IVAO is 25 years old. 25 years full of history, flights, control sessions, and, above all, a shared passion for aviation. Whether aboard an Airbus A320 for an IFR flight, a C172 for a VFR flight, a helicopter for a rescue mission, or in front of a radar screen to control as ATC, we all share the same passion and love for aviation simulation.

On December 16, 1998, IVAO was born, a network to put pilots and ATCs in touch with each other. A few years after SquawkBox and ProController in the 90s, the "pioneers" of networked flight simulation. IVAO has come a long way in 25 years. From being a means of connecting simmers, the network has evolved. A whole community has grown up around it. With the opportunity to learn and enrich one's passion via the training department, a visual identity that unites us via public relations, the development of the first sector files thanks to the ATC Operations department and, of course, the development of increasingly high-performance software thanks to the DevOps department. And let's not forget the divisions, the first to have contact with members. These are just a few examples.

25 years on, IVAO is much more than just an online network. It's a real community of aviation enthusiasts. Members meet on Discord and TS3 servers, via Twitch live streams, Facebook, and Instagram pages. Discussions take place on the HQ forum, as well as on divisional forums. What began as a simple network has become a family, the IVAO family, with its own values, members, and identity.

25th-anniversary festivities: Events and World Tour

For IVAO's quarter-century celebrations, it was essential that members should be able to take pride in their network. So it was only natural for the Activity Service, in charge of Events and the World Tour Departments, to organise something new, with new awards, and to do it jointly. Thus, the World Tour Department has developed 3 special tours for IVAO's 25th anniversary, the idea being to visit every continent: a first tour for Africa and Europe, another for Asia and Oceania, and finally a tour for the Americas. For each new Leg of the World Tour, as everything had to be done jointly, the Events department built three events, one per continent, every two weeks. So, every two weeks, 3 events were proposed, also with new awards. At the start of April, the two departments (world tour and events) knew that what had been set up would be a certain success with members. A success perhaps a little higher than usual. For example, the HQ Events Department was expecting around 30 traffics, perhaps 40 depending on the continent, but not many more. Everyone was wrong: on both the world tour and the events, an incredible number of pilots took part in all three tours, and no one expected such a huge success - the statistics speak for themselves;

  • Americas: 12519 legs accepted in the World Tour and 1500 in Events
  • Africa and Europe: 8406 legs accepted in the World tour and 1450 in Events
  • Oceania and Asia: 6298 leg accepted in world tour and 1200 in Events

Pilots were on hand to celebrate.

Behind the scenes

Given the hundreds of pilots who took part in each event, it was a real team effort behind the scenes, not only with the Event Advisors. In fact, organising these events required the help of almost every IVAO department and division. Organising 3 events every other week, given the number of pilots expected, is no easy task, but all the HQ departments took great pleasure in doing it for the users, like one big family. After the first Legs, we first had to set up a system to coordinate the immense number of ground traffic waiting for clearance. DevOps, therefore, developed a system of slots that pilots could book to obtain clearance in order. The ATC Operations Department is helping HQ-managed FIRs. The Flight Operations Department was on hand to provide routes and flight levels, while the Public Relations Department was on hand to relay information to the networks. Finally, and perhaps most importantly: The divisions. For each event, two divisions did their utmost to find ATCs over very long periods, and you just had to look at webeye to see the dedication of these divisions and their ATCs, present during all the events.

The next important dates

As many have noticed and are saying on the forum, the 3 tours seem to be converging more and more. Some have said that this convergence will take the 3 tours as far as Brussels (EBBR), headquarters of IVAO NPO. They were not mistaken! On December 8, the 3 tours will all converge on Brussels, marking the end of the 19 legs of this incredible adventure. The number of traffic will be considerable. That's why a new tool will be introduced for the occasion, a tool that will allow establishing regulations (ATFM). The pilots will be departing from Madrid, Helsinki, and Bucharest, which promises a lot of en-route control. You'll also have to keep an eye on the forums to make sure you don't miss the Lapland Fly-in, part of the celebrations.

Please note that for the final leg of our 25th-anniversary celebration, pilots may experience occasional delays as we work to align the flow with EBBR capacity, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience for all participants and avoiding any potential oversaturation issues seen in the past.

And finally, the apotheosis, the last surprise of this 25th anniversary is, of course, the Silver Skies. Some have wondered about the word "Silver". It's the symbol of 25 years, just as after 25 years of marriage, we say it's the silver wedding anniversary. Silver Skies is based on the idea of Crowded Skies, but better. Firstly, there will be a new special award for this special occasion. Secondly, divisions are encouraged to organise events during Silver Skies. These events will be "free", i.e. the HQ Events Department will not charge tokens for them, as is normally the case. In addition, our sponsor, Aerosoft, will make a donation for each connection at peak time.

The aim is to end the year on a high note, on December 16, 2023, to see where IVAO started from 25 years ago and feel the same joy and pride today, when we see what our network has become, with its evolutions, its projects, and above all its big family. Happy birthday IVAO!

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