So I am bored at work looking at the news online and I came across a special feature about Nicholas Reed from San Diego. I immediately thought of Nicksair and went to his profile to confirm his identity. This special feature aired in the beginning of Jan. this year. Check it out. It's all about Virtual ATC.
Article below for those who don't want to click the link.
The internet is often referred to as cyberspace. But for thousands of virtual pilots, it's more like cyber-sky. They are part of an online world where anyone can be a jumbo jet pilot or air traffic controller.
Nicholas Reed has a lot of responsibility. He keeps the aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport out of harm's way. But Reed's planes are virtual, and his tower is his family's thrift shop in Clairemont.
"If you're ever heard of the FAA air traffic control system, this is the online version of it," he said.
It's called the Virtual Air Traffic Simulation Network, an online community of flight simulator and air traffic control enthusiasts. Using Microsoft's flight simulator computer software and the internet, virtual pilots from around the world can fly and interact with each other, while receiving direction from volunteer controllers.
The network even includes simulated commercial airlines.
"You fly real time, you fly real routes, real planes," Reed said.
Well, not exactly real planes, but digital representations of everything from single engine aircraft to 747s, all flying simultaneously in this digital airspace. There are even virtual aircrashes.
"They do crash from time to time, but it's generally not my fault," Reed joked.
Like most volunteers, Reed isn't a professional air traffic controller. But that doesn't make it any less real for him.
"You've got to know what you're doing. You've got to know the phraseology," he said.
And when he's not giving the orders, Reed flies his own virtual jumbo jet.
"If people are wondering why we do this, it's because we love it," he said.
If you'd like to participate in the virtual air traffic network, it's free to join.