A virtual airline provides sets of assignments or routes for the pilot to fly and a set career progression within the virtual organization. The airline keeps track of a pilot’s career and assigns flights based on the experience or rank of the pilot. The pilot’s responsibility is a facsimile of a professional pilot.
The virtual airline (VA) concept was developed in May 1992 by James Swanson and Juergen Vollmer to provide the flight simulator enthusiasts with a structured environment.
Of course, a military air force such as Virtual NATO , does not fit with a commercial virtual airline. Beyond passenger and cargo flights, Military air forces conduct a variety of operations, such as humanitarian missions, Firefighting, Combat air patrols, Search and rescue, Air combat manoeuvres, Air to Ground operations, Airdrops, Air-to-air refuelling, Flight formation and Low-level flying, Carrier Ops, etc,. Therefore, VATSIM has developed special rules for military and paramilitary flight organizations as outlined in the VATSIM Special Operations Policy and Procedures Manual. ONLY recognised/approved VATSIM Special Operations organizations are allowed to conduct military flight operations on VATSIM Network.
Virtual NATO was founded in Nov 2017, its mission is to emulate, as close as possible, the real NATO military flight operations. In the real-world, NATO owns C17, GLOBAL HAWK, A332-MRTT and E3 AWACS fleets based in BARTOK (Hungary), Geilenkirchen (Germany) and Eindhoven (Netherlands) respectively. In addition, each of the 31 NATO countries provides a number of its national assets (fighter, support, transport) along with pilots assigned during NATO exercises and operations. Therefore, we in vNATO, are organized and operate like an Air Force… 31 air forces joint together. Based on real-world procedures, routes, charts, tactics, techniques, phraseology, aircraft and call-signs, the activities of Virtual NATO contribute to the creation of a realistic online flight simulation environment.
The Headquarters is called the Military Committee and chaired by the CMC (Commander Military Committee), along with his Deputy CMC. Operations are conducted under the responsibility of A C O (Allied Command Operations).
Each country is led by a Chief of Defense CoD who is in charge of monitoring the crew members’ training as well as organizing training activities within his country. More than 150 airbases are available from 31 NATO-countries located in North America and Europe.
vNATO organizes some operations including QRA - Quick Reaction Alert, internally or open to other VSOA and participates in joint exercises and operations organized by the different VSOA.
vNATO also flies humanitarian missions providing freight and personnel wherever urgency requires.
All these activities are performed and close monitoring by VATSIM Special Operations division.