Air traffic control

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Air traffic control (ATC) is a service mostly provided by ground-based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and in the air. The primary purpose of ATC systems worldwide is to separate aircraft to prevent collisions, to organize and expedite the flow of traffic, and to provide information and other support for pilots when able. In some countries, ATC may also play a security or defence role (as in the United States), or be run entirely by the military (as in Brazil).

Related content

  • ATC phraseology lists common phraseology and their meanings.
  • Spoken ATC allows the pilot to listen to the directives of the Air Traffic Controller.
  • Red Griffin ATC Speaking Air Traffic Controller Addon for FlightGear

ATC in FlightGear multi-player

To know if an area is controlled or booked:

  • Check for announced ATC sessions on Lenny's website.
  • Check the Pilot List in FlightGear or the Multiplayer map. Usually, controllers:
    • have a callsign XXXX_DE, XXXX_GN, XXXX_TW or XXXX_AP (where XXXX is the ICAO code of the airport they are manning);
    • generally use OpenRadar or ATC-pie, which appear as aircraft models on the map, or older ATC-* named models.

For pilots

For controllers

  • Best practices
  • "Lenny's website" is today's de facto ATC platform featuring a flight plan database, tutorials and resources, software downloads, and a schedule where ATCs announce their session and let pilots know when and which airport will be controlled

Software for controlling on FlightGear:

  • Standalone programs for more realistic experience: OpenRadar, ATC-pie
  • FG aircraft like ATC-FS, an ATC model with flight strips