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Become a Controller

BVA's Air Traffic Controllers are a group of members trained to real-world standards for Air Traffic Control in the United States. Only BVA certified controllers may login to an ATC position within the ZBW ARTCC on VATSIM. 

New Controllers

If you are looking to begin training as an air traffic controller, you first need to join the community. There are two ways you can do this:

  1. Sign up as a controller with VATUSA. You'll complete an initial exam, and then be given the option to join ZBW.
  2. Join as a pilot member first, then sign up as a controller with VATUSA

Historically, the most successful controller trainees are those who first sign up as BVA pilot members, complete some of our Pilot Ratings Program flights, get to know our members and community, and then begin ATC training. However, this is not a requirement. 

Either way, once you have signed up with VATUSA and have completed their Basic ATC/S1 Exam, you'll be given the option to choose Boston (ZBW) as your home facility. When this selection is made, you will receive a welcome letter with more information on how to get started.

In general, the air traffic control training process involves: 

  • A series of self-study written exams
  • Practical training with our mentors and instructors
  • A practical exam with our mentors and instructors

Working for about 2-5 hours per week, it typically takes between 1-2 months for a new controller to obtain an initial certification to work minor facilities such as Bradley or Nantucket. Controllers can then upgrade to work positions at Boston, which usually takes another 1-2 months. To progress from a new controller through to controlling the entire Boston Center facility will normally take 12-18 months, assuming students average about 10-15 hours per month of active controlling or training. 

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About Boston Virtual ARTCC

We are a free, immersive, and realistic air traffic control community for pilots and aviation enthusiasts. We provide air traffic control within the Boston ARTCC on VATSIM. We are not affiliated with the FAA, or the real-world Boston Center facility.

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