An IFATC Specialists’ experience with the IFATC so far

April, 28, 2021 by

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 Officer.