Do you aim for active airports?

When you plan a flight, do look at active airports and plan your trip accordingly? How important is it for you that your departure and/or destination airport has an active ATC?

On Expert, back in the days of regions, the IFATCs would stick to a region and open airports there. This had a high effect on traffic; other regions on Expert would hardly get traffic. Pilots wanted to go ‘where the action was’: aircrafts and active airports.

Today, the IFATC community is trying to increase the predictability that airports on Expert are staffed. Each week, Tyler posts the areas with the airports that IFATCs aim to staff for that day. Yet, I personally do not see a huge shift in traffic around the staffed airports.
Do you look at Tyler’s post, and if yes, do you plan your flights accordingly? How important is it for you to know that (1) departure and (2) destination airports in your trip are staffed?


Great post,

Personally I find it greatly important that both departure and arrival airports are staffed. It’s adds to the realism and creates a much nicer playing environment.

For this reason I avoid flying any long haul routes and stick to short haul where the controllers are. I also look at Tyler’s posts most of the time however if I see controllers elsewhere with short distances to one of Tyler’s staffed airports or another controlled airport I’ll go for that aswell.


I have drafted flights for active airports but I often miss them.

Unless I am doing specific flights from the VAs im in, I usually predict my flights using Tyler’s post.

Last month, I started my fight 13hrs prior to the next region. I thought EDDL would be staffed so I prepared my route and flew the day before from KSAN. 10hrs into my flight, EDDL was active, but 30mins to arrival EDDL closed xD.

Its really a hit or miss for long flights. I seldom do regional flights these days unless someone asks me along so ATC is something rare for me.

To really answer the question, I simply hope ATC is active. I wont divert to an active airport 20miles from my destination.

Its easier to depart from an active ATC airport than arrive in one =p


I rarely aim for active airports because it’s usually the same airports(LAX, Heathrow, JFK etc). It becomes pretty boring flying to the same airports many times. I occasionally fly into airports selected for the weekly IFATC as long as I have never visited those airports in IF.

When it comes to heading to the active airport in IF especially while doing a long haul, it becomes unpredictable since IFATC might go offline while you are just 20 minutes from the destination airport.


If short haul, I try and do both airports (e.g. right now Im flying from EGLL-LSGG-LSZH) and LSGG was staffed when I landed, and LSZH is still open now while I’m aproaching. For long haul, I try to depart from an active airport and arrive at any other one as it’s a bit more unpredictable.


It depends on my mood usually. Sometimes I tried to visit airports without an ATC Coverage, such as WSSS which rarely gets an attention due to low imagery. But I do enjoy it as it will reduce lag during my flight 😊

However, sometimes I prefer going to airports with active coverage. Like what I did during my last flight, as I took off from OLBA (Beirut) which didn’t have an ATC coverage at that time, to OTHH which had an ATC Coverage. So yeah, it depends on my mood as it gets
boring if ATCs only controls mainstream airports 😂


I like to depart from and to arrive to active airports…
But There are not many active ATC in airports that I like…
And when I arrive to active airport, ATC says that airport is busy and I can not to arrive to this airport (EGLL)…
So now I don’t plan flight with arrival to EGLL… because there are many aircrafts all time and ATC will be busy all time

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And on expert there are not active ATC all time…

I enjoy flying different routes for adventures (i. e., difficult landings) and for beautiful landscapes. Active ATC or not isn’t my main concern when Im ready to log some flights on IF cuz there are just too few airports on the Expert Server operated by active ATCs in any given day…🛬🛫

It used to be something I based my flights on but after global I usually like to start at an active airport and fly where I want, I enjoy the views so much so I don’t mind too much not having ATC but when you do of course it’s even more realistic and enjoyable.

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Intresting Post! I enjoy flying with Active ATC and pilts who act in a proffesional manner which is why I like flying on the expert server. However whilst I keepa close eye on the Tylers schedule as well as his excellent recomended routes, I tend to fly the routes that I want to fly, not necessarry if there is ATC available.

For example on Tuesday I was flying Cairns to Brisbane (lovely flight over the Great Barrier reef, highly recomend it!), Tuesday had been planned as the Jetstar Day by Tyler, however not much action at that time. When I was on approach to YBBN then on the mapI could see an aircraft at the airport and as I got closer TWR came on and gave me clearance to land. BY the time I had landed and taxied to the gate a number of other aircraft had spawned and was gettign ready to fly. Helped add to the end of a perfect flight.

However I will have to add that pre-global I used to avoid regions that was staffed by IFATC as they tended to be TOO full of aircraft which actually removed the feel of realism. A product of own sucsess! However that feeling is now gone as we are more spread out.


I really dont mind if the airport Im departing or arriving is active or populated. I really enjoy doing different routes, so I dont pay attention to that.

The problem is when we open an airport many people plan a route to us but often ther flight goes 3-4 hrs and than airport is mostly closed. So often we controll in a session 3-5 planes 😅.

I tend to only fly to staffed airports. It increases user experience and it’s fun to spot people from the IFC haha.


I do prefer flights to airports where there is active atc. When you have unicom, everything is at your own discretion, and no one to assist you.

I normally aim to start with ATC so will spawn where ATC is active and then pick a destination from there depending on the time I have. I’ll try to fly to a place which may be open but it won’t always happen so just try to have some at my departure airport.


Really I don’t tend to fly at staffed airports, but sometimes I do, so I can find people from the IFC.

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I fly where I want. I would like there to be ATC, but I won’t not do a flight due to the lack of ATC (I’m yet to land at an airport that is staffed!).

I feel like if I were to plan my flights according to where ATC opened, it would be just like regions. I want to fly long haul routes, and if I takeoff from an airport that has ATC, my arrival airport won’t have any, and vice versa.

FDS should put out weekly routes (short haul, medium hall, long haul,) and staff all the airports concerning those routes. For example, Monday is British Airways, and they put out the destination airports (ex. Short haul - London to Zurich, Medium Hall - London to Cairo, Long Haul - London to Los Angeles). Of course there will be way more routes, but that’s just an example. Then, all the arrival/departure airports will be staffed, allowing people to fly all over the globe with acess to ATC.

Just read that over and it made no sense but I hope you understood it.

you say you “try to find a place that may be open”. How do you do this? Do you select and airport in the target area, via Tyler’s weekly schedule?

Why is that? Is this because you don’t use Tyler’s schedule to find out your best chance of finding a staffed airport?