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TransGear Airways - THE FUTURE

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TransGear Airways - THE FUTURE

Postby Lukosius » Sun Jul 18, 2010 2:01 am

Hi all,

With the sudden departure of MD-Terp (Rob) from the FlightGear world, it has left TransGear Airways (arguably the most successful ongoing FlightGear event) in limbo. TGA has seen many pilots come and go, many initiatives implemented, and many of us left with far greater FG skills than when we first participated.

Virtual airlines have come and gone in the FG world, with only a very small number being successful. However, once-off events have had great success in FlightGear and will continue to do so. Though more of an event than an airline, TGA and it's monthly schedule combines the best of both worlds. Plus it's concept is unique in the FG world.

Having said that, I believe it is imperative that we continue TGA in some way. However I feel that it could be 'tweaked' in a way that will give it a 'breath of fresh air', while also encouraging new pilots to join. Of course most of the practices, procedures and general concept needs to stay as is, but there are a few things I would like to see implemented to take it to the next step.

WHAT SHOULD NOT CHANGE
1) ATC Controlled
One of the key points to TGA's existence is that it is an ATC-controlled event. Of course this needs to stay as is.

2) FGCom
As is the case with ATC, FGCom is also a key ingredient to TGA's success. Future TGA events need to remain 'FGCom-enabled'. However, having said that, the requirement to use FGCom has probably deterred some pilots. So we need to find some medium where FGCom is required, but the rules are relaxed somewhat for newbies, or for pilots with continual FGCom technical issues.

3) Scheduled Based
Future events must still work around a schedule. I think this is a given. You don't want aircraft flying in from anywhere whenever they want, if you know what I mean.

4) Aircraft
The rule about 'approved aircraft' must stay. Another key to TGA's success is interaction between pilots and between pilots and ATC. It's great when everyone can see everyone else's aircraft. It's not so great when you see a yellow/blue glider. I think the selection of aircraft we have at the moment is close to the mark, however some of those could be removed as they are virtually never used. Also I think its most important that pilots give plenty of notice of the aircraft they are using so everyone else has time to download.

WHAT WE SHOULD LOOK AT IMPLEMENTING/CHANGING
1) Rotating Hubs
I think this is a key to the future of TGA. I know it's summer holidays in the northern hemisphere, but do not underestimate the possibility of losing TGA members due to using the same hubs and routes. There are plenty of fantastic regions throughout the world to fly with FG, and all with the capability of conducting a TGA event, route-wise and hub-wise. Not only does it keep all TGA members 'fresh', but it will see most of us fly in regions we probably would not have thought to fly in. The other thing it does is make all of us do more research on the upcoming TGA event, knowing it will be in a place we are not familiar to.

2) One-way Routing
A big drawcard to TGA is the interaction between pilots, and between pilots and ATC. And not only in the air, but also at the terminal. One problem with the current routing format is that it is 'two-way', meaning there are two distinct groups of pilots - one heading into KIND and then south to KATL, and one heading into KATL and then north to KIND. What this had led to is situations where there may only be one or two aircraft arriving at one hub, while further north there may be six or seven arriving at the other hub. In my opinion quite boring for the pilots and ATC at that first hub mentioned. It creates less challenges for all concerned.

The idea of 'one-way routing' is that we still have two hubs and up to three legs per pilot, but they are generally all in the same direction. For example Leg #1 are all flights into KIND, Leg #2 is KIND-KATL only (stagnated of course), and Leg #3 are all flights out of KATL. This will not only be more challenging and exciting for the pilots, but especially ATC. Plus, if we have an event where we are struggling to find ATC's, the new 'one-way routing' concept could be done by one ATC in a worst case scenario.

3) Duplicate routes
I would like to see the option where more that one pilot can pick a particular flight/route/leg. Again this will create more of a 'challenge' for the pilots who may have another aircraft only 5 or 10nm in front or behind them. Definitely something that happens in RL.

4) Database of Participants
I think it would be neat to keep some form of database of TGA participants. More for record keeping and to keep in touch with members who 'disappear of the radar'.

5) Monthly Event
If demand shows it could work, I think in the future we look at holding TGA events more often than monthly.


I would like to get everyones thoughts on these proposals. In the meantime I am going to have a look at all the previous events and start assembling a list of participants.

I will also have a look at some potential TGA hubs/regions, and look at what some of the flights/legs could be for those hubs/regions. Bare in mind that this is all hypothetical at the moment until we get a consensus on what we are going to do next.

Lastly I think we need to get a small group together to move forward with this. Obviously as the webhost, yourgod will be one of those. I would also like to put up my hand to coordinate the schedules and flights. I think it would be also a good idea to have someone coordinate the ATC side of things.
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Re: TRANSGEAR AIRWAYS - THE FUTURE

Postby yourgod » Sun Jul 18, 2010 2:19 am

Sounds interesting to me. I wouldn't say we need to increase the frequency of the events as that just increases the workload for the organizers and dilutes event participation.

Rotating hubs is a great idea, but again, it's workload for the organizers. Rob did a lot of work building the existing routes. Developing a half dozen for the rotation will be time consuming for someone.

Over time I'll develop a system for people to register for routes on the site, without requiring admin intervention. Once that's in place, maintaining a database of who flew where and when will be trivial.
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Re: TRANSGEAR AIRWAYS - THE FUTURE

Postby Lukosius » Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:51 am

yourgod wrote:I wouldn't say we need to increase the frequency of the events as that just increases the workload for the organizers and dilutes event participation.

Yeah, that idea was more long term.

yourgod wrote:Rotating hubs is a great idea, but again, it's workload for the organizers. Rob did a lot of work building the existing routes. Developing a half dozen for the rotation will be time consuming for someone.

I would like to look after that side of things. It is something I have had experience with in real life.

The key is having routes that are not too time consuming, while also giving all pilots plenty of flexibility when selecting routes and legs. I also have a little application that can work out approximate flight times from runway to runway, and terminal to terminal. You just input the departure altitude, arrival altitude, cruise altitude, runway-to-runway distance, and cruise speed, and it works it out automatically. Very handy when devising new routes.

I'm going to have a little play with a new hypothetical schedule for the next TGA event, to see what everyone thinks. If anyone has an idea of an area/region/country where they would like to see a TGA event held, let me know.
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Re: TransGear Airways - THE FUTURE

Postby Jester » Sun Jul 18, 2010 12:28 pm

Lukosius wrote:3) Scheduled Based
Future events must still work around a schedule. I think this is a given. You don't want aircraft flying in from anywhere whenever they want, if you know what I mean.

I am not sure that we need to continue with a fixed and detailed schedule like we have now. We could instead schedule ATC for airports, and participants would make their own schedule which should of course be registered before the event.

Lukosius wrote:1) Rotating Hubs

Agreed.

Lukosius wrote:2) One-way Routing
A big drawcard to TGA is the interaction between pilots, and between pilots and ATC. And not only in the air, but also at the terminal. One problem with the current routing format is that it is 'two-way', meaning there are two distinct groups of pilots - one heading into KIND and then south to KATL, and one heading into KATL and then north to KIND. What this had led to is situations where there may only be one or two aircraft arriving at one hub, while further north there may be six or seven arriving at the other hub. In my opinion quite boring for the pilots and ATC at that first hub mentioned. It creates less challenges for all concerned.

The idea of 'one-way routing' is that we still have two hubs and up to three legs per pilot, but they are generally all in the same direction. For example Leg #1 are all flights into KIND, Leg #2 is KIND-KATL only (stagnated of course), and Leg #3 are all flights out of KATL. This will not only be more challenging and exciting for the pilots, but especially ATC. Plus, if we have an event where we are struggling to find ATC's, the new 'one-way routing' concept could be done by one ATC in a worst case scenario.


With my "free schedule" idea from above, this would be a moot point. Still, I voice my disagreement here. Handling a bunch of aircraft all coming from the same direction may be boring too, as far as the routes are concerned. I don't really like the fixed leg between the two hubs. If we stick to a preset one-way schedule, how about adding an extra leg between hubs such that aircraft arrive from different directions. I know, this adds an uncontrolled stop and makes for longer event. Can't have everything.

Lukosius wrote:3) Duplicate routes
I would like to see the option where more that one pilot can pick a particular flight/route/leg. Again this will create more of a 'challenge' for the pilots who may have another aircraft only 5 or 10nm in front or behind them. Definitely something that happens in RL.


This also follows from my "free schedule". Also, we are using SID/STAR thus even if the aircraft aren't flying the same route they often end up on the same SID/STAR, and that is the interesting part, for ATC anyway. For pilots, I don't think it matters a whole lot.

Lukosius wrote:4) Database of Participants
I think it would be neat to keep some form of database of TGA participants. More for record keeping and to keep in touch with members who 'disappear of the radar'.


Yes, probably a good idea. However we should make sure to keep TGA events open for all visitors.

Lukosius wrote:5) Monthly Event
If demand shows it could work, I think in the future we look at holding TGA events more often than monthly.

Hopefully in the long run, yes. I imagine TGA to be more like an organizational help to bring together ATCs and pilots who like flying with ATC. Like an extension of the Daily booking and schedule board or Pete's schedule site. A recurring, known timeframe when you can count on substantial turnout for having some quality MP fun.

Lukosius wrote:I would like to get everyones thoughts on these proposals.

Thank you for taking the initiative.
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Re: TransGear Airways - THE FUTURE

Postby Vodoun da Vinci » Sun Jul 18, 2010 12:32 pm

It was always my intention to participate in a Transgear event while Rob was running it but for one reason or another I could never make the dates. I totally support the concept and I hope Transgear continues even in its founders absence. That said, I'm not an airliner aficionado and would be more likely to participate/find/make the time if the approved aircraft list were expanded to include more General Aviation aircaft like the Cessna variants and perhaps even the Velocity XL and DR400.

That and allowing incoming flights from airports of the pilots choosing would prompt more participation from me and I wonder if there might not be a few other willing participants who'd like to see more GA aircraft involved as well.

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Re: TransGear Airways - THE FUTURE

Postby redneck » Sun Jul 18, 2010 3:40 pm

Well, TGA was to be a monthly AIRLINE. I remember back when the only approved aircraft were those that could hold at least 100 pax. Then it was 50. Now, it's like a minimum of 19 pax. It's a nice thought, but 4 pax hardly classifies as an airliner at all, and would go against one of the founding principles of TGA. Now, TGA is more of an event than an airline really, but we already have the challenge, as ATCs, of dealing with planes approaching at very different speeds. We have the Concorde, which approaches at 200 kts, the subsonic jetliners, which approach at about 140, and the Super Constellation and B1900d, which approach at about 100-120 kts. Do we really want the added challenge of planes also approaching at only 70 kts? I honestly wouldn't mind it, really, but again, the website states that TGA is a monthly AIRLINE. We'd have to make it even less an airline to accept registered GA pilots, wouldn't we?
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Re: TransGear Airways - THE FUTURE

Postby mischka » Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:15 pm

in the weeks before he resigned I had extensive PM-contact with Rob about a european off-shoot from transgear, to be named TransEurope. Upon reading my proposal he liked it but said he couldn't help organising it. So I made a complete schedule with EDDF as a hub, serving airports all over europe. The initial idea was to do this in cooperation with Rob, e.g. on a sunday after his event. But shortly before my holiday he wrote me he resigns and I can/have to continue with TransEurope on my own.

I'll try to upload a schedule later on, but this is the google map I created:

click me

The schedule includes the 8 or 9 flights to start within half an hour or so from each other (the longest one first) and then landing again. In theory the ATC guy could do a flight himself. There are a few interesting airports there, like LOWI with its' ILS and LFMN has a nice approach being built into the sea.

Now with all these ideas going on I don't want to be arrogant and push this through. On the other hand I'd like to see something done with the work I put in so far.

comments and suggestions are welcome.
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Re: TransGear Airways - THE FUTURE

Postby SkyWlf77 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:28 pm

Personally, my failure to participate in TGA was three-fold:

1) My inability to get FGCom working - at all. Add to that my lack of a headset and, well, that was pretty much a no-go.

2) The inclusion of only airliners. I've always favored smaller, prop aircraft and the Constellation and I don't get along. The DHC8-300 was never on the approved list (to my knowledge) and neither was any GA aircraft, so I never really had an aircraft available that I was comfortable with.

3) The routes used. None of them really covered the airports that I like to fly from/to. I don't care for International Airports as they don't present much of a challenge. It gets quite boring for me to take off and land at airports with runways much, much longer than what is actually needed. I prefer to push the envelope and will quite routinely find an airport with only a couple hundred feet more runway than what is needed by the aircraft I wish to fly at that time. The fact that all the originating airports for TGA were International Airports with huge runways pretty much eliminated any challenge whatsoever.

Add these three things together and I didn't see a lot of reason to participate. Rob did help me individually several times with ATC interaction and I greatly appreciate that, but TGA just "wasn't in the stars".

It's a large event and is quite difficult to meet the needs of everyone. I'm not asking for any changes to be made so that I could participate. I am simply stating the reasons why I didn't so that you have an overall view of what everyone thought.

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Re: TransGear Airways - THE FUTURE

Postby Vodoun da Vinci » Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:42 pm

redneck wrote: Now, TGA is more of an event than an airline really... the website states that TGA is a monthly AIRLINE.


Having read this a concept a number of times from a number of different people in various threads I have to tell you TGA guys (participants, assistant organizers and ATC help) that some of us who'd like to participate are confused. It has been stated quite a few times in various threads that TGA is an event, not really a VA. And then it gets confusing when we want to adhere to the strictest founding principle (stated on the website even) that TGA is and was intended to be a VA. Is it or ain't it I guess is my question. :? :wink:

I'm not trying to be demanding or dictate any sort of concepts as I may or may not be able to participate because of the length of time needed at each event to be a participant. I love the whole idea of TGA as a monthly event that promotes a lot of things I admire and respect about FGFS...multiplayer capability, FGCom, ATC, and a sense of community and cameraderie. But I need someone to define what TGA is intended to be now that the primary and principle director and organizer has left the organization. It doesn't have to be today or right this minute *but* if you'd like my participation I'll need for ya'll to define what it is you are trying to do with TGA so I can decide if my priciples and uses/desires for FGFS and the MP community will allow me to participate.

I'd love to support it but VA's are not my gig having tried Atlas and decided it was not for me. I'm just not a VA wanna-do kinda guy. :oops:

A monthly event featuring the longest running and most organized element in FGFS (TGA) appeals to me if ya'll decide to expand into GA aircraft and walk the walk of an event instead of a VA. If not then it's all good with me and I support you spiritually but not with my participation. :D

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Re: TransGear Airways - THE FUTURE

Postby redneck » Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:47 pm

Vodoun da Vinci wrote:Is it or ain't it I guess is my question.

I suppose that question would best be answered by Rob. I suppose I'm confused as well. Perhaps I can email him or something.

Now, I'll voice my opinion. I'm with the guys that would like to see TGA expanded to accommodate GA aircraft. I think it will provide a more interesting challenge for the ATCs, especially if we go with Jester's open schedule concept.
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Re: TransGear Airways - THE FUTURE

Postby wookierabbit » Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:11 pm

Call me crazy, mad, hobo, silly, wacky, etc. But why not create something along this line:...... FGGAA?

Flight Gear General Aviation Association....in coalition/partnership with TransGear Airways. They could meet up at the event, thus settling this GA vs VA/event dispute.
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Re: TransGear Airways - THE FUTURE

Postby DistantRain » Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:50 pm

wookierabbit wrote:Call me crazy, mad, hobo, silly, wacky, etc. But why not create something along this line:...... FGGAA?

Flight Gear General Aviation Association....in coalition/partnership with TransGear Airways. They could meet up at the event, thus settling this GA vs VA/event dispute.


I like your "crazy, mad, hobo, silly, wacky, etc." idea. Combine them all and have a meeting every week or so in IRC or Forums.
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Re: TransGear Airways - THE FUTURE

Postby Jester » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:38 pm

We need less administrative overhead and more flying. I am against creating yet another organization.
I am happy to accept GA aircraft into the approved list. The main purpose of said list was to ensure participants could see each other - it wasn't some conceptual limitation (*) imposed by being an "airline", which TGA isn't, really. We don't have things that are customarily associated with virtual airlines - no officers, no pilot ranking, no standalone flying, etc. As I said earlier, at least for me, TGA is just an organizational help to bring together ATCs and pilots who like flying with ATC. That certainly includes GA.

(*) Even though the quite strict timetable was tailored toward jets, nobody really cared if flights were running according to schedule. It was more a means to ensure traffic met at the hubs.
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Re: TransGear Airways - THE FUTURE

Postby Jester » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:52 pm

SkyWlf77 wrote:Personally, my failure to participate in TGA was three-fold:

1) My inability to get FGCom working - at all. Add to that my lack of a headset and, well, that was pretty much a no-go.


Too bad. We certainly can't provide you with a headset, but that shouldn't be much of an investment. Our track record of getting fgcom working is almost flawless so far, I am only aware of one (1) case where we might not have been successful in getting fgcom operational.

SkyWlf77 wrote:2) The inclusion of only airliners. I've always favored smaller, prop aircraft and the Constellation and I don't get along. The DHC8-300 was never on the approved list (to my knowledge) and neither was any GA aircraft, so I never really had an aircraft available that I was comfortable with.


I am happy with GA being approved, after all we already have it in our acronym 8)

SkyWlf77 wrote:3) The routes used. None of them really covered the airports that I like to fly from/to. I don't care for International Airports as they don't present much of a challenge. It gets quite boring for me to take off and land at airports with runways much, much longer than what is actually needed. I prefer to push the envelope and will quite routinely find an airport with only a couple hundred feet more runway than what is needed by the aircraft I wish to fly at that time. The fact that all the originating airports for TGA were International Airports with huge runways pretty much eliminated any challenge whatsoever.


You were free to only fly the middle leg between the hubs and pick departure and destination according to your preferences. In any case, TGA isn't about that kind of challenge, it is primarily about flying under ATC.
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Re: TransGear Airways - THE FUTURE

Postby Vodoun da Vinci » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:09 pm

Jester wrote:We need less administrative overhead and more flying. I am against creating yet another organization.


Agreed. One of the neatest things about how Rob was doing it was the simplicity and how it was really a one man show...not that he didn't listen or respond to ideas from participants but it wasn't being run by commitee. He decided how it was going to be and then made it go that way as best he could. I think too much delegation and too many hands involved in making policy(s) might make it cumbersome instead of fun and expedient.

Just my 2 cents. I wouldn't over think where TGA needs to go now. It was 90% on target right out of the box as far as I could tell.

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