Controller Training

Here, New Zealand members can learn how to train as air traffic controllers in VATNZ airspace and learn other valuable skills for the VATSIM network. Operating as an air traffic controller on the network is a fun and rewarding pastime that enhances your VATSIM experience.

Our training courses have three phases: theory, practice, and final assessment. We use written and oral examinations to test knowledge gained through studying the material contained in each course and practical examinations in most final assessments. 

There are four basic VATSIM ATC ratings obtainable through VATNZ: Developing Controller (S1), Aerodrome Controller (S2), Terminal Controller (S3), and Enroute Controller (C1).

Additionally, a procedural approach control endorsement is available for the S2 rating, and an Oceanic procedural control endorsement can be added to the C1 rating.

Controllers from other divisions can also gain a "visiting controller" authorisation to operate in VATNZ airspace.

There are three further ratings: the Senior Controller (C3), the Instructor (I1) and Senior Instructor (I3). The VATNZ Board approves appointments to these positions.

At VATNZ, we train selected S3- and higher-rated controllers to become mentors, instructors, and assessors in the training department.

Three important rules:

1. Candidates must demonstrate a commitment to VATSIM before VATNZ will allocate training resources. Therefore, before registering for any course, candidates must have recorded at least 50 meaningful hours connected to the VATSIM network as a pilot over a period of at least three months. This requirement can be shortened in exceptional circumstances (for example, candidates able to demonstrate relevant real-world experience). You can see how many hours you have at

2. Candidates must be either members of VATNZ or rated controllers from another division applying for visiting controller status.

3. Visiting Applicants: Visiting applicants holding only an S1 are not eligible for Visiting Controller status in VATNZ. Visiting applicants holding only the S2 must have held the S2 for at least 90 days and have amassed 50 hours' experience as an S2 controller in their Home Allocation before enrolment in the VATNZ Visiting Controller (Aerodrome) programme. For visiting applicants holding the S3 or higher, it is recommended that candidates first enrol in the Visiting Controller (Aerodrome) programme.

Please click on the links below to search for courses and learn more. You must be signed in, however, to register for a course.

On behalf of the VATNZ training team, ngā mihi nui (many greetings)



Gary Parata

Training Director

VATSIM New Zealand