I am new, what is this all about?
The Dutch VACC is part of VATSIM, a global organisation that facilitates virtual aviation, from both pilot and air traffic controller perspectives. For pilots, this is done within a flight simulator, such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, P3D and X-Plane. Together with a complimentary add-on program, such as vPilot or xPilot, these members can connect with the VATSIM network from all across the world. On the other hand, there are virtual air traffic controllers, who use specialised radar software to control the virtual traffic mentioned before. This together creates a worldwide network of pilots and air traffic controllers interacting with each other, as close to reality as possible.
Pilots and air traffic controllers can communicate with each other through the network, much like in real life. This is accomplished through voice communication, which is built into the programs. However, some pilots choose text over voice. Both options are accommodated. VATSIM strives to use realistic flight procedures as much as possible. Flight routes are followed according to actual flight patterns, and approach and departure routes that apply in real life are utilised. The difference between the built-in air traffic control of Flight Simulator or X-Plane and VATSIM is that individuals who engage in online flying on VATSIM are assisted by genuine air traffic controllers, not computerised voices that provide instructions through pre-programmed scenarios. Furthermore, the experience is highly interactive, as there are numerous other online pilots and controllers in the vicinity. All of this can be accomplished with a simple headset and a broadband internet connection, and our promotional video perfectly illustrates what VATSIM and the Dutch VACC entail.
It should be noted that the VATSIM organisation is divided into regions, such as VATEMEA. VATEUD is a division and part of VATEMEA. The Dutch VACC, in turn, is a component of VATEUD. So, the Dutch VACC is a subdivision. Most countries have their own VACC within VATSIM.
Are you already familiar with VATSIM or are you considering embarking on this adventure? Then, please follow the steps outlined below and pursue a career with the Dutch VACC as a controller
However... we currently have a long waiting list. It is expected that it will take more than a year before you can start
1. Register at VATSIM, VATEUD at the Dutch VACC
2. Install and configure EuroScope
Through the use of radar software, together with a newly acquired membership number and password, access to the network can be obtained. However, controlling is not yet possible at this stage. We shall return to this matter later and instead you will need to start “observing” (see step 5 as well).
Multiple radar clients are utilised within VATSIM, namely VatSys, vSTARs, and EuroScope. The Dutch VACC exclusively uses EuroScope
After this, you will need to start configuring Euroscope for use within the Dutch VACC. A separate manual is available for this purpose ("EuroScope GNG Installation Guide"). It is important to follow this guide carefully, as EuroScope can be challenging to correctly set up. You must be a Dutch VACC member (see step 1) in order to download this manual.
3. Install Audio for VATSIM
Apart from EuroScope, you need a so-called voice client. We use Audio for VATSIM (AfV) for this purpose. .
4. Join our Discord
Discord is our digital clubhouse. Among other things, you can ask all your questions there. We also use Discord as a medium for mutual coordination during controlling. This is mandatory
You must be a Dutch VACC member (see step 1) in order to join our Discord.
5. Learn the theory and start observing
On the website and our Discord server, there is a wealth of knowledge to be gained, and one can acquire a comprehensive understanding of why being an air traffic controller is such a thrilling and challenging occupation. As previously stated, we employ real-world procedures and regulations, which are quite complex. Therefore, it is recommended that one commences with the basics and starts to familiarise with the theory for a Delivery controller.
Currently, this theory is outlined in our Delivery Manual. You must be a Dutch VACC member (see step 1) in order to download this manual.
You can take your first steps online by logging in as an observer on the network. This way, you become familiar with the radar client, settings, procedures, and if it's not too busy, you can also ask the present controllers a question via the chat functionality in EuroScope (for example, '.msg EHAM_N_GND [YOUR MESSAGE]').
We highly value these OBS hours, as experience has shown that they significantly increase the chances of successfully completing the Delivery Introduction Session. Therefore, the following rules apply:
- You can only participate in the Delivery Introduction Session after obtaining 20 OBS hours. Due to the current waiting list, you can also obtain these hours after registering for the Delivery Introduction Session. It is mandatory to obtain these 20 OBS hours within 12 months after this registration;
- Use your initials as the callsign, followed by "_OBS," for example, MR_OBS;
- OBS hours only count when other Dutch VACC controllers are online. This is usually in the evening;
- OBS hours in a shared cockpit or at a different airport than EHAM do not count.
6. Test and mentor program
Once you feel ready for it, you can apply for the Delivery Introduction Session. During this session, the theory for both the Delivery test and the S1 test will be reviewed. The tests themselves will follow immediately, and an introduction to the use of EuroScope will be given. Both tests must be completed with a score of 80% or higher in order to successfully complete the Delivery session.
Delivery Introduction Sessions take place about once a month. You must be a Dutch VACC member (see step 1) in order to sign up.
As mentioned earlier, we require 20 (meaningful) OBS hours before participating in the Delivery Introduction Session. Once you believe you have met this requirement, go to My Info. Through the button, you can request the Training Department to verify your OBS hours. Without approval, you will not be invited! On this page, you can also see your position on the waiting list.
When you press the button, the Training Department will decide if your hours are valid and made in the last 12 months. We recommend you to keep observing to stay sharp.
7. What's next…
After successfully completing the Delivery session, you will be cleared to operate on Delivery and can start accumulating hours online in this position. You can close this position and progress to the next one ("Ground") once you have met the Rating Requirements
8. Controller Commitment
We are dedicated to the quality of our mentor program. Participating in the mentorship program entails a certain commitment, things we expect from you in return. Detailed information on this commitment can be found in our Controller Commitment document.