Many vACCs provide detailed pilot briefings for airports under their coverage and sometimes even their general airspace. From a pilot’s perspective, I find them immensely helpful, especially when flying somewhere I haven’t visited for a while or ever; from a controller’s perspective, I’d wish more people would read the pilot briefings we have available for our airports. But unfortunately, many pilots appear to be either completely unaware of their existence or don’t know where to find them.
After all, all pilot briefings (as far as I’m aware) are hosted on the respective vACCs’ own websites, so pilots would have to find the correct vACC, their website, and then figure out how to navigate to the pilot briefings (and then potentially find nothing, either because it’s not intuitively placed or simply doesn’t exist).
So here’s the idea:
When filing a flight plan through the website (which will soon be the only way to file a flight plan as far as I understand), the departure and destination aerodromes could be read out and after successfully filing a flight plan, instead of just getting a little confirmation message, pilots could be forwarded to another site that provides links to available pilot briefings. vACCs could be given access to the appropriate database or such to allow them to update or add new pilot briefings with ease.
This idea could even be taken further by reading out the alternate(s) and EET to give pilots quick access to pilot briefings for all potentially relevant airports and FIRs/UIRs they intend to enter.
This way, the hurdles that pilots face in accessing pilot briefings would essentially be removed while vACCs only need to take one additional step when adding a new pilot briefing (or when updating the link to an existing briefing).
Great idea! That’s all I really wanted to say, but apparently posts must be at least 20 characters, so that’s why you get this second sentence…
myVATSIM technically has an AIP already (https://my.vatsim.net/pilots/aip/_Airport_ICAO_). It’s probably outdated, and a lot of pilots don’t use it (or know that it exists really), but could definitely be improved and used to include a link to a vACC briefing
I know about the VATSIM AIP, but I never saw any good use for it personally - and I would assume this is true for most other users as well - if, as you say, they even know it exists.
The idea I proposed above takes a slightly different approach where instead of providing a centralized place to find these things if one looks them up, they get kind of shoved into your face when you file a flight plan. I feel like that would maximize the amount of pilots who actually end up taking a look.
While I personally get a lot of joy out of thoroughly preparing my flights, my impression is that most users would rather get into their flight as quickly as possible even if it comes at the expense of missing some more obscure procedures during their preflight briefing (if they even conduct one) - which is fair enough for a hobby. So providing a way of least resistance by putting all available information that could be relevant to that particular flight into a place that all pilots will come across eventually would result in the highest chance of people actually reading it. Not everyone would take a closer look, of course, but I imagine it’d be vastly more people than if they had to maneuver to the VATSIM AIP in addition to all the other things that they might be busy with while setting up their flight.
Although I’d also like to see the VATSIM AIP become a more useful resource. Maybe this could be a “kill two birds with one stone” type of situation: improve the VATSIM AIP and then have a sort of “preview” panel including relevant basic information (initial call for departures (could use a system like VATGlasses’), which runway is in use (could be inferred from an ATIS, if one is available), maximum permissible aircraft size and/or MTOM (would probably have to be entered manually by vACCs and could provide pilots with a way to check that they didn’t misjudge the size of the airport), airport rating (soon ?) etc.) and of course a “button” to click on to get forwarded to the vACC pilot briefing, if available, after filing the flight. Then pilots have the option to either just take the preview as is, look directly at the pilot briefing, or open the VATSIM AIP page itself to access whatever information might ultimately be in there.
Absolutely. I mentioned the existing AIP because we could use some of that information as well on the “briefing page” after the user files the flight plan, like you said.
I’m working on an update to the entire flight plan flow on myVATSIM anyway, so this would fit nicely on revamping that experience - and maybe get some more attention to the existing AIP from vACCs/Divisions.