If youíre used to flying using the robotic ATC of Flight Simulator then flying with real people providing the ATC and with the other aircraft you see also being piloted by real people can seem like a huge leap. You need not worry though, most of the networks understand how daunting it can be and are only too happy to help and advise new members.
If youíve mastered the basic handling of your aircraft, have reasonable navigation skills and can understand basic ATC instructions then you could get a lot out of flying online.
Don;t worry about making mistakes, weíre human not perfect pilots like AI Aircraft. During one online session I ďlandedĒ at Nice in a Dash-8 Q300 only for the under-carriage to give out on me. Yup, too fast and too steep.
I knew I was being followed in by another aircraft, Iíd heard him ask the controller to line him up for a long approach to the ILS. So I had a choice, do I declare the emergency and block the runway or do I quit the session and leave the runway clear for the approaching pilot? I chose the latter having contacted the controller and explained my actions first. I could have sat where I was, it would have recreated a possible real life scenario for both the inbound pilot and the approach controller who would have both needed to react to the situation. Being at Nice, this would not have been too much of a problem, there are two parallel runways so the controller could have side-stepped the inbound onto the adjacent runway. Whether the pilot would have had time to react is another matter, he may have needed a go-around.
The point is, no-one took offence to the mistake, itís accepted that those using the system will make mistakes from time to time. Itís even part of the fun having to deal with the human element rather than the predictable uncompromising AI.
Still not sure? Then have you ever fancied taking over the tower of your favourite airport for a few hours? If so then why not give online ATC a chance? Online pilots like nothing better than having controllers routing them through their airspace. So whether you fancy working as the controller of your local municipal airport or at a regional control centre itís there for the taking. Naturally you wouldnít expect to control at centre level unless you could handle it, but if youíve got the skills, then youíll be welcome. Just as with the online flying, there are others to welcome you and help you learn the ropes. Join the fun, give it a try.