EPOCH Alaska Air : Official Airline of the Aurora Borealis

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EPOCH Alaska Air VA

  1. "Coles Notes" checklist for becoming a Pilot at EPOCH?

    Without repeating the detailed description and links found in the FAQ "How do I participate as an EPOCH Alaska Air Bush Pilot?", here is a simple step-by-step checklist.

    This applies to becoming a pilot at our VA - not just for scheduled flying in EPOCH Alaska or EPOCH Passage, but for any activities that work into our Economy model and group flying.


    1. Decide if you want to be a line pilot (Core) or a Contract Pilot.

    2. Post your desire. Indicate your current licenses, certificates, endorsements and qualifications as per requirements.

    3. Decide on a 'personal' aircraft that you will use to commute and do regular personal flying in while in the EPOCH 'mind' but not on a specific job or scheduled flight.

    4. If you are intending to fly any of our scheduled flights (EAA or EPA), then decide on a Hub that you will work from.

    5. Decide if you will rent or buy a residence at your hub, or just use EPOCH's pilot crashpad until you decide.

    6. Decide if you want a residence anywhere else in the EPOCH world.

    7. Message these items forward under the appropriate Pilot thread in the Forums (Core or Contract)

    8. Upon notification that you are now entered into the Economy Database, you may begin flying any of the available EPOCH opportunities.

    Note: Remember, you do not have to be a registered EPOCH Pilot to participate with others here on the Forums or even Online. The only difference is that you won't be a part of the Economy system nor will you have an opportunity to have a place built for you at our shared 'Home Away From Home' - CYXQ Beaver Creek.

  2. How do I participate as an EPOCH Alaska Air Bush Pilot?

    EPOCH is a Virtual Airline like no others. It is designed to be a personal participatory experience, run by people and not just automated processes. It is not smooth and polished - it is similar to many small operators in that the individuality of the pilots, the EPOCH Staff and the developers flavour the experience and make for an organic experience that ebbs and flows with regular highlights and quiet days as well.

    As a member of EPOCH, you may participate in any or all of the categories of experience listed below, as they come available or are provided through our Forum. Most major events are advertised on the front page (News) for at least a week, so regularly checking will usually keep you up to date. The entire News Page, and all links within the notifications, are retained for a full year, so no need to completely miss out on anything at all.

    There are no restrictions on being or retaining your membership as an EPOCH Alaska Air pilot. The only limitation is that we ask that you publicly participate at least once per year to remain a registered pilot, although being registered is voluntary and not needed to have access to all of our offerings and downloads.

    We average over 100 unique visitors every day at our site. Many of these folks come and avail themselves of our offerings and will often participate "quietly" in current and previously developed flights. As a matter of fact, based on personal messages and emails, the Registered EPOCH Pilot represents only the tip of the iceberg - there are, on average, 37 people flying some component of the EPOCH experience per day (stats collected and analyzed over the last 24 months).


    EPOCH Alaska Air is organized into the following categories:

    - Scheduled Flights

    - Missions

    - Adventures

    - Activities

    Most of these have some component of the EPOCH Economy System present, which is still under development, but which provides monthly financial reports detailing a pilot's earnings, costs and expenditures. While still in its infancy, and not yet a proven model, it is nonetheless a fun 'aside' to flying with our VA. It is completely optional to participate in, as are all EPOCH acitivities.

    Scheduled Flights.

    There is a section in the Forum dedicated to scheduled flight service that introduces you to the concept and the processes. It directs you to the pilot rule sets as well as the scheduled routes and automated Pilot Reporting system. Our Automated Dispatcher at present is a semi-automatic random number process, slated for expansion to provide load details in the near future. While we have a number of Hub Skeds already developed, a deeper experience is under development to provide the smaller feeder routes as part of the scheduled service experience.

    The simulated paradigm for our scheduled service is that any flights not performed by our pilots are contracted out to other carriers - which means that EPOCH makes money when you fly (as do you) and loses money if it has to farm out the majority of its schedued flights.

    Missions.

    These are always well advertised in the News (and often in the Blog) as well as having separate topics available and linked in the Forum. An example of a 'Mission" might be our FARM (Ferry and Relocation Mission), where we had to fly over a hundred aircraft into Alaska from various locations throughout North America. Another example of a mission is where EPOCH pilots brought supplies to Beaver Creek to build the airpark. The biggest Mission we have available, which is provided on an ongoing basis, is the Tour Missions, and these have their own topic in the Forum.

    Missions always have a relationship with the Economy system, if a pilot has opted to participate.

    Adventures.

    These are our regular "one-off" fun flying releases and take many forms. The 2013 & 2014 Iditarod was an example of one of our largest and most comprehensive adventures. Smaller ones include our $100 Hamburger Flights, our yearly Vacation, the Valdez Airshow and many more. There is a section in the Forum dedicated to our Adventures, and they can be flown at any time, as we keep all resources available for at least one year.

    Most Adventures are flown when they are released, and are advertised on our News Page. Often, pilot groups will setup Online Flights to participate in a current adventure while still others will fly them at their leisure and post a screenshot or anecdote in the Forum topics supplied.

    Activities.

    There are always various assorted activities happening around EPOCH - centred mostly on the Forum. We discuss aircraft and characteristics and have one of the most comprehensive databases of X-Plane-specific stats for the many aircraft that comprise EPOCH's inventory, as can be seen in the page "The Aircraft of EPOCH AA". Another example of an 'Activity' is our frequent focus on training. As we have a number of very talented members, some of whom have real world flight experience and others who have years of dedicated sim experience, we find it possible to offer some very informative and educational training. Some is offered "in-conference" (on TeamSpeak) while much is provided as print materials. Of course one of our favourite activities at EPOCH is developing experiences to share with each other. We have a number of scenery folks who love to help out, aircraft mod specialists who are always ready to answer a question, a helicopter specialist, flight plan developers and our Chief Pilot has tens of thousands of hours of real world flight experience that he willingly shares to make our simulated flights that much more enjoyable. Lastly (but not the least by any means), we also have those who paint new skins for our craft, assist in behind-the-scenes admin work and even provide articles and links that relate to our genre.

    As a member of uX-Pa and EPOCH, you can participate in any or all of these, at will, in your own time. We place no restrictions on your experience or desire to join publicly or shadow the events, quietly enjoying yourself at your leisure.


    Becoming a Registered Pilot.

    Following the over-arching philosophy of EPOCH, we have no mandatory rules for you to follow to maintain your position as a pilot with us. The section in the Forum titled 'The Pilots of EPOCH Alaska Air', under the heading 'EPOCH Alaska Air' has the few details required. This merely ensures that you are a registered pilot, and as such have a link made between any reported flying and our Economy System. There are, on average, 6.2 unregistered pilots flying bush with us for every pilot we have registered on the rolls.


    What to Fly / When to Fly.

    If you are interested in following with current activities, then merely keep an eye on the News Page and try to have a look at new posts every day or so. But the News Page is truly your link to New things going on.

    Read! Pick an activity, be it a scheduled flight, and adventure or a mission, travel to the Forum and dig into the topic that has been generated and dialogued when the activity first was started. By reading the anecdotes of others you will readily see how others have participated, the fun and challenges they have had, and where it has led them to as far as continuing to fly EPOCH.


    Scenery/Aircraft Add-ons.

    All of the scenery in our download area is freeware, developed for you by members here at uX-Pa. We also release one scenery payware package per year (or thereabouts) to assist with paying for this site, our TeamSpeak server, contests and prizes and the likes.

    We have had one aircraft developed/modded for EPOCH by its author (the Cicada) and one plugin written for bush flying, for 32 and 64 bit systems (Duct Tape).

    We also have a site partner, X-Hangar, who develops X-Plane aircraft and offers EPOCH pilots/uX-Pa members a very generous discount on his product.

     

    Issues.

    Every once in a while we all have problems with scenery, aircraft, plugins, hardware and our core X-Plane simulator. Unavoidable when we are working with a platform that is under constant development, and it is the price we pay for having one of the best desktop flight simulators ever.

    uX-Pa recognizes the need to have available an area for discussion and resolution of problems, and our user base is large enough and skilled enough to solve many of the problems you might have. As a member of our site, we invite you to post, in the appropriate Tech Help spot in the Forum, your issue and we shall see if we can be of service.

    We have a General Discussions Topic for all the other issues/questions one might have, and a score of members keeping an eye to help out. One should not be bogged down for long!

     

    Summary.

    We want to be different.

    We want an experience that is personal - to communicate with each other courteously and kindly, moving our hobby forward in enjoyable ways.

    We want the excitement of new things happening at least weekly - not just an automated VA experience.

    We are proud of what we have all built together, for the EPOCH experience is a shared one - dozens have joined in and rolled up their sleeves to make this what it is.

    We want to have fun without stress - minimal rules help with this.

    We want to continue learning about this wonderful field of aviation.


    We are EPOCH Alaska Air Pilots. Low and Slow, or High and Dry, we ply the airways and forgotten lands of the far north, bringing virtual people and cargo where others fear to tread!



  3. How do I become a Pilot for EPOCH Passage Aviation (EPA)?

    1. You must be a registered EPOCH Pilot (see FAQ 1.1 and 1.2 herein)

    2. You must have a float endorsement.

    3. You must have at least one of the registered EPA aircraft with which to fly Dispatched Jobs. Liveries are available. See all notes in This Topic.

    4. You may retain your residences in Alaska and the Yukon, but must be prepared, at least initially, to stay at the rather spartan bachelor's quarters available in Nimpkish Heights at Port McNeill that are leased by EPA for this purpose. This will cost you $500 per month in Economy system.

    5. You must fly at least 1 dispatch per month to maintain eligibility.

  4. What is "Real Time" when it is stated for an Online Flight or other?

    This refers to Alaskan Time only. As this VA is based in Alaska, we refer to any time notations like "Real" or "Local" as being Alaskan.

    Alaska has standard and daylight savings time, like many others. It is 9 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT/UTC/Zulu) in the winter, during standard time, and 8 hours behind in the summer, during daylight savings time.

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Membership

  1. Why do I need to provide my birthdate just to be a member?

    Good question! Great question actually. We had hoped to gather a bit of demographic data to tailor products and services to the median age group, but when we dug in to see about modifying this, here's where it took us...

    1. The membership signup app (the only one available from our website host - WEBS) is 'owned' by them.

    2.We cannot get this data collection to work with it for our own ends. We assume that they are analyzing this data for their own marketing ends.

    3. Following, I have included the conversation that I had with their technical support staff, directly from their Help Chat.

    4. My solution for you, if you would please bear with this inconvenience, is to enter a false birthdate so as not to further identify yourself. We most certainly are happy to live without a valid age demographic. I suggest just leaving the date that fills the fields as is... then we'll all be about 24 (which I'd surely be good with :P .

    Thank you for your understanding. We appreciate you being here!

    ------------

    Hello! Welcome to WEBS. How can I help you today?

    Doug: Hi there! How can I help you today?

    JoelJohnson: I have had a complaint about the requirement of the Member Signup form (app-based - no apparent edit fields) asking for birthdate. I would like to remove this, or have it removed. What must I do?

    Doug: May I have your website address please?

    JoelJohnson: Certainly. www.unex-planedapps.com

    Doug: Thank you! One moment please :)

    JoelJohnson: Standing by...

    Doug: Alright Joel, unfortunately that is a required option that cannot be removed

    Doug: You are only able to add additional questions

    JoelJohnson: That is unfortunate, as it is also a required function for my site. What do you recommend? I have paid for Premium Services but now am unable to control the things I've paid for. Here in Canada, it is *illegal* to deny service to anyone who does not wish to reveal their birthdate. I would like to afford my members the same considerations.

    Doug: I sincerely apologize but we unfortunately do not have a workaround at this time

    JoelJohnson: Well, I shall message that forward to existing and potential members ... in a visible manner that they might see that I've made the attempt. You might consider this yourselves, since out of the 100+ members I have currently, some of them could be *your* potential customers as well. Good Day!


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General Information

  1. When did this VA get started?

    This site represents 2 entities.

    The first is the business entity (and host to the VA) known as "uX-Pa", which is just a contraction of the site's URL: www.unex-planedapps.com

    uX-Pa was 'born' on Monday February 24th, 2012 at 2300 UTC. The Head Office is based in North Bay, Ontario Canada.

    The VA (Virtual Airline - Virtual Airservice actually), known as EPOCH Alaska Air, was born on Friday October 26, 2012 at 1700 UTC.

  2. Can I advertise or mention my VA in this site?

    Although we love to see others members of other VAs drop by, and we love to drop by your site too, we are mindful of common courtesy and protocol in our dealings with other VAs, hence we apply the same rule for all of us.

    We do not mind you mentioning that you fly for another VA of course. But setting up links to it, attempting to blend activities or sharing posts/pictures/files from your VA site to ours is discouraged.

    The primary reason for this is that we manage a completely different type of Virtual Airline here. We employ no "standard" VA tools or processes. We manage a very personal experience that attempts to include the life of a bush pilot, not just one job after another with generic people or materials being transported. To bring another experience into our hangar spaces is to disrupt the flow of immersion that we attempt to maintain for our members, thus we have put this rule in place.

    Of note, we do not mention our VA when out and about at other virtual airlines. We do however advertise at X-Plane.org, as they are partners in a number of ways and are not a VA. We also post opportunities on occasion for other simmers at sites we have been invited to participate with in this way, like Flightsim.com.

    Thank you for your question and we hope that you will give us a try when looking for a deeply immersive bush flying experience, complete with training, scenery, tutorials and an upcoming custom economy model.

    Cheers,

    bc (admin)

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TeamSpeak 3

  1. How do I sign up for TeamSpeak?

    It's a fairly simple process. There are three steps.


    1. Read the Rules of Use & Conduct below.

    2. Go to the descriptive post in our Forum HERE

    3. Follow the Link from Step 2 for the remaining information.


    Enjoy.

  2. What are the rules to use this server?

    Rules / Code of Conduct

    The TeamSpeak host has been made available by uX-Pa for the use of it's members and the pilots of EPOCH Alaska Air VA. Please mind the few simple rules regarding its use. Failure to comply can lead to a temporary or even permanent ban from the service.

    1. Be nice. No flames, foul language etc.

    2. Use only for uX-Pa or EPOCH activity. Conversations/Channels are to be used for aviation and sim related activity, not for chatting about issues unrelated. Others in the channel are there for the stated purposes - respect this please and don't hog bandwidth or you will be asked to leave. If you are looking for a chat server for casual conversations, we can provide you with links that have nothing to do with uX-Pa, EPOCH or sim flying.

    3. For any clarification of use, special permissions etc. you may PM either Dirob or bc.

    4. Please use the service. uX-Pa has purchased the necessary infrastructure to provide this, as it has been requested often enough, so the continued delivery of same is dependant upon how much the members use it.

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Developers

  1. Any Rules or Standards for developing scenery for EPOCH Alaska?

    Yes, there are.

    We call it an "EPOCH-Compatible" build if it adheres to a number of common-sense and readily understood standards. By making it compatible, you also have access to any of our custom objects and textures for your build.

    Here's what we're looking for:


    1. The scenery is built for our area of operations (Alaska, Western B.C. and the Yukon Territories and Western NWT). The reasons are self-explanatory.

    2. The scenery is built for use with X-Plane V9.7 and X-Plane V10.3+ with default mesh. We also encourage you to wiggle your build so it conforms (or is at least usable) with X-Plane V10.3 HD Mesh Version 3. Sometimes this means that your build will need to have up to 3 separate downloads for all users. An exception to this is a build that corrects something in one version to allow missions, adventures and skeds to work for all users of the versions (example- V9 river added to match with a V10 river that already exists).

    3. The Libraries listed in the Links Page (found under News in the top NavBar) are the only ones used. Reason: Libraries are reviewed often, and only those with a proven track record of being updated and robust are listed. Check the Links Page before you begin a build.

    4. You may use any custom objects/textures from any EPOCH build as long as you comply with "EPOCH-Compatibility" and your EULA gives credit to the appropriate teams and/or builders (see an existing download for an example). You may not use the assets stated here for builds which do not comply with EPOCH-compatibility standards.

    5. Your publication (which may be done by yourself or the admin "-bc-") must have EPOCH Alaska Air and, if applicable, ERAlaska Destinations clearly in the advertising and download description. If you wish to publish only at EPOCH, then check with -bc- to have your upload put in our storage farm and the links to it provided. If you are publishing to the Org (or other Forum), please supply -bc- with the link and the picture that you wish to have used in our Downloads section and another for advertising on our News Page (if so desired).

    6. Other developer's EULA's and all copyrights are to be respected. Permissions to utilize another's assets must be obtained in writing.

    7. Fantasy builds are allowable but we ask that you clear this with the admin first and suggest the use of the facility and how it meshes with EPOCH's activities.


    Our admin and moderators, as well as members, work hard to provide quality and timely help for any members with scenery issues. This service is made possible through the development of scenery that follows a conformal, standards-driven approach. We promote your involvement as a builder and merely ask you to follow the above if you wish your creation to be a registered EPOCH facility.


    As far as quality assurance is concerned, we hold you to no standards, other than to ask you to maintain the level of quality of the facilities as you see them in recent submissions. We do like to ensure that not just an airport is developed, but the surroundings as well, as we like to pay tribute to the many villages and people that exist there in real life.


    Enjoy the wonderful world of building and deploying scenery, and we all surely enjoy it when you are developing for our VA. So...

    Thank You in advance.

    bc

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