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What you prefer about an ARTCC?

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The following two questions are honest and are made just to receive objective inputs.

>> So I beg, please, no personal comments and limit your answer to few lines. <<


From the pilot perspective what would be your choice about an ARTCC?


a) You prefer ATC online all the time with some quality


b) You prefer less ATC online as long as they have an extremely good quality


c) You prefer ATC online with quality, but you prefer less quality but at least somebody online for your flights


d) You prefer ATC online no matter the quality (meaning that if the controller is there is because he’s been tested for the position).


From the pilot perspective when an ARTCC is empty you prefer who to come online if only one controller is available?


a) Tower

b) Approach

c) Center

d) Ground

e) Delivery


Please I’m humbling requesting no dissertation as to what you think about an ARTCC or comments that takes away the original questions, please people let limit our answers to the questions here.



EDITED by author: Please all your comments are welcome, but if you pick up a letter additionally that will highly help me to make my choice.

Edited by Guest

Ariel Maisonet, C3

Vatsim Member since Satco days

RW PPL Instruments & Multiengines

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Define quality... I like to see ATC online as long as they are competent working their position and qualified for their rating as outlined in the GRP. Typically that means more online time is better than having a r/w AT-CTI graduate online an hour a day, but a line has to be drawn...


If there is an empty ARTCC, center would be the best, as they bring the most traffic and handle all the lower positions mentioned...

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Quality over quantity.


There can be CTR/APP/TWR/GND/DEL all on at the airport I'm flying to, but if they don't know how to control, it greatly affects how I enjoy my flight.


With regards to your second question -- I'd say Center since they can cover all those positions.

Nick Bartolotta - ZSE Instructor, pilot at large


"Just fly it on down to within a inch of the runway and let it drop in from there."

- Capt. Don Lanham, ATA Airlines

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Quality of quantity, as well. If there are 20 controllers online but not a single one knows how to control, it seems pointless. As far as my favorite controller, I'd either say CTR or APP. Sometimes I prefer APP if I'm going into an airport he's covering because he usually doesn't have his hands full and can't forget me



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1) D - the qualifier is ambiguous, but if the controller has met the minimum qualifications, let him control and let me fly!

2) C - center.


I won't fly in empty space on VATSIM. Controller's won't learn "quality" without working traffic... unless real ATC is their regular full time occupation.


My "quality" was, relatively speaking, horrible for my first 4 years or so (SATCO era). I learned from pilots dropping me hints, from screwing things up, from vectoring a poor fella into a hillside, and from other controllers online who observed my mistakes and offered guidance. I made mistakes, most pilots shrugged it off or laughed along with me. A handful got a bit bent out of shape. But all of them were flying on line.


I didn't learn anything from the pilots flying off line.


Flying under a newbie's control is my effort to ensure the quality and quantity of future controllers.

Steven Perry

VATSIM Supervisor

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It's a very subjective question Ariel.


(Edit - whoops - I missed your request to limit response to just a few lines - sorry)


Here's my responses:


1. B

2. C


Quality over quantity, definitely. But how do you define quality?


I want a controller who is working hard to do it right. If he's requested to issue a cruise clearance, SVFR clearance or an ASR approach am I going to get annoyed if he has to tell me "standby" while he looks it up? Nope. We don't do those very often, so it's no big deal if a controller doesn't remember how to do them off the top of his head.


Am I going to get bent out of shape if a controller who I know is good messes up an instruction? Nope - we all mess up from time to time.


Am I going to get annoyed when an S3 can't issue a clearance? Yep. Am I going to get annoyed when I'm flying in some other ARTCC's S-3's OTS, request an NDB approach and he gives me "proceed as requested?" Yep. Am I going to get annoyed when that same S-3 puts me into a head-on with another aircraft landing in the opposite direction, and with about .5 miles separation, turns me out of the way, the wrong direction, right into the other runway's approach? Yep. (The student in question p[Mod - Happy Thoughts]ed his OTS by the way)


Am I going to get annoyed when a controller who I know knows better says to a pilot that requests lower, "Descend if you want to - it's up to you."? Yep. Was I annoyed at the controller who when asked for an uncharted hold said, "Hold as requested?" Yep.


In short, I want controllers who exhibit a base level of competence and phraseology. They don't have to be perfect and they don't have to know every single procedure from memory. But they have to be generally competent and they have to show they care and are working hard to do it as well as they can.


The answer to the loaded question in your survey of, "Do you care if the controllers are not that good as long as you have a lot of coverage" is an emphatic "Yes - I care." If I'm going to have poor ATC, I might as well fly offline. The idea that we'll attract a huge influx of new pilots if we just relax controlling standards and have lots of people controlling who somewhat know what they're doing, but don't meet the real standards of VATUSA or their ARTCC is absolutely incorrect in my opinion. Pilots fly on VATSIM because there are a lot of good controllers. Not because there's a lot of coverage from mediocre controllers.


As for who I prefer controlling - Approach or above.

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I agree with Wade. The definition of "quality" is ambiguous. In reading this post, I think it would be better suited in a more pilot based forum. This medium in and of itself is biased. You're asking a bunch of controllers what pilots want to see.

(My definition of controller: You've spent at least one minute online controlling aircraft.)


I'll answer the questions, in the interest of staying on track.


I fly online where there is a controller. I check ServInfo before I get on and fly. I'll either fly into a place with control, or fly out of a place with control. It adds to my simming experience. If only one controller is available, I'll take a radar control position that is competent to work the position. Tower, on VATSIM is mostly insignificant. There is very little sequencing, and spacing done by the tower. There is very rarely people flying in the pattern on VATSIM. My guess is that over 90% of the traffic on VATSIM is commercial aircraft type traffic flying point to point, and terminating with an ILS, or instrument approach. From the ATC perspective, definitely not as real as it gets.


I just want to see competent controllers working the position. I did not say mistake free, or by the book. Competent. A competent controller makes my level of enjoyment significantly higher.


Oh, my answers, in a neat little box....

1) Uh, not really listed.

2) B & C

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