The learning curve for flight simulation is very steep. We, Aviation enthusiasts, have to know a lot of concepts of a lot of different mechanisms of aviation, such as radio communications, meteorology, navigation, altimetry, air spaces and many others, so starting from zero in our passion is not easy at all.
For years, IVAO Spain Staff have been comfortable with the fact that any novice user could learn on their own in their first hours on IVAO, making this task frustrating for many of them. But once they believed that they were able to manage and create a solution capable of providing the necessary resources for our newer users, they decided to take a step forward and create what they now call the CAVOK project.
The CAVOK project hosts a series of milestones, created specifically for Spanish novice users. From a welcome email in Spanish, their own mother tongue, followed up with a welcome speech, and finally ending with a set of individual tutorials.
The process is as follows: days after registration in IVAO, users will get an email with information about IVAO Spain and inviting them to visit the specifically created website of Project CAVOK (https://cavok.ivao.es/) which has some articles that will guide them into a tour around IVAO, the software they will need and important things they must know before going online.
The aim of this website is focused on a couple of central aspects: on the one hand, it needed to be user-friendly (where images are more predominant than text); and the contents needed to be as simple as possible, so as not to scare the new member.
On this website, they can also find information about the next session of Spain’s Newbie Day which the Division celebrates every week on the divisional Discord. The Newbie Day coincides with Project CAVOK’s mission, so it has been included as the second step to welcome users, who take advantage of the session, to talk and solve some of the doubts or problems they might have. Every single staff member of the division is involved in the Newbie Day and participates in the talks on a rotating basis, coordinated by the Spain Membership department.
Once the user comes to the welcome talk, where it explains to them "what IVAO is'' and where they can find more information, the user has constant access to staff for support during their first connections. IVAO, within its philosophy and openness, allows both pilots and controllers to connect to the network without prior knowledge. This has positive aspects, but unfortunately, it also has negative aspects that can affect IVAO's own image: people with little knowledge flying in forbidden airspaces, or controllers congesting an airport due to their lack of control skills.
IVAO Spain firmly believes that divisions must act as a catalyst in this initial process, and always use educational methods to avoid these unpleasant moments for any user. For this reason what completes CAVOK, is its Academy. IVAO Spain has opted for the training of its members, so the division designed a basic training program in which the division users can request tutorships of the different subjects. These sessions are individual and both theoretical and practical knowledge is learned and applied, and are organized in common tutorships that will have to be completed before having access to the pilot or ATC specific tutorships.
Once the common tutorships are complete, the CAVOK volunteers will teach users about the use of the software, the first steps before connecting to the Network, basic flight plan concepts, phraseology, meteorology basics, altimetry fundamentals and introduction to air spaces.
Users will need to complete some common ‘key’ sessions before applying for the pilot or ATC specific ones, in which they will learn how to fly inside a control zone (CTR) or a flight pattern; or how to give an IFR clearance or give air traffic control service to VFR flights. Users will also have the opportunity to do a practical session with CAVOK tutors. In fact, usually there are more than one CAVOK user in these sessions, having the opportunity of meeting other new members that may end in long lasting friendships.
Once the new member has completed all of the sessions, this is not the end for the newcomers as his new adventure has just started. They can stay in the group and repeat all the tutorships as many times as they need until they get the Advanced Student ratings (AS3/FS3). At this point, they will be more than competent enough and the division training department will comply with their needs before applying for higher ratings.
Finally, this project is under the guidance and continuous support of the Training Department of IVAO Spain and in order to guarantee a balanced and progressive education, The user needs to feel that his or her training is always in line with his or her level of aptitude, and that as the user progresses in IVAO he or she identifies this fact with a higher level in the training provided. The Division staff also believes that creating a simple path for IVAO new users will increase IVAO competitiveness with other simulation networks.