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Virtual Operators

Policies
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General
Revision: 17 Jan 2022

As defined by the Glossary, a Virtual Operator is any not-for-profit organization, external to POSCON, that conducts scheduled or otherwise routine virtual aviation related operations. To be classified as a Virtual Operator, these organizations must consist of five or more members and have a publicly accessible website.

Restrictions

Virtual Operators that do not hold a POSCON Air Operating Certificate (AOC) shall not receive any promotion of any kind on any POSCON venue. This means group flights and events organized by the Virtual Operator, even if they are to be conducted on the POSCON Network, shall not be advertised publicly by any POSCON Member, Division, or Sub-Division. An exception to this rule can be made for charitable events at the discretion of the President. Email approval needs to be obtained from the President before promotion may commence.

Requirements

All Virtual Operators that are issued a POSCON AOC must:

  1. Have clear language on their website that points users to instructions on how to register and connect to POSCON.
  2. Have the POSCON logo clearly visible and labeled as a "partner" logo and it must link to the POSCON website.
  3. Have a way for POSCON to associate user IDs with members from the Virtual Operator.
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Certification Benefits
Revision: 28 Dec 2021

The following benefits are afforded to Virtual Operators that hold a POSCON Air Operating Certificate:

  • Members of the certificated Virtual Operator are permitted to promote their organization and it's events on POSCON venues such as affiliated Discords, websites, etc.
  • If the the Virtual Operator uses fake ICAO airline codes or callsigns, then those will added to our database for the Virtual Operator's use.
    • NOTE: A real-world ICAO airline codes always take priority over fake codes, even if the fake Virtual Operator code predates the real-world airline.
  • (Not implemented yet) Pilots who are part of a certificated Virtual Operator and conduct those flights on the POSCON Network will receive Reliability Points. In order for the system to recognize that the flight was conducted for a Virtual Operator, pilots must file a flight plan and specify that the flight is being conducted for a particular Virtual Operator. This is accomplished by selecting the Virtual Operator from a drop-down menu on the FPL form. Once the flight is registered as complete by the server, the pilot will be awarded Reliability Points in accordance with the following:
    • 5 Reliability Points if Virtual Operator maintains only the mandatory Ops Specs for the type of certificate held; and
    • 1 additional Reliability Point for each Ops Spec that the Virtual Operator maintains on top of the the mandatory set.
  • POSCON will accommodate certificated Virtual Operator for slot-driven events. In some cases, this may mean adding slots to ensure the Virtual Operator has slots.
    • (Not implemented yet) If more than one certificated Virtual Operator is competing for the same slots, then the rank of the Virtual Operator will be considered.
  • Certificated Virtual Operators are permitted to have one member of their organization sit on the Network Board of Quality & Standards.
  • (Not implemented yet) Certificated Virtual Operators have direct access with their members through POSCON ACARS connection to simulate realistic dispatch communications.
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Ranking Virtual Operators
Revision: 26 Dec 2021

(Not implemented yet) Certificated Virtual Operators are ranked based on the average Quality Points score of their members. This rank is calculated by taking the total Quality Points earned by each pilot during the course of flying flights for the Virtual Operator on POSCON and dividing by the total Virtual Operator members on POSCON.

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Obtaining an Air Operating Certificate
Revision: 22 Jan 2022

The process of Virtual Operators obtaining an Air Operating Certificate from POSCON consists of four phases:

  1. Application
  2. Review Process
  3. Probation Period
  4. Approval

Application

Please see the category Application Process for more information.

Review Process

After the application is received, the Manager of AOC will be tasked with reviewing the requested Ops Specs. This process is different for each Virtual Operator, but often times it will consist of the Manager of AOC asking the Virtual Operator to produce sufficient evidence demonstrating how the Ops Specs requested have been conducted successfully in the past or a proposal of how the Ops Specs requested will be conducted in the future.

Probation Period

If the Manager of AOC approves of the the proposed Ops Specs, the Virtual Operator is issued a Temporary Operating Certificate (TOC), which is valid for a period no longer than 90 days. During this probationary period, the Virtual Operator is permitted to conduct operations on POSCON in accordance with their Ops Specs. POSCON Ops Inspectors will observe the Virtual Operator closely to determine whether they are in compliance with all requested Ops Specs.

Two orders can be issued during the Probation Period:

  1. Revision Order: If the Ops Inspectors find that minor adjustments are needed to the requested Ops Specs in order for the Virtual Operator to remain in compliance, the Manager of AOC will issue an Revision Order. In this order, it will be clearly outline what aspects of the Ops Specs that require changing. The Virtual Operator will be notified of this order and will be expected to comply within 30 days. In this case, the TOC can be extended at the discretion of the Manager of AOC, but not to exceed the original 90 days plus an additional 30 days.
  2. Cease and Desist Order: If the Ops Inspectors determine that major adjustments are needed to the requested Ops Specs in order for the Virtual Operator to remain in compliance, the Manager of AOC will issue a Cease and Desist Order. The TOC will be revoked and the Virtual Operator must immediately end operations on the POSCON Network. In this case, the application process is over and the Virtual Operator must wait a minimum of 60 days before reapplying.

Approval

If the Ops Inspectors find minimal issues during the Probation Period and all applicable Revision Orders have been completed satisfactorily, then the Manager of AOC will grant a POSCON Air Operating Certificate. The Air Operating Certificate is valid until surrendered by the Virtual Operator or revoked by POSCON.

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Violations, Fines, & Self-Disclosure
Revision: 26 Dec 2021

In order to maintain the Air Operating Certificate on POSCON, Virtual Operators must be vigilant to ensure that their membership complies with their authorized Ops Specs while conducting operations on the Network. POSCON Ops Inspectors will randomly audit Virtual Operators' members to ensure that they are complying with the Ops Specs and if they are found in violation, will issue violations.

Violations

The following applies to Ops Spec violations:

  1. Violations only apply to deviations from Ops Specs.
  2. Each violation discovered will be documented in an internal POSCON database and a copy of the violation will be emailed to the primary Point of Contact (POC) at the Virtual Operator.
  3. Ops Inspectors can only audit up to 90 days in the past.

Fines

Once the Virtual Operator has cumulatively reached a total of five Ops Spec violations, 20 Quality Points will be removed from every member of the Virtual Operator.

Self-Disclosure

If a Virtual Operator self-discloses a violation to Manager of AOC before Ops Inspectors discover the violation through an audit, then the violation shall be forgiven. This forgiveness can only occur once for each Ops Spec per 365 days.

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Adding, Modifying, Removing Ops Specs
Revision: 27 Dec 2021

Adding Ops Specs

In order to add an additional Ops Spec to an Air Operating Certificate, the Virtual Operator POC needs to email the Manager of AOC and make the request. An abbreviated version of the procedure outlined in Obtaining an Air Operating Certificate will be used to approve the new Ops Specs.

Modifying or Removing Ops Specs

To modify or remove Ops Spec, simply email the Manager of AOC. Depending on the modification, the Manager of AOC may require an abbreviated version of the procedure outlined in Obtaining an Air Operating Certificate be used to approve the modification. Mandatory Ops Specs cannot be removed.

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Revocation of Ops Specs or Air Operating Certificate
Revision: 27 Dec 2021

Trends in violations and fines over a period of time will result in punitive action taken against the certificated Virtual Operator. These measures include individual Ops Spec revocation or Air Operating Certificate revocation.

Ops Spec Revocation Policy

Three or more violations of the same Ops Spec within a period of 90 days or less or more than six within 365 days will result in revocation. Once removed, an Ops Spec can be reapplied for after 30 days.

Air Operating Certificate Revocation Policy

Three fines within 365 days will result in Air Operating Certificate revocation. Once removed, an Air Operating Certificate can be reapplied for after 60 days.

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Master Ops Specs List Revision Process
Revision: 28 Dec 2021

Reserved.

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