Getting started as ATC

You are a new member wishing to learn how to provide air trafic control. Getting started as ATC on IVAO will be easier and more efficient if you follow the advices indicated in this page.

What is an air traffic controller and what is he doing on IVAO?

An ATC (Air Traffic Controller) is an aeronautical operator responsible for air traffic control. Air traffic management depends on the type of controlled area, but in all cases, a controller is always in charge of a limited airspace, both laterally and vertically, called controlled airspace.

In real life, the job of air traffic controller is performed in the look-out post of a control tower or in a control room located in an aerodrome or in an activity zone. In the IVAO network, each ATC is comfortably seated at his / her computer and uses a software that emulates a radar screen and other software that emulates radio communication with pilots.

Do you want to try the adventure and become a virtual air controller? Read the following and good learning!


Before embarking on IVAO air traffic control, check that you are registered on the network as an ATC. To do this, log on to your IVAO profile and click on "Change my details" (at the bottom of the page). If this is not already the case, change the "Registered as ATC" button to ON.

It is recalled that registration on IVAO implies having read and accepted the IVAO rules and regulations, as well as the ATC rules specific to the France division.

Finally, you will need to download and install the software necessary to control on IVAO:

  • Aurora: it is the software that allows you to control on the network. It has been developed to look like and have features similar to those you encounter on real radar stations


When you are at this stage, the most difficult thing is to resist the urge to connect directly to any control position. If flying or controlling in IVAO is a hobby, the fact remains that the network seeks to get as close as possible to reality. A novice controller who immediately connects to a Tower position would be a bit like an apprentice pilot who has just registered to a Flying Club flying who wants to fly an Airbus A320 with 100 passengers on board.

  • Our first recommendation is to take the time to consult the software manuals, including that of Aurora to properly configure them, as well as documents from our documentation library that contain all the information necessary to start on a good basis the control on the network.

  • In a second step, we recommend that you log in as an observer on a controlled platform to better understand how a controller proceeds. To do this, use the callsign LFXX_YY_OBS (where "LFXX" is to be replaced with the airport ICAO code and "YY" is to be replaced with your initials). It will be quite easy for you to find experienced controllers (with at least ADC rating) connected and possibly ask them some questions, by chatting on Aurora, or possibly by voice on the division Discord server.

  • After few hours of this learning regime, you will be able to take the plunge, get the charts of an aerodrome, study them and connect as a controller to a reasonably sized ATC position, a Tower (TWR) or a Ground frequency (GND) preferably, so you do not get overwhelmed by too much traffic. You must be patient and have at least 30 minutes in front of you (minimum time to open a control position), knowing that if you want to be able to attract a few pilotes, a period of one hour and half to two hours will be more appropriate. You will be able to begin to gain experience and accumulate the number of hours necessary to pass from the AS1 (ATC Applicant) rating, assigned at the time of your registration, to the AS2 (ATC Trainee) rating. Note that login hours as observer are not counted for your ATC rating progress.

  • One last tip: take your time and focus on only one platform. Learn to know your airspace, the peculiarities of the terrain and avoid at all costs to change the platform according to the traffic flux. This is very frowned upon on our network because the hunt for traffic prevents learning and builds bad controllers with which no pilot wants to communicate on the frequency. Contact the FIR chiefs and the animator of the platform you have chosen: they will be delighted to welcome you and help you in your first steps in the control.

As the level of each is not equal, IVAO has set up a system of restriction of access to certain control positions (FRA, Facility Rating Assignment). This means that you will not be able to log on to positions for which a higher ATC rating is required (the connection as an observer is not subject to FRA).

Useful information

The easiest and perhaps the safest way is to join the ATC School (ATC School) which, through a number of customised modules with a trainer, will bring you from theory to practice and possibly to the gates of the first practical test, the ADC. You will also meet other aviation enthusiasts, virtual or not, who can guide you, answer your questions, you will avoid some mistakes and allow you to find your marks faster and the pleasure of controlling properly.

After accumulating experience and having a proven track record, perhaps you will want to invest yourself more in IVAO by becoming a animator, by participating in the organisation of events or by proposing some. FIR chiefs will then be happy to welcome you to participate in the life and activity of their FIR.

In any case, we invite you to visit 
the forum or the France division Discord to meet the members and staffs, which is the best way to inform you and exchange with other pilots and controllers. The FIR chiefs or the ATC School managers are also at your disposal to guide you and inform you.

We wish you many joys and pleasures as a controller on IVAO