Does professional ATC RADAR simulator software need to comply to some regulations or requirements in order to be used for real life controller training?

Have ICAO, Eurocontrol, EASA or FAA published any such regulations or requirements in their documents? If so, any reference to a document is appreciated.

  • $\begingroup$ I can't answer the question, but it looks like the FAA has developed its own software and even some other countries are using it $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented May 25, 2015 at 18:38
  • $\begingroup$ Such regulations do not exist as far a I know (and I am somewhat familiar with radars & simulators). I assume you are looking for regulations related to ATC operational training simulators. $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 22:32
  • $\begingroup$ @DeltaLima I don't know what "ATC operational training simulators" could mean, if it is real life ATCO training simulator then yes, that's what I'm looking for. For example can someone use London Control (I'm not affiliated to the company in any way), adapt it to the FIR, and say "I am doing proper ATC RADAR training"? Or there is something that could stop them, because that's actually a game? $\endgroup$ Commented May 31, 2015 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ @SteliosAdamantidis If you are looking for a job in ATC software development (including radar systems), see here (stack-overflow link) $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 11:57
  • $\begingroup$ @DeltaLima I'll do. Many thanks! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 12:17

3 Answers 3


So according to EASA, it is the AMCs/GM for Regulation 2015/340, Part ATCO.OR (Annex III to Decision 2015/10/R) and specifically in AMC1.ATCO.OR.C015(b)(b) where is specifies 11 criteria regarding STD standards, among them being accuracy of aircraft performance, voice recognition realism, equipment, data displays, etc:

STD criteria

If a synthetic training device (STD) is used for training, it should be approved by the competent authority as part of the course approval process for any training plan. Training organisations should demonstrate how the STD will provide adequate support for the intended training, in particular, how the STD will meet the stated objectives of the practical training exercises and enable the performance objectives to be assessed to the level determined in the training programme.

This demonstration and the related documentation should include the following relevant criteria:

(1) the general environment, which should provide an environment in which STD exercises may be run without undue interference from unrelated activities;

(2) the STD layout;

(3) the equipment provided;

(4) the display presentation, functionality, and updating of operational information;

(5) data displays, including strip displays, where appropriate;

(6) coordination facilities;

(7) aircraft performance characteristics, including the availability of manoeuvres, e.g. holding or instrumental landing system (ILS) operation, required for a particular simulation;

(8) the availability of real-time changes during an exercise;

(9) the processes by which the training organisation can be assured that staff associated with the training conducted with the use of an STD are competent;

(10) the degree of realism of any voice recognition system associated with the STD;

(11) where a simulator is an integral part of an operational ATC system, the processes by which the training organisation is assured that interference between the simulated and operational environments is prevented.

The extent to which the STD achieves the above criteria will be used to determine the adequacy of the STD for the proposed use. As a general principle, the greater the degree of replication of the operational position being represented the greater the use will be possible for any particular training.

  • $\begingroup$ Until something better commes up, I mark my own answer as the correct one. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 14, 2016 at 10:12

I am not aware of specific regulations regarding ATC training simulators.

ATC simulator training is usually done on an exact copy of the real system (same software & hardware). The radar data is provided by flight simulators which are operated by pseudo pilots (also called blip drivers). These are in 'radio contact' with the trainee. One pseudo pilot usually operates multiple aircraft.

The aircraft simulation usually consists of a very basic three degree of freedom point mass model, an aircraft performance model (e.g. BADA) and a rudimentary autopilot. The pseudo pilot translates commands from the Air Traffic Controller into new autopilot settings. The simulator then calculates the flight path resulting from the settings and provides radar data to ATC system.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ DL thanks for the extra information but I am already familiar with the procedure. I did it when I developed DARSSY :) Question is who (if any) verifies correct and accurate implementation? The closest resource I found is Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/340. There it says: The training organisation shall ensure that the synthetic training devices comply with the applicable specifications and requirements appropriate to the task. Question is what are these "applicable specifications and requirements". I emailed EASA and I hope to get an answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 12:46

My understanding is that a training provider needs approval from authorities for the full training program offered, and the simulator is only one part of this. The regulation 2015/340 lists areas to consider for the authorities, based on the authorities being competent to judge OK or not in the given context. Thus, a simulator can't get approval as such other than in a context of its use. But it still needs to be approved when it is a part needed for the specific training program.

Like any tool - its qualities can only be validated against its intended use. For example, a hammer can be "authorized" in the context of building a dog house. Not so much when baking bread. Or, a simulator can be great for training tower control, but not so much for ACC. So it's really up to the authorities to approve each case of use. This is the same also for e.g. cars - they are approved for a certain use, and for that only. And similar to operational ATC systems.


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