Finding ATC

It is often a challenge for new members to determine if their airport or airspace is currently under the control of ATC or not. Through the use of some resources and processes listed below, we can easily answer this question. It is important to remember VATSIM ATC works in a top-down environment when choosing the right controller to contact.


Remember that VATSIM controllers work in a top-down method meaning just because a charted ATC position isn't online doesn't necessarily mean the airport or airspace in question is uncontrolled. An overlying controller for that listed ATC position on the chart (such as an overlying approach or center controller) likely still provides the local ATC services for the airport and airspace in question. If ever unsure, ask!

It is important to verify or ask for clarification if the airport or airspace in question is controlled before taxing into a movement area at the airport, entering an airport's airspace, or departing/landing at that airport.

  1. Determine if an overlying or local controller is online for your airport or position using your aircraft's location and the VATSIM Network Map and your pilot client's online controller list.
  2. Reference your airport's aeronautical charts as they often have overlying ATC facility names and information regarding what facility covers the airport. See if any online controllers match any of the online ATC positions. Communication information worldwide is available on the SkyVector World Airport Database under the airport's "Airport Communication" section.
  3. Check the controller's info in your pilot client or on a network mapping client. The controller info section often lists what airports they provide towered services for if covering a wide area such as an approach or en route position. Refer to your pilot client's documentation on how to retrieve a controller's information.