Flying online with live Air Traffic Control adds a whole new level of reality to simulator flying. Imagine yourself flying for California Airlines and being in radio contact with, and being directed by, live ATC, just like a real-world airline pilot.
California Airlines primarily uses the VATSIM network to fly online. However, there are other networks that you may use as well, such as IVAO, PilotEdge, and others.
The Online Center contains information on how you can become Cal Air Online Certified so that you can connect to the VATSIM network and utilize your skills in aviation communications, flight planning and navigation.
Only Cal Air Online Certified pilots may fly online with the CAX call sign and acquire Cal Air flight hours. Before flying online for Cal Air, all pilots must successfully pass Check Ride GOLF. This is a short IFR flight with the Online Certification Director, and communicating with live Air Traffic Control at the departure and arrival airports.
Once you become online certified, you are assigned a CAX call sign and added to the Online Certified Roster. You can then log onto VATSIM with your unique CAX call sign and earn Cal Air flying hours while making an online flight.
Requirements for applying for Check Ride GOLF:
- Minimum of 25 total Cal Air flight hours
- Check Ride Bravo
- ZLA Check Rides V1, V2, and V3
- Make one mentored online flight (Pre-Check)
- Recommendation of Cal Air Online Mentor
Description of Check Ride GOLF
Check Ride GOLF will consist of a 30-minute IFR flight in the aircraft of the pilots choosing. The Online Certification Director will join the applicant on TeamSpeak and will select an appropriate departure and destination airport.
Verbal ATC communication is preferred; however, pilots may choose to perform the check ride as “Text Only”. The PASS/FAIL criteria of Check Ride Golf will be based primarily on effective ATC communications.
After you have passed Check Ride GOLF and have your CAX call sign, you may fly online for California Airlines and submit a pirep for flight hours.
- The flight must be flown with your CAX call sign
- A flight plan must be submitted
- An XACARS pirep must be submitted
- The entire flight must be flown online and be attended
- You must adhere to the rules of the online network
How to Fly Online Before Becoming Certified (The 3 Exceptions)
A pilot not yet Online Certified may log on to VATSIM and submit an XACARS pirep for Cal Air flight hours only under the following conditions:
- While flying a CAXBTC or CAXATC Training Flight
- While flying a ZLA Certification Flight
- While flying simultaneously with an Online Mentor
Only Online Certified pilots may submit an XACARS Pilot Report (pirep) for any flight made online. Any online flight pirep submitted by a non-certified pilot, regardless of what call sign was used, will be rejected and the Base Pilot Supervisor may take other action.
Cal Air Mentor Program
The goal of the mentor program is to prepare pilots for the Online Certification check ride, or any of the other Cal Air check rides, either online or offline.
The mentor must attain the rank of ATP Captain or above, and must have passed the check ride for the level of check ride they are being asked to mentor.
Role of the Mentor
- Assume a one-on-one teaching role
- Answer questions about XSB, VATSIM, X-Plane setup, etc
- Lead a pilot through their first flight on VATSIM or other check rides
- Grow the pilot’s confidence factor through coaching
- Help develop IFR skills online and offline
- Offer tips to training materials, links, books, and other resources
The pilot who wishes the assistance of a mentor may contact one of them from the Roster of Online Certified Pilots by email, PM, or from a forum post, in order to set up a mentored flight.
Certified Flight Instructor
A CFI is an Online Mentor who has mentored 5 or more flights and has completed the requirements listed below. There will be a CFI badge added to the pilot ID card.
Requirements to Become a CFI
- Must be a Cal Air Mentor
- Must have completed at least 7 of the Cal Air check rides
- May only instruct in the check ride for which they have already completed
- Must have mentored 5 or more pilots who have passed their check rides
Information about the VATSIM network HERE
Information about the ZLA Certification Program HERE
Download the California Airlines Online Certification Policy HERE