Virtual Controllers, PC Pilots Planning Major Live Event

Sim controllers to descend on New Jersey during the weekend of Feb. 17.

Newark Live!
Newark Live!

If you enjoy sharpening your piloting skills with Microsoft Flight Simulator but wish you could ratchet up the realism a notch or two, check this out. Vatsim, a worldwide community of virtual air traffic controllers and PC pilots, is planning a major live event the weekend of Feb. 18 in Newark, New Jersey, that will bring together scores of sim controllers under the same roof to connect with participating pilots from around the globe.

Called Newark Live!, the event being hosted by Vatsim’s NYARTCC chapter kicks off on Friday, Feb. 17, with a cocktail reception in New York City. The real fun starts the next morning with an FAA-hosted tour and seminar at Newark Liberty International Airport on Saturday, to be followed by the main event – a massive virtual fly in from noon until 6 p.m., with virtual Center and Tracon controllers taking over a banquet room at the Chateau of Spain restaurant in downtown Newark.

Around 50 Vatsim controllers from around the world are expected to attend the live event. They will log in to their laptops to control hundreds of PC aviators flying into Newark Airport during the afternoon, with a goal of making the entire experience seem as realistic as possible. Additional controllers who cannot attend the event will participate from home.

“Most events like this draw virtual pilot members of Vatsim Virtual Airlines in large numbers, and they provide great support and traffic levels for these events,” said NYARTCC member Matt Kreilein. “Therefore, airliners will likely be the bulk of our traffic.” GA aircraft and pilots, he noted, are always present to some degree -- and while the event is called Newark Live!, there will be virtual ATC services available to other airports in the area as well, including smaller Class C and D facilities.

For virtual controllers and pilots who have had their fill of PC aviating after the Saturday event, the group will host a real flying gathering at Morristown Municipal Airport in New Jersey from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 19. For more information on the Newark Live! event, visit http://2012.nyartcc.org/schedule.html. For information on how to join Vatsim, check out the organization's website at www.vatsim.net.