My first experience as a controller

Hello to the IF community! First I’d like to say IF is pretty amazing and so seems to be most of the community. I’ve read many many posts here but only recently created an account here and this is my first created topic.

I flew fs9/2004 for several years. I flew for VAs, and used VATSIM and IVAO to some extent, but never did act as a controller. It’s been half a decade since I did much with flight simming (haven’t really had a computer most of that time). Now I’ve been getting into it again and I’ve been reading and studying like crazy, to the point it gives me headaches. I’m trying to relearn the old things and learn things I never did completely learn. It’s been quite fun!

Anyway, on to the real topic here. I did my first controlling as ground control for about 3 hrs last night at a few different airports on TS1. I picked a quiet airport with an average of about 3-4 ground aircraft every 10 mins to learn the menus. I have to say it was very fun and one heck of an adrenaline rush! I did later go to YSSY which was quiet, but at one point I had 7 aircraft appear on ground in about 15 seconds. Things got slightly overwhelming, but it was still very fun! I do believe I could quite possibly get addicted to controlling and enjoy it even more than flying. Such an exciting experience!

I will say, I didn’t fully realize how crazy people can be there until now. Randomly driving around the airport at 60kts,speedong down a rwy at 100kts, stopping, turning around, ppl speeding through and past other planes to be a jerk. One guy spent 20 mins randomly speeding all around the airport. It got to the point I just burst out laughing at how crazy he was. I decided ppl like that I’ll ignore and pretend they don’t exist at all. It’s impossible to direct traffic if someone is completely unpredictable. I also found how impatient ppl are. 6 ppl contacting you, and 2 or 3 of them repeat their request 4 times before you get a chance to get to them. Give me a minute. I can only read/listen/look around and tap so fast haha.

I did get one big surprise though. Surprising because they were a grade 5 person. I expected them to know what to do. But nope. This is how it went.

N123 request taxi to 18R. N123 taxi to 25…N123 request taxi to 18R…N123 taxi to 25…N123 request taxi to 18R…N123 taxi to 25…N123 changes frequency, expedites to 18R and takes off.

Well, it was fun anyway. Just some of my first experiences with new… And apparently not so new pilots. Overall I still loved the experience and will most certainly be doing it again tonight! I just wanted to post a bit about my past and newest flight Sim experiences. Hopefully I will meet many of you on the ground and in the air. If I keep enjoying the rush of controlling I just may not be in the air as much haha.

Happy flying and controlling!


Slowly inserts shameless recruiting attempt here.

Anyway, we’d love to have you on the team someday! You seem like the kind of guy who would fit right in. Feel free to ask myself or the other trainers any questions you may have pertaining to controlling. There’s a lot to learn!

One of my favorite things about controlling is how every situation is different. Ask ten guys how to solve a problem regarding loss of separation and they’ll come up with their own ways to remedy it. Not only do you get a thrill from it, as you said, but it does wonders for training your muscle memory.

Never get complacent. Never stop learning. And most of all, never give up a passion that you want to keep; you gotta cultivate and work for it. :)


Welcome to IF and the IFC, if you are grade 3 you get access to expert server which is where ATC Can ghost people that do not follow instructions, if you love ATC you can also consider joining IFTSATC and even IFATC, both of those have plenty of topics to read up on. As I already said welcome to the IFC!
Looks like Josh beat me to it.


But if you are not, you can always apply for IFTSATC (Infinite Flight Training Server ATC)


It’s awesome to see Infinite Flight’s controlling atmosphere actually. Many of them don’t follow instructions but sometimes they give us a good laugh yet sometimes it gets annoying 😂. I’m looking forward to see you controlling in the future as it seems you are a serious and trained controller 😊. Thanks alot for sharing your story with us ❤

Some Tips on controlling

  • It’s the best to avoid free regions (Singapore Kuala Lumpur, Southern California, Sydney, etc) if you want more serious players. It doesn’t guarantee that your session will be free from trolls but at least you’ll less likely to see them compared in free and known regions

  • Sometimes opening an airport in a quiet region gives us an obstacle to gain traffics. You might want to make a topic to show that you are controlling to a certain airports. Many community members (Incl. Me) would love to come to your session 😊

  • It would be advisable to join controlling groups (E.g IFTSATC (But I heard they have ceased due to a private matter CMIIW)) or if you want to control at Expert Server, you might want to join IFATC. You can apply it via topic on Josh’s comment above 😊. You might also want to contact one of the trainers in case you want to be more preapared in controlling as an IFATC 😊
    ATC Training Team

That’s all that I could help. Happy Controllings and Happy Flyings! ✈


@Aussie_Wombat I was a former admin for IFTSATC, but IFTSATC shut down. Ask Tyler for details.

@Rawkn, I wouldn’t recommend joining IFTSATC, because it does not exist. 😂 Sorry…


But @Rawkn you do sound like a good controller to fit into IFATC. Definitely look into the link @JoshFly8 sent in the first comment!


Thank you. I’ve seen the Shameless recruiting in several places here haha. But really, it is likely something I will be interested in one day. I’ve had a LOT going on lately with a family member having surgeries and I’m at Drs and hospitals all the time so I haven’t been flying as much as I’d like. I’m only at grade 1. But I’m thinking sometime soon I’ll just do a heap of touch and goes to get my experience up, and a couple of very long flights. Another thing is I spend so much time planning my flights (routes, fuel load) and writing down my expected takeoff and landing runways (yes, with pen and paper!) haha, that by the time I do fly I only have time for 1 flight.

I do thank you and once I have a bit more time and have learned the menus more I think I’d enjoy doing this on the expert server. At least people would obey commands.


Josh did beat you but I thank you very much just the same. It’s nice being welcomed in such a friendly community.


Welcome to the world of IF, it is far to additive, like you I am a former FSX pilot now fairly converted to IF since 2014!

Shame you had the experience at YSSY however TS1 can be a mixed bag. Can I suggest that you concentrate on being ATC in the paid for regions rather than the free ones, as you get pilots there who take things a little more serious, though you still get the odd Nim-rod!

If you are interested in VAs, then check out the VA section of the community, there are a few to chooses from with different levels of professionalism and some have their own ATC sections as well to support their pilots.

Happy landings and once again welcome!


What an absolutely wonderful story! I definitely enjoyed reading what you had to share!

I remember my first experience as a controller… oh my it was quite the headache! It was all worth it though. At first I opened up the ground frequency at Los Angeles and i found it pretty easy to figure out. Pushback and taxi were simple enough. I didnt dare touch any of the other buttons though!!! To me those “advanced” commands were off limits and for the time being i was ok with being blissfully ignorant.

After about 20 minutes i decided to close ground and move on to the tower frequency. It was so chaotic and overwhelming! I had no idea what i was doing with the exception of clearing for takeoff. This was where i got brave and tried some on the job learning. I kept issuing pattern instructions hoping i would eventually pick up on what was supposed to be performed… that didnt go over so well and i still found myself uneducated after i had closed up shop for the day.

That got me motivated just a little bit. I did a little bit of research and found the community. I made an account and after some time i sent a message to @Tyler_Shelton expressing an interest in becoming an atc. But then life happened and i had put down infinite flight with still almost no knowledge about anything…

Fast forward to a year later…

This was the beginning of November of last year: i reinstalled infinite flight and paid for a year of live+. I flew around for a little bit those next couple days. I decided to have another go at controlling. And i opened at los angeles again. Tower? No. Ground? No. It was actually both… for those of us that have been here for a while, we all know how that turned out… i crashed and burned. Hard.

This failure reignited my desire to learn, and remembering the community, i returned with the identity i have now because i couldnt remember any of the credentials for the original account. Quickly i started making my way through the forum and eventually found a VA to join… @SkyHighGuys was the man that helped break the ice for the journey that i have been on since arrival.

Soon after, @Joshua_Fleming reached out and became a good friend to me. Shortly after that, i joined British Airways VA. thats where a lot of my atc knowledge was gained. I was controlling for the VA in a matter of a couple weeks because i had learned so much. And the learning didnt stop there. I continued to learn more about controlling with each passing day. Then the back half of January came around. I started the process to become IFATC. It wasnt until sometime in February that i finally passed! I couldnt have been more excited! I “made it to the big leagues” and couldnt wait to get out there and control on the expert server! To this day i am still learning about atc procedures and everything encompassing controlling. Its been an exciting journey and i love imagining all of the possibilities of the future with this!

Here is my moral of the story: its going to be an exciting journey ahead of you. Always be learning and enjoy the ride! Who knows where it will take you!

Welcome to the community and i look forward to seeing you a part of ifatc sometime in the future.


I’m happy to see you enjoyed my first experience. Quite and interesting story and journey you had yourself! ATC sure is no easy task. Learning the most common commands given to you by ATC as a pilot isn’t TOO hard with study and practice. But learning how to issue commands, and maybe more important, WHEN to issue them is a whole different story!

I’m very happy to hear you stuck with it and are happy where you are today with controlling. I plan on sticking with it and not rushing. I figure if I take my time and go at a speed I’m comfortable with, I’ll get better results. I also get the feeling acting as ATC will make me a better pilot. For 1 I’ll have more understanding of commands, moreso, I’ll understand exactly what the controller is doing, and the likely reasons they are doing so.

One thing I didn’t mention earlier. I used to listen to live ATC all the time and I’m starting to do that again. Always fun listening to how fast a real controller can push through the chaos. It’s interesting picking up on read back errors, or a pilot taking the wrong taxiway and the controller figuring out what to do with them. Can’t blame the pilots too much, taxiways are EXTREMELY confusing and maze like. At least we don’t have to deal with them “yet” in IF. In some ways that’d make it so much more complicated. In others, you could direct traffic more precisely and not have to guess which path an aircraft will take to a runway.

Thank you much for the wonderful reply and story! Best of luck on your flying and controlling.


I can definitely confirm that knowing how to do atc increases an understanding of flying. There were a few things that i would usually question in my mind as to why. Once i learned how to control, those missing pieces of the puzzle simply fell into place!



Anyways… I share in this story so much. I have had IF for a few weeks now, paid for Live a week ago and am absolutely addicted. So much so my wife has already relegated me to only playing at night.

But anyways, I’m looking to get more involved in the community, and especially learn the ATC side. I’ve been addicted to ATC sims for years (many hours on ATC-Sim). I dove right into ATC in IF thinking it’d be a breeze, and how wrong I was. For one, the controls are a bit hard to get used to, and playing on an iPhone screen didnt help. Jumped onto my iPad and it made it somewhat easier to control. There’s a few “Wish list” items i could see making it easier to control… but i think with experience i’ll learn the ways and just get used to it.

Anyways, thanks for all the info everyone posts in tutorials and active threads! have made it great for a “noob” in the IF world.


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Being a Vatsim flyer myself as well I have come to appreciate the system that Infinite has designed for its ATC, although simplified its really the place to learn your basic and some advanced skills around controlling.

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Be very very careful, you may end up like me!!!


NICE! Very nice! Haha

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Congrats on your first post. I look forward to seeing you around. Happy flying!

Pft. Amateur.

I take you one Cali license plate and raise you a Hoosier throwdown.