Center is more important than you think it is

IFATC Education Group Featured Post

Center is to Approach in the same way that Approach is to Tower. You can’t go a minute without Approach as Tower when it’s busy. You technically can, ask this controller but it can be incredibly difficult. I will argue that the same can be said for Approach needing Center, just as much.

With the addition of STARs into Infinite Flight came more and less complexity. It’s less complex because everything is automated. No more crazy “S” shapes or Doors, people are just following their flight plan and you’re making small adjustments to deconflict. It’s now simpler and more natural. It’s complex though because it may seem like you have less options.

Think of a STAR like a runway. There may or may not be that many, and all the aircraft will eventually need to funnel into one area. It’s hard to judge spacing and be proactive all by yourself as Approach, like it’s just as difficult to be Tower without Approach.

That’s where Center comes in. Center’s job is to, one, make Approach’s life incredibly easy, and two, make them look good. You wouldn’t hand Approach a problem as Center just like you wouldn’t hand Tower a problem as Approach. In order for the flow to run smoothly you need a middle man when it’s busy, that middle man being Center.

If Center is efficiently creating spacing by making small adjustments, anticipating conflicts well in advance, speeding down or up aircraft when appropriate, holding aircraft if necessary, and making sure everyone has the correct procedures inputed; then the whole airport will run smoothly top to bottom. Center is kind of like controlling departure, but the pilots never leave and you get to do other cool things.

Center needs Approach, Approach needs Center, Approach needs Tower, Tower needs Approach, and Ground needs to use all availble runways as to not annoy Center, Approach, and Tower. We all need the ATIS controller.

It may not seem like Center is vital to the flow of an airport, but it is and you won’t know it is until you try controlling with both Approach and Center open. It flows better, Approach is basically just sitting there looking pretty and clearing aircraft, and it’s more organized.

Our writing team post notes like this to our blog, daily. Sign up here to receive those posts so you can learn more about controlling and flying.


Well said @Trio. When I was controlling Montreal Approach earlier this week, @TRDubh controlled center and made my life so much easier getting all the traffic into a neat line. I didn’t know what I would do without him


Definitely, I agree that it makes the airport flow better overall.


Great information an aclaration. These will definitively help some pilots. Thanks for it Kyle!

1 Like

No problem, glad it helped! :)


I’m honestly fascinated to try this out now once my exams are out the way in a few weeks. Sounds like a new step along the path to realism for Infinite Flight!

1 Like

I totally agree Trio. What you all do at ATCEG is absolutely fantastic. Keep up the great work.

Happy Flying :)

1 Like

Oh you definitely have to give it a go.

Thanks, @Captain_Cign! :)

1 Like

Agreed. It would be really nice if it was actually used


@Trio Center is currently the only type of ATC that i tried and it seems pretry fun. Unfortunately i think its the ATC type that gets used least (in TS at least).
On a side note, is there some sort of tutorial or something for the different tyoes of ATC and their roles? Since im still a bit confused as to for ex. what exactly are approach and center supposed to do, if their roles overlap with tower etc…

1 Like

I totally agree @Trio! In a perfect world, we would have departure helping center, center helping approach, and approach helping tower. It really is a domino effect and the domino at the beginning (center) is the one to start it.

1 Like

Radar in general is more complicated to control, even for IFATC controllers in training, so that isn’t that surprising that it’s not open that often on the training server.

Yes, go here. There’s several tutorials embedded into the ATC Manual.


1 Like

Interesting read. I love to read about the way ATC flows, and I’m still learning everyday, thanks @Trio!

It’s always a great flow going from Center-> Approach-> Tower-> Ground. Nice post!

This topic was automatically closed 90 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.