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 connect to VATSIM as an ATC position in the ZBW ARTCC.
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:
- Sign up as a controller with VATUSA. You'll complete an initial exam, and then be given the option to join ZBW.
- 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 Wings Over New England 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
Due to availability of our volunteer training staff, it usually takes about 2 months to be assigned a Mentor for your initial training. Working for about 2-5 hours per week, it typically takes between 1-2 months from the start of training 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 2 years, assuming students average about 10-15 hours per month of active controlling or training.