A Summary of The Rules as They Apply to Gliding

The UK VGA currently does not fly using the benefit of the Vatsim NETWORK, as we are trialing the use of 'JoinFS' which is a free and simple application acting as a decentralised hostless peer-to-peer network, and which is proving very suitable for our Association Group Launch (AGL) multiplayer soaring tasks. If and when the UK VGA decides to hold AGLs using the VATSIM network, the following rules will apply.

Some of the VATSIM rules do not apply to gliding, but those that do must be obeyed. The most important ones for glider pilots are set out below.

  1. You are not allowed to have more than one connection to the VATSIM network at a time.
  2. You must not log on to VATSIM while on a runway or taxiway. Ground movement for gliders is by slewing, so slew to safe area before connecting.
  3. You must not pause your flight while connected to VATSIM.
  4. Make sure you remain outside controlled airspace at all times.
  5. You may not use ATC very frequently, but you must know how and when to talk (or text) to ATC.
  6. When not in contact with an ATC unit, you must tune your radio to “Unicom” 122.80 and monitor the channel (which is text only). If another aircraft is within 30 miles of your position, you should enter a short position report. E.g. “Glider operating overhead Lasham, up to 5000 feet, VFR”.
  7. If an ATC unit contacts you and asks you to tune to their frequency. You MUST do so, if only to explain that you are a glider, remaining outside controlled airspace. They may offer you a “Basic Service” or (in the USA and Canada) a “Flight Following Service”. Accept it. It will not normally affect your flight.
  8. Be aware, (because many controllers, unused to seeing gliders on VATSIM may not be) that gliders have right of way over other traffic. Do not, however use this information arrogantly, but co-operate where requested.
  9. You must always file a flight plan using the Squawkbox or FSInn Flight Plan facility. It is important to complete the flight plan exactly as described in the next section.
  10. You must always squawk mode C in your Squawkbox or FSInn software. Gliders are not equipped with transponders, so if you are requested to “squawk 7000 and mode Charlie” you should reply. “Negative transponder, squawking mode Charlie” (either voice or text). That response will be acceptable.
  11. UK VGA pilots should not declare an emergency in any circumstances. If you have a genuine problem, rather than a simulated one, log off.
  12. If you want to chat to other UK VGA members, use Teamspeak.

The VATSIM Flight Plan

In order to standardise flight plans submitted to VATSIM all pilots must pay particular attention to the following, when entering details in the Flight Plan form. Full details can be found in the UKVGA Gliding Manual.

  1. If you are 'local soaring', in the “Route” box enter No set route. Remaining outside controlled airspace. Alternatively, for brevity, No set route. REMOCAS, which will be understood by controllers.
  2. If you are flying a cross-country 'task', in the route box enter the waypoints as can be obtained from your FSX flight plan or Plan-G's 'copy route' feature.
  3. In the Remarks box enter Glider - UK Virtual Gliding Association, plus any other relevant information but keep it brief.
  4. If the Glider is not radio equipped ensure the 'Text only' option is selected. This also applies if not you cannot use voice (e.g. because you have no headset).
  5. Ensure VFR is selected. Note: IFR is not permitted for gliders.
  6. Ensure Squawk is set to the correct code for VFR (7000 in European airspace). This can be done by entering .x 7000 in the message box of vPilot, squawkbox, or the ATC window in FSInn. Don’t forget to Squawk mode C (mode 'Charlie') once lined up on the runway and about to launch.