This week, we feature IFATC’s very own, @Tyler_Shelton, where he explains how the featured schedule is picked and then we feature a Q&A with members via our website! Tyler has been the ATC Community Manager at Infinite Flight since 2014. In addition he is a full-time Air Traffic Controller with the FAA and a USAF Veteran who now resides in Pennsylvania, USA. Thanks Tyler for the opportunity to talk with you and thank you for the members our discord for submitting the questions for this Q&A!
Each week’s schedule build begins with a look at the IFC #live:events category, official events, and real-world aviation news, such as a carrier’s new route, that I may wish to highlight. While my Event Policy is to feature at least one Community Event per month I’ll often include more when the theme, location, and airport(s) capacity is fitting for an area I hoped to feature that week.
Now it’s time to build! I always create the schedule with the last 2-3 week’s schedules in a separate tab to ensure the regions I plan to choose for the upcoming week are not repetitive or featured on the same days. While I always try to feature the US and Europe on each schedule due to our audience location, I’ll still try to work in a region, theme, or airline that steers us far enough away from a recent week. Once a part of the world or airline is chosen, I begin checking how many available aircraft can be flown on Infinite Flight with that particular carrier. Carriers represented on more than one aircraft or variant often generate more traffic and opportunity for unique destinations. Using a mix of FlightRadar24, IFC Route Databases, and Wikipedia, I’ll determine suitable airports serviced by that airline. These combinations are sometimes predictable or present a unique variation on that airline’s route network. The range off of the main airport will often vary as I try to encourage short haul regional flights, long hauls, or a mix of both. Again, the goal is to change it up!
For each day I’ll typically select about 8 airports which offers plenty of options for IFATC while also leaving some freedom if they’re all manned on a busier day. IFATC has also expressed a great appreciation for days where they can choose their own airports. I will regularly schedule ATC choices in moving regions, underserved, areas and even popular countries. Not only is this fun for our team but it also provides me with great data to see what our community wants most when presented with a day to call of the shots!
Lastly, schedule review! Once the schedule has been created I will review all airports to ensure they’re edited, have ATC frequencies, have the correct ICAO identification on the schedule. Check the Community Forum each Sunday for the upcoming week’s schedule!
Note from the creator: Schedule creation is based entirely on the level of engagement each week! The best way to see more diverse locations and airlines is to fly to the underrated airports and staff the airports off the beaten path as ATC. Often times pilots are observed flying to an unstaffed HUB vs the staffed regional airport next door. This can be discouraging for ATC and often removes those unique airports/regions from the regular schedule rotation. Challenge yourself to always choose a starting airport you wouldn’t normally pick!
Q1: You obviously work with a large team, so, when picking trainers, supervisors, etc, what is the main quality you want to see from them?
The main qualities I look for when promoting members is a strong grip on ATC fundamentals, team procedures and an overall record of positive engagement within the team. It’s important that our leadership team is well-versed in all ATC positions so that they can answer questions confidently and assist newer members as they’re guided through their IFATC journey.
Q2: Did you ever see IFATC being where it is now? From @AviationReports
Yes and no! We’ve certainly grown into a more self-sustained team than I ever imagined and I couldn’t be more proud of all the natural leaders we’ve been fortunate enough to have on our team. While I expected these sorts of numbers, I never expected so much enthusiasm and this level of shared passion for ATC. IFATC is made up of some fantastic people!
Q3: How did the role of ‘IFATC Manager’ come into play, did you come up with you idea of IFATC or were you recruited? From @Kyle
The role of “IFATC Manager” came about after assisting the development team with the implementation of ATC on Infinite Flight. Initially I was just a volunteer community member assisting with the ATC operation, training others, creating procedures, etc which eventually evolved into employment as the commitment level to a growing team continued to increase.
Q4: What is your best memories during your time being an IFATC manager? From @Anthony_Morgan
My favorite memory has been witnessing our members meeting one another in person at various events. You’d often never know that it was their first time meeting or that they didn’t have loads of things in common. With the only commonality being IFATC, members met for the first time and seemed like life-long friends! It was amazing to watch them share ATC stories, control together in person, and talk about the future. I love that IFATC has brought people from all over the world together!
Q5: How many hours of coding goes into each new feature or plane? From @United2
This can vary quite a bit! New aircraft can take many months whereas a simple ATC phraseology fix can take a matter of minutes. For some features it may actually take years with small improvements being integrated into the backend of each update to plan for the feature’s eventual implementation.
Q6: Do you like choccymilk (the drink) if so you cant have mine! From, you guess it, @Choccymilk
I’m an Almond Milk guy! You can keep the choccymilk. ;)
Q7: Hey Tyler! Just got one question for you. How do you balance time with your family, work, and Infinite Flight? It seems like a lot to balance and I’d be interested in hearing how it’s done. From @Sashaz55
This is a pretty tough one! 2020 aside, I work full-time as an Air Traffic Controller in the FAA and here at Infinite Flight full-time as well so you can imagine there isn’t a whole lot of time left. For me it’s all about knowing that my family comes first, then my personal health, followed by my jobs. With this in mind I can easily make sure my day is prioritized, whether that is planning time for a trip to the park with my daughter or gym time for me. Either way, an average day is typically a long one and I’ve always operated a bit better when busy! As long as you know when to step away for a break or for a more important priority it can be a sustainable lifestyle.
Q8: Which plane do you like in infinite Flight? From @Fung_Sum-sum
- B757 (yes, it’s new but wow is it addicting!)
- CRJ Family
Q9: With the current booming in IFATC possibly due to COVID period, how do you see IFATC keep growing and or improving once things resume to normal? From @Anthony_Morgan
IFATC Recruitment has always come in waves! While I do suspect numbers and/or activity may decrease as things return to normal, I also think we’ll continue to see more members join as we introduce new features, grow our online presence, and continue community engagement.
Thank you to all of our reading this post created by @AviationReports and the banners by @Gliding_Central! It’s been awesome putting this together. I hope you have all enjoyed this intresting read. Have a happy Christmas from the #SpottingFromTheControlTowerTeam!
More About Our Writer:
Hello all, my name is Hudson, more commonly known as Aviation Reports. I’ve been around Infinite Flight since March 2015, where I have learned so much about flying, applying it to my flight training which I completed this past summer. I am now a private pilot and attend Western Michigan University in the US, majoring in Aviation Flight Science and enrolling in a double major for Aviation Management and Operations. In Infinite Flight, I am an IFATC Officer. For spotting From The Control Tower, I am a moderator and blog post writer. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out, whether that be PPL related or help with controlling on IF. Thanks for reading everyone!
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