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