The SOUP Acronym | Controlling Tips

This acronym had a good reaction when I was posting something a day or two ago. I thought it would be a good idea to create a thread over it in order to make it more visible to the public. Hopefully this helps out newcomers when it comes to controlling!

Behold, SOUP. Much like the broth used to satiate our hunger, this acronym can be used to satiate people’s questions about controlling methods.

S = swipe

  • Is there anything on your frequency? Swipe off the tab(s) of any aircraft who don’t need to be in contact with you and don’t require your immediate attention. Anything unnecessary needs to be out of sight and out of mind. This allows you to focus on the people who need to be controlled. Plus, it declutters your screen and prevents your mind from wandering towards other aircraft.

O = observe

  • Look around your airport. What’s the weather like? Traffic flow? Anything that could impact the service you are able to offer pilots? Are there any backups you can use? Is there a problem that hinders with your controlling? Take care of any situation that may interfere with your service and react accordingly.

U = utilize

  • Use everything you have at your disposal. If you have approach, communicate! If you’ve got multiple runways, use them! Heck, even aircraft themselves can be used. Shuffle GAs around heavies with the knowledge that the former can make far tighter turns than the latter. There are a lot of tools out there that can assist you in controlling- utilize them! One of the big issues I see is that some controllers tend to handicap themselves with resources they think are unusable- this is not the case.

P = prioritize

  • Start from the inside and work your way outwards. What aircraft needs your immediate attention first? Get those clearances in and give yourself and the aircraft some security room to work with. Seize the moment and stay in control of any situations that may develop. Ideally, you want to stop any potential spacing/operation issues before they happen with the appropriate commands.

That’s it! Simple and easy to remember. Apply SOUP to your controlling and allow yourself to build experience. You will only get better with time and be right up there with our pros, so as long as you dedicate a little time here and there to improve. Cheers!

P.S- Yes, I was hungry. Got a burger.


Should’ve got soup. 😉

Very informative post, thanks.


NO SOUP FOR YOU! Just had to…

Great post as always, Smithley.


@dush19 you know what goes good with soup 🍺


When you see a topic by Mr. Smithley, you know it’s bound to be chockablock with useful information!

Thanks for the SOUP! :)

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Potatoes! But beer goes with everything for you doesn’t it.

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Always remember, SOUP! 🍜

Awesome acronym and thanks for a good tip, Josh 👍

I hope this trick would help others in doing a session in the future ❤

Hey @JoshFly8

I think the post was about handling large volumes of traffic:

I would just ask that this topic you made (@JoshFly8) be moved to the #tutorials category so guys studying ATC can find it easier. I know it would serve the community better in that category.


I’m particular to potato soup myself.

Next on the acronym lesson plan will be TIME = time is my enemy.


Ain’t nobody got TIME for that-meme coming up!


Got to the bottom of the thread and already forgot what SOUP stood for! 😰

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Thanks for posting!very good info.

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Heheh. We should start a meme generator for controllers. Get 'em meme-ing up with the acronyms.

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