As a VATSIM newb, everyone should be using VATSIM

I’ve only just begun using VATSIM over the past day or so and it has completely changed my experience with FS2020. While I already enjoyed the sim, using VATSIM to talk to a live ATC and have them respond in real time has brought a whole new layer of reality to the experience.

I think that anybody looking to get the most out of FS2020 should ditch the in-game ATC and start using VATSIM. It’s worth the learning curve, unless you’re extremely casual.

So far I’ve done a couple traffic patterns and one VFR flight, but I’m looking forward to doing more and trying some IFR flights with airliners as well. The controllers I’ve had have been extremely generous in giving grace when I mess up, and the learning experience has been forgiving and rewarding.

All this to basically say that if you’re on the fence about whether you want to dive into VATSIM, you should absolutely do it! So far this is the biggest improvement in the sense of reality in the sim, even more so than when I finally got a real joystick instead of keyboard controls (which I don’t know how I went so long using :joy:).

Happy flying!


It’s still a problem with VR that you need to be able to write down instructions with VATSIM, but if they could implement a window inside the sim with the VATSIM instructions I’d use it. Same with Navigrap charts.


Vatsim as network is much more friendly than Ivao in my opinion. I have done several flights using vatsim and liked a lot.
The biggest issue for me is when atc talks too fast. I am not a fluent English speaker, I am Portuguese so sometimes is a bit hard to understand them. Dispite that, I have enjoyed a lot that network. More than Ivao to be honest.


You should now share my level of astonishment when I read posts about people using the in-game ATC. I think either you use Vatsim or you don’t use ATC at all. Or in the middle you can use Pilot2ATC if you like the inmersion but don’t want to deal with other persons.
But why on earth would you use the default ATC?

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I am learning all the stuff needed to VATSIM. Never used it before but it should be fun. But I guess preparation is kinda time consuming. Wish they had like a mentor system or something like that. Where you can ask a guy/gal anything and they don’t go like: read the instructions.

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i dont think Vatsim needs a written instructions.
In real life you have also to write down information or get them as fast as possible as the ATC speaks in the head

These groups exist. Take a look at Vatstar. They provide free mentoring with real trainers.


I agree that the stock ATC is bad even on its good days, and I’ve thought about trying this. But I do have a concern. Say I’m making an approach to an airport and Vatsim clears me. I make the approach, but as happens frequently, the plane makes a 180 to return to the origin airport or the approach doesn’t catch and I end up flying over the airport. How does the controller handle that?

Just explain your having problems and will disconnect, I didn’t have much choice a few weeks ago, the A320 mod just spiralled out of control once I hit the glide slope and crashed and yet it was fine up until that point. I usually do a run in the A320 mod off VATSIM first just to test it.

I’m experienced with flying on VATSIM and I’m (just starting) training to be a controller. Feel free to ask me anything.


My recomendation #1 is to be alert so when the plane goes full Asobo you can just revert to heading mode and keep your approach. Is not difficult in most planes, in the A320 is very easy, just go selected heading, selected speed, selected altitude and the AP will handle the rest.

If bad things happen then:

Recomendation #2: in Vatsim you can always ask to be vectored, say “I would need vectors from here if possible please” and the controller will give you headings and altitudes until your final approach, ILS or visual.

Recommendation #3: If everything went wrong you can just let the controller “I’m aborting the approach because of a FMS/AP failure” and then you will be vectored if you want.

If the airplane is really out of control and you think you are becoming an obstacle to other aircrafts and the controller you can always disconnect and try again next time.


If you want some education on phraseology and the general purpose, you can read up on the various VFR and IFR CAT tests on Pilotedge (or watch YouTube videos of people taking them). It’s a really good set of training steps to get you familiar with ATC in general. You don’t have to be subscribed to Pilotedge I believe to be able to read about the CAT tests in their pilot center online. And of course, YouTube replays are going to be free :P.

You can then apply everything you learn there to VATSIM. You could probably even recreate some of the flights in VATSIM if you wish (though you may have to change location based on which controllers are online or not).

Here are the CAT ratings tests (they even have scripts in each one that show what you would say and can expect to hear back):

And here are the IFR tests:


I wish I had the guts to try VATSIM. I’ve tried learning the ATC lingo so many times and just get overwhelmed and quit. It’s just some mental block I have - I can’t learn it. I don’t know why. Maybe the fear of embarrassment adds to it too.

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once you fly on vatsim you will never comeback with the default atc

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They have gobs of discord channels, if you seek out your local vatsim division, they probably have a discord where you could ask more casual questions that don’t belong on the radio.

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You nailed it - that’s absolutely the way I feel too. I get flustered sometimes even trying to work with the current ATC, and it’s just a stupid robot. Learning the lingo and embarrassment would definitely be my fear as well, but my plan is to learn by taking some short and easy ‘plain’ flights then move up from there.

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Most people who see a topic that doesn’t apply to themselves just keep reading other topics and don’t take the time to be condescending.

I’m currently learning on Pilot2ATC…hoping to do some VFR on Vatsim in a month or so, once I have a clue what I’m doing.

Thanks, but I like to do long haul IFR flights of over 8 hours with autopilot and AI co-pilot taking over the ATC communication. Using VATSIM would require me to stand by all the time and if I made a slight mistake, I would instantly ruin other people’s experience and I’d probably get permanently banned.

Thanks, I see and understand the appeal of VATSIM, but it’s not for me.

Thanks guys for picking up my post and getting back to me!

I am getting into the phraseology, which is super important for VATSIM I guess. I know, the in-game is not perfect, but it’s still a pretty good way to get some training on how to say stuff, listen to stuff and not mixing things up that I actually hear. I’ve been flying in-game on FS2020 for 350+ hrs so I am getting a lot better at that. I’ve been watching quite a lot of how-to-videos for pilots (VATSIM or RL ATC chat instructions). I love learning about this stuff - and I love browsing all the forums, watching hundreds of videos and trying to get in there. I’ve been working on checklists of things that I need to get correctly. So they are helping, too.

Here’s one question though: can I use the standard A320n or should I be using the FBW mod? I am just getting into the latter and still sometimes miss things. I actually want to control the plane first before getting the additional stress of real ATC in there as well :sweat_smile: :sweat_smile:

Edit: Oh, and watching all the videos is super interesting, but they sometimes don’t answer all the questions and then you watch the next video that answers some questions but also poses new ones. It’s super time consuming that way. I guess I should be looking for VATSIM classes or something with more interaction. No clue if they are out there. Something like the Cessna class on the other board with Howard.