Infinite Flight Virtual Airline Review Board
Welcome to the IFVARB Community Spotlight
Welcome to the second edition of the IFVARB Spotlight! After a great launch, we hope to build on this new piece and also let you know a little bit about what is going on behind the scenes with the IFVARB!
In this months edition, we meet with two completely different types of leaders on the IFVARB. One comes from AAVA as the President of a powerhouse of a VA, while the other is a part of a leading Virtual Organization and a powerful member of IFAE.
Beyond the front-facing part of the IFVARB, our team has been working hard behind the scenes. As shown above, @Brandon_K has been instrumental in the Phase 1 launch of the new IFVARB Staff System. Rolling out to currently certified VA and VO’s in our community, the Staff System is a new way for CEO’s and staff to manage their team, track staff changes, and eventually, post new staff openings for their VA. Within the system, the IFVARB and CEO’s will be able to see the history of staff and be able to follow along to their journey.
We have been very active in the social media world, starting a new IG spotlight where we highlight different VA’s, as well as new VA’s, a few times a week to bring awareness to a community on Instagram that not many people know about!
We hope you enjoy the second edition, and can learn from two great leaders in our community.
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!
VA: American Virtual
What has it been like leading one of the most popular VA’s of the Infinite Flight Community?
Leading American Virtual has been an amazing experience. It’s a great feeling knowing that you contribute to our one big Infinite Flight Community and provide fun new opportunities for pilots.
Having been with the VA since its opening in November of 2018, I’ve gotten to see all of the ups and downs, and I’m truly stunned at all the growth and development AAVA has experienced. From a refreshed airline with around 75 active pilots at our opening to the massive, 180+ pilot airline we are today, the evolution of AAVA is hard to put into words.
However, I couldn’t possibly take full credit for the success of American Virtual, as amazing my staff team has been integral to our operations from day one. Without them, none of this would be possible. Aside from running AAVA, one of my favorite things is how I can jump right into our off topic channel and be a part of our wonderful and fun community, just like any other pilot. Myself and the entire AAVA staff team are proud to have created such a successful and vibrant virtual airline, and we’re looking forward to the years to come!
At AAVA, there have been a lot of partnerships and joint events - what value does joint-VA events as well as partnered IFC events, such as the Core-6, bring to AAVA?
Partnerships are a huge part of our AAVA community. To maximize realism, we only partner with VAs that represent airlines partnered with American Airlines in real life. With our partnered VAs, we exchange codeshare routes and aircraft, in addition to flying joint events. Combined, our partner VAs provide AAVA with over 700 realistic codeshares and 50+ codeshare aircraft.
Our pilots love flying in joint events with pilots from our partner VAs, and it’s a great way to meet and fly with new pilots from all over the world. We also enjoy partnering with exceptional IFC events that are hosted at our 10 hubs. The recent Core-6 event, of which more than 100 VA pilots attended, was a great example of the spirit of the Infinite Flight Community as a whole, and we’re looking forward to participating in the next edition!
What do you think the key is to growing pilot activity within a VA?
In my experience, the key to growing pilot activity is to continuously bring your pilots new content, such as special programs, frequent events, innovative technology, competitions, new routes/aircraft, or whatever you think will work for your VA. That being said, there isn’t really a “formula” for pilot activity, it really depends on the type of pilots you have.
Trial and error is one of the best ways to discover what your pilots like and what makes them want to fly. Launch a program and monitor pilot activity- if it increases, the program is a keeper, and you’ve found something that your pilots enjoy. If there’s no change, maybe a different type of program would be more successful. In terms of hosting events, aim to have them on days when more pilots are available. At AAVA, we log event attendance and then use that data to determine which days and time work best for our pilots, which helps to further increase event attendance.
How important is it to have a strong staff team around you in the success of a VA?
Having a strong staff team is, in a word, a necessity. Your staff team should be a team of people you trust to do great work, a team that will be professional while still fun in the pilot community, a team that will create new ideas that add to the VA, a team that will support your good ideas but nudge you in the right direction about the bad ones. Building an ideal staff team is the most important goal of the President of a VA, but also one of the hardest to achieve.
You may go through lots of staff members in different positions until you find your “dream team”. Once you find it, your VA will thrive and your chances of success will increase exponentially. At American Virtual, I work with my dream staff team, and I’ve never been happier with the progress made by our VA. It would not be possible without their hard work (shoutout to Collin, Mauricio, Gilberto, Jeffrey, Isaac, and Kyle!). Occasionally, staff members will have to leave, and while this can seem like a setback, think of it as an opportunity to bring in new talent, new ideas, new contributors.
In my almost full year of being the President of American Virtual, I’ve experienced multiple dream staff teams, a testament to our amazing community. My biggest recommendation to rising VAs: hire from within. Hiring people from your VA means that they want to be at your VA not just as a staff member, but also as a pilot. It also means that they already know how your VA works and are a part of the community. These factors increase the chances that the person you’re hiring will be part of your dream staff team!
VO: IFAE - Global Air Force
Position: Chief of Staff
A leader in the world of Military VO’s on the Infinite Flight Community, what would you say makes Global Air Force so successful?
This answer is pretty easy, it’s our pilots and officers who fly day in and day out and keep our forces going and growing. No one person makes this a success. As it is In the real world you have leaders and you have followers. What makes it work, is the full team dynamics. Each and everyone of our personnel plays a part and has a role in our organization in the chain of command from our lieutenants to our General officers, each makes this a success.
I couldn’t ask for a more diverse and passionate group of like minded persons assembled from all of the world and to that success we owe to Infinite Flight for helping unite us all. Teams that is without a doubt what drives our success.
How would you compare your experience with GAF to that of being a part of any other VA’s in the community that operate commercial?
Well I am apart of Infinite Flight Aviation Experts a tremendous VO that I began my journey with several years back now. They are an all around well versed organization that flys anything from private to commercial to GA. I would owe my positive experience in VO/VA operability to them. I started as a member committed myself and worked hard learning from others and studying the IFAE team dynamics.
I found and was welcomed into a family I had no idea that existed in Infinite Flight. I gained amazing friendships and mentors that guided me and still guide me today. You can definitely say GAF was inspired by this mentality and helped me to actively seek the same team dynamics that IFAE showed me.
What are some of the common traits that you see in the leadership team of GAF and how do you go about picking pilots to take leadership roles?
There is one thing above all that a leader in GAF has, and that is membership involvement in our organization. Now this is not like the joining aspect it is more of the investment and commitment to our organization. Our leadership is not in it for themselves, they’re in it to invest success back into the line pilots and squadrons of GAF to be leaders and at times followers because if as leader if you don’t know when to follow you could miss out on innovative and refreshed perspective ideas that could shape and better the organization. This is the 360 leadership perspective and this instilled in all of our leaders.
If there is one thing I have learned from the three years of having GAF operational, it is you don’t find leaders, leaders find you. You can’t teach this, there is no curriculum in place to build the perfect leadership team selection comes from self plain and simple. A lot of people say rank is what makes a leader but it is really the person behind it. What kind of leader do you want to be? To be a leader in GAF you’re gonna have to ask yourself that question. Your answer? Well, that’s for you to determine. There’s a leader in all of us you just have to find it.
What would you say is the biggest challenge about being a member of the GAF leadership team?
I can’t speak for others but for me the biggest challenge of being a member of GAF leadership is wondering if my investment is enough. Yes, it may seem like a pretty silly thing to worry about but for me this is an investment this is a community organization that has real people with real world issues from stress to whatever it maybe. If you can’t see the person for good and bad or you don’t know your people how can you expect to invest in them. It’s no secret that I am an enlisted member in the USAF I’ve been in for 12 years now and as an noncommissioned officer and from experience your investment in people and subordinates matters.
This VO is no different. Everyone is here for their own reasons but they joined a team and to be honest a family and you have wingmen here who have your six through the good the bad and ugly. Investment in people is above all your greatest return because no one knows how much you know until they know how much you care.
What advice would you give to future CEO’s that are looking at starting a military style VO on the IFC?
Commit yourself don’t let it become a job or hobby let it become a passion a goal invest in the team you build and they will invest in you. It’s not gonna be cake believe me I have had more than a few times where I or my wife has mentioned or thought you’re already in the Air Force why do you want to keep at it 24/7? But I always come back to this answer and it’s that this is a promise I committed to this and I will see it through I will never falter and I will not fail.
As a CEO or Commanding Officer you are going to have to commit yourself but the rewards for that commitment are well worth more than the weight of the trials and issues that will arise. If You as a leader invest and work for your people they will invest and work for the team and organization.