Operations Manual

Version 6.0

Minor update 6.0.12
Effective 11 April 2024


  1. Use of this Guide is restricted to UVA Operations.
  2. All of us at United Virtual Airlines (UVA) are dedicated to enhancing the enjoyment of flight simulation enthusiasts by providing a hi-fidelity simulation of airline operations as well as resources and opportunities to learn and develop skills, all while enjoying the social aspects of a Virtual Airlines community.
  3. This manual gives basic guidance on expected company conduct and flight procedures.
  4. Many facets of operations are further expanded in other UVA Aircrew publications.

Section One


This manual provides guidance to all United Virtual Airlines (UVA) employees, both staff and pilots. It details how United Virtual operates in all matters, except for specific flight operations guidance, which is published in other documents.


This manual is approved by the United Virtual Airlines Board of Directors. All UVA employees, both staff and pilots, are required to carry out the directives contained herein. Failure to comply may result in penalties and administrative action or dismissal from the airline.

Change Summary

  • 6.0.12 — maximum duty amendments
  • 6.0.11 — added explicit notes on departure airports
  • 6.0.10 — updated, converted to web format
  • 6.0.09 — minor edits
  • 6.0.08 — codified guidelines for multiple currency dismissals, added Discord, minor edits
  • 6.0.07 — changes to privacy policies
  • 6.0.06 — made wording of aircraft availability more explicit
  • 6.0.05 — added EJets to the training routes
  • 6.0.04 — added maximum duty hours
  • 6.0.03 — changes to support the new VATSIM credit hours and some adjustments to aircraft eligibility
  • 6.0.02 — minor wording changes

Section Two

Membership Requirements

  • You must be at least sixteen (16) years of age
  • You must have a licensed copy of Flight Simulator software: MSFS2020, XPlane, Prepar3d, or legacy FSX or FS9.
  • You can be running any operating system: MS Windows, MAC or Linux
  • You must be registered with VATSIM and be a member in good standing
  • You must have an active email address
  • You will be required to maintain flight currency to remain a member
  • You must not have had more than two prior dismissals for currency inactivity
  • You will be bound by the regulations in this Operations Manual, the Standard Operating Procedures and the NOTAMs, and agree to our Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Before application you must review our Privacy Policy, it is available for viewing online in the Join | Privacy menu selection. If you do not agree with our Privacy Policy, you cannot participate in our operations.

Recruitment Process


Prospective pilots are required to apply by visiting the UVA website and following links to the online Pilot Application process. Prospective pilots will then be asked to fill out an online application with the following information:
  • A VATSIM Pilot ID number. VATSIM is an online flying organization. This is required whether you intend to fly online or offline. A VATSIM pilot ID number can be obtained at no charge by registering at
  • To accelerate your UVA career, on initial application, flight logbook credit will be given for up to one thousand (1000) verified VATSIM flight hours, on a 1:1 basis.
  • Your actual First name.
  • Your actual Last name, handles, or nicknames or pseudonyms are not allowed.
  • A valid email address. While UVA does not prohibit use of secondary email accounts, your application and much of your United Virtual interaction will be by way of this email address, thus it must be an email address you access regularly.
  • Year of Birth, you must be at least sixteen (16) years of age.
  • Your Time Zone, and the Country you call home.
  • Care, use and handling policies for personal information is set out in the Privacy Policy. Personal information is never sold or marketed to third parties.


Once the application has been submitted, UVA's Human Resources (HR) department will review the application. Processing will include verification to ensure the VATSIM PID number is valid and in good standing.

Submission of an application containing false information is grounds for rejection.

Applications are typically processed within forty-eight hours. Applicants will receive notification on the Join Page informing them of their pending, accepted or declined status.

Credentials & Standing

All new pilots will be issued a temporary Pilot ID (PID) in the 9000 series. To become a permanent member pilots complete a simple flight review, known as Flight Review A (FR-A). There is no time limit for completing the FR-A, you could continue as a probationary pilot indefinitely. Once the FR-A is satisfactorily completed, you become a permanent member of UVA and are then authorized for access to larger aircraft and optional type rating checkrides.

Your Username for the Flight Room (Pilot Center) is your UVA Pilot ID (PID) number comprised of UAL and the four-digit number (e.g. UAL1234). Initially this will be a random PID in the 9000 range. Permanent PIDs are assigned based on the date joined, the earlier you join, the lower your number. It is your seniority number. Staff are assigned a low numbered three digit PID.

You select your password during application, and it can be changed at any time by logging into the Flight Room (Pilot Center) and selecting the Profile button.


Once accepted by UVA, the pilot should request membership in the UVA Discord server. There you can meet other pilots and discuss company issues.

A Discord primary ID has a specific format. The Discord nickname for the United Virtual channel will consist of the pilot's first and last name, a space, a hyphen, a space and the pilot's PID (i.e., John Smith -  UAL1234). Note that there is a space before and after the hyphen.


If you have not flown and recorded a flight within fifteen (15) days of joining you will automatically be deleted from our roster.

Section Three

Standards of Conduct

When using the United Virtual facilities, as well as when flying online and registered as a UVA flight, all pilots are subject to company standards. Whether called manners, standards of conduct, or etiquette, a certain level of decorum is expected of UVA pilots.

Fair Treatment

The membership comprises a large group of pilots who came to UVA with varied backgrounds and perspectives. It encompasses literally everything from youngsters to seventy-year-old retirees, across the U.S. and from around the world. Also, while the majority of our members are native English speakers and writers, English is a second or third language with varying levels of fluency for a significant percentage of the membership. All are welcome at UVA.

United Virtual is committed to fair and equal treatment of all. Any person found harassing another member of the United Virtual community is subject to immediate dismissal.

Dignity and Respect

We hold ourselves to a high standard of conduct and professionalism, both within the organization and the greater online flying community. We strive to provide an environment where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Any reported occurrence of contrary behavior by our pilots (either online, in the forums, or in interchanges between UVA members) may result in suspension, loss of seniority (to include all logged hours), and/or dismissal from United Virtual.


Falsification of information, especially a name or email address with an attempt to hide or falsify one's identity, is grounds for immediate deletion of the offending account(s) and for being banned from UVA.

Freedom of Speech

United Virtual's facilites exist to support the UVA community. It is for people who share a common love of aviation, flight simulation and United in particular. United Virtual recognizes every pilot's right to free speech; however the facilites are privately owned and conduct is defined by the community. Members' use of these services is provided solely at the discretion of United Virtual Airlines and may be modified or revoked at any time.

Every member must abide by the policies articulated in this code of conduct without question or reservation, violation of these standards may result in removal and/or modification of posts and threads by designated moderators and possible further disciplinary action by the Board of Directors.

General Forum Guidelines

What is a Forum?

Various facilities for general member communication are available to members of United Virtual. From time to time this may include classic bulletin board forums, or a Discord Channel with multiple sections, or other online communication. For the purposes of these guidelines, all are referred to as "forums".

Forum Use Guidelines

  • You may not post about or promote other Virtual Airlines.
  • You should not post anything not related to aviation in the general forum sections.
  • General non-aviation topics, except as otherwise restricted here, will be posted in the so designated sections.
  • Sensational posting about real-world aviation accidents is not permitted. Participating in early speculation about an aircraft accident is also generally to be avoided. However, technical discussions of aviation accidents or incidents, based on factual NTSB reports or other credible source, for the purpose of education is generally permitted.
  • If a UVA member is also a member of a VATSIM ARTCC or FIR and wishes to advertise an ARTCC or FIR event, it is generally welcomed.
  • Announcements for general events with wide participation are generally permitted, but pre-clearing such announcements with Staff is preferred.
  • You may not post about events primarily sponsored by other Virtual Airlines.
  • You may not post or link to any kind of copyrighted material without obtaining permission from the copyright holder. This includes music.
  • You may not post advertisements for merchandise for commercial sale or trade. This restriction does not include non-commercial single or small quantity offers to resell personally owned items.
  • You may not make posts critical of United Airlines.
  • You may not make posts that knowingly contain information that is not factual.
  • You may not make posts that are not in the spirit of the regulations and mission of United Virtual Airlines

Specific Prohibitions

  • Offensive language directed at staff or other pilots, as well as offensive language in general.
  • Pornographic links or material.
  • Posts deemed to represent an advertisement for a product. This does not prohibit a review or comment on a specific piece of flight simulation or software, but those deemed to be advertisements by the staff will be deleted.
  • Any debates or remarks that may offend pilots' religious or local customs.
  • References, or links, to illegal software or cracks/patches that permit use of software not obtained legally or without proper license.
  • Any posts about real world social or political issues.
  • Posts that are considered non-contributory to the general well-being of the United Virtual community.


United Virtual Airlines' forums are moderated as according to the community standards. These are not "open" forums where members have the right to post or say anything they wish.

Posts that are removed by forum moderators may be removed without comment or explanation. Posters who continue to re-post items that are considered outside of forum guidelines will be referred to the Board of Directors for further action.

Moderators have final say in all matters related to UVA forums. UVA will delete and remove all posts that are considered to be inflammatory, untruthful, insulting to other readers of the forum or otherwise outside of the desired tone and rules of the forum.

Online ATC

When flying online on VATSIM, or other online ATC networks, communications with controllers and other pilots will be in a professional, courteous manner. Reports of behavior which does not meet these standards or detracts from UVA's reputation may result in disciplinary action, to include dismissal.

Staff Communications

Communication with any member of UVA's staff is subject to the same standards applied to forum posts. Emails, instant messages or other communications deemed to violate those standards, or any attempt to "spam" any UVA email account, will result in immediate dismissal.

Section Four


The Board of Directors serves the general membership and is the senior decision-making body at United Virtual Airlines. Members of the board may include:
  • The President & CEO
  • The Senior VP, Operations (COO)
  • The Senior VP, Flight Standards and Training
  • The Senior VP, Human Resources (HR)
  • The Senior VP, Corporate Communications
  • Any at-large members appointed by the board

The President & CEO

The President is responsible for coordinating support and liaison with United Airlines and other outside agencies. They are also the senior member of the Board of Directors, provides guidance to the divisions at UVA and exercises ultimate decision-making authority for the day-to-day operations of UVA.

The Flight Operations Division

The Operations Division is responsible for all flight operations and Regional/Domicile management. All pilots are assigned to the Flight Operations Division. The Chief Operations Officer (COO) is head of Operations, assisted by two Regional Managers. The Flight Operations Division is organized into two regions. EASTFO includes the domiciles DCAFO, ORDFO and DENFO. WESTFO includes IAHFO, SFOFO and LAXFO.

The Flight Standards and Training Division

The Training Division is responsible for pilot training, administration of flight reviews (FR) and type rating checkrides (RC). The Senior VP is head of The Training Division, and together with his staff is responsible for developing UVA aircrew Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), training pilots, developing checkride scenarios, and ensuring standardization of checkride evaluation criteria.
  • The Flight Standards Officer develops flight standards and procedures company-wide.
  • The Chief Pilot runs the day to day operations of the Training Division
  • The Assistant Chief Pilot assists the Chief Pilot in running the Training Division
  • The Check Pilots are responsible for assisting in training activities, evaluating check rides, and any other duties assigned by the Chief Pilot

The Human Resource Division

Human Resources is responsible for processing pilot applications and promotions, filling UVA staff positions, and maintaining pilots' database records. The Senior Vice President, Human Resources is head of Human Resources.

The Corporate Communications Division

Corporate Communications is responsible for internal and external communications, to include information announcements, press releases, publicity for UVA activities, and enhancing UVA's image in the virtual airline world. The Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications is head of Corporate Communications. Reporting to him are:
  • The Group Event Manager, who is responsible for arranging special events and coordinating ATC support.
  • The Art Director, who is responsible for preparing graphics used in UVA publications, the website, or other venues. They are also responsible for ensuring all graphics, artwork, logos and fonts comply with United Airlines' graphic standards.

Section Five

Dual Stream

UVA employs a Dual Stream construct, two complementary ways that you can advance in your career. It is your choice; you can participate in just one, or both.

Seniority by flight hours

As in most virtual airlines, you can advance through the ranks by building seniority by simply accruing flight hours. The more hours you accrue the larger and heavier aircraft you can fly, and the more destinations you can access.

Rating Checkrides (RC)

The optional Rating stream makes UVA unique. It provides high-end rating checkrides that will tutor and test your mettle to real world standards. You have entire control over when, or if, you decide to participate in rating checkrides. Besides the challenge and educational value, obtaining ratings also allows you to rapidly advance into heavy aircraft, as there is no flight hour prerequisite for submitting these.

Flight Review (FR-B)

All permanent pilots have access to this special Flight Review. There is no passing or failing grade. It is comprehensive and detailed assessment of your flying, as measured against a real-world standard. What you do with the results is up to you, but we hope you will take it into your flying. These flight reviews are a truly unique and valuable benefit of UVA.

Personnel Management

Pilot Ranks

All new pilots start out with an empty Logbook. Credit is given for verified VATSIM hours, on a 1:1 basis, up to a maximum of one thousand (1000) hours. This is a one-time credit, available only at the time of initial application.

There is no credit available for flight hours transfer from virtual airlines, or other organizations.

All pilots are authorized to fly aircraft types based on the hours they have earned or have been credited and/or their ratings achieved.

Aircraft and Checkride Eligibility is detailed in the pilot's Flight Room (Pilot Center). Specifics about advancement, hours eligibility, flight reviews and checkrides are outlined in the Aircrew Flight Review and Rating Checkrides Procedures Supplement (AFRPS) document, available from the Pilot Library.

Aircraft Eligibility by Hours

Aggregate hours are used for the purposes of determining aircraft eligibility by hours, your total aggregate hours are listed in the Flight Room. Aggregate hours are a total of actual UVA flight hours flown, together with any VATSIM initial hours credit at the time of joining.

Aircraft Type
Turboprop (T) and Regional Jets (R)
All eligible
Narrow-body Jets (N)
restricted to introductory routes
All eligible
Narrow-body jets (N)
all routes
With FR-A, no minimum hours
Narrow-body jets (N)
all routes
Without FR-A, minimum 500 aggregate hours
Wide-body Class 1 Jets (W1)
FR-A required, minimum 100 aggregate hours
Wide-body Class 2 Jets (W2)
FR-A required, minimum 150 aggregate hours
Wide-body Class 3 Jets (W3)
FR-A required, minimum 250 aggregate hours

Aircraft Eligibility by Rating

Ratings are obtained by completing type checkrides (RC), and are a parallel optional method to obtain aircraft eligibility.

E170 Rating (N)
Embraer EJets (E170x, E190x)
737 Rating (N)
B737 family
A320 Rating (N) A319, A320, A321
767 Rating (W1)
B757, B767
787 Rating (W2)
777 Rating (W2)

Classic Flights

UVA also has a classic division, which currently allows the use of airliners once used by United Airlines. These classics follow the same levels as the mainline division. Routes are often added, here are some of the aircraft.

T, R, N Level
Trimotor, DC-3, CV-340, DC-4, DC-6, F-27,
EMB-120, MD-80, DC-9, 727, 737 Classic, JS41
W1 Level
B-377, A300
W2 Level
DC-10, MD-11
W3 Level

Introductory Routes

Probationary pilots will be allowed to fly all Turboprop (T) & Regional Jets (R) aircraft routes.

In addition, they will also be granted 737, A32x and EJet Narrowbody Jets (N) aircraft privileges on a set of introductory routes. These routes are a subset of our general schedule, utilizing smaller regional airports, and generally shorter flights. But, this venue has some very interesting and challenging airports included, and some quite scenic flights.

All organized events will have at least one introductory narrowbody route to allow for immediate participation.

Probationary pilots who have more than 500 hours credit in their logbooks, whether obtained by VATSIM hours credit, or by accumulating hours as a probationary pilot with UVA, will be allowed to fly all N Level aircraft routes, even before an FR-A in flown.

Currency — Minimum Hours

To remain "current" a pilot must fly and file a Flight Report (FlightRep) at least once every thirty (30) days. New pilots are no exception; they must fly and file a FlightRep within fifteen (15) days of joining UVA.

Pilots that lapse in meeting currency will be subject to removal from the roster, with loss of status, ratings and hours. All pilots receive abundant and timely notices of their obligation in the Flight Room.

After ninety days membership, when a pilot is unable to remain current for a period, they may request a leave of absence.

Maximum Flight Duty

  • Flight duty requires appropriate rest periods
  • Maximum duty is determined solely by flight hours, and not flight cycles (takeoffs/landings).
  • Provisions are made to allow for shorter term, more intensive flying.
For a balanced approach to flight operations, no pilot may reserve, and no pilot may take command of a flight if:
  1. in the last ninety (90) consecutive recordable days, they accrued 540 or more flight hours
  2. in the last thirty (30) consecutive recordable days, they accrued 270 or more flight hours

There is no limit on the number of flight cycles.

This will be enforced by the flight reservation system. Your flight duty hours are listed in the Flight Room.

Leave of Absence

Leaves of Absence (LOA) are available for up to a total of 90 days per calendar year. An LOA is requested directly in the Flight Room (Pilot Center). The LOA can be automatically terminated by the pilot at any time by reserving a flight, flying it and filing a Flight Report. If a FlightRep is not filed by the 90th day the pilot will be considered "inactive" and will be subject to removal (or retirement) from the active roster. Unused LOA days are not carried over to the next year.

Longer term LOAs may be requested from the Human Resources Division for active military service, real world United Airlines pilots undergoing training, or other extenuating circumstances.


Should a senior pilot in good standing feel they can no longer maintain UVA currency, they may ask to be retired by contacting Human Resources or his Regional Manager. Should currency lapse for a pilot that is eligible for retirement, his account will be automatically set to retired status.

Once placed on the retired list, the pilot will no longer be required to maintain currency. The pilot will retain his original join date for seniority purposes, the logbook will remain populated, and all ratings will be preserved. They will still have access to the UVA forums and website.

To return to active status, a retired pilot only needs to reserve a flight, fly it, and file a flight report.

Retirements are conferred only on senior pilots, who have accumulated significant logbook time and/or higher rank (minimum 300 hours or at least a W1 rating).

Multiple Currency Dismissals

Should a pilot fail to request an LOA, or exhausts their LOA time, and is not a senior pilot and eligible for retirement, and is dismissed more than twice for not maintaining flight currency, HR reserves the right to decline any future applications.


Once a pilot is removed from the active roster, excluding an LOA or retirement, there is no provision for automatic reinstatement. The prior obtained ratings, status and flight hours are lost. A pilot who wishes to return will need to reapply, subject to the limits on reapplications.

However, we do understand that in some instances there may valid mitigating real-world circumstances. HR is prepared to give consideration to such during the reapplication process, and where applicable these should be noted in the reapplication comments.

Section Six


On-line vs. Off-line Flying

While not mandatory, pilots are encouraged to fly online using the VATSIM network ( This enhances the realism and social aspects of flight simulation through interaction with controllers, other pilots, and your fellow United Virtual pilots.

When flying online, pilots are reminded that they are representing UVA to the online community and must strictly adhere to the UVA standards of conduct.

Regardless of it being a question of procedures or hardware/software setup, assistance is available from your Regional Manager and the Flight Training forums. In addition, materials are available from the UVA Pilot Library and VATSIM Pilot Resource Center.

Choosing Your Departure

Your last operations location is tracked by the system, but you are not obligated to depart from that location. At your option, you can relocate (deadhead) to a new airport to start a new flight. Both the Schedule and Destinations pages support that flexibility. Some pilots prefer to always depart from their last arrival point, and the system also supports this by having round trip routings at virtually every destination.

The Schedule page lists all of the available flights, and can be filtered to show specific airports or equipment.

The Destinations page is a unique UVA feature that allows you to explore all the possible destinations given a specific airport of departure, with a rich set of filters for type of flight, equipment, even the direction of flight or country for destination and whether or not you have flown through it before. Also a quick way to look up information for a given airport or airports by ICAO or IATA codes, or by city, or by airport name. You are even given the option to randomly select a flight from the specified routings. Also, you can invert the flight on the Schedule page before reserving it — so you can also think of this page as choosing a departure point, given a certain arrival airport, the inverse.

Finally, there is a provision for building an assigned (randomly or by selection) Flight Line. Flight lines consist of a number of flight legs linked together in a logical fashion, and intended for sequential completion by one crew. They may take from one, to several days to complete and can involve extended rest periods and overnight stays.

If the required equipment type is not present at the departure airport, an unreserved aircraft will be located, dispatched and repositioned, allowing the pilot to then reserve the flight.

Flight Reservations and Flight Reports (FlightReps)

Bidding for flights is not required, the choice from the available eligible flights is not dictated by pilot seniority. Also, reserving a flight does not block another pilot from reserving that same flight. That is obviously of critical importance when UVA is flying an event, where many pilots would be flying a given route at essentially the same time.

Pilots may reserve a flight at any time but are expected to complete the flight report within two days of the proposed reservation date, reservations not used within that time will be deleted. Pilots reserve a flight through their Flight Room (Pilot Center). A reservation consists of a departure point, destination, and aircraft type, once selected and reserved the pilot is eligible to complete the flight. There is one active reservation, five other reservations may also be preselected, these will be noted as "pending". Note that to reserve a flight, the pilot must meet the minimum pilot category requirements for the assigned aircraft equipment.

Once a flight is completed, a flight report (FlightRep) must be submitted to add the flight to your Logbook, and thereby to attain flight credit. There are two options for FlightRep submission: automatic submission by United Virtual's proprietary UVACARS Express software or manually through the Flight Room (Pilot Center), selecting the FlightRep option.

If filing manually, you will need to note flight data during the flight to FlightRep the flight. You will need the: Departure Gate, Pushback Time (defined as the Zulu time the parking brake is released prior to push back from the gate), Arrival Time (defined as the Zulu time the parking brake was applied once in position at the gate), Arrival Gate, and fuel quantity used, expressed in pounds of fuel.

Note that the arrival and departure times are submitted using the 24-hour military clock and will include all four digits (i.e., 0100 is 1 am, 1545 is 3:45 pm). The times to be submitted are the corresponding real world UTC (GMT) times, often spoken of as "zulu" time. For quick reference, the current zulu time is displayed on a number of the website pages.

Though United Virtual's system automatically tracks flight hours based on FlightReps, all pilots are encouraged to keep a personal logbook. This would be useful in reconstructing what occurred should there be a database disagreement, or if a FlightRep is not processed correctly.

Time Acceleration

Time Acceleration (TA) is permitted only on N Level flights and above. There is no practical need for TA on shorter flights, such as typically served by T & R Level aircraft.

If flying with active ATC, in all cases ATC clearance must be received before flying TA.

TA is for primary use during cruise. TA is not permitted during active flight segments, and in particular TA may not be used during departure, climb, descent/arrival and approach phases.

TA use must be notated in the flight report for each flight where it is used. Logbook flight reports through UVACARS, will automatically record use of TA.

Only the real time actually spent may be logged for the flight, there is no flight time credit for the excess accelerated virtual time.

Aircraft Equipment Type Substitution

In all instances the Flight Reservation process will cue you as to all the possible, and allowed, aircraft substitutions. Some of these are listed below.

Pilots may substitute for any aircraft type, with another that shares the same pilot type rating. For example, a 737-800 may be used where a 737-700 is scheduled, and a 757 may be used where a 767 is specified.

Pilots may also substitute for any aircraft type within a UVA type Level. For example, for a flight where a 737-700 is scheduled, an N (Narrow-body) Level aircraft, other N Level aircraft may be used, such as an A320 or E170.

As special provisions, pilots may substitute 777 aircraft on flights where a 767/757 is scheduled, and a 747 aircraft where a 777 is scheduled. Substitutions are also allowed with aircraft types that are no longer current at United, but are available as higher quality payware models and that have similar flight and mission characteristics - specifically the Q400 or JS41 for TurboProp aircraft, and the BAE146 for Regional Jet aircraft.

Flight Planning

Dispatch Procedures/Preflight Planning

The pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight.

This will consist of at least:

  • Weather review. A thorough review of the departure, enroute, and destination weather is essential to the safe completion of a flight. Pilots are encouraged to use real-world weather through their Flight Simulator weather controls or add-on software. While modern airliners are capable of flying above most weather, during departure and arrival they cannot avoid it. Particular attention should be paid to current and predicted weather at the destination airport.
  • Navigation and fuel planning. Calculating the route of flight is key. This process can be completed manually or through the assistance of numerous resources such as Flightaware and Simbrief. The UVA dispatch process provides for easy access to these.

Preferred Routes

Throughout the world, there are numerous preferred routes used by the air traffic control system for traffic flow purposes. These routes are coordinated between various ATC/ATS agencies (centers, towers, etc.) to allow for smooth handover between facilities.

Preferred routes can be obtained from flight planners as well as various ARTCC or FIR websites. Failure to submit a preferred route in a filed flight plan may lead to a complicated rerouting to a preferred route when obtaining the IFR clearance prior to departure.

Standard Operating Procedures

UVA has detailed standard operating procedures (SOP) outlined in the Flight Operations Manual (FOM). These should be studied and executed on every flight.

Fuel Planning

Proper fuel planning is critical to the safe and efficient completion of a flight. Too much fuel increases aircraft weight, fuel burn, and the cost of a flight. Too little fuel can obviously have disastrous consequences.

All United Virtual flights operate under Part 121 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARS) and are flown under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). For flight safety purposes, UVA SOPS meet or exceed the minimum fuel reserves defined in the FARS.

Details for required fuel reserves are outlined in the FOM.

Chart review

A thorough understanding of the route of flight will enhance situational awareness.

Pilots are encouraged to obtain and use airport taxi charts. At large airports with multiple taxiways, they are essential for safe navigation around the facility and may be required to complete a taxi clearance provided by a ground controller.

Navigation and approach charts are also critical when flying online. Jepp charts are available by subscription from Navigraph, but national issue charts may also be downloaded from numerous freeware sites on the Internet. VATSIM ARTCC/FIR websites typically provide approach and departure charts for the facilities they service.

Flight Execution

Time of Flight and Weather

We do not require that you fly your flight at the actual time, but you are free to adjust your flight simulator's time to match the scheduled departure time to enhance the realism of your flight simulation experience. But be careful in doing so, as it may confuse the simulated weather picture, depending on your source of weather.

As mentioned in the flight planning section, use of real weather through the "real world weather" functionality in your flight simulator or any of the various add-on programs will enhance your flight.

Flight Plan submission guidelines

Flight plans for on-line flights can be submitted either through the VATSIM web page, various VATSIM ARTCC/FIR web pages, or the pilot client program (eg. vPilot). Plans should generally be submitted no later than fifteen (15) minutes prior to expected departure time.

When submitting a flight plan to the VATSIM Network, the following guidance is provided. If using our dispatch/SimBrief, most of the fields will be populated for you.

  • All United Virtual flights are filed and flown as IFR flights.
  • United Virtual call signs are the pilot's UVA pilot ID # (i.e., UAL1234). You may also use the flight number.
  • The remarks field must contain the phrase "".
  • Proper submission of the flight plan is key to identifying your flight as a United Virtual flight to all VATSIM controllers, and for UVA tracking.

Communications procedures and guidelines

For communications, the proper way to identify yourself is with UNITED, followed by your filed flight number, for example UNITED 1278. The number may be your UVA PID, or at your option the flight number of the flight from our database. When flying regional routes, or code-share flights, you may use the respective airline callsign.

When participating in VA events, you must use your UVA PID for the flight number.

Voice Communications

Most ATC facilities are also voice capable. The VATSIM network pilot clients all support voice communications. Their specific sites as well as the VATSIM assistance forums provide guidance on configuring the software for voice communications. Voice communications are easier to conduct while flying the aircraft and enhance the flight simulation experience.

When not talking to ATC, all United Virtual pilots are encouraged to come up on the company channel and talk to other airborne UVA flights. United Virtual has a dedicated Discord server for this purpose. Instructions on how to get online with Discord is in the Operations | Discord page.

UVACARS Express software

UVA employs software called "UVACARS Express" (UX) to simulate the ACARS units installed on real United aircraft. The software download, installation instructions, and an operations guide is available on the Operations menu.

Flight operations and conduct online

We require all pilots to demonstrate professional and courteous behavior while on the VATSIM network. Be respectful to Air Traffic Controllers and other pilots. We must live up to the highest standards of professionalism set by real world United Airlines. Any reported occurrence of inappropriate behavior may result in immediate suspension of a pilot with loss of seniority and all logged hours and even a permanent ban from membership at our UVA.

We expect all company pilots to fly in a professional and courteous manner.

  • While pilots never relinquish the ultimate authority they possess as pilot in command, instructions from ATC will be followed unless they jeopardize flight safety. Should this be the case, the pilot is expected to report "unable" and resolve the conflict with the controller in a courteous manner.
  • Disrupting VATSIM operations, simulating emergencies without prior permission or deliberately crashing into buildings or other aircraft is specifically prohibited.
  • Abusive or insulting language (either in voice or text communications) is specifically prohibited.