ACCSAF ATC Policy

Category: vACCSAF Policy and Procedural Documentation | South Africa vACC Policy

ATC TRAINING POLICY


1. CONTROL AREAS

The following areas falls within Southern Africa controlled airspace. These areas can only be controlled by ACCSAF rated controllers and do not fall under the Open sky Policy.

  • South Africa
  • Botswana
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Zimbabwe

2. ATC RATINGS

ACCSAF is an organization within VATSIM and therefore strictly complies with the VATSIM Global Rating Policy 2.1 herein mentioned as GRP.

As per the GRP the ATC ratings that ACCSAF issue are as follows:

  • S1 controlling delivery and ground
  • S2 controlling delivery, ground and tower
  • S3 controlling delivery, ground, tower and approach
  • C1 controlling all of the above, En-route Control (CTR) , Oceanic and FSS Stations (Endorsement Required)
  • C3 controlling all of the above
  • I1/I3 controlling all of the above and having a supervisory role in the mentor training program

3. FSS STATIONS AND OCEANIC CENTRES

Requirements

Flight Service Stations on VATSIM are sectors that give en-route control above a certain flight level covering numerous FIR’s. VATSAF consists of one FSS station on mainland Africa and 1 Oceanic airspace. The station on mainland Africa is AFRS_FSS (Southern African Control).

This station covers the whole airspace of VATSAF above FL145 when the local en-route control sector is offline. This station does not give ATC service below FL145.

The Oceanic Airspace under the responsibility of VATSAF is Johannesburg Oceanic.

Both the FSS and Oceanic require Divisional certification in order to control.

  • Requirements for FSS Certification

    • Minimum C1 rating
    • At least 100 hours with a C1 on a CTR Station
    • Completing the online training session and approved by an Instructor
  • Requirements for Oceanic Certification

    • Minimum C1 rating
    • At least 100 hours with a C1 rating on a CTR Station
    • Completing the online training session and approved by an Instructor

4. ATC SOFTWARE

The following software is used in ACCSAF Control Environment

  • Euroscope (Required)
  • vStrips (Optional)
  • vATIS (Optional)

5. ATC TRAINING

All training coordination and requests must initially be directed towards the ATC Director ([email protected])

The ATC Director is responsible for the scheduling of training for new and existing students as well as the Co-ordination of mentors. Any training that takes place without knowledge of the ATC Director or the vACC Director/Deputy Director will not be recognised as official and sanctioned training. vACC staff have the right to terminate any unscheduled or unsanctioned training.

ATC Traning Process

Once a training request is received by the ATC Director, they will assign the student to a mentor.

After this initial step, it will be the responsibility of the student to contact their respective mentor and arrange further training sessions.

The training sessions will start with theoretical lessons and then move on to Sweatbox or online sessions. The student will need to complete the respective theoretical tests in the HQ.

To accelerate basic ATC training, students may begin training directly as a tower controller at the discretion of the student’s mentor/instructor.

On completion of the training syllabus, a controller practical test (CPT) will be arranged to test the competency of the controller (Only relevant to S3 and Above). On successful completion of the CPT, the controller will be upgraded to the relevant rating.

Rating Progression

The minimum hours to be performed online before a CPT can be attempted:

  • S1 -> S2: 25 hours excluding training on a major aerodrome (FACT, FAOR)
  • S2 -> S3: 50 hours total excluding training on a major aerodrome (FACT, FAOR)
  • S3 -> C1: 100 hours total excluding training on a major aerodrome (FACT, FAOR)
  • C1 -> C3: vACC Director + ATC Director recommendation and 500 hours with C1 rating, plus an Oceanic Rating. This position also requires the Divisional Directors Approval.

Solo Validation

The aim of the solo validation is to give students the opportunity to control a position above their current rating, without a mentor being present, to prepare them for their Controller Practical Test. Only applicable to S3 rated controllers and above.

The Solo Validation is issued with the recommendation of the students’ mentor and approval of the ATC Director. The duration of the solo validation will be no longer than 30 days and commences as soon as the validation is issued.

The student is responsible for the usage of this validation. If, for whatever reason, the student is not able to make use of this facility within the stipulated time period, the solo validation will not be extended and will be withdrawn. It is therefore important that the student and mentor ensure the correct planning and usage of the solo validation.

Once a validation is issued, this information is shared with VATSIM and thus cannot be amended (removed or extended) after issue.

Any abuse of the validation is subject to penalty in accordance with VATSIM CoC, CoR and GRP.

Continuous abuse of this validation will be dealt with internally and with referral to the DCRM.

ATC Training Mentor's Role

An ATC Training Mentor is a person authorized by the ATC Director to teach and aid students in their virtual ATC career within ACCSAF.

The mentor must hold a minimum of an S3 rating

Mentors will be able to instruct and aid all students who request training for positions equivalent to one position below their (the mentor’s) rated position.

To ensure the smooth operation of the ACCSAF ATC Training Department, students must ensure that all training requests are routed through the ATC Director initially after which all training bookings will go through the HQ System.

Examiners

There are two types of examiners for CPT’s – vACC examiners, and divisional examiners. CPT’s require the presence at least one vACC examiner and one divisional examiner. The examiner’s role is to conduct ATC Controller Practical Exams. vACC examiners are appointed by the vACC Director and the ATC Director. Divisional examiners are nominated by the ACCSAF staff and sent for approval to the VATSIM Southern African Division. Examiners must hold a minimum of a C1 rating.

An Examiner will monitor the exam and marks the respective fields of the ATC Exam Marking Sheet. Upon completion of the examination the examiner must send the ATC Exam Marking Sheet to the ATC Director.

The ATC Director will issue a recommendation for an upgrade if the student has passed the exam. Should the student be unsuccessful however, another exam will be scheduled for no less than 30 days later.

6. ATC BOOKINGS

The ATC booking procedure is based on a first come first serve basis. If a controller has made a booking for a facility, members are urged to honour this booking and give way to the controller who has booked the position.

7. ADVANCED TRAINING ENDORSMENTS

ACCSAF ATC Department offers further advanced training endorsements. These endorsements are optional and should be seen as merit badges. They will be added to your profile and will improve your ability to control in certain events that may require advanced training. Advanced training will also improve your understanding of controlling in general.

These endorsements include:

  • RNAV Arrivals and Departures
  • VOR Approaches
  • Non-precision approaches
  • vStripS

8. MINIMUM HOURS

Although there are no minimum hour requirements, controllers that put in exceptional number of hours every month, will be rewarded by receiving honourable mention, and by being considered first, when there is a requirement for controllers for major events.  

9. FAST-TRACK POLICY

The Fast Track Policy is an initiative introduced by VATSIM that allows members that have a real-world pilot or ATC qualification to be fast tracked through the ATC examination process.

A member that would like to participate in the Fast Track Program must provide proof of their real-world occupation. When this proof is provided the member will be eligible to enter an exam that includes all ratings from S1 to C1.

After passing the theoretical exam they will undergo a controller practical test.

Transfers from IVAO

Controllers who have transferred from IVAO, are eligible to be fast tracked directly to the equivalent VATSIM rating, provided they have held their IVAO rating for at least 6 months.

  • Controllers holding ACC (Centre Controller)] level and above are eligible for a C1.
  • All IVAO members holding APC (Approach Controller) level are eligible for a S3.
  • All IVAO members holding ADC (Aerodrome Controller) level are eligible for a S2.

Since Instructor level is not a controller rating but a functional rating a transfer shall usually take place to a C1 at the discretion of the ATC Director.

All transferring members will need to pass the relevant ACCSAF HQ theory test as well as a controller practical test for the required rating.

For candidates with no official vACC, the Divisional Training Department will assume responsibility for assessing the candidate’s proficiency.

In order to process a transfer application, the followings are also required:

  • Proof of IVAO Rating being claimed by the transferring member.

Refusal of transfer of last held rating with IVAO is at the discretion of the Divisional Training Department if the applicant:

  • Fails to submit evidence of the claimed IVAO rating.
  • Fails to meet the set rating requirements.
  • Proves to have a bad VATSIM record.
  • Displays unacceptable behaviour.
  • Fails to understand and comply with the concepts of virtual controlling.
  • Fails to pass 3 consecutive tests.

10. NORTHERN COUNTRIES (BOTSWANA, MOZAMBIQUE, NAMIBIA, ZIMBABWE)

The Northern countries now fall under ACCSAF control and is no longer part of Open Sky. To be able to control in the northern countries you need at least an S3 Rating.

11. VISITING CONTROLLERS

VATSIM supports the movement of ATC's between vACC's and divisions to maximize the enjoyment of the hobby and to allow controllers to experience different airspaces and challenges.

In view of this policy, ACCSAF also accepts visiting controllers that hold a minimum of an S3 rating and pass the Visiting Controller Entrance Exam.

All Visiting Controllers must undergo familiarization training on the specific sector they wish to control. ACCSAF is not responsible for further training, examining and upgrading visiting controllers.  Visiting controllers are expected to return to their home vACC for training and rating upgrades.  Once a visiting controller has been upgraded by their home vACC, ACCSAF will conduct a further familiarization session for the respective sector or facility.

The minimum hours required to remain on the ACCSAF Visiting Controller roster is 4 hours a month. The stats are checked every month and if a member has not completed his mandatory 4 hours over a 30-day period will be notified by the ATC Department. The Visiting Controller will then be allowed a further 30 days to make up the shortfall.

After 60 days of inactivity the Visiting Controller will be removed from access list and will have to reapply for Visiting Controller status. Re-instatement will be at the discretion of the ATC Director if the Visiting Controller can proof just cause for the lack of controlling.

12. CONTROLLER CONDUCT

Controllers should always ensure the safety of all pilots and comply to all basic training standards.

Controllers will speak in normal audible voice. Should a pilot request controller to repeat a part or whole of the last message transmitted, the Controller will repeat the transmission twice after which a text instruction will be given.

Controllers will not instruct pilots to do any unsafe manoeuvres/procedure or place a pilot in a position where he/she will not be able to control their aircraft in a safe manner.

Controllers are required to save all log files for a period of 1 month or if otherwise instructed by the ATC Department.

Controllers will not incite violence, hate speech or make any derogatory remarks towards pilots

Controllers will remain calm even if the Pilot is in the wrong.

13. INFRINGMENT PROCESS

If a controller wishes to file a complaint against a controller, he/she can send the complaint, no later than 24 hours after the incident, via the controller complaint submission form on the VATSAF website.
All information gathered during the investigation will be reviewed by the ACCSAF Director and ACCSAF ATC Director before a decision is made. Feedback will be given to a pilot and ATC controller no later than 2 weeks after an incident has occurred. The results will be emailed to the pilot and the relevant controller.

Air Traffic Controllers may appeal a decision made by the director no later than 5 days after the results has been made public.