We are often asked by virtual airlines, “why doesn’t smartCARS have an AFK check or check-in feature?” For those not familiar with the term, AFK means “away from keyboard.” Below, I’ll explain why we have not yet implemented (and will not be adding) such a feature.
Some virtual airlines want an AFK check to ensure that their pilots do not walk away in the middle of a flight. This concept works when everything goes as planned, but let’s face – we all have lives outside of flight simulation. Sometimes, these lives get in the way of the flights we planned on doing and we have to leave our computers unattended. Allowing a program to nag its users to ensure they’re providing 100% focus at all times is unfair.
Our goal with smartCARS has always been to provide a friendly and easy experience for all users. There are some very dedicated simmers who DO stay in sim, at the computer, for the entire flight – power to them. Others can’t do this and we don’t feel that they should be punished for it. As well, adding such a feature may deter pilots who have other commitments or who are unable to guarantee their availability from joining (or staying with) your virtual airline.
Ultimately, we all sim for the fun and for the love of aviation – we feel that putting these sorts of requirements on how we (virtually) fly detracts from the experience.