If you’re looking to join in and fly in this year’s Cross the Pond Westbound event, then you can now select from a variety of city pairs and times using the VATSIM lottery system. Taking place on Saturday, 24th April 2021, the event will see 850 pilots across the Atlantic ocean from parts of Europe to North America.
This year, departure airports include Manchester (EGCC), Amsterdam (EHAM), Brussels (EBBR), and Lisbon (LPPT). Pilots will then be heading west towards arrival airports such as Boston (KBOS), San Francisco (KSFO), Denver (KDEN) and Miami (KMIA). The full list of airports is listed down below.
To be able to fly an event route, complete with full ATC coverage, pilots will need to enter the slot lottery. You will be able to pick from three city pairs and two time periods which suit you best. The lottery will then close on April 13th and then the slots are allocated randomly based on your selection on the reservation page. If you are successful, you will be notified of the exact slot you have received. Those slots which remain unallocated will then be up for grabs on April 15th at 20:00z.
It’s worth noting that this time, the lottery will give a “slight bias” towards those pilots who applied for a slot last year but didn’t get one. This still doesn’t guarantee a slot for those who didn’t fly last year but supposedly gives those people a better chance of a slot allocation. That said, those who did pick up a slot and did not fly will have a negative weighting which will affect their probability of getting a slot.
In addition to the vast number of pilots, there will also be 200 controllers online ready to take you through the event. These volunteers combined with the event planning team are all vital in making this event a success and work hard to ensure this event is as fun as possible.
On the new Cross the Pond website, there is a section devoted to answering frequently asked questions. For example, if a virtual pilot wishes to fly out of a departure airport on a non-event track, they can do so but will experience delays. You can read the full FAQ here to familiarise yourself with some of the key information before the event.
As always, you can check out of previous pilot’s guide here* to help give you an understanding of the event before you fly on Saturday 24th April 2021.
*Note this is for the Eastbound 2020 event and we’ll update it before this year’s event.