Member Rules and Conduct


The Virtual Air Traffic Simulation (VATSIM) Network is operated under three principal governing items: Code of Conduct, Code of Regulations, and VATSIM User Agreement. When joining the network, you as a member agreed to comply with the Code of Conduct and User Agreement. These two items pertain to the standards in which all members should act, follow, and meet when using the VATSIM network and its other official mediums like websites, forums, groups, etc. Though these governing documents may be a bit long and dull, they are important pieces that keep the network under a unified standard of positivity and productivity.

Code of Conduct

One of the main goals of VATSIM is to create an environment that is fun and, at the same time, educational and realistic simulation of procedures followed by pilots and air traffic controllers every day around the world. To further these goals, members of VATSIM must comply with the following Code of Conduct. This Code sets forth how members are expected to conduct themselves.

Section A

Section A of the CoC pertains to the basic general rules of conduct on the network including items like what name you may sign in to the network as, appropriate places for private conversations, VATSIM Streaming platform behavior, and a large variety of other conduct related rules

Section B

Section B of the CoC pertains to pilot activities and flight on the network. Each member should become familiar with the sections’ basic requirements and must abide by them each flight.

We have broken down these rules into more detail and examples so they can be better understood.

A pilot shall not connect to the VATSIM Network on a runway or taxiway. If a pilot chooses to connect while airborne, a pilot shall ensure doing so does not cause disruption to other members.

Pilots should utilize ramp parking and gate-type position starts in their flight simulator when connecting to the network at an airport. If airborne and connection are lost or if you would like to connect, exercise extreme vigilance when reconnecting especially in crowded airspaces and on arrival or departure procedures. If operating into or out of event airspace and your connection is lost, it is recommended to keep moving and reconnect as soon as possible. Pausing and reconnecting or reconnecting in the same position after a long period of time is highly discouraged as ATC is not able to provide ample air traffic separation when this happens despite their hard work.

A pilot shall not pause while connected to the VATSIM Network except when operating under air traffic control, with the express permission of the controller. If the controller revokes the permission for any reason, the pilot shall unpause immediately

If you need to pause in controlled airspace, ask the controller for permission. ATC works to separate traffic in a moving environment.

Pilots shall monitor their flights at all times. It is the responsibility of the pilot to check for and make timely contact with appropriate air traffic controllers. This includes making prompt contact when requested to do so.

Actively monitor and use your Pilot Client's Online ATC List and VATSIM flight tracking maps like VATSPY when flying to know when ATC is online and when you are located inside their boundaries. These maps may not be 100% accurate in more complex airspaces as some borders change with altitude. It is recommended to contact ATC if close to their airspace or if you are unsure if you are located inside of their airspace for clarification.

If it becomes necessary to leave a pilot connection unattended, the member is encouraged to disconnect from the network. Notwithstanding anything in this Code to the contrary, no pilot connection is permitted to be unattended for a period of longer than 30 minutes.

This rule is designed to encourage pilots to remain attentive to their simulators to keep an eye on their aircraft and respond to any ATC given instructions. Do you need to do chores, run an errand, eat dinner, or something else? Disconnect and reconnect when you are readily available again!

A pilot shall not squawk standby while their aircraft is in motion except when requested by air traffic control. The simulation of aircraft without a transponder is permitted with air traffic control approval.

Mode C is how important altitude and other radar data is received by ATC. Please ensure you are squawking Mode C via the use of your pilot client or simulator aircraft when in motion. It is a good habit to turn on Mode C before you leave your parking space and turn it off at the completion of your flight.

No flight may declare itself to have priority over another. Pilots are permitted to declare in-flight emergencies only when under air traffic control. If for any reason, air traffic control requests the pilot to terminate the emergency, then the pilot must do so IMMEDIATELY or disconnect from the network. Pilots are not permitted to simulate any unlawful act including, but not limited to, declaring a hijack by any method, including entering a transponder code of 7500.

While the simulation of emergencies can be exciting, the use of them to intentionally cut aircraft cues at airports is not allowed. ATC is not required to accept your emergency situation workload permitting. Any terrorist type activities are explicitly prohibited.

A pilot must comply with all agreed (read-back) air traffic control clearances and all issued instructions, or notify air traffic control without delay if unable to do so. Additionally, compliance with the following ATC instructions is mandatory, unless operational safety (e.g. TCAS conflict resolution) is compromised.

With the wide variety of complex aircraft that exist in the market, it is highly recommended that members take time to understand the basics of their aircraft offline, are able to fly their aircraft by hand and by use of its automation, and intervene when the aircraft is doing something undesired.

Section C

Section C of the Code of Regulations pertains to Air Traffic Controllers and the services they provide.

Code of Regulations

The VATSIM Code of Regulations is the set of statues that outline how the network is organized and operated. It contains various items such as organizational structure, job title responsibilities, statues in which the Board of Governors operate, and more.