“Vancouver Approach, ACA27MD heavy, mayday mayday mayday! We have lost one engine, request emergency landing!”
“ACA27MD heavy, Vancouver Approach, copied your mayday, expect ILS runway 08L, I’ll have vectors for you in a minute.”
“Roger that, Approach, we’ve lost our second engine, we’re losing control of the aircraft!”
“Copy, ACA27MD, if have some time, can I get your souls on board and fuel?”
“Negative, no time, we try to keep the aircraft level, we’ve lost hydraulics too!”
“Copy, ACA27MD, turn left heading 180 and you’re a bit steep on the descent!”
“Yeah, Approach, we know! Request emergency vehicles standing by!”
“ACA27MD, roger, be advised, there’s a new procedure in place. Due to an overload of requests, we’re now offering a chance in our lottery. If you win, an emergency vehicles slot will be booked for you. If you lose, you’ll get priority over the others next time for sure. Please advise.”
My co-pilot and I look helplessly transfixed at each other while our plane is racing down at 489 knots and rising fast towards Whistler Mountain and then I wake up, sweating, shouting, dazed, heavily panting and slowly realizing it was just a bad dream.
From the moment a passionate pilot joins VATSIM, they very quickly learn some new certainties in their new life: “Aviate, navigate, communicate”, ATC instructions take precedence over any other command when online, including your partner’s, and you don’t actually have to be called “Roger” to be a controller. Oh, and two dates have become your new religious high days: Cross the Pond event dates. The two sets of days that all VATSIM pilots join together to fly their biggest event across the Atlantic ocean.
In just one day, it’s happening all over again: hundreds of VATSIM pilots will ‘Cross the Pond’ Eastbound in an impressive big swarm, following on after the Westbound edition last April. Although for the first time in the eventful history of VATSIM, this edition will leave quite an annoyingly bitter aftertaste.