Getting started as pilot

You are passionate about aeronautics and you fly, more or less well, on a simulator? How to take your first steps as a Pilot on the network? You are at the right place to find the answers!

What is a virtual pilot and what is it doing on IVAO IVAO?

Aeronautics, and being a pilot in particular, is a passion for many, even a kid's dream for some. Achieving this dream is possible but not always simple: if the acquisition of a private pilot license is now within reach of many people, the business of commercial pilot remains very demanding, the training extremely advanced and the constraints sometimes difficult to assume.

Those who come to crown this dream, like those who do not succeed, are all united by a great passion for aeronautics. Many of them bring this passion to life through simulation. Today it is possible to perform flight simulation of great quality and stunning realism through software, called Flight Simulators (FS), which can run on a desktop computer, or even a laptop. Thanks to these flight simulators, it is easy to live a realistic experience comfortably installed at home.

However, the realism of piloting does not come only from the airplane or the landscapes which one admires from the cockpit but feeds on the presence of other pilots and, especially, of the air traffic control. To take advantage of this increased realism, IVAO offers virtual pilots and virtual air traffic controllers the use of a network on the Internet and performant tools emulating radio communications.

It's amazing, isn't it? Being able to fly a plane at home but in almost real conditions, with other planes and an air controller who manages everything.

If you want to try the adventure and start your virtual pilot career on IVAO in the best possible conditions, here are some important tips!


First of all, it should be noted that the vocation of IVAO is not to train the basics of pilot theory and practice. Our network is aimed at virtual pilots who already master the simulated flight and, in general, the fundamental concepts of aeronautics. Therefore, it is essential, before embarking on flying on the network, to have acquired these bases and to master one of the flight simulators used on IVAO: FS2002, FS2004, FSX, P3D, X-Plane and MFS2020.

Before you start flying on IVAO, check that you are registered on the network as a pilot. 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 Pilot" button to ON.

It is reminded that the registration on IVAO implies the fact of having read and accepted the rules and regulations of IVAO, as well as the pilot rules specific to the France division.

Since aeronautics is a very technical field, it is highly recommended to read all the information found in the documentation library of the Training Department. These documents, which you will not find in the manuals of your simulator, are indeed an essential complement for flying on the network.

Finally, you will need to download and install the software needed to fly on IVAO:

  • IvAp: it is the software that allows you to fly on the network. It has been developed to allow connection between IVAO servers and your flight simulator
  • TeamSpeak2: this is the voice connection software currently used with IvAp.


To make your experience on our network the most enjoyable and realistic, here are some tips and recommendations that we draw your attention to:

  • The air traffic controller is scary! This is the pleasure of the IVAO network but it is also its difficulty. When to call the ATC, what to say to him/her, how to answer his/her requests? All this is not easy but the starting point is the goodwill of ATC with novice pilots. Note on your flight plan, in the Remarks box, the mention "RMK/Newbie": the controller will help you, depending on its traffic load, if you are a little lost or do not know what to do.
  • The phraseology is scary! For most new members, speaking on frequency is an almost insurmountable obstacle. So, you may be tempted to communicate only by text: it is possible but it would be too bad to deprive you of the realism of the voice communication. Prepare your sentences in advance, possibly on a piece of paper, and be prepared to write down what ATC will tell you.
  • English is scary! If speaking on frequency is an obstacle, English is sometimes a mountain. Avoid flying abroad or at major international airports. Enjoy French regional terrain where ATC (as well as most pilots) speak French. On the other hand, learning aeronautical English is part of any pilot's career and, sooner or later, you will probably have to go there. It's not too hard, the expressions to learn are not infinite and you will probably be forgiven you "typical French accent"...
  • Flying a big liner is not scary! Well it's a shame because it should be scary. Starting his career as a virtual pilot by taking a Boeing 777 to make a Paris-Nice flight is unfortunately quite typical on IVAO but not really realistic. Most often, it gives a rather bad flight, where no procedure is really respected, and the other pilots and the ATC do not take any pleasure. Choose your aircraft and flight based on your true skills and avoid international platforms where even taxiing can be a headache!
  • In summary, take the time to learn and improve. Read the available documentation, perform some patterns with ATC on a small airfield, ask for help more experienced ATC and pilots and enjoy gradually.


The Flight Operations department offers many tours to discover new airports, beautiful landscapes and procedures always different. It is a very effective way to progress in piloting and flight planning.

The Events department also organises amazing events to which we invite you to participate throughout the year. Some are organized by our division or one of its FIR, others in collaboration with other divisions or virtual airlines.

As you progress, you may want to pass the various exams to check your knowledge and continue to progress in your career as a virtual pilot. The Training Department is available to help you, train you and prepare you to take your exams on IVAO.

Virtual airlines

You may also be tempted to join one of the Virtual Airlines (VA) that have chosen to partner with IVAO for their network flights. Some are inspired by real companies, others are purely fictitious, but they are all guided by the same desire for sharing and conviviality. They are all different, from the most realistic to the most fun, and we can only encourage you to visit their websites to explore all the activities they offer. If you feel like it, pick yours and sign up!

Useful information

You will find in the menus of the "Pilots" tab all information needed during your whole virtual pilot life on IVAO. In particular, the section "Prepare your flight" offers an easy and effective way to prepare your navigation, both in IFR and VFR. You will also find a large amount of useful links under the "Pilot Tools" tab.

Finally, do not hesitate to explore our list of sceneries, selected for you by our FIR chiefs, to make your flight simulator more complete and realistic.

Do not hesitate to read Débuter en tant que pilote sur le réseau IVAO, an attractive and detailed French educational document.

In any case, we invite you to visit our forum and 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. FIR chiefs are also at your disposal to guide and inform you.

Good flights on IVAO !