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.