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					    VATSIM Pilot Training Program Beta Testing Document
                             Document Contact: Kyle Ramsey
                                 k.ramsey@vatsim.net
                                Skype and AIM : GetStill
Contents:

    1.   Introduction and considerations for delivering content for VATSIM Pilot Ratings
    2.   VATSIM Pilot (P1) Ratings Guidelines for ATO‟s
    3.   ATO Beta tester Considerations
    4.   VATSIM Pilot (P1) Criteria
    5.   VATSIM ATO Certification Requirements for beta testing
    6.   VATGOV14 Office and ATO Pilot Rating Webspace Specifications




Thanks to the help provided by the people below in creating the VATSIM Pilot Rating Program
to this stage. The conversations have been tough but they have driven us to a place where
VATSIM will be able to offer pilot ratings to interested pilots that is representative of their
skills as well as open a lot of space for training providers to break new ground in how they
deliver ratings and in what languages these ratings can be given; this is good for pilots, good
for training organizations, and good for VATSIM. I specifically want to thank Alex Bailey who
during his time assisting me was a wonderful driving force to meet milestones and press for
ever more creative solutions.


Pilot Ratings Design Team Members

Mike Bevington – The original architect of VATSIM Pilot Training
Keith Smith – Advanced the game in defining the ATO system

Alex Bailey
Luke Kolin
Peter Dodds
Joe Clark
Keith Smith
Richard Gerrish
Harold Rutila
Alistair Thompson
Ed Tomlinson
Arjun Murthy
Matthew Cianfarani
Jeff Thomas
Steve Cullen
Frank Plummer
Norman Blackburn
David Acetta
Peter Grey
Callum McLaughlin
Thomas Mathieu
Ernesto Alvarez
Introduction
This rating program has several goals. First and foremost it is designed to promote activity to
train VATSIM pilots at all stages of experience using third party resources qualified and
monitored by VATSIM‟s VATGOV14, VP Pilot Training‟s office. The list of tasks to be done to
qualify for a VATSIM pilot rating are detailed by VATSIM but the ATO‟s (Authorized Training
Organizations) are given a lot of freedom to be creative and selective in how they deliver
ratings. Some VAs may only choose to do their own internal pilots while other VAs may
„outsource‟ their training to another VA or be the source for other VAs. Some will specialize in
veteran VATSIM member conversions or will focus on the more advanced ratings and not offer
P1 at all. We will be interested to see what ATOs can teach us about how to train pilots and
we wish to encourage them to employ creative means to deliver the training, get outside the
box, and use creativity to be your product differentiator and what makes your ATO special and
different.

The program is also hoped to provide pilots with recognition for having achieved demonstrated
success in online flying at several levels. By maintaining a consistent worldwide standard for
each rating, the ATO‟s through adherence to those standards ensure the ratings given reflect
the capabilities of the pilot and become a sign of achievement and professionalism that both
new and experienced pilots will desire to display. We recognize not all pilots will have a desire
to gain any ratings through ATOs regardless of their experience and there is no other path to
the ratings except through an ATO approved program. Having said that we hope several ATOs
will specialize in delivering an expedited process for veteran pilots to gain their ratings without
undue training they don‟t need yet they are able to demonstrate their competence and
challenge the coursework, gaining their rating quickly.

Lastly this is designed to be global in scope while local in impact. We encourage ATOs to
operate to their audience. A Russian ATO should deliver their materials in Russian and if they
fly mostly in Russia, the rules they cover should be Russian. A global VA may teach several
area‟s rules that they fly, or even have regional sensitivities built in, i.e., their US based pilots
get an FAA treatment while their Canadian based pilots get Nav Canada focused materials, both
producing the exact same rating. The VSOAs have both a regional focus as well as military
flight profiles home and abroad for them to learn, which also fits within the VATSIM Pilot
Ratings program. The point is many organizations with existing training departments can tailor
their offering for VATSIM Pilot Ratings to their desired customer base and embed VATSIM
requirements into existing or new programs to deliver content the ATO thinks adds value while
also allowing ATO‟s to issue VATSIM Pilot Ratings in addition to their own training schemes.
Authorized Training Organization Requirements
1. Web Site
a. ATOs must have a non free web site
b. The web site must be secure using individual IDs and passwords for instructors and students
c. Confidentiality of student records must be maintained; instructors and other ATO staff may
view other‟s records but students should only be able to view their own record.
d. Summary statistics reflective of the ATO‟s pass/fail rate shall be displayed in a publically
viewable page.

2. Qualified Chief Instructor
a. Each ATO must have at least one designated Chief Instructor who is VATSIM‟s main liaison.
b. The Chief instructor may have as many assistants as they feel they need to deliver their
material. These assistants may be certified by the ATO, under the Chief Instructor‟s
supervision, to provide instruction and testing for VATSIM ratings.
c. All ratings issued by the ATO are done under the signature and authority of the designated
Chief Instructor.*
d. No serious disciplinary actions on their VATSIM CERT record

3. Written Testing Facility
a. ATO may have a web based written testing system if they desire.
b. Students shall be provided with a final score, a pass or fail, and subject matter areas to
study for retesting in written format, either on a web page that can be printed and/or through
an email to the student.

4. Practical Testing Facility
a. ATO will publish their minimum criteria for a pass or fail for their practical tests and will be
provided to students prior to taking any practical test with sufficient time to allow the student
to comprehend the requirements.
b. Students should be provided with written critique of their practical test results within one
week of completion of the test.
c. Feedback should include specific examples where the student did not meet the requirements
and suggestions for additional study or practice.

5. Record Keeping
a. ATO shall maintain records of student training to include oral, written or practical test
results.

6. Quality Control
a. The ATO shall define how they plan to maintain a quality program as a part of their
application.
b. The ATO‟s plan will be a part of the audit and acceptance of the application and completion
of the audit means the QC plan is also acceptable to VATSIM.
c. The ATO shall publish a syllabus listing the subject matter areas covered and details on what
is deemed to be passing requirements by subject matter area.

7. Certification
a. Prospective ATOs shall make written application to VATSIM‟s Pilot Training Department. The
application shall be complete in its submission; no partial applications will be accepted.
b. ATOs may apply for certification by rating; there is no requirement that an ATO offer all
VATSIM ratings.
c. Applications should reference the above requirements and detail how the ATO will meet all
the requirements or where a waiver is requested and why.
d. VATSIM‟s Pilot Training Department shall provide a staff auditor Pilot Training Coordinator to
the ATO for the purpose of completing the application process once the written application has
been accepted.
e. The ATO‟s chief Instructor shall assist the Pilot Training Coordinator during the actual audit,
providing access to any and all areas outlined above.
f. The Pilot Training Coordinator shall examine all aspects of the ATO training system, written
and practical examination questions and methods, and record keeping and quality control
mechanisms.
g. The Pilot Training Coordinator shall provide to the ATO and the office of VATGOV14 the
written results of their audit within one week of completing the in person audit with any
identified problems that would prevent the ATO from gaining certification. The ATO would
have 30 days to correct the identified issues at which time the Pilot Training Coordinator would
confirm the closing of each identified issue. The Pilot Training Coordinator may also choose to
approve the ATO with a list of minor deficiencies which the ATO has 30 days to correct but may
proceed with training and certifying pilots for VATSIM ratings. Should the 30 day period pass
without correcting and recertifying the issues, the ATO would have to resubmit their
application.
h. The VATSIM Pilot Training Department will perform at least one additional audit per
calendar year with 7 days written notice. Written audit results shall be provided to the ATO
and VATGOV14 within one week of completion of the audit and the ATO has 30 days to correct
the issues. If the 30 days pass without the issues being corrected the ATO loses their
certification and must reapply.

* Limited access to VATSIM‟s data bases is granted to ATO staff with the understanding that any
abuse of this privilege can result in disciplinary action up to termination of your membership
with VATSIM. It can also result in an ATO losing its certification to provide future ratings as an
authorized training organization. We expect this access to be respected.



Briefly in summary, the process to apply to be an ATO is as follows:

    1. Use this document as a template for your application.
    2. First, apply to be accepted as a recognized ATO. Make application to
       k.ramsey@vatsim.net using the above criteria.
    3. Once you have been accepted as an ATO, you make a separate application to issue the
       P1 rating using the P1 criteria as a template for your application.
    4. As other ratings come on line each ATO will make another application to be certified to
       issue those ratings as well.
    5. ATOs are not required to issue all ratings; they can pick and chose the ones they want
       to issue.
    6. P1 will be a prerequisite rating for P2/3 (and P4 which is both P2 and 3) and P4 will be
       a prerequisite for P5.
ATO Beta Test Considerations
If you wish to apply to be a part of this beta test we ask a few extra things from you in the
process. We would like you to understand this process is still in a molding state and there is
room for change and improvement and we need feedback from beta ATOs on how to do it
better. Feedback is expected of all ATOs in this process.

To start this process and test some of the corners, we would like to make sure we have a mix
of ATOs with different approaches to implement the P1 rating and also prepare us for quick
implementation of P2 and P3. All beta ATO representatives will gain access to the pilot
training forum where the development work has been ongoing for the past few years and will
also by default be part of the P2/3 design team, joining the existing team members.

To test the corners, we will be specifically looking for:

* ATOs that plan to deliver material in a language other than English
* ATOs that plan to offer expedited P1 rating assessments for veteran VATSIM members who
already have the knowledge and just need an expeditious way to demonstrate that knowledge
and thus be granted the rating.
* ATOs that plan to offer a training program designed for pilots with zero current knowledge of
how VATSIM works and how to get online and flying correctly.
* VA-based ATOs using their program for internal members only
* VA-based ATOs using their program for internal or external members
* ATOs formed specifically to provide VATSIM ratings as a training provider to independent
members or as a virtual contractor to VAs for ATO/training services

All ATOs will be limited, during the beta period, to having only three people able to access the
VATSIM Pilot Rating interface while we learn from it. After beta ATOs may apply for additional
people to have access. This access is used to grant ratings and makes a physical change in the
VATSIM member‟s record. Any abuse of this system will certainly result in removal from access
to the system and other possible consequences may result as an outcome of a DCRM referral.
Please only ask us to give access to trustworthy and mature individuals and those without
serious past infractions upheld by a DCRM process. Rating can only be increased, ATOs cannot
remove a rating for any reason once it is assigned.

A description of this web interface can be found later in this document. It is tied into the
VATSIM CERT database and ATOs will have the ability to pull up information by CID on any
student and will also be able to award new ratings. They can also get a display of all the
information held by VATSIM on record about your organization as an ATO and includes basic
information about the ATO and the ATOs representatives with approved access.

Currently the ATO Application is to use the outline and add significant detail to each item on
how you plan to deliver that result as described in the criteria list. If something does not apply
to your operations area, like a procedure we ask to teach does not exist in your area, you can
request a waiver for that requirement. If you think you have a systematize way to deliver
training that doesn‟t meet the criteria the way it is worded, the waiver can again be used. The
application can be in a text or spreadsheet document and should be emailed to
k.ramsey@vatsim.net. This document will be held by VATSIM and only accessed for official
business and never shared with any third party for any reason without your specific written
permission. No other ATO can see your application or your db information except approved
members of your staff with access to the VATSIM Ratings web page.

If you are starting your ATO from scratch in response to this call for beta testers, you are
encouraged to use the criteria directly to design your program around as it will save you time.
However, if you have more creative ideas, feel free to explain to us how you plan to do it and
base your application on that.

If you have an existing training program in operation or near release, we think most of what is
required for a VATSIM rating, and for P1 specifically for this beta, we do not expect you to have
to make a bunch of changes. We think much of the material will already be contained in your
program and what may not be there will be easy to either adjust, work around, or waiver.
Think of laying your program detail out on a long table from start to finish, then take the
VATSIM P1 requirements and map where your program touches that requirement and either
satisfies the requirement, only partially satisfies the requirement, or is missing entirely from
your program. This mapping becomes the start of the conversation between you and
VATGOV14‟s representatives who will assist you through the certification process. If you see an
easy way to satisfy a requirement and wish to alter your program to meet the requirement that
is an easy path to closing the gap. If you think your program offers benefits not recognized in
our requirements that will meet or exceed the intent of the requirement, you may apply for a
waiver with an explanation of how you plan to achieve this. If NDA‟s are needed by you with
VATSIM before you will be willing to share technology details we can work with you on that
with our legal department‟s assistance.

Remember there is a lot of room to learn from this process to make it better and easier to
teach pilots about the flying arts and as a beta ATO we expect feedback from you on ways to
do it better. We also expect you to meet all the requirements to become an ATO and to have
your P1 program certified. Below are the high level steps of the beta testing:

Announce Program and solicit for beta ATOs in forums, answer questions by June 26, 2010
Start Taking Applications by July 1, 2010
First ten ATOs certified by August 15, 2010
Second ten ATOs certified by August 31, 2010
Collect feedback and prepare final release for ATO certification and P1 rating processes by
September 15, 2010
Close beta testing and open program for all ATOs by September 30, 2010



This beta is designed to be flexible and allow us to learn quickly so we can adapt the material
to what is working already. If your organization does not meet something, press forward and
we will talk about it and find ways to achieve the desired result.
VATSIM Pilot (P1) Rating Introduction for ATOs
The key to understanding how to deliver the P1 rating is to understand the level of
comprehension. This is not designed to make these pilots masters, but instead to introduce
them to VATSIM and online flying. The material should not attempt to teach them how to fly
the airplane, how to navigate, how to do in depth flight planning. It should show them the
pieces of the puzzle and encourage them to continue to expand their knowledge through study
and practice.

In particular, one will find in the list below verbiage that helps the ATO understand the level of
instructions to be given and the benchmarks that must be met by the student. In P1 much of
the language is, for example, “… the student should receive instruction in how to do X, Y, and
Z.” This means the ATO shall provide instruction in any format negotiated between the ATO
and VATSIM during ATO qualification. It does not give any benchmark for the student other
than having sat through the instruction. In other places there exists a student standard, such
as “… the student should be able to set up the visual models for their pilot client.” In this case
the ATO will have to ascertain if the student has the models set up correctly, perhaps
describing another aircraft they see or a screen shot on a ramp with other VATSIM aircraft in
correct models.

Formats are encouraged to be both flexible and aimed at the appropriate audience; for a
program tailored to experienced VATSIM members who just need an oral Q&A or a written
exam format perhaps no material other than an outline for the oral or written would be needed
yet for a newbie pilot and VATSIM member more extensive written, video, or person to person
type formats may be more appropriate.

In those places where the below states “… the student should be shown (or, “given
instruction….) ….”, if the student can show the ATO they know this topic already, evidence
that they do can replace them being shown by the ATO. In other words if the student can
explain the details to the instructor there is no need for the instructor to explain it to the
student.

To the greatest extent possible all flight training operations should take place on the VATSIM
network. Instructor-student role playing can also be used when ATC services are not available
in order to conduct a lesson or practical examination.

Never tell when you can ask.
Never ask when you can show.
Never show when you can be shown.
VATSIM P1 Rating Criteria for VATSIM Pilot Rating
1 Download and install essential software
1.1 Your Sim – MSFS, XPlane
1.2 Pilot Clients – SB, FSInn
1.3 To find ATC – Wazzaup, Servinfo, VATSpy, VATSIM Stats
1.4 Interpreting This Requirement
1.4.1 The student should be able to download one of the accepted pilot clients, get it set up,
and connect successfully to the VATSIM network.
1.4.2 The student should be able to set up the files to create visual models of other pilot‟s
aircraft.
1.4.3 The student should be able to use at least one of the common tools to locate ATC who
are online in their area of operation and when they are in an active controller‟s airspace or
not.

2 Flight Plans
2.1 Fill in the appropriate boxes
2.2 Find acceptable routes
2.3 Useful Newbie Comments
2.4 Interpreting This Requirement
2.4.1 The student should be able to fill out the VATSIM Flight Plan form and understand what is
expected and typical in each box.
2.4.2 The student should be able to find an appropriate route, not GPS Direct, but may include
VORs or Preferred Routes from ATC web sites
2.4.3 The student should know appropriate comments to add to their flight plan to help ATC
help them, comments common to newbie flight plans.

3 Weather
3.1 Where to find it, why VATSIM weather might be different than your weather and different
from sim to sim as it renders differently in each PC.
3.2 IMC vs VMC
3.3 Runway selection
3.4 Interpreting This Requirement
3.4.1 The student should be shown where to find local weather information relative to that
weather the VATSIM ATC will be reporting within their area of operation.
3.4.2 The student should be able to determine if the airport(s) he/she will be flying to or from
is under IMC or VMC conditions to anticipate the services available.
3.4.3 The student should be instructed on how to handle a situation where they wish to fly in
conditions different than what VATSIM is reporting and how to handle the communications and
coordination with VATSIM ATC, i.e., if the airport is IMC and the pilot‟s sim is VMC.
3.4.4 The student should be able to select the appropriate runway to use relative to the
prevailing winds as reported on the VATSIM network.

4 Facility web sites
4.1 Basics, information for pilots, contacts
4.2 Interpreting This Requirement
4.2.1 The student should be shown how to find local ATC facility web sites and locate the
Information for Pilots section(s) and their normal contents (maps, charts, procedures,
Preferred Routes) and how to contact local leadership for help if needed.

5 Connecting to the network
5.1 Where to connect
5.2 Transponders (STBY vs Mode C)
5.3 Interpreting This Requirement
5.3.1 The student should be able to explain and understand the safe places to connect to the
VATSIM network.
5.3.2 The student should be able to use their transponder built into their pilot client and
understand the STBY and Mode C functions and when each should be used. The student should
understand what the transponder code is, where they get it (with or without ATC), and how to
enter it into their transponder.

6 Maps and Charts – where to find them and basic descriptions
6.1 Airport diagram
6.2 VFR sectionals
6.3 Lo/Hi Enroute
6.4 Terminal Charts
6.5 IAPs
6.6 Interpreting This Requirement
6.6.1 The student should be shown where to locate these charts and be able to basically
describe each one at a high level. It is not intended that the student be able to use or interpret
these charts yet, just know that they exist and where to find them for their area of operations.
The self-learners will figure out what to do with this information.

7 Contacting ATC
7.1 Clearance
7.2 Push and Start
7.3 Taxi
7.4 Takeoff
7.5 Departure
7.6 Enroute
7.7 Approach
7.8 Final
7.9 Land and taxi
7.10 Park and shutdown
7.11 Emergencies
7.12 Interpreting This Requirement
7.12.1 The student should be able to contact local ATC during any of the phases listed above
and provide simple pilot to ATC phraseology and what to expect from ATC during each phase
7.12.2 The student should be able to handle their aircraft and hold headings, altitudes, and
airspeeds as instructed by ATC.
7.12.3 The student should be instructed in acceptable emergency procedures on VATSIM, how
to request them and what to do if their request is not granted. The student should know
announcing a hijack or using the hijack transponder code is not to be done.
7.12.4 The student should be able to handle loss of voice.


8 Navigation basics – just introduce the equipment and map symbol, no requirement that they
understand or can use them yet.
8.1 VOR
8.2 GPS
8.3 FMC
8.4 ILS
8.5 VFR out the window
8.6 Flight Plan Equipment Codes
876 Interpreting This Requirement
8.7.1 The student should be introduced to the instruments and procedures for any of the above
that are applicable to their chosen aircraft (C-172‟s don‟t have FMS so don‟t cover it). It is not
expected the student will be able to program a GPS or FMC in great detail nor be able to track
a VOR signal. A series of pictures and descriptions of each of these would suffice.
8.7.2 The student should understand the various flight plan equipment codes and how ATC will
interpret and how ATC will provide services based on it

9 VATSIM Basics
9.1 Forums
9.2 Conflict Resolution
9.3 Supervisors (.wallop)
9.4 Getting help on and off line
9.5 Structure – Regions, Divisions, Facilities
9.6 Basic Facility Structures
9.6.1 CD
9.6.2 GND
9.6.3 TWR
9.6.4 Dep
9.6.5 CTR/Enroute
9.6.6 APP
9.6.7 Oceanic
9.6.8 FSS
9.6.9 ATM, TA, EC, FM
9.7 VATSIM Pilot‟s Resource Center
9.8 Interpreting This Requirement
9.8.1 The student should be able to log into the VATSIM forums to find information and ask for
help
9.8.2 The student should be introduced to VATSIM‟s Conflict Resolution process and its role in
enforcing VATSIM‟s rules, the role of Supervisors, and how to contact a Supervisor if they need
help and how to respond to a Supervisor if they are contacted.
9.8.3 The student should be given a basic understanding of VATSIM‟s structure relative to
regions, divisions, and local ATC as well as the basic facility types found within their area of
operations that may be staffed. An organizational chart would work well for this purpose.
9.8.4 The student should be given directions on how to find the PRC and a basic outline of its
contents to help students find information for themselves.


10 Good VATSIM Citizenship
10.1 COC, COR, UA
10.2 Website
10.3 Membership
10.4 VA‟s, Flying Clubs, VSOA‟s, Partners
10.5 Pilot Training and Ratings
10.6 ATC Training and Ratings
10.7 Interpreting This Requirement
10.7.1 The student should be shown the CoC, CoR, and UA documents and encouraged to read
them
10.7.2 The student should be given a brief tour of the VATSIM web site with a focus on
contacting Membership and using their ticket system to resolve email and other issues and
finding pilot related resources.
10.7.3 The student should be given instruction on how VAs and flying clubs interact with
VATSIM and VATSIM‟s VA Partner program
10.7.4 The student should be given instruction in what activities are considered Special
Operations and who may perform them. Also cover flying military aircraft online; the focus of
the VSOA policy is the activity, not the airframe or callsign.


11 Communications
11.1 With ATC
11.2 With Other Pilots
11.2.1 UNICOM, text and voice
11.2.2 Private Channel
11.3 Private Messaging
11.3.1 Contact Me‟s
11.4 Interpreting This Requirement
11.4.1 The student should be given instruction in how to contact ATC and how ATC might
contact them, including the “Contact Me” automated message when ATC signs on.
11.4.2 The student should be given instruction on the use of UNICOM with text as mandatory
and voice as an option, and also shown how to use the private channel to talk to other pilots
11.4.3 The student should be given instruction about voice ATIS including how and when to
listen to it.

Remember, as an ATO you can choose to cover more than the basics above. We do not expect
ATOs to „dumb down‟ and existing or proposed program to fit these requirements. Fit them
inside of the program you feel is in the best interest of your pilots and organization‟s method
of delivery.
VATSIM Pilot Rating Management Web Space Specifications

This should have integration with the current web site so no additional id's or passwords are
needed. Control of functions and access is controlled by VATGOV14 entering approved ATO and
GOV14 staff CIDs to give them their level of access needed.

Pilot ratings are, by default, P0 – No Rating, with up to P9 reserved for additional ratings. We
will start with VATSIM Pilot Rating (P1) to test our systems.

We need a three-tier menu, with the functions of the lowest tier appearing for use in higher
tiers.

First Tier: ATOs – first priority functions

Function 1: Pull up anyone, like stats, by CID or name and display:
    CID
    First and Last name
    Current Pilot and ATC rating and dates for each
    Division assigned
    Total Non ATC/OBS VATSIM time
Function 2: Add ratings, using a drop down (P1 to P9) and keyed by CID

Function 3: Display Their ATO information – for the ATO this person is assigned to, not others


Second Tier: GOV14 Staff (has all of the above functions)

Function 4: Can add an authorized ATO rep who is then authorized to do the above functions,
by CID

Function 5: Add an ATO – this would be a whole new table to record ATO information that can
be edited and displayed at this level
     ATO name
     ATO url
     Date of initial application
     Date of Initial certification as an ATO
     Space for two names and CIDs of ATO reps (this can be the source of the “allowed ATO
        reps” for allowing access to First Tier functions and replace/eliminate Function 4
        above)
     500 Char textbox for GOV14 admin notes (not displayed to ATO members in their
        display, only viewed by GOV14 staff)
     Make it able to disable the ATO instead of just deleting it so if they go out of cert for a
        short while we don't have to re-enter everything. Disable means their reps can't access
        this site and make changes
     Able to remove an ATO completely. Again, may want to just take it out of view but
        keep the guts there in case they come back.


Third Tier: VATGOV14 themself (one person) (All functions above)

Function 6: Able to add/remove GOV14 staff by CID
Function 7: Display GOV14 Approved staff by CID or just list them all, with email address.

				
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