Pilots who 'pop-up' near busy airports

I’m relatively new to VATSIM so forgive me if this topic has been raised elsewhere before this. I love VATSIM but several times now in a short period of time, both in Europe and US flying, I have been thrown off course literally by some VATSIM pilots who don’t have the time or inclination to perform a full flight in real time. These pilots have ‘popped-up’ in the virtual sky in such a way that they conflict with established traffic, including me, particularly in TMA’s and near busy airfields.
Where there are no controllers online, sometimes the situation can be managed between the pilots themselves, but where the sector is controlled, the controllers are left with no choice but to try sequence these ‘unexpected’ arrivals into their arrival patterns (it is nearly always ‘pop-up’ arrivals that cause the difficulties). It seems just unfair that someone who has put in hours in the cockpit flying the correct SIDs/STARs/ILS/RNAV/VOR procedures and is positioned for a good approach and landing has to be vectored off course/instruced to go-around/hold at XXX /. I’ve even had a ‘pop-up’ fast forwarding themselves (or disconnecting, fast forwarding,reconnecting, not sure what they did) to put themselves on the localizer at 5 miles when I’m turning onto it (in real time) at 7 miles! And, to add insult to injury, the controller allowed the ‘pop-up’ the privilege of landing, while telling me to go around!
We’re all hobbyists and time scarce, but given that VATSIM is trying to mirror the real world of flying, is it not unreasonable to ask that all pilots stick to that philosophy as far as practicable? At the very least, before deciding where to appear or reconnect to the VATSIM server could pilots have a look in Vatspy or Vatglasses and check where would be a good place to reappear without causing other pilots a lot of inconvenience?
Maybe the VATSIM tech people could devise some way to prevent ‘pop-ups’, particularly in TMAs/around busy airports and so on?

It’s intriguing that you’ve seen this enough to be a trend. I can count on one hand the times I’ve seen this in my 17 years on here. I’ll hazard a guess that if you check back in in a year your statistical oddity will have rectified itself, i.e. it won’t continue to be a problem.

Connecting in-air is allowed and should IMO not be removed or restricted. Of course, that is not to say that the people negatively impacting other members are in the right, being sensible and courteous towards others is a core philosophy. It is very good technique to log on as an observer for a minute to check your surroundings before actually going live in-flight.

My advice to you is to stop worrying about “unfair” and what other members are doing. It is a hobbyist network open for beginners, so if you focus on what other people are doing wrong too much you will go crazy in the end, because the list is endless. Focus on your flying and your learning, and on the good interactions with other members. Ignore the bad ones.


Chris perhaps your arguement could be used to suggest that you fly offline. VATSIM is about interactions, if you don’t need interaction then dont fly online. Yes it does happen, but in real life pilots can do VFR, Depart and Arrive same airport, Circuits, etc. A point to point aircraft could reasonably expect that at some time someone else is going to be a consideration in their flight planning. In the real world how do you know where aircraft are?? Unless you have FR24 or PF in the cockpit, it’s possibly radar or probably situational awareness created through eyes and radio. I don’t wish anyone remove themselves from VATSIM, but it is about interactions.

I see this all the time as a controller. Using simrate and then popping up a few miles outside the controller’s airspace is totally normal and not a big deal at all. The problem is often pilots connect in the middle of an arrival stream, or they paused at top of descent while offline to do something and came back to an online controller and decide to connect anyway. I usually say something on frequency. Last night I had someone connect on final and called a supervisor to deal with it.

It worked out, but it’s a last-resort for many of us because it’s cumbersome to work with a supervisor while also working a busy session top-down.

Are we able to Private Message controllers while in Observer mode in VPilot? Seems like when you are nearing Center or Approach airspace, you could connect as Observer, PM the controller to give intentions to “pop up”, upon thumbs up, connect.
But no fair to do this 10 miles out for Tower especially if someone is already on final!

Yes, that is absolutely possible, and courteous.

“Chris perhaps your arguement could be used to suggest that you fly offline. “

“I don’t wish anyone remove themselves from VATSIM, but it is about interactions.”

Not sure what you’re recommending. Please clarify.

John, let me clarify then. I think it’s reasonable to ask (and I see other contributors here agree) that pilots who are ‘abbreviating’ their flight plan by increasing the sim rate or ground speed or disconnecting/ reconnecting should ensure that their actions are not going to interfere with other pilots or cause headaches for controllers. That’s all. Emergency procedures happen in real life like holding to allow an aircraft short of fuel in before you and so on. However, someone popping up on finals in front of you, or suddenly being surrounded by multiple players where an instant ago there were none is not simulating real life flying.

some pilots slew to get job done not in real time…yep this can be a problem but a good atc can show a firm hand in this to the offending pilot…there is no such thing as a time machine so lets all adhere to zulu in real time… :timer_clock: