Fly Away Simulation

Feature: Using ATC for VFR in MSFS Tutorial Video

Last updated Fri, 03 Aug 2018 14:11:47 GMT
Originally posted on Thu, 22 Oct 2015 16:00:42 GMT

Visual flight simulations are more challenging, interesting and rewarding when air traffic control (ATC) is used realistically throughout. 

ATC VFR Cover photo

In his professionally produced tutorial video, Using Air Traffic Control for Visual Flight Rules in Microsoft Flight Simulator, long-time flight-sim expert Bill Stack explains multiple aspects of ATC for VFR from beginning to end.

By leading users through a brief VFR flight between the internationally recognizable United States cities of Atlanta, Georgia, and Nashville, Tennessee, Bill Stack’s video explains the topic in step by step clearly to follow English with numerous annotated screen captures. 

The video concisely defines and describes various types of ATC commonly used in visual flights, and it explains pilots’ requirements regarding the use of ATC during visual flights. 

It lists ATC services simulated by MSFS, explains where ATC coverage is and is not available in MSFS, specifies how ATC in MSFS resembles and differs from real-world ATC, and describes prerequisites for using ATC in MSFS.

Its numerous annotated screen captures show exactly how to use the ATC menus and windows in MSFS. It starts by showing how to set up the simulator program for optimum ATC features. Then it shows how to contact ATC and respond to its messages with mouse clicks and keyboard shortcuts. Users are also shown how to read various color-coded ATC communications shown in the ATC window.

To enable optimum realism, the video describes weather conditions that allow for VFR flights, and it shows ATC requirements for ground and air operations at controlled and uncontrolled airports. Uses of tower and Unicom services are explained, and simulation pilots are shown where to find ATC frequencies for airport towers and en route traffic centers.

Sample Video​

Simulation pilots learn how to enter controlled airspaces after departing their origin airport, transit through airspaces en route, and follow ATC handoffs as their aircraft travel from one control jurisdiction to another. They see what to do with transponder squawks, how to obtain their aircraft’s current position from ATC radar, how to observe other radio traffic, and when and how to respond to ATC calls. Finally, they see how to resume ground operations at destination airports.

Carefully selected screen captures maximize efficiency and effectiveness so user time is not wasted with irrelevant and unnecessary imagery. 

Significant buttons and features of menus and windows are highlighted, circled and pointed out with arrows for quick and easy user comprehension. 

Narrations are succinct, deliberately scripted, clearly spoken and precisely edited to enable users to easily understand the information. User time is not wasted listening to rambling digressions, ad libs and annoying “ums,” “ahs” and similar fumbling. 

This video is specifically intended for using ATC in off-the-shelf MSFS. It does not apply to any other flight simulation programs or to addon ATC products for MSFS. It is not for IFR simulations, tower simulations or real-world aviation. 

This expert, professionally produced tutorial video is available from SimShack at the product page here.

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Ian Stephens

About Ian Stephens

Ian Stephens is a flight simulation enthusiast also with a keen interest in aviation and technology.  Ian spends a lot of his time experimenting with various simulator packages but has a love for Microsoft Flight Simulator X because of the huge selection of add-ons available.  However, Ian also has copies of Prepar3D and X-Plane installed. 

Ian has been writing for Fly Away Simulation for over 9 years.  Should you wish, you can contact Ian via email at


Leave a Response
JOCELYN JUMEAUFri, 13 Nov 2015 14:18:47 GMT

Hallo,Sir.I'm a Person who really,really love,love aviation a lot,a lot and I have a lot of models aircraft,magazines,books,Posters etc on aircraft.I'm a huge aviation fan.I have TWO kind of FLIGHT SIMULATOR that installed into my PC.That is FS2004 and with FSX.Please,sir.Is this ATC TUTORIAL for only FSX?But,NOT for FS2004?

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