First of all happy new year and we wish you all the best in 2021!
This year will prove to be a new chapter for most of the aviation industry, and we will be following these developments as they happen. Primarily this will be the moving of Air Europa to Oneworld virtual as a result of IAG's take-over, and LATAM moving to SkyTeam as the joint venture and takeover by Delta Airlines takes effect. This change will most likely happen in the first half of 2021 as IAG's takeover is finalized.
All Freighter aircraft have received unique identifier and have been split up on the fleet and routes pages, to improve scheduling clarity and better represent the unique uses of these aircraft.
A number of tours have been updated and more are scheduled as always we are happy to hear from you what tours you would like to see.
This year we also hope to make various improvements within the VA's including route suggestions and searchable return flights. Once these features have been released we will let you know via a news post.
Best Wishes and Safe Flights!
Tomorrow (or today depending on your timezone), Microsoft Flight Simulator will release. VAS ACARS NXT is compatible with Microsoft Flight Simulator immediately, in combination with the FSUIPC7 beta.
To get started, follow the following steps:
Follow the instructions to download and install FSUIPC7:
Start your Microsoft Flight Simulator
Start VAS ACARS NXT
You can now start recording your flight as usual
Unfortunately, due to some lacking functionality in MSFS2020, you will need to start FSUIPC7 manually before starting your recording. We hope to release VAS ACARS NXT with native SimConnect support in the future, which would work directly without starting FSUIPC7.
Please report any issues you find to us by creating a support ticket.
At the start of this year, we announced a new version of VAS ACARS, VAS ACARS NXT. After thorough testing, we are retiring VAS ACARS version 1 and are moving all pilots to VAS ACARS NXT. As of now, we recommend recording your flights using VAS ACARS NXT and uninstalling the legacy version. Detailed instructions can be found below.
VAS ACARS NXT is a complete rework of our recording system and is also more stable than legacy VAS ACARS, and as such, we will be shutting down the legacy VAS ACARS v1 on September 1st, 2020. All of your flights can be done using VAS ACARS v1 until September 1st, 2020, but after that date it will not be possible to record any flights using VAS ACARS.
While we announced that VAS ACARS NXT would have chat functionality in our January post, we have decided to instead only use Discord and not integrate chat functionality in VAS ACARS NXT. VAS ACARS NXT will contain the link to the Discord server prominently, and we will make sure there are enough channels available in Discord for all kinds of matters.
Migrating to VAS ACARS NXT
Migrating to VAS ACARS NXT is an easy process:
- Check that all of your flights flown using VAS ACARS have been uploaded in full, as uninstalling VAS ACARS will remove all of your old flight data from your computer (although they will of course still be available on our website if you have submitted your report)
- Uninstall VAS ACARS using the Windows "Add or remove programs" feature.
- Download VAS ACARS NXT and install it.
- You can now open VAS ACARS NXT and start recording your flight.
If you have any problems with VAS ACARS NXT, please do not hesitate to create a support ticket.
A more detailed shutdown schedule of legacy services may be found below the image.
Shut down schedule
We will be gradually shutting down more services of VAS ACARS v1 and increasing our communication of the shut down, according to the schedule below:
|July 25th, 2020||VAS ACARS NXT 3.0.0 is released|
|July 26th, 2020||VAS ACARS v1.5.0 is released, adding a message about upgrade to VAS ACARS NXT|
|August 2nd, 2020||Chat will be shut down|
|September 1st, 2020||VAS ACARS v1 services will be shut down|
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.
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.
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.
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.
These past few weeks we have added a new SkyTeam partner airline, GOL Linhas Aéreas 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.
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.
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.
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.