Center controllers can now accept approach requests

May, 8, 2021 by Kyle Boas

6.6.10 in the Infinite Flight ATC Manual was changed, center controllers can now accept approach requests.

6.6.10 — Aircraft with a filed STAR are expected to “Check In” on initial contact with Center, if no STAR is present in a pilots flight plan, they should initiate contact by requesting the desired service or approach for their destination airport. If aircraft make other requests such as an approach request, Controllers should respond with “Continue as Filed, Expect the [approach type/runway] at [location]” if the approach in use is known. The subsequent Approach Controller can still change the expected approach if required.

This is a notable change compared to before when Center was unable to accept requests if Approach was open at the pilot’s destination airport.

It will now be a much more seamless process. This will require Center to be aware of which runways are in use at the airports that are open, within their airspace. Pilots should expect a small delay before they are assigned an approach, because Center controllers will likely need to double check which runways are in use.

No bother though if the wrong runway is selected, Approach can fix the issue once the pilot is handed off.

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

IFATC’s Fastest Recruit Part 3: Practical Test

May, 7, 2021 by Suhas J.

You’ve passed your Written exam, and your recruiter has cleared you for a Practical Test. The IFATC Practical Test is a test where anywhere from four to six IFATC Testers spawn at your parallel runway airport and fly patterns on both runways.

The recruit should expect runway changes, transitions, ground conflicts, and more. Firstly, set a good date that works for both you and your Recruiter. Make sure you have nothing else going on at this time and that you’ll be in an environment where you can focus on your airspace.

Once you’ve picked a date and time with your recruiter, use the time in between to practice until you feel absolutely confident in your skills. In your Tracking Thread, try having more people attend, switch airports, ask them to challenge you or focus on aspects you need to work on. If you need ideas for good parallel runway airports to open, this post on our blog written by an IFATC Supervisor and Trainer outlines the 10 best and most common training/testing locations.

Always ask for feedback from your pilots. Ask them to be honest, and take any criticism in your stride and improve on it the next time around. Receiving and acting on feedback is an essential aspect of IFATC.

Lastly, always thank your pilots for coming out to fly. Prepare yourself for all scenarios and continue to review the ATC Manual and the Perfect ATC Test YouTube video.

The time has come, and it’s the day of your Practical Test. As your test draws near, rewatch the Perfect ATC Test YouTube video again, and definitely open your Tracking Thread at least once depending on your availability before your Practical Test. Your Recruiter will typically let you know your testing airport 30 minutes before your testing time. This airport will have parallel runways. As soon as your recruiter notifies you of your airport, take advantage of this and go observe your surroundings. Spawn at your assigned airport and taxi to a runway. Use the free cam and airport ground map to look for potential hot spots or conflictive areas. Take note of where your runway exits are. Some airports have exits at several points of the runway, while others only have exits at opposite thresholds. It is crucial that you know where your runway exits are should there be a need for a go around.

After you’ve taken note of span points, hot spots, taxiways, and runway exits, fly a pattern yourself. Take note of your airport’s elevation and calculate your pattern and transition altitude. Also be sure to observe nearby airports, as testers won’t always start at the same airport. After you’ve got a good feel of your airport, you’re in an environment where you can focus, and you’ve gotten some practice in, you’re ready to go. Your Recruiter will tell you to open your frequencies, and your testers will begin spawning.

Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. Treat this as a normal Tracking Thread in the sense that you don’t overwhelm yourself, and as always you try to provide the best service possible to your pilots. Take deep breaths, and think logically, moving from one aircraft to another. If you get multiple commands at once, start with one aircraft and work your way through the others. Don’t panic and don’t rush!

Remember your training and you’ll do great. Be on the lookout for typical testing methods you may have seen be put in use at your Tracking Thread, such as ground conflicts, go arounds, transitions, and runway changes. Your Practical Test will be over in around 30 minutes after all testers have come to a stop or despawned, and your Recruiter will get back to you with your results shortly after consulting your testers for feedback.

If you pass, you’ll be provided with feedback and a link to join the IFATC Discord Server. If not, you’ll receive feedback on what to improve and when these incidents occurred in your replay, and you will typically have a wait period ranging from 2 weeks to 30 days before you can retest, depending on your Recruiter’s opinion of your performance. Use this time to study your resources, and of course, keep practicing.

“Failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” You’ve made it this far, don’t lose hope! Stay motivated and you’ll get there in no time.

Suhas is a contributor for the IFATC Education Group. He is a long time Infinite Flight user and IFATC Specialist. In the real world, he’s a student pilot on both glider and powered aircraft. He's also an IFVARB Board Member.

IFATC written and practical tips from an Officer

May, 6, 2021 by Lawin S.

Before becoming an IFATC member, all candidates are required to complete a written and a practical exam before controlling on the Expert server. Here below, are some important tips that is crucial to focus on to make it to the Expert server:

  1. Be familiar with the ATC Manual – The written exam will test you over the materials that are included in the ATC manual. Therefore, becoming familiar with the items covered in the manual is essential. You can check out the ATC manual here here.
  2. Use other available resources – Various resources are provided by both the Infinite Flight staff and community. I highly suggest checking out the ATC tutorials on Infinite Flight’s Youtube channel. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6vvTq2yxuk&list=PLPK_42U0EhIfsC6cU503Zwda4Zcur nPSt) Besides, you can do the practice test (https://www.classmarker.com/online-test/start/?quiz=fv35e9f54db5e5d1)to see the areas that are suggested to focus on. (Keep in mind that you can only take the practice test 2 times) Lastly, take look at the community-based tutorials on the forum at the #atc category.
  3. Use paper and a pen – It’s very critical to understand the scenarios that are written in the test. Sometimes, it can get difficult to visualize scenarios in your head, which can confuse you at times. That’s why it’s recommended to have a piece of paper and a pen to draw the scenario down, so you can much easier visualize the scenarios.
  4. Read carefully! – I can’t emphasize how important it is to read the questions carefully! I have seen way too many mistakes where people do not read the questions carefully because they can confuse a question which resulted in them getting the questions wrong. Just take your time reading the questions, do not rush it.
  5. Don’t get nervous – This is actually a very important thing to understand because some people when they take the test, tend to get nervous. As a result, they may get stressed and mess up some questions. As mentioned before, do not rush it. Just relax and take your time to understand the questions because the last thing you want to do is failing the test.
  6. Plan out – It’s undoubtedly important to plan out for what questions or scenario that can be thrown at you. Therefore, preparing for those obstacles is a great way to get greater scores in both the written or practical exam. Try to imagine questions or a scenario so you can have an idea of what to do.
  7. Open an ATC tracking thread – ATC tracking threads are an amazing way to let the community members help you through your IFATC journey. Community members can show up and provide feedback, helping the controller strengthen their skills.

These are my personal recommendations before taking the written and practical exam. I hope this can help you to have better preparation If you have any questions regarding ATC, I recommend looking through the ATC category on the Infinite Flight Community forum.

Lawin is a contributor and IFATC Officer.

How success will take care of itself

May, 4, 2021 by Kyle Boas

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” – Henry Ford

The IFATC Region Assignment Program has been put into motion fully, there is no ATC Schedule. Today we’ll officially be four days in, only four days in. The adjustments begin and the opportunities are exciting.

Without an ATC Schedule we will all rely on each other as a community to work together to create opportunities where we will see higher amounts of traffic at non-hub airports.

As controllers, we were afforded the ability to be incredibly lazy. Wake up, see what is the day’s region and featured airports, open. Repeat. No real work on our part to find out what pilots were doing so we could service them.

Now it’s dynamic and interesting, but we can’t be lazy anymore. We’ll need to reach out to Virtual Airlines who operate within our region. We’ll look to service any and all events within our region.

Head to the events category on community.infiniteflight.com to check out today’s events! There are a ton of new events put on almost every day that should be fully staffed by ATC, and we are looking forward to seeing even more events created as should naturally gain in popularity without the ATC Schedule in place.

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

Preparing before applying to the IFATC

May, 3, 2021 by Suhas J.

With well over 400 unique active controllers on a weekly basis, the Infinite Flight Air Traffic Control (IFATC) group is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious and diverse programs Infinite Flight has to offer. Do you want in? Here’s tips on how to ace your written and practical first try, and the story of my record breaking IFATC application process.

Firstly, you have to know your stuff. The ATC User Guide is your best friend here. Even if you have less than 100 ops and have controlled once or twice, the ATC User Guide is the perfect starting point. The most helpful sections will be sections 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. These sections will cover important topics such as Ground, Tower, and ATIS frequencies, along with general rules and terminology. Although it sounds like more than a handful, the information has been simply put, in a way so that you can gain a basic knowledge of Local frequencies in less than 30 minutes.

The Infinite Flight Community is an incredibly useful resource to prepare for the Written and Practical tests. I would recommend reading up on the tutorials in the #ATC or #Ground-School category.

As you navigate your way through these, you will likely come across YouTube videos and tutorials on how to maximize performance as a controller, made by your Infinite Flight ATC Manager himself, Tyler Shelton. After reading through these sections and watching a few videos, you’re more than ready to put this knowledge into practice.

If you don’t have previous experience with the ATC UI in Infinite Flight, things may seem awkward, and you may struggle to find what commands you are looking for. Don’t panic, we all start out this way! The only thing that will help familiarize you with the UI and ins and outs of controlling or pilots habits is the age old mantra: Practice, practice, practice! Keep practicing, and remember that you should prioritize controlling at runways with parallel runways or pattern traffic management, as opposed to opening large hubs such as Los Angeles or London. Avoid these, as all they will bring is mass pilots who typically have little professional experience.

After you feel comfortable with sequencing, pattern management, and you have practiced it at a parallel runway airport, the next great step in your ATC career would be to open an ATC Tracking Thread, if you haven’t. There are numerous guides and tips along with active threads on the IFC, utilize those to create your thread. Each time you open, always remember to prioritize pattern management as parallel runway airports are preferred.

How come pattern management and parallel operations important? These exact elements will comprise your Practical Test. To see a great example of a Practical Test, I’d recommend watching the YouTube video by Tyler Shelton entitled ‘The Perfect ATC Test’ at least once, if not multiple times. This will help you have a general idea of what to expect when the time comes. Each time you open, share it with your friends, or people in your group chats, Virtual Airlines, Virtual Organizations, try to get a good amount of people coming to practice sequencing and pattern management with upwards of 7 or 8 pilots. At this stage, your controlling is significantly more advanced than when you began honing your skills. You’re ready to apply.

Suhas is a contributor for the IFATC Education Group. He is a long time Infinite Flight user and IFATC Specialist. In the real world, he’s a student pilot on both glider and powered aircraft. He's also an IFVARB Board Member.

IFATC Stats: 24-30 April 2021

May, 2, 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
Alexandre 94%
Edoardo_C 93%
Drummer 92%
NJ24 92%
Kyle0705 92%
Anthony_Morgan 92%
Siddhansh 91%
Vignesh_S 91%
Neto_Campelo 91%
Speedbird222 91%
Jakub_Astary 90%
Ramzi_Khairan 87%
ShaneAviation 84%
Enrique_Fernandez 83%
MJMN 82%
Zachary_Naponic 81%
xvalespx 80%
Rob_M 78%
AviationReports 78%
Jet_Airways_995 78%

Region Distribution

The region assignment program has been fully set into motion, allowing new 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.

Here is what the current distribution looks like for the IFATC’s first week using this new program.


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].

New Infinite Flight ATC Manual Update, version 21.1.0

May, 1, 2021 by Kyle Boas

Reminder for pilots and controllers alike that a new version of the Infinite Flight ATC Manual has been released, version 21.1.0.

Read here. You can view a summary of the changes on that page.

Even if you’re not a controller it’s always good to get at least a basic understanding of the ATC side. It will make your flying experience more enjoyed and interesting because you will be able to anticipate things and know what to expect or do when you are in certain situations.

If you ever have any questions we have an open comment section 24/7 on our contact page.

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

IFATC’s Fastest Recruit Part 2: Applying

April, 30, 2021 by Suhas J.

After applying on the website, my application was received very quickly, and the next day I was assigned to my Recruiter, Grizpac.

I woke up the next day after applying to a message on the forum from Grizpac, telling me my application was received and approved for recruitment. He gave me my written exam link and code.

I had spent the previous days taking practice tests, reading tutorials, and having friends quiz my knowledge. I felt prepared enough to attempt it the same day. I had heard all the stories; people have failed twice, others waited a week or more before attempting, and so on.

I was nervous, but I didn’t see any reason to wait, since I felt that my knowledge was proficient. I took the exam 3 hours later, and passed with an 88% in 8 minutes.

I messaged Ryan, and he confirmed my stats and cleared me for a Practical testing. I wanted to get it out of the way, and as I had an available time slot that same night, I scheduled it for August 17th at 10:30pm CST. Ryan agreed on this time, and it was set. That day, I opened my Tracking Thread twice, including an hour and a half session before my Practical. I closed 30 minutes before my scheduled time, and confirmed my attendance with Ryan.

He told me my testing airport would be KVAD and that I should spawn in at 10:30. I took the time in between to spawn in and take note of elements such as spawn points, taxiways, runway exits, and calculate pattern and transition altitudes.

I confirmed with Grizpac that I was ready, and I spawned into my frequencies as the testers spawned in. I was excited, hopeful, ready to go, and terrified. It was time to roll!

Suhas is a contributor for the IFATC Education Group. He is a long time Infinite Flight user and IFATC Specialist. In the real world, he’s a student pilot on both glider and powered aircraft. He's also an IFVARB Board Member.

New “Outside Airspace” command for Center

April, 29, 2021 by Kyle Boas

Small ATC related features can go unnoticed sometimes if you don’t know what you’re looking but sweet baby Jesus, hallelujah, do we have a new command that will make any Center controller smile.

As Center, under the “Expect vectors…” command sub-menu you will find the new “Outside Airspace” command. This can be used when an aircraft is, you guessed it, outside your airspace.

It will send “Callsign, you are outside of my airspace, proceed on course”. Then the pilot will be able to respond with “roger, proceed on course”. After that you’d then send a frequency change and off they go.

Sweet and simple, plain english. It’s the small things and it’s effective.

There are a lot of amazing new things to try out in Infinite Flight’s 21.1 update, it is currently undergoing beta testing. Learn more how you can help test the app and join the Open Beta program at infiniteflight.com/blog.

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

An IFATC Specialists’ experience with the IFATC so far

April, 28, 2021 by Sebastien Ollquist-Cartier

The goal of this post is to share you the experience I acquired in IFATC so far and the tips I can give you to make your experience more enjoyable here. The post will be divided into four different parts, each describing an important thing I wanted to share with you.

1. What brought me to IFATC?

I have been playing Infinite Flight on and off for a few years now. In early 2021, I restarted again with the ambition of focusing more on controlling. And, as controlling on the training server is pretty much boring, I created a tracking thread in order to practice my skills and train for the IFATC entrance exam which I managed to pass three weeks later. Since then, I had the opportunity to meet a ton of new people, some of which I became much closer with today.

2. The experience I gained

Over these past few months, I had the opportunity to control some very calm airports and some pretty busy ones but I have yet to control a flash flight or an event. This is probably because I simply do not feel like it which in fact points out a very important message:

When entering IFATC, most controllers want to directly control hubs with lots of traffic to show their capacities but this is not the way to go. IFATC’s most important rule which you have already probably heard of is “Quality over quantity”. Indeed, better controlling skills, increased concentration, good coordination, excellent communication and team-work all come with practice.

This advice is probably the most important I have learned from here. A lot of controllers told it to me when I first arrived and now that I have gained more experience and self-confidence, it is my turn to share it with you. Follow this advice and you will progress much faster.

3. The friends I made

A fantastic reason of being part of IFATC is getting the opportunity to work closely with many controllers and get to know more of them. We all somehow share the same passion for aviation, we all come from different worlds and we all have our own things to say.

Taking this opportunity by trying to engage with controllers with whom you think you will get along well allowed me to meet fantastic people from all around the world, have enjoyable voice chat sessions with some and even meet one (maybe more one day) in real life.

4. The lessons I learned

Here are the lessons I learned across those last few months, presented as a list of tips, some of which may or may not concern you, but I still feel that they are better being shared:
* Start slow: I cannot emphasize this more. The reason you are not promoted as a specialist directly is simply because you have to get started with manageable traffic and build up from there once you are more confident. Remember, the more confidence you will have, the less pressure you will feel, the more decontracted you will be and hence the better you will control.
* Plan your sessions: Controlling in Infinite Flight has absolutely nothing to do with real life. The environment is not the same, responsibility is clearly different and hence pressure is higher. However, the difficult part of the job here is that you can control anywhere in the world so you are not particularly used to some airport. It is very important that you plan each of your sessions before taking over. Take a look at ground charts, think of how you are going to organise traffic and prepare your ATIS carefully. If you do all this 15 minutes before each of your sessions, your efficiency will definitely improve and you will feel proud.
* Share your experiences: Almost once a week, I notice something unclear whilst flying in a controlled airspace. It really depends on the scenario, but it may be concerning an efficiency problem or simply an error that a controller has made. Send a message to him. Ask him why this or that happened and try to think of what can be done better next time. Trust me, you will almost surely both learn from it. If the case is more important and deserves a deeper look into, send a message to a supervisor, they are here for that.
* Communicate: The essence of good controlling is communication. Even though we are online, communication still stays a major tool of success. Keep an eye on the controllers chat when controlling to stay aware of what might go on around you. Also, when traffic is heavy, if you can go into Voice Chat, please do. Organisation is much simpler and atmosphere is really chill.
* Enjoy: This is the most important tip I can give you. If you do not feel like controlling, do not force yourself. Murphy’s law here states that it will be likely your session will turn out badly, so don’t, you’ll find something else to do I’m sure. But if you do feel like controlling, have time ahead of you, and a good internet connection, enjoy some good time with friends and deliver some awesome service.

That is all I have to say for now. I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed writing it and sharing it with you. Take note of all those tips, take a deep breath of fresh air and go controlling these expert server skies.

Sebastien Ollquist-Cartier is a contributor for the IFATC Education Group. He is a passionate CS student that always loves what he does. He is a IFATC Specialist and Officer in training.