VATUSA Support Knowledgebase

Cannot find an answer? Submit a support ticket

Membership

1 . How do I become a VATUSA Air Traffic Controller?

This entry is for users wishing to begin their ATC training/certification for the first time ONLY. 


Getting Started


First, make sure your VATSIM account is active.  You can check this by pressing the "Login" button in the navigation bar on this website.  If you can log in, you are ready to proceed!  Otherwise, please note the error you receive and follow the instructions before opening a support ticket.


VATUSA is only authorized to conduct ATC training and certification for users assigned to the division.  Users not currently assigned to the division must transfer before we can begin your training.  Not sure if you're a member of VATUSA?  (your division assignment is listed under "Region - Division - Subdivision")


Ready to begin learning?


Your first step will be to complete the VATUSA Academy online, self-paced coursework for new members.  You may access the Academy by selecting the "Academy" button in the navigation bar on this website.  If you cannot access any courses after logging into the Academy website for the first time or receive an error message, wait at least two hours before opening a support ticket.  If this is your first time visiting the VATUSA website, your membership may take some time to be recognized.


You will need to complete the following courses:

  1. Trainee Orientation (Start here!)
  2. Basics of Air Traffic Control
  3. Clearance Delivery
  4. Ground Control


After completing all required courses, S1 Developmentals are eligible to attempt the Basic ATC/S1 Exam!  This exam automatically becomes available upon completion of the necessary prerequisite courses.  Not able to access it?


We grant you three attempts to pass the exam with a minimum score of 80%.  After failing the first time, there is a two (2) hour delay.  After failing the second time, there is a forty-eight (48) hour delay.  After failing the third time, you must open a support ticket assigned to the VATUSA Academy, requesting additional attempts.


After each exam attempt, students are encouraged to review the questions they got wrong and to study the lessons on the subject areas they found most challenging.  Students may not ask for external help on exam questions (including by posting in VATUSA- or VATSIM-controlled Discord servers or other forums).  You may ask for help with the subject areas covered by exam questions but may not share the questions' content.


Once you pass the exam, you are ready to transfer to a VATUSA subdivision to begin your practical training.  Passing the Basic ATC/S1 Exam does NOT grant you the S1 rating.  It only allows you to start the transfer process. 


On the VATUSA website, look under My VATUSA and click on the Join Facility link.  Select the subdivision where you wish to start training and submit your request!


From here, your selected subdivision will guide your training and development.  Look for an email from the subdivision team within the following week detailing the next steps.  If you don't hear from them within this time, open a support ticket so our team can help you find your way.


If at any time you have questions, please check this Knowledgebase for the answers before opening a support ticket so our team can assist you.  We hope you enjoy the challenging but exciting journey you are beginning.  


Welcome to VATUSA!

2 . How do I rejoin as a controller after I've been away?

VATUSA members wishing to rejoin after less than six (6) months inactive:

  1. Submit a transfer request to a facility of your choice! (Available under the "My VATUSA" menu)

 

VATUSA members wishing to rejoin after six (6) or more months away:

Welcome back!  Before selecting the subdivision that you'd like to return to, you'll need to complete a Rating Competency Exam (RCE) appropriate to your rating:

  1. Access the VATUSA academy (click the "Academy" link in the navigation bar), and review the material appropriate to your rating (for example, an S3-rated controller should consider reviewing the Basic ATC, S1, S2, and S3 courses).  While completion of these courses is not required, it is strongly recommended before attempting the Rating Competency Exam.
     
  2. Open a support ticket (click on the "Support" link in the navigation bar, then select "Open New Ticket") assigned to the VATUSA Academy.  Please make the subject of the ticket "A# Rating Competency Exam Request" (where A# is the name of your current rating - e.g., S2 for an S2-rated controller).  OBS-rated members who have previously completed the Basic ATC/S1 Academy material and passed the S1 exam should request the S1 RCE.
     
  3. Wait for a response from our staff! Our staff will assign you the Rating Competency Exam that is appropriate to your rating via the VATUSA Academy and advise you via your ticket when assigned.  Please ensure your VATSIM-registered email address is current so you receive an instant email notification when we reply to your ticket. 
     
  4. Take the exam.  Upon receiving notification that the RCE has been assigned, please complete it as soon as possible.  All VATUSA exams are open-book/open-notes, and you are encouraged to use the academy material and other resources to help you succeed.  However, receiving assistance from other members is not permitted.  You have thirty (30) days and three (3) attempts to pass the RCE following its assignment.
     
  5. Let us know! Once you complete the RCE, please post your score in the support ticket.  From here, you should expect the following:
     
    • If you passed at least one attempt.  Upon successful completion of the RCE, our staff will note the completion of the required exam in your file and close your ticket!  You should now submit a transfer request to your chosen subdivision via the My VATUSA menu.  Questions regarding subdivision transfer requests should be directed to the subdivision's staff.  Please allow subdivision staff teams at least a week before following up on your request.  Please note that subdivisions may require additional testing before granting controlling privileges; successfully completing these tasks is required before logging onto a control position inside VATUSA.
       
    • If you failed all three attempts.  Upon unsuccessful completion of your RCE, you will be required to complete the academy material for all courses appropriate for your rating (for example, an S3-rated controller would complete the S1, S2, and S3 courses).  Complete the required course material, and advise our staff via the same ticket when you have completed it.  They will reassign the appropriate RCE at that time.

3 . I am a controller from a different Division and/or Region but would like to become a controller at VATUSA (transfer or visitor). How do I get started?

Excellent; we'd love to have you! 


If you are intending to transfer to VATUSA, please review this article.  Once you are assigned to the VATUSA division:

  • If you hold the controller rating of OBS, review this article.
  • If you hold an S1, S2, S3, C1, or C3 controller rating, follow the below steps for visiting controllers.

 

If you plan to visit one or more VATUSA subdivisions, follow the steps below.

Before selecting the subdivision(s) that you'd like to visit, you'll need to complete a Rating Competency Exam (RCE) appropriate to your rating:

  1. Access the VATUSA academy (click the "Academy" link in the navigation bar), and review the material appropriate to your rating (for example, an S3-rated controller should consider reviewing the Basic ATC, S1, S2, and S3 courses).  While completion of these courses is not required, it is strongly recommended before attempting the Rating Competency Exam.
     
  2. Open a support ticket (click on the "Support" link in the navigation bar, then select "Open New Ticket") assigned to the VATUSA Academy.  Please make the subject of the ticket "A# Rating Competency Exam Request" (where A# is the name of your current rating - e.g., S2 for an S2-rated controller).
     
  3. Wait for a response from our staff! Our staff will assign you the Rating Competency Exam that is appropriate to your rating via the VATUSA Academy and advise you via your ticket when assigned.  Please ensure your VATSIM-registered email address is current so you receive an instant email notification when we reply to your ticket. 
     
  4. Take the exam.  Upon receiving notification that the RCE has been assigned, please complete it as soon as possible.  All VATUSA exams are open-book/open-notes, and you are encouraged to use the academy material and other resources to help you succeed.  However, receiving assistance from other members is not permitted.  You have thirty (30) days and three (3) attempts to pass the RCE following its assignment.
     
  5. Let us know! Once you complete the RCE, please post your score in the support ticket.  From here, you should expect the following:
     
    • If you passed at least one attempt.  Upon successful completion of the RCE, our staff will note the completion of the required exam in your file and close your ticket!  You should now visit the subdivision websites for those facilities you wish to visit and complete the appropriate application process.  Questions regarding subdivision visitor applications should be directed to the subdivision's staff.  Please note that subdivisions may require additional testing before granting controlling privileges; successfully completing these tasks is required before logging onto a control position inside VATUSA.
       
    • If you failed all three attempts.  Upon unsuccessful completion of your RCE, we must refer you to your home division/subdivision for remedial training.  You will not be permitted to visit until our staff has received confirmation from your division that you have completed remedial training.  At this time, you will be reassigned the appropriate RCE before being eligible to submit visiting applications to VATUSA subdivisions.

4 . Why can I not submit a transfer request?

Transfer requests are restricted by division policy until you meet all eligibility requirements.  A checklist on your My VATUSA Profile will explain why you are not eligible to transfer.


If this checklist indicates that you must complete the Academy courses or the appropriate Rating Competency Exam, do not complete any material without reading the following:

  • If you are applying to be a visiting controller, you will not transfer.  Instead, review this article.
     
  • If you are assigned to the VATUSA division and are trying to transfer to a subdivision:
    • If you hold the OBS controller rating, review this article.
    • If you hold an S1, S2, S3, C1, or C3 controller rating, review this article.

5 . I put in a transfer request, but wish to cancel it. What do I do?

If the transfer request has not been approved already, you should submit a ticket to the facility where you submitted your transfer request to request it be canceled.

If the transfer request has already been approved, you will need to wait 90 days before being able to transfer again, as indicated by our division policy.

Not sure if your request has been approved?  Check for a red cross icon next to the "You do not have pending transfers" transfer eligibility check on your profile.

6 . How do I change my region? How do I change my division?

Members wishing to transfer to a different region should complete the form available here.

Members wishing to remain in the VATSIM Americas (AMAS) region but change divisions must submit a request to the Director of the division they wish to transfer to.

After the transfer is approved, processing can take up to 24 hours.

Relevant Policies:

VATSIM Transfer and Visiting Controller Policy

VATUSA Transfer and Visiting Controller Policy

7 . How do I change my name (including preferred name) or email address?

VATUSA user information is automatically updated to match VATSIM data. We are not permitted to modify user names or email addresses.

To request a change to your VATSIM-registered name, please visit VATSIM's Membership Support Portal.

To change your VATSIM-registered email address, please use the MyVATSIM Email Update Self-Service Tool.

8 . I forgot my password, now what?

VATUSA web services use VATSIM's authorization service.  We do not store user passwords, nor will our staff ever ask for your password.

If you have forgotten your VATSIM password, use the MyVATSIM Password Reset Self-Service Tool to reset it.

9 . I'm a real-world air traffic controller, do I still have to complete VATUSA's training before controlling?

Requests for exceptions to specific training requirements for real-world controllers are assessed case-by-case.  Please contact our staff by opening a support ticket assigned to the "VATUSA Academy" facility.  Here's what you can expect:

U.S. Controllers (FAA, Military, Contract):

Controllers certified in the United States may be exempted from the VATUSA Academy theory courses (and their associated exams) by completing the VATUSA Rating Competency Exam (RCE), which matches their real-world training.

As a first step, you will be asked to submit proof of your real-world certification to our team via email to [email protected].  Usually, this is an AOV Credential Card or CTO Certificate.  You should feel free to redact any information you believe to be sensitive except your full name (matching your VATSIM-registered name) and the name of the real-world facility where you are currently certified.

Once our team has reviewed your documentation, you will be assigned the appropriate Rating Competency Exam.  All RCEs are cumulative, including material from "lower" ratings, and must be passed to exempt you from the appropriate Academy courses.  We cannot exempt any members from completing practical training at the subdivision of their choice.  Subdivisions may elect to exempt you from some practical training in accordance with their approved training policies - these requests should be made to the subdivision TA at the end of this process.

Exemptions are processed based on the real-world certifications you hold.  If you are...

  • An FAA Enroute (Center) Controller
    Due to the VATSIM network's top-down nature, we cannot exempt Enroute controllers from much of the training required for the S1, S2, or S3 ratings.  However, because all FAA controllers receive the training covered in the "Introduction to ATC" and "Clearance Delivery" courses, we can exempt Enroute controllers from completing the coursework normally required before transfer to a subdivision.  You must complete the Ground Control course only before requesting the S1 RCE. 

    Once you reach the stage in your VATSIM training where you are eligible for the C1 Academy course, you will be permitted to "test out" of the coursework by completing the C1 exam directly.  Please submit a support ticket assigned to the VATUSA Academy to request this.
     
  • A Terminal Controller (FAA, Military, or Contract) With Radar Training/Certification
    We can exempt controllers from completing the Basic ATC, S1, S2, and S3 academy courses.  Please submit a request for the S3 RCE (which includes material for all tower cab positions and radar approach/departure control positions).
     
  • A Terminal Controller (FAA, Military, or Contract) With No Radar Training/Certification
    We can exempt controllers from completing the Basic ATC, S1, and S2 academy courses.  Please submit a request for the S2 RCE (which includes material for all tower cab positions).

U.S. CTI Program Graduates or Non-U.S. Controllers:

Controllers not certified (or not yet certified) in the United States are not eligible for an exemption from training and should complete the training process as usual.  As the FAA adjusts hiring standards for CTI graduates, we will consider including U.S. CTI graduates in some exemption categories, but this is not yet the case.

10 . I'm a real-world pilot, do I still have to complete VATUSA's training before controlling?

Yes!

While we recognize that many real-world pilots possess significant knowledge of instrument procedures and air traffic operations as active participants in the real-world National Airspace System, taking up the microphone and acting as an air traffic controller requires additional training.  Your existing knowledge will be an asset in your training and development and may accelerate your progress, but we are unable to exempt real-world pilots from ATC training requirements.  We look forward to working with you to expose you to a fun and exciting new perspective of the world you love as a pilot!

11 . What do I do if I have been suspended?

If you have been suspended from the VATSIM network, you are not permitted to connect to VATSIM servers or participate in training for the duration of the suspension. All suspension appeals should be directed toward the VATSIM Supervisor team. Upon suspension, you will automatically be removed from any controlling roster (both home and visiting) and any staff role(s) you currently hold.

At the conclusion of your suspension, you WILL NOT be automatically added back onto any controlling rosters or staff roles. In order to rejoin a home facility, please submit a transfer request. If you are not currently eligible to submit a transfer request and require assistance, please submit a ticket to the ZHQ facility and assign the ticket to VATUSA2. Please note that it is your responsibility to contact the appropriate facility staff to be added back into any controlling rosters or staff positions.

Data & Web Services

1 . I noticed an error on the VATUSA website, who do I contact?

You can let us know by opening a ticket assigned to the ZHQ facility.

2 . I noticed an error on my subdivision's website. Who should I contact?

Each subdivision manages its own web services and has its own web staff.  You can notify them of an error by contacting the subdivision staff directly or opening a ticket assigned to the appropriate subdivision.

Training Academy

1 . I just joined VATUSA and I cannot see any courses. What do I do?

Please follow these steps to ensure that you are properly enrolled in the VATUSA Training Academy:

  1. Verify that you are an active member of VATUSA.  Review this article for more information.
     
  2. After you join or have verified that you are a member of VATUSA, login to the main VATUSA website (www.vatusa.net).
    • If you're already logged in, log out of and back into the website.
       
  3. It may take up to two (2) hours for the system to process your enrollment after successfully logging into the main VATUSA website.
    • If still unsuccessful after you cycle through the login process, wait the remainder of the two (2) hour period before making another attempt.
       
  4. When you go to the Academy, do not click on All Courses; instead, under the main header image within the website breadcrumbs, click on Dashboard.
     
  5. Your Dashboard will list all of your available courses either in Course Overview or under Navigation on the left-hand side.
     
  6. Repeat the first three steps during or shortly after the expected wait time to exhaust all possible self-service methods to resolve the issue.
     
  7. Open a support ticket advising us of the problem.  Please reference this FAQ item (#21) in your ticket to advise our staff that you've followed these instructions before seeking help.

2 . I completed all of the necessary lessons, but I cannot access the exam. What do I do?

To unlock an exam, you must complete all required prerequisites. For the Basic ATC/S1 Exam, this includes completing the Trainee Orientation, ATC Basics, Clearance Delivery, and Ground Control courses. All other ratings require only the associated course (e.g., the Local Control course is the prerequisite for the S2 Exam).


The link to the exam is accessible through the last module of the associated course. For the Basic ATC/S1 Exam, the link is located in the Ground Control course.


If you cannot access the exam, please complete the following steps:

  1. Verify that you have completed all prerequisites.
    In the Course Overview on your Dashboard view, ensure all required courses indicate 100% completion.  Look for the words "to do" or "Failed".  These indicate actions that must be taken before the course is considered complete.  If you're having trouble finding these, we recommend trying your browser's built-in "search on page" function (Ctrl+F).

    A lesson is only considered complete when all completion criteria are met. Examples of completion criteria are as follows:
    • Mark as complete:  You must manually mark the lesson as complete.
    • Receive a grade:  You must receive 100% on the assessment found within the lesson.
    • Go through the activity to the end:  You must either click an end button or view a screen expressing the fact that you've ended the lesson.
    • Complete the activity:  You must fully engage with the lesson by viewing and/or interacting with it.
    • View:  You must view the lesson at least once.
       
  2. Be patient! The server may take up to twelve (12) hours to validate your completion and enroll you in the assessment course.
     
  3. Log out of and back into the VATUSA website, then revisit the Academy.
     
  4. Open a support ticket advising us of the problem.  Please reference this FAQ item (#22) in your ticket to advise our staff that you've followed these instructions before seeking help.

 

3 . What if I fail a rating exam three times within the 30 day enrollment period?

Basic ATC/S1 Exam

We grant you three attempts to pass the exam with a minimum score of 80%.  After failing the first time, there is a two (2) hour delay.  After failing the second time, there is a forty-eight (48) hour delay.  After failing the third time, you must open a support ticket assigned to the VATUSA Academy, requesting additional attempts.

S2, S3, or C1 Exams

If you fail the exam three times within the 30-day enrollment period, please contact your subdivision's training staff (either the Training Administrator or another designated staff member) for permission to reattempt the exam.  When we receive a request from your subdivision's training staff, we will grant permission for additional attempts.  Please do not contact VATUSA staff or open a support ticket with VATUSA to regain access; instead, ask your subdivision's training staff to do so.

4 . Why are some of my exam questions not graded?

Whether or not a student answers an experimental question correctly, it will not count towards their final grade.

Every final exam for a rating contains two ungraded questions that are sourced from an experimental category bank. Similar to FAA pilot knowledge tests, experimental questions allow VATUSA staff to try out new question types and content without affecting the final grade. Once a question has been determined to be fair and effective, it will be moved into a graded category and replaced with another experimental question.

5 . What if I haven't finished the course by the end of the 30-day enrollment period?

If your 30-day enrollment period ends, please follow the appropriate guidance based on the exam:

Basic ATC/S1 Rating Exams and All Rating Competency Exams: Open a support ticket assigned to the VATUSA Academy requesting additional time.

S2, S3, and C1 Rating Exams: Contact your facility training department with a request to extend your enrollment period.  They must submit a request to the VATUSA Training Team to extend your access.  VATUSA staff will not extend your access to these rating courses without a request from your subdivision.

6 . I'm ready to start the Academy course for my next rating. What do I do?

VATUSA subdivisions are responsible for enrolling their students in the VATUSA Academy courses for S2, S3, and C1 at the appropriate time in their training procedure.  Please review your home subdivision's training procedures for more information on when these courses will be offered to you.  If you cannot find any information, please contact your home subdivision's staff for assistance.  VATUSA staff will not enroll you in these rating courses without a request from your subdivision.

7 . I noticed an error in my facility's exam or training material. Who do I contact?

You should contact your instructor or Training Administrator.  You can either email them or submit a ticket to that facility.

Cannot find an answer? Submit a support ticket