How to Plan for your IFATC Radar Training Sessions

July, 19, 2021 by Suhas J.

For those who decide to pursue radar training in IFATC to become an IFATC Officer, extensive training is required. So how do you make sure you pass?

Once you’ve been given your next training airport, you want to familiarize yourself with the field as much as you can. What things should be taken into account? Terrain, altitudes, headings, and other strategies are essential items to be pinpointed before a radar session. To start, head to ifatc.org and enter your airport code to find a map with terrain, MSA (Minimum Safe Altitudes), and more. If you experiment with the ‘Explore’ tab, you can show options such as Waypoints, nearby airfields, and Approach/Glideslope details, which are very helpful in planning. Start off with writing the MSAs for different areas, based on terrain. Next, mark down your pattern altitudes/headings, as well as your inbound altitudes and paths. Ask your trainer questions, run your plan by them, look at charts/MSAs, watch videos of the approach online if applicable, and fly your plan! Fly your planned routes/altitudes as if you were a pilot at your session – take note of specific waypoints or areas to turn aircraft or safely vector them around terrain. A good tip is that if you see an airport near your session airport and it is in a challenging location or you hope nobody is placed there, spawn there and fly it. Prepare for the worst so that you can’t have anything unexpected happen. Use your resources!

By the time your session rolls around, stick to your plan, think logically, be proactive, and you can’t go wrong. If you do, there’s no shame whatsoever – that is the purpose of training. Failure is the recipe for success.

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