What pray tell is VATSIM?

  • Virtual Air Traffic control for Simulators
  • Creates a virtual world for MSFS, X-Plane and other sim clients
  • Volunteers serve as ATC for simulator flying
  • Divided in to countries and ARTCCs
  • ——-
  • Charles and I are in the JAX ARTCC
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  • Come fly with us!

There is no restaurant on the General Aviation ramps at Daytona, but there is ATP Jet Center.

Why ATP Jet? Because my good friend and fellow VATSIM controller Charles Dolan works there.

As you will see in the following article and photos, Charles is a “Ramp Agent” for ATP Jet Center, which is a fixed base operator (FBO) wholly owned by ATP, a national flight school.

The good thing about visiting ATP is they can arrange a crew (or rental) car for you to go get some food. There are many places nearby. We ended up at iHop, but we will probably hit Cheddars next time.

The prices in Daytona are high. As to be expected, as Daytona is a touristy place. The “brunch” was $35, almost twice as much as the other places I’ve been visiting, but then, the company was better.

The Flight Up

It was a beautiful day to fly on Nov 2nd. Sunny, cool and not too windy. Orlando Approach was very helpful and sent me right over KSFB which is not normal. I was expecting to be vectored around it.

Went over the top of Sanford Airport.

The Daytona area was an eye opening experience however. The area was full of Riddle students basically clogging up the airspace, as well as the airwaves. The controllers were very patient although at one point the tower controller got stepped on and yelled “OK LISTEN UP ON THE FREQUENCY BEFORE TRANSMITTING!” When it got quiet, I did my best Bill Clinton voice and said, “I feel your pain.” He laughed and said “yeah that’s how it is”.

I had to move quickly and rapidly several times to follow instructions but I made a great landing on 25L. Finally my landings are coming back. Just takes practice.

Charles and the ATP team had a car waiting for us, and they also fueled the plane (which in a pleasant surprise, Charles put on his account.)

Went off to iHop and talked endlessly about airplanes, airlines, long term plans and all kinds of flying stuff. Great time.

Back to KORL

Again, facing the Riddle gauntlet, it took me quite some time to contact clearance, get a squawk and frequency for the class C airspace, get to ground, taxi to runway 7R, and finally wait for Tower to call me.


The actual cost ended up being less than $300.

  • Aircraft Rental: 1.1 tach * $89 = $97.90
  • Fuel at Datytona: $20.48 (paid by Charles!)
  • Fuel at Atlantic Aviation: $33.35
  • Restaurant bill: $35 (pricey)
  • ——-
  • Total: $186.73
  • ——-
  • Total flight time 1.4

It seems like it was a long wait but it was probably less than 15 minutes. Glad I pay on tach time!

There was traffic EVERYWHERE and they sent me south along the shoreline, which although scenic, is not really the way to Orlando. Eventually I was given better headings and headed back towards KORL.

As usual, the afternoon clouds were starting to build and it got slightly bumpy. I stayed at 2500 ft since it was a shorter flight than usual.

After another smooth landing at KORL (I got this!) I taxied in to the flow thru hangar area and called Atlantic for fuel. My car was also over there since there is ramp repair going on. While I had gotten a golf cart ride out, they were way backed up and I ended up walking in, about a half mile with my back pack. Oh well, got my exercise for the day.

Charles and I had a great time. Good discussion, and I look forward to meeting him for lunch again in the future.