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Types of Virtual Airlines


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Everyone is looking for something different and managers of VAs can help people out by telling them what type of VA we are. Sure, we tell them who we are and may even tell them what we do. But, do we really provide prospective members with the information needed to make the critical decission as to the type of VA we offer. Think of various types of VAs as tiers consiting of options from fly what you like and where you like to highly involved VAs with hiring requirements, a strict schedule, and training requirements.


A Tier 1 VAs are the many flying clubs that are around. The VAs purpose is to gather people who like to fly a variety of aircraft and operations. There are no entrace exams, no senority to fly specific aircraft, no routing, no required training, and no minimums. You can fly your Float Plane onto a lake on one flight and a long haul 747-800 on the next.


Tier 2 VA starts to put a little structure into place. The VA usually represents a brand be it a real-world airline or one specifically designed for the VA. There are generally no minimum entrance requirements and very relaxed minimum flight hours. (If they do have minimums it is usually as easy as making a flight to become active again.) They generally have route structures, bases, and use a senority system in which to qualify to fly larger equipment. The main difference in a Tier 2 and a Tier 3 is the VA has large operations across different operations often including Passenger, Cargo, Charter, and even GA all under their brand. There is no mandatory training.


A Tier 3 VA usually requires some sort of entrance hiring program being either a technical (written or oral) or practical (flight) or a combination. They usually have strict minimums to remain active with the VA. Like the Tier 2 they have a route structure and equipment senority program in place, but focus on only one type of operation. Scheduling is a little more realistic in airplanes and crews don't magically apperar and you must deadhead (crews or airplanes) before the next revenue flight. They also have a training department and require perodic participation.


At Tier 4 VA the requirements for admission are like Tier 3, but you can expect to enter some sort of training program stylized after airline initial training. They focus on proper operations IAW AFMs and SOPs and you can expect written exams focusing on thoes documents. They have very strict minimums to remain active. In order to fly a particular aircraft you must both have senority and pass training in that aircraft. They have strict route structure in place tracking crews and aircraft by tail number. Biding is usually a series of flights that make up a typical day for an airline pilot. Annual training is mandatory. You can expect a smaller fleet based off high quality add-ons.


Tier 5 would be the uber-realistic VA. At this point, entrance requirements are based on some external qualification (such as VATSIM P5.) Training includes of studying AFMs, SOPs, and comiting immediate actions steps and limitations to memory. A number of written exams will test knowledge in these areas and are combined with pratical flight instruction. Aircraft qualification follows a type rating exam including emergency and abnormals. Online flying is generally mandatory and new hires can be expected to participate in shared cockpit working as a crew. Since training is extensive only a few high-quality aircraft (often a paticular add-on company will be required) are offered and you can anticipate flying the same type for many years. Scheduling is strict and follows real-world models on locations and equipment. Since these VAs only represent a fraction of a real airline expect only a fraction of the schedule to be avilable. Some sort of economic simulation drives VA profitability. A recurrant training program is mandatory. These VAs (like their real-world counterparts) would generally not allow moonlighting for another VA.


T-1000 is some futuristic VA ran by machines.


Very few VAs will strictly fit into one of these Tiers, the idea here is they are more represenative of Tier X than Tier Y. There may also be some aspects I have not considered. Feel free to flesh out the Tiers.

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