IFATC’s Fastest Recruit Part 1: Pre-Application

April, 23, 2021 by Suhas J.

My IFATC Journey started spontaneously. I, like other Infinite Flight users I know, had no particular interest in the ATC aspect of Infinite Flight. Granted, I had only ever opened a frequency once or twice, both of which were for less than 5 minutes and done out of curiosity.

As a pilot with over 3000 flight hours, I had a proficient understanding of ATC usage from flying into featured airports and hubs. I had friends who were in IFATC, but the thought of applying myself never really sparked my interest.

As July rolled around, I continued to gain flight hours and experience. Summer break meant I had more free time on my hands, so one day, out of boredom, I decided to open a frequency to see what the commands looked like. I had flown with ATC before and figured it couldn’t be that hard.

I opened JFK Ground on the Training Server, and my session loaded in. I had maybe two aircraft on frequency, and I struggled. I opened for roughly 10 minutes and subsequently closed. After my session, I took away two things:

  1. I was not at all familiar with the ATC UI.
  2. I didn’t do so hot, but that was fun.

Later that afternoon, I practiced opening some more frequencies such as Los Angeles and London Heathrow Tower, but I only had a vague understanding of the ideal mannerism and conduct while controlling. I consulted the ATC Manual and spent roughly an hour reading through the guide and watching the videos made by Tyler, and I was amazed at how efficiently the ATC UI was made. I thought to myself that if I learned how to do this, it would be great fun.

Later that day, after more guide reading and session practicing, I opened my Tracking Thread on the Infinite Flight forum, and had roughly 3 pilots stop by at KAUS where I was controlling. My first Tracking Thread session was not pretty in the slightest. I missed sequencing, clearances, and struggled with locating commands. My pilots gave helpful feedback, however, and I took their words to heart and used this newly gained knowledge in my next, upcoming sessions.

As the weeks went by, I opened my Tracking Thread daily, and received excellent feedback and compliments. My skills had significantly improved after a few days of controlling and taking feedback from pilots. I had my good days and bad days; some sessions were immaculate while others were all over the place. As time went on, my service became more consistent, and I gained confidence.

I began sharing my Tracking Thread across Virtual Airlines and Virtual Organizations, group chats, and asking friends to come. Sometimes, I’d have an attendance of 8-10 pilots, some IFATC, some not. They all provided helpful feedback. I decided this was something I genuinely wanted to continue and seek improvement upon, and with the persuasion of some friends, I applied for IFATC. My journey had begun!

Suhas has been playing Infinite Flight since 2015, and has been at IFATC for almost 9 months. In the real world, he’s a student pilot on both glider and powered aircraft. He has also acquired blog experience with the V1, Rotate Blog. Writing is his passion!

3 Local frequency tips from 3 of experience

April, 22, 2021 by Kedz O.

As I am now nearing 3 months of controlling local frequencies, I have spotted many efficient techniques and methods a local controller could use to not only expedite the service but to make the controller’s life easier. Local frequencies, Ground, Tower and ATIS, are the most frequently controlled. It is fun controlling hubs daily and using tips I will be sharing below makes the experience much better.

Tip 1: Anticipated Separation

Anticipated separation is a good way to get aircraft out quickly. This technique is simple and should be always used when controlling local. Aircraft speed plays a big part in this method, incorrectly judging spacing and speed can lead to this going wrong.

3.2.3 — […] anticipated separation should also be taken into account, especially with departure / departure sequences. If the first aircraft is already rolling, ask yourself how long it will take the second aircraft to line up on the runway and commence their take-off roll. If the assumption can be made that the first aircraft will be airborne, then you can save yourself the extra command and just clear the next aircraft for take-off, however consideration should be given to the expected climb speed of the preceding aircraft (see 3.1.1 above).

I have used this method many times at hubs, and it should be utilised especially when there is one runway solely for departure. Line Up and Wait is also useful tool, however both methods should be used in together when possible.

Tip 2: Line Up and Wait Commands

Line Up and Wait commands are incredibly useful because it gives the controller a few options. However, when using this the controller must be pro-active and completely aware of their surroundings. One good time to use it is when there is tight spacing between ARR/ARR (Arrival/Arrival). Once a plane crosses the one holding short, it is a good idea to have the aircraft holding short, line up and wait. This is will expedite that aircraft’s departure as the controller will be prepared to have them takeoff once exiting aircraft vacates the runway.

Another way to utilise Line Up and Wait is when there is a lot of departures waiting and the controller is trying to expedite departures. As a plane lines up and seems to be beginning to takeoff, you can Line Up and Wait the plane holding short so that they are ready to depart. This makes life easier because your departures can be sent out quicker.

Tip 3: How to do Runway Crossings efficiently

Runway Crossings at hubs can be incredibly stressful, therefore the controller must logically begin to cross arrivals/departures especially when using a runway for both departures and arrivals. One of the ways I like to help relieve this bottleneck by crossing pilots in groups. You must ensure the airport layout would allow you to hold several aircraft. If so, wait until there are about 2-3 aircraft holding short of the runway and expedite their runway crossing.

This is highly efficient because crossing in groups allows you to not worry about runway crossings as much, it is a good way to keep the airport running smoothly. Do not be scared to hold a few plane shorts, it is about quality not quantity.

Kedz is a contributor for the IFATC Education Group. He an IFATC specialist.

How to enjoy the new ATC Region Assignment format

April, 21, 2021 by Cheng Loke Ng

As the IFATC transition from ATC Schedules to the new ATC Region assignments, we will explore changes that will be made, and how you can be involved in the enhancement of the IFATC community.

We start at the current state of matters. This is where Tyler would put together a schedule every week, and during the week, a specific region or theme would attract a sizeable number of pilot in conjunction with the staffing of airports which are in the region, or airports who are suitable to the theme. This is set to go away on May 1st, 2021, and controllers will be afforded a larger amount of freedom as they are allocated regions in which they will be controlling from.

What this means is that instead of having a localised region or daily theme and hub, controllers are finally allowed to open an airport of their choice in the region they have selected. While for some, the increased freedom would welcome a wider range of routes which may be flown to airports which are staffed by controllers, a general decrease in traffic is expected at staffed airports due to the more realistic spreading out of traffic throughout world.

However, despite some of the turbulence which you may encounter when “Regional Controlling” is implemented, here are things you can do to expand your horizons.

1. Fly to your favourite airports

The world is a big place, and with it, many places which many people have yet to see. This can help us controllers gauge which airports will be the most wanted. As you fly more, more statistics would be made available to the IFATC community, which would allow us to act in accordance to that data.

2. Create events

If there is one thing that many events lack, its ATC service. This will no longer be of any issue. Controllers will now be on the lookout for each event within their region, the number of participants, as well as the route of the event. Plans could be made to service your event in full, and in doing so, enhancing the experience for everybody involved.

3. Join Infinite Flight Virtual Airlines or Virtual Organizations

Within the community, there are plenty of Virtual Airlines (VAs) or Virtual Organizations (VOs) that go under the radar for some. With the world being available to all, the opportunities are endless. You could join the VA of your favourite airline, or perhaps, take the opportunity to create your own VA or VO with the approval of the IFVARB. With more popular VAs, there will be traffic that’ll flock to the airports operated by these airlines.

4. Join the IFATC

As Mahatma Ghandi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Joining the IFATC is definitely one of the best choices to make, and it’ll allow you to make yourself more visible on the community. I can personally say that despite not really wanting to join IFATC for fear of how difficult and unforgiving it could be, my perception has changed greatly since going through the process of joining, and has allowed me to meet plenty of people who have influenced me to be a better controller.

In all, there is plenty for us to learn as the meta shifts, and where controllers gain more freedom. It would be prudent for everyone to show the each other what is desired, and in doing so, helping the community become a better place for you and I.

Cheng Loke Ng is a contributor for the IFATC Education Group. He is an IFATC Officer.

Zipping it at Perth

April, 20, 2021 by Samyak Siddhanta

I was open at Perth as Approach in this session and had made a plan to use the so called “Zipper” method, here.

As you can see in the video I used staggered altitudes for bases and different speeds i.e. 180knts IAS on right base and 200knts IAS for left so as to put one from right and one from left into the final line. using this method I was also able to fit in Visuals and Radar Vectors quite easily as well.

Thanks to my fellow team mates Happydays, I_AM_KOREAN_FOX and Beniamino for controlling Tower during my session.

Special thanks to Rikky Bros on YouTube and community member Krsh7 for helping me edit the video.

Video

Samyak Siddhanta, aka RadarVectors_Mumbai, is a contributor for the IFATC Education Group. He is an IFATC Officer and joined the IFATC team in October 2020.

ifatc.org’s new developer

April, 19, 2021 by Lucas Rebato

I think it’s safe to say that when DenverChris, the previous developer of ifatc.org, said the site was shutting down, it was a huge surprise for the whole IFATC team, including myself! Over the course of several debates and negotiations, it was decided that I would take over the management and upkeep of the site.

Before we get too deep into the nitty gritty, a little about me – my name is Lucas, and I’m a high school student living in South London, UK. In my spare time, I love flying, plane spotting, and of course software developing!

So anyway, back to the story – after many sleepless nights of hunting through 25,000 lines of uncommented code, I managed to finally get the site working in time for the deprecation of the old Infinite Flight API. A big thanks to Cameron for his willingness to assist with the new API!

Finally, with the necessary help of generous community contributions (which are still needed, contact me for more info), I was able to put the site back online, and whilst not much had gone on visibly, a lot had been changed behind the scenes.

And there are more updates on the way! On May 1st, a UI update will be pushed, making the site more modern, and compatible with new ATC Regions, as well as adding support for Center frequencies.

If you want to contribute ideas and suggestions, no matter how big or small they are, feel free to get in contact, or fill in this short form!

Lucas Rebato is a high school student living in South London, UK. In his spare time, he loves flying, plane spotting, and of course software developing. He is the developer of ifatc.org and an IFATC Specialist.

IFATC Stats: 10-16 April 2021

April, 18, 2021 by Tyler Shelton

Great work from the following 20 controllers for being the most active out of our entire team in the past 90 days.

Controller Days Active
Drummer 96%
Kyle0705 94%
Vignesh_S 94%
Edoardo_C 94%
Alexandre 94%
NJ24 94%
Jakub_Astary 93%
Anthony_Morgan 93%
Neto_Campelo 93%
Siddhansh 91%
Ramzi_Khairan 87%
Enrique_Fernandez 86%
ShaneAviation 84%
Speedbird222 84%
Rob_M 83%
MJMN 82%
AviationReports 81%
Zachary_Naponic 80%
Jet_Airways_995 79%
Kedz 78%

NEW Region Distribution

Coming in May 2021, Infinite Flight will launch the region assignment program, allowing controllers to select one of ten global regions around the world, control any airport within that regional boundary at any time, and remain within their area of operation on a more permanent basis. Read more about the change here.

The team has begun to apply for regions, here is what the current distribution looks like.

If you are interested in becoming an IFATC controller, head over to our ATC Recruiting Topic, read all instructions, and submit an application to get started!

Tyler Shelton is the ATC Community Manager for Infinite Flight. He is also a real-world civilian air traffic controller with the FAA assigned to Harrisburg International Airport [KMDT].

AMA with Sam Eckholm

April, 17, 2021 by Sam Eckholm
Comments

Hello everyone, my name is Sam Eckholm. I am a social media creator, photographer and 1st Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.

I handle digital media, community relations, civic outreach and media outreach for the Air Force.

I’m currently stationed at Scott Air Force Base, outside of St. Louis, Mo. where I’m assigned to the 375th Air Mobility Wing. I was previously assigned to the F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team where I spent the 2019 and 2020 seasons traveling the world and helping to capture, edit, and showcase the story and mission of the F-22 Raptor.

In my spare time, I enjoy photography and video production, where I create content for both my YouTube Channel, Instagram, and TikTok to share my experiences in the Air Force and inspire the next generation.

Ask me anything in the comments below and I’ll reply with an answer!

The importance of departure control in Infinite Flight

April, 16, 2021 by Edoardo C.

Departure control, in Infinite Flight, is definitely one of the most important and underrated radar facilities. Let me introduce what a departure frequency controller does.

Departure control typically includes managing:

  • VFR aircraft, with or without a flight plan.
  • IFR aircraft (which should have a flight plan).

Managing a departure frequency is essential especially during Infinite Flight events, such as the FNF or Flash Flights, or just during peak hours at the hub airport.

Nowadays, many IFATC officers seem to ignore the importance of departure control, focusing only on approach or center frequencies.

There’s mainly one key aspect if you want to succeed in controlling a departure frequency, which is consistency. Consistency with headings and altitudes.

There may be some cases where the use of SIDs (Standard Instrument Departures, that allow aircraft to depart an airspace following a pre-defined route helping them navigate adjacent airspaces, terrain and arriving traffic) is crucial.

When utilizing SIDs, the goal is to vector aircraft as little as possible. To do that, utilizing of speed commands is essential to keep a stable departure flow.

Here, you can see one of my recent departure session at RKSI (Seoul Incheon), where I took advantage of the many organized SIDs in use at the airport.

The session itself wasn’t busy at all. It was quite relaxed but I enjoyed every single minute of it.

Edoardo C. is a contributor for the IFATC Education Group. He is an IFATC Officer and Tester.

What is Thrust Vectoring?

April, 15, 2021 by Mukundan Srivatsa

Simply put, thrust vectoring is the ability of a vehicle to change the direction of thrust to control the angular velocity or attitude of the vehicle. This can serve many different functions, but it is popular in military aircraft to achieve a tighter turn radius for air superiority purposes.

Thrust vectoring was first envisioned to create VTOL, STOVL, and STOL capable aircraft. After further research, many scientists and engineers realized that thrust vectoring could be used in combat situations to perform maneuvers without being completely dependent on the control surfaces of the aircraft. Aircraft with thrust vectoring capabilities are usually able to outmaneuver their counterparts that do not have the ability to change the direction of their thrust.

However, thrust vectoring is not limited to aircraft. It can be a useful feature for rockets and even missiles. Once a rocket leaves the atmosphere, aerodynamic control surfaces do not function as they would in a conventional aircraft. At this point, thrust vectoring becomes a great alternative. It can give the rocket sufficient control of its angular velocity. A popular way to do this is to use a gimbaled thrust system. In a gimbaled thrust system, the engine, or sometimes just the exhaust nozzle of the rocket can move on two axes. This is a common method of thrust vectoring, used on the Saturn V, the Space Shuttle, and the Falcon 9. Some rockets gimbal the entire combustion chamber and outer engine, while others just move the nozzle instead.

However, thrust vectoring isn’t limited to two dimensions. While there are not many widely known aircraft today that can change their thrust angle in 3 dimensions, there are many experimental aircraft that use a three dimensional thrust vectoring nozzle that give the aircraft supermaneuverability.

Overall, thrust vectoring gives vehicles an advantage in control and maneuverable capability, and it’s exciting to think of the prospect of what thrust vectoring could do in the future. As we enter the age of space tourism and observe increasingly fast and maneuverable aircraft, it’s inevitable that we will see more thrust vectoring vehicles in the near future.

Resources: Wikipedia 1 2 3, NASA 1 2, Airspacemag

Mukundan Srivatsa is an IFATC specialist, staff at Jet Airways Virtual, and active on the Infinite Flight Community Forum. Outside of Infinite Flight, he loves to go planespotting, play sports, and is an aspiring aerospace engineer.

Become a writer

April, 14, 2021 by Kyle Boas

In a continued effort to make the IFATC Education Group a blog for Infinite Flight ATC controllers to share what they learn, to have more voices contributing, we have now made it way easier to become a Writer and we’re on Discord!

My goal when I created the blog was to create an outlet with a large megaphone to give a group of IFATC the ability to share their experience and experiences. A way to highlight their work and knowledge. It is the IFATC Education “Group”, a collection of people.

By writing for the blog you get an open mic to share what you learn and know with over 2100+ weekly readers.

We have one requirement to join, you must be an IFATC controller, ATC rank Apprentice or higher. Our group’s roles are split up into two segments. Contributors and Writers.

Contributor is the initial role within our team you will. Activity wise, it’s a post when you want role. Perfect for those with limited time, but you still gain the ability to post. The fun part is that if you contribute enough and meet a set of internal requirements you’ll then be promoted to Writer.

Writers are our most active members of our team who consistently contribute to the group. They gain a ton of cool perks and have their own requirements to maintain their role within the team. It’s something to work towards if you enjoy writing. It is very fun.

If contributing to our group is something you would be interested in, join our Discord. We look forward to working together with you to create awesome content!

Kyle Boas is the Founder of the IFATC Education Group. He is an IFATC Supervisor and Infinite Flight Appeals team member. — More