SunWest is a high-fidelity virtual airline with an affinity for attention to detail. Our staff, made up of real-world pilots and dispatchers, has spent the last eighteen months developing and testing a virtual airline experience like no other. If you have been looking to take your flight simulator to the next level, look no further!
As a virtual airline, SunWest was founded in late 2019 with the goal of emulating the operations of a low-cost FAR Part 121 airline. Utilizing the PMDG NGXu, we have built an expansive fleet and route network throughout the United States. With hubs at Phoenix Sky Harbor International (KPHX), Mc Carran International (KLAS), Los Angeles International (KLAX), and Norman Y Mineta San Jose International (KSJC), SunWest connects the southwestern United States with over 50 destinations and 500+ daily flights.
Though SunWest is a fictional airline, we strive to operate as realistically as possible, and we expect the same from our pilots. That said, we don't expect everyone who signs up to be a professional pilot, or to even have real flight experience at all, we just want you to have a desire to learn and improve your skills. We offer training, procedures, and checklists to get you started, as well as a number of real-world professional pilots on the roster who are always willing to share their knowledge. Upon signing up, pilots will be assigned a basic company indoctrination course, as well as a ground school course for their aircraft. These are required to be completed before beginning flying duties, but are also designed to be taken by pilots of all skill levels in a reasonable amount of time. In other words, we are not a "jump in and fly" virtual airline.
With a history dating back to 1985, SunWest has grown from a handful of piston twins to over one hundred Boeing 737s. Much like a real-world low-cost airline, SunWest has snapped up many different varieties of the B737NG, which means you'll find small intricacies in every single one of our 100 aircraft.
Using a small army of real-world aviation professionals, including a handful of ATPLs, SunWest has developed standard operating procedures (SOPs) as close to the real thing as we could get. You'll find everything outlined with incredible detail in our 100-page Boeing 737 Flight Manual. If you're new and feeling slightly intimidated by all that, that's fine too! Our training department and Discord are available at all times to help you grow as a virtual aviator.
Our Dispatch System
Our dispatch system is based around a highly-modified wrapper for SimBrief. This means, you get the benefits of fuel and route planning through SimBrief, with the ability to add in our own custom functionality. You will find things like MEL items and aircraft turn schedules on your OFP, specific to our airline. While SimBrief is free to use, it is highly recommended to pair it with a Navigraph subscription.
Our Rank System
The rank structure of SunWest is different than most virtual airlines as well. While most other VAs offer some sort of tiered ranking system, SunWest has only two: first officer and captain. Much like a real-world airline, you do not transfer in with any hours, and in almost all cases, you start as a first officer. Your rank and seniority also affect the monthly bidding process, and you will be competing with other pilots for lines.
Our Growth Model
Because SunWest is a fictional airline, we are not restricted to growing (or shrinking) based on a real-world counterpart. That said, every step the airline takes is carefully planned around our simulated financial model, with real-world examples to back them up. Though we don't claim to be like any particular real-world airline, we have borrowed bits an pieces from plenty of them.
The SunWest website, crew portal, dispatch system, ACARS client, and everything else is under constant improvement. We are always looking for ways to do things even slightly more realistically, and will likely never stop. We understand that this type of virtual airline environment is not for everyone, and we don't want to be for everyone. We want to be for the type of flight simmer who values the same thing as us: realism, accuracy, and attention-to-detail.
And Much More...
Hopefully by this point, you have a good idea of what type of virtual airline we are! While we've highlighted a few key features about our operations, there are far too many to list, so we encourage interested pilots to visit our website, dig around, and make sure SunWest is for you!