VATSIM is a network dedicated to simulating the aviation world that many people found themselves a hard time to access. Even though flight simulator is generally considered as entertainment, every person who tries to connect to the VATSIM network should make the best effort to make our online network as realistic as possible. Based on individual experience, each controller is assigned certain positions for their online duty. We the training team at VATPRC believe that as a mean to ensure high quality controlling service, continual evaluation is necessary to ensure high quality of air traffic control service. Both local and visiting controllers who wish to advance to the next level should challenge themselves with the next promotional test. A written test is mandatory for all promotions in VATPRC, and an Over-the-Shoulder (OTS) test is mandatory for promotions above student level (STU). Visiting controllers are required to take OTS exams to qualify for more positions. In addition to exams, we do encourage controllers to get online more frequently to enhance their controlling experiences and skills. Even though reading materials may provide general knowledge of air traffic control in VATSIM, the only way to consolidate this knowledge is by performing them behind the screen. Each student is assigned an instructor or mentor who is always glad to help anyone who has doubts and concerns over their level of control.
Brief Overview of Your ATC Career
Anyone wishing to use the VATSIM network for either flying or controller must apply for a VATSIM account. This can be done by going to the VATSIM home page and follow the listed instructions. Once you have registered, you will be assigned a 6 or 7 digit ID number and a password, which you will be using to log onto the VATSIM network through a third-party client. VATSIM members who have no previous experience in air traffic controlling (no logged working hours) in VATSIM are considered as “Observers”. You are automatically assigned an Observer (OBS) rating upon your registration. Observers can log onto the network with ATC radar clients (such as VRC, Euroscope, etc.) but are limited to observer positions (i.e. cannot control traffic under any circumstances).
To get on the control tower and talk to the aircrafts on the ground or in the air through the ground transmitter, you must be certified as a controller. On VATSIM, the training director or head instructor supervises all the training activity within the respective FIR. In some cases in which the division is in charge of only one FIR or there is no vACC listed under that division, the training director of the division will be responsible for managing training. On VATSIM, a rating system is in place to distinguish each controller’s knowledge.
- Administrator (ADM) – this highest rating is reserved for administrative staff members at government level or in executive committee
- Supervisor (SUP) – personnel monitoring network activity and enforce regulation on the network
- Senior Instructor (I3/INS+) – responsible for ATC training. Usually more experienced than I1
- Instructor (I1/INS) – responsible for ATC training
- Senior Controller (C3/CTR+) – This position is permitted to control all positions, usually more experienced than C1. However, the award condition needs to be determined at this stage
- Controller (C1) – This position is permitted to control all positions including Flight Service Station (FSS) according to Global Policy Review
- TMA Controller (S3) – This position is permitted to control all positions up to APP/DEP level, including all procedural towers.
- Tower Controller (S2) – Advanced level aerodrome control Controllers holding this rating can control any positions up to tower (TWR). All procedural towers are excepted.
- Tower Trainee (S1) – Beginning level of controller. At most cases, this rating is only for training purposes.
- Pilot/Observer (OBS)
Once you have passed the exam, you may be promoted to Student rating (STU). At this level you with tutorial lessons and evaluations, you will work on your certificates of controlling the positions of Clarence Delivery (DEL), Ground Control (GND), and Tower Control (TWR). Due to the complexity of certain airspace, you may also be required to receive a certificate before controlling at some busy airports. If you are adept with control all three positions previously mentioned, you can apply for the Senior Student promotional exam. Promotion to the next level (up to Senior Controller) requires a promotional exam.