Event Description

Welcome to the 19th annual Boston Tea Party! For seven hours on Saturday, August 11, controllers from BVA will come together in Nashua, NH for a day of fun for controllers and pilots alike. During the event, airports in our airspace will be lit up for more than 7 hours! In addition to enjoying the staffing at Boston Logan (KBOS), we strongly encourage pilots to fly into the many regional airports in our airspace that will also be staffed. You can expect coverage at airports like Hartford-Bradley (KBDL), Providence (KPVD), Manchester (KMHT), Albany (KALB), and across Cape Cod.

It all begins at 12pm ET on August 11. Last year, virtual Boston had more traffic than real Boston did during the same time span, and numbers were comparable at Bradley International. Where ever you choose to fly during Tea Party rest assured you will not be alone. Plus, by flying in the event, you can participate in Tea Party Poker to win some great prizes.

The event will conclude promptly at 7:00pm as we only have access to our "temporary ARTCC" until that time. We expect to transition to off-site ATC coverage by 7:00pm. In order to allow for a smooth transition, pilots may experience delays departing to or from KBOS between 6:00pm to 7:00pm, and are encouraged to fly to or from other ZBW airports during this time period.
Frequently Asked Questions

Many frequently asked questions are answered in our Letter to Airmen; all participants are highly encouraged to review it prior to flying.

Download BVA's Letter to Airmen

Have additional questions or concerns? Contact Us!

The first-place participant of Tea Party Poker will have the choice of available prizes, while each subsequent winner will be able to choose from remaining items. 
Tea Party Poker

What is Tea Party Poker?
Tea Party Poker is a mock poker game that allows pilots to engage in friendly completion for some terrific prizes while flying Tea Party!

For each landing within the Boston ARTCC (ZBW), pilots can contact a dedicated frequency to receive a card. At the end of the event, the pilots with the best poker hands win! There are certain restrictions that apply to intra-TRACON flights, landing at untowered airfields, and VFR operations. The full set of rules is listed below; you must review them if participating in the competition.

Blue skies and good luck!


  1. The poker game starts at 12:00pm ET and ends at 7:00pm ET (1600z to 2300z) on Saturday, August 11, 2018. There may be delays or restrictions for aircraft departing to KBOS between 6:00pm to 7:00pm.
  2. All pilots who choose to participate in this competition are agreeing to abide by the rules below. The competition rules may be modified for clarity or other reasons without prior notification to participants. Please refer to this page for any updates.  No rules changes will be made within 48 hours of the event start. These rules are current as of February 8, 2018.
  3. After time has expired, the winners will determined based on the players with the best poker hands.  Refer to the table below for information regarding winning poker hands.
  4. The winners of the game will be determined within 24 hours after the event ends.  The final determination of the winners will be made by the Events Coordinator.  All decisions made by the Events Coordinator will be final.  
  5. Pilot entries will be tracked by VATSIM CID, NOT by callsign.  VatSpy, VATSIM "Who's Online" page, and similar tools will be used to verify pilot information. When you land, you will be asked for your CID.
  6. To be eligible to receive a card, all flights must terminate within the Boston ARTCC (ZBW) airspace.  Flights can originate from anywhere of the pilot's choosing.  At the start of the competition, entrants' landings will count toward cards.  This means that a pilot can be in the air prior to the start of the event and have his/her landing count (within the confines of the game's rules).  Pilots are encouraged to pre-file an hour before departure with the VATSIM Flight Plan Filing System to expedite the departure process.
  7. A pilot will be dealt two cards on his or her first drawing and one card on each subsequent drawing. Since a pilot will initially be dealt two cards instead of one, a pilot will need at least 4 landings to have a complete poker hand, plus additional departures and landings to discard and draw cards as needed.
  8. Tracking of pilot cards will be conducted offline and information will be entered by designated event officials.  Cards that each pilot has in his/her "possession" will remain unknown to all other pilots until the event is complete.  A pilot may verify their card holdings with the designated event official (whose callsign will be posted here within 48 hours of the event) via private text message. All replies to card verification requests will be returned via private text message.
  9. Trading, exchanging or transferring of cards between or among pilots is not allowed at any time during the event.
  10. Pilots should refer to the BVA Preferred Routes page to find preferred routes for their flights.  BVA will be enforcing preferred routes throughout the event due to the high traffic load. Filing other routes may result in delays while ATC issues route amendments.
  11. For a landing to count toward a card, the flight must NOT terminate in the same TRACON as it started (e.g., a flight beginning at an airport covered by Bradley Approach may not terminate at an airport within Bradley Approach's coverage). This rule is relaxed during the final hour of the event (see rule #20 for the final hour exemption).
  12. VFR flights are permitted, with certain restrictions.  For a VFR flight to count, the pilot must file a VFR flight plan, either at the origin airport or while in the air, and be under and granted ATC flight following while in a TRACON under approach control (workload permitting).
  13. To draw a card, the pilot must land at an airport that is under Approach or Tower control.  Landing at an airport being serviced by Boston Center (top-down) does not qualify. BVA reserves the right to relax this rule depending on traffic and staffing conditions.
  14. To discard and draw another card, the pilot must have 5 cards in his possession and land at a qualifying airport under Approach or Tower control.  The pilot must discard prior to departure from an airport.
  15. BVA does not guarantee that any one ATC position will be staffed throughout the length of the competition.  Therefore, if an ATC position is forced to close due to unforeseen circumstances, the landing may not count.  The pilot may choose to request to divert to another open facility while enroute. BVA reserves the right to relax this rule depending on traffic and staffing conditions.
  16. The competition will use a minimum of one deck of cards (52 cards) to start with. Once this deck has been exhausted, a new deck will be added.  Cards that are discarded will be placed back into the pool of available cards. (NOTE: The actual number of card decks used to start the competition may be larger. This will be determined as event officials gauge the number of participating pilots.)
  17. Due to the fact that more than one deck could possibly be used in the competition, a system will be implemented that will not allow a pilot to receive a duplicate card, thus preventing an "illegal" poker hand.  Should a pilot unintentionally receive a duplicate card, it is the pilot's responsibility to notify the designated event official (whose callsign will be posted here within 48 hours of the event) or the nearest participating ATC immediately.
  18. Pilots may continue to try to better their hands throughout the stated event times.
  19. A pilot wishing to withdraw from the game must notify the designated event official (whose callsign will be posted here within 48 hours of the event) by private message, or if unavailable, one of the BVA controllers staffing a position.  The pilot's cards will be returned to the deck(s) and made available to other competitors to collect.  Once a pilot has withdrawn he cannot re-enter the competition.
  20. Final Hour Exemption Rule - During the final hour of the game, aircraft may complete intra-TRACON flights (depart and land at different airports with the same Approach service area).  All other rules with respect to card collection and the discarding of cards still apply.  This is only a waiver of rule #11.
  21. Pilots who have met the flight requirements and desire to receive their card(s) should contact the designated event official (whose callsign will be posted here within 48 hours of the event) by private message with their CID and request their card(s).


This competition is only a mock poker game. BVA, VATUSA, VATSIM and its affiliates do not condone gambling in any way. This game should not be seen or construed as a gambling event.

Winning Poker Hands

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