Dear VATPAC members, thank you for taking the time to read our latest newsletter.
There have been a number of exciting developments in the last few months including VATSIMs latest announcement about the data refresh rate. I’m excited to see this in practice and the impact it has on everyone’s enjoyment within the simulator. We have slowly been chipping away at a few projects here, but my main goal has been stability and continuity.
I’d like to extend a special thanks to Josh and his events team, for putting in a great effort, week in and week out, scheduling and organising the logistic for VATPAC events. The events are where everyone comes together, enjoys a busy frequency and hopefully a much more realistic experience to flying around by yourself on UNICOM!
Thank you to a number of members who have stepped up in recent weeks to assist in moderate our Discord server. It’s great that our community can be so interactive - gone are the days of missed Teamspeak messages and being kicked for idling! This new connected world has created new challenges for us, as we manage the way in which our members use the discord and ensure it suits all of our members, from all ages groups, genders and locations. Thank you for your understanding and patience whilst we work through these issues - and please know that they ARE being worked on. In a short while, I’ll provide a separate and more detailed update to the community from myself through the forums so stay tuned for that.
Cheers for your involvement in our great community,
From the Director
Hi all, it is with pleasure I sit down to write my first Scope article as the Director of Membership for VATPAC. Firstly, to those who do not know me, or whom I have not met yet I would like to give you some background about my previous roles within VATSIM. Joining VATSIM and VATPAC in 2002 I have acquired 9424 hours online as a pilot and close to 900 hours controlling, supervising, or observing. In this time, I have assisted VATSIM in roles such as Supervisor, DCRM for VATPAC and held seats on the VATSIM BOG as VATGOV1. So be prepared for long hours and lots of fun as you explore everything the VATSIM and VATPAC network has to offer.
Membership Department Report
Since taking over the role at the beginning of the year I have been able to meet with the managers and we have started to plan out the direction for the next 12 to 24 months. The initial point of concentration is going to be within the confines of Marketing and will be looking at the VATPAC image and branding.
Marketing has started to redesign the VATPAC brand, and along with that, the brief is to create a standardized image for VATPAC which is easily identifiable and unique within VATSIM. The aim being no matter where you see our logo or a forum banner it will be instantly recognizable as VATPAC. With this in mind, we will be looking to have all VATPAC Directors and staff using a standard forum signature and footers to ensure everyone can recognize our roles and know which one of us to contact when the need arises.
Luke, the membership team and I will be focusing on new members and member activities once a data source has been secured. We will be looking at how we can assist new members in getting online and how we can remove as many of the first time nerves issues as we can. We will have more details soon regarding changes to this area.
Going forward VASO will become a focal point for the team as we look at ways to get members engaged in online activities.
A lot has happened behind the scenes with the move to new IT infrastructure and the development and initial implementation of new systems.
Move to AWS
The transfer of all VATPAC web services is now complete and are all now hosted on AWS. This has led to a reduction in costs by more than 50% as well as improvements in performance and reliability in services. While there were some initial teething issues upon migration, all of these are now resolved and all services are operating correctly.
Legacy files that were once hosted, on the old services have been made available to the relevant members of staff for their use in the future.
Unified Password management
The implementation of a password management system for VATPAC staff is being tested and will soon be deployed to all staff. This allows for efficient password sharing with access control to passwords. All passwords are hosted on VATPAC services and are protected from external access. This application is yet another tool to improve the security of VATPAC services.
VATSIM Data API
The VATSIM data api technology has come a long way and we can now use the data provided by VATSIM and build upon it to provide improved services. With this in mind the IT department has been spending significant amounts of time developing some data analysis technologies to improve and update the data in various VATPAC services. For example, soon we will have access to historical as well as live data from the feed to replace the old, inefficient IPS data collection system, this will allow for efficient queries of data that can then be used in statistics, such as top weekly pilot/controller, etc. This will also help in the redevelopment of VATPAX.
Steven Brown, the original developer of VATPAX, has reached out and will now be redeveloping VATPAX as a external service to VATPAC whereby it will be available to other divisions as well. The IT team will be working closely with him in any support he will need and provide access to various APIs from within VATPAC, such as the new data API.
ATC Training and Standards Department
With the recent influx of members and the transition to new and exciting ATC client software, the Training department has created the ATC Standards role to help controllers develop their skills beyond their initial rating training. Stay tuned for regular tips & tricks, as well as additional resources to expand your ATC skillset.
This month’s area of interest is airwork and ops normal times. Pilots may advise ATC of intended airwork in order to complete practice instrument approaches, survey work, SAR ops, or a range of other operations. Generally, this will involve advising the vertical and lateral boundaries of the airwork, and nominating an ops normal time, which is the latest time ATC should expect to hear back from the pilot once the airwork is complete.
E.g. VH-NEZ is a Piper Arrow operating IFR outside controlled airspace who wishes to conduct a practice instrument approach at Mount Gambier. They are enroute and are currently receiving an identification service from Melbourne Centre.
VH-NEZ: NEZ, airwork details.
ML CTR: NEZ, send airwork details.
VH-NEZ: NEZ will be conducting airwork within a 20nm radius of Mount Gambier, surface to 5000ft, ops normal 45.
The Melbourne Centre controller should make a note of the intended airwork and acknowledge the ops normal time, then give the pilot directed traffic information on any applicable IFR or observed VFR aircraft who are currently within, or will be shortly transiting, the defined airspace.
ML CTR: NEZ, copy ops normal time 45, no reported IFR traffic.
It is recommended that you update the aircraft’s tag with the relevant airwork details and utilise the timer system in your ATC client to ensure you don’t miss the nominated ops normal time. In vatSys, this can be achieved using the built-in clock timer, or preferably, by setting a SAR timer on the aircraft itself. Right mouse click the callsign to open the SAR Window, then select the nominated ops normal time to set the timer. If the pilot fails to report by the nominated time, the SAR alert will activate.
If during the airwork period, a second aircraft was inbound to Mount Gamiber, they would need to be advised of VH-NEZ’s airwork boundaries so they can maintain their own separation during descent and landing.
ML CTR: RXA4635, IFR traffic for your arrival is NEZ, an IFR Arrow, currently conducting airwork within a 20nm radius of Mount Gambier, surface to 5000ft.
Remember to pass this traffic information to VH-NEZ as well.
ML CTR: NEZ, IFR traffic is RXA4635, SAAB 340, inbound from the west, descending from flight levels, estimating Mount Gambier at 29.
On completion of the airwork, VH-NEZ will report ops normal and may issue a departure report if departing the vicinity for another aerodrome.
VH-NEZ: NEZ, ops normal, 3nm southeast of Mount Gambier, passing 2600ft, climbing 7000ft, estimate NOGIP 04.
ML CTR: NEZ, identified, no reported IFR traffic 7000ft.
Matt Kelly - Manager ATC Standards
Airspace and Publications Department
The Airspace and Publications Department has continued to provide the latest aeronautical information for all supported radar clients for AIRAC releases 2101, 2102 and 2103 as well as finalise the update of the Brisbane Local Instructions and a minor update to MATs.
As always, the operations team is always looking for people who are passionate and would like to assist the team. If you think you have what it takes to help manage the Airspace over the VATPAC sky, send an email to [email protected]; we would love to have you on board!
Projects the last 3 months
- Monthly AIRAC releases.
- Commenced a joint project with VATNZ to further automate their radar client AIRAC releases.
- Updated YBBN Local Instructions
- Minor update the Manual of Air Traffic Services (MATs) to provide information on Independent Parallel Approaches.
Ongoing projects (next 1 – 2 months)
- Continue assisting VATNZ with the automation of their AIRAC releases.
- Monthly AIRAC releases
Future Projects (next 3 months, subject to staff availability - if you would like to help, contact us!)
- Melbourne, Sydney and Perth Local Instructions review
- MATS annual review to be carried out, making use of the real-world MATS provided by ASA.
- Controller Position and Frequency audit to better align with real world procedures.
- Controller Position & Rating Policy under review with changes being proposed to make clearer the non-standard position guidelines
From the Director of Events
Welcome to the Events Department section of the scope! I am going to do a little recap of the past 3 months, and then go into heaps of detail further down this post.
The past 3 months have been a strong beginning for the year for the VATPAC Events Department. With 4 major events under wraps, I am confident to say that Q1 2021 was a success for our Major Events Category.
The events team have been hard at work recently and I am delighted to announce a number of new regular events that will be making their way into the Events Calendar during Q2 for everyone to enjoy. FIFO Friday and a new "Spotlight Series" are amongst some of the new events you will see around the place.
Director of Events
VATSIM Australia Pacific
Upcoming Regular Events
We are delighted to welcome a few new Regular Events beginning in April, with more planned for the future!
There have been a few changes to the staffing team within the Events Department.
- 22DEC20 | Russel Diehl resignation as VFR Operations Coordinator
- 20JAN21 | Paris Ioannidis & Tyler Hindle appointed as Event Coordinator
- 20JAN21 | David Bromage appointed VFR Operations Coordinator
- 1MAR21 | Nicholas Naumovski resignation as Events Coordinator
We look forward to what Q2 has in store for the VATPAC Community!
Recently there have been a lot of exciting changes to Discord which will make your experience far more enjoyable. There are also some more changes coming soon so keep an eye out for them.
- New Moderators
- New Text Channels
- Streaming Chat Voice Channels
- Event Chat Voice Channel
The VATPAC Discord Team would like to welcome our new moderators to their roles within the team. We hope to be able to offer an enjoyable experience for everyone so if you have any concerns feel free to report it on https://discord.vatpac.org/ or contact one of our friendly moderators.
New Text Channels
#general-chat A dedicated text channel for all general related conversations.
#atc-chat A place for all non-coordination related ATC discussions.
#event-chat A text channel dedicated to discussion regarding past, current or upcoming events.
#screenshots-only replaces our previous screenshots channel and is a place to share all of your flight simulation or controlling screenshots.
#realworld-chat is a place to discuss real-world events and new.
Streaming Voice Channels
This 'Safe For Work' channel is for users which wish to stream on Twitch, YouTube and other live streaming services but wish to still be present on the VATPAC Discord. This will be the only channel where you are allowed to stream Discord voice communication over a live streaming service.
Please also note Streaming and Video Chat's through discord has now also been disabled due to some recent complaints and incidents.
Event Chat Voice Channel
This voice room is a great location to coordinate group flights, group controlling and replaces our Daily Focus Channel.