ATC for Beginners: Introduction

TL;DR I’m doing a series of posts on how to be a good ATC. Check back soon for the first major post!

In this series of posts, we’ll dive deep into the world of ATC, right from the surface.
Are you confused by the huge array of options available to controllers, stressed out by an ever-nearing swarm of aircraft approaching your airspace? Then this is the series for you! I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I’ll help you to get off the ground and up the tower staircase! In this first post, we will take a brief look at a controller’s role, and why you might want to try ATC.

Air Traffic Controllers are the people responsible for guiding aircraft on safe paths to and from airports. This is known globally to be an incredibly stressful role- controllers are given the huge responsibility of trying to ensure that no collisions take place. Due to this stressful nature, many wonder why anyone would want to become a controller. The answer is, in fact, quite simple- for passion. We all find our niche and some just love to control air traffic. If you’re a subscriber to Infinite Flight Live, it really is something you should try out- not just to consider being a controller, but to see the tables turned. You might find, when you try controlling airplanes, that this helps you to gain a greater understanding of ATC commands, so that, when you are flying, you will have a better grasp of the concepts of ATC communication. Additionally, controlling is also known to make for more courteous pilots, since you will understand why the controller doesn’t want you to do certain things, such as call for takeoff when not 1st in line- you have experienced the controlling side yourself.
I would strongly urge you to give controlling a go- perhaps you won’t like it, but it at least provides you with an intriguing angle on the world of flying. Or, maybe you do want to give it a go for a little longer- please post your questions, comments, and post requests here, and I’ll try to answer your questions in future posts- you may be a little bamboozled by the amount of menus available to you, and the strange terminology within!
This series was inspired by @Wren_Jago who requested some advice on ATC, but is directed at the whole community.

If you’re having trouble with ATC, we’ve begun to put together a panel of experts to help answer questions on controlling, and provide practical advice- look out for tips from these guys in my posts!

ATC Pro panel

@BBJMAX Leader of IFEP’s ATC Playground Crew, an accomplished Controller

@mhhodges76 Experienced controller- currently producing documentation to
help controllers navigate menus and understand commands.

@HV9690 Advanced Server* Controller, an accomplished Controller

Let me know if you consider yourself an expert and would like to be added to this list!
*Please note advanced controlling recruitment is currently CLOSED. Please do not post questions on this! Thank you.


Me? I’m an advanced server controller too maybe I can help you guys out?

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Thanks a bunch mate

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Okay, sure, I’ll put you in.


My preliminary investigative target market report can wait :P- decided to start doing this instead!

Alright I gtg it’s midnight here but thanks a load

Hmm? Thought you lived in Buckingham?

On holiday

Oh right, I see- alright for some, isn’t it!

Yep am in indonesia

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I am currently working on a worksheet/spreadsheet that contains all commands for all positions of ATC in IF. I will send you the finished product. It may be of some use to other controllers.

Thanks, this sounds fantastic! Would you like to join the panel of ATC experts? It’s basically to direct people to you to get help and to provide me with info to add to posts. Feel free to say no.

I’ll be glad to help!

I’m an AC2. I’d be glad to help.

Hello, tk get help with such issues I would advise opening a new thread as it does not fit with this topic. Many thanks.

Sure. Just let me know what I can do to help.

Could you send it to me when complete as I am hoping to qualify for advanced atc

Also stand by for the start of these actual posts! Sorry it’s taking so long!

It’s fine thanks for everything by the way

Add me to it! I love helping some of the non educatated pilots in IF! I’m an Advanced Server Air Traffic Controller! @mhhodges76 send me your work also, I was just thinking of making something exactly like that, after I have seen some post about not knowing some commands that ATC may throw at you and someone not having live because being Nervous about knowing and not knowing ATC commands!