• All facilities under the jurisdiction of ZLC ARTCC are considered “open” while appropriate ATC are online to control those facilities.
  • All military controlled facilities/airspaces (TOWERs and RAPCONs) that are controlled by the USDOD ATC in real life (not FAA) will be considered uncontrolled by ZLC ARTCC.
    • USDOD Facilities:
      • KHIF TWR
      • KMOU Mountain Home Airport TWR and RAPCON (Approach)

ZLC Facility Files

  • Facility Files are defined as any files supporting the operations of ZLC, including but not limited to: ZLC Sector, POF, Alias, and vATIS files.
  • Any controller controlling or training on a ZLC position is required to be utilizing the most up to date Facility Files available.
  • If a member decides to modify any Facility Files for their own local copy, that member may utilize their custom file as long as no functionality/formatting from the ZLC original file is lost.


  1. While controlling, controllers are expected to be connected to the ZLC Discord server and respond in a timely manner.
  2. When in a designated controlling channel, all conversation must be pertinent to the controlling session at that time.
  3. Nicknames:
      • Names will be lowercase except the first letter of the first and last names.
        • Required Format:
          • (Full Name) | (VATSIM Rating)
          • Example:
            Joe Swanson | S1
    • STAFF
      • Staff members will have their staff position abbreviation at the end and their staff position abbreviation.
        Note – A prefixing “A” on a staff position indicates that the staff member is an “Assistant”.
        • Example:
          Brian Griffin | I3 | TA
          Meg Griffin | I1 | ATA
      • Visiting ATC are expected to put their facility abbreviation at the end.
        • Example:
          Peter Griffin | S2 | ZDV
      • Visiting Staff members will have their staff position abbreviation at the end and their staff position abbreviation.
        • Example:
          Tom Tucker | C1 | ZSE ATM

Callsign Use

  1. VATSIM Callsign during log-on is expected to be used per the Position Assumption/Relief Directive
  2. If a pilot refers to you as a position callsign appropriate for their phase of flight, but not necessarily matching the VASTIM callsign, ATC may refer to themselves as the callsign appropriate for that phase of flight.

    Note- This is to increase realism but should only be initiated by the pilot, not the ATC.

    Example: A pilot calls you as you are logged in as Salt Lake Center providing Top-Down services to all of ZLC and requests as a pop-up IFR under the KBOI Class C outer shelf, but refers to you as “Bigsky Approach”. In this type of situation, you may continue to refer to yourself as Bigsky Approach, or other facility names, as appropriate.

Audio For VATSIM (AFV) Use

  • When connecting to AFV, the appropriate callsign must be selected for monitoring and use. Reference the Facility Callsign and Frequency Info > AFV Transceiver Inheritance Tree directive for more information.
  • Never select “TX” in AFV without first coordinating with the owner of that frequency, unless you are a member of the ZLC Training Department and conducting a training session with the owner of that frequency.


  1. Prior to controlling any position within ZLC, all appropriate steps in the Position Assumption/Relief Directive will be followed.
  2. When able, utilize text for general coordination.
  3. When text coordination will not suffice, voice coordination will follow the following format:
    • Position initiating coordination: “(Facility name of position to be called), (facility name of position calling)”
    • Position being called: “(facility name)”
    • Position initiating: “(message)”
    • (any further back and forth coordination)
    • Position being called: “(controller initials)”
    • Position initiating: “(controller initials)”

      • SLC_TWR to GUNNISON SECTOR: “Gunnison. Salt Lake Local. Request.”
      • GUNNISON SECTOR: “Gunnison.”
      • SLC_TWR: “Air-Gun71 requests unrestricted climb to 17,000.”
      • GUNNISON: “Unrestricted approved up to 10,000. I will get him higher later.”
      • SLC_TWR: “Unrestricted approved up to 10,000.”
      • GUNNISON: “KL”
      • SLC_TWR: “KF”

DP & STAR In-Scope Reference

  1. Though the DP & STAR In-Scope Reference system is not required to be utilized, conformance to the procedures within is required.

    Example: ATC providing Approach services to a pilot flying the LEEHY STAR during south OPS into KSLC, is expected to descend the aircraft via the STAR, advise the aircraft to expect runway 16R and ensure the aircraft will be at 210kts midfield prior to handoff to Final Approach. This information is easily found in the .SLCLEEHYAPP command.

ScratchPad & Flight Strip Markings

  1. Scratchpad and Flight Strip Marking entries are mandatory for use, even while ATC are working alone. All scratchpad and Flight Strip Markings entries will be set per the Scratchpad Directive and the Flight Strip Markings Directive.
    Note-No waiver is given for use of Scratchpads because all ATC need to maintain their muscle memory skills for events and like traffic load. It also serves as a backup coordination tool in the event that the controller suddenly looses connection or must log off immediately.

Towered and Non-Towered Facilities

  • All facilities under the jurisdiction of ZLC ARTCC are considered “open” while appropriate ATC are online to control those facilities.
    Note-If pilot wishes to simulate the towered field being closed, it is the appropriate time that the field would be non-towered in real world, and there is no other traffic that will be affected, ZLC ATC may simulate that field as non-towered for that pilot.
  • All military controlled facilities/airspaces (TOWERs and RAPCONs) are controlled by the USDOD ATC (not FAA) will be considered uncontrolled by ZLC ARTCC.
    • USDOD Facilities:
      • KHIF TWR
      • KMUO Mountain Home Airport TWR and RAPCON (Approach)
  • Authorized VATSIM Designated Airspace within ZLC ARTCC, requiring special endorsement by ZLC Training Department to control:
    • SLC_CTR “Salt Lake City Center”
    • SLC_APP “Salt Lake City Approach”
    • SLC_DEP “Salt Lake City Departure”
    • SLC_TWR “Salt Lake City Tower”
    • SLC_GND “Salt Lake City Ground”
    • SLC_DEL “Salt Lake City Clearance”


  • Review and understanding of the ZLC vATIS Utilization CBT is required prior to use by any ATC.
  • vATIS will be used for all ATIS broadcasts within ZLC ARTCC Boundaries.
  • ATC are to utilize the most up to date vATIS files released by vZLC management.
  • Inform pertinent ATC providing Ground, Tower (LOCAL), and Approach Control services of new ATIS only if it is the first ATIS being broadcast. The controllers that are notified are expected to then subscribe to the broadcast per the vATIS “vATIS Update Notifications” system.
  • Utilization/Activation of the NOTAM Pre-Defined Messages are to only be used when controller workload is of a high degree.
  • VMC: The field is eligible for visual approaches per the FAA JO Order 7110.65 7-4-2 (if the reported ceiling at the airport of intended landing is at least 500 feet above the MVA/MIA and the visibility is 3 miles or greater).
  • IMC: The field is not eligible for visual approaches per the FAA JO Order 7110.65 7-4-2.

Dissemination Of Wind Direction

  • In METAR reports wind direction is described using the true bearing of the wind. However, most airports in the world have a magnetic variation, and when we report wind direction to a pilot, we report it using the magnetic variation, rounded to the nearest 10s of degrees.
  • Example: KSLC has a magnetic variation of 11 degrees east, so we round that variation to 10 degrees. So if the METAR reports wind of 160@10, when we report it to a pilot we report “Wind 150@10”.

Callsigns and Frequencies

  • All position frequencies may be found in the “Position / Frequency Info” directive.

ZLC Change Log

  • Prior to any controlling session, all controllers will check the Change Log on the Resource Center for any changes and ensure they are in compliance with any pertinent changes.
    • A “Controlling Session” is anytime a controller “primes” a frequency. If a controller unprimes their frequency for a quick one minute break (due to being relieved by another controller), that controller must check the Change Log again before repriming their frequency.
  • The Change Log can be found at the top left of the Resource Center menus or by accessing the page via the in-scope command .changelog

Flight Following / Radar Services

  • Do not solicit a flight following request to pilots.
  • All flight following aircraft will be assigned the appropriate scratchpad for the requested service per the Scratchpad Use Directive.
  • Terminate radar services without a pilot request in the following manner:
    • Class B Field departure not requesting radar services: Once outside of the Mode-C Veil.
    • Class C Field departure not requesting radar services: Once 20 miles from the primary airport.
    • TRSA Field departure with a request for TRSA/Radar Services: If the pilots does not wish to continue radar services, terminate radar services once outside of the TRSA airspace.

Real World NOTAMs

  1. By default, ZLC Controllers will only simulate Real World NOTAMs (Notice to Air Missions) if the pilot requests it to be simulated and it will not cause undue delays to other aircraft or unreasonable workload increase on the controller(s).

Traffic Management

VATUSA Traffic Management Initiatives (TMI)

  1. The #tmu-advisories located on the ZLC Discord must be reviewed once every 15 minutes during control sessions.
  2. Notices that apply to traffic within ZLC ARTCC jurisdiction must be complied with.
  3. Review the this CBT for additional information

Software/Program Manuals

  1. Prior to utilizing any software or program for controlling or assisting in your controlling duties, you are required be familiar with and have read the manual published by the developer.
  2. If the member does not understand a certain feature or section in the manual/documentation, that member is expected to reach out to a member of the ZLC training department immediately for clarification.

VFR Flight Plan Simulation

NOTE: In the real world, VFR flight plans filed by pilots are sent to the Flight Service Station (FSS) and the ATC the pilot interacts with has none of that data available to them. The following operating procedures will ensure a standard for handling VFR Flight Plan data across ZLC.

  1. ZLC ATC will not utilize/acknowledge the data within a filed VFR flight plan unless the pilot has stated the information on frequency.
    I.e. Act like you cannot see the VFR flight plan until the pilot tells you the information over the frequency.
    1. If a previous ATC has spoken with the pilot, successive ATC may acknowledge the information in the VFR flight plan.
      Note: This is essentially treating the flight plan as a Flight Strip with markings, as they would in the real world.
  2. Have the pilot state their aircraft type, intentions, and any other relevant information prior to providing them services as if you were filling out the flight plan in real time.
  3. If the data in the flight plan differs from what the pilot reports on frequency, amend the data as reported.


Squawk (Beacon) Codes

  1. Assign squawk codes to flight strips only as the clearance is being issued.

    Note- This is to prevent confusion if the DEL controlled has to suddenly log off/lost connection. With this procedure, the next controller automatically knows which pilot has received their clearance based on if they have an assigned squawk code.


  1. Always utilize the Letter of Agreement Quick Reference (LOAQR) to ensure routing is appropriate for all departures.
    1. When the destination airport is not listed in the LOAQR, use best judgement for route approval/creation.
  2. When referring to aircraft types for routing purposes, the following definitions will apply:
    • J – Jet Powered
    • M – Turbo-propeller Powered (Speed > 190knots)
    • P – Prop aircraft (Speed > 190 knots)
    • Q – Non-Turbojet Powered aircraft (Speed < 190 knots) and Helicopters
  3. Through-Clearances are not authorized in ZLC airspace due to limitations of software and resource simulation.

Pre-Departure Clearances (PDCs)

  1. Utilization of PDCs are not optional if the Facility Directive allows their use. Proper use and familiarization with how to issue a PDC is a requirement for all controllers at ZLC.
  2. ZLC recognizes the PDC system on VATSIM (by means of private message to the pilot) as a Controller-Pilot Data Link (CPDL) system. Real world FAA allows amended flight plan information to be cleared and issued by CPDL PDC.


Taxi Instruction Prerequisites

  1. Prior to issuing taxi instructions to a pilot, ensure the pilot:
    • Reports an accurate position on the field
    • Is squawking Mode-C Altitude Reporting if at an ASDE-X airport, along with squawking their correct assigned code
    • Reports the receipt of the latest ATIS report. If no ATIS is broadcasted, a general statement of receiving the latest METAR report will do such as “We have the numbers”

Aircraft Position Verification

  1. Issue taxi instructions based on pilot reported position. For inaccurate position reports or use of ASDE-X, refer to the Ground Use section of the Radar Use Directive.


  1. When a controller above the GND position is online, it is encouraged that the GND controller post and maintain a working ATIS broadcast.

    Note- It is preferred that the DEL/GND controller maintain the ATIS because of the safety concern with a TWR controller having to stop communications with airborne traffic to record or maintain one.


IFR Releases and Rolling Calls

  1. By default, Local Controllers (Tower/TWR) are required to request release of IFR departures from the responsible departure sector prior to issuing a clearance for takeoff.
    1. When required, a “Release Request” (.RR command) is to be sent to the appropriate Departure Controller for each IFR departure; The Departure Controller will reply back with a “Release Approved” (.RA command) message with the approved time for release.
      1. A Release Request requires ATC to add the following minimum information to the command in the Flight Strip Markings/Scratchpad Directive formats:
        1. Assigned heading/RH, if applicable or non-standard.
        2. Radar Services Requested (VFR)
      2. Tower may not issue a takeoff clearance before the time issued in the Release Approval notification.
      3. After an aircraft is released by the departure controller, it does not expire; The departure controller may cancel a release if the pilot has not been given instructions to enter the runway or clearance for takeoff yet.
  2. Airports that are the primary airport within a TRACON are exempt from the request release requirement unless requested by the departure controller. TMU mandated Call For Releases (CFRs) are always required, if in effect.
    1. ZLC ARTCC Primary TRACON/Auto-Release airports: KBIL, KBOI, KBZN, KGTF, KSLC
      Note: HLN and TWF Approach Control facilities are Non-RADAR and therefore are not considered TRACONs.
  3. When the departing aircraft will be provided RADAR services (including IFR departures) beyond the LC area of responsibility, a “Rolling Call” (.RC command) is required to be sent to the appropriate Departure RADAR Controller to assist in the radar identification of the aircraft.
    Note: KHLN, KTWF, and Auto-Release airport departures are exempt from the rolling call requirement.
    1. The rolling call notification should be sent when the pilot is reasonably expected to airborne within 2min of sending the notification.
    2. In the event that the pilot begins takeoff roll, but then rejects the takeoff, TWR must notify the departure controller ASAP of the rejected takeoff. This may be done via the Rejected Takeoff command (.RT).
    3. If the aircraft will reasonably become airborne within two minutes after the prescribed release time, a Rolling Call is not required.


  1. Barring any reasonable complications, it is expected that a TWR controller post and maintain a working ATIS broadcast.
    Note: APP/DEP/CTR controllers providing TWR/LC services are not required to post an ATIS. If a GND or DEL position is online and they are comfortable with ATIS broadcast standards, it is preferred that a GND or DEL controller maintain the ATIS for safety.

Downtime/IFR Cancellation Notification

  1. With the exception of ZLC ARTCC Primary TRACON/Auto-Release airports, advise the controller providing approach services for the airport when an IFR aircraft on approach has either canceled IFR or has landed, as soon as practical.
    Note: ZLC ARTCC Primary TRACON/Auto-Release airports: KBIL, KBOI, KBZN, KGTF, KSLC
    1. An aircraft may be considered “landed” when in the judgment of the local controller the landing gear appears to be in contact with the landing surface and the aircraft will not execute a go-around/missed approach.
    2. Use of the .DT command is recommended in lieu of voice coordination when the aircraft has landed; Cancellation of IFR requires Free Text notification via the .M command or voice coordination.

Visual Acquisition of Aircraft

  1. When visual acquisition (not via RADAR) of an aircraft is being simulated in situations such as providing tower applied visual separation and/or 7110.65 7-2-1.c, the controller shall only simulate the ability to see the aircraft when they are within the METAR reported visibility up to but no further than 15 miles from the position of the control tower.
    Note: Nautical and Statute miles may be considered interchangeable here for the sake of simplicity.



  1. Respond to Class D field Release Requests (RR) with the “Request Approved” message with the appropriate amount of time that the request is delayed from now. Refer to Command Reference Note # 1 for details.
    Note- The aircraft must be airborne within two minutes after of the prescripted release time.
    1. The RR is only valid for 2min after being received. If the aircraft is not departed by that time, that RR is expired and a new one will be generated by the TWR controller prior to aircraft departure.
  2. Respond to Class B and C field Departure Notification Messages (DNM) only when immediate action is required.
    1. If an immediate action is required, the departure controller must respond within 30 seconds of receiving the DNM. (Recommend utilizing the .M command)
    2. The DNM is only valid for 2min after being received. If the aircraft is not departed by that time, that DNM is expired and a new one will be generated by the TWR controller prior to aircraft departure.



  1. Drop track control of IFR arrivals upon communication change to Local Control. This allows RADAR certified controllers at Full RADAR towers to acquire track control if needed (such as a missed approach).

Visual Approaches

  1. It is recommended that all IFR aircraft be assigned and vectored for a visual approach, on a workload permitting basis and when a visual approach would benefit traffic flow/efficiency.
    1. Pilots may refuse a visual approach assignment, in which ATC must then provide the pilot with an instrument approach clearance if one is available.

VFR Radar Services

  1. VFR radar services (Flight Following) will be provided to all pilots requesting said service, on a workload permitting basis.


Weather Reporting

  1. Current local altimeter reports will be provided to all pilots below FL180, at minimum once every 100 nautical miles. When able, provide the altimeter report upon initial contact.
  2. SIGMET and other weather reporting services may be provided to pilots at controller’s discretion.
    Note- Local METAR information is considered mandatory for controllers to report when appropriate.

Special Coordination

  1. Hi-ILS clearances required the destination Approach Control approval prior to issuance.

VFR Radar Services

  1. VFR radar services (Flight Following) will be provided to all pilots requesting said service, on a workload permitting basis.