Aviation In Canada

Sunday, December 26, 2004

What is VatSim?

It's mentioned in the introduction header to my blog, but for those who find this blog without already knowing something about me and what this is all about, I thought I should introduce VatSim. Since I first started using Flight Simulator 20 years ago, I had heard of people wanting Air Traffic Control in the program. I never quite understood why. Several years ago, some software writers joined forces to create a method to get realistic ATC in Flight Simulator: Their idea was to write some programs to work together. With donated server bandwidth and space, the servers would run software that would host the network. Pilots flying Microsoft's Flight Simulator and some other programs would connect to these servers with a client program. Then, somewhere else in the world, people would connect to the same servers with a "radar client", allowing them to see a imulated radar picture of the aircraft connected with Flight Simulator. This way, folks could fly real time from Point A to Point B, while others flew from Point C to Point B, or Point D to E and so forth, and other people would provide ATC services for them. By using voice communication through the internet, another step to providing "as real as it gets" came to being. With over 40,000 members, VatSim remains free to the users on both sides, relying totally on volunteer efforts to keep the organization running in a trimmed down version of the real world offering the most realistic ATC possible. There are other networks that run similarly, but none has reached so many as VatSim. For more information, click on this link to get to VatSim's home page (http://www.vatsim.net).