Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is SunAir Express Virtual Airlines?
2. Which flight simulator does SunAir Express use?
3. What is required before I can fly for SunAir?
4. How do I join SunAir Express?
5. Do SunAir Express pilots need terminal procedure books and maps?
6. What aircraft does SunAir Express fly?
7. What are the SunAir Express Hubs?
8. What is SunAir Express SkyLink?
9. What is Jim by SunAir Express?
10. What is SunAir Europa?
11. How often does a SunAir Express pilot fly?
12. May pilots use Accelerated Time mode?
13. Does SunAir Express fly online using VATSIM?
14. Does SunAir Express use FS Flight Keeper?
15. When and where are the flight rotations posted?
16. What happens if I can't fly?
17. Where can I get weather reports for my flights?
18. What is a signoff?
19. Am I strapped to only one hub or can I transfer to another?
20. What do I do if I want to leave SunAir Express?

1. WHAT IS SUNAIR EXPRESS Virtual Airlines?

A. SunAir Express is a dedicated hobby organization that uses computer flight simulation software to model the operations of an airline.

SunAir Express Virtual Airlines was founded in May of 1992 by the late James Martin Swanson (1936-1995) on the Prodigy Online Service and has been in continuous operations since then.  SunAir Express expanded beyond Prodigy to include CompuServe and American Online but it is now solely based on the Internet.

SunAir Express stated as a regional airline with one hub at Tampa International Airport (KTPA) serving some 20 cities in the southeastern United States.  SunAir Express has since expanded to 5 hubs with fights to most major cites in the Untied States including Alaska and Hawaii, the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, Europe, Australia, and the Far East with more than 1600 scheduled flights.

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2. WHICH FLIGHT SIM DOES SUNAIR EXPRESS USE?

A. SunAir Express supports Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 (FS9) and 2006 (FSX).

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3. WHAT IS REQUIRED BEFORE I CAN FLY FOR SUNAIR?

A. You need to own one of the supported flight simulator programs, pass a short, open book written test, pass a short checkride flight that will demonstrate your ability to land a B737 in IMC conditions (IFR) by supplying a DEMO video of your flight.  You will need to have or purchase FS Flight Keeper which will be available to purchase at a reduced cost after a new pilot passed the checkride.

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4. HOW DO I JOIN SUNAIR EXPRESS?

A. Visit the Pilot Application web page for more information and to apply for the new pilot evaluation written test and checkride flight.

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5. DO SUNAIR EXPRESS PILOTS NEED TERMINAL PROCEDURE BOOKS AND MAPS?

A. To enhance your experience with SunAir Express we recommend that pilots have a set of Terminal Procedure books and a set of IFR Enroute High Altitude charts for navigation.  These can be purchased from FBO's or via mail-order.  Most charts can also be downloaded off the Internet like AirNav.com and MyAirplane.com.  The Terminal Procedure books provide procedures for Instrument Approach Procedures (IAPS), Standard Terminal Arrivals (STAR), and Standard Instrument Departures (DP) plus airport diagrams.  The IFR Enroute charts provide the NAV Aids and Jet-Routes used in the SunAir flights.  Owning these charts are not mandatory, however your flight experience will be more rewarding using them.

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6. WHAT AIRCRAFT DOES SUNAIR EXPRESS FLY?

A. SunAir Express utilizes B737s, B767s, B747s, B777s, A320s, CRJ-700, Embraer 190 E-Jet, Bombardier Q400 De Havilland Dash-8-400, and the Beechcraft 1900D.  Other aircraft may be used for special events.  Most SunAir Express aircraft in company livery are available for download for use with FS9 and FS10 from the SunAir Express File Library.

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7. WHAT ARE THE SUNAIR EXPRESS HUBS?

A. The SunAir Express hubs are Atlanta (KATL), San Francisco (KSFO) St. Louis (KSTL), Tampa (KTPA) and Zürich (LHSZ).

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8. WHAT IS SUNAIR EXPRESS SKYLINK?

A. The SunAir Express Skylink is a subsidiary of SunAir Express operating in the United States, and is a commuter operations flying the Beechcraft 1900D and the CRJ-200.

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9. WHAT IS "JIM" BY SUNAIR EXPRESS?

A. Jim is a subsidiary of SunAir Express that provides all-business class service between the U.S. and European markets flying the B737 Boeing Business Jet (BBJ and BBJ2).  All pilots with a B737 rating may fly Jim routes.  Jim is named in honor of the founder of SunAir Express VA, Jim Swanson.

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10. WHAT IS SUNAIR EUROPA?

A. SunAir Europa is a subsidiary of SunAir Express that operates in the European Union flying the Embraer 190 E-Jet, B737, and B777.

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11. HOW OFTEN DOES A SUNAIR EXPRESS PILOT FLY?

A. Pilots are requested to complete one flight per month.  However, most pilots will fly more than once a month.  Pilots that are inactive for more than 15 months may be removed from the pilot roster but may be reinstated upon request.

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12. MAY PILOTS USE ACCELERATED TIME MODE?

The use of the flight simulator accelerated time mode is not allowed, as it does not align with SunAir Express Virtual Airline’s realism theme.

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13. DOES SUNAIR EXPRESS FLY ONLINE USING VATSIM?

A. SunAir Express pilots are encouraged to use VATSIM for their assignments, however it is not required.  VATSIM as a full training web site with complete instructions on setting up and flying online.  With a little practice, you will be enjoying flight with real-live ATC and real-life air traffic.  Caution: Once you start flying on VATSIM you may find that this is the only way you will want to fly, but this is good!

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14. DOES SUNAIR EXPRESS USE FS FLIGHT KEEPER?

A. Yes.  SunAir Express pilots are required to use FS Flight Keeper to send flight reports to the Pilot Operations Center.  FS Flight Keeper will supply a wealth of data about your flying and save it is a logbook.  You will be given instructions on how to setup FS Flight Keeper after passing your new pilot evaluation checkride flight.

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15. WHEN AND WHERE ARE THE FLIGHT ROTATIONS POSTED?

A. The flight schedules or "rotations" are setup by each pilot using the Pilot Operation Center's rotation maker.  A rotation that is not completed within 30 days may be deleted.

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16. WHAT HAPPENS IF I CANNOT FLY?

A. We understand the needs of real-life.  If you find that you cannot fly for an extended period of time all that we ask is that you inform your hub chief.

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17. WHERE CAN I GET WEATHER REPORTS FOR MY FLIGHTS?

A. SunAir pilots can find the latest METAR data from our Weather Page.  FS9 and FSX can also download real-world weather and winds aloft.  The use of weather add-ons are permitted.

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18. WHAT IS A SIGNOFF?

A. All pilots and officer are expected to use a "signoff" at the end of their e-mails and messages.  The signoff format is simply your call sign (SAXxxx - xxx = pilot number). 

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19. AM I STRAPPED TO ONLY ONE HUB OR CAN I TRANSFER TO ANOTHER?

A. You will be assigned a Hub after completing the SunAir Express new pilot evaluation checkride flight.  You may request a Hub but you might be assigned another if an opening isn't available.  You may request a Hub transfer at any time.

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20. WHAT DO I DO IF I WANT TO LEAVE SUNAIR EXPRESS?

A. If you find that SunAir Express is too demanding you may request a leave-of-absence or terminate your membership.  Please advise your Hub Chief if this is what you wish to do.  Please do not just disappear on us.  We understand the needs of real-live.  As an option to termination, pilots may take a leave of absence as an alternative to quitting SunAir Express.  This way you will not be losing the flight hours you have acquired.  Pilots can return to active duty when able.  Pilots on leave of absence may also fly during their leave when they have time.

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