Talk:Virtual airlines

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So far, a mere estimate of one hundred people use the FlightGear multiplayer community. Despite this, more and more virtual airlines are emerging and cannot collect as many people as it wishes. Theories of "college students wanting power" and other ideas have been brought up several times inside the FlightGear forum, but has not been dealt with yet in the present. The underpopulation and overorganization issue has made the multiplayer networks confusing to use, possibly scaring users away to other simulators such as X-Plane and Microsoft Flight Simulator, where virtual airlines and multiplayer services are more organized and population-managed. Due to underpopulation, some airlines were forced to close due to hardship of management, including former major airline Euroair.

Suggestions to address the underpopulation issue:

  • Administration and management should be carefully controlled. For instance promoting ranks amongst members. Another management idea is to keep people in charge of certain sectors of the airline, for instance: route management, fleet management, advertising management, application/enrollment management, or whatever else is felt required for an airline. Over-administration is a big issue; In the past the main problem has been that the only people involved in a virtual airline was the creators, and one or two in-active users who didn't bother recruiting or flying- i.e. it was a "ghost airline" and nothing more. It is very important that the airline is not inundated with administrators and actually has a few pilots.
  • Fleet size should be kept to the bare minimum, and suited to their routes and serving airports. Real life operators typically use a small fleet size to suit their operations. Ryanair for example operates a total of 146 Boeing 737-800's, as their only aircraft type. This suits their short-haul European destinations and therefore do not require additional fleet models.
  • Routes should be also kept to a minimum, accurately maintained, well informed and carefully chosen. A rough guideline would be about five pilots for every route, so an airline with 15 pilots would be suited to an airline with three routes. Once an airline grows rapidly, routes can expand and increase when necessary (or decrease if you lose pilots), which is all part of the fun of expanding a network carefully and sufficiently. Try not to be over-enthusiastic and create a network of say 20 routes when you only have a small number of some 6 pilots, for instance.
  • Airports should be chosen for their location, and to suit the fleet using it. Using a large amount of airport's clustered together in a small region is not a good idea, as it would (in real life) mean high airport charges, when airports should be shared and codeshared.
  • Hub airports should not be used too often, 1 hub is suitable and looks better over the Multiplayer servers, if it is well used. ATC should be used at the hub airport, at least. This should be a well-modeled base for your flights.
  • The website should contain detailed information, accurate maps, Weather data, Navigation data, Airport details, Fleet and suitably house community discussions. It should of course have simple instructions on how to join your airline, as well as an up-to-date list of pilots. It should be intended to attract as many budding pilots as possible!

Proposal to merge all the various VA pages to this page

This is the FlightGear Wiki. While VAs are an integral part of some users' virtual experience, this proliferation of pages reporting by the hour what the *CEO* might do, or noting someone's personal issues with said *CEO*, or the virtual office space they got in their virtual HQ, isn't helping anyone.

The various VAs should be listed on this page, with a short one paragraph description, and links to their external resources (homepages, forums, wikis etc.; they can setup their own wikis and list the entire history and flamewars there, but that content's place is surely somewhere else than on this wiki.)

Also the lists of active/dormant/former VA's could remain and could be updated.

I4dnf 08:20, 30 March 2012 (EDT)

That would probably not be a bad idea. Many VAs have their own web site and forum. I think however that just one short paragraph might be to little for those who want to compare the different VAs. How about this:
  • One section each.
  • One very simple (probably non-graphical) template showing the status of the VA. (For example Startup|Active|Dormant|Abandoned.)
  • A few standard short one paragraph subsections if information is available (otherwise just a single short paragraph summing it up):
    • History and purpose
    • Fleet
    • Hubs and network
  • One or two external links to website, forum and such. No link lists!
As abbreviations are often used, as well as some common part in the callsign, those might need to be represented in a standardised way as well, possibly also the logotype.
Johan G (Talk | contribs) 17:45, 30 March 2012 (EDT)
I agree with most of that. With the folowing:
  • History: Just founding date, dissolution date, eventual mergers. E.G.: "MyVA was founded by ME in 2020 given a lack of VA's for dog owners. HisVA was merged into MyVa in 2021. MyVA ceased operations in 2022 due to boredom."
  • Fleet should be just about the types available (no numbers, no "purchase plans", each VA's internal economics is their own issue), and this should be an informative page, not a descriptive one.
  • Hubs and network, same as above just the bare basics, not the plans for expansion, how many virtual cubits they made on the here-to-there route, or such trivia.
  • Logotypes, status, callsign format, website/forum link.. etc maybe grouped nicely in an infobox?
I4dnf 18:36, 30 March 2012 (EDT)
You more or less read my mind. I could have elaborated a bit on what I meant.
I quite agree that presenting their internal economics and expansion plans etc. do not fit all to well on the wiki. Also, most of the VAs with more elaborated and more well thought trough economics, networks and fleets tend to have their own web sites, so presenting it all here isn't all that necessary. Keeping the info on the wiki updated probably mostly add extra work to the staff of those VAs.
When it comes to the networks, presenting only their hubs would probably be enough, as some of them both have and actually fly to a very large number of destinations, that would clutter this page considerably. Maybe a small map of the network would be in place. The question is how one would standardise one.
As for the template, using one template for each VA containing all info is probably not only possible, but the best way to do present them.
And thinking of it, the military VAs/Virtual Air Forces (VAFs?) could probably fit on this page as well under a separate section. :-) They might need a separate template though.
Johan G (Talk | contribs) 05:10, 31 March 2012 (EDT)
I like the infobox idea i4dnf put forward, but I think one thing we'll have to watch here is the page length. If we put in more than, say, 10 lines of text and a small table for each airline, that should be okay for now, but any more than that and we could well end up with a page that is quite difficult to navigate and read due to its length.
-- Armchair Ace 05:30, 31 March 2012 (EDT)
Started up two templates {{Virtual airline summary}} and {{virtual airforce summary}}.
What about using hidden sections, in essence sections showing only the basics, hiding most of the info and having a [show] button for the rest?
Johan G (Talk | contribs) 05:49, 31 March 2012 (EDT)
I like that idea. What about a "provides ATC" entry (some VAs do, some don't)?
I4dnf 06:08, 31 March 2012 (EDT)
"Provides ATC" is probably a good idea. I have thought about the date they were established as well. —Johan G (Talk | contribs) 14:17, 31 March 2012 (EDT)
Translated {{Virtual airline summary}} to the navbox template, which supports hidden sections. Example can be seen at User:Gijs/Sandbox.
Gijs 07:29, 9 April 2012 (EDT)