Procession Of The Military Style Virtual Airline
By Edward Davis (25 July 2010)
At age 73 you would think I would have put away games and and drifted into the abyss, but I'm just not ready to call it quits. Through the years I have flown for many a VA and like so many flight simmers once you get bored you just move on. One of my favorites through all these years is the military style VA. I want to share with you my first experience with one at age 60, I think that was 1997. Wings.ark.com was one of many VA hosting sites back in the late nineties. I came across Virtual Strategic Air Command, later renamed Virtual USAF. There were five members I still see today that were there then.
The site was originally owned by David Zaleski, then there was John Jorge, Lloyd Mendenhall, Grant Smith and Paul McCullough and a couple others whose names I can't remember. David Zaleski, turned control of VUSAF over to John Jorge and moved into the commercial VA. Lloyd, Smith and McCullough moved on to form Virtual Military Airlift Command (VMAC) in 1997. Both programs experienced success for a time but as more and more members branch off to form their own versions of the original program they seemed to have slipped off the scene being replaced by new versions. Virtual Strategic Air Command was the originator of the Air Force concept VA.
For several years many have come and many have gone. VATSIM, you can find another version of the Air Force VA. http://www.simairforce.org Simulated Air Force, http://www.usecforce.com USEC Unity Security Force, http://www.usafvirtual.org USAF Virtual, http://www.vusaf.org Virtual US Air Force, http://www.vusn.org Virtual United States Navy, http://www.usavamc.com USA Virtual Air Mobility Command, http://www.usavaf.com USA Virtual Air Force and http://virtualmilitaryairliftcommand.com Virtual Military Airlift Command. Of these I listed three are not VATSIM members or Partners: Virtual Military Airlift Command, USA Virtual Air mobility Command and USA Virtual Air Force.
I'm not a fan of VATSIM, it's just not my thing. Many enjoy the reality and the rush they get out of it. Most of these VA's are very structured. If I were to rate any one of them on a scale of 1 to 5, Unity Security Force would get a 10. This VA you best be young and be military academy graduate. Problem I have with structure, chain of command and any active hierarchical structure, is it gets out of control. When a VA which was intended to be a fun experience and not reliving ones military experience or creating stress in your life to the point you no longer enjoy the game and yes, it's just that, a hobby, a game. But it is what it is. There are those people who love the role playing, the feeling of power over another player and the player who enjoys getting his butt chewed out for jumping command or he filed a report wrong, or didn't make his quota of flights for the month.
I know the owners of two of their VA's I indicated who are not partnered with VATSIM. Lloyd Mendenhall who brought back his Virtual Military Airlift Command, was not impressed with his site and it is phpvms driven. It is lite structure and has a group of about 20 to 30 members who seem to be enjoying the VA. David Zaleski, the originator of this concept back in 1997 as I mentioned just opened USA v Air Mobility Command. The site is not php or phpvms driven but is very appealing over all. This is an open VA with little to no structure, training, test, check rides or aircraft restrictions. It is not trying to emulate the entire USAF in any conceivable manner but offering the leisure pilot a place to hang their hat. USAVAF has been around for just under a year, this site is also php driven, but the issue I have with it is its template is the size of a postage stamp, the text is too small specially for my eyes and like the VMAC site, lacks any personality, appeal. It appears to offer some good programs and is functional and has a respectable membership. I did fail to mention the USA V Air Mobility Command is rapidly recruiting members.
I guess you could say that many derivatives of a VA founded in 1997 spawned so many through the years, I sent David an email on Thursday. I was curious as to why his site was not php driven. He simply said the restrictions of phpvms wouldn't permit the open format of flying as there are no formal flight schedules, it's left up to the imagination of his members. Also said he is too old to hit the books to learn php. You work with what you got.
In closing, I just want to say it is not my intention to be a critic, my opinion is mine and doesn't reflect or influence others. Just sharing.
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