News

To help manage our consistent growth we are looking to expand the number of staff members. This encompasses three positions, namely: Routes Manager, PR Manager, and Developer.

Routes Manager: The route manager will be assisting other staff members as well as volunteers on the operations side of the Virtual Airline. The most notable duties include:

  • Adding, retiring and updating routes which have deviated from our twice-yearly import. In short, this encompasses generally keeping the schedules up to date and accurate
  • Approving and denying flight reports
  • Beta testing new features of the website and VAS-ACARS

PR Manager: The PR manager will be assisting us in providing pilot support, fixing incorrect flight data, and providing pilot feedback.

  • Providing general support on the forum, on Discord, in our Operations and Support chat, or in private messages
  • Fixing flight reports where incorrect or incomplete data led to denied flight reports
  • Approving or denying flight reports
  • Beta testing new features of the website and VAS-ACARS

Developer: A first for us, we will be hiring an extra developer to work on the updated version of VAS-ACARS. This will free up Koen to work on different aspects of the Virtual Airline to create a better experience for all pilots.

  • Assisting in the development of VAS-ACARS v2. The fundamentals of VAS-ACARS v2 are already there, but we require additional support to speed up the development and free up our main developer for tasks relating to the website and back-end development.
  • The new VAS-ACARS v2 is written in TypeScript using Electron and uses, among others, Vue and gRPC. It would be great if you already have experience with any of these technologies.
  • To apply for this position, please send along a portfolio or a GitHub page. A resume would also be appreciated.
  • Experience with FSUIPC or SimConnect development would also be a big advantage. It would be even better if you additionally had experience with X-Plane development.
  • Even if you do not meet all requirements listed above, please still send your application because we might need more developers in your favorite technology in the future.

If you would like to become part of the team running SkyTeam Virtual please send a message to Pascal and Koen with motivation before October 1, 2018.

Hello pilots,

This past month has seen a few minor front end improvements and some major back-end ones.

First of all, we are happy to report we have now surpassed 5,000 approved flight reports!

Our database has been migrated to a substantially faster server, which has led to decreased loading times and increased responsiveness, especially on larger pages such as the route map. Further improvements have been made to the flight briefing page whereby the correct route should now be shown more consistently when booking a flight. For information on how to activate the new Flight Briefing page please refer to the May 2018 update.

Czech Airlines's parent company, Travel Service, has been added as a new airline and all of their SmartWings scheduled flights have been added. Travel Service have a significant charter division compromised of twelve 737 aircraft, and pilots are free to use these aircraft for both scheduled and ad-hoc charters within Europe.

We have also been working on a new version of VAS-ACARS to improve stability and user experience. This version is still in the early stages, but you will hear more about it in the coming months.

As always, we have also published our September 2018 tour, which you can fly here. This time around, we are flying in the US and Mexico.

Hello Pilots,

In the last month we have made small improvements to our website, but nothing major.

First of all, you can now view how many destinations you have visited on your profile page. In addition, you will receive a badge when you have reached 25, 50, 100, 250, 500 and 1000 unique destinations.

Second, you can now view aircraft that need to be delivered and for which you will get a 100% score bonus for doing so. This page can be found by going to our Fleet page and clicking "View new deliveries" or by visiting the page directly here.

We have also made it easier to book a route when you are searching for routes in our routing system. There is a now a button on every route's page to either jumpseat and book the route if you are not currently at the departure airport or book the route directly if you are. You will still need to select the aircraft, but this should make it a lot easier to book routes when trying to find an interesting route. Please note that this button will not be visible when you currently have a flight booked.

On August 11th, we will be organizing an event in collaboration with Indonesia vACC. More information can be found here. You will get a 100% score bonus for booking a flight in the event, so we encourage you to participate!

Finally, as usual our monthly tour is available here. You will get a badge for completing the tour before September 1st.

If you have any questions, please submit a ticket using our support system. If you have any suggestions, please post them on the forum.

Regards,

SkyTeam Virtual Staff

Hello Pilots,

The past few weeks have seen numerous changes to the website and scoring system. Two new scoring bonuses have been added, namely 'return to hub' and 'delivery flights'. The first gives a 100% score bonus (double score) when you return an aircraft to its hub after remaining dormant for at least 7 days using a regular scheduled flight. The bonus requires that the aircraft was flown to its initial destination; relocating the aircraft does not give the bonus. The latter is a new feature that we have implemented: all newly delivered aircraft are delivered to their place of manufacture: Boeing Field (KBFI) for the Boeing 737 and 737 Max families of aircraft, Paine Field (KPAE) for the 747-8, 777 and 787 families of aircraft, Hamburg Finkenwerder (EDHI) for the A320 and A320neo family of aircraft and finally Toulouse Blagnac (LFBO) for the A330, A350 and A380 families of aircraft. The newly delivered aircraft can be flown to their airline hub using the charter flight system for a 100% score bonus. The score bonus is only valid on the first flight from the delivery location.

To find the return to hub bonus, select a route on the flight booking page and look for the icon:

Book flight bonus preview

To get the delivery flight bonus, book a charter flight from a new delivery. You will then get the following text at the bottom of the flight briefing page, which indicates that your flight has been booked correctly:

Delivery flight preview

The bonuses will also be shown on the flight analysis page, where indicates the delivery flight bonus.

Further changes have been made so that the FSLabs A320 and Majestic Q400 add-ons are now correctly scored in our flight processor. The flight briefing page now has downloadable flight formats for FSX/P3D, X-Plane, PMDG, QualityWings. It will also allow you to prefile your flight on VATSIM. This list will keep expanding to support more popular add-ons on the market. Furthermore, the flight briefing page now shows a gate allocation when flying to or from one of our major hubs. This is only available on our new flight briefing page; for information on how to enable it please see our May update.

We now also allow hour transfers if you have a near complete set of all your flight data. We currently support RDV/AFV (which includes SimVA) and we are looking to expand this list in the future. If you would like to transfer your hours, please create a support ticket in the Hour Transfer category.

Finally, we have implemented a donation system which can be reached at skyteamvirtual.org/donate. We will only use your donations for our server costs and will never offer extra VA functionality to those who have donated, except for the badges you get now.

If you have any questions, please submit a ticket using our support system. If you have any suggestions, please post them on the forum.

Regards,

SkyTeam Virtual Staff

We're happy to report we've passed 2,000 flight reports this month!

We've added Virgin Atlantic, Jet Airways and JetStar Pacific. Whilst these airlines are beyond the SkyTeam alliance, they have far reaching partnerships with SkyTeam and serve markets which were currently not served by SkyTeam Virtual. To enhance your experience flying these and our other airlines, we've added compatibility for the P3Dv4 QualityWings 787 to our flight processor, such that it will be possible to get all points.

To better support ourselves and by extension, our pilots, we've also hired an additional staff member: David Lebduska, who will be helping to manage the day-to-day operations of the virtual airline.

Additionally, due to the increase in the size of the staff, we've implemented a better support system, which has gone live today. When you click on the question mark icon in the menu, just right of your messages icon, you will be able to create and view your tickets. We would encourage you to submit your issues and questions through this new system instead of messaging us directly. Using this new system, all staff members will be able to respond to you and hopefully your questions will be resolved faster. For now, this system is still in a beta phase, so if you do not receive an answer from us in 24 hours, please send a message to one of our staff members, who will look into your question directly.

Lastly, we've (hopefully) improved loading speeds by using a Content Delivery Network which hosts assets around the world instead of just on our single server, located in Europe.

If you have any questions, please submit a ticket using our new support system. If you have any suggestions please post them on the forum.

Regards,

SkyTeam Virtual Staff

May 2018 Update

10 May 2018

In the past month, we have worked to release a new flight briefing alpha and we have also expanded our tours.

Flight Briefing Alpha

Today we have released the alpha of our new and expanded flight briefing page, which includes route information. More features will be introduced in the coming weeks, such as gate and weather information. We will also be releasing the other flight plan downloads options during that time period. To the right, you will find a quick preview of our the new layout.

Flight Briefing Alpha

Try now: You can try this alpha now by going to this page or clicking on your name in the top-right hand corner, selecting My Settings and then navigating to Labs. You can then enable the Briefing Alpha.

Since our last preview in February, the route finder has been updated to also select SIDs and STARs, which hopefully helps you to plan your flight. Please do keep in mind that, as this is an early alpha, the routes will not be 100% accurate. I would therefore recommend to check the routes carefully. If you find any that are unrealistic or just wrong, please feel free to contact me and I will look into it.

New tours

We have also added more tours pertaining to specific aircraft types, which include older aircraft. To support this, we have added old aircraft to our fleet which you can now fly. If you have any suggestions for tours using older aircraft or older routes, feel free to contact either Pascal or me.

VAS-ACARS

We have also started on improving the stability of VAS-ACARS. This includes recognizing some add-ons which did not work before.

Hello pilots,

Since the previous update we have added the last SkyTeam subsidiary airlines: China United Airlines, Flyadeal, Hebei Airlines, Jambo Jet, Jangxi Air, Pobeda and Tigerair Taiwan. As of April we have moved to the SkyTeam summer schedule, this has opened up numerous new destinations and routes which can be flown. However, if you find any other discrepancies, please report them to a staff member or post it in the forum.

The website has seen some improvements as well, with an event feed, which shows current events of partners, and the current monthly tour, statistics and your current booking now displayed on the homepage. Furthermore your pilot profile page now has a graphical breakdown of the various aircraft types and airlines you have flown. Hub airports now feature a map with all of the possible destinations and the recent flights performed from this hub. Airlines have received their own homepage showcasing their fleet and hubs, as well as a short summary to provide some background information on the airline.

VAS-ACARS has been improved to provide better compatibility with XPUIPC, as well as other general improvements in the detection of aircraft lights. We are aware of intermittent issues when uploading a flight report and we are currently working on a fix. However should your flight report fail to upload please contact Pascal, and your flight report will be uploaded manually.

To round off the update if you have any feedback, problems or suggestions please let us know and we will do our best to help.

Regards,

SkyTeam Virtual Staff

As of last month some optimizations and changes have been made based upon feedback from the community. You can check progress on the 2018 roadmap.

To start off with, the homepage has been made slightly transparent to better integrate the background image. Furthermore tours have been reordered to create a more logical lay-out. Tour legs have also been made expandable, with the first one being expanded by default. To expand or collapse legs you can click anywhere on the header. More tours have been added specific to certain narrowbody aircraft types.

VAS-ACARS and its respective back-end system has been updated to increase stability. The VAS-ACARS update now also includes a check to see if doors are closed, and this has been integrated in the scoring system. Images have been moved to a new hosting provider which will automatically resize images, this has improved website loading times. Over the coming days and weeks we will be adding more improvements to the website.

The new flight briefing page has seen continuing development, and all hubs have had their respective gate and apron information added. North Atlantic and Pacific tracks are updated to always provide the most accurate route. Winds aloft data is updated four times per day to aid in route finding, and to provide the most efficient route.

As always we have updated our airline fleets to represent their current real-world state though if you find any deviances please let us know. All of the preparations have been made to switch to the summer schedule from April 1st. To close off, if you have any feedback or problems, please let us know and we will do our best to help.

Regards,

SkyTeam Virtual Staff

Since the first of January, we have made quite a few changes to our systems and more are upcoming in the near future.

One of the most prominent changes is the Recent Activity box on the homepage, which displays when a pilot has completed their first flight, when someone has been awarded a badge and when a pilot has ranked up. We may add more events in the future.

It is now also possible for us to restart our back-end (ACARS) server without any visible downtime. You will only be disconnected from the chat, but VAS-ACARS will automatically reconnect.

We have also been working on a new flight briefing page, which will contain a complete flight plan. As preparation for that, we've added the cost index to all aircraft (at least those for which it is applicable). We are currently testing a pre-alpha in a select group of testers. The screenshot on the right is an old screenshot of the updated flight briefing page with a flight plan included.

We also recognized the website was lacking in providing some information, so we've added a lot more information to our website. For example, airport and route pages now display the route graphically in a map, flight analysis links are now visible on the homepage, there are more statistics available, tours now show the pilots who have completed the tour and there are now more icons available for us to show on the live flights page.

Of course, we've also been updating our airline fleets to represent their current state, and the routes have also been updated to match the current real-world schedules.

Regards,

SkyTeam Virtual Staff

The updated Flight Briefing page

First of all happy new year and we wish you all the best in 2018!

In the last month the final SkyTeam subsidiary airline Jin Air has been added. The fleets and routes of the other airlines have been updated to reflect their current real-world state.

VAS-ACARS has been updated with our current logo, and the flight processor has been changed to make flight scoring more realistic and fair. We have also been entered into the VATSIM Associates Program ,and we will gain full membership after we meet all of the requirments. Besides this we have started testing a new flight briefing page.

Keep an eye out for our 2018 Roadmap which will follow in the coming days and will be posted on the forum.

Regards,

Skyteam Virtual Staff