AMA with Jason Rosewell

This Saturday, we had an AMA “Ask Me Anything” with Jason Rosewell where the members in our Workshop got a chance to ask him questions.

He is the creator and host of Flight Cast, and Digital Marketing specialist for Infinite Flight. Here are all of the questions from our members and answers from Jason.

What would be a feature/aircraft that you would like to implement the most? Not asking what is coming next, but what feature you think would be a great addition to Infinite Flight?

I would LOVE to see float planes. This would of course require some pretty heavy lifting with realistic water so we’re a long ways off but that’s my dream!

What led you to Infinite Flight and eventually the community?

I literally searched for flight simulators in the App Store and started using Infinite Flight. You can ask my wife how insanely frustrated I was at first, because of course I went straight for an airliner and knew nothing about speeds or landing configuration. From there, I joined a facebook group for an Alaska VA (just very randomly and they were super nice people). Eventually live mode came along and I became IFATC. I made some friends, and realized that there was a huge audience if I were to start a podcast about an app which I had grown to love.

How much has your experience creating and hosting Flight Cast shaped the way you create the media for Infinite Flight on the blog, social media, etc?

One of the things that led Laura and Philippe to first invite me to San Francisco to do a live podcast, then to join the team was the branding I gave the podcast. As you know by now, they like to hire people to the team who have already demonstrated a love and passion for what they’re doing. If you compare the FlightCast stuff with what we have now you’ll definitely see the similarities.

Having this experience with my day job, and then Flight Cast gave me the tools I need every day at Infinite Flight.

How often do you fly in Infinite Flight? Any favorite aircraft or routes in particular?

This is an embarrassing answer. With getting my PPL and work/family/life, I basically only use Infinite Flight when I have to for work. I really wish I had more time to devote to it. Having said that, I fly the 172 a lot these days to visualize procedures before I’m in the airplane.

How is the “office culture” of the Infinite Flight team? Since the team is relatively small, does it vary from person to person?

Office culture… well, it’s fun, as you might imagine. It has the regular challenges of many people with varying opinions and wants. As a team, we get along very well and we tease each other. It’s a good place to work.

Infinite Flight Toronto meetup?

Would love to do a Toronto meetup! Might still do the East Coast US meetup you and I talked about, possibly in September. More on that later. Maybe we can see a Toronto meet next Summer.

What is your favorite thing about the community?

My favourite thing about the community is that I believe it adds a (for the most part) very friendly and passionate ray of light to the sim community in general. You can see this when you attend or see footage of meet-ups. As most people know, the sim community can be a bit savage. Sometimes IF people are no different, but the sheer size of ours is really something to be commended. The sim world is noticing. When we sign up for events like FlightSimExpo or the event in Cosford, the organizers are excited that us and “our crew” are coming.

What is the biggest challenge you face while an update is around the corner?

The biggest challenge for updates is managing expectations. I do my best with help from people like Misha and Philippe (my two biggest thought challengers) to be proactive with communication. You really can’t make everyone happy all the time, but I do my best.

The question I have today is, how do you expect infinite flight to progress as a better mobile sim than the rest of the competition than it already is?

Hmm this question is broad, but I’ll try to be concise. Obviously we’d like to be the best. “Best” will be different for different people since it’s subjective. I think Project Metal is a great step in the right direction for making sure we can stay competitive. The “cool features” we mentioned in the blog post are real things that will happen. I think that already having a solid multiplayer and ATC system is a massive leg up on the competition.

What experience do you get from attending events, for example Cosford, Oshkosh.

I love attending our events and meeting our community members. When you work on a remote team it can be really hard to find a connection with the team. Not only do we get to hang out together at community events, but we get to learn about you folks on a more personal level. It’s fun, and the fuel to keep going when people try to tell you how crap you are at communicating the company’s plans on the forum.

What is your favourite thing about attending those events?


I was wondering, what was your favorite event to attend with the Infinite Flight team and why?

They’re all awesome, but if we’re specifically talking about “with the infinite flight team”, it has to be Oshkosh. You and I both know it’s pretty hard to top that. A bunch of avgeeks hanging out in avgeek heaven. Can’t beat it!

What is your favorite part of a feature development? (For example: The announcement for the beginning of the development for the feature, the progress you get to see it makes as it makes it’s way closer to release, etc)

My fav part by far is sharing works in progress with you folks. The most epic one was, of course the Premiere with the surprise A350 entering the frame. I had just finished a flight lesson at my airport, and rushed into the office to open my laptop with 60 seconds on the countdown. Just awesome.

What is your favorite part about community meetups? (Such as Flight Sim Expo, AirVenture at Oshkosh, etc)

You can see answers similar in other threads but getting to meet you folks, making new friends, and hanging with my team is the best. Also, getting to do airplane things at events like Oshkosh.

How long you have been learning how to code and when did you start and why you want to learn code?

Hey Gabe. I started to learn HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and PHP (sorry Cameron) when I was about 17 or 18 years old (I’m 40 this June). I’m all self taught (with the help of StackOverflow of course!) so anything I do is due to real world experience or self study. I started because it was interesting to me. I was on a dial-up internet connection at the time.

In what ways has Infinite Flight had an influence both socially and perspective-wise on you when it comes to life in general?

This is actually an easy one that I’ve come to realize over about the last 6 months… It has taught me to listen more. Everyone has an opinion, and often the more quickly we share it, the sillier we end up looking. I actually have an idea for either a blog post or forum post that talks about this. Having a little humility is always a good thing too and I’m sure you’ve seen me say this a few times over the years. The community has helped me (try to) practice these things. Like anyone, I’ve been guilty of looking like a sarcastic ass, so I’m always working on that.

What kind of struggles do you, as part of the outreach team, find most tedious to wade through with the flight sim community at large? Do you feel that IF still has a problem when it comes to being taken seriously?

This one is actually getting better! We have huge support from FSElite which has been a result of us really developing great working relationships and friendships with the editors and writers. They even had writers that made a fuss about Calum covering us at first, and we were able to personally win a few of them over at Cosford last year. Of course the more IF becomes more amazing the easier this is. The most tedious thing doesn’t actually come from the general sim community; it comes from within our own community from folks who want more say into what happens with developments. Or people who think we’re not transparent enough…. or, god forbid, assume that a subscription purchase is the same as owning shares (that’s when the lord is truly testing me).

Expansion has its growing pains. Do you see the team having a need for additional people/support as some of its loftier goals come closer to fruition?

Sadly, I don’t have an answer to this. Expansion is hard, and it’s not really my department.

What’s your favourite type of red wine?

Malbec. It’s from a grape that grows in Argentina (thought it does grow elsewhere) and it’s delicious. I’ve only found one that I won’t drink though: Zweigelt. Vile stuff.

Being Canadian, how often do you say sorry every day?

Sorry, Marc. I’m not sure. I’ve never counted.

You’ve just released a blog article about Project Metal which Infinite Flight is undertaking to rework the graphics engine and open up the possibility for more features in IF. What are you most excited for pending the completion of Project Metal?

I think new lighting will be REALLY cool and something our users have wanted for a long time. This will go a long way in helping with that.

How does Infinite Flight plan to increase its compatibility with Virtual Airlines? Currently, it’s limited to the forum. Are there any plans for in-app comparability that you can tell us?

I don’t have an answer for you on this one. We’re a small team and although we do have a huge VA community, it’s such a niche thing that it’s hard to pivot development to that. I think it would still be cool if a 3rd party developer made something to help with this.

We all know how the community can have its “good days” and “bad days,” for lack of better terms. One instance when we saw this was when it was revealed that the A350 wouldn’t have realistic sounds coming with it. So, my question – How does Infinite Flight adapt to the needs/wants of its Community and user base as a whole, even if they’re not on the Community, when a certain feature is/isn’t announced and they react?

This is tough, obviously. We do what we can but we’ll never (ever) make everyone happy. Sounds are super tricky to implement and very time consuming to get them realistic. It can be a person’s full time job, and we just don’t have the resources for that (to use your example). We do our best to use a blend of what we think the community wants, how it’ll benefit us in terms of allowing us to continue forward, and development restrictions. It’s my job to help communicate that in a meaningful way.

In the distant future, do you think Infinite Flight will be expanding on the events//meetup locations into the Oceania/Asia region or mainly be focusing on Europe/NA regions?

Very hard to say. We might try doing a few more events with a limited staff presence. It’s time and resource-intensive to do events. Even a team like X-Plane sends a very limited team with a minimal setup. Doing our full booth is a lot of time and money. We’ve seen some benefits to doing this of course, one of which is a huge investment into the community. Sorry I don’t have a better answer for you right now. Fingers crossed!

What’s your dream meal?

My dream meal… dang, that’s a tough one. If I had to choose one, it would be really great Thai food. There’s a place called Lemongrass in Hamilton, Ontario (where my wife is from) that probably makes me the most excited of any food. But I love Mexican, Southern US BBQ, Indian, Japanese sushi… would probably be next in line.

If you’d like to join in discussions such as this with like-minded people like yourself and experts in the field, to learn and improve, I’d encourage you to sign up for our Workshop. Upcoming guests

January 26, 2020 by Kyle Boas

AMA with Adam Callow

We had an AMA “Ask Me Anything” with Adam Callow this Saturday in the ATC Education Group Workshop, where our members in the Workshop got a chance to ask him questions.

He is an Infinite Flight Beta Tester, ATC Supervisor, Recruiter and Trainer. He is also a real world Aircraft Dispatcher/TCO at EGNS (IOM) Airport. Here is all of the questions and answers.

What does your job as a dispatcher entail?

I guess you could split it in to two jobs really.

Ops controller – Your in the office, you coordinate with airlines send messages and close out flights (Preping the flight paperwork for the dispatchers out on the apron)
Depend on the airline as to what the paperwork is but typically it would be.

    Load sheet
    Loading instruction
    Pax list
    Bag list

Dispatcher – You’re outside, you oversee the turnaround and make sure it’s going smoothly, on time and making sure it’s safe and legal to depart. If the flight goes late then you have to explain it, every minute of it. Involves standing out in the wind and rain far too much.

What’s the most unique dispatching situation you’ve had?

There’s been a few odd ones, can’t think of one in particular but when things get weird, can be fun to figure it out. (I’ll come back to this to think)

What makes dispatching fun to you?

I get to play with aircraft, meet loads of interesting people with some great stories and I couldn’t sit in an office for 8 hours a day. Even when I’m in the office I still can go out to ramp on occasion and do the odd ramp thing to cheer me up.

If you could have any job in the world aside from dispatching, what would it be?

I’ve been thinking on this one a lot, I’d say either ATC controller or pilot. I know, I know, the standard two.

Looking forward to hear your unique story(ies) of dispatching.

The charter flights we get in are always an interesting one as you’re never 100% sure what you’re doing as its often the first time you’re dealing with that airline. We had a titan 757 in on a remote stand as it was the only one we could fit it on, dispatching over 200 pax with 160+ bags with a bus that holds 60 max is different to say the least.

First season de-icing that I had worked and I had never dealt with all the paperwork and special stuff that goes with it in a live environment before, and to make worse it was snowing and we had a thunder warning meaning no headsets. I spent most of that day on stand 8 exposed to the weather with snow in my shoe trying to work out what was going on getting this flight out as everything was changing so quickly. We used about 5-6 times the fluid we would normally use on an aircraft here on each aircraft. Certainly an interesting day to deal with that for the first time.

How do you balance work with Infinite Flight?

I’m not quite sure, but I do get some funny times I can fly thanks to my shifts. Also thanks to me being rather predictable I tend to know what’s times I’ll be free at when I’m working a certain shift. Things do change of course so I try to build in some room for any sessions, can end up having to cancel at times though.

After dispatching with EU jet at manston what’s the most interesting conversation you have had with a captain or first officer?

I’ve had a few, a lot of pilots have interesting stories for various flying adventures, listening to how Gatwick delt with the drone issue was quite interesting. One crew took off out off France and got asked to maintain slowest practical from departure. Got into the hold and thought they would be cleaver and ask for a diversion into Luton. Full. Listed every nearby airport and got told full. I think they ended up going into MAN. His storytelling was better.

How did you get started with Infinite Flight and the IFATC?

Downloaded Infinite Flight in like 2013, had fun flying about SFO, watching myself crash in replay. Then later saw the Dash was coming, the day of the update I got a month of Live to see what the fuss was about, flew it and thought, well this could be fun, didn’t even make it the month before I got the year and all the aircraft. Tied out the ATC thing, set up a tracking thread and opened EGLL on TS2. Tom flew and basically told me to take the test. Passed both first time and that was that.

Why did you choose to be a dispatcher?

I technically never choose Dispatching, I applied for a ramp job. Someone more experienced got it over me but they somehow liked me (We are all still confused as to why) and offered me the job as a ops controller (dispatcher). I kind of went into the thing blind. Even in the first week of training I was still wondering what I was going to be doing. I’m glad I said yes though.

How did you become an IFATC supervisor, recruiter and trainer?

Short answer, not quite sure.

Long answer, let’s take it play by play.

Trainer – I just kept flying for trainers (was scouts back then) when they asked for help. I think it was NEO that said I showed up to quite a few sessions and then I logged into to slack one day to find I had a new channel in there.

Recruiter – after being a trainer for a while I got asked by Tyler if I fancied being a recruiter and did I have the time for it, I think I said something along the lines of “I’ll give it a shot” and then logged into slack the next day to find a new channel.

Supervisor – Kinda just logged on to slack to see a new channel on there, wondering why I had that there. (I’m beginning to sense a theme with all these)

I know you love your job on the Isle of Man, but do you ever forsee yourself moving on to bigger airports.

I’d love to have a week or two in a bigger airport to see how it’s done as it would be a whole different ballgame and the bigger aircraft would be fun too. Even though the IOM airport has its flaws, I wouldn’t want to live/work anywhere else.

How did you come by the name of “Inverted Flight Expert”?

I beat Deercrusher in a race across the USA in an F22. Deer then very kindly gave me the title of “Inverted Flight Expert” as during various beta cycles I may have intercepted him and many others, then flew upside down to “test the flight model”. I think I’ve intercepted him inverted in nearly every aircraft Infinite Flight has of now.

If you’d like to join in discussions such as this with like-minded people like yourself and experts in the field, to learn and improve, I’d encourage you to sign up for our Workshop. Next guests.

December 22, 2019 by Kyle Boas

AMA with Joshua Smithley

This Saturday, we had an AMA “Ask Me Anything” with Joshua Smithley in the ATC Education Group Workshop, where our members got a chance to ask him questions.

He is an Infinite Flight ATC (IFATC) Recruiter, Supervisor and Training Team (ITT) Adminstrator. Here is all of the questions and answers.

What’s your favorite thing about being a recruiter?

It’s tough to identify my favorite thing about being a recruiter, but I think it would have to be the opportunity to allow people to experience ATC in their own ways. Being deaf, my chances of becoming a controller are slim, but Infinite Flight granted me the opportunity of being able to pursue this career in a different way. It is in this vein that I enjoy passing this possibility to others.

What’s your favorite thing about being the ITT administrator?

The best part about the whole experience is watching people grow into their own. Every day, I’m constantly seeing new techniques and skillsets being passed back and forth from trainees and trainers alike. A sense of community has formed in there over the last few years; the ITT has proved to me that there is strength and knowledge in numbers.

Why did you go to Purdue?

I initially went to Purdue in order to study for my A&P, but changed majors to aviation management after about a year and a half.

What certificates do you have now?

Even though I am no longer pursuing A&P certification, I do have various nondestructive testing certificates as issued by Purdue’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology per guidelines set within 14 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations). They include liquid penetrant, magnetic particle, eddy current, and ultrasonic certifications good for between 1-3 years depending on course and conduction requirements.

When did you join Infinite Flight and why did you join the IFATC?

I joined Infinite Flight in late 2014/early 2015 (permanently). My first impression with the app in its early stages included installing it on my iPad Mini, getting bored after the shuttle mission, then deleting the app. After a while, I decided to download it again because a new update had just come out and the rest is history. As for IFATC, a 12 year old by the name of Zachary Tish approached me while I was controlling a random airport in SoCal on the Training Server that Laura [Laban] happened to be at – I think it was KVNY. Anyways, he was impressed enough to the point where he asked if I could open KSJC later that night for a practical test. I was interested in controlling, so I said sure and proceeded to hop into the bathroom at around midnight. Sat down on the crapper and the swarm of pilots came in (more so than I expected). I had to stop the process of going numero dos to focus on managing those people, and eventually the test came to a close at a half hour after midnight. The vote as to whether or not I could get into IFATC was so close between the testers that someone cast a tie-breaking vote in my favor, thus granting me entry. Too bad they doomed themselves to an eternity with me, so the blame is on that guy.

Do you like your home state (Indiana) or will you move to a different place?

Indiana is home, but for a number of personal reasons, I would not be opposed to moving out of the state after I graduate. I’m not a fan of cold weather, so somewhere warmer will do. Colorado or further out west are possible options. Yes, I know the former can be cold, but the policies of that state are pretty favorable to me.

How did you become an IFATC (supervising) supervisor?

Good question! I learned very early on in my tenure with IFATC that people value honesty and reliability. I struggled with those core values at first, but developed them over a long period of time with my mentors helping me along the way. People like Tyler, Jay, Mark, etc all made sure that I was building up towards my full potential and were not afraid to call out the usual B.S. that came with having little personal or emotional responsibility/handling at the time.

Essentially, after all that, I follow two simple rules. One, I don’t lie. As someone who oversees a lot of people, please don’t do that. You make it much harder for yourself in the long run and leads to a breakdown of trust. Two, be dependable. If someone asks me to do something, I do it. If not, I take the initiative and do it anyway. It reduces the workload of other leaders as a whole and lets them know they can trust you when it comes to important/trust-sensitive things. By maintaining those core values over time, my role eventually grew into what it is today (and has expanded into a lot of sub-roles as well).

How many people have you crashed into mountains?

Ooh, quite a few. Mark Denton and Joe Reilly were some. A few older sups too. It used to happen fairly often before I reached god-tier levels of controlling, but I’m good now. It’s pretty interesting being on the other end of the coin and teaching people how not to crash others into mountains, though.

If you could add anything to Infinite Flight, what would it be?

I’m kind of torn between the A220 and more cool ATC stuff like comm features between our controllers. On one hand, I’d be able to fly one of my favorite aircraft, but on the other, I could yell at our controllers to do better and stop whining. I’ll just push for both, I guess.

If you could change one thing about the IFATC, what would it be?

Funnily enough, the one thing I wanted changed just happened via the expansion of our training program onto the forum. It is the culmination of a process that began over six months ago and a LOT of back and forth discussion between myself and the bosses. I couldn’t be more prouder about this, and I hope you all will find it useful too.

What’s your favorite part of Infinite Flight?

This is probably no surprise, but ATC is by far my favorite. Like I said before, the inclusion of this feature within Infinite Flight allows me to indulge within an ATC career in a different way. The relationships I’ve made by pursuing this (friends, business, career opportunities, etc) have all transformed my life in a lot of previously unimaginable ways.

What’s your favorite part of Purdue?

Like any self-respecting avgeek, the airport. We’re constantly having SR20s and the like flying over the main campus area on final approach to Runway 23 if the winds are favorable that day. Our main college complex (Av and Transportation) is also modeled after a terminal building adjacent to the ramp, so it’s cool to hang out in there sometimes.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

It’s tough, but I imagine I’ll have my degree in five years and the beginnings of a career somewhere. I know I’ll remain with Infinite Flight as usual (and perhaps hopefully more someday – who knows?) I don’t have a specific goal otherwise, but am open to a lot of different portions of the aviation industry. Creating a business, working for an airline, trying the ATC process if they somehow allow for my medical, etc, are all possible options.

How quickly were you promoted to the certain positions you are in in the IFATC? i.e. Recruiter, Trainer, Supervisor, etc.

I’ll work backwards for this one. Was promoted to recruiter in February of 2018. Becoming a sup was in February of 2017. Testing (for ATC) was in February of 2016. Apparently, Tyler knows how to romance me, so I’m really happy about that. I wonder what he’ll get me for Valentine’s this coming year.

Is Purdue the best college for an aspiring pilot?

Purdue is an excellent college and offers good value for pilot training. I believe we’re in the sixth or seventh year of a tuition freeze, which is expected to continue for a few years yet. Being “the best” is subjective, but you get just as much quality training for less money than, say, Embry Riddle.

Have you ever used the food delivery robot?

Shhhh. They’re stealing my DoorDash income, but I have gotten out of the car at a few points and taken photos along with other passerby. They’re cute, especially when staring down the Boilermaker train.

Choo choo, mofos.

Hey Josh! What is the highlight of IFATC that you would recommend to newcomers?

I’m tempted to say that the highlight happens to be those weird midnight conversations we get into occasionally, but I would rather say the camaraderie of the team as a whole. It’s difficult to pin things down to something specific, so the experience as a whole is what I would recommend newcomers immersing themselves into. We’re all crazy in our own ways, myself included. I know, I know, I’m awesome, but still.

If you’d like to join in discussions such as this with like-minded people like yourself and experts in the field, to learn and improve, I’d encourage you to sign up for our Workshop. Next guests.

December 8, 2019 by Kyle Boas

AMA with DeerCrusher

We had an AMA “Ask Me Anything” with DeerCrusher this Saturday in the ATC Education Group Workshop, where our members in the Workshop got a chance to ask Deer questions.

Deer is an Infinite Flight Moderator and ATC Supervisor, Commercial Single/Multi Engine Certificate, currently flying the Cessna 208EX Grand Caravan for a Part 135 company.

You’re a pilot on the C208. Do you have any plans for the future like switching to another model or flying for another airline?

What are the plans for the future? Great question. I only have a few days left to fly the Caravan. November 25 will be my last day here at the company that I’m with now. Starting December 18th, I will be in Phoenix at Mesa Airlines training headquarters. There I will spend about 2 months learning the CRJ700/900. I plan on spending about 2 years with them before I send in an application to Southwest Airlines. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved (LUV’d) Southwest. The hope is that I retire with them. That’s kind of my 5 year outlook so far. Pretty exciting but nervous not knowing what the future holds. Always best to set goals and have a plan in life and actively work on that plan as you progress though it.

If you could change one thing on the Infinite Flight Community Forum, what would it be; and what situations are the most challenging for you?

If I could change one thing on the forum? Honestly, that’s a tough one. I love how it operates as is. The forum is really the first and only type of forum that I’ve ever used. I was never into Reddit or some of these other big name forums. So to be fair, I don’t have anything to compare the forum to. The second part of your question, what situations are the most challenging? 98% of our users self moderate themselves. They tend to watch out and take care of each other. Ghostings topics generally show ones true colors. This is where we as moderators need to have patience and allow the individual to talk. I walk into each argument if you want to call it that with an open mind willing to hear them out and perhaps support their argument.

What do you find most rewarding about being a part of Infinite Flight? What kind of opportunities have you stumbled across here?

Most rewarding about being part of Infinite Flight? As a pilot I’ve found that I can continue to keep my skills sharp on a regular basis because of Infinite Flight. This includes even when I’m not flying. The physics are so real, the weather is real, the way that aircraft in general handle, are so natural feeling. Sounds weird but its true. Add on the fact that I can fly from JFK to Sydney and it pretty much seals the deal. I love being a moderator and assisting in any way that I can. I enjoy providing feedback where its needed. Specifically the beta testing portion. I feel that by me providing this info, I can help ensure that the aircraft we’re flying perform the way any other aircraft should handle. #Realism

Part 2 As for the opportunities, I kind of covered that portion above. Keeping the skills in tune even when I’m not flying IRL. ATC also gives me a better appreciation for all of the work that is required to keep our skies clear of conflict. Being able to jump in that hot seat is a real joy.

What have you found or discovered within the community that has either surprised you or made you grow as a person?

What have I discovered within the community that has helped me grow? I think communicating with others on a much larger scale. I’m not a flight instructor but I do enjoy teaching others who have absolutely no clue how to fly a plane across a platform such as the community forum. Helping promote the next generation of aviation is something that I enjoy. You hear all about “PILOT SHORTAGE. Airlines predict 250,000 pilots needed in the next 20 years”. Yeah, while true, even if I could inspire say 25 people to become a pilot just by chatting casually with them, I feel that I have contributed to the industry.

What’s your favorite part of being apart of the Infinite Flight ATC team?

Favorite part of IFATC? The people. Getting to control along side of some amazing controllers is a blast. I don’t control very often, but when I do its a moment you won’t want to miss. I try to have fun while controlling. Some folks are all serious and straight to the point. Approach controlling with an open mindset, relax and get comfortable in the hot seat.

What’s the best part of being a moderator on the forum?

Best part about being a mod? Getting the opportunity to chat with you guys in a setting like this, getting to interact with you guys on the forum and doing group flights with folks occasionally. Its fun to watch y’alls reactions when I show up. Everyone’s like, “ooooh. A mod! Alright, time to shape up and behave!“

Who’s your favorite moderator besides yourself?

Favorite moderator besides myself? That’s mean and hard. I can’t. But I will say this, all of the mods that we have are amazing. We’ve all grown closer together. I have yet to meet up with the rest of the team in person simply because of my crazy and unpredictable schedule. But come 2020 we’re going to change that. FSExpo2020

Have you ever had to make an emergency landing?

Emergency landing? Nope. Not if you count the time I hit the deer. I was already on the ground when he and I collided. But I’ve never had an emergency where I’ve had to land because of an issue with the aircraft/passenger.

What do you think of the A350 being added to Infinite Flight?

What do I think of the A350? I’ve always been a critic of the A350, lets be completely honest. All jokes aside, I’ve never liked the A350. Thought it resembled the 787 too much. To be clear, those first couple sentences are in real life. To me, there was no point in adding it to the Infinite Flight fleet. But I respect and can understand where Infinite Flight is coming from in regards to a business stand point. Thousands of people wanted the plane. Fewer didn’t want the plane. Do the math and we get the outcome that we’ve got coming. That being said, I can’t comment on much about the aircraft right now. I will say though, that I will continue to provide feedback as noted in another individuals line of questioning to ensure that this aircraft is up to par with the high quality aircraft we’ve got presently.

If you were to decide what the next plane to come were be, what would you want to see?

If I had the opportunity to decide on the next aircraft? I still stand by my feature request that I made about the King Air 350. I think we could use another twin engine turbo prop. We’ve only got the Dash 8 which falls under the “regional jet” category. The King Air would be a step above the TBM930. Speed and altitudes would be similar. Corporate. Great cruising capabilities. Great performance on Takeoff and Landing. An all around great aircraft.

If there was one thing in your past that you could do differently, what would it be and why?

If I could do one thing in my past what would I have done differently? So far, I’ve been happy with everything that I’ve done. Its kind of hard to pinpoint anyone thing that I would have done differently. That being said, something that was out of my control was my childhood. When I was a kid, my parents moved my younger sister and I out to Hawaii where we lived for 13 years. Missed out on a lot that happened here on the “mainland”. As much as I loved Hawaii’s weather, I do not miss the traffic, the nonstop craziness, high cost of living, and the threat of Tsunamis a few times a year.

Did you have any other close calls as a real world pilot other than your famous run in with a Deer?

Any other close calls as a real world pilot? I have and interesting ones too. The not so interesting ones include other 737’s that were vectored too close to us when arriving into Dallas. We’ve had our fair share of Turkey Vultures coming close to the aircraft as we’re either departing or arriving. The last one would be a turtle. We were powering up for takeoff and we were at about 40kts already barreling down the runway when we saw a turtle in the middle of the runway. Just a small box turtle of some sort. We missed him as we drifted off centerline to dodge him. Interesting experiences though. Its always an adventure!

Being a pilot you have the privilege of being able to take advantage of Jumpseating. Have you ever used it in your line of work, maybe to go on vacation or transfer somewhere?

Have I used jumpseating in my line of work? Yes, but not for my current company even though I am able to. I currently live at the base where I’m based out of, so I dont need to commute. Makes life simple that way. However, I have jumpseated before and will jumpseat when I move the Mesa Airlines starting in December 2019. The plan is to live in Denver and commute to either DFW or Phoenix while working at Mesa! Its fun and a great opportunity to take advantage of as a pilot. You get to meet and network with other great pilots.

Thank you for that great question! Jumpseating is used widely throughout the industry. Become a pilot for an airline and you’ll use it!

What’s your favorite part about flying the C208?

Favorite part about the C208 Caravan is getting to chat with the passengers. The passengers get to watch what it is we do. The passengers generally have questions after the flight about what altitude, or what speed, or anything else that we did which often opens the door to a great conversation. I’ve got to meet a lot of great people. People from DFW Tower controllers, other airline pilots, visitors from Austria and Australia. Its something that you don’t get to do on an airliner much.

What’s your least favorite part about your job?

Least favorite part about the job? I sometimes have to stand in the rain/snow to watch the fueler. Per company policy, one pilot needs to stay with the fueler to ensure that he/she is putting in the correct amount of fuel into the wings.

Would you trade it (your job) for something else?

Would I trade my job for something else? Short answer: No. Funny, I was just talking to Joshua Smithley about this. I have a degree in Aviation Management as a part of my fallback plan should flying go south for me. The only thing is I don’t know or haven’t thought of what I would do in that event. To me, flying is not a job/career even thought that’s what it is. To me flying is a career that pays with a view.

How did you get picked to become a moderator for Infinite Flight and how did you hear from Infinite Flight back in the old days?

How did I get picked to become a mod? I was creating tutorials on things that involved anything flying. Some are still there today. I approached Mark and Tyler back then asking that if they ever needed another hand to create tutorials covering the flight aspect of the simulator as well as providing insight as a real world pilot to the Infinite Flight community. Couple days went by and they gladly accepted my offer. I created a tutorial just the other day which will come out when update 19.4 rolls out. I also assist some of our other community members who have started making written tutorials for aircraft to ensure that they have the proper verbiage and understanding on how the aircraft features work so that you guys are able to fly the aircraft to its fullest potential.

Moral of the story: Asking for mod is a no no. I did it only because I had something to offer and they agreed. Its no different than Infinite Flight hiring people to be on the development team. What makes you different? What can you offer and bring to the table? Those types of things will take you far in life as that’s what employers are looking for in their employees.

What makes you different that Person A and why should we hire you? Ask yourself those questions and come up with a good answer because every company that you interview with will ask you that question.

Great question. Not one I’ve shared but that’s why we have this Q&A setting!

How long did it take for your flight training? Any advice to younger aspiring pilots?

How long did training take? For me this took 3 ½ years. From someone with 0 hours to 250hours. I wasn’t flying or taking flight courses during the whole time. I got my degree in Aviation Management all while learning how to fly. Something to keep in mind which will answer your second question is that everyone learns at different rates. Don’t base the amount of time that it took me to learn to fly, to you. You may catch on faster or slower. The other thing to keep in mind is your financial standing. I was not born into money but I’m not from a poor family either. Choose a flight program that will fit your wallet because it will cost a bit.

Reach out to me if you have any other questions. I love helping coach people in the right direction especially when it comes to flight training.

Any advice you have for up and coming college students?

Advice for up and coming college students? Have a plan. Know what you want to do. Don’t be afraid to change that plan part way through. I was a mid-year degree change person. I started Aeronautical Science and didn’t like what was involved so I decided to go to Aviation Management.

Have a back up plan. Try to envision where you’d like to be 5 years down the road. Don’t try to work out the 10 year thing because that can often be unrealistic. 3-5 year plans work out better from what I’ve found.

Really got to learn a lot about Deer, some of the stuff relating to his job and moderation. Very cool AMA!

If you’d like to join in discussions such as this with like-minded people like yourself and experts in the field, to learn and improve, I’d encourage you to sign up for our Workshop.

November 10, 2019 by Kyle Boas

AMA with Tyler Shelton

We had an AMA “Ask Me Anything” with Tyler Shelton this Saturday in the ATC Education Group Workshop, where our members in the Workshop got to ask Tyler questions. I was going to give you just a best of questions and answers, but it’s too good to leave out some of these so here’s a full transcript.

Tyler is the Infinite Flight ATC Manager and a full time real world Air Traffic Controller.

Have you ever dreamed to become an ATC or you did you just start working and fell in love with your job after that?

ATC wasn’t a dream of mine, nor was aviation in general growing up. I actually studied music on college after going to an arts school for 6th-12th grade. I traveled, recorded on many records, and eventually went to Florida State University for Jazz Performance and composition. After realizing it’s near impossible to work full-time and give 100% in college I changed gears and went to the police academy. Sadly I couldn’t get hired anywhere because they only wanted officers with prior experience. I then turned to the Air Force and did my research to see which job transferred most to the outside world. I was hooked from day one!

What makes a radar controller a good controller in Infinite Flight, is it the plan that they make before the session, or being calm under the stress, or even being flexible and being able to change planes while controlling, if the original plan didn’t work?

I think having a plan and the ability to adapt real-time makes a good radar controller. Being able to visualize where each aircraft will end up is key, but also takes a good bit of experience along with trial and error.

Is there any chance, even if it was 1%, that you would visit Kuwait?

I’ve visited Kuwait twice actually, both times on a deployment. Exactly one year ago today I was there as well.

Have you ever encountered a situation on the job as a controller in the real world and remembered how it was managed in Infinite Flight?

To some degree, yes. I think one of the biggest aspects I take away from Infinite Flight and apply to real world controlling is compassion and the understanding that everyone is learning all the time. It’s easy to grill someone because they didn’t do exactly what you had in mind. My solution is always to give the tower number, let them call, and have some good two-way feedback to help them and help me.

Have you ever had to deal with an emergency while controlling?

Absolutely! They varied quite a bit between my military and civilian controlling experience. Purely by the nature of military aircraft with their speed, tendencies to be low level, and munitions on board, we commonly had bird strikes and faulty weapon systems requiring precautionary landings.

As for the civilian airport, I’ve had a Cessna go off the runway on many occasions, random aircraft call up asking to land and requesting an ambulance for a sick pax, or a blown tire on landing. The key is staying calm, assisting as much as you can, and clearing the way for them!

Do you rotate stations when controlling — if so, what is your favourite position?

This actually depends quite a bit based on facility and manning. In the Air Force I was tower only so I’d switch between Local (tower), ground, flight data, and Watch Supervisor.

At Goodyear (KGYR) we often had very little manning so I’d commonly work Tower, ground, clearance, flight data, and supervisor all at once by myself for sometimes 8 hours. You sure learn a lot about prioritizing and knowing your limits!

My next facility that I start at soon will be an “up/down” which means I can work all Tower and Approach positions in the same day. Talk about diversity!

My favorite position is definitely Tower (local). The busier the better! I always think it closely mimics the rush of an extreme sport where you get that adrenaline dump and high!

Do you see any similarities between Infinite Flight controller’s skillset and a real word controller’s skillset?

The skills required definitely transfer between Infinite Flight and Real World. The big difference I see is that there is some real emotions in real life that come with major consequences. When it’s busy, things are nearly out of hand, and you’re just getting swamped by yourself it can be a bit scary to know that you’ve got a lot of lives in your hand and they’re all counting on your expertise to get on the ground safe.

What is your next big goal you have for the IFATC?

My next big goal for IFATC is seeing us adopt a Clearance Delivery system with more control over our arrivals, departures, and routing to offer a more realistic experience and a flow of traffic that is far more manageable. I’ll be working with Laura [Laban] to ensure it happens!

I’m currently considering my career options and based on my results so far in school I’m confident I could go for Airline Pilot, Civilian ATC or ATC for the Royal Australian Air Force. Having experienced both military and civilian ATC, which do you think is better and why?

Really good question! As for which route you take, that’s definitely a decision that only you can make. That’s a tough one! For me, if ATC weren’t a possibility I’d be pursuing flying. For any avgeek I’m sure we can agree that the other is the next best thing.

Onto the question… I’ve enjoyed my time as a civilian controller soooo much more. The diversity, volume of traffic, more manual nature of ATC, and general day-to-day pace is so much more enjoyable. I always considered the military to be quite stressful, and maybe it was at the time, but in comparison looking back that traffic was absolutely nothing compared to what we work now and often times the aircraft are adhering to such strict procedures that everything is the expected. Same arrival routes, speeds, altitudes, and procedures to the point where there isn’t much conflict to resolve.

What ways, if any, are there to begin a career in air traffic controlling if your over 40.

Unfortunately the FAA does have a maximum age for applicants. I do believe it is 36. That said, there are many contract companies like Midwest, RVA, and Serco (company I just worked for) that have ATC opportunities with far less requirements. If you want it, there’s always a way and it’s not too late!

From the perspective of a real-world air traffic controller, what are some things you would like to see added/changed/improved to the whole system of ATC in Infinite Flight?

As a whole I’d love to see intrafacility coordination, clearance delivery, and automation features.

Those three in general are massive aspects of real life controlling that I use daily to get the job done efficiently. Intrafacility coordination could be a push to talk intercom feature that allows us to communicate in app between controllers for things like information, hand offs, and requests.

Clearance Delivery ensures routing is correct for runway in use, clear of arrival/departure routes, and flows with others.

Automation features would allow us to select handoff on a target, it flashes on the receiving controllers screen, they tap to accept the handoff, then radio comms are transferred. Little things like this in real life really cut down on the amount of voice comms required and gives us a chance to focus on our frequency and aircraft.

Is being an air traffic controller one of the most stressful jobs in the world according to research, how do you cope with that?

I think the stress is a bit exaggerated. Some days are worse than others, but I don’t find it to be crippling day in and day out to be quite honest! A big key for me is exercise, ensuring you take time for priorities like family, hobbies, or general relaxation. I can’t say I’m most qualified to answer that since I work two jobs, probably don’t sleep enough, and drink too much coffee!

How long you have been with Infinite Flight?

I’ve been with Infinite Flight for 6 years now.. my roles have definitely changed quite a bit over the years, from ATC, to Social Media, to Support, to Pilot Tutorials, and everything in between!

How much you do you love ATC and aviation?

I honestly just love my job though. There is such satisfaction from perfecting your craft and learning new tricks to continuously increase your threshold for traffic tolerance. Hard to describe, but it truly never gets old. Aviation in general has consumed me and I often find myself at airports on my days off for spotting… as if I don’t see enough from the tower.

Are you going to a different facility after working for KMDT for a few years?

I’m not quite sure what’s next. MDT is my first facility in the FAA, it’ll be my first approach certification, and I certainly won’t be in any rush to leave. I’d love to move around as little as possible, so I’m fine staying there until I can make my transfer to the dream facility which is Charlotte (CLT).

What’s your greatest regret?

My biggest regret without a doubt is not finishing my pilot’s license. I had a really unfortunate experience with the check ride.. essentially an examiner who failed about 7 people in a row, all in an effort to get their money, and all for reasons unrelated to material expected with a PPL. I let that discourage me, life happened, I got busy, and never revisited it. Once settled and done with my new facility’s training I hope to tackle it again and make some time for me.

What makes your interactions both here and/or in the real world aviation-wise truly meaningful?

The most meaningful part of what I do here and in real life is the ability to share my passion and create memories for people. ATC is no easy career field to make your way into, whether due to age, location, or any number of circumstances. My hope with Infinite Flight is to provide that experience, rush, and knowledge as an outlet for people to experience a career that they may not otherwise be able to. As for the real world aspect, my goal is usually to be part of a positive learning moment for pilots. Most pilots who fly long enough have those early stories they tell. If I can be the one that helped educate them rather than run them away from a hobby they had passion for or a career they were trying to pursue then I’ve done my job.

What’s the best part about working for Infinite Flight?

The best part for me is watching the community grow and get excited about the things we’re doing. When I say there is a lot in the works, I mean there is a lot. Each dev has their own little projects and they eventually merge into the app, get tasted, and land on your device. Seeing that hard work pay off and get you even closer to the real deal is super rewarding for us!

What aspects of real-world traffic control would you like it to have the current Infinite Flight system? In terms of screens layout etc.

Interestingly, Infinite Flight is way more advanced than real world systems used from a visual perspective. We offer far more visual cues, markings, data about aircraft, and more. The biggest aspect that is missing is the intrafacility communication. We constantly use lines to communicate with our approach for hand-offs, relaying information, and making requests. I’d love for us to have a push-to-talk intercom feature that allows controllers to communicate in app.

My question is more crafted towards ATC in general. We all know there is an ATC shortage as we speak, and this means a lot of people are bound to be interested in filling retiring roles. What would you say is the most cost effective, efficient way to join the ranks of the FAA and the ATC Team?

They’ve definitely got their hands full trying to fill those positions. Since I just finished the FAA hiring process and signed my life away I can absolutely say that they need to make the whole hiring process a bit more streamlined to expedite it from start to finish. The application is so painfully specific, the appointments and requirements are cumbersome (medical eval, psych eval, drug test, etc), and there truly is no set timeline for anything. For many of the tests I had to complete, I had already completed them in the military or for the contract company I was working for but they didn’t accept them. This meant that less than 90 days after doing a drug test, physical, and background check I had to do the exact same thing at the same test locations here in Phoenix all over again for the FAA.

What was the core reason you joined Infinite Flight (as a user), way back when?

I was just beginning ATC at my first base and wanted to check out flight sims as I trying to explore aviation and satisfy that curiosity of my new career. I first downloaded and deleted just a few days later after being so frustrated by the B747 landing mission. I deployed to the middle east a few months later, downloaded it again, got quite active, joined beta, then helped create the ATC aspect of the app which eventually led to me being hired.

At the moment there’s quite a lack of third part applications for the ATC side of things, with the new API being released soon. What hat is something you’d like to see from a third party application that isn’t necessarily possible or high on the (metaphorical?) priority list in terms of ATC?

Good question! I’m not a dev by any means so I have no clue what is or isn’t possible, but a way to easily communicate would be amazing. Perhaps an intercom app that runs in the background that allows controllers to communicate via voice, complete automated handoffs, and share information in real-time would go a long ways. Communicating via text on Slack certainly isn’t ideal and can be quite distracting!

I’d like to thank Tyler for taking the time out of his evening to answer all of our questions. Really great questions and in-depth answers.

If you’d like to join in discussions such as this with like-minded people like yourself and experts in the field, to learn and improve, I’d encourage you to sign up for our Workshop.

October 27, 2019 by Kyle Boas