Tower Controller

Overview

If you enjoy being on-line then you may want to consider becoming ATC. Becoming ATC will open up new on-line opportunities for you, and increase your on-line participation and on-line satisfaction. As ATC you provide a service to others so it is much better if you already have experience on-line as a Pilot/Observer before undertaking this more demanding role.

Time on-line as a pilot is valuable since it helps you to understand the needs of pilots, and prepares you for when you eventually take on the ATC role.

As a general guideline, if you are new to the on-line environment and have no real world aviation qualification then before applying for assessment.:

  • you should have a minimum of 50 hours total on-line as a Pilot/Observer; and
  • you must have a minimum of 20 hours online meaningfully observing ATC.

You can study for the Tower Rating assessment while you are flying on-line and familiarising yourself with the on-line aviation environment. The amount of pre-assessment study required is typically only a few hours but will depend on your current knowledge and previous experience.

If you demonstrate an ability to learn and progress rapidly then you may well complete certain levels in fewer hours than is normally recommended.

Progression through the ratings is driven largely at your own pace and you should typically spend at least 50 hours consolidating your knowledge at each level. This means the entire process to obtain your Tower, TMA & Enroute ratings can be completed in about 6 months. 

In all instances the emphasis during assessment will be on your demonstrated knowledge and skill rather than hours spent on-line.It is better to take your time and be well-prepared, there is no need to rush.

Studying for the Tower rating

Moodle is a training system designed to assist you in preparing for your Tower rating. It guides you through each step of the process; from understanding each assessment competency to explaining key aviation concepts and providing small research tasks to help you consolidate your learning.

Its modular design means that you can work at your own pace and study small sections at a time to avoid information overload. Along the way you will find diagrams, links to real world documentation and even audio samples so you can familiarise yourself with "ATC speak".

All the information you need is contained in or linked from Moodle. It is a one-stop-shop for training that saves you from wasting valuable time scouring the internet for information!

Access the ATC Academy Here

Assessment

The purpose of assessment is to evaluate your competency against the minimum requirements of the Tower rating. These requirements are set by VATSIM and everyone is assessed against the same criteria to ensure consistency and fairness in the assessment process. 

You will be assessed using two methods. The first is a multiple choice/short-answer quiz, which covers the theoretical aspects of the Tower rating. It is marked automatically so you will know your result as soon as you finish. Once you have passed the quiz you will take a short practical checkride using a simulated session on the VATSIM training server. 

The purpose of the checkride is two-fold. It gives you the chance to put into practice some of the skills you have learnt during your preparation and build up your confidence operating an ATC position without the pressure of real pilots waiting on your instructions. At the same time, it allows your assessor to ensure that you are competent in a practical environment before they sign you off. 

The assessment is not designed to trick you or catch you out, so there is no need to worry. You will only be assessed on the competencies specified by VATSIM, so if you follow the study guide you will be well prepared for success!

For more information, please contact the training department by email.