Boston Virtual ARTCC's Wings Over New England (WINGS) is BVA's pilot training program. The program helps teach members skills that can be used for online flying in VFR and IFR environments, making the most of what an at-home flight simulator can teach you. It includes structured, self-guided training lessons that do not rely directly on an instructor or mentor, allowing pilots to learn at their own pace and in a comfortable environment.
The program is comprised of 30 flights, each of which contain a series of tasks. Every flight is flown under the watchful eyes of BVA's air traffic controllers, who monitor your progress to ensure each of the tasks for that flight is completed correctly. If the controller determines you successfully meet the criteria for a flight, you achieve that rating.
Starting out with VFR closed traffic at Nantucket, the series of challenge flights builds to complex IFR procedures like holds, diversions, missed approaches, “descend via” arrivals, and more. The first six flights are flown under VFR conditions, while the remaining flights focus on IFR techniques. Along the way, pilots visit some of BVA's larger 'featured airports', as well as several smaller, uncontrolled fields that rarely see traffic. We’ve specifically selected airports that offer unique approaches, great add-on scenery, and cool challenges. After criss-crossing our airspace, the program concludes back where it started, with pilots flying a Charted Visual Flight Rules approach into Nantucket.
The program assumes you are already capable of physically flying your aircraft. As such, you will not learn procedures specific to a particular airplane, such as how to tune radios, when to turn on landing lights, use of flaps, or what airspeeds to fly for certain phases of flight. If you are seeking help in any of these areas, connect with our members on Discord and TeamSpeak; many of us have completed WINGS flights and will be happy to offer our suggestions. Alternatively, one-on-one virtual flight training is available from VATSTAR, a BVA partner for pilot training. If you are looking for resources for getting started with online flying (like how to install model matching or optimizing your simulator for the network), visit our Orientation page.
Wings Over New England is geared towards any BVA member interested in gaining a more thorough knowledge of VFR and IFR procedures in a structured yet fun environment. Novice pilots, or those who are new to BVA, can strongly benefit from the step-by-step, 'ground up' approach that the program provides. Intermediate pilots may choose to use the program to refresh their VFR knowledge and then learn to fly a broader range of IFR procedures instead of simply receiving vectors for an ILS approach on every flight. The program can even benefit advanced pilots, as it covers a few rare techniques, especially in the later IFR ratings and provides an opportunity to further hone IFR skills and remain proficient.
To participate, pilots must be members of Boston Virtual ARTCC. To fly WINGS, complete a free application to join the community.
As WINGS is not affiliated with VATSIM's Pilot Training Department, members cannot receive VATSIM P-ratings through this program. Those looking for VATSIM ratings may wish to explore VATSTAR's flight training options.
If you're ready to start your engine and get going, please visit the Getting Started page to see how to begin.
We are a free, immersive, and realistic air traffic control community for pilots and aviation enthusiasts. We provide air traffic control within the Boston ARTCC on VATSIM. We are not affiliated with the FAA, or the real-world Boston Center facility.