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Out of the loop - Where has UK ATC gone?

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Alex Ridge
Posted (edited)

Hi guys,


I try and stay out of any Vatsim drama etc but I must say that I have noticed a significant decrease in UK ATC online over the last 1 - 2 months. 


I know restrictions are easing but it's the lack of area control that I have really noticed. 


During the beginning of the year it was common to see multiple London sectors online, with top down EGLL / EGKK fully staffed and it's becoming rarer and rarer these days.


Have I missed something here, I feel quite out of the loop. 



Edited by Alex Ridge
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William Brushfield

Hiya Alex ! 


As a constant staffer of Gatwick Ground, I can confirm why !


In the months leading up to summer, public exam season starts. 15-16 year olds and 17-18 year olds begin public exams which count towards their overall grades. Furthermore, end of year university exams also take place during this time.


Further to public exams, end of year exams also take place in some schools, so studying is at a maximum!


As the majority of the staffers in the UK are within this age range, there becomes less and less time to control, as I have experienced (I have not controlled in 6 weeks, but I used to control at least 4 times a week previously) 


Furthermore, with lockdown easing in the UK, Evenings become less filled with controlling and more filled with downing your first pint in 2 years as pubs re-open!


Hope this answers your question!



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Charlie Watson

As Will has put nicely, this time of year is always very quiet. Coupling the normal lull, due to exams and holidays, with lifting of restrictions, it was bound that we would see a significant reduction of staffing on the network. 

After over a year of sitting at home controlling virtual planes, I think most people are a little burnt out and VATSIM (rightly so) has became one of the lowest priorities. 

Just a final note, pre-pandemic, London was not staffed anywhere near it was, probably even compared to this quiet period!

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Adam Arkley

You'll likely find that as the Covid restrictions ease, people will be catching up on lost time. In the first half of last year when it wasn't uncommon to have London split 6 or 8 ways, it was because nobody else could go anywhere!

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