Supervisor Stories: Edition 3 | May 2022
Welcome back to the third edition of Supervisor Stories! Each edition of Supervisor Stories will introduce you to a handful of supervisors from the Infinite Flight Air Traffic Control team as they share their IFATC story and journey with the wider community. The IFATC Supervisor Team and the community as a whole is full of people from around the world, with a diverse range of backgrounds, cultures and experiences so there will never be a dull moment. Sit back, relax and enjoy the third edition of Supervisor Stories as we meet and learn the stories of more supervisors from the Infinite Flight ATC team!
AviationReports' Supervisor Story
Hello! My name is Hudson. I’m a soon to be 20 year old college student in the United States, majoring in Aeronautics with a concentration in Flight Science. I also am pursuing a minor in Business Analytics. I hold my PPL and I’m pursuing my instrument rating and commercial license.
Outside of school and flight, I love sports, especially soccer and swimming. I joined during the COVID Boom of IFATC, that being April 2020. After one failed attempt of my written, I passed and went to my practical, which I passed first go, thanks for the wonderful community and pilots who attended my tracking thread session. Those where big help in my process and supplied me with a lot of information, even for my written where I was able to visualize my practice with scenarios presented on the test.
From here, I spent my 60 days building up my skills and applied for radar. Here I received training and within a month or so, I had passed that written and practical and became an officer. I built up my skills for a good few months. I had no intention to be anything higher for the next couple of month but to my surprise, I became a supervisor and tester in one of the most elite group of promoted supervisor I think IFATC has seen. It was truly an honour.
Of course, nobody is perfect and taking a supervisor role was something I was unsure of. I was only 8 months into IFATC and wasn’t looked upon the largest by my peers. I had come in with Balloonchaser, Maxim, Chris Wing, and Gliding Central, all of whom were way more elite than me. I had my runs ins, but since have developed into a figure I hope people can truly look up too. I find myself less picky and more helpful now. Sadly, life has priorities and school has began to consume life. I continue to stay in my supervisor role, but my presence has become less and less over the past few months. IFATC is an amazing team of individuals! In fact, as I become less active, I find myself always checking the discord to say hi to people and engage in conversation. I’ve made friends (even a roommate, shout out to @Yacht) from IFATC who I will forever be grateful meeting and learning their story as we all embraced lockdowns and stay at home orders.
Juan Oostuizen's Supervisor Story
My IFC journey started in late 2018, around August and October. In the beginning I was quite active in VA’s, being part of many and serving as staff for a couple of months. I’m not going to lie, during those times flying on expert and into IFATC controlled airports always was a bit nerve wracking for me. That’s when I decided to change this and start practicing my own ATC skills, with the goal of becoming an IFATC controller too. I spent hours controlling on the training server, mostly at EHAM. Even to this day Schiphol still has a special place in my heart.
I didn’t make use of an IFATC Trainer, I got myself up to speed and I finally felt ready to take the test. The test was alright, but I missed one key thing and that was the go around conflict. Because I didn’t have a trainer I didn’t know about this and unfortunately I failed my test. This is why I’m a big advocate of recruits making use of the available resources and to have a few training sessions.
My second attempt at the test is quite an interesting story. We all know that when you take the test again it’s at a different location than last time, but I didn’t know this at the time. Brandon said that I needed to wait a week for the retest, and that we will do it at the same time. So I waited one week and opened up the airport again at the same time. IFATC pilots spawned in and we did the test. It went great! After 30 minutes everyone stopped and I closed. Silence from Brandon. Eventually I messaged him asking how the test went. Brandon was flabbergasted and asked me what I was talking about. I told him that I just took my second test and that people spawned in and flew patterns for me. After a few minutes Brandon added another recruiter to the PM and this is how Gary came into the picture. It turns out I took over someone else’s test. Those pilots weren’t for me but for someone else supposed to have opened up the same airport. Everyone thought this was quite amusing but the only thing on my mind was that I was going to have to do the test again. Thankfully Gary was satisfied with my controlling and I passed my test! Even though it was in a somewhat unexpected way.
I joined IFATC as an Apprentice on 3 January 2019. I was very intrigued by the inner-workings of IFATC. I saw that there’s absolutely no reason to be stressed to fly on the expert server or into their airports. These people don’t bite, they are actually very nice! You just need to follow their instructions. On the day I joined, New Zealand was featured. We all know what that means - NZQN. Now, NZQN really isn’t the best airport for a brand new apprentice. It’s quite difficult with the terrain, back taxi and the limited amount of gates. Obviously I didn’t know this and I dived right in. Thankfully Matt Henderson (the Queenstown guru) was on approach and he helped me a ton. He was very patient and he sent me a lot of tips. Let’s just say even with all the help, the session wasn’t great. To make matters worse, DeerCrusher flew out during that time and that stressed me out even more. We all know how intimidating it is at the beginning to have Tyler or a moderator come visit you. It was a complete mess and eventually I closed. Supervisors provided feedback and recommend that I take it slow. I did just that. I was so scared that it will happen again it took a while for me to get my confidence back.
The supervisors and other controllers were very supportive during my time as an apprentice, I learned a lot and I cannot thank them enough. I moved up the ranks to specialist on 15 January 2019.
I really enjoyed my time as a specialist. I perfected my tower and ground skills and learned how to work with the radar controllers at busy hub airports. I also got to know everyone and I also made a lot of friends, some of which I still have to this day. IFATC wouldn’t be the same without them. Back then IFATC wasn’t as big today and you knew of everyone that was in the server. Today it’s a bit different as IFATC is very large and it’s easier to miss things. We only had about one officer promotion a week, and everyone knew about it. It was quite a big deal! I was already counting the days when I could apply for my radar training.
I had the best radar recruiter, his name was Manuel Gonçalves. He was so supportive in my journey and he played such a big role in my journey as an officer. I applied for radar training and Dirk Giessmann was my radar trainer. Radar training is such an amazing time in your IFATC career. To all future candidates: Enjoy it because you only go through training once. Dirk was such a great trainer, I cannot thank him enough. My radar training went quite well, I scored 100% on my written test and I passed my practical test on the first try, all thanks to Dirk and Manny. I became an officer on 25 July 2019.
During my officer check ride period I was quite cautious as I was scared I would get demoted. I controlled the hub airports in the morning when traffic was low and never opened on peak times. One big session that will always stay with me was my session at EDDF. One of my close friends, Sebastian, passed his test a few weeks before me so he was already controlling hubs and was a bit more experienced than me. He controlled EDDF approach, and when the traffic died down he told me that I should take over because it was quiet. I checked the traffic and sure enough it was quite quiet so I opened up my first hub airport in the evening. The first 30 minutes went very smoothly, but then as Murphy’s law would have it traffic started to pick up. And it didn’t stop. It contained to pick up and up. I started to panic. I called Sebastian and asked him to come back because I couldn’t handle it. Luckily he came back, and we split the airspace between North and South. This was still not enough. Remember we were both new and relatively inexperienced officers, and the thing with European airspace is that traffic can pick up extremely fast. Eventually Manuel came and he opened up as initial approach. Now we were 3 controllers and we were still very busy. To this day that was still the biggest wave of aircraft I have ever seen, but we pushed through it as a team. Teamwork makes the dreamwork.
In the next few weeks I focused on improving my radar skills, to work more efficiently and to be able to handle more traffic. Progress was good! Soon I could handle radar frequencies well and it became a piece of cake. On 11 August 2019 Joshua approached me and asked me if I would like to become a trainer. At first I was a bit uncertain because I was still a relatively new officer, but I couldn’t say no and I accepted it. Boy am I glad I accepted it! Being an IFATC Trainer is such an amazing experience. It helped me to realise that I really have a big passion for working with people and teaching them. It helped me realise that in addition to my career in aviation I would also love to be a qualified teacher. That’s where I am now, in flight school and also getting a degree in education. I’m so thankful to be part of the training team, my 3 year anniversary is coming up and I am looking forward to many more!
Then the infamous 2020 came. We all found ourselves in an entirely new situation, a global pandemic. IFATC boomed. We had a record number of new applicants, the training schedule was jam packed and the traffic levels on the expert server were like never before. It was so amazing to see how the IFATC Leadership team came together to help with IFATC’s massive growth. New trainers were appointed and we started to have online meetings to discuss all things IFATC related. The next step in my career was when Tyler contacted me on 10 May 2020 and invited me to the IFATC Supervisor team. I was so surprised! I’m honoured to be able to serve the IFATC Team and new controllers by guiding them on their journey.
During the next few months I made a lot of new friends, which I am extremely thankful for, and lost a few as well. I will always remember them and I thank them for the role they played in my time at IFATC. Life went on, I trained, controlled and flew on the expert server. For a time I helped out at IFVARB, the VA community will always have a place in my heart and I enjoyed working with them.
This brings us to 15 March 2022, when Tyler extended me the opportunity to join the IFATC Recruiting team. After being part of the training team for so long I was so excited to be able to help out with a different area in IFATC as well. I know it will be an exciting new chapter for me! I would like to thank Tyler for trusting me with this role. I would also like to say to the IFC community that I’m honoured to serve you and I can’t wait to work with you in the future! This brings us to the end of my story so far. It has been an amazing journey, full of ups and downs, full of people who have moved on and people who are still here. I cannot thank them enough. I’m looking forward to the rest of my journey through the IFC! My door is always open, please let me know if you need anything, anything at all.
Shane's Supervisor Story
Hey! I’m Shane, formerly ShaneAviation, and you can find me commonly editing airports or controlling on the expert server later in the nights here in America. I joined the community back in the summer of 2019, but I’ve been flying here and there since 2017. I formed a passionate drive to increase my activity in the community around March 2020, notoriously recognized as the beginning of COVID lockdowns. Ever since, I’ve been hooked on the community aspect of this beautiful simulator that has brought me back every day, and will likely continue to do so for quite some time. My journey with this community began with my desire to increase my abilities as an Air Traffic Controller. Back when I was 13, below the age limit to join IFATC, I began studying the information for IFATC vigorously in preparation for when I would be eligible. Some time passed by, and I had forgot to continuously study the information, but I remained fresh enough in order to pass my written tests and practical whilst joining at the appropriate age. To this day, I remember the surreal feeling of passing my practical after putting in the hard work to study and understand the information required to control on the expert server at any time I wanted.
Following my entry to IFATC, I was mainly intimidated by the whole environment. I hadn’t known how to fly at a training time, and frankly, I didn’t even know how to configure my ATIS frequency when I opened for the first time. The best thing you can do as an entry IFATC is ask for help, from what I’ve learned. As opposed to trying to manage and figure everything out yourself, it can be quite relieving to find someone to help out with any queries you may have. Needless to say, I continued on in my adventures as a specialist and joined as many training times as I could since COVID left me with a plethora of extra time. Through this process, I acquired immense amounts of knowledge that eventually led to me only having 10-11 radar training sessions because I had that prior knowledge of how to control, but I also grew relationships with others that were in the same position. After getting more and more comfortable with the same people and remaining in contact with some away from their roles in more officially supported IF discord servers, I developed true and real friendships with people that I would not be able to replace.
Following my training session and controlling grind, I was approached to join the supervisor team by Tyler, which I accepted with open arms in November of 2020. After flying for controllers and providing meaningful feedback where possible to improve technique, I moved over to training where I could provide meaningful feedback and ultimately grow controlling abilities prior to joining IFATC, in January of 2021. For my final promotion, which was recruiter, I was again approached in the middle of a training session with my trainee, LordWizrak, on voice chat. The excitement that rushed through me was indescribable… I would finally be able to help controllers gain access to IFATC as I had once aspired to do. I took that role up in April of 2021, which was only 11 months after I had joined! Crazy how fast time flies when you’re having fun.
Closing in on a year following my last ATC promotion, and I’m still at it! I can be found running tests occasionally, as well as controlling whenever I find the opportunity to do so which is commonly later in the night for us Americans. Whilst continuing on with my ATC path, I had also picked up another hobby that happened to be contributing to the Infinite Flight Scenery Editing Team. On top of providing services on the expert server whenever possible, it has been an absolute pleasure and meaningful experience to be able to bring joy to anyone who comes in contact with my service or airports, and I would not trade the work that I have put in for anything. Here’s my cheers to two years of daily activity in the community!
Thanks for tuning in to the third edition of Supervisor Stories. These stories and this initiative is designed for community members to gain an understanding of what the journey into and through IFATC can entail and to encourage community members that are contemplating joining IFATC to do so, as it is certainly an experience you won’t regret as shown by the stories of the supervisors.