The Positive Control Network has formally unveiled it's tentative release schedule ahead of FlightSimExpo in Orlando this weekend.
POSCON staff have kindly provided Threshold with full details regarding their "Invite-Only Beta" phase and a rough release target for the full release of the new online network.
Closed Beta testing of network functionality has already begun and is expected to be completed by the end of this year, though an earlier completion date is expected, as the team shift in to the first of two Invite-Only Beta runs.
Run 1 will begin as soon as closed beta has been completed and will allow between 500 and 1000 users a look in to the network in it's semi-complete state. At this stage, ATC coverage will be available, though only POSCON appointed controllers will be permitted. More information on how to get involved in ATC in the FAQ section below.
Invite-Only Run 2 is scheduled to go ahead by the end of Q1 2020, if not sooner (in fact, they claim an earlier release is very likely) with a force of 1000-2000 pilots to be recruited for this test.
Full Open Beta is expected to commence by, at the latest, Q2 2020. This allows an unlimited amount of new pilots to check out the network for the first time and will be operational 24/7, with handpicked ATC staffing in areas that have been "fully developed."
POSCON estimate full release will follow a year after the commencement of the first Invite-Only Beta run, which, going by the release dates provided, should be around Q4 2020.
The guys over at POSCON have also pointed out a number of frequently asked questions regarding the beta run for their new network - and how to get your hands on a ticket at FSExpo!
To summarise, the most important points in the FAQ revolve around age, ATC and the transfer of ratings from other networks such as VATSIM.
Unless parental consent is given (13-15 years old only), you must be 16 or older to be eligible for the POSCON Beta.
Air Traffic Controllers, along with full and functioning regional divisions, will be set up at a later date. Division staff will be selected by POSCON Staff early on in the beta run.
Ratings between networks will be exchangeable for 6 months following the official release of POSCON, so for example, if you're a C1 controller on VATSIM, you automatically get the corresponding rank when POSCON opens in 2020.
POSCON Staff will be attending this weekend's FlightSimExpo in Orlando and will be giving away Invite-Only Beta passes to lucky attendees. Requirements to be in the draw are simple - be a POSCON member (sign up on their official website here)! Winners will be contacted by email after the event.
Not attending Expo and still want to get in on the Beta? POSCON also say that staff and the closed beta team will have invite codes to hand out following the event this weekend.
Who can participate?
Will the Beta be open all the time, or will there be specific operating times?
Are the operating times fixed?
Will the Beta be "open world" or feature specific areas?
When will ATC open up to the public?
Will ATC ratings transfer from legacy networks?
When will the Division Staff be selected and how will that work?
Threshold encourages informed discussion and debate - though this can only happen if all commenters remain civil when voicing their opinions.