An event described as VATSIM: Cross the Pond’s “second cousin twice removed” is coming back to light up European and Middle Eastern skies – and it’s not too late for you to get involved!
Cross the Land: Eastbound is back in 2023, and offers a fantastic opportunity for simmers well versed in the world of virtual ATC the chance to fly from a Middle-Eastern destination, across the land (or Mediterranean Sea) into Europe, while enjoying VATSIM’s renowned virtual air traffic control services the entire distance – no Unicom required.
With 22 VACC’s (Virtual Area Control Centre) taking part in the event and over 500 slots available to be booked, it promises to be a very busy day in the virtual skies above Europe and the Middle-East. It is also a technically and logistically impressive feat, with over 100 virtual air traffic controllers expected to be providing services and a team of around 20 ‘hitsquad controllers’ ready to be deployed throughout the day filling in gaps for understaffed areas, ensuring that the quality of coverage simmers can expect to enjoy isn’t compromised.
At the time of writing (0930z, 5 February), around 80 slots are still available to be booked between any pair of the event’s staffed airports. These are:
Sharm El Sheikh (HESH)
The popular event is held twice per year with a westbound leg in the winter, and an eastbound leg in the summer. Last year 428 pilots flew in the event after a slot-booking system was introduced, much like the one used in Cross the Pond, to maximise participation in the event.
For simmers who are competent on VATSIM but nervous about flying Cross the Pond, Cross the Land is a great opportunity to practice an endurance flight with ATC (approximately 5 hours average between any given city-pair) before heading out to conquer CTP. And even for those who are practised in phraseology but have never tried a big event before, VATSIM: Cross the Land is a great way to build up your confidence on the network.
Pilots are advised that to make the most of their time in the skies they should prepare adequately by reading the pre-flight briefing documents which will be provided later next week. When those become available, FSElite will let you know. Any other steps you can take ahead of your flight, such as preparing a simbrief flight plan and gathering the associated charts with programs such as Navigraph are also highly recommended.
Each city-pair has a pre-defined route which will be sent to you upon completing your booking, so do ensure that any simbrief profile you create follows the same routing VATSIM provide – otherwise you may be asked to re-file your flight plan.
Commenting, the VATSIM: Cross the Land team said: “This is great event for pilots to come and experience full ATC across a longer distance than most of our other events. The CTL team has gone from strength to strength since we first held this event in 2019, and we look forward to welcoming over 500 virtual aviators back to the skies on February 11!”