Controller Course – Visual Flight Rules

The Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Control Operations (CFSACO) prepares students for the Visual Flight Rules (VFR) speciality course. It  is designed to train students in all aspects of aerodrome operations including; Ground Control, Aerodrome Control, and Management of Canadian Forces Aerodromes.

Course outline

The following is an outline of topics covered during the VFR Course:

  • Ground Control Phase. The term Ground Control relates to the control of vehicles and aircraft on the movement area of the aerodrome. This element of control is divided into academics and simulation.  The progression of ground control training takes the students from controlling vehicular traffic and aircraft manoeuvring around the aerodrome to the control of emergency vehicles with the necessary co-ordination of the Aerodrome Controller.
  • Aerodrome Control Phase. The Aerodrome Controller controls an airspace of defined dimensions and authorises all movement on the active runway.  In the first exercise students begin at a level of issuing landing information to allow an aircraft to safely join the VFR traffic pattern. Progression through the 22 exercises culminates with the student being able to safely sequence jet and conventional traffic while integrating departures from and recoveries to the aerodrome under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR).
  • Additional Training. Upon successful completion of the Ground Control phase students are employed in a number of roles when not being taught or assessed as the Aerodrome Controller. Students will control in the Ground position further consolidating their skills in this position. In addition to the academics delivered to prepare for practical training, the student will be introduced to aspects of managing Canadian Forces aerodromes.
  • Simulation Exercises. All practical training is simulated and is carried out in two 360-degree visual simulators owned by CFSACO.

Course capacity / rank

The VFR course capacity is 6 students. Candidates is given to Officers.

Course prerequisites

Education prerequisites and selection criteria shall be in accordance with individual national requirements.  Strengths in mathematics, physics and technical subjects are important for course success and computer literacy is also an asset. All potential candidates for Canadian Air Traffic Control courses must possess an excellent proficiency in both written and spoken English.

Course duration / frequency

The course is 61 training days and is normally conducted three times per year.


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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