Up until now, training controllers has been dependent on the number of pilots flying online, which can be very unpredictable. To enable consistent training under the supervision of a mentor or instructor, Chris Serio has developed ACSim (short for AirCraft Simulator) to simulate traffic for the student to control. ACSim is a program that connects to a stand-alone VATSIM server and allows an instructor to set up any number of IFR and/or VFR aircraft, which he can control by typing instructions into the program while he also takes the role of the "voice" of the pilots.20 The student connects to the same server using the usual VATSIM controller software and controls the "simulated simulated aircraft" in scenarios presented by the instructor.
With the introduction of the ACSim, instructors and mentors can train or test their students at any time that is convenient: No longer will we have to wait for a busy night to gain adequate experience or carry out over-the-shoulder check-outs. In addition, students will learn to handle large volumes of traffic with much more efficiency because it develops the most important skills of a constant scan of all aircraft in a controller's sector, planning ahead and learning to get the "big picture." ACSim has been extensively tested in VATUSA, and has been a valuable addition to their training program.
VATSIM will be bringing the ACSim server online in March 2006, and ACSim will be made available to regional, divisional and subdivisional staff to implement in local training programs.
To experience these improvements for yourself, join us at www.vatsim.net and learn to be a virtual air traffic controller, or just come and fly online with live air traffic control provided by simmers who are just as real as you are.