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> What is a Virtual Airline?

   A Virtual Airline, commonly known as a "VA" is exactly what it sounds like. It is an airline where all aspects of it are virtual except the pilots themselves, and usually the management. Here is how a virtual airline usually works, although I am sure there are exceptions.

Pilots are either given an assignment or a list of assignments from which they can choose from. They are to fly the assignment(s), usually by a certain time or date. The pilot then fills out a PIREP (Pilot Report). The information requested in a PIREP usually includes the pilots ID (assigned upon signup), flight number or name and duration of the flight. Certain airlines also request comments on the flight which can include difficulties or problems encountered such as "Made missed approach because of deer on runway" or "Plane was hijacked." The comments are sometimes humorous. Airlines often provide add on scenery for their areas served or can refer you to a place where you can obtain add on scenery. Airlines also usually provide specific aircraft for the pilots to fly. Generally the aircraft are designed to work with BAO/Apollo Flight Shop and Flight Simulator for Windows95 and are painted in the colors of the airline.

Virtual Airlines, like real airlines are usually divided up into different hubs. The hubs are run by Hub Captains and often other people like assistant hub captains. The hub captains operate under the authority of some type of administrative body like a president/CEO or board of directors. The hub captains are generally responsible for the tallying of pilots flying time and the day-to-day operations of that hub of the airline. Almost all other aspects of virtual airlines are the same or similar to real airlines such as different types or routes and what type of aircraft the airline flies.

Of course, certain airlines are more realistic than others. For example, WestWind airlines requires all pilots to attend flight school before even beginning their first flight. Certain other airlines allow the pilot to begin flying 747s on their first day. Different types of people would join the two different types of airlines. Someone who just wanted to fly might join the second airline above while someone who wanted a very realistic experience might join WestWind.

The greatest thing about virtual airlines is that they are FREE! Anyone who has an hour or two a week to spare can join as long as they own a flight simulation program. Most airlines require Microsoft Flight Simulator 5.x or 95 and if you have MSFS5.x, BAO/Apollo Flight Shop (FS95 has the features built in through the use of a free aircraft converter available from Microsoft). And now the answer to the question you have been asking you self "What is the purpose of a virtual airline?"  To give a purpose to your flight simulation experience.

(http://www.avsim.com)

 

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