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ATC question for coverage and communication


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Hey guys, I'm new to Vatsim and was trying to shake the butterflies this evening and get into vPilot for my first planned IFR flight.  SimAware showed there was an ATC in Atlanta, but I was departing from Greenville/Spartanburg and arriving in ATL.  I wasn't sure what to do, so I spend a couple hours digging around this site and forums looking for an answer.

Does the ATC on duty cover the area as being static in Atlanta specifically, or do they act as ATC at every Airport within their zone?  I wasn't sure if I was supposed to contact them for my approvals during departure in Greenville, or just contact them once I was within Atlanta airspace as I would be during a handoff.  And because I didn't know... I didn't fly.  Didn't want to get yelled at my first day lol.

It's probably a stupid question, but I'm 1 day new to Vatsim, and also pretty new to flight simulators.  I'm just the kind of person who won't do something unless I know how to do it right (or at least think I do), which is also why 95% of my time owning Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 has been spent sitting in cockpits with my nose in manuals and guides, making sound effects.  I think I'm good enough now to complete an entire IFR flight (short) and possibly manage to squeek through ATC communications without them realizing I'm as green as a cucumber.

Edit:  And now I realize every ATC that reads this will know I'm that guy, anyway...

Edited by Jesse Robison
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Welcome to VATSIM!

GSP is located within Atlanta ARTCC, so if ATL_CTR is online you contact him for clearence/info. If, however it was an approach controller, who was online, he doesn't cover GSP and you can takeoff and contact him (or he'll send a "contact me" to you) when reaching his area of control.

In VATSIM we have top down coverage, which means that a center controller controls all airports within his area (some exceptions occur, but never mind). If an approach controller goes online, he'll control all airports within his area, etc.

Tower obviously only handles traffic at the airport, he's tower control.

But you should never be yelled at on VATSIM - when in doubt - ask!

There might be situation where the database in your sim is not up to date or procedures are missing. Keeping a updated database for IFR flight is not a must, but is very convinient for us all. You can buy updates from several ventors like Navigraph.

all the best

Torben

Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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Posted (edited)

Thank you Torben for the quick answer.  Yea, I fully understood about top down coverage, but my confusion was whether the Controller for Atlanta was controlling Atlanta specifically or the entire Atlanta ARTCC.  I couldn't find information on whether the Controller online was ground, Tower, Center, etc.  I watched a few videos on Vatsim to see what other people were doing, but everyone was flying out of the specific city the Controller was located at.  ATL, DC, LAX, so they never provided the "what to do" when you're not directly where the Controllers are.

Additionally, thank you for not responding with general information, and including a lot of correct terminology and abbreviations.  I'm trying to learn as much and as fast as possible, so that was just as helpful as the answer.

Jesse

Edited by Jesse Robison
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And of course, after looking for 2 hours last night, I find the page with this EXACT information and clarification this morning during my first cup of coffee.  I guess in my tiredness, I skipped the very last section of VatSim Basics "How To Know If An Airport or Airspace is Currently Controlled On VATSIM".

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There are some key basics which are not too well positioned in the VATSIM web hierarchy. All I can say is that we're working on that! Eventually, regarding pilot training, under VP Simon Kelsey's direction we will get there!

As far as being "that guy," we were all there at one time, and some members are still there which is why the forums exits, I think. Forums are of course never enough, so see my above comment re. "working on that."

Anyway, it seems to me that you will have no problems due to your independent search for information which fully answers your concerns in the meantime. And drink lots of coffee! :)

 

Alistair Thomson

===

Definition: a gentleman is a flying instructor in a Piper Cherokee who can change tanks without getting his face slapped.

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Yes, that's correct. As CTR controller you by definition covers every thing unless other conntrollers shows up. So you'll need to be on your toes as controller. But so does the pilots. Being attentive to the instructions given by the controller, respond to them by comm and flying the plane correctly helps the controller immensely and can't be emphasized enough. By doing so you help everyone to have a good experience on VATSIM.

cheers

  • Like 1

Torben Andersen, VACC-SCA Controller (C1)

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