarding local matters
- Official FIRs
An Official FIR must be directed by a member of minimum “Controller” ID Level, and will normally also include a Training Director (Instructor/Examiner), who is able to issue “Recommendations” to VATCAR’s Training Department for Controller Upgrades, following performed Controller Practical Tests (CPTs).
An Official FIR must provide, through their website, the necessary information for virtual Pilots and ATCs to operate within its Airspace. This should include:
- Training Department (custom tutorials, with links to other training material)
- Downloadable charts
- Other downloads (e.g. sector files, POF-files, scenery information, etc)
- FIR information (routes, navigation, regulations)
- Staff member lists (contact information)
- Member lists
- Link to related Virtual Aviation and Controlling websites
- An overview of all Official FIRs are displayed on VATCAR’s webpage
Each FIR’s Policies or Regulations revisions will have to be approved by VATCAR before becoming official. This approval requires the votes of VATCAR1, VATCAR2 and VATCAR3.
Voice restrictions, based on Controller ID level, do not apply within VATCAR.
Each controller who provides voice services must assure that his voice server IP is distributed to clients via his radar client software. In case the radar client software requires the voice IP to be entered manually, the voice IP must be the first line of the Controller’s ATIS, enabling pilot clients to identify the voice IP as quick as possible.
Text ATC remains active as the secondary mode of communication, and every pilot and controller must be able to exercise this if needed. Pilots must be tuned to their controller’s text ATC frequency (COM1 in FlightSimulator), even if they intend to use voice. Voice ATC is primary, to aid speed, ease, and realism of communications, but sometimes for various reasons, like voice connectivity problems, text-only communications has to be used.
Each FIR is free to organize its internal events, but for best purposes, we recommend to inform VATCAR5 in advance in order to promote the event.
Despite our efforts to maintain a high level of real world realism, any proposed change to operations, frequencies in use, and/or airspace, will have to be reviewed by VATCAR3.
This requirement will ensure that a new set of rules, even if it is based on real world changes, do not interfere with surrounding FIR’s operations.
To the extent possible, VATCAR strives to prevent conflicts and disputes from reaching a point that detracts from our activities, or results in disciplinary action.
It is not the intention of VATCAR to be involved in “personality conflicts”. However, if disputes do become disruptive in nature, or if specific complaints are brought forward, then VATCAR8, the Division Conflict Resolution Manager (herein DCRM), may intervene, or be asked to intervene. The DCRM will also be called upon in case of a Supervisor suspension of a user, for determination of guilt and suspension application (if required). User co-operation with the DCRM is a requirement for VATSIM membership, and refusal to co-operate may result in suspension.
For further information on disciplinary procedures, please read the VATSIM Code of Regulations & Code of Conduct.
A member may be suspended for 24 or 48 hours by a Supervisor for acting illegally within VATSIM Network. The DCRM will automatically be notified for 48 hour suspensions, and soon after that, the suspending Supervisor and the suspended member may be called upon by the DCRM to give further evidence. The DCRM will soon decide the penalty, further suspension or not, and inform all parties involved. If the suspended member disagrees, then he/she still have the right to appeal the decision to the Region RCRP, who will make the final decision.
When necessary, and under VATCAR interests, a Special Task Assignment (STA) can be delivered to one or more VATCAR members. This STA will act only for predetermined issues previously announced and assigned by VATCAR1.
Members connecting to the VATSIM network should use the following callsign name scheme for ATC positions in VATCAR airspace:
Four letter ICAO code (for Airport or FIR), optionally followed by the three letter ATC callsign suffix, depending on the station providing service.
(or _T_ for Training/Test procedures in progress)
Only the following ATC Callsign suffixes are authorized for ATC: DEL, GND, TWR, APP, DEP, CTR and FSS.
_CTR suffix is either “Control”, “Radar”, “Centre” or “Control Radar”
_OBS suffix must be used by ALL members connecting as Observers who do not provide ATC
_FSS suffix must be used for VATCAR Oceanic sectors, and any other station as specified below
_SUP suffix is for VATSIM Supervisors on Supervisory duty, and
VATCAR staff members, when operating in an official capacity shall use their staff callsign when signed on to the Network. Staff callsigns are identification to VATSIM members such as new students, controllers and pilots of those to whom they can go for assistance.
The “VATCARxx” prefixes shall be utilized for FIR and Divisional authorized staff only.
The following VATCAR RR Policy is in effect:
Controllers with a VATSIM ID level of “Ground Controller” (Level 1) are not allowed to logon and act as _TWR _APP/DEP, _CTR or _FSS.
Controllers with a VATSIM ID level of “Tower Controller” (Level 2) are not allowed to logon and act as _APP/DEP, _CTR or _FSS
Controllers with a VATSIM ID level of “TMA Controller” (Level 3) are not allowed to logon and act as _CTR or _FSS.
Each FIR may interpret these restrictions to benefit their own area. However, FIR rules may not be less strict than the VATCAR RR.
Final approval for a different RR (e.g. that both Student and Senior Student cannot logon as _CTR or _FSS) will be through the VATCAR Director, based on a written request from the FIR Air Director.
Disciplinary action may be taken against a member, if a Supervisor performs a 48 hours temporary suspension, or a FIR Director requests it from the VATCAR DCRM (VATCAR8).
VATCAR’s official Policy on this issue is in full compliance with VATSIM Code of Regulations & Code of Conduct.
The DCRM (VATCAR8) is in charge of administering such procedures, as stated above.
Supervisor and the suspended member may be called upon by the DCRM to give further evidence. The DCRM will soon decide the penalty, further suspension or not, and inform all parties involved. If the suspended member disagrees, then he/she still have the right to appeal the decision to the Region RCRP, who will make the final decision.
At the request of ATC or Supervisory personnel:
ATCs may deny an emergency, particularly to prevent delays to other pilots, or during heavy traffic periods. Emergencies are usually not welcome during fly-ins. If an emergency is denied (and the pilot is unable to resume normal flight), then the pilot shall immediately disconnect from the network.
Military Flights are allowed within VATCAR, as long as they:
- Do not interfere with civilian flights
- Are not on combat missions
- Do not interfere with politically sensitive matters and/or areas in the real world
- Do not have a political message passed by their activity
- Must follow standard IFR or VFR routes, or
- May follow different routes only after controller’s approval (if present)
- Aerial refueling, formation flying, precision approach, cargo and similar flights are allowed. Aircraft type does not matter as long as the above rules are followed.
ATC should request the “purpose” of the flight’s mission. If the response from the “Flight leader” does not seem to be in accordance with the above, then records should be taken (VATSIM ID, radar snapshots, callsigns, etc), and be reported to the DCRM for further action. Online verbal conflicts must be avoided.
Controllers who register with a specific FIR will be required to maintain membership with selected FIR for a period of no less than 90 days before applying to transfer to another FIR. This 90 day policy may be waived with approval by FIR Cheif, VATCAR3 and VATCAR1.
A Controller must also provided no less than 30 hours of online time as a controller in the 90 day period to qualify for a FIR Transfer
Time in Grade
— To be advanced to the S2 Rating, a student must have held an S1 rating for 30 days AND have controlled at least 20 hours on any DEL or GND position in the proceeding 30 days AND an S1 Checkout OTS/Sweatbox Session prior to starting S2 training.
— To be advanced to the S3 Rating, a student must have held an S2 rating for 30 days AND have controlled at least 50 hours on any TWR position in the proceeding 30 days AND an S2 Checkout OTS/Sweatbox Session prior to starting S3 training.
— To be advanced to the C1 Rating, a student must have held an S3 rating for 60 days AND have controlled at least 100 hours on any APP position in the proceeding 60 days AND an S3 Checkout OTS/Sweatbox Session prior to starting C1 training.
— C3 Rating
VATCAR will be using this rating as an award to our advanced C1/Centre controllers. To show our appreciation, to our hardworking Centre rated controllers (C1), who have done more than just log on, make 10 hours a month as most do, but the ones who go the extra mile in their Controlling, in assisting pilots, in being more than just a CTR rated ATC within their FIR but helping build their FIR in an outstanding way.
A small team of staff within VATCAR who hold a senior position or rating, would evaluate VATCAR’s C1 controllers who meet a set criteria. This evaluation can be done by one of the following:
1. A flight within that controller’s airspace when he/she is online
2. Log on the network as a OBS while the individual is doing ATC
3. Or any other means reasonable
We will either record the controllers ATC audio or video, then review it as a team (preferably at least 2 members or 3), to see if this controller has exceeded above average. A background check with the controller’s ATM to see how that said person has been performing on the FIR level. His FIR & VATCAR Contributions will also play a role in the decision.
Minimum requirements to be eligible for the C3 evaluation are:
1. Must have held a C1 for more than 1 year
2. Must have a minimum of 1000 hours as a C1
3. Must be active within their FIR for at least 6 months (Abiding by the FIR’s monthly hour policy)
4. Must be in good standing within VATCAR
— Waivers of advancement rules under special circumstances are available at the discretion of the VATCAR Training Director and FIR ATM
— Advancement requires passing both a written exam and online practical evaluation prior to consideration
— The minimum passing score for written tests shall be 80%
— Success of a practicle evaluation shall be determined by Controller holding an I1, I3 or by any Controller conducting the Training Session
— Minimum of one (1) Sweatbox Session during the training period for each Rating to be obtained
— In the event of failure of either the written or practicle evaluation, a minimum 7 Day waiting period must pass before testing consideration can again be given
— Waivers of testing rules under special circumstances are available at the discretion of the VATCAR Training Director and FIR ATM
The domain name “vatcar.org” is currently registered till 2016, the official owner name on the domain will be the current Division Director. In the event of a change in Division Directors, the outgoing Director will transfer all rights and access to the domain registration to the incoming Director. The Deputy Director of VATCAR will also have access to transfer the domain name if the outgoing Director is unable. This will provide a checks and balances regarding the access and ownership of the vatcar.org domain name.
The current webhost is provided by Toby Turlington on a dedicated server with 24/7 monitoring and a professional tech team onsite based in Chicago, IL. Daily / Monthly backups are not in place, therefore managed by each FIR ATM/DATM or Webmaster to keep costs down. VATCAR1/2/7 may create backups from time to time.
All FIRs are given One ( 1 ) FTP Account to access their files and site content. ATMs have the sole discretion of providing the details of the FTP Account to their DATM / Webmaster as long as the Webmaster is a part of staff and a home controller as set forth in “VATCAR Staff” Policy.
All FIRs are given Four ( 4 ) standard email addresses for staff. Additional can be requested within reason by contacting VATCAR7.
All VATCAR FIRs are hosted on the same server to monitor a checks and balance and to ensure all coding / performance is up to standard.
ALL coding / applications done from Members / Staff are the sole owners of VATCAR. All work is considered donated content
VATCAR only recognizes one Official Teamspeak server for VATCAR.
This server is located at: ts.vatcar.org:9402
This Teamspeak server is in place to provide one common place for all FIR controllers to come together and have a common communications platform. This current host has adequate bandwidth and capacity to meet all of VATCAR and FIR needs.
This policy is considered an official VATCAR policy and all FIR Chiefs are expected to ensure their websites comply with the above policy. If at any time there are questions regarding this policy please contact VATCAR1 & VATCAR2.
There will never be a limit placed on the quantity of mentors a FIR may have at any given time. Mentors may be S3 rated controllers and above, special consideration may be given to senior S2s who have shown outstanding knowledge and understanding of S1 and S2 concepts and skills. S2 and S3 mentors may only mentor for the positions below their certification levels, and not equal with. Example: an S3 mentor may only mentor S1 and S2 concepts.
No more than 5 students will be assigned per each I1/MTR at the facility. Each FIR will have an initial limit of 4 I1s and no limit placed on mentors. The following table will outline the number of instructors authorized based upon roster size of current controllers below a C1 rating or controllers whom are still in the training process to earn all certifications. A 5 students per training staff member ratio will be the goal.
Recommended Minimum Number of Mentors for Roster Size (This number may be exceeded as there is no current limit placed upon how many mentors a FIR may utilize)
Minimum Number of Total Training Staff Recommended
20 – 30
30 – 40
40 – 50
50 – 60
Each FIR will have a maximum number of Instructor slots based upon the Instructor Ratio Table. They will be filled at the discretion of the Air Traffic Manager & Training Administrator. Not all slots need to be filled at one time. Slots may be reserved for future instructors. All Instructor applicants will be approved by the VATCAR Training Director.
SENIOR INSTRUCTOR (I3)
The Senior Instructor function is reserved for the VATCAR Training Director and Instructors (I1) who will be functioning as Division Level Instructors. Division Level Instructors will be defined as instructors whom are providing instruction to students within authorized FIRs outside of their home FIRs. In addition to all the requirements for Instructor, these Instructors must familiarize themselves with Division level courses designed for controller promotions. They should also familiarize themselves with individual FIR policy and Standard Operating Procedures. Senior Instructors will be appointed by VATCAR1 and VATCAR3, with the written recommendation from VATCAR 2, their home FIR ATM/TA and the FIR for which they will be providing Division Level Instruction within. An updated list of Division Level Instructors will be maintained on the VATCAR Staff page of the VATCAR Website.
An Instructor is an administration function based on an ATMs recommendation and tasks performed within their FIR. This is the top function in a FIR, which is achieved based on knowledge and teaching skills.
Instructor ratings are earned by first, meeting the minimum requirements listed below and completing and passing the VATCAR Instructor Examination process. See Instructor Exam for details.
The function of an Instructor is a combination of SKILL and TEACHING.
Instructors are persons who are prepared to dedicate time and effort passing the gained knowledge and experience to the others, most notably to local FIRs Mentors and Trainers.
- Must have above average knowledge of VATSIM, VATCAR, and FIR rules and regulations.
- Must have excellent knowledge of ATC matters.
- Must have great pedagogic skills.
- Must have a good command of the English language, both written and spoken.
- Must not have any serious disciplinary history within VATSIM & VATCAR.
- Must have served as a Controller (C1) for at least 200 hours ONLINE before eligible for this function. (The minimum time can be waived by VATCAR1 or VATCAR3 if pertinent reasons exist to award an Instructor function for specific purposes.)
- Must be nominated by the local FIR Director or local Training Director if delegated by the FIR Director.
- Must have successfully completed the VATCAR Instructor Course & passed the VATCAR Instructor Examination. (Temporally stopped. Contact VATCAR1/2/3 for more info)
Controllers who have functioned as a FIR mentor and have at least 80 hours of documented session hours within their home FIR within the past six months may be considered for I1 once they have served as a C1 for at least 120 hours ONLINE before becoming eligible for I1. All other I1 minimum requirements remain applicable.
- Instructors are expected to assist the local FIR Training Departments as needed.
- Instructors will not have a specific task at VATCAR level. However, it is expected the Instructors to lead or assist on any special training-related project requested by VATCAR.
- Instructors must comply with their home FIR monthly hour activity requirements unless actively training or waived by their TA/ATM.
- The Instructor function will be terminated in the event the position held in a FIR, related to the function, is discontinued. The individual would revert back to his/her highest last held VATSIM controller rating.
- In the event an instructor fails to comply with the General Rules and Regulations of VATSIM / VATCAR / FIR.
- An audit, as to the online hours will be conducted regularly. Instructors who have not logged the minimum time will receive written notification that they are failing to comply with INS requirements. If performance does not improve suitably by the next audit, the INS will lose his/her rating and will revert back to the highest held VATSIM controller rating.
- Genuine, mitigating circumstances will of course be taken into consideration.
- On request from the FIR ATM/DATM/TA, with a valid reason provided.
Any INS candidate that has held an I1 or I3 rating within VATCAR in the previous 36 calendar months (3 years) may be absolved of the VATCAR INS Exam requirement if the following conditions are met:
– Approval by the recommending FIR ATM
– Approval by VATCAR1/2 and VATCAR3.
An INS candidate that has held a I1 or I3 rating within VATCAR in the previous 36 calendar months (3 years) can, however, be asked to take the VATCAR INS Exam in order to be granted the I1 rating if the recommending FIR Chief wishes to see the candidate undergo a “refresher” (the VATCAR INS Exam), or if the FIR Chief or VATCAR1/2 or VATCAR3 does not approve of foregoing the exam with that candidate.
VATCAR Official Controller Hour Policy
August 3rd 2008 VATCAR passed the following language pertaining to Controller Hour Requirements. VATCAR fully understands that we all have commitments to the real world (work, school, family, etc) we will always remain sensitive to this. However, we must also strike a balance between this hobby and these commitments. As we all know, ATC is a constantly evolving environment with New procedures, changes in policies and needed proficiency. The following policy was put in place in attempt to be sensitive to all of this while ensuring we maintain rosters of proficient controller base. This policy is officially in place and FIR Chiefs will be verifying controller hours monthly. If you feel your unable to meet the monthly requirements you will need to contact your FIR Staff so they are aware. Failure to do so could result in removal from your FIR Roster.
Air Traffic Controllers and FIR Airspace
A member with an ATC ID (Student and above), belonging to VATCAR, has the following rights as to where he/she can provide ATC:
• In official VATCAR FIR’s airspace, only if listed on the FIR’s controllers membership roster, and if considered “active” by the FIR Director
Each FIR has its Controller members. In official FIRs, only the listed “active” member controllers can provide ATC within the FIR’s airspace. An official FIR has the right to render a controller “inactive” based on published FIR procedures, and not allow the member to provide ATC within the FIR’s airspace until necessary procedures are completed for reactivation of his/her ATC status. It is the duty of the controller to pursue further training and communicate with the FIR in order to regain “active” status. The list of Controllers must be publicly displayed by each FIR, names and VATSIM IDs must be displayed, while email addresses are optional.
Any member wishing to control within an official FIR’s airspace, without already being a published member, must be authorized by the FIR as a “Visiting Controller”. The Visiting Controller should be recommended by the FIR’s TD, by checking applicant’s proficiency. It is the FIR Director who is in charge of accepting or rejecting a Visiting Controller.
Visiting Controllers must be:
a. Publicly viewable on the FIR’s webpage (e.g. Controllers roster), and all permanent FIR controllers must be informed about authorized Visiting Controllers.
Members, who have just transferred Regions with previous ATC rating and joined VATCAR for provision of ATC services, must select an official FIR and must be evaluated to determine their possible training needs. This is done by contacting the FIR’s Training Director, or VATCAR3 (VATCAR TD Director), for further instructions.
All Controllers are expected to provide a minimum of ten (10) hours of ATC service each month. Controllers are required to notify their FIR Chief if unable to provide ten (10) hours of ATC Service. Any controller who fails to provide ten (10) hours of service for more than 2 consecutive months will be marked as “Inactive” on their FIR roster. Once marked “Inactive” they will be required to perform an OTS (over the shoulder) test before being marked active again. Any controller who has failed to provide at least thirty (30) hours in a six (6) Month period will be removed from the FIR roster.*
*Controllers may request an LOA (Leave of Absence) from their FIR Chief and VATCAR1. Upon FIR Chief and VATCAR1 approval the controller will be exempt from this policy.
Upon request, the ATM/DATM may grant a leave of absence status for a period of at least 4 months, which may be extended to no more than 8 months. The total time of leave of absence may not exceed 8 months in any 2 year period. Persons on LOA may cancel their LOA and return to active duty at any time.
Any ATM, who wish to have someone remain as LOA for any other reason such as real world consultancy etc, must be approved by VATCAR1/VATCAR2. However, members who have been granted LOA and have been found to be logging 15 hours or more on the network controlling or flying, are subject to their LOA being revoked and possible removal due to inactivity from their FIR.
In VATCAR we want to encourage a welcoming and inclusive community to ensure every one of our members has the best experience possible. The VATCAR TS server is an official VATSIM communication medium, which means that all members are subject to the Code of Conduct and User Agreement. Members who choose to break our TeamSpeak house rules can be kicked or even banned from the server. If you wish to report a member breaking the rules, please approach a member of staff, either in Teamspeak or via email.
1. No swearing or vulgar language. VATSIM welcomes members aged 13+ and we have a duty of care to protect our younger members from being exposed to bad language. Additionally, some members feel uncomfortable at the use of bad language, or may be offended by it. (CoC: A1, A11)
2. No personal attacks, bullying or intimidation. We strive to encourage a positive community atmosphere to ensure the best enjoyment is had in our hobby. Any form of personal attacks, bullying or intimidation is not tolerated and will be treated very seriously. (CoC: A1)
3. No posting links to inappropriate or illegal content. Our TeamSpeak server has been kindly donated to us and we have an obligation to ensure it is used for the right purposes. The server may not be used to share links to vulgar or pornographic material, nor may it be used to link to any site which encourages illegal activities.
4. No spamming. This rule is quite self-explanatory. (CoC: A1)
5. Respect other members. If you enter a room where there is controller co-ordination going on, or a group flight is being enjoyed, please do not interrupt the activity by playing music down the channel or by disturbing the room occupants by any other means. Please respect the rules for different room categories, as below. (CoC: A1, A11)
6. No rude behavior. This covers a range of behaviors that would be constituted as being rude or impolite. (CoC: A1, A11)
Our TeamSpeak layout is very simple. Each FIR has its own channel, in which they can create sub channels as they see fit. Some channels maybe locked and only accessible to members of a certain FIR or group, so please be mindful of this.
All members enter this room when first connecting to the server. It’s also the room where members simply hang out, relax and chat.
Flight Information Region – FIR Rooms
As said above, each FIR has its own channel. These channels are used primarily by members of that FIR but can also be used by any other members. One entering these rooms, members are to abide for the requests of its staff.
These rooms are to be used for co-ordination only. Only members controlling a relevant position may enter. No unnecessary chat or music.
These rooms are used exclusively for controller mentoring or training. No entry except with the permission of the mentor/trainer. Adjacent ATC may enter to co-ordinate.
Pilot Co-ordination & Training
These rooms are used for pilot co-ordination and training purposes. There are no entry restrictions to these rooms but please respect the privacy of occupants, particularly during pilot training.
Executive rooms are used by the executive staff. Entry should be granted by permission while understanding all executive staff has an open door policy.