What it really takes to be an Advanced Controller

Hi guys,

So I took my test a few weeks ago and I failed, it happens I guess. I have yet to hear the feedback but what I don’t understand is how I could of? My theory is that their are a few key things the recruiter is looking for. Something I’ve been looking for on the forums. No this isn’t another post whining about how to become a controller, cause I’m pretty sure every post ended with a link to the original message of how to become one, this is a post truly curious as to what the standards are. I myself am a real commercial pilot, I’ve spoken to tower both on the radio and in person on tower tours. So not to sound conceited but I do know my radio phraseology. And yes you may ask, why not ask a recruiter, but I wanted to give them a break from all the messages I’m sure they get. Anyways this post isn’t about complaining or whining but more so how to improve, and what are the specific criteria the recruiters are looking for. Let me know what you think.



Not only that @Rotate .
I have seen people who sequence but fail :)

What we expect

  • Ground Awareness (Give way)
  • Sequencing
  • Correct clearances (land for full stop; option for T&G)
  • No Over controlling
  • Expedition of Traffic
  • Timely commands
    and a few more.

Good points by @dush19.

Let me just expand on the sequencing bit, because as @rotate implied, that’s weighed very heavily when testing.

  • Sequencing commands are combined with clearances (number 1, 2, 3, etc), but that’s not only what is expected
  • When you have more than one aircraft in the pattern, you must sequence well before you give a clearance (see diagram)
  • Your clearance for pattern traffic should be on the aircraft’s downwind leg, or as they’re turning base. NOT as they’re on final.
  • Sequencing is found in the ATC menu (for now) under Pattern Instructions (it’s pretty far down on the list, so keep scrolling if you’re on a small device).


Don’t be sad if you fail, there will be failures to the road of success, I failed 2 times and I learned a lot, now, I’m an ATC Officer, Good luck and hope to see you in the team soon :)


You just have to have the correct understanding of pattern work. Get your mates, they’ll help you out. Yes the’re will be failure but you can always try again. I was in the same book, I failed first up. I’ll approach it a different way now. Another embarrassing failure by me is it took me 2 tests to get my License, but from that failure I’ve improved, and now at 25 I can say that I can drive a car responsibly (I think… 🙃)

I think what’s expected of controllers was accurately depicted here. Being a commercial pilot myself, I will say that controlling and flying are two totally different animals. I thought I knew the ins and outs of being a controller as well due to my flying experience but I was dead wrong!! There are many aspects of a controllers job that we as pilots do not learn in training. Just because we hear and comply with their commands doesn’t mean we have the knowledge and or ability to reverse roles.

You’ll learn a lot in the near future and I look forward to seeing you succeed on your next test!


What do you mean by it?

Don’t send atc messages when they aren’t needed


Something like “I’ll call your base, Extend Downwind” when you have sequenced us already.

And Sending a give way when an Aircraft is 0.5 NM away.

1 Like

Clearly as you can see there are many great people on this forum. You can post something on the forum of when you’re practicing and many people will come provide feedback. Another good way to learn is to fly on advanced and listen to how we do it. Good luck:)


That’s exactly how I learned Carson fly advanced control on the playground and listen to everything the advanced controller does.


yea i failed too but it wasn’t my fault was due to connection issues on his or either my end, he never replied to me so i just gave up and now i control on playground since there is more users on that which tests your skills more than advanced

It means we have no idea what we’re doing in the front of the plane… lol just kidding. That question is exactly why I posted this in the first place. I know all pilots PPL or CPL should be capable of sequencing themselves in a circuit so I wasn’t quite sure why I failed, but after all the really good comments I know what to specifically practice and show that I am capable of doing. Honestly the recruitment process isn’t so much to show off your skill in my opinion but more so for how much commitment the individual has, and that he/she actually tries to follow the rules and learn how rather than just do.


The are many commercial and private pilots that are an ATC here. It’s a totally different world, just because you are a real pilot doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to be an ATC. The program is run by a real USAF controller that can verify these are real world procedures. I know this can be very aggravating, but it is very fun and rewarding when you get the hang of it. Have fun:)

You’re suggesting a commercial pilot can just hop in the tower and know my job? Flip the scenario. Are you going to let a controller hop in your plane and fly? By your logic, he should already know he is doing.


Good point!! I know you are flying @Tyler_Shelton so yes, I would let you in my aircraft!


Ah, shucks! 🤓 One more week until I’m a licensed pilot!


One more week and I might be soloing booya! Flying is the best high in the world.