If you've ever wanted to take part in group flights within Microsoft Flight Simulator but didn't know where to start, you've come to the right place. VirtualFlight.Online was setup expressly to create a community of flight simulation enthusiasts to fly with. We host regular organised events, and lots of informal invitational flights too.
If you want to see other people within the simulator, you'll need Flight Simulator configured for "All Players" in the flight conditions settings, and you'll need to be connected to the same in-game server as the rest of your group. Check the notes for the event or invitation you are responding to.
If you want to listen to and talk to others in flight, you will need to join the Discord server. Discord is an application you can run alongside Microsoft Flight Simulator, and provides excellent live voice-chat and screen-sharing facilities for free. Discord server membership is by invitation - visit https://bit.ly/virtualflightonlinediscord to get a free invite.
Where are flights advertised?
The events calendar (at the top of the left margin) lists the events in calendar order
The #events-info channel often lists further information on each event as a discussion thread.
Less formal "invitations" are listed in the #invitations channel.
How do I take part in a group flight?
All you need to do is arrive in the right place, at the right time, on the right multi-player server.
If joining the Discord server for voice communications during the flight, conversation must remain family friendly, respectful, and not stray into any subjects that may offend such as adult jokes, politics, religion, racism, drugs, or hate-speech.
If you want to see other pilots on a map, Transmitter is an excellent add-on for LittleNavMap - where all people running Transmitter appear as aircraft on the map both in LittleNavMap, and on the "Who's Online" page of the VirtualFlight.Online website.
Try to stay with the group. If you find yourself 20 miles ahead of everybody else, it's no longer really a group flight.
Try to stay online until everybody has landed at the final airfield. There's nothing quite so dispiriting as arriving at the end of a group flight to find many have already logged off.
How do I arrange group events?
In order to arrange events for the community, you just need to be a member of the Discord server - anybody can create events. The basic steps required to arrange an event are as follows:
Create the Event in Discord
Click the "Events" link at the top of the left margin in Discord - this will show you a list of upcoming events (if there are any), and a button to create a new event - click it.
The "Create Event" form takes you through a number of questions:
Where is your event? - choose "Voice Channel", then choose the "events" voice channel from the drop-down that appears.
What's your event about? - give your event a title, a date and time (local to you), a description, and a cover image. Notice that you can only have 1000 characters in the description - so see the section below about also creating a thread in the #event-info channel. You can find nice cover images at unsplash.com.
Create Event - finally, the form previews your event - click the "Create Event" button if you're happy with it.
Create a Thread in the #events-info Channel
When you created the event (above), you were only allowed 1000 characters to describe your event - you probably wanted a lot more, and might like to also upload images, or flight-plan files. To do so, create a thread in the events-info channel:
Create a thread - click on the "events-info" channel in the left margin of Discord, and click the + icon in the message-box at the bottom. Choose "Create Thread" from the list of options.
Title the thread - the new thread needs a title and a first message - title it the same as your event, and fill in the first message with the full written details about your flight. Example event text is given below - feel free to copy and amend in Notepad before copying and pasting into your thread.
Upload Files (optional) - within the new thread, add as many extra files as you wish - this could be images, flight plan files, or whatever else is useful to your event.
Market Your Event
Just because the event is there doesn't mean people will necessarily see it. Feel free to tell others both her and elsewhere about the flight. To get you started, here are the typical places we have marketed events in the past:
Post an Invite to everyone - on the day of the event, post an invitation in the #invitations channel, starting your message with the @everyone tag - think of it as a "call to arms" - tell everybody to look in the events-info channel for full details.
Post Elsewhere - feel free to post the event elsewhere - the example event text has all the links in it you might need. Typical locations you might share the flight are the Microsoft Flight Simulator forum, other Discord servers, Facebook Groups, and so on.
Host Your Event
In good time before the start-time of your event, go and hang out in the voice chat channel you specified in the event notes, and welcome people as they arrive - from here on in, you're the host - it's your show. Please keep the "family friendly" rule foremost in your mind throughout your event.
Example Event Text
As noted above, here's an example description from a past flight using markdown syntax for an event - which you can modify, and paste into a new event thread.
Here's a quick primer on the markdown syntax that Discord understands:
Double **asterisks** around words make them bold
Single *asterisks* around words make them italic