ProController - Observer's Guide

This page will show you how to log on to VATSIM using ProController and Roger Wilco, and how to make the most of being an observer.

Before you start, make sure you have a VATSIM CID (Controller Identification number) and password, and have joined the UK Division. Details of how to do all this are on the "Getting Started" page.

Guidance for downloading and installing ProController and Roger Wilco are on the "ProController Setup" page.

 Logging on  Observing with text  Observing with Roger Wilco  Using Private Chat

Logging on

  1. Open ProController and "plug in"
  2. If the ukatas_airac sector file (the map of the UK) is not already open, then open it now
    1. From the drop down menus select File/Open.
    2. Navigate your way to the ukatas_airac sector file and open it
  3. Select File/Connect. A dialogue box will open.
  4. Enter your callsign. When you are controlling this will be the callsign of your position, but as an observer you can choose your own. It is recommended that you choose something by which you can be recognised online, such as your initials or first name, followed by _OBS. eg RUTH_OBS, RM_OBS
  5. Make sure the Rating box says Observer. You can only log on at a higher rating when you have passed the appropriate exam. Observers can watch and can take part in private chats, but cannot communicate on ATC radio frequencies.
  6. Facility Type should be set to Observer
  7. Enter your real name in the appropriate box.
  8. You will be connecting through one of the VATSIM servers. To start with, use the IP address of the UK server ( If this server is down then alternative servers are listed on the Useful information page.
  9. Do not alter the port (6809) or the transmitter elevation (0).
  10. Leave the check box FS98 MP Host blank.
  11. Enter your CID and password.
  12. Press OK, and you will be connected to VATSIM. If you are not already online, your dialler dialogue should pop up automatically.
  13. A message box will appear telling you how to complete the log in. You should type .msg server <CID number> <password> in the line at the bottom of the screen e.g: .msg server 800000 123456
  14. Two message boxes will appear on your screen. You can close both of these.
  15. You will now see aircraft positions appear on the map. You have successfully logged on!


Observing a controller on text

You now need to choose a controller to observe. The best position for a beginner to observe is a Tower (TWR), because these control all the take-offs and landings, and if there is no Ground controller available, they will also give the clearances and taxi instructions. You can also observe the Approach (APP) and En-route (CTR) controllers, who will be giving specific headings, flight levels and speeds for aircraft already in the air.

Look at your radar screen and identify any airports that look reasonably busy. If you have ServInfo, you can see how many aircraft are due to fly in and out. In ProController, use the dropdown menu from File, or right click the radar screen and left click Server to find "Who's online". You will see a list of all the controllers and observers within 100 miles of the central point of your radar screen. This will be London Heathrow (EGLL) unless you have changed the "centre on" setting.

What do those codes mean? The main airport codes can be found on the "Useful information" page. For example, Stansted is EGSS, and Luton is EGGW, so Stansted Tower is EGSS_TWR, and Luton Ground is EGGW_GND. Controllers using voice put a V in their callsign eg EGSS_V_TWR. Other abbreviations you may see are T(rainee), M(entor), (R)adar and E(xaminer).

Choose the controller you want to observe, and note the frequency in the right hand column (xxx.xx). eg the EGSS_TWR frequency is 123.80. To switch to that frequency, type //xxx.xx in the input line at the bottom of the screen. You will see the frequency change in the window on the right. Anything that is typed on that frequency by the controller or the pilot will appear in the Communications Window. As an observer, you will not be able to input anything yourself. You may not see very much text communication at all, as most pilots and controllers use voice, so it is worth setting up Roger Wilco as soon as possible.

You will get a better view of what is going on if you use the sector file for the airport you are observing. This shows the taxiways, runways, buildings and boundaries in detail. There are a limited number of sector files already in ProController, and if you followed our "Getting started" instructions, you will also have the Essex Radar sector file, which covers Luton, Stansted and London City. To open the Essex Radar file, click on File/Open, and then navigate to the Procontroller/Sector Files/Europe folder. To centre your screen on a particular airport, right click on the main radar screen, then "Centre on..." and choose the code for the airport you want.

All the Essex RAM sector files are available here. Other files can be obtained from the Downloads page of the Vatsim-UK website.

You can communicate privately with controllers or other observers using the chat-boxes. Bring up the "Who's online", right-click the name of the person you want to talk to, then left-click on Chat. This will open a private chat-box; again you type your input into the bottom line.


Observing using Roger Wilco (RW)

Most controllers and pilots use voice, as it is easier and quicker. However, please note that voice and text are given equal priority. Text is also used as a backup when voice transmissions are of poor quality.

Each controller uses a voice room, identified by the server IP address and the controller's callsign e.g. To find out which server a controller is using, you need to read his ATIS (Automated Terminal Information Service). From ProController this can be done by typing .atis <callsign> in the input line. You can also get the ATIS by clicking on the callsign in ServInfo.

To connect to a voice room open RW and click on "Join". In the box "address and channel of the host" type <server IP address>/<callsign> as listed in the ATIS. Then click on "Join". You will be joined to the voice room, and will see a list of all the other people in the same voice room.

RW etiquette. The only people speaking in a voice room should be the controller and the pilots. Observers MUST maintain radio silence. The only exception is when there are no pilots in the voice room, when the controller may choose to use voice with an observer rather than text. This is highly unofficial, and if a pilot comes on frequency, must be stopped immediately.


Using private chat
Observers can communicate with other people online by using the Chatbox facility.

Receiving a call

  1. If someone messages you privately a chatbox will open with the message in it, and the caller's callsign in the right hand window.
  2. You reply by typing into the bottom line of the chatbox and pressing <enter>.

Making a call

  1. Use File/Who is online or right click the radar screen and left click Server to see Who's online?
  2. Right click the callsign, and then left click on "Chat".
  3. A chat box will open with the recipicient's callsign in the right hand window. Type what you want to say into the bottom line. Any reply will appear in the left hand window.