Pic credit to @PlaneCrazy in IFVARB Spotlight Banner
Infinite Flight Virtual Airline Review Board
Welcome to the IFVARB Community Spotlight
Welcome to the July edition of the IFVARB Spotlight! As the world around us is still a bit of chaos, the summer treks on, as well as the activity within Infinite Flight! With 20.1 released in June, we are excited to get back to a feature that is all about our virtual airline and organization leaders!
We caught up with three great members of our community this month with a feature with @PlaneCrazy, @KingWings, and @Ben_Murtagh1 to share their feedback of leading VA/VO’s within the Infinite Flight Community.
Within the IFVARB, we continue to innovate and bring support for our airlines in the community! With some internal pieces coming to the IFVARB slack, we are happy to announce that the second phase of the staff listings page is preparing to be completely live soon! With this, we will be releasing a new IFVARB thread and staff posting thread. We hope to have these features out during the month of July, pending things going well in our continued testing.
Meet the IFVARB team
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To educate the IFC about the Virtual Airline/Organization community, spark creativity of future CEO’s, as well as provide guidance to up and coming staff on what it takes for a successful Virtual Airline or Organization on Infinite Flight
Need Help or Have Questions?
Reach out to the IFVARB Team through PM here on the IFC by messaging @IFVARB!
VO: Plane & Pilot
As a group that is more about events and bringing together those on the IFC and the VO, what would you say has contributed to the success of the brand for Plane and Pilot the most along the way?
“Two things: First, creating frequent events that are often very different from others that the community has to offer has helped us stand out in that field. Most of the following we have gained over the years has come from community members who attended a few of our events and enjoyed them so much that they started looking out for and attending anything with our name on it.
Second is the fact that we don’t require anything of our members, we let anyone with an IFC account in good standing join our Slack and fly and chat with others as they wish. There are a lot of people in the community who might not have the time to be involved in a VA, but still want to make friends and fly with other when they can. P&P is one of the only groups on the platform that offers a solution for them.”
What keeps the group inspired to come up with new and fun events for the community and how has that played into the success of the VO long term?
“I’d say we keep doing it because we love it! Each of our staff was chosen because they have amazing event hosting abilities, seem to have a limitless number of ideas, and love getting together with groups of people to go flying. The success of our VO comes from the fact that our members feel the same way, and are always eager to fly with friends or try something new in this amazing simulator.”
As we have heard from VA leaders about challenges they face, what would you say are the challenges you’ve faced as VO and how have you overcome them?
“Most of the struggles we’ve faced have had to do with a low number of active members and/or event attendees, usually when there are more important outlets for people such as final exams, summer vacation, etc. We overcome these “droughts” by taking a break from putting a lot of effort into our services when we don’t see the demand, and remembering that things will always go back to normal eventually.”
Where do you see the future of Plane & Pilot going as we get into Fall 2020 and beyond?
“Over the next few months we will probably be moving staff positions around to take the load off of some people, specifically me as I am starting college courses this fall and my life is getting a lot busier. This might even mean some changes in upper management. We are also looking for ways to involve our active members more. One possibility is an optional flight logging system.”
What advice would you give to prospective CEO’s hoping to create a VA or VO in the future?
“I’d say don’t stress out over it. This is a hobby and is meant to be fun for you. If you aren’t enjoying it and see managing as a job, then your VO/VA won’t be successful. Make sure that your organization is exciting and attractive for you and your staff as well as the pilots.”
VA: Nonstop Virtual Group
Position: Lead Board Member
What have you personally learned from being a leader amongst one of the largest VA’s in the IFC?
“Having only been CEO of Nonstop Virtual for a matter of weeks, I still have a lot to learn. So far I’ve learned the importance of relying on others, at the start I wanted to reform a lot including the management structure of NSV, micromanagement one a scale of this size is impossible.
It’s also important to be dedicated, taking on leadership of any level in one of the major VA’s should not be entered lightly, it’s almost like a second job. Before NSV, I was also the original founder and IFVARB applicant for Etihad Virtual and Qatar Virtual. I learned there that the hardest thing about being a VA CEO is to hand over control. I spent a lot of time crafting two VA’s that went on to amazing things under new ownership and I am happy to see them flourish, and am now happy to call them the competition”
Since Non Stop Virtual can’t directly relate to its real world airline due to copyright, what steps do you all take to make sure that your brand is being pushed to create growth for the VA?
“We push, push push! Whether it’s pushing innovation, with our groundbreaking Crew Centre Mobile App, the first of its kind within the IFVARB, or pushing to become a core 6 airline. Every quarter we release an operations plan, it can be accessed from our IFC thread for anyone who is interested.”
What would you say has been the difference for what NSV does to keep the VA prominent within the community to keep recruitment up?
“We drive, in my opinion, more than any other airline to be the first to attempt things and succeed. In my recollection from my 5 years on the IFC no other VA that hasn’t been able to directly link to their real world counterparts has been as successful as NSV, and that’s testimony to the teams before me, Kameron James, Owen Castelli, George Anderson, Norbert Ksionski, Moonlit, they all did an amazing job in making NSV successful.
It’s now my task to fill these massive boots, I already launched our mobile app and have now turned my reformation lasers to the crew centre which is undergoing maintenance and improvements, mainly behind the scenes, to improve user experience.
On that note, the users of our interfaces; our pilots! They couldn’t do more for our VA, each and every one of them means a lot to me and my team, they refer new pilots, they have creative ideas and suggestions and are such a great bunch, I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their contribution.
It isn’t often we get to do that.”
What, in your opinion, makes for a good staff member as you are looking to bring on new staff?
“A good staff member must be dedicated and have patience. There can be days where we have a lot to do admin wise, or days you get literally 200 individual notifications on slack. Staff at NSV receive a lot of autonomy, especially at the executive rank so we want someone who is independent and creative and doesn’t need to be micromanaged. We think staff shouldn’t have to commit hours of every day, though often that isn’t the case, part of what makes NSV run so smooth is our staff team and the innovation we put into helping them, rather than a google drive we invested heavily in a dedicated “staff hub” where staff can share files, announcements and receive tasks from their line manager.”
What advice would you give to prospective CEO’s about what it takes to lead a VA/VO on the IFC?
“Be prepared for what becomes a second job essentially, some mornings I have over 100 slack notifications! You have to be patient and be able to put in the time to running a VA. Also you must be prepared for a rigorous application, the IFVARB guys spot everything, they expect big things and high standards, I would recommend you hold yourself to an even high standard!”
VA: Turkish Airlines Virtual
As someone that has been a CEO of an established VA in the community, what would you say provided to the success of TKVA?
“One of the major factor to the success of our VA is our massive route database wide variety of fleet and how well our airline is known. I think our internal events and routes of the week have provided us with some success. I believe our geographical location and the amount of destinations has also attributed to our success. I think our recent thread has provided us with success. I think one of the most import parts of your VA is having a nice looking tidy thread with all your VAs info on it as this is the face of your VA.”
What are some of the biggest day-to-day challenges you’ve seen as a member of staff and how have you handled them to continue the success?
“To be honest we don’t have to many problems at the start we didn’t see much activity and we lacked pilot activity and we started doing internal events and pilot activity resumed. I suppose the hardest challenge was at the start when I was doing everything in the VA and being a bit too controlling over every task I found I was spending unnecessary time as I soon found out many of these tasks were able to be done by my staff members I recruited.”
What has TKVA done in recent months to promote activity and growth with so many in our community at home?
“Well recently we did a massive restructuring of the VA we overhauled the route Database making it realistic as possible. We have developed our own flight school which helps newer pilots understand flight procedures better, we our also making our own pilot handbook with all the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). We don’t do many external events in TKVA we believe that our callsign is our way of advertising our VA. We are looking into doing some external events in the coming weeks.”
What do you look for when it comes to picking new staff?
“When I pick new staff I pick them internally to my VA I have found that choosing staff externally has caused me issues. When you pick staff externally a lot of the time they don’t have the passion you have for your VA, when you pick staff internally you generally can find people who work hard for your VA and will appreciate the role. I look for staff by looking at which pilots are most helpful most active in the slack. You need a staff members that our enthusiastic and likable.”
What advice would you give to an up and coming CEO on what it takes to lead a VA?
“I would advise not to hire too many staff at the start and just hire 1 or 2. You should identify problems with how you run your VA and fix them. In the case of TKVA our two problems was our route database and our application process. We recently restructured in TKVA and ironed out those problems. I would advise future CEOs that after a month you may only have 5 pilots and feel disappointed but not to give up. I think it’s important to go in with realistic expectations and not think your going to be the next BAVA with hundreds of pilots. But overall I think it’s great fun making a VA and getting to know new people in the community and would highly recommend it if you have the passion.”
We hope you enjoy our IFVARB Community Spotlight Series! Have a suggestion of who you’d like to hear from? Comment in the thread and we’ll put them on our list in the coming editions! We thank all of our VA/VO staff members and pilots for making this such a great community to be a part of.