VATSIM beginner here needing some advice/help

Hello! I’m new to VATSIM (beginner) but I haven’t done my first flight yet since I couldn’t get an RPLL Airport diagram (my home airport). I managed to find the free Jeppesen charts but it was pretty old dating back to '05 or '06 so some taxiways don’t even exist there. In the Philippines vACC (VATPHIL) they also do not have the airport diagram besides SIDs and STARs, DEP/APP, etc. Chartfox doesn’t have RPLL in their database also. so where did you guys find yours?

I never thought that I would have to spend money to fly VATSIM just to keep up with other pilots/ATC using the latest info (even though you are not required to do so). Navigraph requires you to subscribe for the latest charts, updated airport sceneries are also paid, and Simbrief gives you an outdated AIRAC cycle unless you pay. The fact that the most essential things you need to fly are blocked with a paywall is so disappointing, especially for someone who is a beginner that has a lot of interest in flying. so are you guys subscribed to all of these?

The thing is, I’m so hesitant to fly with outdated simbrief-free AIRAC, old Jeppesen charts, missing an airport diagram, and default MSFS 2020 RPLL scenery. I’m so worried that I might just piss controllers and other pilots by entering the wrong taxiway that the only thing I can do is to just listen to them while being connected as an Observer.

How did you guys deal with all of these? I’d appreciate any advice that you can give me. Thanks.

Welcome onboard.

Try Volanta, can be standalone or browser. There is a Vatsim chart service in members area I think.

Welcome to Vatsim. It can be a bit daunting at first, but Vatsim is a learning environment and we all started with next to no knowledge, therefore, controllers should cut you some slack. You could put a comment on your FP remarks that you only have MSFS default scenery, and its highly likely that’s what most others will have default scenery too. Regards the ground chart, maybe I misinterpreted what you said , but this is on the VATPhil site .


As Andrew@944416 wrote, you can actually get a lot of charts for free, if you search the internet for “country”+AIP. Some countries requires you to pay for this service, some request you to register, but without paying and othes - well, they are free.
When I started more than 25 years ago, NOTHING was free! I had to buy paper (enroute)charts for the regions I wanted to fly (that is, if I could find them on ebay or other fora), but airport charts was NOT available, unless you bought the paper AIP for each and every country you flew in - a very pricy thing.
In the day of the internet everything has become so much easier AND cheaper, that things you previously had to buy at a high cost often are free nowadays. And perhaps we’re getting used to getting everything for free, I don’t know.
Some people rant about having to pay, say Navigraph, for this service, but they forget that having a subscription makes a lot of thing easier for everyone. It is way more convinient to be able to download litterally every chart needed, using only one place. If you try to calculate the time you use to find and download the free charts, then it is actually rather cheap (though not free, I grant you that). If you check the prices at Jeppesen, then you can talk about prices. A full subscription at Navigraph gets you all charts and FMC nav databases you need - AND you can enjoy this at every single flight you make. Many flightsimmers invest in great sceneries they use only now and then, but refrain from investing in a service you use every time you fly.
I realize that for many, such an investment is not neglectable, but if free charts are not found, well then you’re stuck.
BTW, I’m not employed by Navigraph, nor do I get anything from them - I pay just like you do. But it is the best investment you can do IMHO.

Other people have already said a lot of useful stuff (although I would discourage you from using Volanta in lieu of actual charts because Volanta is often simply wrong with the taxiway names etc.), but I’d like to add a few things :smiley:

Re: AIRAC. It sounds like you are using MSFS. In this case, you are in luck, because MSFS regularly updates the AIRAC, so while you might occasionally be 1-2 months behind, you’ll generally be up to date enough for everything to work - most likely the AIRAC you’re using on SimBrief will be the one more out of date. If you still come across a SID/STAR that you don’t have (e.g. FKS1B at EDDF is brand new in the current AIRAC, or you might have a SID that has been updated in the meantime so ATC assigns you ANEKI2L, but you only have ANEKI1L), please inform the controller so they can assign you something different if the procedures are too different from one another. Also, if you don’t want to pay for the Ultimate subscription, Navigraph also has a cheaper (but rather well hidden) navdata-only subscription which will help you keep your sim/aircraft AIRAC up to date as well as the one used by SimBrief.

Re: Charts. As others have said, if Chartfox doesn’t have charts for an airport, chances are high that the AIP (which is where Chartfox gets its charts from) simply requires you to register or that the responsible vACC hosts charts on their own website. However, if you can’t find reasonably up to date charts for an airport at all, you shouldn’t fly at that airport on VATSIM because it’d be near impossible to comply with CoC B8 in this case.

Re: Sceneries. Don’t worry about it too much. People not having sceneries with the latest airport layout is just part of the VATSIM environment, even more so if an airport has recently undergone or is currently undergoing some construction work. Controllers are usually aware of these things and know what inaccuracies default sceneries (or popular addon sceneries) might have - nevertheless, they will work under the assumption that everyone uses an up to date scenery, so you should always inform a controller ahead of time if your scenery is in any way outdated. This way, controllers know what you can work with and find a solution. What I personally always do is look at Little Navmap (which, the way I have it set up, will pull airport data directly from MSFS and displays the taxiways etc.) and compare that to my charts. If I then find an inaccuracy, I will communicate that to the controller as soon as it might become relevant (e.g. in EGLC, I’m missing the parallel taxiway after E, so I tell the controller that I need a backtrack from E when requesting taxi).

As you already said yourself: there is no obligation to pay money to use VATSIM, but in some cases, this will make things harder for you (and potentially the controllers). And while everyone will try to work out a solution, this can only be done by communicating - unfortunately, many pilots don’t communicate and then just end up doing something different than what ATC expected or otherwise cause a bunch of problems. This is the situation that will “piss off” controllers. Nobody will be angry if you communicate what you need/what you can or cannot do, in fact, it will probably make them think “this guy knows what he’s doing” (although depending on ATC workload and what requirements you have, it might take a while until you can be accommodated - take my EGLC example for instance: if there’s a lot of traffic, I might need to wait until there’s room for the backtrack, but if I’m the only person at the airport for the next 2 hours, it’ll be no problem at all).