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Plans for 2010 - You'll Like Where We're Going

UKV1121 - Chris Sutcliffe

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Plans for 2010 - You'll Like Where We're Going

Our Mission is to provide a high quality, realistic and fun virtual aviation experience to all flight sim enthusiasts. We will help pilots of all skills, ages, race and sex to achieve their full potential as virtual airline pilots.

I have to admit that there were a number of projects and updates that we struggled with and failed to deliver last year. At the end of 2007 we did a member wish list via the forums. We recieved a lot of excellent suggestions of what you wanted to see happen at Fly UK. We had reviewed these, put them together and said we would aim to do most of them during 2008. We had promised too much and some of the projects were much more work than we imagined. We were also faced with a number of problems, for example, key staff being unavailable at different times which, combined and led to the delay in development of some projects.

However I am pleased to say that 2010 will be an exciting new start for Fly UK. We began planning in early December and we have a whole set of projects which are in the pipeline already. We have a strong staff team in place and a plan which we are all committed to making happen.

The following plan only details major projects. There will, of course, be other projects and new ideas introduced throughout the year. We also highly value comments and suggestions from our wide member base as well.

We aim to:

- Clean up our pilot roster
- Increase pilot activity
- Retain pilots longer
- Introduce software for flight tracking
- Focus more on helping pilots to fly properly
- Ensure all our pilots can fly to a basic standard
- Create a new website with a variety of new features

Pilot Activity & Community - Our membership has really grown over the last few years. In November we had over 1000 members, you could argue it has grown out of control. We will be looking at what we can do to increase pilot activity, retain pilots longer and become more of a close-knit community.

In January we will be focussing on cleaning up our pilot roster. We have begun to look more closely at our pilot roster and pilot activity in general. Our policy for activity will remain more or less the same but with a few additions. Pilots are required to file one pirep per month, if you do not your account will be marked as inactive. To become active again all you need to do is file a pirep. Any accounts which have been inactive for a period of one month will be automatically deleted. New pilots will now have two weeks to file their first pirep, if they do not their account will be automatically deleted.

It has also come to light that pilots have been abusing the leave system. The ability to put yourself on leave is there only if you have a genuine reason which stops you from being able to file one pirep per month, for example, if you are going on holiday. For some bizarre reason we seem to have pilots that want to be registered with Fly UK, but not actually fly for us and use the leave system as a way to dodge their account from becoming inactive. This is a virtual airline. The whole point is to fly. We will be dealing with members who we suspect to be abusing the leave system in January and investigate at how we can improve the system.

Software - As I am sure you will agree, software is long overdue at Fly UK. Last year we spent a lot of time looking at using a variety of existing software which would enable pilots to automatically log data and send pireps to Fly UK. We were very close to launching FS ACARS but we encountered several problems at the last minute. I am pleased to say that we currently have custom software in the works for Fly UK which will automatically log data from flight sim and export it to Fly UK as a pirep. It is still in development at the moment but fingers crossed, if everything goes to plan it should be ready in a few months time.

So all I can ask from you is to bear with us on the software/pirep side of things. I know the website pirep forms are not ideal and I know other virtual airlines use other methods of sending pireps. It is no longer a question of IF we will use software at Fly UK, we WILL have software at Fly UK in 2010, it is just a matter of time and I can assure you we are working as quickly as possible.

Training - We will continue to welcome pilots of all skills and abilities at Fly UK. When people think of Fly UK, we want them to view us as a group of pilots who know their stuff. We will be placing more focus on training, we want all our pilots to be able to fly properly. We will soon be introducing a document which outlines the basic flying standard we expect from all Fly UK pilots. It's nothing to worry about, it will just outline a few things we expect you to be able to do, for example know how to fly an ILS approach, know how to use the autopilot etc. The training academy will be on hand to help everyone work towards this standard. We will continue to offer one2one practical training sessions and we will be introducing a library of new training documents and material. In addition to this we will be introducing checkrides, more training awards and we also aim to issue more helpful NOTAMs with useful information for operating to/from specific airports.

We understand everyone takes their hobby to different levels of realism. We don't expect you to know everything a professional pilot would, we are not trying to force everyone into 100% realism. We encourage you to continue with whichever level of realism suits you best, but all we do expect is that you meet our basic flying standard. For anyone wanting to take things further, we will have more advanced training available, but this will be optional, how far you want to take things is your choice.

We aim to have the re-organisation of practical training courses and the basic flying standard document complete by the end of January. We have already changed the resources section of the website and added some new training documents which come in a new PDF format. We will continue to add new documents as and when they are completed, it will will take a few months to complete them all.

New Website - Work is due to begin on a new website in mid January. The website will be re-built and will run on a new content management system developed by Logical Design. It will take a number of months to develop and will include many new features. We hope that you will be as excited as us when the new website is released later on this year.

Operations - 2009 saw major changes to our operations including changes to our bases and fleet. As you know, our operations are now split into three divisions, mainstream, tours and flying club. Mainstream operations include scheduled, cargo, ad-hoc and low cost flights. The new structure and operations are working very well, so there shouldn't be any major changes like last year, although operations are continually reviewed so we can never say never!

We plan to carry out a review of all our tours. We aim to establish at least one new codeshare operation by March. We will continue to update our database of chart and scenery links. Minor schedule changes will be made throughout the year with major schedule changes taking place in May and November. We aim to expand our ad-hoc flights programme and will introduce flights for a range of special and sporting events including flights to Vancouver for the winter Olympics in February and flights to South Africa for the world cup in June.

Other Projects & Realism - There are some other things in the pipeline that we haven't mentioned above, all will be revealed later in the year. All I will say is that over the last month or so we have been thinking long and hard about virtual airlines, the point of them, the future of flight sim, what people want from virtual airlines and how we move forward and incorporate everything whilst maintaining the right balance of realism and fun.


Chris Sutcliffe - CEO

On behalf of the Fly UK Staff Team
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