Similar to Special Operations being an integral part of real world aviation, it is also an integral part of IVAO and its aviation simulation. In order for Special Operations to have its place in the virtual skies of IVAO and due to its nature, the Special Operations Department (SOD) has been established to regulate the use of Special Operations on the IVAO network environment.
The Special Operations Department consists of senior staff, tasked with regulating Special Operations IVAO-wide under the responsibility of IVAO’s Executive Council and it consists of divisional staff tasked with regulating Special Operations inside their own division and within the boundaries as defined by the Special Operations Department’s senior staff. The Special Operations Department is led by the Special Operations Director and Special Operations Assistant Director. The senior staff team is complemented with a number of Special Operations Advisors who are tasked to assist the Special Operations Director and Assistant Director carrying out their daily duties. Divisional Special Operations are led by the Special Operations Coordinator (SOC) and Special Operations Assistant Coordinator (SOAC), sometimes complemented by a divisional Special Operations Advisor.
Special Operations are defined as all aviation flights and operations that do not fall under the definition of General Air Traffic (GAT) and are thus qualified as Operational Air Traffic (OAT). Special Operations include, but are not limited to: Coast Guard operations, firefighting, search and rescue operations, lifeliners, police operations, all military flights not flying according to GAT procedures, paramilitary activities etc. In layman terms, Special Operation flights are defined as all activities that do not include flying from one destination to another and which are not being performed in accordance with official aviation procedures and rules as defined by ICAO. All traffic which does not comply with ICAO rules and procedures is termed Operational Air Traffic and thus falls under the responsibility of IVAO’s Special Operations Department.
As stated, Special Operations is as much an integral part of IVAO’s aviation simulation as it is an integral part of real world aviation, with one huge exception. This exception is the golden rule of Special Operations on the IVAO network and must be considered at all times: When simulating real world aviation in the IVAO environment, we shall avoid, under any circumstances, to simulate or to become involved in real world ethnical, political and religious conflicts and problems. It is also forbidden to simulate any act of aggression or (an act of) war. An act of aggression is defined as any aggressive, abusive or hostile behavior towards other people in the IVAO environment that is intentional and/or unwanted and without prior consent of the people directly involved. Simulation of real world Special Operations procedures, such as air-to-air and air-to-ground combat operations, does not necessarily constitute an act of aggression as long as the conditions as defined in the Special Operations Regulations (below) are met. However, targeting of any air-to-air or air-to-ground aircraft or objects is strictly prohibited when not participating in approved category B activities. This rule also applies to people observing Special Operations in the IVAO environment whom are not directly involved in performing Special Operations. These people shall also avoid, at all times, to interpret the Special Operations procedures in light of, or from a perspective of, any real world ethnical, political and religious conflicts and problems. When observing Special Operations in the IVAO environment, observers shall only reference to the Special Operations Regulations to interpret the actions of each individual performing Special Operations both during Special Operations events or during day to day Special Operations. Any real-world perspectives must not influence an observer’s interpretation of Special Operations activities.
It is the Special Operations Department’s main goal to facilitate Special Operations being performed in IVAO’s aviation environment, as real as it gets. Due to the nature of Special Operations and its possibilities for abuse towards other people, the ‘as real as it gets’ Special Operations procedures are regulated as defined in these Special Operations Regulations. It is the Special Operations Department’s main focus to provide all IVAO members with the best possible experience and freedom when performing Special Operations procedures in an IVAO environment, whilst also limiting possible abuse of this freedom and the limitation of other people’s freedom in case they’re on the receiving end of any possible abuse due to freedom gained, or in case of any violation of aforementioned ‘golden rule’.
Everyone performing Special Operations in IVAO’s environment is expected to have knowledge of, and must adhere to, the guidelines established in these Special Operations Regulations. Any violation may result in disciplinary actions being taken against the individual or group violating the Special Operations Regulations. These disciplinary actions can be constrained by members of the Executive Council, IVAO senior staff members or supervisors and range from temporary limitations to permanent exclusion from the IVAO environment.
For clarity purposes, all possible Special Operations activities are being classed into different Special Operations categories, ranging from Category A through Category E. When performing Special Operations activities in the IVAO environment, the category will determine which activities are allowed to be performed by individuals, formation flights and Special Operations Groups, as well as determine the rewards when taking part in HQ-SOD approved events of a certain category. The range of categories is defined as follows:
The bulk of Special Operations activities in the IVAO environment falls under this category. It is the collective term for all Special Operations activities that do not fall under Categories B through E. The term ‘Category A activity’ will apply to activities performed by individuals, formation flights, Special Operations Groups (SOGs) and as a categorisation for HQ-SOD approved events.
Category A SO activities apply to, but are not limited to, the following Special Operations activities: firefighting, police, lifeliners, coast guard, search and rescue, medical and casualty evacuation, VIP flights (with possible escort), humanitarian operations, logistical (transport) operations, CIMIC, formation flights, air-to-air refueling, shipborne and aircraft carrier operations, low-level flights, tactical transport, AWACS operations, basic fighter maneuvers (BFM), combat air patrol (CAP), practice intercepts (PIs) etc.
Category B SO activities in the IVAO environment are defined by combative operations, both air-to-air (A-A) as well as air-to-ground (A-G). Category B activities consist of Advanced Combat Maneuvers (ACM), task group flights, combat air patrols and practice intercepts that are both meant to turn into ACM, scrambles and simulated targeting of both aircraft and ground objects. Due to the nature of Cat B activities, they are bound to a very specific set of conditions before they’re permitted to be performed. These conditions will be explained further below.
Category C activities involve all SO activities that are due to be performed in countries/airspace that do not have an active division. Basically, all SO activities in non-active divisions are prohibited unless it is an event that is being organised under very strict regulations. The regulations will be explained in the events section below.
SO activities that fall into category D are activities in which aircraft only fly for a relative short amount of time, for the purpose of airshows, races etc. Category D activities relate to aircraft practicing for airshows/races or performing in an airshow/race itself. SO Fly-Ins also fall under Category D activities.
The Category E activities were once invented with organised practice events in mind. They’re mainly meant for people to organise a get together to practice a specific set of procedures with a group of other people, i.e. air-to-air refueling. Category E activities can also be applied to individuals, formation flights or SOGs in case they are practicing a certain set of SO procedures and have setup a scenario in which they’re only practicing one set of procedures repeatedly.
In short, the classification of SO activities is as follows: Cat A: all operations not classified under any other category. Cat B: combative operations. Cat C: all SO activities in non-active divisions. Cat D: short flights for the purpose of airshows, races or fly-ins. Cat E: activities to repeatedly practice a certain set of SO procedures.
Individuals performing ‘Special Operations activities’ outside their own division, are not considered to be performing Special Operations activities (OAT) and shall therefore follow GAT procedures in accordance with established ICAO rules and procedures, apart from activities defined below. It is also mandatory for individuals to adhere to the (Special Operations) Letter of Agreement of each division they pass through. The regulations for individuals do not apply to individuals participating in an HQ-SOD approved SO events. The following regulations apply to individual Special Operations activities:
All aircraft wanting to perform SO activities in a formation of 2 or more aircraft shall adhere to the exact same set of rules as individual Special Operations activities mentioned above. (For a definition of a formation flight, see standardization agreement 7001 written by SOD).
The following set of regulations applies to official IVAO registered Special Operations Groups (SOGs) and its members, whenever they are performing SO activities with other members of their SOG. SOGs not registered in the IVAO database as an official IVAO approved SOG are not considered to be a SOG and shall follow the regulations under header “4. Formation Special Operations activities”.
SOGs performing ‘Special Operations activities’ outside their own division, are not considered to be performing Special Operations activities (OAT) and shall therefore follow GAT procedures in accordance with established ICAO rules and procedures, apart from activities defined below. They are permitted to perform formation flights as long as they follow GAT or SO LOA defined procedures. It is mandatory for SOGs to adhere to the (Special Operations) Letter of Agreement of each division they pass through. The regulations for SOG SO activities do not apply to SOGs participating in an HQ-SOD approved SO event. The following regulations apply to SOG Special Operations activities:
The Special Operations Department of IVAO is pleased to offer all active virtual Squadrons, Air Forces or Special Operations Units the opportunity to register as IVAO-CERTIFIED Special Operations Groups. (SOGs). SOGs are similar to civilian Virtual Airlines, yet they focus on performing Special Operations activities rather than civilian ones. Registering a SOG will grant access to the IVAO-SOG system, which is a unique facility designed to assist senior officers of those groups to administer the activities of their own SOG on the IVAO network. Additional benefits include weather and online tracking displays on the group's website and of course there is a considerable prestige of having your group registered as an approved IVAO-SOG. Furthermore, registering one’s SOG as an IVAO certified SOG will place the SOG’s activities under section 5 of this document rather than section 4, granting them additional possibilities and opportunities in the IVAO environment.
In order for a SOG to be registered as an IVAO certified SOG, follow the link to the registration page and send an email to DEPARTMENTAL EMAIL to confirm the wish to be an IVAO certified SOG. To be considered as an IVAO certified SOG, the following criteria have to be met:
Both the Special Operations Department and the World Tour department are mutually responsible for creating the SOWT on an annual basis. The release date of the SOWT will be determined by both departments in close coordination with each other. Once the SOWT has been released, the World Tour Department is responsible for managing and maintaining the SOWT.
A division’s SOC/SOAC are responsible to organise and create divisional SO tours. The frequency and release dates of divisional SO tours shall be determined by the SOC/SOAC and is not bound to any regulations. Divisional SO tours shall be limited to Category A, D and E activities inside the division itself. In case the SOC/SOAC would like to involve other divisions in their divisional SO tour as well, this shall be bound to the following criteria:
Each week, many Special Operations events are being organised IVAO-wide. We can separate SO events into two different types of event: divisional SO events and HQ-SOD approved SO events. Both types can be classified according to the classification explained in section 2 of this document, ranging from Category A through E events. In general, HQ-SOD approved IVAO events offer the organising party and its participants a greater number of perks, greater possibilities, a bigger number of participants and with all advantages to HQ-SOD approved events considered, usually a higher level of fun than divisional SO events. The following criteria shall apply to all SO events organised in the IVAO environment:
Category A SO events are defined as events in which category A activities, as detailed in section 2 of this document, take place. The following criteria shall apply to Cat A SO events:
Category B SO events are defined as events in which category B activities, as detailed in section 2 of this document, take place. The following criteria shall apply to Cat B SO events:
Targets for any A-G operation shall never be any structure of a civilian nature that could house people in it, such as buildings, factories, vehicles etc. Targeting of A-G objects shall be limited to unpopulated military targets or objects that cannot house any people, such as bridges, containers etc. Participants targeting any other aircraft or ground objects than those that are part of the Cat B event, will eventually result in the individual/group being temporarily or permanently excluded from the IVAO environment due to a violation of the ‘golden rule’ mentioned in the mission statement.
Category C SO events are defined as events in which category C activities, as detailed in section 2 of this document, take place. The following criteria shall apply to Cat C SO events:
Category D SO events are defined as events in which category D activities, as detailed in section 2 of this document, take place. The following criteria shall apply to Cat D SO events:
Category E SO events are defined as events in which category E activities, as detailed in section 2 of this document, take place. The following criteria shall apply to Cat E SO events:
For a guide on how to actually create an event once you have made yourself acquainted with above mentioned rules, please visit the following page: Create an S.O. Event
A division’s Special Operations Coordinator (SOC) and Special Operations Assistant Coordinator (SOAC) are being appointed by the division’s Director and/or Assistant Director. The appointment of an SOC/SOAC is, in principle, a divisional affair. A SOC and SOAC have a number of responsibilities towards their own division. These divisional responsibilities are defined and established at the discretion of the division’s Director and/or Assistant Director. However, SOC/SOACs are also considered to be a vital part of the Special Operations Department as a whole. As such, they also have a number of responsibilities towards HQ-SOD and the SO community as a whole. The responsibilities of SOC/SOACs towards HQ-SOD and the SO community shall be defined as follows:
HQ-SOD recognizes that the appointment and/or removal of any SOC or SOAC is generally considered to be a divisional affair. It is HQ-SOD’s policy to not interfere with these divisional affairs as much as possible. HQ-SOD recognizes that it should mostly be up to the division’s headquarters to decide whether they think a SOC or SOAC is performing his/her duties properly and to decide whether a SOC or SOAC should be removed from the position or not. However, all SOCs, SOACs and divisional headquarters should also recognize that their division’s SOC and SOAC not only have responsibilities towards their own division. Above mentioned SOC and SOAC responsibilities towards HQ-SOD and the SO community as a whole are also mandatory to be performed by the SOC and/or SOAC.
In case a SOC and/or SOAC does not perform his/her responsibilities towards HQ-SOD and the SO community as defined above, HQ-SOD will first contact the SOC/SOAC and divisional headquarters to alert them of this fact and to try to find a solution for the SOC and/or SOAC to be able to fulfill above mentioned responsibilities. However, in cases where a SOC and/or SOAC continues to ignore their responsibilities towards HQ-SOD and the SO community and has shown no or too little improvement in fulfilling above mentioned responsibilities, HQ-SOD reserves the right to request IVAO’s Executive Council to remove the involved SOC and/or SOAC from their position.
Obviously, HQ-SOD recognizes that any duties and responsibilities being performed by IVAO staff members are being performed on a voluntary basis and in the staff member’s free time. HQ-SOD recognizes that it is always possible for (real world) circumstances to interfere or conflict with one’s IVAO duties and responsibilities and HQ-SOD will take this into consideration. However, HQ-SOD does expect SOC/SOACs to proactively inform HQ-SOD in cases where they cannot perform above mentioned duties and responsibilities due to interfering or conflicting (real world) circumstances. SOC/SOACs can expect HQ-SOD, in turn, to offer understanding for such circumstances and HQ-SOD will try to help find a solution as much and as best as possible, should this be necessary.
|ACM||Advanced Combat Maneuvers|
|AIP||Aeronautical Information Publication|
|ATC||Air Traffic Control|
|AWACS||Airborne Warning and Control System|
|BFM||Basic Fighter Maneuvers|
|CAP||Combat Air Patrol|
|DARP||Division Activity Reporting Plan|
|GAT||General Air Traffic|
|HQ-SOD||Special Operations Department’s senior staff (director, assistant director, advisors)|
|ICAO||International Civil Aviation Organization|
|LOA||Letter of Agreement|
|OAT||Operational Air Traffic|
|SOC||Special Operations Coordinator|
|SOAC||Special Operations Assistant Coordinator|
|SOD||Special Operations Department|
|SOD||Special Operations Director|
|SOAD||Special Operations Assistant Director|
|SOWT||Special Operations World Tour|
|TRA||Temporary Restricted Airspace|
|TSA||Temporary Segregated Airspace|
The terms ‘inside/outside division’ are extensively being used in these regulations. These terms can be defined as the following: “Inside/outside sovereign airspace (‘territory’ as per Chicago convention and water definitions as per UN Law of the Sea) of the individual’s or SOG’s division state or multistate division, including airspace over open sea, for which civil FIR/UIR of the state(s) has been established.
For any questions relating to the Special Operations Regulations or any questions about Special Operations in general, please contact the IVAO Special Operations Department on DEPARTMENTAL EMAIL