2020 has been an extraordinary year for most of us and I want to take some time to reflect on the year that has been. A lot us have been impacted by events that have happened across the globe, and we here on VATSIM ZNY has seen a huge influx of both controllers, visitors and pilots as people have been staying at home.
We are incredibly thankful for everyone who has been joining the ZNY community, be it as a controller, visitor, pilot or just hanging around on Discord or Teamspeak. You all a part of building this incredible team of people that surrounds the community and I cannot thank you all enough.
You’re amazing. When our number of controllers exploded, and we had new controllers and visitors joining us every. Single. Day. For two months straight, the training staff all stepped up and handled the increased number of training requests like champs. You’ve been working as a team helping each other out and it’s been fantastic to see the team working so well. We’ve seen 30+ training requests a week during peaks, and it’s been flowing smoothly. Incredible work!
The events team, lead by Jeremy for so long, and now Antoine have been hosting multiple fantastic events, with finally closing out the year with an home-run of an event with 30-hours of LGA. This style of event is something we want to feature as a regular event in the future, so keep an eye out for the next one, and we promise it will be a lot of fun! From the feedback we’ve been receiving we know that you - our members - want more variety in events, and the events team is working on it. Thank you all!
With Amin in charge, we’ve over this year been able to build a solid facility team, responsible for managing SOPs and sector files, and we've had multiple participants help out with the conversion of old SOPs to the wiki, updated sector files and more. I can't overstate how much I appreciate this work - I know it is tedious, I know it can be exhausting, but we've been able to update more SOPs and files this year than any year before.
The final big staff team that we've been able to build this year, is an incredible Data Services team. We knew our web services were struggling and we had a mile long list of things we wanted to implement (including the way this post is published by the way) but no good way to do it. We have been INCREDIBLY lucky to get Trevor as the Data Services Manager, and been in charge of the web team, who managed to migrate and upgrade the website to the latest versions in under a week. Again, I cannot emphasize this enough - that was incredible work. We've been working behind the scenes upgrading more and more functionality to the site, so we will be able to provide more cool things soon. If you asked me 9 months ago if we would be anywhere near where we are today with the web services, I would have laughed you out of the room... It's that huge.
Finally of the staff, thank you to all of our staff members on all levels, but I want to thank both the staff members that have moved on to bigger and better things, and those who have stepped down for other reasons for their contributions. We've had a bumpy year and most of our senior staff team have been swapped out as people have left for other positions, but I finally need to thank Gizep for the work he has been doing since he joined the senior staff. What was intended as a position to just have to do some administrative work when myself and Anthony wasn't able to, grew to so much more, and he has been a great person to lean on. We would not be running so smoothly as we are now, without his help.
It has been so much fun to see, and I take much pride in seeing what a great controller community we have at ZNY. Thanks to you all, we've seen an increased number of controllers online, which in turn has seemed to generate more traffic to the airports. The old VATSIM Saying: “Staff it, and they will come” sure seems to still be correct for so many airports. We have an incredible team of fantastic controllers that provide fantastic service to our pilots, not only during busy events, where we also have been running extremely well even during unprecedented levels of traffic, but also during normal day-to-day operations, which we see from the almost exclusively positive feedback from pilots. Thank you so much.
We know it has at times, been hard to schedule training sessions and that it feels like it takes a long time to advance, and I can tell you this: trust us. We know it is a problem, and we are very much working on a plan to improve it. The staff at ZNY are here for you, the controllers, and we want to not only improve, but do so in a way that benefits our controllers. So please, if there is anything we can do to support you, let myself or the ZNY staff know.
2020 has been a year of change in the network. We've seen not only updated VATSIM software, websites and tools, but we've seen a lot of staff changes around the network as VATSIM changed the region structure. We had a huge round of staff changes in VATUSA over the summer after a lot of back and forth between VATUSA and the ARTCCs, but I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that the VATUSA staff has been doing an excellent job lately being open and forthcoming about what they are doing, and I thank them for the job they are doing!
Well, like I mentioned before - we have a lot of things that are happening behind the scenes. Thanks to Cameron, we are working on significantly improving the training program in order to improve both quality, and make it smoother for our controllers moving up the ranks. We're very excited about it, and we're sure that a lot of people are going to appreciate the changes coming and we will be informing you all, soon(TM).
With Trevor at the helm, we will also be continuing to improve web services, and adding new features to the website. Information about that will also come soon(TM). In the meantime, make sure you've joined the ZNY Discord, and linked your Discord account with the website to continue to receive updates about what is going on in the ARTCC.
I don't want to sound like a broken record, so I'll finish with saying: Thank you all for an incredible year, and here's to 2021!
vZNY Air Traffic Manager