VATSIM has published an important information note regarding the upcoming Cross The Pond 2020 – Eastbound event which will take place on November 14th.
The slot allocation was previously done using a booking system on a “first come, first served” basis. In the previous events, the slots would be gone in a matter of minutes, letting on the side of the road anybody who was not able to connect to the site at that time. In addition, the slot bookings sites where sometimes not accessible, making it even more difficult to grab a slot. It has also been considered unfair that depending on the time when the slot booking happened, some people living in certain time zones where advantaged.
In consequence, VATSIM has decided this year to introduce a lottery system for slot allocation. Upon slot booking opening, which will happen on October 28th at 2000Z, people will be given the choice between three most prefered city pairs as well as two most prefered departure times. The booking closure will happen on November 4th, which will give pilots plenty of times to poll in their options. The system will then randomize the selections and allocate slots accordingly. This means that not everyone will be served. Some routes pairing will probably have much more picks than others, leaving less chances to get them. Importantly, VATSIM added that people who polled in their preferences but who still have not be selected in the lottery will have priority bookings for the next events. No further details have been added in regards to the exact process.
Flying Without Slot
In the past CTP sessions, pilots where encouraged to fly across the pond from other airports. However, this system proved once again its limits in the last 2020 westbound events, where enroute centers where completely overloaded with traffic. For the next Cross The Pond event, VATSIM officially asks pilots who do not have a slot to refrain from crossing the Atlantic during the event. With more traffic for less ATC it has become really difficult to handle all the traffic. VATSIM hopes to make the event more enjoyable for everyone.
Atlantic Crossing Changes
There are two major changes regarding traffic handling across the Atlantic for the upcoming event. For the first time, the control services will be using ADS-B separation methods rather than the older reporting system. ATC will be able to track the position speed and altitude of all flights at all times. This means that depending on several factors, pilots will not have to perform any position reports during their flight across the Atlantic. This should ease considerably radio traffic over the ocean and overall workload for ATC and pilots.
The other major changes is that VATSIM Supervisors will enforce more closely Section B(8) of the VATSIM Code of Conduct where pilots are supposed to : file, understand and fly a compliant transatlantic flight plan ; route direct to waypoints which may or may not be in the pilot’s flightplan ; fly published and unpublished holding patterns if instructed. Previous events have unfortunately outlined that a non negligible amount of pilots did not have a clue about the basic handling of their aircraft nor the transatlantic procedures, causing traffic disturbance, heavier workload for ATC and overall less enjoyment for pilots on the frequency. As a consequence, pilots who apparently have difficulties complying with this set of rule will first be helped and supported by supervisors, but can also be invited to disconnect from the network.
Last but not least, VATSIM has created dedicated Discord Channel where all communication will be posted. You can join these channel through a procedure explained on the Vatsim Community Page.
This concludes this important communication part from VATSIM. Many of these new set of rules will spark controversy. What is your opinion ? Please share it in the comments below. Also, stay tuned for the upcoming updated FSELite guide to the VATSIM CTP Event.