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Example VA Announcement Post![LONG POST!]

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:09 pm
by Flake
A really good example wrote:

Sample image thanks to Richard Vo!

Hello all! I'm so pleased to announce the launch of my new VA, ExampleVA! ExampleVA, or ExAir (XAIR) for short specialise in instrument flight operations in Hawaii!

Sample image thanks to skatjr1204!
As a Captain in ExampleVA, you'll fly at least 2 hours a week on a popular YSFlight server, and log your flight/s by posting screenshots in the screenshots thread on YSFHQ. You'll be faced with challenging flights through instrumental meteorological conditions, flying in low cloud, dense fog and high wind situations at night. The role of a Captain is not for the faint hearted! Captains in Example VA are truely the best civil aviation pilots the YSFlight aviation industry has to offer. Have you got what it takes to be a Captain in Example VA? Apply today!

Sample image thanks to DuckFeet97LOR!
As a First Officer in ExampleVA, you'll fly at least 1 flight a week on a popular YSFlight server, and log your flight/s by posting screenshots in the screenshots thread on YSFHQ. You'll fly the standard routes of Hawaii in normal weather conditions, but you will be trained to be one of the best pilots you can be. With weekly training flights available, ExampleVA will show you how to flight by instruments in all conditions. Be the best pilot you can be with Example VA! Apply today!

Sample image thanks to KM6BZH!
We apologise but we are not seeking applications for Pilot Cadets at the current time. Pilot Cadets are completely new to aviation and need training in the basics of flight. ExampleVA prides itself on being a premium airline with premium pilots! To join us, we encourage you to train to the standard of First Officer. Please apply for the First Officer position when you feel you are ready to take-off with ExampleVA!

Spread your wings with ExampleVA

Would you join this VA? I used a few simple tricks in marketing and psychology to sell a Virtual Airline that doesn't even exist. I want to make a quality post explaining how to create and market a new VA. Creating a new VA is a lot like creating a new business, and with the right outlook you too can create your own VA to rival the greats of old!

First things first: Don't rush!
The very first thing you must learn before you start your own VA is patience. You must be very excited to release your new VA straight away and become the best new VA out there, right? Just like you, so many before you have thought the exact same thing and have had their advertisements go unnoticed, and their new VA died before it even left the ground.

Before you start your new VA, I encourage you to think very critically, and by critically, I mean pessimistically. Think "what is the WORST that can go wrong here?" instead of thinking "What is the BEST that can happen?". All to often do new VA entrepreneurs look at their new VA with rose tinted glasses, and believe they will be different, with everyone flocking to them. Sorry to say, but that's an outright fantasy. You need to convince your target pilots to join your cause like a good leader does! And to do that you need to satisfy 3 basic requirements:

REQUIREMENT 1: Knowledge.
You must know how to fly yourself, and you must know how to fly well. As a VA CEO, I would expect nothing less than absolute perfection at ILS, VOR and DME approaches. I would hope for also approaches via simulated GPS and approaches via standard approach patterns. If you don't meet these requirements, you may not be ready to run a VA yet. Pilots will only work for you if you can provide some benefit to them, be it through the prestige of position (being in the PROVEN best VA) or by advantage of gaining insight/education (mentoring). If you can not satisfy these demands of your pilots, they will find another, better VA that will.

You must know how to do a great many things as a CEO of a VA. You must be good at taking screenshots, maybe even videos to promote your VA. You must be competent at modding so you can paint your VA fleet and stand out as a professional VA. Without the practiced skills of running a VA you can not hope to succeed. Hope is not lost without having these skills outright though, you can help existing VA's with their work that they need done - you will not only learn the valuable skills in management, modding and flying you'll need to run a VA, you'll also form some great alliances with other pilots and prove your worth as a VA CEO!

REQUIREMENT 3: Patience!
YES, patience yet again. As the saying goes, "Rome wasn't built in a day", and if you announce your brand new VA is open to the public despite not finalising the fleet, choosing a route or having any pilots to support your cause, your new VA will fail on the same day it starts, never to have that vital first impression opportunity again. What you need to do, as a VA entrepreneur, is not rush into releasing your VA! The best VA entrepreneurs this community has ever seen put at least 3 months of work into their VA by designing a fleet, a webpage, networked with pilots on servers and designed a true VA plan before they even announced to anyone their VA even existed. You want to attract pilots? Wow even the veterans by producing a quality VA! Remember: You may see your new VA as a brilliant new venture, but until you can convince them otherwise, no one else will.

So, if you've come this far, you've probably realised you don't really meet the requirements of running a VA right now. That's okay, we can work on that. Now, you should up your skills. Go fly ONLINE and practice new flying techniques. There are tons of videos on YouTube explaining how to use an ILS, VOR, DME etc. Just go LOOK! And if you get stuck, ASK! Please do feel encouraged to ask for help, but do not expect us to do it all for you! Once you have the skills, you should naturally have the knowledge. Now you need to do the leg work of creating the VA! This is the fun part, and this is where my personal expertise as a manager comes in.


When you are ready, I would advise you do the following to create a stable, viable VA:
  • Choose what aircraft you want to fly: 737? A380? Citation X? C172? Your aircraft choice has many variables: How far are you flying? A 100 mile trip between two grass fields probably doesn't require an A380. Like wise, good luck getting your Cessna 172 from Hawaii to California. The range your VA typical operates will decide what aircraft size you use. Apart from that, choose whatever you want in your relevant range that you enjoy. Think creatively: Will you use only russian aircraft? What about old aircraft only?
  • Choose your VA design: Before you even touch blender to repaint a fleet, before you even choose how to wrap your design onto any aircraft projections in a paint editor, finalise the name and logo. What are your colors? I tend to use 3 unique colors in any paintscheme I choose, give or take. One primary color, which makes 70% of the paint, one secondary color, which should differ greatly from the primary color to create interest, which is 25% of the paint, and one tertiary color, which opposed the primary color or compliments the secondary color, and makes up the remaining color. I also like to choose a decent font and perhaps even logo splash here. This is your VA's image. This is what people will picture when they think of your VA. Would you prefer to represent yourself with this image or this one? Keep your logo as simple as possible - you want the image to be very easy to remember: Few shapes, few words, few colors.
  • Paint & Pack your fleet: Get to! time to paint your fleet! Take the time to cross the t's and dot the i's. No gaping polygon holes. No normal errors. No color errors. No transparency errors. No animation errors. If you take the time in production to make sure you name all your parts appropriately and provide structure to the DNM tree, your addon will be beautiful. Make the pack beautiful too by putting all the aircraft into a dedicated list, inside Aircraft and User folders respectively. Be sure to include credits and repaint policy, and I also like to add a little "thank you for downloading!" banner image too, just to be professional. You could even make this a virtual business card and invite the downloader to visit your VA webpage... ;)
  • Choose your routes and servers of operation: Are you intending to fly on a public server? Perhaps you should give the server owner your pack and let them know your about to launch operations, so as soon as people download your pack, they can use it on the most popular servers. Do you know what map you'll be flying on? Are you ready to fly there?
  • Draft the Addon release thread: Time to start writing up the addon release thread for your VA pack. This should be done with great attention to detail: Is your pack clean? Have you tested it in OpenGL 1.0? 2.0? DirectX? Fresh-install of YS? Be sure your pack has no errors. There is nothing more awkward than releasing a pack and having someone say "this is broken". It looks very un-professional. Be sure your release thread has interesting screenshots and/or videos, and that the post is formatted to look nice with BBCodes also. Take pride in your release thread, it will pay dividends to your VA's immediate popularity. DO NOT POST YET. Just have the draft ready...
  • Draft the VA recruitment thead: Again, punctuation and grammar, images and videos, bbcode and styling. Check everything. Make sure it's all polished and refined: Clear in requirements and offerings, clear on where to apply, clear on who's in charge, links to your pack, links to the servers you fly on, links to your social media and webpages if you have any. Tie it all together and make it look professional. I personally like to set up a google form for pilots to apply - fill in your username and follow the prompts. Make applying for your VA easy, and appealing to the user. Test your own application process.
  • Time to post! You're ready. You've got the pack done with no errors, you've got your pack installed in advance on all the popular servers in secret, you've drafted your release topic and it's got no errors, and you've drafted your recruitment topic and it's got no errors. Time to post everything. Do it all quickly and in one hit, and wait for the applications to start pouring in.
  • Interact! Now your VA is public, you need to put your money where your mouth is: Start flying online! Take as many good screenshots as you can and post to YSFHQ. Maybe make videos on YouTube. Something I have done and have seen done that works well is inviting other pilots to join your VA. Be sure not to poach - check the pilot isn't already partnered with a current VA. Other than that, invite away. The worst that can happen is they say no! I do so via private message on YSFHQ and also in chat on servers. Interacting with people after launch keeps the momentum of your VA launch strong.
  • Play politics: You're in the great game now. You must manage your pilots below you and keep the quality of your VA high while also having fun. Remember to both train, recognise and promote your pilots often. Remember to just have fun with your pilots often. Remember to have fun with other pilots who aren't in your VA often. Don't neglect your VA, and your VA will last the test of time. Be rational, and calm, don't react to slander and flaming, just continue being as professional as always. This is what all pilots seek in their VA leaders, so be a good one.

Re: Example VA Announcement Post![LONG POST!]

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:30 pm
by Alpha Star
I think this will help a lot of people. Thanks for taking the time for that Flake.

Ive also shortened it for the younger, more illiterate members of our audience.

Step 1: Can you fly? YES?(Carry on) NO?(Why are you here?!)

Step 2: Paint your own goddam planes

Step 3: Something about rome, and a restaurant? Or a restaurant in rome? You know what. Just read the post above...

Re: Example VA Announcement Post![LONG POST!]

Posted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:11 pm
by decaff_42
There are two things I'd like to add to the conversation. While I have never started a VA, I flew for HAVA for a year or so before the VA went defunct. I make these statements without looking to any particular VA as being a good/bad example.

Paint Scheme
Look at the majority of real airlines. What do they have in common? A paint scheme that:
  • Is consistent across fleets: Most airlines have several types of aircraft, but most of the time, they have a common theme or the paint schemes are directly copied.
  • Is Interesting to look at: Real airlines pay a LOT of money to paint their airplanes. The livery is supposed to immediately indicate the airline and also be attractive. It makes passengers want to fly that airplane/airline.
Spending the time to determine a good paint scheme pays off BIG TIME with the appeal of a VA. It shows that the CEO/modding team is dedicated to their work and have invested time into their aircraft.

Start Small
It can be VERY attractive to have a large fleet of aircraft. You want a lot of people to join your VA, but watering down who you are at the core to try to bring in more pilots isn't a good strategy for several reasons.
  • There is a lot of work involved with getting permissions, painting, and testing a large number of different aircraft. Even 2 or three aircraft will require a lot of work to adapt the paint scheme and flight test the aircraft.
  • Pilots who want to fly certain types of aircraft may not have many people to fly with in similar aircraft and loose interest/feel isolated
  • Develop a cadre of pilots who are familiar with a core aircraft/mission and let your community develop. You can always branch out later. (HAVA gradually added aircraft to it's fleet over the years)

The solution?
Start with one or two aircraft and paint a quality paint scheme on them. NOTE: Quality does not have to mean super detailed paint schemes on detailed aircraft. You can have a quality paint scheme on a lower detail model, or a simple but elegant paint scheme on a more detailed aircraft.

Some tips as a modder: Lots of colors can make things look confused. Too few colors can look lazy unless worked into a well designed pattern/overall paint scheme. There are many combinations that can make things look good. Plan out your colors and design using as many references for inspiration as you want to have. Do your research and take your time to develop your paint scheme. It may take several attempts, but you will find something you like.

Re: Example VA Announcement Post![LONG POST!]

Posted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 4:17 pm
by ksh
Does this also apply to VAF? (Virtual Air Forces)

Re: Example VA Announcement Post![LONG POST!]

Posted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 4:20 pm
by Swift
ksh wrote:
Sat Apr 29, 2017 4:17 pm
Does this also apply to VAF? (Virtual Air Forces)
I guess in many ways it does. At least in my experience. :lol:

But yeah, starting small is good for a VAF since the planes need MORE testing (they do a lot more then just fly from point A to point B).

Re: Example VA Announcement Post![LONG POST!]

Posted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 4:43 pm
by Doomsday
ksh wrote:
Sat Apr 29, 2017 4:17 pm
Does this also apply to VAF? (Virtual Air Forces)
Here is a write up that Iceman did for starting a Military Squadron that was done many years ago, still applies today.


Re: Example VA Announcement Post![LONG POST!]

Posted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 7:41 pm
by ZyreaxGaming_YT
Doomsday wrote:
Sat Apr 29, 2017 4:43 pm
write up that Iceman did for starting a Military Squadron
I like the bit about the "black man dancing with chicken wings" in that topic. Wish that this guideline was out before I started Palm Air. For new Virtual Airlines, USE THIS ADVICE.

Re: Example VA Announcement Post![LONG POST!]

Posted: Mon Jul 31, 2017 2:36 pm
by Flake
Just a heads up, I will polish this up and make it a nice pretty tutorial... Eventually. :lol:

BUMP: Polished the OP up and cleaned up a lot of my ranting. Topic now focuses on getting your release and startup good, while also equipping with the skills to keep it running.