Controller Course - Instrument Flight Rules

The Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) course trains students in all aspects of Terminal Control including Non-Radar Control, Radar Arrival Control and Terminal Radar Control.

Course outline

The following is an outline of the IFR course:

  • Academics. The academic aspect of the IFR course includes Canadian Domestic Airspace, Fundamentals of Aviation, Flight Information Publications, Navigational Aids, Communications and Co-ordination Procedures, Visual and Instrument Flight Rules and Meteorology.
  • Non-Radar Control. The Non-Radar portion includes general operating procedures, track profiles and non-radar separation. Vertical separation is taught to the student at the commencement of practical training. As the students begin to think in three dimensions they are introduced to conflict resolution concepts: crossing track, same track, reciprocal track and omni-track lateral conflictions.
  • Arrival Radar Control Phase. On successful completion of the Non-Radar phase, students commence the Arrival Radar Control phase, which begins with academics on basic radar theory, radar identification procedures, radar separation standards and radar vectoring/radar monitoring procedures. Students must pass an academic test on separation standards as well as a performance check on the simulator prior to continuing onto the next phase of the course.
  • Terminal Radar Control. During this final phase of the IFR course, students control IFR aircraft in a simulated Terminal Radar environment. Students learn to control aircraft in airspace of defined dimensions using a mixture of non-radar/radar separation. They also learn their responsibilities for all departing/arriving aircraft while ensuring a safe, orderly and expeditious flow of traffic.

Course capacity / rank

The IFR course capacity is 10 students. Candidates must be Officers.

Course prerequisites

Education prerequisites and selection criteria shall ne in accordance with individual national requirements. However, strengths in special awareness and multitasking are important for course success and computer literacy is also an asset. Students must possess an excellent proficiency in both written and spoken English.

Course duration / frequency

The IFR course is 90 training days and is run on an as-required basis, with two serials conducted yearly.

Operational training

On successful completion of the IFR course, students will have acquired the knowledge and skills required to commence training at an operational unit. Canadian students must undergo at least one hundred days of monitored IFR operational training, by a suitably qualified controller in order to achieve the necessary rating for controlling aircraft on their own. Foreign students will normally undergo operational training in their own country; however, requests for operational training in Canada are welcomed and will be priced separately.


The Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Control Operations (CFSACO) is located in Cornwall, Ontario within the Navigation Canada Training Institute (NCTI). The Institute is located mid-way between Montreal and Ottawa, overlooking the St. Lawrence River.

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