Attention Infinite Flight Community,
The IFVARB have noticed a lot of changes to the Virtual Airline category which have helped to improve both the standard of individual Virtual Airlines and the Category as a whole. So, with these changes, we noticed that our old tutorial is out of date and could do with a refresher. So here is our neat little tutorial with a checklist at the end to make sure you are ready to submit your Virtual Airline to either @DeerCrusher,@Joshfly8, @IceBlue, @Danman or @BluePanda900.
The Basic Essentials: The Basic Essentials can be remembered by the simple acronym: FRR
- F: Fleet – If your airline is based on a real-world counterpart, make sure the fleet is somewhat realistic to fit the Airline. If your airline is original, you may have fun with the fleet. Remember to maintain a professional image when doing this though, as some people won’t be inclined to join a VA with a fleet consisting of a 787, Cirrus and F-22.
- R: Ranking System – Ever since IFVARB took over, we have seen an increase in the use of ranking systems in VAs. A ranking system should be simple and be comprised of at least 3 major parts: First Officer, Captain and Chief Captain. Though a ranking system is not required, having it will help your VA’s chances of getting approved by the Board.
- R: Routes – Once again, if a VA is modeled off of a real world airline, the routes should be similar to the actual airline.Make sure that your VA is also preparing for the upcoming global update, which will most certainly come as a surprise. Preparing for the update not only gives you an edge over those who have not yet prepared when it does come, but also gives you an edge in the IFVARB process.
The VA website should show what you are most proud of in your VA. Remember that this is the main aspect used in the IFVARB process, so make sure you do it justice!
Have some original aspects to the website that no other VAs will have! Make sure to appeal to the user base – if your VA isn’t original, there aren’t many people that will want to join it. Items like crew portals, flight planning, LiveFlight maps of the VA pilots and other items (we won’t give everything – if we did it wouldn’t be unique) are very appealing to prospective pilots and staff members. These items make your VA stand out from the crowd, which leads to more pilots!
If you are modeling your VA after a real life airline, please be sure to include prominently that your VA is not affiliated with the actual airline. It is also advised to provide a link to the real airline just in case. If possible, a splash screen is suggested to advise of this. This will help to separate your VA from the airline and to minimize legal action. (aka, take down your site)
- Southwest Virtual – With an integrated booking website, global preparations, custom graphics and a pilots corner, SWA’s website will marvel anyone who takes a look.
- Qantas Virtual – Qantas has been one of the leaders of the VA category for a long time, and with a registered domain, amazing graphics and global preparations, it isn’t hard to see why they have dominated the category.
Your VA brand is also one of the most appealing aspects to your future pilots. Make sure to take some time developing your themes, thread structure, logos and events.
Theme: Your VA “theme” (as we will call it here) should be a message that is reinforced to make your VA stand out from the crowd. Examples include Southwest Virtual’s “Heart sets us apart” and British Airways’ “Feel the British Flair”. When creating this theme, make sure it is short and easy to remember. This way, many aspiring pilots will remember your VA. A theme may also include special graphics, polls (like United Virtual’s event polls) or a series of related articles on a website.
Thread Structure: Your VAs thread should have multiple images and graphics that pertain to your VA or its message. Items like American Virtual’s and Qantas Virtual’s #GreatMates Graphic. These graphics offer views a visual representation of what you are saying in your thread, a big plus when designing your VA.
Logos and Images: Logos and other branding images and graphics are some of the most important aspects to the professionalism level of your VA. Custom graphics really draw in pilots like those of Jet2 Virtual and Lufthansa Virtual. Having the custom graphics and logos gives you a good status with the IFVARB as well. A VA logo should be simple, and yet still have some level of sophistication to it. Logos like IFATS’ and TravelSky’s are very professional and is simple, and also rings a bell when pilots see it.
Events: A VA’s events should be unique and allow for some fun as well! Events like United Virtual’s 747 Frenzy are exactly what the board are looking for. Events that offer some fun, with a theme that pertains to the VA. We won’t give you too many examples, as we want to see some more really original events from VAs!
In the world of infrastructure, less is more, meaning giving fewer people more power, is more meaningful than giving lots of people very small areas of coverage. As most of our Virtual Airlines, use slack I would recommend one owner and around 6-8 admins as if everyone has admin, admin means nothing. In terms of ranking, keep it simple with these criteria for promotion:
- Flight Hours
- Maturity and Behavioural History
Once you have your ranking system down, you must create a board of directors and that’s it. No need for presidents and other such things. Here is an ideal board of directors:
CEO (Owner Slack Privileges) // \\ // \\ Head of Internal Affairs (Admin) COO (Admin) // \\ // \\ // \\ // \\ Recruiter (Admin) HR Manager (Admin) Chief Pilot (Admin) Head of Public Relations (Admin)
Confused? Well, standby as I explain each of the roles and how they would most efficiently benefit the Virtual Airline:
CEO (Chief Executive Officer) - the big boss or Mr Manager (kudos to those who get that reference). The CEO’s role is to supervise and organize ideally they should assign roles and bring it all together, as well as approve and request any changes.
Head of Internal Affairs - their role is to manage the member’s of the Virtual Airlines, from afar they are responsible for changes to the curriculum or ranking system in conjunction with the COO
COO (Chief Operating Officer) - they are responsible for day to day operating of your Virtual Airline and ensuring it all goes smoothly, accounting for any change along the way. They are more “boots on the ground” than the CEO but still play a very large part in the major decisions, regarding the operations of said Virtual Airline.
Recruiter - this is the person responsible for bringing in new pilots, vetting them and ensuring they are fit for flying with your Virtual Airline
HR Manager - they follow the same guidelines as the director of internal affairs, but on a more individual basis, responsible for making sure disputes are resolved and the Virtual Airline is a ** safe and fun** place for all
Chief Pilot - this individual ensure pilot activity and skill is kept constant and to a high standard. As well as ensuring that any changes that are needed, are put into the pipeline.
Head of Public Relations - this person’s role is to ensure that the Virtual Airline is associated with that of professionalism and if desired, realism. They must keep the website and main announcement thread up to date and relevant
We hope this “Wren-Panda Leadership Principle” helped you build a successful Virtual Airline.
As we have alluded to before, in this very thread, Slack is the recommended form of communications for all Virtual Airlines. Obviously, it is not a requirement and there are loads of different ways for you to communicate be it through discord, there IFC or another third part app/website. However, Slack is the most secure with a lot less trolls than discord, and much easier to customise be it though groups, commands or shortcuts.
As mentioned in the infrastructure section of this tutorial, less is more in terms of admins. If everyone receives admin, it doesn’t mean anything and you leave yourself extremely open to trolling and other such nastiness. We also suggest, turning off “everyone can invite” to avoid the corruption of your slack with trolls. Voice ATC services are also fun but at the same time are a backdoor for trolls to enter. Any trolling or other issues should be bought to the attention of the IFVARB, the Virtual Airline should block them immediately, however.
Here is the link to the slack website - setup is quick and painless
New Program: VA Advisors
IFVARB have decided to introduce a new service that should assist most VAs in improving professionalism, realism and uniqueness: VA Advisors.
How Will This Work?
VA Advisors will be suggested by the VARB Admins and can also be contacted at the request of the VA itself. These Advisors will give suggestions for:
- The VA Structure
- VA Leadership
- VA Branding
- VA Website
- Forum Presence
- Any Other Aspects of the VA That They Feel Need Improvement
Note that the Advisors will merely provide suggestions to improve the VA. These suggestions will benefit the VAs chances of getting approved by the VARB. The Advisors have the right to withdraw at any time if a VA is being uncooperative and/or rude.
Who Are the Advisors, and How Can I Become an Advisor?
The current Advisors are:
- @Wren (Specializes in: VA Structure, VA Leadership)
- @BluePanda900 (Specializes in: Web Design, VA Branding, Forum Presence)
Currently, the advisors are not taking applications, though they will invite VA CEOs to provide them with advice as to what works and doesn’t when running a VA. Interested VA CEOs may pm @Bluepanda900 and/or @Wren in the following format:
If Applicable: Which VAs of which are you a part? What positions do you hold?
Of the featured criteria, which do you believe is your strength?
Why do you feel you would be a good VA Advisor?
After you have submitted your application, the Advisor to which you sent the message will review it, view your previous VA history and forum history to determine if you would be a good fit for the VA Advisory Team.
How Do I Start the Advisory Process?
To start the process, private message an Advisor of your choice (or multiple if you feel it applies to your situation) in the following format:
Description of Assistance Needed:
Website (If Applicable):
Description of Prior VARB Contact:
Note that all Advisors are experienced in all the fields listed above, though they are most comfortable in the field in which they specialize.
Why Should I Utilize the Advisors?
The Advisors will guide new VAs that have not passed board inspection and any VA looking for some guidance through the process of creating a successful VA. They will focus on the key areas mentioned above. The Advisors will provide tips and guidance for the VAs, instead of completing that aspect of the VA for the VA.
While you are not required to use the Advisors, a VA that follows the instruction given by the Advisors are pretty much guaranteed a pass (of course, there are exceptions) from the VARB.
This system was designed to be similar to the IFATC system; the Advisors being the Trainers and the Admins and Board itself being the Recruiters.
Are There Any Rules Or Regulations Regarding the Use of the Advisors?
As there always are, there are some rules regarding Advisors. However, these rules will not be as strict as the other rules regarding the certification of VAs and most cases where intervention is required will be handled on a case-by-case basis. However, the current regulations are:
- VAs should only use the Advisors as guides to help them, not to create the VA for them.
- If any VA is found to be abusing, uncooperative or inappropriate to an Advisor, the Advisor will be withdrawn immediately and the VA will be automatically failed.
- Any complaints regarding the Advisors should be brought to the attention of @BluePanda900 and @Wren.
The Advisors and IFVARB are pleased to provide this service to the community and look forward to what this can provide to the quality of VAs in the future.
VA Thread and method of signing up
VA Key Staff (see infrastructure)
Please note that these are suggestions and examples - not requirements. We encourage VAs to be unique, and sometimes that may mean that it isn’t like any of the content described here. These are just examples, not how it has to be done - it’s good to be different.