New Controller

Generic Theory Course

All the generic theory you need for your S1 rating is available to read on the division's eLearning platform (Moodle), which you may enrol on at any time (please note that you will not be able to complete the theory exam for this course until you have completed the OBS-S1 Part 1).

Introductory Group Session (OBS-S1 Part 1)

Next, arrange to attend one of our group sessions for new controllers as follows:

  • Log in to the Central Training System (CTS). This system is used for arranging individual and group training sessions as well as for taking theory tests and making ATC bookings.
  • In the menu, select 'Transfer' under 'Group', then select 'New Controller' and click 'Request' under the 'Transfer Home Group' section. This is not processed automatically so approval could take up to 48 hours. Once your request has been processed you will receive an automatic email from the CT System.
  • We now operate an automatic queuing system for OBS controllers before their Observing group session. This means those who have been waiting the longest for the session will have priority in booking it. You should receive a notification email when a session is available for you, but do occasionally check the system also.
  • When a group session is available you will be able to see it on the 'Management' page under the 'Sessions' subheading in the 'Students' menu. There are a limited number of places available at each session. Places normally become available for booking 3 to 5 days prior to the session. There are a limited number of places at each session, available on a first-come first-served basis.
  • If there are no group sessions visible in the list, but you can see the blue information box, then there are no sessions currently scheduled, but we will be posting more soon. We post session dates as soon as they have been planned here, so please don't contact us to ask when the next session will be - as soon as we know, it will be on the system.
  • If a session is full, you may want to check back at regular intervals, because a place may become available again if another student cancels.

The session will be held on TeamSpeak and will be an opportunity for you to meet us and for us to introduce the basics of VATSIM ATC and of using the controller client software.

You will need to have EuroScope, with the UK Controller Pack, and TeamSpeak installed and set up ready for the session. We recommend that you do this in good time in advance of the session so there is time to resolve any difficulties that you might have.

Upon completing this session, the theory exam on the generic theory Moodle course will be unlocked for you.

OBS-S1 Part 1 Exam (Theory)

Make sure that you read the manual for the controller client you wish to use and become familiar with most of its functions. Controller clients and their documentation can be found in our Resources section. If you have any questions about using your client, feel free to ask in our forums.

This theory exam covers:

  • How to log in and start up an ATC position
  • What the ATC positions are and their responsibilities
  • How to communicate on the ATC channel
  • Knowing who is online and what frequency other controllers are using
  • General Ground Procedures
  • Understanding basic weather (METAR) information
  • How to get weather information for different airports
  • Knowledge of major and neighbouring ICAO airport codes
  • How to use the basic functions of your controller client

When you feel you are ready to take your theory test, log in to Moodle and open the generic theory course. The test is at the bottom of the page and provides instructions before you begin. Good luck!

Once you have completed the S1 e-Learning course and passed the S1 theory exam, send a ticket to the ATC Training department to inform us that you wish to proceed to the next stage.

Aerodrome Specific Theory Training

We will then enrol you onto the Aerodrome Delivery and Ground e-Learning course to study the specifics of Gatwick or Manchester in preparation for your practical session (OBS-S1 Part 2). Once you have completed this and passed the final quiz, simply send us a ticket to inform us and we shall then set you up with your permissions to request practical one-to-one mentoring to complete the final part of your S1 training with instructions on how to do this.

Part 2 Exam (Practical)

The OBS-S1 Part 2 session is a short practical assessment carried out by your mentor. You are not expected to be perfect in every aspect, and assistance and guidance will be provided throughout. You are expected to demonstrate that you have some understanding, and capability to improve with practice, on the following points:

  • Situational awareness;
  • Evaluating traffic;
  • Recognising potential conflict in ground movement;
  • Planning and prioritising;
  • Using appropriate RT.

Your mentor will go through each point helping you to understand what is required and testing your knowledge. If your mentor feels you are capable in these basic competencies, you will have successfully passed your OBS-S1 Part 2 session and you are now ready to control solo on the network for the first time as an S1. Your upgrade to the Student 1 (S1) rating is a manual process, so please allow up to 48 hours for it to take place. You will receive an email when the database has been updated, and will be able to log on as soon as you receive this.

As a Student 1 (S1) you may control any DEL or GND positions in VATSIM UK, with the exception of London Heathrow (EGLL) and Military aerodromes which require separate endorsements and can only be achieved with a controller rating of Student 2 (S2) or higher.

You will then be removed from the New Controller Training Group as you will only remain inside a Training Group when you are actively training in it.

When moving onto new positions, make sure you read up on the appropriate documentation and fetch the resources you need in order to give your pilots the best service possible. Now it's time to consolidate your knowledge, get some experience and enjoy your new rating!

When you are in a position where you feel comfortable to continue your training send us a ticket to ATC Training informing us which of the following Training Group waiting lists you wish to join for your S2 training - please bear in mind that due to the high demand for training these are currently quite substantial and there is, as of January 2017, an expected minimum wait of 6 months. Central Training - VATSIM UK’s new training programme is slowly being phased in during 2017 so please be aware the current processes may change throughout its development.

Training Group 1 (TG1)

  • EGKK - London Gatwick
  • EGPH - Edinburgh
  • EGPF - Glasgow
  • EGGD - Bristol
  • EGBB - Birmingham

Training Group 2 (TG2)

  • EGCC - Manchester
  • EGGP - Liverpool
  • EGSS - London Stansted
  • EGGW - London Luton
  • EGNX - East Midlands

  Next Group Session (OBS_PT1)

Announcements of upcoming group sessions are posted here:


Where will my training take place?

Depending on demand, your training will take place at either Manchester or Edinburgh. 

How long will it take to gain an S1 rating?

It varies from student to student. Once you have been given permissions to request 1-1 mentoring with one of our mentors, it can take anything between 1 to 5 sessions. 

What do I need before attending a group session?

Where do I sign up for a group session?

You will be sent an invite to a group session via email when you are eligible for one. You can see group sessions (OBS_PT1) that are available to you via the 'Seminar' section of the CTS.

I have already passed the S1 theory exam, do I need to do it again?

No, you will not have to do the exam again after you start your training. Students will need to pass the theory exam before given permissions to request 1-1 sessions. It does not matter at what point in your training you have passed the theory exam