Share your journey as a controller

As the old thread got locked, I decided to give this a re-boot. So, wether you’re a controller on the TS with dreams of joining the big leagues (IFATC), or an IFATC who’s been part of it for years, or anywhere in between, let’s hear your story! (It doesn’t have to be as detailed as mine)

Here’s mine:

I first tried out controlling sometime last year, December 2016. I liked it at first, however it did get pretty stressful sometimes, controlling in SoCal on the Training Server. I always tried to avoid LAX unless it was during slow hours.
I remember one time I opened up tower, I got bombarded with like 7 planes all requesting inbound at the same time, all for different ends of the runways. it was a total madhouse both on the ground and in the sky, and I was like “yea nope” and ended the session. In my early stages of TS controlling, I had no clue what pattern work meant, and same thing for transitions.
I didn’t control that often but when I did I liked it. I slowly got better with my skills, knowing what more commands meant, staying at smaller airports like KSAN, KSNA, KPSP, KNUC, etc. I even did some approach frequencies as well. I didn’t really intend on joining IFATC, however that changed.

Then, on January 3rd of this year, I sent @Mark_Denton (recruiter at the time) a PM requesting the IFATC written test. I took it on January 8th, but failed. I don’t know how badly I failed, but I guess it was “marginal” because I only had to wait 2 weeks.
Then, on March 24th, after spending the winter controlling some more, even creating numerous threads about me opening ATC frequencies in various regions, creating threads and asking for feedback, I requested another written test. I then waited a few days to take it, and on March 29th I took it again. I failed, but this time by only 1 question

Fast forward to October…
I was having more thoughts about joining IFATC again, as Global had been released I was more serious about it. I had been controlling a little bit over the summer and fall, and created some threads asking for feedback. Feedback was mainly positive, a few people even encouraged me to join IFATC. On October 26th, I sent a message to @art_martinez requesting some training before I took the test. We scheduled training sessions, however we were never able to follow through with them. I just decided to head straight for a recuiter.
On November 5th, I sent everyone’s favorite beer enthusiast, Grumpy- I mean @anon66442947 to schedule the written test. After talking a bit (apparently I automatically failed due to me being a Steelers fan), I took the test on November 6th. He said I should have a paper and pencil on hand to draw out any scenarios, and it greatly helped. I passed the written test with a score of 88%! On Wednesday, November 8th, I took the practical test. I was very nervous, and because of that I didn’t do so well. I failed, but he allowed me to re-test the next week.
Sunday, November 12th, I re-took my practical. I wasn’t as nervous and tried to be as calm as I could be. After the test, Tom asked me if I was nervous. I said a little, mainly because of the runway changes and my iPad freezing up. He said there was a few things I needed to work on, but I passed and was now an IFATC controller!!!

I started off controlling Class Charlie airports. My first session was at KLGA. Only a few planes came. 7 days later, I got access to control Class Bravo airports. My most recent session (as of writing this post) was at LIRF last night, for about 90 minutes. I love what I do, and I am so happy that I never gave up, even though it took me almost a year to get to my goal.

So, if there are any of you aspiring to become an IFATC controller, remember to never give up no matter how long/hard the journey may be!!!

I can’t wait to hear other controller stories.


Great story, Glad you enjoy being a controller on the expert server. The high standards really pay off.


I just became an ifatc.

I hesitated quite a while before contacting a recruiter. First of all because I didn’t have an account on the community. Second of all because I thought it would be really hard and that I wouldn’t be able.

I passed it last week. The theory I finished in less than 15 minutes and got 92%. And practicall I passed. Although not very well for ground.

I’ve done my first session one hour ago in licc. Unfortunately there were only two planes. And both didn’t seem very good pilots. The first one didn’t know what left and right downwind are. And the second taxied trough grass🤦‍♂️

Overall I really appreciate controlling, although it would be nice if more people came to the airports that are on the schedule.


Thanks for sharing your story!

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I have recently failed my third test a week ago (72%) SO CLOSE!! But not enough. I hope to become an IFATC, but that is my last test for a while since that was the third time. I love controlling though and really want to become an IFATC! Hopefully I will be one.


Don’t give up! Just watche the tutorials over and over and practice a lot and you’ll get there!


Where do I even begin!!i was an atc controller once and lets say things didn’t go so well😃.It was before the global update when i was new to infinite flight and that’s when a caused the biggest traffic ever known to mankind when i was atc for klax.It was the most busiest airport that i had ever managed,and well lets say i just lost hope in my first five minutes of managing the airport.I gave it up on the spot and just went on to being a pilot with my boeing 737-800.Good memories.


Maybe one day I’ll be an IFATC. Who knows. I was just controlling at Heathrow on TS1 and every single pilot listened to my instructions. No one taxied through grass, each other, etc. Just goes to show how well people can start preparing now for their goals.💪


I remember my first session being on TS2 at KNUC (most wont know what TS2 was :P). I remember sequencing didn’t work then, and the overall process was a lot more casual. @chris_s came by and said I did well, which really encouraged me, but sadly, nothing really came of that first session. (I still have a screenshot of that pm to this day ;) ) Fast forward about a year, when I first became an admin with the VARB. I got to know the other guys pretty well, but it was really @NEO who pushed me to become an IFATC. I opened a tracking thread and had numerous people come to my ATC openings and provide excellent feedback and helped me grow. When I finally thought I was ready, I contacted Tom and took the written. I failed with a score of 68%. I then scheduled some more training with Jack and on the Community to sharpen my skills a bit, and retook the written and passed. Then came the tricky bit, the practical. Jack, once again, helped train me for it, and I passed on my first attempt (with a few mistakes though).

When I first controlled on the Expert Server, I was terrified that I’d make a mistake, so I stuck to smaller fields at the time. I had one disastrous session at one airport, but I gained awareness through that. When I opened my first Bravo, I didn’t think I would get swamped with as many inbounds as I did. It was insane. I ran out of sequencing numbers at the time, but miraculously, did not completely fail. Much to the contrary, in fact. I came back to the team reporting my closing when I saw many complements for my job. These truly inspired me to open more and more busy Bravos because I enjoyed the traffic and the challenge. I also learned that teaming up with fellow IFATC is a fun way to control when traffic gets busy.

Everyone starts somewhere, just remember that. You can do it.


I have only hand IF Live for about a year (sightly less, I believe). I never thought that within this year I would have accomplished as much as I have. I have recently earned my status as a Grade 5, I am part of IFAE, including the global Air Force, I’m an IFATC Specialist, and I’m partnering with another guy on the forum, trying so start up a new Virtual Airline. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but if anyone is looking for proof that you can literally accomplish anything in Infinite Flight if you try hard enough, use me as an example. And if you need help accomplishing something, I’d be more than happy to help.

So here’s my controlling experience:

I started Infinite Flight as a pilot like the rest of you. I really knew nothing about it, other than that you could fly pretty much any airplane you wanted. I was attracted to the idea that I could take control over any airline-sized jet in a few regions of the world. When I purchased a subscription to Live and played around in TS1, I was kind of interested in the ability to control busy airports like LAX. So, naturally, I tried it!

MASSIVE. FAILURE. I was very discouraged. It seemed that being able to control more than 3 planes at a time would be nearly impossible, so I stayed away from it for a while. I didn’t know how to use the ATC commands, I had no idea what “remaining in the pattern” meant, and I had no idea how to stop people from colliding with each other on the ground and in the air. So I kept flying instead. Well, when I became a Grade 3 and was able to fly on the expert server, I noticed the professionalism that the pilots and air traffic controller’s conducted themselves with. That’s when I learned about IFATC. I imagined how fun it would be to join the ranks of those Expert controllers. So I worked hard on TS1 controlling at all the busiest airports, gradually getting better and better at managing heavy amounts of traffic. When I felt comfortable enough with my skills, I contacted an IFATC recruiter, passed my written test on the first try, and then failed my first try at the practical test. My recruiter said I needed to work on sequencing the most. So I went back to TS1, worked some more, and was ready to try the test again two weeks later. Another fail. This time, I simply lost control. I freaked out and lost my cool and with that, I struggled to sequence everyone properly and failed my test. I think it was anxiety. I REALLY wanted to join the IFATC team, and I had already failed once so I didn’t want to again. Well, after my second failure I was pretty discouraged again. I kept working toward improving my skills, but I really didn’t intend on taking the test a third time. I felt that I would be wasting everyone’s time again, and that I would probably fail again.

Over the next month, I made a thread on the forums to track my ATC training and encouraged everyone to come out, test my abilities, and give feedback. After a few weeks, I regained my confidence and thought I was ready to take the test again. But, before I did that, I reached out to one of the incredible trainers on the forums just to make sure my skills were polished and perfect. When he affirmed that I was ready, I took the test again and passed with flying colors!

Now I’m addicted to controlling on the Expert server. It’s really rewarding when you successfully get through an extremely busy period at a massive airport without incident. It definitely helps that people on the Expert server actually listen to you most of the time.

If anyone reading this is thinking about quitting their pursuit of becoming IFATC, don’t give up! It’s worth all the hard work! I promise!

(This was typed on my iPhone so if I mistyped anything or it doesn’t make sense, sorry! I hate typing on this tiny screen)


Hmm, I think its good to open a new one too since story perspective changes.

It started when I bought 1 month of Live in February 2016, I remember I was approach since Bravo airports required standing to operate them. I had no idea what I was doing at that time though. In that 1 month of Live, I learnt basic pattern instructions, flew more to get to 100% standing and improved on overall flying skills as well as ATC.

Somewhere in late Feb, I was controlling at KSAN for about an hour and someone in the community DMed me receiving my first compliment as an ATC. That was when I thought about joining IFATC.

I bought Live+ in March 2016 and was casually doing ATC from time to time while I continue to learn the ropes from the community. Slowly preparing myself until I was so sure of ATC before applying for IFATC.

I observed TS ATCs and practiced on my own for abit. When I was ready, I went into the Advance server and sat on the apron for probably a good 20mins while I listened in on how the people interacted with IFATCs, I was really scared but eventually found the courage to use the ATC commands and get myself out of EGLL. It was really scary but seeing as I didnt get ghosted, I was really confident that I was ready to some extent.

Contacted Tyler in September 2016 for my ops and he mentioned that I met the requirements. I was still really nervous and unsure so I practiced a little more before contacting Dush in later in September. Dush observed my ATC and gave me the feedback for improvements, though it was generally pretty good. Feeling confident, I messaged Tyler after the session for recruitment but got no reply.

Dush contacted me on October 2016 again for one final observation and he recommended that I can start the process of joining IFATC. Contact Tyler right after and this time I took the theory test and I believe the practical right after, no dates on my DMs xD Tyler pointed out some mistakes and I joined IFATC ^^

Became an IFATC trainee on the 11th October 2016.

My first ghost on expert was really scary. The guy was practically fooling around, and I was so nervous I had to clarify if it was ghost worthy xD After ghosting, I felt really sick to the stomach, I practiced so hard to get away from TS and finally exercise order in a session but when it came to it, I was so scared. I felt super guilty, supervisor says I’ll get used to it and thats true, though I’m still nervous and at times reluctant when it comes down to it. Other than that, expert is no different from a good TS session.

Thats my ATC journey xD Meanwhile I’m still waiting for the opportunity to journey into real life ATC too.

Hope its not too boring a story xD I really enjoy reading the experience people share too, all of us are quite different but in a similar way, we like ATC.


Same here regarding the first ghost. I still remember it well, a guy on downwind ignoring his sequence to follow a plane on final 3 NM out, and he turned final 1 nm out from the runway without even being cleared to land. He wouldn’t listen to “Please follow instructions” so I ghosted

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It’s now been almost 2 months since I became IFATC, and I’m very glad I joined. If you are aspiring to become an IFATC, never give up!


My journey as a controller started like many others, controlling on TS1 with absolutely no idea what I was doing. I slowly broadened my horizons while controlling, finding out new things via the community and opening a more diverse selection of airports. Come this summer, I thought about trying for IFATC. I simply didn’t get round to it. But I had a goal. I controlled more and more after global hit. Then, I thought I was ready to go into the IFATC process.

I contacted Tom G back in October regarding becoming an expert controller. He set me up with written test. I have to say, it was quite stressful. I was pretty worried I would do badly. I finished up the test and paused for a moment before clicking “submit”. What greeted me was this:

I was incredibly pleased, as you’d expect. About a week later, I took the practical. Again, it was quite a nerve racking experience, especially with my dodgy internet connection thanks to my hotel wifi. But, I passed first time.

I really enjoy controlling. It is a responsibility, after all you have aircraft under your control, but myself and the rest of the ATC team manage perfectly well. If you’re considering going for IFATC, do it. Have lots of TS controlling sessions, and then get in the process.

You won’t regret it.


I remember my practical when all of a sudden every aircraft turned unknown :(
A week later we had some time to do it again :)
My work is rather stressful, but if I have some time I really enjoy controlling. I can encourage everybody, who wants to control (mostly) good aviators to become a part of IFATC.


Started in the summer/fall of 2005. I walked into the dreaded school house where so many had failed to walk out passing the course. From day 1 it was a nightmare of impossible amounts of information I was supposed to retain and regurgitate the next day… this would go on for more than a month while I learned the differences between shall, may and must.

Passed, now time for simulator training before receiving my facility. It was more of a breeze. I think being into video games helped a lot here. I knew some rules, now i just need to make those rules happen on the big 8 monitor screen.

Graduated… I’m almost a big boi now. Off to my first facility and man did I get a doozy. There’s busy places out there and then there’s this place, the busiest single runway facility in the DOD. I think I pee’d a little the first day seeing everything happen so fast, it was more than intimidating.

7 months later, checked out and on my own, I’m a real big boi now mom! Fast forward to 2014 or so, 3rd facility and I’m intro’d to IF by none-other… yup you guessed it.

I would tell you that I passed the IFATC written and practical test with ease…


After many tours of air traffic control towers I decided to find any way to simulate that experience. I found it here. Been a controller since 2015 and it’s all thanks to the hard work and dedication by @Tyler_Shelton and @anon66442947 for all the work they put into me. I wouldn’t be an officer or a trainer without their guidence!


I started about 3 1/2 weeks ago and have been hooked ever since. Along with the amazing comprehensive tutorials by @Tyler_Shelton, @JoshFly8, @Mark_Denton and the rest IFATC team I have been able to greatly improve. Also the input and feedback from the community. It’s a never ending learning experience.

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