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Old Time VA's


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I started this journey back in the days of FS98. After learning the sim, I joined a VA. It turned out to be a darn good idea. We talked, we flew, we had FUN. We learned from each other and became friends.

Now I fly FSX and XP11 and still enjoy the hobby even more now that I'm fully retired. Sooo, missing the days of "early VA's", I recently joined another VA. What a mistake....impersonal, regimented, and not much fun, period.

What is wrong with those of similar interest sharing common experiences when flying the same routes or for that matter any thing.

I miss the comrade and the laughs. Be very "picky" in the VA you choose. If they won't allow you into their forum.....run!

Fred Smith


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I understand the nostalgia of days long past and the fond friendships that can be forged. Running a forum 20 years ago was a lot different. Today you have sophisticated bots that constantly attack your forum in an effort to spam the forum with thousands of ads. Once someone finds your forum on the internet its all over with.


I tried to manually sort through all of the spam, but that became a full-time job. My only option was to use a paid anti-spam service. Of course, these are not foolproof either and sometimes catches legitimate users by mistake.


The other reality is that forums are not like the old days. Today people have multiple options when choosing how they wish to communicate. Discord, Teamspeak, Twitter, Facebook, etc. So many VAs offer multiple venues for social media besides the forums.


I would encourage a prospective member if they cannot get into a forum look carefully at any potential error messages. You may be getting bounced by over-aggressive anti-spam. If that is the case please contact VA management and provide them with your real name, the e-mail address you used to register, the username you tried to create, and time and date preferably in UTC. With this information, it is easy for me to find you in the anti-spam and whitelist you so you can access the forums. Since I use a commercial anti-spam by trusting you and adding you to my whitelist it helps you on other forums that use the same anti-spam.

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It sounds like you had a similar beginning with flight simming to mine. I got a computer, bought FS 5.1, got online, and joined a VA (Noble Air) shortly after that. The difference is I didn't appreciate what I had there. Perhaps we all need different levels of involvement, but I realize it could have been a lot more fun, especially realizing that one of our other pilots lived nearby.


With my current VA, there is definitely a social aspect. Some of them living in Florida still occasionally get together, and I met my assistant hub manager at Flightsimcon last year. We talked about various things until my voice was nearly raw.


Still, I sometimes feel I'm sending messages down a black hole. I suspect that some of my pilots feel the same when they send me something and I don't respond immediately. So I understand what you're talking about. Take the time to use some of the things goodpaster was discussing. Eastern Airlines Virtual, for example, uses Discord, and many of us get on for normal flights, multiplayer sessions, and our management meetings take place over Discord. I've conducted my part in those while a) sitting in a car in a parking lot in Northern Virginia, b) in a park along the water in Norfolk, and even occasionally at home. We also have a Facebook group, and posted various happenings, and I've posted several screenshots. We do have a forum, but I've forgotten my login, and it almost doesn't matter.


In fact, you've reminded me to look at the Facebook page for my VA, and I realize I haven't posted in over a year. There are reasons for this, none of them pleasant. Let's see what of my screenshots is worth the effort.


In the meantime, take a look around, and try to find a better VA for yourself. Despite what you seem to think, I'm sure there's one out there.

Robert Smith


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  • 3 weeks later...
I agree wholeheartedly with what has already been posted. I too started into Flightsim in the early days and look back with nostalgia. Until I realize how superior today's aircraft/scenery/graphics are. Still I long for the online camaraderie that we had back then. I now run Era Alaska Virtual (http://www.eralaskavirtual.com) a VA that I hope brings some of that back. We have scheduled routes and weekly charters for those that want to be told where to fly, but members can also plan and fly their own charters. Our ACARS will work with FS9/FSX/FSX steam/P3D/X-Plane, so you are not even restricted to which sim you want to fly. Being on our Discord server while flying is encouraged, but not required. I too have been turned off by the impersonal VA's of today and we try to be different.
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