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Start ::  Pilot's Lobby ::  VATSIM Tips & Tricks ::  ATC Basic training
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ATC Basic training

YETIV8R Posted: 19.05.2007, 21:32


registered: Jan. 2006
Posts: 1529

Status: offline
last visit: 04.09.13
[i][color=blue]You can download this tutorial in PDF format from here -->.
If you wish, you can print them from PDF file instead of printing this whole page from your web browser.

Here is the ATC clearance cheat sheet for you to download and print -->.

This is a basic ATC lesson. It is meant for the pilots who are beginners in the LIVE ATC arena. Please note word “LIVE” in the previous sentence. We strongly suggest you first be familiar with MSFS ATC and its ATC phraseology. In this article, we will not spend time explaining flight phases and ATC phraseology. We assume that you already know basic ATC instructions and the appropriate actions you need to take there after. I will, however, try to explain a few things if I think I should.

We can practice this ATC flight in our flight server SPA.HOPTO.ORG using Teamspeak for radio communication before heading out to professional/larger ATC service for flight simmers.

Please contact your hub manager or post your interest on this ATC practice in our forum, so we could arrange the training for you.

We will re-create the flight a few of SPA pilots did on VATSIM server on 06-18-2005.

The video of this flight can be found here:

Let’s get started. I’m going to include some pictorial explanation for non ATC part such as preparation of flight, charts etc. Some pictures may not even have explanations. They are assumed to be self explanatory.

First, we need to plan the flight plan. We will be departing from KORD and arriving at KATL. The best place to get your US flight plans, in my opinion, is http://www.simroutes.com

[u][b]1: Flight Plan[/b][/u]

After hitting the [Find Plans] button, if they have the flight plans in their database, it will list the flight plans as below:


Notice that you have two flight plans listed there. Let’s choose the second one for this practice.


Please print the appropriate charts (at least airport diagrams, SID & STAR) for your flight. You can download this flight plan in your desired file format to corresponding folders in your computer. I would first select the aircraft type from the list.

[b][u]2: Flight preparation.[/b][/u]

Create a flight in your MSFS and park your aircraft at a gate. Open up your flight plan and determine the cruise altitude. Connect to our multiplayer flight server and our teamspeak server. Please make sure ATC is available in Teamspeak before you request any ATC service.  Please take some time to read your departure procedure and your flight plan. I would also have the Clearance Delivery cheat sheet (available on the top of this article) and a pen handy.

[b][u]3: Clearance.[/b][/u]

First thing first; get the ATIS for your departure airport, if this service is available at that moment.

Our in-house ATC does not have current ATIS information but we will assume the current information is ALPHA for this practice. The ATC will correct you if the ATIS has changed.

We will use callsign SPA616 for this article, but you must use your own callsign provided by SPA. In this practice, we will use only one controller for KORD who will cover clearance, ground, & tower. In real life or in VATSIM, you may have more than one covering Clearance, Ground, Tower, Approach, Departure etc for one airport. In this practice Chicago Center will cover Departure and Center.
[*][color=blue][b]SP616:[/b] Clearance delivery, St. Paul 616 with Alpha, requesting IFR clearance to Atlanta.[/color]

[*][color=brown][b]ORD TWR:[/b] SP616, cleared to Atlanta via the O’HARE 1 departure, radar vectors GUIDO, then as filed, climb and maintain ten thousand, expect flight level three-one-zero ten minutes after departure, departure frequency is with center, squawk two-six-three-four. Current is BRAVO.[/color]
[i](for this practice, we will just use Center channel in Teamspeak for departure frequency)[/i]

[*][color=blue][b]SP616:[/b]Cleared to Atlanta via the O’HARE 1 departure, radar vectors to GUIDO, then as filed, climb and maintain ten thousand, expect flight level three-one-zero ten minutes after departure, departure frequency is with center, squawk two-six-three-four. We will get BRAVO, SP616.[/color]
[i](you can also just say ‘as filed’ instead of giving out the whole route)[/i]

[*][color=brown][b]ORD TWR:[/b] SP616, readback correct. Call me when ready to taxi.[/color]

[*][color=blue][b]SP616:[/b] Will call for taxi, SP616. [/color]

Things to remember for clearance delivery:

Have a copy of your filed route in front of you when you call.

Clearance limit, Route, Altitude, Departure Frequency, Transponder (CRAFT)


Clearance, Route, Altitude, Departure, Squawk (CRADS) in my case. 

[b][u]4: TAXI. [/b][/u]

[list] [*][color=blue][b]SP616: [/b] SP616, ready to taxi. [/color]

[*][color=brown][b]ORD TWR:[/b] SP616, taxi to and hold short runway 4L. [/color]
[i] (this would be ground control if it were open. You would also monitor Tower frequency if it were open on COM2 while taxing).
(depending on the location of your aircraft, you may be given taxiway path to the runway. This is why you need a print out of the Airport Diagram.) [/i]

[*][color=blue][b]SP616: [/b] Taxi to and hold short runway four-left, SP616. [/color] [/list]

[b][u]5: TAKE OFF. [/b][/u]

When you are at the runway hold point.
[list] [*][color=blue][b]SP616: [/b] Holding short runway four-left ready for departure, SP616. [/color]
[i] (Being “ready for departure” means your aircraft is ready of immediate takeoff. Have flaps set and your takeoff checks complete. You should be ready to throttle up and go with all instruments and radios tuned for the first waypoint of your route.) [/i]

[*][color=brown][b]ORD TWR:[/b] SP616, position and hold, runway 4L. [/color]
[i] (depending on the traffic, you may be cleared for take-off right away) [/i]

[*][color=blue][b]SP616: [/b] Position and hold, runway four-left, SP616. [/color]

[*][color=brown][b]ORD TWR:[/b] SP616, winds calm, fly runway heading, clear for take off runway 4L. [/color]

[*][color=blue][b]SP616: [/b] Fly runway heading, clear for take off runway four-left, SP616. [/color]
[i] (roll on baby) [/i] [/list]

[b][u]6: CLIMB & CRUISE. [/b][/u]

Once you are airborne, the tower will contact you and transfer you to Departure. In our practice, though, he will transfer you to Center.

[list] [*][color=brown][b]ORD TWR:[/b] SP616, contact center on the Center Channel, have a great flight. [/color]

[*][color=blue][b]SP616: [/b] Contacting center on the Center Channel, thanks, SP616. [/color]
[i] (switch to center channel in TS) [/i]

[*][color=blue][b]SP616: [/b] Chicago center, SPA616 climbing 2000 for 10000. [/color]

[*][color=brown][b]ORD TWR:[/b] SP616, Chicago center, radar contact, passing 2400. Turn right heading 140. [/color]

[*][color=blue][b]SP616: [/b] Turn right heading one four zero, SP616. [/color]

[*][color=brown][b]ORD TWR:[/b] SP616, proceed direct GUIDO when able, resume own navigation. Climb and maintain FL310. [/color]

[*][color=blue][b]SP616: [/b] Proceed direct to GUIDO, resume own navigation. Climb and maintain flight level three-one-zero, SP616. [/color]
[i] (If your aircraft is NOT RNAV equipped, then you should expect Radar Vectors to GUIDO). [/i] [/list]

Once you are about to leave Chicago Airspace, Chicago center will transfer you to Indianapolis airspace. Since we are not having any controllers in that airspace, all the radar services will be terminated. You will need to contact Atlanta Center (service provided for this practice) when you enter its airspace.

[list] [*][color=brown][b]ORD TWR:[/b] SP616, you are leaving my airspace to the south. IND Center is not available. Radar services terminated. Frequency change approved, have a good day. [/color]

[*][color=blue][b]SP616: [/b] Changing to UNICOM. Thanks for your service. Good day, SP616. [/color]
[i] (monitor 122.8 when no controllers are available) [/i] [/list]

When you enter ATL Center’s airspace, tune to its frequency;
[list] [*][color=blue][b]SP616: [/b] ATL center, SP616 with you at flight level three-one-zero. [/color]

[*][color=brown][b]ORD TWR:[/b] SP616, ATL center, radar contact, continue on course. [/color] [/list]

This is the best time to review your Arrival and Approach chart.


[b][u]7: DESCENT. [/b][/u]

When nearing your destination, Center will provide initial descent instructions. If you have reached your planned top-of-descent (TOD) and have not been issued instructions, it is perfectly acceptable to request a lower altitude. You can say ‘Center, SP616 requesting lower’.

[list] [*][color=brown][b]ORD TWR:[/b] SP616, descend and maintain at your discretion. Cross DALAS at one four, fourteen, thousand. Current ATL altimeter two niner eight eight. [/color]

[*][color=blue][b]SP616: [/b] Cross DALAS at fourteen thousand. Two niner eight eight, SP616[/color] [/list]

After you cross DALAS, ATL center will vector you near ATL approach’s airspace with simple instructions such as ‘turn right heading 230’, ‘descend and maintain eight thousand’, etc. provided KATL is not that busy. In such case, you may be instructed to hold at certain fixes.

[b][u]8: APPROACH. [/b][/u]

Make sure to get the ATIS for ATL before you are in ATL approach’s airspace. Usually, you announce you have the current (Bravo for example) information, on initial contact with the Approach controller.

Approach will also advise you to expect a runway for landing. You may request to change to a different runway at this time if unable to comply with the approach procedure for that runway. But we don’t have to worry about all of these in this practice flight because Approach is unavailable in this practice.

Since we will not have ATL approach controller in this practice, center will vector us to ILS till we are transferred to ATL tower.

[list] [*][color=brown][b]ORD TWR:[/b] SP616, you are 15 miles NE of the runway, turn right heading two four zero, maintain five thousand till established. Clear ILS 26R approach. [/color]

[*][color=blue][b]SP616: [/b] Right heading two four zero, maintain five thousand until established, cleared ILS two-six-right approach, SP616[/color] [/list]

When you are on the localizer and glide-slope, about 5 to 6 miles from landing, the approach will transfer you to the tower.

[list] [*][color=brown][b]ORD TWR:[/b] SP616, contact ATL tower on the tower channel, have a good day. [/color]

[*][color=blue][b]SP616: [/b] Switching to ATL channel, have a good day and thanks, SP616. [/color] [/list]

[b][u]9: LAND. [/b][/u]

After switching to Tower channel on TS, you contact tower:
[list] [*][color=blue][b]SP616: [/b] ATL tower, SP616 on ILS26R. [/color]

[*][color=brown][b]ORD TWR:[/b] SP616, ATL tower, winds two-five-five at 4, runway 26R cleared to land. [/color]

[*][color=blue][b]SP616: [/b] Cleared to land runway two-six-right, SP616. [/color] [/list]

After touchdown:
[list] [*][color=brown][b]ORD TWR:[/b] SP616, welcome to Atlanta. Exit the runway to your left, cross runway 26L, cleared to the gate. [/color] [/list]

After exiting the runway:
[list] [*][color=blue][b]SP616: [/b] Cleared to cross two-six-left, to the gate, SP616. [/color] [/list]

Since we do not have ATL ground, and the tower has cleared us to the gate, we can taxi to the terminal, and park our aircraft at any gate. Remember; when going to and from the Gate, you can't cross any intersecting runways without specific ATC permission. You may contact the tower that you are at the gate.

This concludes our ATC practice.


Naresh K Gurung

Reviewed by Jerry Allen
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Anonymous Posted: 20.05.2007, 01:23
Unregistered User I'm also available if anyone needs help with the "how-to's" of ATC

Anonymous Posted: 20.05.2007, 06:54
Unregistered User Thank you Naresh..

Much Appreciated

jetjerry Posted: 20.05.2007, 10:20


registered: Jan. 2006
Posts: 840

Status: offline
last visit: 21.01.14
Thanks Naresh for doing this!

This is FANTASTIC stuff!

It should help some of our Elmers in the sky....Steve L. knows of whom I speak.

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KenLeMay Posted: 20.05.2007, 10:39


registered: Jan. 2006
Posts: 800

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last visit: 12.06.11
Great Tutorial Naresh; thanks a ton, and also Thanks Chris for the offer of help on ATC as well.

Ken LeMay
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daveraine Posted: 20.05.2007, 13:58


registered: Jan. 2006
Posts: 779

Status: offline
last visit: 28.12.09
If you like real ATC then check this out

http://www.liveatc.net/ .

At the momment i am listening to Denver of corse there are a lit of sites to chose from.

It might help to here here the real guys do it.

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