Created in 2001, VATSIM provides an online community where pilots can learn and enjoy their passion of aviation. This experience is found with pilots and air traffic controllers from all over the world emulating the real world operations. New and experienced users are welcome to participate in the network at no cost, as pilots will fly with radar services operated to the specification of the real world meaning you will receive services for all phases of your flight when there is coverage. Bringing together real people who share the same passion, VATSIM expands the Flight Simulator experience for pilots of all levels.
Prior to logging into VATSIM you will need to sign-up for a free VATSIM ID. This may be done from the VATSIM Website. Once you have registered you will be sent an e-mail with additional information including your VATSIM ID and Password.
All of the software you will need to connect to VATSIM is free. The first piece you will need is a program called FSUIPC. This allows Microsoft Flight Simulator to connect to the software which connects you to the network.
The second piece of software you will need allows you to connect to the Network. There are two options available for this software. The first and more popular option is Squawkbox, the second option is FSINN. Both of these options work well. I would recommend Squakwbox if you are first starting off as it is a little easier to connect with at this time.