Boston Virtual ARTCC's Pilot Ratings Program (PRP) is an initiative designed to provide a voluntary training and testing program for community members. As part of BVA's Virtual FBO, the program is aimed at helping pilots improve their flying skills. Overall, the program consists of structured, self-guided training lessons that do not rely directly on an instructor or mentor, so pilots can learn at their own pace and a comfortable environment.
The Pilot Ratings Program is also a VATSIM Authorized Training Organization (ATO). During the completion of the PRP, members are eligible to receive the P3, P4, and P5 VATSIM pilot ratings. However, the PRP is only available to members, so you'll have to join the community if you wish to participate.
The PRP assumes you are already capable of physically flying your aircraft. The program will not teach you procedures specific to a particular airplane, such as how to tune aircraft radios, when to turn on landing lights, or what airspeeds to fly for certain phases of flight. If you are seeking help in any of these basic areas, visit the Virtual FBO page to find personalized, in-airplane training. Instead, the PRP will help you learn how to successfully fly in the air traffic control system, starting from the ground up.
The PRP is comprised of several flights, each of which contain a series of tasks. The program starts with common VFR scenarios and gradually progresses through to advanced IFR procedures. Every flight is flown under the watchful eyes of BVA's air traffic controllers, who monitor your progress to ensure each of the tasks for that particular flight is completed correctly. If the controller determines you successfully meet all of the criteria for a particular flight, you achieve pass that particular rating.
The Pilot Ratings Program is geared towards any BVA member interested in gaining a more thorough knowledge of VFR and IFR procedures in a structured yet fun environment. Novice pilots, or those who are new to BVA, can strongly benefit from the step-by-step, 'ground up' approach that the program provides. Intermediate pilots may choose to use the PRP to refresh their VFR knowledge and then learn to fly a broader range of IFR procedures instead of simply receiving vectors for an ILS approach on every flight. The PRP can even benefit advanced pilots, as it covers a few rare techniques, especially in advanced IFR ratings, and provides an opportunity to further hone IFR skills and remain proficient.
The PRP consists of 20 sequential flights that begin at Nantucket Airport (KACK), cross the Boston ARTCC, and finish back at KACK. Along the way, pilots visit some of BVA's larger 'featured airports', as well as several smaller, uncontrolled fields that rarely see traffic. The first six flights are flown under VFR conditions, while the remaining flights focus on IFR techniques.
If you're ready to start your engine and get going, please visit the Introduction page to see where to begin.