Hours on the ground

Hi, i’ve noticed that some pilots spend hours on the ground without flying. what’s the point? to increase the number of flight hours? wouldn’t it be possible to automatically disconnect someone who stays still after a certain number of minutes? (20?, 30?). or not to count the hours on the ground. This is just my opinion, but I think it’s absurd to stand there doing nothing.

One reason is to listen and to learn. Knowing what to expect, what to say, etc are perfectly good reasons to sit on the ground without flying.


possible, but in an airport where there neither aircraft nor controller…

When I still was a Supervisor we had a tool that would show us a list of pilots that were showing “suspicious behaviour”, e.g. “more than x hours on the ground without movement”. Naturally we’d go and send a message to these long-term parking pilots and if no reply was received within 30 minutes we’d close their connection and send them an e-mail. I do not know whether this tool or another software solution is still in use

Usually people simply forget to logoff, although it puzzles me why somebody would leave his flight simulator and computer run over night when it would just suck electricity and increase your bill.

What is the problem. They do not load the system by doing this. Another thing if they do it to learn they should use the Observer mode.

Sitting on the ground idle 6 or 9 hours is not “observing”, but simply using network resources. It’s not a lot, but over the year it can add up. Whether it is a huge cost, or not, it is against our network rules and I in 90+% of cases members simply forgot to logoff, it’s an honest mistake, no consequences.


It is indeed a cost, perhaps small person by person, but the more people that do it, it adds up quickly. Our generous benefactors don’t mind paying the bill for those that are learning and improving. But we don’t want to be in a position where our generous benefactors decide they don’t want to pay for people sleeping any longer, and stop their generous contributions.


And hopefully that describes the vast majority of members. But I had been led to believe that Vatsim had moved away from a reliance on the good will of a few and that donations from the membership was the basis of funding now.

How to deal with “sleepers” surely has a tech solution, by sending an automatic message; if not responded to within a reasonable time, the sleeper is dropped with a warning.

Talking about donations…it’s time to send some money again!

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FWIW, 20 or 30 minutes is rather short for people that want to do the preflight online, or for the turnaround when flying A → B → C. Just loading passengers can easily take 20+ minutes already in some sim addons.

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it would be a sad world if pilots do this for flight hours…in my experience i was on ground for a while twice in u.s and on both occations i had a moderator warning…so i think there is some moves here to stop this but not all…and maybe newbies like to sit in plane and listen and watch activities for training purposes…either way if they aint doing anything then no problem to myself or others…

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In my humble opinion, and as someone who has been around before SATCO (where VATSIM and IVAO came from) it’s been my experience that anyone logged on for over 30 minutes is just building hours without flying. I won’t buy the excuse that they forgot to log off as you’re automatically logged off when you exit your sim. If I see an aircraft (VatSpy) in the air that hasn’t moved for a while I will send them a chat. If no answer I’ll contact a supervisor and let them deal with it. Nine times out of ten, they get logged off by the supervisor.

I would not say 30, as others said, if loading with gsx and doing everything in the plane by the books including stuff like checking your route after plugging it in the mcdu will take about 45 minutes or something.

And you cant automate it because during an event its possible you get held at a gate for a long time where you would also not be moving for an hour or more if you do 30 mins of preparation with then a 50 minutes atc induced startup delay

But I also see quite often people connecting on an undcontrolled airport and just sitting there for hours wich probably is just hour building.

No matter what: as long as you are actively observing/doing something (=responsive) you can stay idle on the ground for 2 hours, no problem. It’s just that you cannot be inactive and unresponsive for more than 30 minutes.

It’s just that you cannot be inactive and unresponsive for more than 30 minutes.

Which is no different than when you’re airborne. :man_shrugging:

I honestly don’t see the need for hour building on VATSIM though. On IVAO, it has some purpose because you need a certain amount of hours to earn pilot and ATC ratings, but that isn’t the case on VATSIM, so nobody cares whether you have 1 minute or 10 000 hours of online time…
Other than for the purposes of server load and related costs, I also don’t believe there should be too much time and energy spent on tracking down or writing code to send alerts / auto-disconnect those that do it?


When you are airborne you are at least kind of “doing something with aviation” and not just accumulating parking fees :slight_smile:

There are quite a few virtual airlines that require x hours on VATSIM or any other online flying network to progress ranks and some “los cheapos” do it this way. They probably have no other purpose in life.

As a person who is totally new to this type of air traffic simulation, but certainly not flying/piloting, reading a topic such as this does not leave me with a lot of confidence that I should ever log in to fly.

We all have to start from somewhere and I have not exactly found where that somewhere should be. Perhaps a more constructive way of dealing with this is to provide step by step tutorials that are in the field/live examples. This is well over and above a few lines of text that illustrate an expected call/response. I am not sure how exactly you would do this, but if someone is going to sit in a cockpit for hours to learn what to do/say and what NOT to do/say then perhaps a better way is needed. I took the time to follow a youtube video of a typical GA flight with Vatsim and I could see that the person doing the flying was completely overwhelmed with not doing/saying the wrong thing to the ATC that things like airspeed were climbing to kingdom come both in the climb and descent! In all fairness, the ATC on duty that day was beyond patient and understanding. I tip my hat to the person who posted that video, but I am sure many of us have a lot less courage. I think the worry here is being shamed publicly while live in Vatsim.

In my mind, I can see myself doing the wrong things in a stiff learning curve worried sick about being kicked off/out. For those who have been at this hobby for years if not decades my worry might be laughable.

So what would you suggest a newcomer to Vatsim do? Not log in, or sit in a cockpit for an hour or two or more trying to learn what is expected? As for those who may be “gaming” the system to “collect” hours in the air while being stationary on the ground, well that certainly is a problem, but I doubt that newbies are doing this.


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Connecting in observer mode and listening in is absolutely fine and I would say even encouraged.

The discussion in this topic was more about people who will connect at a remote airport withiut any atc or traffic in listening range and stand there for hours withiut doing anything, mostly that are people with hundreds of hours and not new members.

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that’s exactly it. what bothers me are those “pilots” who stay for hours where there’s no traffic or ATC… by the way, yes, for a beginner, logging on at a controlled airfield with ATC approval is encouraging.

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Hi Steve and welcome to VATSIM!

As the others wrote, actively observing/monitoring VATSIM traffic and ATC is 100% okay. As long as you are participating (by listening in), you are 100% legal and we encourage new members in doing so to gain experience. Don’t worry.