This is part two of our training material. It will focus more on the practical skills and methods that are used when conducting ATC. To get the more theoretical background, please read the MANUAL.
Speaking of ATC, there are more similarities than differences between FIR's and countries, but local procedures and routines are quite common and we would like to stress the importance of reading any local manual and guide that may exist on a local Web pages.
There are a lot of examples of phraseology in this guide, but it is impossible to include all variations. Please refer to the reference section a comprehensive listing about phrases used in aviation.
1.1 Getting Started [S]
Some say it can be quite a challenge to find all material and all programs that are needed in order to conduct on-line ATC in VATSIM. While we strive to make this process as easy as possible, we do recognize that this is an obstacle that you need to overcome. Please take a look at this step by step guide if you are in need for guidance. http://www.vatsim.net/controller.html You can also refer to your local vACC homepage to find more information on the training and upgrading process in it. If you get stuck or are lost in some way, please do not hesitate to contact the one in charge for training in your local vACC or VATWA ATC Training Department.
1.2 Radar Client [S]
First you will need a radar client. There are links to approved software and manuals on VATSIMs Home Page www.vatsim.net (Controller Resources => Controller Software). Since there is more than one radar client available, you might want to check with your instructor which one (s)he will be using in your training. Even though a radar client is all what you need, there are other programs that can be helpful. You may find many of them on www.vatsim.netunder links and resources. http://vatsim.net/links/linksandresources.html For ease of members you will also find the links and short descriptions under ATC Resources on the main menu of VATWA.
1.3 Setting Up for an ATC Session [S]
A good advice is to prepare for your on-line session. In some areas you are requested to book a position before you man it. A good habit is to log on to VATSIM as an observer first and coordinate with fellow ATCs controlling sectors adjacent to the sector you are planning to man. This also gives you an overview of the present traffic situation. Make sure you have access to current maps and charts for the area you are planning to give ATC in. Prepare your ATIS and start the session. It is a good practice to send an ATC-message as soon as you get on-line to inform you fellow ATCs that you have opened your position. Please refer to the software manual to see how this is done. Before closing your sector, inform fellow ATCs in the same manner as above and give information to all the pilots that are under your control on how they shall proceed i.e. hand-over traffic to another controller or switch to UNICOM and continue on own navigation.
1.4 When in need of help [S]
If you need help “off-line”, the first instance you should turn to is your local vACC. Search for the answer to your question on the local Webpage or forum or write in the forum and ask for help. You can also search/write in the VATSIM forums http://forums.vatsim.net/ If this isn’t helping you or your question is better dealt with in private, rather on a forum, please look at the staff-listing on your local vACC and write an e-mail to the staff-member in charge for the area which your question concerns. This will usually solve the problem, but if not and if needed please write an e-mail to someone in the VATWA-staff. If you need help on-line, you should contact a more senior fellow colleague on-line and ask for guidance and help. If there is none or if this doesn’t solve your problem you should contact a SUPERVISOR. This is done by typing [.wallop ] in the radar client's command field. The message is sent to all Supervisors on-line and they will do their best to help you sort the problem out. Good Luck with your controlling!