Controller Training

The VATNZ Training Department provides a range of courses to help advance our students' virtual controlling careers.

Kia ora, and welcome to the VATNZ Training Department! 

It's a pleasure to see you here, and we extend warm greetings to you. Here, you can learn how to train as an air traffic controller 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. Here, you will find how we carry out our training.

Our training courses have three phases: theory, practice, and final assessment. We use written examinations to test knowledge gained through studying the material contained in each course. The pass mark for all VATNZ theory examinations is 80%, after which practical training for the rating commences.

There are four basic VATSIM ATC ratings obtainable through VATNZ: Tower Trainee (S1), Tower Controller (S2), Terminal Controller (S3), and En-route Controller (C1). Additionally, an optional procedural control endorsement is available for the S2 rating, and the optional Oceanic control endorsement can be added to the C1 rating. Controllers from other divisions also can 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 grants appointments to these positions. At VATNZ, we can also train our S3 and C1-rated controllers to become mentors and instructors in the training department.

Before registering for your first (S1) course, you must already have recorded at least 50 hours connected to the VATSIM network as a pilot or observer, over a period of at least three months, and preferably in VATNZ airspace. This requirement can be shortened if you hold a real-world pilot licence and instrument rating or are a qualified air traffic controller. Each case is assessed on merit before setting the revised observing hours requirement.


Please click on the links below to learn more. For further questions, please email, and I will answer them.

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



Gary Parata

Training Director

VATSIM New Zealand