News

VA Update

16 Mar 2020

Hi pilots,

As you may know, a lot of airlines have scaled back operations due to the COVID-19 outbreak. At this time, we will still be keeping our current route network, and we do not intend to change this. Removing all of the routes which have been (temporarily) suspended would be a significant effort and would significantly reduce your possibilities to fly certain routes, tours and airlines. Therefore, we have decided to not remove any of these routes, to keep the fun in simulation and allow you to still all routes that were available before.

Airline fleets will continue to be updated. Aircraft types which have been temporarily grounded will remain bookable. Aircraft types which are scheduled to be phased out completely will be removed and replaced by their successor types. Should airlines permanently suspend their operations, they will remain in the VA for approximately 30 days after the suspending of the operations. This is to allow you to complete tours or routes that will no longer be available.

The news changes rapidly and should we deviate from what is stated here we will update you in a follow up news post. If you have any questions regarding this, please post your questions here and we will do our best to answer them.

Hi Pilots,

Given the recent news regarding Flybe, Flybe and any associated tours will be retired on the 31st of March 2020. If there are any tours you wish to complete using Flybe there are approximately three weeks left. We will be keeping an eye on the developments and should the situation change we will try to adjust accordingly.

First of all, happy new year! We will be kicking this year off with some major announcements.

oneworld virtual

After having launched both SkyTeam Virtual and Star Alliance Virtual, only one major airline alliance was still missing: oneworld. Today we are completing the major three alliances by launching oneworld virtual, available now at oneworldvirtual.org.

All three VAs are part of VASystem and use our in-house developed system. The pilot handbook and rules for all three VAs are the same. However, all three are still completely separate VAs with no integration: profiles are not shared. You will need to register separately on oneworld virtual and we will not transfer hours between the VAs to keep the workload managable for the staff members of all three VAs. It is possible to login to all three VAs using a single login, which is described at our support site.

To register for oneworld virtual, visit its website at oneworldvirtual.org.

VAS ACARS NXT

After a few months of behind the scenes work, we now have an early alpha version of a new version of VAS ACARS, which we will refer to as VAS ACARS NXT. This version is a complete rewrite and uses completely different technology than the current version of VAS ACARS. We hope that this version will resolve issues some pilots experience during flights, or when uploading.

However, as this is still an early alpha, there are of some limitations and things you need to be aware of. One major feature that is still missing is the chat, we hope to be adding it at a later date. Instead, we recommend to join our Discord and ask your questions or chat with your fellow pilots in the appropriate channels. If you have not yet joined our Discord, visit discord.gg/EAKR7Qe. Moreover, as this is a completely new version of VAS ACARS still in the alpha stage, there may be new issues which we might not yet be aware of. Therefore, there will be a separate forum category in which you will be able to discuss VAS ACARS NXT with staff members and of course fellow pilots. You can find this forum category here. We will also be posting updates on the status of VAS ACARS NXT there.

If you have read all these limitations and would still like to try this new version of VAS ACARS, you can download VAS ACARS NXT from here. It can be installed alongside the current version of VAS ACARS will continue being supported whilst more features make their way into VAS ACARS NXT in the future. Note this is a completely seperate version which is installed next to your existing version, the new version can be identified by the new logo present on the created shortcuts.

VAS ACARS NXT

Pushback

We now also have a better detection algorithm for the pushback phase: we are now able to detect whether you have done a pushback and will dynamically add or remove the pushback phase from your flight analysis based on whether you have done a pushback. If you don't have a pushback phase, the lights that would normally be checked during the pushback are now checked during the taxi-out phase. Moreover, when you do have a pushback it now includes an item that checks whether your engines were shut off at the start of the pushback. That also means that we now detect a pushback even if your engines were already started, which was the most likely cause of your missed pushback before. Now you will instead get a point reduction for starting your engines prior to pushback.

The Complete Guide To Flight Scoring will be updated in the coming weeks to also document this behaviour. Since our last update in August, this guide has also been updated with a section on short flights which is also a new feature of the flight processor. When your flight is very short, you usually do not reach the threshold of 11,000 ft AGL to enter the cruise phase. Therefore, short flights use a different method of determing your cruise phase and skip some phases such that you will still get full score.

VAS ACARS NXT

Hello Pilots,

These past few weeks we have added a new SkyTeam partner airline, GOL Linhas AĆ©reas Inteligentes (GLO) to be able to serve more destinations in South America. To coincide with this multiple new tours have been added, including a new tour of South America and a tour throughout Africa.

We have also added a simple search function to the forum, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Moreover, the performance of the new destinations checkbox has been improved.

As visible progress in development of the VA has slowed down in the past few months, we will be discontinuing our monthly news updates from September onwards. We will continue to keep you updated when development progresses at a higher rate. As always you are welcome to continue to post suggestions, of tours, or general suggestions to improve the VA in our forums.

As always, the monthly tour is now available to fly, operating one of our more popular routes.

July 2019 Update

12 Jul 2019

Hello Pilots,

In the past month, we have made various changes to the website. For example, we have added an "Only new destinations" filter to the routes page. This will allow you to find new destinations to visit. For example, if you set the departure to LFPG and check "Only new destinations", you will find all routes that make you visit a new destination from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.

Another change you might have seen already is that the logbook now includes icons when reviewer remarks were left on your flight. In addition, the homepage will show a notification when there were reviewer remarks on your last flight, to hopefully assist you in finding out about potential rule violations before flights start getting denied.

Most of the other changes on the website were made to improve the experience for our staff and to other internal tools. This will make updating routes easier for us and will hopefully allow us to have a more up-to-date schedule.

As always, the monthly tour is now available to fly, this time taking you across Central and Eastern Europe.

We would also like to remind you we have a Discord server. To join it, use discord.gg/EAKR7Qe.

Hello Pilots,

First of all, we have reached 15,000 flight reports this month, we are very happy to have reached this milestone with our pilots!

However, there are some changes happening in the VA due to real world operation changes. This month sees the departure of Jet Airways from the virtual airline as they have suspended all flight operations. If the situation changes we will of course re-evaluate this decision and possibly return the airline in a restructured form. Joon will be discontinued June 26th and all operations will once again be merged with Air France, as such the Joon branding will also disappear from the VA by that time as well. This will impact certain tours and we will be restructuring them so as not to impact any progress you have made.

Furthermore all airlines have been migrated to their respective summer schedule. If there are any routes that appear to be missing please let us know and we will add them as soon as possible. There have been some more changes to the back-end to add to our ability to provide support via the support ticket system if required.

As always if you have any suggestions please let us know.

Hello Pilots,

As you may have noticed two of our tours will be discontinued and replaced by the end of the month. This is in large part due to the restructuring and current ending of all flights operated by Jet Airways. Jet Airways will be removed from the VA on the 31st of May, as they do not currently operate any flights and it seems increasingly unlikely that the airline will continue operating.

Additionally this month has seen a few regional additions to provide some more variety in the airlines we offer. All airlines that were added are regional partners of SkyTeam airlines. The new airlines added include Air Corsica, Air Tahiti, Air Cote d'Ivore as well as the low-cost carrier Swoop.

We have also made various miscellaneous back-end improvements, which improve the reliability and scalability of our services.

As always, the monthly tour is now available to fly, this time taking you throughout the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

We would also like to remind you we have a Discord server. To join it, use discord.gg/EAKR7Qe.

Hi pilots,

As you might have noticed, there have been various changes throughout the VA.

The most noticeable change is the change in map provider on the live flights and route map. We have exceeded our quota on Google Maps and as such we have switched some of our maps to a different map provider. In this change, we have also made some minor improvements to the map, such as adding airport ICAO labels. Moreover, the map now also displays on which online network a pilot is flying, which is updated every ten minutes.

We are also in the process of switching over to the summer schedule, but as this is largely a manual process, this will take some additional time. In June, we will also see Joon depart since Joon will discontinue in June. We have made preparations for this change so it can go smoothly.

As always, the monthly tour is now available to fly.

We would also like to remind you we have a Discord server. To join it, use discord.gg/EAKR7Qe.

Hi pilots,

This past month we have made numerous changes throughout the VA.

The flight scoring processor has been updated to improve compatibility with various X-Plane add-ons. There have been a number of updates to VAS ACARS as well, there is now a visual and audible warning if VAS ACARS is no longer receiving data from FSUIPC. Besides this local log files are removed after 30 days, and any local flight data recorded by VAS ACARS is removed after 180 days.

The website has received a redesigned route and profile page based on feedback from the community. The new pages should be more easily viewable and more compact by reducing whitespace. The Pilot briefing page has received an update as well for giving it a more coherent lay-out. The aircraft substitution matrix has been updated to take the form of a comparison widget, allowing you to compare the bookable aircraft types with the aircraft type you would like to substitute. This widget can be found on the VASystem website.

To go along with these changes we have added Flybe, as this airline was sold to the Connect Airways consortium and will eventually operate under the Vigin Atlantic brand. Furthermore we have added a important regional partner, Etihad, whom holds large stakes in airlines that SkyTeam has strong joint venture ties with.

To conclude this update, the monthly tour is available to fly, as well as a more extensive tour which will run together with the Formula Championship.

Hello Pilots,

Over the past month we have changed and added various things both on the back-end of the VA as well as the front end.

The old documents and policies have been remade and distributed in the form of a Pilot Handbook. This document provides information on flight procedures, rules and regulations, possible troubleshooting steps, and links to the flight scoring guide amongst other things.

Our Flight and Pilot Policy has been updated to both increase realism and to prevent abuse. Please read these carefully as they will be enforced starting February 2nd.

The second change is that we have updated the tour progression system, changing its dependency from the booking to the flown route. This will streamline route updating and should keep tours and tour progression more consistent.

To close off this update as always the monthly tour is now available to fly, this time taking you throughout Europe.

We would also like to remind you we have a Discord server. To join it, use discord.gg/EAKR7Qe.