First Steps - ATC
You will be prompted to a new tab with a list of available software. Click on download and simply await for it to be done. As soon as it is completed extract all the files somewhere on your desktop and launch the executable.
Follow the steps throughout the wizard and it should be alright.
You need one more software to be able to communicate with the controller. If you do not have a microphone, it is still recommended to install Teamspeak 2 but is not mandatory.
Usually, the Teamspeak installation is brought to you within IvAc wizard. If it was not the case, you may get a free copy here.
Follow the steps to install it. Once it is done, open Teamspeak in order to change the settings. Click on ‘Sound Input/Output Settings’. A pop up will open.
It is recommended you use the ‘Push to Talk’ transmission method to communicate with Teamspeak. If you do so, you will need to set a default key that you will need to press to talk. Click on set and hit the key you want to set up.
The rest of the options in that box are optional, feel free to custom them at your own discretion to experience a better sound quality.
That’s it for the software part. I hope you are still as much motivated as you were prior to installing everything! Take a breath and fasten your belt, you are about to enter into a very addictive simulation experience. It’s now time to launch IvAc. Ready? Let’s go.
Okay, you probably launched IvAc already and realize there are a bunch of information appearing in the middle of the screen that you do not have any clue about.
Do not worry, I will explain all of these features briefly.
First of all, IvAc is a software used by every single controller on the network and thus has the same layout for everybody.
You may notice on the picture just above I have added several numbers up to 7 on some part of the radar screen. I’m going to detail each part briefly so you get to know your way around with the key features in IvAc.
It consists of two bars. The darkest one is part of the software window and contains some details such as your IvAc version, your callsign you are currently connected with and into brackets a distance in miles along with geographical coordinates. Note: The callsign may either be you connected as observer, staff or as an active controller. It may be ‘EBBR_TWR’, ‘EBBR_OBS’ and so on.
The second bar is inside the IvAc program and may be used to display features on your radar screen in order to assist you with your duties.
Here is again our bar but with numbers so it makes things easier to explain each item. With many buttons of the top bar you can do a shift + click to get additional options on things you may or may not want to show. Experiment yourself to give you a screen with which you feel comfortable. It might sound complicated and a lot of things to learn at first but it is important you take several minutes to familiarize yourself with them right now because it will save you a lot in the near future.
- You may change the options of IvAc in here. ‘PROF’ is there to save your current radar screen settings so if you control at another position than usual you may load the file and it will import the settings you have chosen to display. It automatically loads the sector file, sound and colours you might have customized too. The ‘PVD’ button is where is stored all of the things you may customize. I will get back to it at a later stage since it contains a lot of stuff;
- The ‘ATIS’ box allows you to configure your ATIS (Automatic Terminal Information Service) where pilots may retrieve weather, runway in use and important information about your aerodrome. It is very important to fill in after you just connected. The METAR button permits you to select the METAR you want to display on your radar screen;
- Here are four features you may display or not on your radar screen (Flight Strip, COMMBox, In/Out traffic and ATC box). According to your position, it may be needed or easier to have them all open or not. Each of them will be detailed at a later stage too;
- Each aircraft is represented with a label, it allows you to increase or decreased the size of the label;
- These are the speed vectors that may be used to predict where will be the aircraft at within the next minute, two minutes, four or eight minutes. 0 means no speed vector will be displayed;
- It allows you to display FIR, high and low level sectors. The airspace is delimited with vertical and horizontal limits, you may display them by clicking on them;
- ‘AP’ refers to ‘airport’ and ‘GEO’ to geographical data. It permits you to see the airports all-around of you and it’s the same thing with the geographical data. May be rivers and what not;
- Useful buttons to display runway approaches axis and every runway in your sector file;
- In this box you will find all the radio navigation systems and waypoints. Click on them to display them on your screen. The ‘N’ is a feature to disable all of the text on your radar;
- ‘L’ refers to low and ‘H’ to high obviously. Press them to display the low and high airways;
- ‘SID’ and ‘STAR’ may be used to display SID and STAR. Right click on these buttons for further customization;
- These four buttons are to be used for zooming. Adjust the zoom within your radar with your mouse wheel then right click on any of these buttons. Zoom in or out, click on the button you just saved your previous zoom and it will get back automatically to the zoomed position;
- QDM and VERA are tools I won’t detail much because it is not necessary to know a lot about them at the beginning. Consider they are used for APP and CTR positions;
- INTERCOM is a Skype system implemented with IvAc to coordinate the traffic flow with adjacent ATCs. Not used often but feel free to click on it and adjust the settings, it all explained there when you click on it.
These information are directly displayed on your radar screen. The METAR may be chosen with the ‘METAR’ button as seen above. The clock displays the time in UTC and the ‘1027’ represents the actual QNH. The ‘246/13’ informs you about the actual wind direct and its force. These data are retrieved and interpreted here from the METAR just above.
The COMMBox is a very useful tool to communicate with the pilots through text, adjacent ATC and receive private messages. Everything is sorted out with tab.
Let’s start with the tab at the top. The three first tabs represent three different frequencies. Pilots in text mode message will go straight into them. To set up the right frequency of your position, simply type ‘// 118.6’. The frequency will be displayed in the tab itself. The METAR tab is where will be stored every METAR you requested with the ‘METAR’ button in the top bar. The GUARD frequency shall be used as emergency frequency to communicate with aircraft in distress. The ATC tab is where you state you come online or go offline. It is important to report here every time you log in/off. The broadcast tab reports important message from supervisors. At last the ‘MSG’ tab states server information you do not need to focus on at this stage. You will see text message in the middle of the box, a callsign ‘BAW345’ too. The callsign is automatically written there when you select an aircraft with your mouse. You simply have to write the message you want on the box right from the callsign and press ENTER. If everything went alright the message will be to the pilot and a copy of it will be written in the middle of the box.
In terms of work management, this feature is something you will probably like. It makes an inventory of the traffic inbound and outbound from the position you control. Simply right click on the window, select options and add an ICAO code in ‘departure’ and ‘arrival’. It will then display the pilots who fly in or out. It is pretty easy to read the information from it. Each line represents a traffic. It displays either if they come in ‘I’ or out ‘O’ then the aerodrome they go from/to, the estimated time of arrival/departure, their callsign, aircraft type and information about route and level that will be explained later. Put as many as airports you want to see such as on the screen shot. You may actually see those who go or leave EBBR (Brussels) and EBCI (Charleroi).
Again, this tool is really helpful. It displays every ATC and observer connected across your range. It displays their callsign, frequency, rating and full name.Right click on the box to change the settings. There is a filter system you may try out too. You may disable all positions, only observers, CTR, APP, TWR, GND or DEL ATC positions. Be careful if you use them and keep in mind someone might be connected but you will not see them.
The flight strip permits to display important information about a traffic. It’s all organized into boxes and you may add up information into them as much as needed. Let’s take an example.
- Represents the ICAO code airport of arrival. The traffic goes to Charleroi in this case. The ‘I’ below the destination represents the type of flight; either IFR or VFR. In case of a VFR flight, a ‘V’ will be displayed here instead. At last, ‘1000’ represents the squawk code. Note: If an aircraft is displayed on the radar screen with ‘1200’, ‘2000’ or ‘7000’, he needs to be given a squawk code from 0000 to 7777 - except 7500, 7600 or 7700 - by the controller in order to retrieve flight strip information;
- Represents the cruise flight level ‘F180’ here. The aircraft type is shown just below with ‘B738’ and its category ‘M’. The ‘N0333’ is the cruise speed and ‘EBBR’ into brackets represent the alternative aerodrome;
- It displays the callsign and how it shall be pronounced;
- The upper level of the box represents the departure aerodrome (Lorient), the UTC time as to when the aircraft expects to take-off. The lower box represents the information that may be added by the controller. The ‘180’ refers to a flight level instruction and ‘VEKIN’ to a waypoint instruction. In other words, the ATC writes down here the instructions that were passed to a traffic so that the next ATC knows about the instruction. Note: Always fill in them regardless of the traffic load. It takes no time to have them updated and may save you a lot of time. You will be explained how to add them later;
- This is the route flown by the traffic;
- Here are the remarks. You may see three dots at the end of it, meaning not everything contained in this case is shown in the flight strip. You need to check into the flight plan to read the rest. Keep reading to know how to see a flight plan.
Do not worry, we are about to be done with the full lengthy text explanations. I just need a bit more of your patience before you try out the control on the network. Make a right click anywhere on the radar screen. It shall bring you a menu as such.
You will notice some feature I have already explained. Feel free to click on them and check on your own how it works. Then focus on the last three lines, this is where you configure general settings for IvAc.
Click on ‘PVD Options…’ I won’t explain each item one by one because and it’s self-explanatory and I’m sure you may do it yourself. Change any setting, and see what happens. It is already explained so you know what to expect.
Right click again and select ‘Label/Route Options…’
Do one more right click and select ‘Conflict Options…’
Here is how it should be configured.
These options may be also found by clicking on ‘PVD’ in the top bar. You will also find more options there, feel free to check them out.
Left click on any traffic within your area of control and if he has not contacted you and is on the move, right click on them and press ONCE ‘Force ACT’. It will send a warning message to the pilot so they contact you. If he does not respond, send them a second ‘Force ACT’ after at least one minute. Once he contacts you, right click again on them and select ‘ASSUME’. The traffic is now under your hands and if you right click on them again, you will notice more menu. Want to see the flight plan? No problem, click on ‘Show FPL’.
You are now able to ‘TRANSFER’ to an adjacent ATC. Click on that feature, pick the right ATC station and the traffic gets forwarded to the right controller. Note: You still need to tell the pilot he has to contact the next ATC. No further ATC available? No problem, hit the ‘RELEASE’ task and it will clear the traffic from your I/O list and forward them to UNICOM. Again, inform the pilot of that and give them the frequency (122,800 MHz). You may now use ‘CLEARED FL’, ‘Cleared WP’ ‘Cleared SP’ and ‘No Voice’. Remember I explained you may add information in the flight strip as much as necessary. Use them to add a flight level or a waypoint (WP) or put a speed restriction (SP) even. ‘No Voice’ shall be ticked when the traffic does not communicate with Teamspeak but in text mode only.
See? It’s working perfectly!
In addition, you will be able to see the information you have entered about a specific traffic in their label. Their callsign is added at the top, then their cruising flight level. The ‘140’ is the descent instruction. M refers to ‘Medium’ – aircraft category – and ‘TEST’ to the waypoint he’s been cleared to. At last you will see the speed restriction for ‘I160’ and the aircraft category as usual ‘B738’. Fantastic, isn’t it? Before you start to do anything, don’t forget to update your ATIS.
It won’t take long and you are about to know the basics to do your first ATC session! Look up at the top bar and click on ATIS. Fill it in as accurate as possible like such.
I was about to forget the most important : ) Click on CONNECT in the top bar and a new window shall open.
Fill in everything and hit ‘CONNECT’. Did it work? If yes, you should see traffic slowly loading up. Check into the COMMXBox within ‘MSG’ tab and you should see a welcome message and your ATC rating. If it did not work, check again your password case and make sure to try with the IVAN password.
You will need sector files to control at a specific position. The Belgium division also created some guide and document in order to assist you. Check at http://www.ivao.be/community/downloads under ‘Charts’, ‘Controller files’ ‘Quickviews’ and ‘Sector Files’. Make sure to read the page within ‘Controller’ on the website still.
Unlike for pilots, anyone who wish to control at a specific position need a minimum rating. This is to ensure ATC service is done properly by people who are supposed to know their way around. The highest position (CTR) is most of the time restricted to those who hold a rating of ADC at least. As a beginner, you will start with a rating of AS1. More information about the rating may be found here: https://ivao.aero/training/ratings/ratings_atc.asp If you attempt to log in a position that is restricted by the FRA system (Facility Rating Assignment), you will likely get disconnected if you do not hold the minimum rating required. Everything is explained on our website: http://www.ivao.be/controller/fra
Have a question? Do you need support? We will be always happy to help you and clear out your questions. The best way is to reach us directly through email and select ‘IVAO Training department BE’ into the category field. You may share your experience with us on our dedicated division forum by clicking here.
Download the guide as PDF here