[20th April 2024] Cross The Pond Westbound - Discussion Thread

Cross The Pond - Westbound 2024

Welcome to the discussion thread for CTP Westbound 2024!

We are pleased to return for another Cross the Pond, this time following the fun westbound on April 20th, 2024.

Cross The Pond is the largest and longest-running event on VATSIM (over 20 years). The event is biannual flying between the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean - Westbound in the spring and Eastbound in the autumn. Hundreds of pilots light up the virtual skies, and dozens of controllers burn both ends of the candle to provide professional ATC service over the Ocean and the Continents.

Our teams of volunteers are already working in the background for this next edition, so we will be posting updates soon!

To keep in touch with news regarding the event, you can follow us on our social media and look for the hashtag #CTP24W
Twitter: https://twitter.com/vatsimctp
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vatsimctp/

We also have a dedicated discord server, which is going to get busier as we approach show-day. To join us, head over to ctp.vatsim.net and follow the instructions on your screen.

We are pleased to announce that the airport voting for Cross the Pond Westbound 2024 has now opened. VATSIM members can vote for their top airports until 9th March (Saturday) at 2000 UTC via the CTP website .

Members can vote for their 1st, 2nd and 3rd favourite choice on either side of the ocean, earning that airport 5, 3 and 2 points respectively. The Planning Team of the event will then meet with the user’s vote to include your favourite airports and occasionally a choice of their own.

A complete list of the airports available on each side of the ocean is listed at the end of my post.

On behalf of the Planning Team, good luck to all the airports!

Discord: https://ctp.vatsim.net/discord/


Europe, Middle East and Africa:

Cross the Pond is happy to announce our departure and arrival fields for 2024 Westbound!

BIKF - Keflavík International Airport
EDDK - Cologne Bonn Airport
EGLL - London Heathrow
EHAM - Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
EIDW - Dublin
ENGM - Oslo Gardermoen Airport
GMMN - Mohammed V International
LOWW - Vienna International Airport
LSGG - Geneva
LTFM - Istanbul Airport
ULLI - St. Petersburg Pulkovo Airport

CYUL - Montreal-Trudeau
CYYZ - Toronto Pearson
KBOS - Boston Logan Intl Airport
KIAD - Washington Dulles International Airport
KJFK - John F. Kennedy International
KORD - Chicago O’Hare International Airport
SBFZ - Fortaleza - Pinto Martins
SBRF - Recife - Gilberto Freyre
SKBO - El Dorado International Airport
TJSJ - Luis Munoz Marin Intl.
TNCM - Princess Juliana International Airport

You can keep up to date with us via our Twitter/X and Facebook @vatsimctp, or the CTP Discord server. To join our discord head over to ctp.vatsim.net and follow the instructions.

*Note: please be aware that not every possible city pair between all the airports above may be presented for the event.


Hi !!! I assume the lottery will open soon …

Does anyone know when the lottery will be open?

Pilots are now allowed to join our slot lottery!

Demand for participation in CTP outweighs the available capacity of the controllers and airspace. As a result, we chose to limit the number of participants using a slot system.

Only pilots with a slot are able to participate in the event. In order to distribute the slots to pilots we complete the following steps:

  • Pilots register their interest (available until 02APR24 1900 UTC)
  • Everyone who enters the lottery will get a personalised booking time
  • Pilots login after their allocated time and pick a time slot and city pair (being earlier in the lottery gives more chance for the route you want) (available 07APR24 through 12APR24)
  • Pilots who have booked via the above MUST return to the CTP website and confirm their bookings between 14APR24 and 18APR24. If you do not do this, you WILL LOOSE YOUR SLOT.
  • After everyone has had some time to select their route, the remaining slots are released to all members (14APR24, 2000z).

Several factors affect the outcome of the lottery, the most significant of which is your historical interaction with this event. If you have no-showed during a previous event when you held a booking, you will have slightly less chance of getting a slot now. If you applied but did not get a slot last year, you will have a slightly higher chance of getting a slot now.

As in previous events, you will have to return to the website in the week leading up to the event to reconfirm your intention to fly and to provide important information such as your callsign, maximum assignable flight level and so on.

You may now register to be included in the lottery at ctp.vatsim.net

If you want to keep up to date with CTP, don’t forget to join our Discord server at ctp.vatsim.net


This Event’s system in Detail

The lottery will run much the same as previous - that being that everyone will go into the lottery and get randomised into an order. This order will be affected primarily by chance, however, there will be weighting for the following:

  • No shows - negative weighting if you no-showed a slot you had in the previous event. This does not include people who dropped a slot they were allocated.
  • Previous slot allocations - if you got a slot in the last lottery, you have a slightly negative weighting. Likewise, if you didn’t, you have a slight positive weighting
  • Sequential events - if you have multiple sequential unsuccessful events, you get more of a positive weighting

With all of those factors taken into account, people will be ranked from 1 to N (N being the total number of people who express interest). A reminder that the main factor is chance, and therefore if you have negative weighting, you aren’t guaranteed to not have a later booking time. Likewise, with a positive weighting, you aren’t guaranteed an early one.

Each person is then given a time that they can book from and there is at least 1 minute between each person in the lottery, therefore a maximum of 5 people get in every 5 minutes. We try to base the booking times so that members from around the globe would be able to log in near to them without much hassle. The point of this is that if you can’t exactly make whatever time you’re given, you are likely to be able to log on soon after and still get a choice of slots, in contrast to the classic ‘free for all’ system where being 15 minutes late meant no slot at all.

We’re not sure how popular all the slots will be, therefore it’s perfectly possible that we’ll run out of slots before the last booking times and therefore people towards the end of the lottery may not have any slots left to choose from. Equally, it’s perfectly possible that some slots and times that are less popular will still be available. People with slots can drop them at any time, so slots will always pop up.

Everyone will then have to return to the site between 14APR24 and 18APR24 (0000-2359 UTC) to confirm they are flying and ensure they’ve filled in all the details. If you don’t do this, your slot will become available to anyone else to take.

Regardless of what’s left, anything not taken will be available on 14APR24. Anyone at this point can take a slot from what’s left. Anything dropped will be available to be booked.


Pilot Briefing Seminar

Something that is not new, but regardless, not talked enough about is the Pilot Briefing Seminar. Our friends from the Flight Simulation Association and other known members of the community are running a seminar to help new and experienced pilots prepare for the event and bring them up to speed with anything new from oceanic procedures, to departing and arriving in the respective continents (with all the differences between FAA, EASA and other airspace).

For CTP 24 Westbound, the seminar will take place on 17APR24 at 2100z. You can sent a reminder and watch it from this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYZ6oQJ-mwU

CTP is just over two weeks away, on April 20th! Already know that you’re available and want to work Gander/Shanwick? Signups are now available at the link below!

This form is only for controllers who are currently certified to control NAT via either Gander or VATUK. Please confirm that you are still listed on the roster before filling out this form.


Cross the Pond 2024 - Westbound - Non-Event Traffic

Tomorrow we will host more than 1,000 planes across the Atlantic to a range of airfields across North and South America, from departing fields in Europe and Africa. In designing this event, the majority of our ATC capacity is assigned to pre-booked traffic for our event.

Because of this and the huge amount of work that goes into providing service for these planes, we ask you not to fly across the ocean at all. We also ask you not to utilise the event fields during the peak window as there are many other flight options available.

The rest of this post details what you should do if you choose to fly despite this request.

If you plan to fly in or out of departing event fields, you will be metered, most likely delayed via the Flow Managers from ECFMP (European Control and Flow Management Project) depending on the workload at the event fields and enroute sectors.

If you plan to fly across the pond as non-event traffic (in either direction), your routing will be mandated based on avoiding traffic already booked to cross the pond, and you can expect to be assigned a very low level for the duration and potentially have no ATC for parts of your flight.

If you plan to fly intra-continent during the event, you will be subject to delays if your flight crosses the paths of CTP traffic and you will be delayed on the ground in order to manage the workload for our controllers. This can happen to anyone arriving or departing from an event airport.

Departing offline in order to circumvent departure restrictions on the ground is a violation of the VATSIM Code of Conduct and will be monitored by the supervisor team.

If you plan to cross the Atlantic in the Westbound Direction:

You can expect a re-route on the ground (if covered by ATC) or in the air if already airborne when you fall under the control of ATC. This may involve a level change compared to your plan.

If you plan to cross the Atlantic in the Eastbound Direction, we recommend that you fly along one of the following tracks:-

X1 ENNSO 5655N 5750N 5840N H5730 H5720 H5715 GOMUP
X2 PORTI 4750N 4840N 4830N H4820 KOGAD

Any other routing, including the real-world westbound tracks for the day, will be limited to a maximum FL of 280.

We hope this guidance assists with planning your flight and helps you to understand why you may be delayed during your flight.