Normally at the end of the year, an organization will take the time to reflect on the achievements of the past year and set goals for the next year. Looking back at 2018, the network made many positive strides towards our ultimate goal of modernizing VATSIM so that it will continue to be the premier online flying and air traffic control organization in the world.
Early in the year we staffed multiple BoG positions resulting in a fully staffed BoG for the first time in many years. Because of this, we began work on new technology projects as well as accelerating the ones that were already in development. Our communications with members has improved through our facebook, twitter, and instagram presence. We have begun to be a bit more transparent by letting you see what the BoG and other members are working on via the VATSIM Community Blog.
As a collective network, we have a lot to be proud of as well. For the first time ever, we maintained an active membership of 80,000 users! Then not once, but twice we shattered the simultaneous connection record during each of the Cross the Pond events. We participated in 3 major Flight Simulator Shows to demonstrate the network to the general public and finally we helped raise over $100.000 AUD ($71.318 USD, £56.200, €62.150) for charities around the world through our support of the WorldFlight Event.
We want to address the number one question we have been receiving in the past couple of weeks. “When is the codec going to be released?” We understand the excitement all of our members have for this major technical upgrade and the desire to use it. We will have the new Audio For VATSIM (AFV) solution published to you as soon as we can. We understand that a lack of updates here can be frustrating but most of the work going on in this stage are back end solutions for deploying AFV so there is not much to show.
We did conduct a beta test about a month ago in Canadian Airspace and you can watch a highlight video of the test to see AFV in action here. You can also watch video of the entire test on the same channel. Special thanks to Rob Nabieszko (Capt Nabs) for recording the test and producing the videos!
We have 3 big items to resolve prior to release and these are being actively worked on every day, albeit slightly slower the past couple of weeks due to real world obligations and the holidays. Once these are resolved and a new test client distributed to our beta team, we will conduct another beta test and provide you with more examples of that so you can see the progress that has been made.
In anticipation of release, we are finalizing an amendment to the Code of Conduct as well as working on a new policy to accompany the use of the new features AFV will bring, such as voice unicom. We are also working with the ATC and Pilot client developers to have native implementation of AFV on day one! This will require an update to your clients, so you will be given a release date so that you can update your clients to take full advantage of our new AFV system!
2018 was a very successful year for all of VATSIM and there is a lot for us to be proud of. 2019 is poised to be even better! Thank you for all that you do to make VATSIM the wonderful community it is!