One thing

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

AMA with Marc

Yesterday, we had an AMA “Ask Me Anything” with Marc, where the members in our Slack community got a chance to ask him questions.

Marc is from Switzerland. He has been playing Infinite Flight since 2013. In 2015 he joined the Beta team and became one of the first IFATC members. In 2019 he started to do some work for IFVARB before becoming an Infinite Flight Community Forum Moderator in November 2019.


You were one of the first IFATC members how come you still haven’t passed your test?

Now that’s a very good question. Being an IFATC controller is similar to making Swiss cheese. You can easily make one within a few weeks, but only if you let it mature for a few years, it’ll turn out perfect!

What is your favorite & least favorite food, drink/meal?

Favorite Food is Pizza. Favorite Drink is a “Spezi”, which basically is a mix between Fanta and Cola. It’s soo good. Least favorite food. Everything you eat after a Spitfire session.

What and who is your inspiration to join IFATC?

Honestly, when I joined in 2015 I’ve never heard of IFATC because it didn’t exist. They posted a Tweet looking for controllers and I applied. That was fun. Then I took a break in late 2015 and left. My motivation to rejoin again was because I became an IFC mod. IFATC is part of the job description. Still working on it though

How do you view the IFATC’s progress in 2020?

My progress so far is very slim.
But I passed the written exam! That’s a good start I guess!

How do you manage being a moderator?

Coffee. Lots of coffee. But honestly, it’s so much fun. It’s a great privilege for me that I’m able to work in this role on this community and the team is just fantastic. And I’m still learning new things every day. You need to be open minded, you need to be able to understand different opinions. It’s really cool to be part of this.

Hey Marc! What is the hardest thing about being a mod on the IFC?

Making decisions of which you know that not everyone will understand why we made them. I used to be a “normal” user on the community. During that time, there were moments as well when I’ve been thinking “Okay, maybe that rule is a bit too restrictive.” But we don’t make rules or restrictions out of fun. There’s always a good reason for something. We always discuss those matters in depth. And this is very interesting and something that I enjoy; having the possibility to shape this community of which I’ve been part of for half a decade in some way.

What are your planes for the future, something with aviation?

And for the future: My dream is to become a pilot at some day. I’d also love to live in the USA at some point. Now, with Corona and everything, who knows how the future will turn out. For now, I plan on finishing my studies. And then we’ll see how the world looks!

What is your most favourite place to visit in the world?

USA. I love that country. There are so many places I’d love to discover over there. Sadly, COVID cancelled my trip to Oshkosh and Washington this year. But hey, next year maybe!

How is life being and mod?

Being a mod is challenging but lots of fun. I get to work with a fantastic team from all around the world, I got to meet some new friends (some of whom I met in person already), and I get to grow as a person as well. I’ve learned so many things during my time on the IFC, it’s a privilege.

Has your family been affected by the COVID-19 situation?

My family hasn’t been affected by COVID, luckily. We weren’t able to visit relatives in Germany for a few months as they closed all borders in Europe. But we’re all healthy, and that’s what matters!

What’s your favourite aeroplane in Infinite Flight today?

I love the A320 because it’s beautiful to fly with the live instruments and everything. The 772 is stunning too! But recently, I rediscovered GA flying. I’ve been using the X-Cub and the C172 to explore the mountains of Colorado a bit. Both are soooo much fun to fly, it’s very hard to decide.

What would you like to see added [to Infinite Flight] next?

On the feature list, I’d love to see another GA plane at some point (plane). I’d also love to see the Swissair livery on the Boeing 747 (livery). But besides that: Realistic lightnig (taxiway lights, taxi lights, …). That would be awesome!

How did you discover Infinite Flight? What was your first memorable experience in game?

I don’t remember how I discovered it. All I know is that I started flying in 2013. The first thing I do remember though was my very first flight on the live servers (Palo Alto to Half Moon Bay in a 737). I got 3 or 5 violations on that flight alone because of the airspace restrictions that existed back then. Great fun though.

What do you feel your greatest contribution to the IFC is?

That’s a difficult question. I’d like to think that I can add a different perspective on some things as I try to understand different opinions as good as I can and I also try to question things in a certain way. However, we’re a team. Us mods and Staff members work as a team. We decide as a team. I don’t take credits for anything just on my own. We’re a really good group and the teamwork is great.

What do you think is the most important trait to maintain while being a moderator?

Don’t forget the perspective of a “normal” user. Just because something makes sense from a moderators perspective, it can be difficult to understand from a users perspective as they might not have all information available. You need to be able to explain your decisions.

Did you start playing IF first or join the community?

I stated playing Infinite Flight in 2013. The IFC wasn’t founded until 2015. Before that, we had an IFATC Facebook group. That was an interesting time!

What inspired you to be active for so many years?

I don’t know. It’s just such a fun place and an important part of my life. I met many new friends on this platform, I learned many things about aviation, teamwork, and leadership. Every day is different. Every day you learn something new and you meet a new person. The community changes day by day. And being able to be part of this is fun.

If another IF Flight Sim event occurs in the UK, would you be interested in going in the main aftermath of this pandemic?

Absolutely! If it’s safe to travel, I’m going. No doubt. I had everything booked to travel to Oshkosh and Cosford this year. Both got cancelled, sadly. Absolutely gutted. But safety first! I’m looking forward to meeting all of you once this pandemic is over. Stay safe!

Would you like to control as an IFATC?

YES! I really need to take up my training again!

What is your favourite route to fly on by IF?

KLAX – KSFO. It’s BEAUTIFUL! The landscape, the departure, the approach. It’s my all-time favorite route to fly!

Do you like Toblerone?

Yes, and no. The normal “bar” I don’t like. It’s terrible to eat. And honestly, I think the only reason Toblerone is made, is for tourists. However… I developed a recipe for a Toblerone Mousse au Chocolate. And that’s just lovely!

From the IFATC Meetings, we know that you speak english very well. Is this something that lies in the family or did you teach yourself ? If so how did you do it?

I actually learned it on my own (mostly). The basic grammar stuff I learned in school. But you can’t learn a language if you don’t use it. So I started reading English websites, I watched English TV shows (started German with English Subtitles, switched to English with German subs, then to English with English subs and now I don’t need any subs). The IFC also helped me a lot.

And for the speaking part: Honestly, as stupid as it sound: I started to reading English books and news papers out loud and recorded myself. Then I played back the recording, listened and checked if I can understand myself. If I didn’t, I knew where I had to improve.

(I also have a little “talent” with accents. It’s rather easy for me to take up different accents, both in German and English. That also helped to get rid of most of the German accent.)

Favorite and least favorite things about Switzerland?

Favorite Thing: The landscape. We have mediterranean climate in Ticino, we have European climate in Northern Switzerland, we have Arctic climate in some part of Western Switzerland and we have the Alps. The mountains of Switzerland are so extremely beautiful. Our cities are beautiful too. Overall, Switzerland is definitely one of the most beautiful countries on this planet. Least favorite thing: Switzerland is expensive. Even for us Swiss citizens it’s hard to afford sometimes. Also, the Swiss have a bit of a conservative mindset. You really notice that when it comes to political matters (which I won’t start discussing here). It’s a bit frustrating sometimes. Overall, Switzerland is a fantastic country to live in and I feel privileged that I got to grow up here. I’d like to see something different at some point though!

What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve learned and/or discovered whilst being a part of this community?

I learned a lot of things about myself of which I never thought that I could do that. Like flying to London for one day just for a community meet-up. I’m probably crazy.

Did it feel intimidating at first to interact with your Infinite Flight coworkers when you started? How do you manage that kind of cohesion?

Not as intimidated as I felt before, during and right after that spitfire training session you made me go through.

Did it feel intimidating at first to interact with your Infinite Flight coworkers when you started? How do you manage that kind of cohesion?

Not as intimidated as I felt before, during and right after that spitfire training session you made me go through.


If you’d like to join in discussions such as this with like-minded people like yourself and experts in the field, to learn and improve, I’d encourage you to sign up for our community. Upcoming guests

Using all procedures for runways in use versus only a few

With the addition of real world STARs into the simulator, we now have the ability to actual allow aircraft to follow STARs as ATC.

A point of contention within the IFATC community that has brought up discussions is what is the best way to work ATIS. ATIS plays a very vital role in how the airport operates when it comes to STARs. If STARs are required, the controller controlling ATIS will need to include “ATC preferred STARs”. The question is, which works better, one, restricting STARs to just a few, or two, allowing all STARs for the runways that are in use? I personally am in the camp that restricting the STARs is not beneficial, I would use them all. When you remove a few of the STARs associated with the runways in use, the flow of traffic is incredibly unnatural. I’ll use my sessions at LEPA as an example.

I took over for another controller, they were only using 4 of all of the STARs listed for runway 24L/24R, and the traffic flow was incredibly congested. It was like trying to fit a watermelon into a straw. Center’s workload was unnecessarily overloaded it felt, and so was mine.

I took over and immediately switched to using all the availble STARs for the runways in use. We instructed the ATIS to be changed and alerted all of the controllers of the change. Here is a list of all of the STARs used for runway 24L/24R only, courtesy of airports.ifatceg.com.

GODO3P

LAMP2P

MEBUT3P

OSAGP

RUXE2P

LORES1P

TOLS2P

KENAS3P

LUNIK2P

MAME1P

MORS2P

RIXO1P

LORE1K

TOLS2K

KENA2K

LUNI2K

MORS2K

RIXO1K

MEBU2K

OSGA2K

GODO2K

The controller controlling ATIS asked me “I have to input them all?”, “yup”. If you didn’t know, for context, the ATIS controller has to manually add all of the STARs to the ATIS. Eventually after about 30 minutes or so, new traffic started coming inbound and they started using the newly added STARs. ATIS read like War and Peace, but it opened way more opportunities for conflict resolution.

By restricting their choices before, they were all being funneled into one entry point for each direction, which doesn’t seem like a complete nightmare in the moment to control, but when you use all available STARs for the runways in use and realize the alternative to include all available STARs, you will quickly realize which is more beneficial.

It over simplifies the process to limit the choices for both the pilot and controller, in my opinion. With more angles and entry points comes more opportunities to resolve conflicts. Instead of having one possible option when restricting what was being used, I then gained two or three extra ways to fix any issues that came up.

GPS Approaches now Allowed

The new update has taken navigation in Infinite Flight to new heights, it is now possible to fly a GPS approach with ease! With the 19.4 update in December, GPS approaches weren’t possible anymore but now they are back!

To fly a GPS approach all you have to do is the following.

  1. Tap the airport
  2. PROC (Procedures)
  3. Approaches
  4. Select an RNAV Approach
  5. Add to your flight plan

Here is legend you can use to see if the approach you are selecting is an RNAV approach.

Then sit back and watch your autopilot do the rest. The published GPS approach will allow you to follow the lateral and verticle assignments specified in the approach via VNAV.

When ATC is active, you can now request a GPS approach. If traffic allows they will approve your request and you can continue as filed. The controller will verify you have a valid flight plan then clear you for the GPS approach when you are at an appropriate altitude. Remember, vectors issued by ATC override any procedure you are on.

View the current NAT NOTAM

North Atlantic Tracks (NAT), officially titled the North Atlantic Organised Track System, is a structured set of transatlantic flight routes that stretch from the northeast of North America to western Europe across the Atlantic Ocean. In-app, we now have updated NATs built right in to the simulator, for flight planning purposes.

If you view the map you can see the current tracks. Just tap on the end of the track to add it to your flight plan. These tracks are updated daily, mirroring what is used in the real world. You can track the current NOTAM for the NAT tracks here, posted by the FAA. Simply refresh the page to get the most up to date NOTAM.

Reference: FAA

June 2020 Appeals Data

Day in and day out, pilots are unfortunately reported by ATC. Controllers follow strict guidelines on when and when not to report, and some pilots may want to seek further clarification as to why they were reported.

On the Infinite Flight Forum, there is an appeals team. Along with the controllers themselves, the appeals team also field report appeal inquiries. You can message them here. The pilot aires their concerns about the report, the controller states why they were reported, then the controller or moderator overseeing the appeal decides whether or not the report will be upheld.

To help everyone learn from others mistakes, the Appeals team have released statistics and a report for the month of June of all of the appeals they fielded. Here is the report.

Use all available runways

As an Air Traffic Controller you should always strive to use all available runways to the max extent possible as your runways are one of your most valuable resources.

If you are manning the ATIS frequency always try to enable all available runways which could be used in the current airfield configuration. As the controller you will always have the final say on who goes where.

When most people request pusback or taxi they don’t request a specific runway. This gives you the freedom to decide what runway would be best to assign them anyway. But here and there you will get someone who requests a specific runway. Do your best to accommodate him. If they want to taxi to the other side of the airport to a certain runway, then let him. But always note, you as the controller have the final say and you should use your best judgement on how this will affect other traffic in your airfield.

The goal is to get everyone out and in as fast as possible. When it’s busy the way to go is to send everyone to the closest available runway. But there is a fine line, you want to reduce taxi times but also don’t want to lose that time by making them wait in line for departure for a long time. This is why it’s important for you as ground controller to be aware of what’s happening in your airfield at all times. Spread out the traffic between all the runways.

Keep an eye on what runway has less arrivals and send more people there. Do this to help each other out! Remember, when it’s busy communication is key.

Version 2.5.1 of the ATC Manual Released

The newest addition of the Infinite Flight ATC Manual has been released. With the manual now in it’s digitized form on the Infinite Flight website rather then it being on a PDF, it is now even easier for Staff to modify regularly. Here are the changes for this version, 2.5.1.

2.3.2 – The crossing must only be issued when the appropriate spacing exits to allow for the traffic to cross and clear the runway prior to the arriving traffic crossing the runway threshold. In addition, coordination with the Tower Controller is required to ensure another aircraft is not cleared for take-off

3.4.4 – Aircraft exiting the runway are expected to clear the hold short line and may contact ground control without permission in the absence of an exit instructions. If requested by the pilot, simply issue a frequency change to Ground Control.

6.3.4 – Once the aircraft is inbound to the runway threshold (this may not be inline with the runway for various GPS Approaches that are offset) Controllers can then hand them off to Tower/Unicom as appropriate.

6.13.2 – The ‘intended approach path’ for the GPS Approach, Radar Vectors and a Visual Approach are covered above (see 6.9.3, 6.11.1 and 6.12.3 above respectively). For the ILS approach, Controllers must ensure that the aircraft has successfully intercepted the LOC, this is especially important when parallel operations are in use (see 6.13.2.1 below). Do not confuse aircraft being established on the LOC, with ‘being in the cone’ – aircraft must be aligned with the centerline of the runway to be established, regardless of their position inside or outside of the cone.

You can review all of the changes to the manual here. If you have any questions, feel free to email us.

The Story of Goldilocks and the three Goats, go arounds

Yes, I know it’s Bears but a Goat is a term used to describe a controller, so we’re going with that for the title. Go around too early, too hot, go around too late, too cold, time the go around perfectly, just right.

A recent trend that we’ve been seeing is that controllers are issuing go arounds too late and then reporting the pilot when they don’t go around, but the pilot has no time to react.

400’ AGL, you send the go around, -600 to -800VS and they’re on the ground in a few seconds, so by the time the pilot reacts they’re already lower and controllers need to compensate for that.

Be more proactive with go arounds, see the conflicts and proactively anticipate it so you can time the go around better.

‘STAR use Rcmd/Req’ ATIS remarks added

Did you ever see the words “Recommended arrival procedures….” or/and “Use of Arrival procedures Recommended” in ATIS? That’s a new ATIS remark that can now be added:
    STARs Rcmd (Recommended)
    STARs Req (Required)
  • With these options the controller will be adding a good amount of STARs to ATIS, it may be required, as the one ATIS option suggests that the the pilot would need to add one of the preferred STARs into their flight plan.

    That means whenever you want to fly to an active airport, read the D-ATIS then listen to ATIS when in range, then check what the preferred STARs are that are in use so you can plan ahead. That will help the controllers to keep the traffic flow very smooth and will help the pilot also to reach his/her destination as soon as possible.
  • The preferred STARs are chosen by the ATIS controller but the radar controllers always have the final say when it comes to what STARs will be preferred.

    For the controllers, don’t forget when to use the recommended or the required remarks. Only use required when the traffic is busy, otherwise it’s just the recommended. We service the pilots so accommodating aircraft not on a published procedure is encouraged if traffic is low enough to warrant that.
  • Reference: 4.1 of the ATC Manual