News

Hello Pilots,

This news update brings some more airline news and development updates.

Airline News

We have added AeroUnion, a subsidiary of Avianca. This will provide more cargo routes throughout the America's. With Air India's privatization the Alliance Air subsidiary has left the Air India Group. As such it has been removed from the VA. We are monitoring real-world developments regarding the new ownership of Air India, and changes this may bring along in one of the fastest growing aviation markets.

Development Updates

All airlines have received their new summer schedules except for cases where there are still significant COVID related service disruptions. If there are routes missing please let us know via support ticket, and we will add these routes as soon as possible.

We are working on improving gate information, if you would to help collaborate on gathering gate information for airports please let us know by creating a collaboration type support ticket. We will provide a document that can be filled out and imported to help improve our coverage.

Closed airspaces

Current scheduled flight time durations may need to be amended due to longer flying times on account of closed airspace. Exceeding the listed scheduled flight time for this reason is expected and not an issue. If your flight is given a remark incorrectly please let us know via support ticket.

You can find more information about which airspaces are closed and how the civil aviation situation is developing at this FlightRadar24 page. Please adhere to these closures when performing flights on the VA.

Event Updates

We are working with the vACEPG initiative to co-host more VATSIM events. The next one is scheduled for the 15th of May, please check the Events page for more details, we hope to see you there! Please let us know via Discord and the forums what kind of events you would like to see! To receive more frequent updates please subscribe to the Event Announcements notifications on our Discord server.

Tour updates

Following feedback, we have decided to make the following changes to our tour structure. Currently, there are five types of tours, namely: New Pilot, Regional, Themed, Aircraft, and Airline tours. Our restructuring of the tours will start with New Pilot, Regional, Themed and Aircraft tours.

  • Firstly, all tours will now have a start and end date giving you time to plan your flying. This was mentioned by various pilots. Most tours will be active for 12 months except for special or seasonal tours i.e., the Winter Sun tour. Aircraft tours will be valid for 18 months and consolidated into aircraft families, for example E-Jets, etc.
  • Tours will be re-organised with those ending first at the top left of each category.
  • New Pilot, Regional, Themed tours will be limited to 8 tours per section.
  • Majority of tours will have no more than 20 legs, again a common request from pilots.
  • We will focus on short-haul routes for most tours, especially with the monthly tours.
  • In the Autumn we will introduce a new tour category called ‘Second chance’ or something similar where we will re-activate popular tours for an additional 3 months to enable you to finish a tour.
  • We will do our best to schedule the tours in such a matter that and on average two to three tours ends and new tours starts every month.
  • A common request was to add bonus points once a tour is completed. Due to the limitations of the points system, this is not currently possible.

To enable you to earn extra points we will introduce a new monthly focus flight, which will be a leg on the monthly tour. Additionally, we will introduce one-off events to earn extra points, e.g. flights into EDDF on one day of the month (weekends) to receive bonus points.

All these changes will be implemented over the summer and should be ready by the start of September.

As always let us know what you think of these changes.

Closing words

As always if you have any suggestions please let us know.

We would also like to remind you we have a Discord server. To join it, use discord.gg/gUTREjv.

Hello Pilots,

General Update

We are currently reducing schedules to and from Russia We are currently reducing schedules to and from Russia as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions implemented. Any future restrictions, or loosening of restrictions will also be implemented. This includes likely fleet reductions regarding leased aircraft in Russia, which are to be returned to their lessor by March 28th. To fully implement these schedule changes may take a few days, and if we miss any do please let us know. This will affect a number of tours, we will be reworking these in the coming days to allow for their completion. If you have any questions regarding this do not hesitate to let us know via support ticket, forum post or our discord.

Closed airspaces

Current scheduled flight time durations may need to be amended due to longer flying times on account of closed airspace. Exceeding the listed scheduled flight time for this reason is expected and not an issue. If your flight is given a remark incorrectly please let us know via support ticket.

You can find more information about which airspaces are closed and how the civil aviation situation is developing at this FlightRadar24 page. Please try and adhere to these closures when performing flights on the VA.

Airline updates

Wingo, subsidiary of Copa Airlines, has been added to the VA. Further expanding the South- and Latin America network.

Tour updates

We are working on a number of tour updates, along with the aforementioned tours, to keep tours fresh. For more information and to share your thoughts on how you would like to see tours developed please check the forum post here.

Closing words

As always if you have any suggestions please let us know.

We would also like to remind you we have a Discord server. To join it, use discord.gg/gUTREjv.

Hello Pilots,

First of all happy new year and we wish you all the best in 2022! This news update brings some more airline news and development updates.

Airline News

We are working on a restructuring of the Lufthansa group to better mirror their real-life structure. This will initially encompass a rework of all Lufthansa Group fleets, including subsidiary Lufthansa Cityline. Pending other developments Virgin Australia's ties to Delta will move to United Airlines in April 2022, and this airline will be moved to Star Alliance virtual then. Air China subsidiary Tibet Airlines, and Juneyao Airlines subsidiary 9 Air have been added this month to provide more route options throughout Asia.

We will as always do our best to mirror real-world developments and things may change in the coming months.

Development Updates

We are working on a rework of the booking page to provide a better, simplified experience when booking flights. This will include a rework of the current booking page, as well as back-end changes that will enable us to more easily switch between summer and winter flying season's. Hopefully lessing the delay in updating routes in the future.

The VAS ACARS native X-Plane support and support for Linux and macOS are currently undergoing testing and we hope to launch these features in the coming weeks.

This month also launches the discord screenshot contest, where you will get the chance to submit and vote on the best screenshots from fellow pilots.

Tour updates

The monthly tour takes you across the India. A number of tours are currently in the process of being reworked and for more updates on retiring tours please check the Event and Tours section on the homepage.

Closing words

As always if you have any suggestions please let us know.

We would also like to remind you we have a Discord server. To join it, use discord.gg/gUTREjv.

Hi Pilots,

This month brings a number of VA updates, which are detailed below.

Tour updates

This month brings a new tour, the Aegean- Olympic tour, taking you from Athens throughout Greece and the rest of Europe. The Discovery Tour series is also completed, a chance to fly to through our most popular airports on all continents.

The monthly tour takes you across the continental United States, through some of the busiest airports.

Native SimConnect support in VAS ACARS

The latest version of VAS-ACARS has native SimConnect support. This means it is not required to use FSUIPC anymore if you are using a FSX-based simulator, including Microsoft Flight Simulator. If you encounter any issues using FSUIPC to record or you would like simply like to use one less program in your simulator, you can change to recording using SimConnect.

To switch to SimConnect, open VAS ACARS and click the cog wheel in the top-right hand of VAS-ACARS. Click on Use for SimConnect, the change is applied immediately. The method is also shown in the video below.

The next features we are working on inside VAS ACARS are native X-Plane support and support for Linux and macOS.

Closing words

As always if you have any suggestions please let us know.

We would also like to remind you we have a Discord server. To join it, use discord.gg/gUTREjv.

Hello Pilots,

Unfortunately due to the failed acquistions of Condor by LOT Polish Airlines and Air Transat by Air Canada respectively, these airlines will be leaving the VA on the 1st of July 2021. This will mean that a number of tours and the route network will unfortunately be affected. We are working on renewing our tours to minimize the impact of this transition. All affected tours will be discontinued by July 1st. Star Alliance joint venture partner Azul Brazilian Airlines will be added to the VA before this date.

In the mean time if you have any suggestions, regarding tours or otherwise please let us know in the forums.

Hello Pilots,

First of all happy new year and we wish you all the best in 2021!

This year will prove to be a new chapter for most of the aviation industry, and we will be following these developments as they happen. All Freighter aircraft have received unique identifier and have been split up on the fleet and routes pages, to improve scheduling clarity and better represent the unique uses of these aircraft.

A number of tours have been updated and more are scheduled as always we are happy to hear from you what tours you would like to see.

This year we also hope to make various improvements within the VA's including route suggestions and searchable return flights. Once these features have been released we will let you know via a news post.

Best Wishes and Safe Flights!

Hi pilots,

Tomorrow (or today depending on your timezone), Microsoft Flight Simulator will release. VAS ACARS NXT is compatible with Microsoft Flight Simulator immediately, in combination with the FSUIPC7 beta.

To get started, follow the following steps:

  1. Follow the instructions to download and install FSUIPC7:

    Instructions for installation of FSUIPC7

  2. Start your Microsoft Flight Simulator

  3. Start FSUIPC7

  4. Start VAS ACARS NXT

  5. You can now start recording your flight as usual

Unfortunately, due to some lacking functionality in MSFS2020, you will need to start FSUIPC7 manually before starting your recording. We hope to release VAS ACARS NXT with native SimConnect support in the future, which would work directly without starting FSUIPC7.

Please report any issues you find to us by creating a support ticket.

Hi pilots,

At the start of this year, we announced a new version of VAS ACARS, VAS ACARS NXT. After thorough testing, we are retiring VAS ACARS version 1 and are moving all pilots to VAS ACARS NXT. As of now, we recommend recording your flights using VAS ACARS NXT and uninstalling the legacy version. Detailed instructions can be found below.

VAS ACARS NXT is a complete rework of our recording system and is also more stable than legacy VAS ACARS, and as such, we will be shutting down the legacy VAS ACARS v1 on September 1st, 2020. All of your flights can be done using VAS ACARS v1 until September 1st, 2020, but after that date it will not be possible to record any flights using VAS ACARS.

While we announced that VAS ACARS NXT would have chat functionality in our January post, we have decided to instead only use Discord and not integrate chat functionality in VAS ACARS NXT. VAS ACARS NXT will contain the link to the Discord server prominently, and we will make sure there are enough channels available in Discord for all kinds of matters.

Migrating to VAS ACARS NXT

Migrating to VAS ACARS NXT is an easy process:

  1. Check that all of your flights flown using VAS ACARS have been uploaded in full, as uninstalling VAS ACARS will remove all of your old flight data from your computer (although they will of course still be available on our website if you have submitted your report)
  2. Uninstall VAS ACARS using the Windows "Add or remove programs" feature.
  3. Download VAS ACARS NXT and install it.
  4. You can now open VAS ACARS NXT and start recording your flight.

Download VAS ACARS NXT

If you have any problems with VAS ACARS NXT, please do not hesitate to create a support ticket.

A more detailed shutdown schedule of legacy services may be found below the image.

VAS ACARS NXT

Shut down schedule

We will be gradually shutting down more services of VAS ACARS v1 and increasing our communication of the shut down, according to the schedule below:

Date Event
July 25th, 2020 VAS ACARS NXT 3.0.0 is released
July 26th, 2020 VAS ACARS v1.5.0 is released, adding a message about upgrade to VAS ACARS NXT
August 2nd, 2020 Chat will be shut down
September 1st, 2020 VAS ACARS v1 services will be shut down
16 Mar 2020

VA Update

Hi pilots,

As you may know, a lot of airlines have scaled back operations due to the COVID-19 outbreak. At this time, we will still be keeping our current route network, and we do not intend to change this. Removing all of the routes which have been (temporarily) suspended would be a significant effort and would significantly reduce your possibilities to fly certain routes, tours and airlines. Therefore, we have decided to not remove any of these routes, to keep the fun in simulation and allow you to still all routes that were available before.

Airline fleets will continue to be updated. Aircraft types which have been temporarily grounded will remain bookable. Aircraft types which are scheduled to be phased out completely will be removed and replaced by their successor types. Should airlines permanently suspend their operations, they will remain in the VA for approximately 30 days after the suspending of the operations. This is to allow you to complete tours or routes that will no longer be available.

The news changes rapidly and should we deviate from what is stated here we will update you in a follow up news post. If you have any questions regarding this, please post your questions here and we will do our best to answer them.

First of all, happy new year! We will be kicking this year off with some major announcements.

oneworld virtual

After having launched both SkyTeam Virtual and Star Alliance Virtual, only one major airline alliance was still missing: oneworld. Today we are completing the major three alliances by launching oneworld virtual, available now at oneworldvirtual.org.

All three VAs are part of VASystem and use our in-house developed system. The pilot handbook and rules for all three VAs are the same. However, all three are still completely separate VAs with no integration: profiles are not shared. You will need to register separately on oneworld virtual and we will not transfer hours between the VAs to keep the workload managable for the staff members of all three VAs. It is possible to login to all three VAs using a single login, which is described at our support site.

To register for oneworld virtual, visit its website at oneworldvirtual.org.

VAS ACARS NXT

After a few months of behind the scenes work, we now have an early alpha version of a new version of VAS ACARS, which we will refer to as VAS ACARS NXT. This version is a complete rewrite and uses completely different technology than the current version of VAS ACARS. We hope that this version will resolve issues some pilots experience during flights, or when uploading.

However, as this is still an early alpha, there are of some limitations and things you need to be aware of. One major feature that is still missing is the chat, we hope to be adding it at a later date. Instead, we recommend to join our Discord and ask your questions or chat with your fellow pilots in the appropriate channels. If you have not yet joined our Discord, visit discord.gg/gUTREjv. Moreover, as this is a completely new version of VAS ACARS still in the alpha stage, there may be new issues which we might not yet be aware of. Therefore, there will be a separate forum category in which you will be able to discuss VAS ACARS NXT with staff members and of course fellow pilots. You can find this forum category here. We will also be posting updates on the status of VAS ACARS NXT there.

If you have read all these limitations and would still like to try this new version of VAS ACARS, you can download VAS ACARS NXT from here. It can be installed alongside the current version of VAS ACARS will continue being supported whilst more features make their way into VAS ACARS NXT in the future. Note this is a completely seperate version which is installed next to your existing version, the new version can be identified by the new logo present on the created shortcuts.

VAS ACARS NXT

Pushback

We now also have a better detection algorithm for the pushback phase: we are now able to detect whether you have done a pushback and will dynamically add or remove the pushback phase from your flight analysis based on whether you have done a pushback. If you don't have a pushback phase, the lights that would normally be checked during the pushback are now checked during the taxi-out phase. Moreover, when you do have a pushback it now includes an item that checks whether your engines were shut off at the start of the pushback. That also means that we now detect a pushback even if your engines were already started, which was the most likely cause of your missed pushback before. Now you will instead get a point reduction for starting your engines prior to pushback.

The Complete Guide To Flight Scoring will be updated in the coming weeks to also document this behaviour. Since our last update in August, this guide has also been updated with a section on short flights which is also a new feature of the flight processor. When your flight is very short, you usually do not reach the threshold of 11,000 ft AGL to enter the cruise phase. Therefore, short flights use a different method of determing your cruise phase and skip some phases such that you will still get full score.